Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer and his partner in crime Dragon’s Rage Channeler have spawned a half dozen different Ragavan decks in Modern that seek to capitalize on the mana efficiency of this dynamic duo. Put bluntly, Ragavan and DRC are the best one-mana threats in the format and they outclass almost everything else in the early game. This fact, along with the fact that both of these creatures are red, means that players are highly incentivized to put Ragavan and DRC in a deck full of other mana efficient creatures and cheap interaction to overwhelm their opponents in the early game.
These strategies are quite popular and competitive, and learning how to play them (and how to play against them) is a very valuable skill set to acquire. These decks can be quite difficult to pilot perfectly however, as the density of zero and one-mana spells generate complicated decision trees on how to sequence the first few turns. And because one of the main goals of these decks is trying to leverage their mana efficiency in the first few turns to generate an early advantage, making the correct choices when sequencing in the early game is often the difference between a win and a loss.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of nuance when selecting your plays in the early game with these decks. Factors like matchup, contents of your hand, deck construction, play/draw and board state all contribute to your decision making. The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate these difficult decision points, but remember to always be thinking critically in your games of Magic and focus on learning strategy rather than just memorizing plays.