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By: Felorin, Dr. Cat
Aug 04 2010 1:26am
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This June, I asked my fiancee' to buy me some Master of the Wild Hunt and Eldrazi Monument for my birthday.  (She's awesome by the way, we met on Furcadia and now she helps me run it. (Shameless plug: Our iPhone Version came out last week! (End of parenthetical statements!)))  The Masters are awesome, but only legal till Scars comes out, so I need to enjoy 'em in standard while I can!  I built a Green splash white (for Dauntless Escort) and splash black (for Tar Fiend) deck that got some 3-1s at my local Friday Night Magic, not bad.  I started a list of all the different creatures my Masters had their wolves eat for me.

Master of the Wild HuntMaster of the Wild HuntMaster of the Wild HuntMaster of the Wild Hunt

Meanwhile, I'd occasionally rip a Khalni Hydra, till I was up to 3.  I traded for a 4th, with the idea of retooling my deck to get out quick hydras just 'cause it seemed like fun.  Then a couple of the regulars at Pat's Games brewed up a spicy green/black deck that could get out turn 3 Grave Titan.  I only own one of those (foil, from my pre-release), but I joined in the discussion of how to tweak that deck, and got some ideas for my Hydra deck since there was a lot of overlap.

Inspired by Eric's deck, I tried out two Mul Daya Channelers to see how they'd play. I also wanted to go with some Leatherback Baloth as it seems like a great idea for a powerfully aggressive turn 2 play.  But in my hasty deck-tweaking before heading out to the game store I didn't find any, the Channelers were easy to locate in my rare binder. I'll probably try the Leatherbacks the next time I play a version of it.

Khalni HydraKhalni HydraKhalni HydraKhalni Hydra

I ended up making it mono-green, and took it to Friday Night Magic at Dragon's Lair here in Austin.  It totally smashed face!  I not only went 4-0 and took 1st place, but I didn't lose a single game.  All the matches were 2-0, even though I went up against some of the strongest decks there - some of the strongest decks in current Standard, really.  Easily gave me good enough tiebreakers to beat the other 4-0 guy.  After an easy matchup against a milling deck (and I had one Eldrazi in sideboard for him) I went up against Jund, and then two different Blue/White Planeswalker-Control decks.  Even managed to win a game round 4 with a mulligan to a 5 card 1-lander against a full grip of 7 for my opponent!

Here's the decklist:


1x Arbor Elf
4x Llanowar Elves
4x Birds of Paradise
2x Elvish Visionary
1x Omnath, Locus of Mana (aka Om-Nom!) (aka Locust of Mana)
2x Mul Daya Channelers
1x Oracle of Mul Daya
4x Wolfbriar Elemental
4x Master of the Wild Hunt
4x Khalni Hydra

1x Vines of Vastwood
2x Beastmaster Ascension
1x Garruk Wildspeaker
1x Momentous Fall
2x Eldrazi Monument
1x Bestial Menace
1x Gelatinous Genesis

16x Forest
4x Khalni Garden
4x Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

3x Pithing Needle
3x River Boa
3x Windstorm
3x Jaddi Lifestrider
2x Eldrazi Monument
1x Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

The last two cards under "Spells" could be listed as creatures really, as could Garruk.  This deck originated as a "build around Beastmaster Ascension" deck back when it was three colors (but still mostly green).  I cut it to 2 because that deck could often win without the ascension, and this stompier build with the hydras needs it even less.  I kept two because they're foil and have tigers on them.  They're not really needed in this deck, honestly, and should be those other two Eldrazi Monument from the side.  Some other things should be swapped for Leatherback Baloth etc.  I did get to draw every singleton during the evening to see how they performed, which was fun, and I used most of the sideboard too.  Here's how various cards did:

Omnath, Locus of Mana

Omnath got to swing in for 7 once, then after combat deflate again to use the mana for a kicked Wolfbriar Elemental.  I never saved mana over my opponent's turn because there was always something good to spend it on, and trying to pump him up huge or save up for a huge X spell would open me up to the possible of removal on their turn losing me all that mana.  The second game I drew him in, I didn't even do the "pump then spend mana in second main" trick, because my opponent had mana open, and removal during combat phase would have left me unable to cast my Master of the Wild Hunt until the next turn, too big a loss in tempo to risk.  Verdict: He really doesn't need to be in the deck, though he's fun.

Gelatinous Genesis

Gelatinous Genesis is worse than the Wolfbriar Elemental in this deck generally, but I threw one in for fun & to up the count of "multiple creatures for one card" spells in the deck.  The one time I played it I had 8 mana, so I did three 3/3s plus an Oran-Rief activation to get three 4/4s on the board.  They and the other creatures out won in short order, with some help from a Monument or an Ascension, I forget which.  Verdict: Could and should probably be switched out for another Bestial Menace.  This card is better "late game" if the game goes "long", but often that won't happen.  Keep in mind that "late game" for this deck is turns 6-8 or something.

Vines of Vastwood

Vines of Vastwood Saved a hydra once. I didn't even care. I was going to win without it, I just cast this because it was there & because I'd stomp him even better if I went ahead and used it.  Could easily swap out.  The only card really worth protecting is Master of the Wild Hunt and that's not always crucial either. The deck spews out so many creatures that spot removal NEVER keeps up. The deck's only nemesis is Day of Judgment and Vines doesn't help against that. I could maybe see this against Mind Control if anybody actually played that and if turn 5 weren't way too late anyway. Verdict: This should go, for a better defensive option the deck should just have more Eldrazi Monument maindeck and maybe splash for Dauntless Escort in a wrath-heavy metagame. The deck doesn't need a 4 point "green burn spell" either - if they don't die from this turn's swing, just swing again next turn!

Elvish Visionary

Elvish Visionary - one word: meh.

Mul Daya Channelers

Mul Daya Channelers Only played these 2-3 times. Got in a hit once for 5 on turn 3 which was nice, though the savaging after that was done by my later drops. Can't remember if I got the 2 mana out of him, nice in theory for two extra wolves on a Wolfbriar. These aren't quite as strong in my deck as Eric's due to the lack of fetchlands to shuffle for a new reveal.  Verdict: Jury's still out, I didn't draw these enough to feel like I could decide how well they fit into this deck.

Oracle of Mul Daya

Oracle of Mul Daya Played it twice, got one extra land off the top each time, once my opponent said "That's not what I wanted to see" but I mentally shrugged, 'cause I easily had him without another mana anyway.  Verdict: Too slow, not really needed unless you're needing to fix a poor draw somehow, like the Visionaries.  But this deck is so consistent you don't get many bad draws, and unlike the visionaries he can't even start helping before you get to 4 mana.  Could help you draw into more action, but usually you draw enough.

Momentous Fall

Momentous Fall Potential life gain for racing or card advantage to rebuild from a board wipe.  Could be brutal with a hydra. The one game I drew it, I threw out an early hydra & then kept 4 mana open the rest of the game.  Next turn I threw down another hydra for free. I figured it would let me gain enough life to outrace his double Baneslayer Angel if need be, or if I started clearly winning on board and he hit me with Day of Judgment I'd gain 8 life and 8 cards and dump out a second attack wave quick.  As it played out I didn't need it for either purpose, and just ended the game with it still in hand unused.  Verdict: Maybe.  Anti-Day cards cover the deck's one biggest weakness, and this is the only way besides the Visionaries to draw some extra cards.  Without a hydra in play this is weaker, but Oran-Rief counters on medium dudes make this stronger.  An earlier build had four of these and four Might of the Masses, it was funny to pump a plant token for a huge hit and then sac it for value.  But we don't need to get cute.

Bestial Menace

Bestial Menace While my previous build had cards it wanted more than him, in this more focused-on-speed deck this card's ideal. What they both have in common is that I have never been unhappy to draw this card, ever. I also totally love the fact that the card implies that a snake, a wolf, and an elephant have been bestest buddies forever, for no particular reason. They would make for a great tv comedy, or a detective show! These guys will kick anybody's ass. They're particularly awesome with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood once you hit 6+ mana. You know, like turn 3-4. The deck definitely needs more of these guys.  Eric's deck runs four of these by the way.  Verdict: "So a wolf, a snake, and an elephant walk into a bar, and then..."

Wolfbriar ElementalWolfbriar ElementalWolfbriar ElementalWolfbriar Elemental

All the four-ofs performed fine.  The Wolfbriar Elementals have nice synergy with Master of the Wild Hunt - Bestial Menace helps him a little, they help him a lot! They also contribute a lot to just having too many creatures for them to block and survive.  Khalni Hydra is maybe the least of the four-ofs in some ways, as he only makes one threat.  Still, his cheapness after you start building a swarm contributes towards having that critical mass they just can't survive, he's brutal on tempo.  Having trample & being able to swing into almost any board profitably make him good too. If they remove him - that's one more of your other guys that survives to swing in.  One game I had five creatures out that were already winning, and 6 land.  I tapped 5 land for Bestial Menace, then with 8 creatures out I said "Free hydra".  For the first time that night, but not the last!  Then I tapped the 6th land, my Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, to +1 them all.  18 power of creatures put on the board for 6 mana!  He responded with Path to Exile on the Elephant and the Hydra, and I didn't even care.  Two cards gone from his hand, and I still ended up with 2/2 snake, 3/3 wolf, and two more forests on the deal.  Then swung in with those first 5 guys.  Brutal.

That was one of my favorite things to say all night.  "Free Hydra".  Must have come up 3 or 4 times.  I did hold one back against Jund, when he had thrown Maelstrom Pulse at my Monument, so my one hydra was vulnerable (and non-flying) again. I could have played the second hydra out, but that would leave me vulnerable to a 2-for-1 to another Pulse.  He didn't have one, but sure enough his Bloodbraid Elf cascaded into Pulse.  Playing out the hydra I held back, followed by a topdecked second Monument took that one.

Khalni Garden  Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

Oh, the Khalni Garden were mainly there to support fast powerups of Beastmaster Ascension, since this deck is moving away from that they could go.  I did hit beat on a guy with a 1/2 plant when my early army was Llanowar Elves, River Boa, Birds of Paradise and a plant token, all with +1/+1 counters from my Vastwood.  He was mana-screwed with only an O-ring for defense, so he took some early weenie-beats until I got a Wolfbriar down to seal the deal. Clearly still woulda won without the plant, it was just funny.  While the Gardens should probably go for faster tempo, the Vastwoods are even more awesome now that the deck's all green.  It's especially good with any of the cards in the deck that spews out multiple token creatures, and it lets Master of the Wild Hunt take down bigger targets faster, while leaving more wolves alive for later!

Pithing NeedleRiver BoaWindstormJaddi Lifestrider

Sideboard wise...  I never brought in the Lifestriders, though I like them against mono-red.  That deck was at Dragon's Lair as always, I just didn't get paired against it (and I don't know if more than one person was running it this week).  I brought in Windstorms against blue/white for the Baneslayers and Colonnades.  I like them more than Plummet for the potential two-for-one blowout.  But they just sat in hand as I won without them.  Sometimes brought in 1 or 2 Pithing Needle, never all three. Always won fast enough that I wouldn't have needed them had I drawn them, so these might get swapped for something else.  Ulamog made me feel smart when I got paired against mill the first round, I figured games 2 and 3 he had almost no chance.  He had Sadistic Sacrament against Eldrazi, but it's unlikely that would saved him.  My Ulamog negated an Archive Trap quite nicely when it revealed him amongst the 13. I picked Ulamog over the others because he's also removal in a pinch, and the deck could quite plausibly reach 11 mana before the game's end if they're somehow doing well enough to live that long, maybe by having some card you actually need the removal for!  The two Eldrazi Monuments came in for rounds 2, 3 and 4, but they shoulda just been maindeck to begin with.  The River Boas were just plain fun to bring in against blue/white control.  They often come down before countermagic's open, and you can easily keep one green open forever which makes them survive Day. Plus they can throw down Wall of Omens, Elspeth Tokens, or Celestial Colonnade all day, they're not stopping this guy from getting in to keep them on a clock. River Boa can also give you a high quality speed bump against mono-red as well, since he keeps on fighting rather than chumping or trading.  I think some Cudgel Troll might be interesting in the sideboard for more regeneration, maybe in place of the pithing needles.  Happily he's reprinted in M11, also!

The deck drew an audience increasingly in the later rounds, including the other 4-0 finisher who won his last round quicker than I did.  A couple of my opponents even said they liked the deck.  One of my prize boosters had an Ajani Goldmane, an ideal prize for a cat dude like myself.  I'm up to three of those now, so it's definitely time to build the Stupid White Deck I've been dreaming of...  But first I have to play this green deck at some more FNMs, until it loses a game or something. It's fast, powerful, consistent, and a blast to play! The high number of cards that spit out 2 or more creatures make it very hard for spot removal and/or blockers to keep up with.  I have to say throwing in the singletons was a good way to learn on the first run of the deck what cards I should add more of, and what cards I should avoid.  Worth trying in your own early stages of deckbuilding as a regular technique, I think!  It also adds to the fun factor for a less serious venue like FNM, since your draws will be more varied.

Now, to go dig up those Leatherback Baloths and some more Bestial Menace and tweak it to be even better...

Leatherback Baloth


Nice to see the hydra getting by Leviathan at Wed, 08/04/2010 - 17:01
Leviathan's picture

Nice to see the hydra getting some love. Interesting deck. What would your updated list look like? Any additional side boarding tips?

Right now I'm thinking by Felorin at Thu, 08/05/2010 - 10:56
Felorin's picture

Right now I'm thinking something like:

Out: 2 Beastmaster's Ascension
In: 2 Eldrazi Monument

Out: 1 Omnath, 2 Elvish Visionary, 1 Vines of Vastwood
In: 3 Leatherback Baloth

Out: 1 Gelatinous Genesis, 1 Oracle of Mul Daya, 1 Vines of Vastwood
In: 3 Bestial Menace

For sideboarding against blue/white control, bring in River Boas and Windstorms. Against mono-red, you bring in Jaddi Lifestriders. I'm thinking the pithing needles in the board could swap for Mold Shamblers or Acidic Slimes, which I would bring in against decks with troublesome enchantments or artifacts, like Pyromancer's Ascension for instance. I like Moldy 'cause for 1 extra mana, he can hit planeswalkers too which the Slime can't.

Any deck with a lot of flyers, you want Windstorm in, 'cause otherwise your only defense against those is the Eldrazi Monuments. And of course Ulamog comes in against any mill deck you might run into.