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Feb 10 2014 1:02pm
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This article is so full of puns, you'll laugh yourself into de-Hydra-tion.


Sit ye down o' fellow warrior, and I shall tell thee the origin tale o' the Hydra.

The man most responsible for the creation of Hydra was Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, the Prussian aristocrat who served as wing commander of Nazi Germany’s infamous Death’s Head Squadron, and later as leader of its Blitzkrieg Squad of commandos. Infuriated by Strucker’s defeats by American commando Sgt. Nicholas Fury,


In Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra was an ancient serpent-like water monster, that possessed many heads — the poets mention more heads than the vase-painters could paint, and for each head cut off it grew two more — and poisonous breath and blood so virulent even its tracks were deadly. The Hydra of Lerna was killed by Hercules as the second of his Twelve Labours. Its lair was the lake of Lerna in the Argolid; Beneath the waters was an entrance to the Underworld, and the Hydra was its guardian. The Hydra was one of the offsprings of Typhon and Echidna, both of whom were noisome offspring of the earth goddess Gaia.

That's better.

In Magic the Gathering history Hydra origins were less impressive than both of these origins:

rock hydra   balduvian hydra

In a top-down design contest, Rocky wins every time, just like an aging Stallone. It captures the essence of a hydra by employing +1/+! counters as opposed to Balduvian's +1/+0 which are just plain awful.
Player 1: "I cast a Balduvian Hydra and pay 27 mana because I have out Mana Flare and 3 Thran Dynamos"
Player 2: "Um... kay. I cast Cunning Wish and choose Hornet Sting just to humiliate you.... MUAHAHAHAHA."


As you can see, at this point, hydras are firmly vested in the color red. Here's the next wave.

spitting hydra  molten hydra  ancient hydra

Ancient is slightly better than garbage. Molten is pretty cool if you have ways of manipulating counters. Spitting is actually kind of good; I like using him alongside Kalonian Hydra. So now at least we are getting better. 

Rather than bore you with the rest of this, just click here to see a list of all of Magic's hydras. Here are a couple more facts for you. The original Ravnica sets introduced players to a monogreen plant hydra, a green and white plant hydra, and a red and green hellion hydra. Time Spiral gave us an artifact hydra, and Shards block gave us Feral Hydra which firmly planted hydras into green. Conflux gave us a feared five color hydra which, Spoiler alert, isn't the commander I chose for this deck. Besides Phytohydra and Progenitus and the artifact Clockwork Hydra, all other hydras are in green, red, or a combination thereof.

So clearly you have figured out that hydras play an intricate roll in the deck. So who is the Commander and what's the rest of the deck?

Commander Choice:

Haven't I Rosheen you somewhere before?

Rosheen Meanderer:

  • Taps to add four colorless for X costs.
  • 4/4 for four mana.
  • Not integral to the deck's ability to win, but instead is a nice bonus to the deck's theme. Meaning: If your opponent hoses it, it's not the end of the world
  • Helps power out huge Hydras or huge direct damage such as Banefire.
  • You can make Charlie Sheen references and all manner of other bad puns and jokes while playing the deck.

The Deck:

Hydras: This deck employs various Hydras to have multiple jaws with which to bite your opponent's face. Also Rosheen loves to help power out huge ones.

Apocalypse Hydra: If you pay over 5 for X, it self-doubles. Plus, damage-dealing capabilities. Tapping Roshen for the 4 means you are most of the way to self-doubling.
Savageborn Hydra: I love this guy. So simplistic a design, but so awesome. In comparison,Rock Hydra is two CMC + X, while requiring a dose of triple red mana during your upkeep to add a counter. Savageyface here is the same CMC, although you need a red and green, but it has Double Strike and you can pay two mana to put a counter on it at sorcery-speed, not just upkeepily. 
Feral Hydra: Here's a strictly-better-Ivy Elemental that you can add a counter to for three colorless.
Rock Hydra: Here's the original Hydra in Magic that requires an X; Rosheen it up.
Mistcutter Hydra: Pro-Blue! Take that Talrand aficionados.
Primordial Hydra: I love counter-doubling hydras, don't you?
Spitting Hydra: A Damage-dealing Hydra fulfills our hydra quota theme, and works as an answer to a problem.
Protean Hydra: More counter-doubling hydra fun.
Molten Hydra: Again, a hydra that also serves as some damage to be dealt if need be.
Vastwood Hydra: Hydra counters that can be transferred to another hydra.
Ulasht, the Hate Seed: With all the Snake token potential and ooze token potential and what not, Ulast could come onto the field huge, and have a lot of counters to manipulate.
Hydra Omnivore: A great multiplayer hydra.
Polukranos, World Eater: Activation: X for Rosheen; damage-dealing answer.

Rosheen loves X; X spells abound in this deck.

Ivy Elemental: Wishes it was a hydra, still kinda cool.
Krakilin: A better Ivy Elemental due to regeneration potential.
Gelatinous Genesis: Oozing with possibilities.
Red Sun's Zenith: Damage!
Green Sun's Zenith: Search up your Gyre Sage, Viridian Joiner, or Kalonian Hydra.
Clan Defiance: Awesome spell.
Banefire: Damage!
Bonfire of the Damned: WHOA. Sucks to be opponent-tr0nz.
Enshrined Memories: An under-used card that can net you a handful of hydras.
Rolling Earthquake: STRICTLY BETTER THAN Earthquake. Read: it hits fliers.
Wurmcalling: Repeatable wurming. Muad'Dib would be so proud.
Strength of the Tajuru: An X spell that puts counters on creatures that love counters.
Snake Basket: SNAKES ON A PLANE(swalker).
Silklash Spider: Spider vs all fliers = spider wins.
Stream of Life: Dust off your virtual commons box and say hello to an underused life-gain spell that actually works out in this deck.
Molder: Where's Scully?


Oracle of Mul Daya: Extra land drops are great in a deck that requires so much mana.
Viridian Joiner: Can be pumped to provide a lot of extra mana if need be.
Gyre Sage: Ditto.
Cultivate / Kodama's Reach / Skyshroud Claim: Mana grabs for mana needs.
Heartbeat of Spring / Mana Flare: While this doubles all players' mana, you'll be making far better use out of it than opponents, thus off-shooting the drawback. Read: Huge Stompy Hydras!
Mana Reflection: Totally awesome, especially with an (Eldrazi's Conscription)-enchanted Viridian Joiner.
Sol Ring / Gilded Lotus / Thran Dynamo: Artifact mana love!

Forgotten Ancient: Extra counters!
Wort, the Raidmother: Her ability to duplicate your big damage-dealing spells is awesome Johnny Combo fun.
Vigor: So useful in this deck.
Power Matrix: Give your big stompy hydras a lot more abilities to have them swoop over or trample through.
Basilisk Collar: Deathtouch? Lifelink? YES PLEASE.
Bow of Nylea: I love all the options this card presents.
Soul's Fire: Big Stompy Hydra has a fire in its soul to damage faces.
Fling: In a pinch, fling your jumbo hydra for damage.
Asceticism: Hexproof and regeneration capabilities? YES PLEASE.
Eldrazi Conscription: Normally not a fan of Annihilator, but with all the mana we have flying around slapping this on a Kalonian Hydra is deadly fun.
Greater Good: A great way to sift through your deck; Sacrifice a huge hydra.
Stuffy Doll: Boosh's favorite Magic Mascot makes a home amongst hydras.

Riding the Dilu Horse: Imagine a big stompy hydra with Horsemanship and Double Strike?
Soul's Majesty, Harmonize: Card-Draw.
Lightning Greaves: Always useful.
Eternal Witness, Praetor's Counsel: Graveyard recursion.
Beast Within, Woodfall Primus: should be fairly self-explanatory. The Primus can be coupled with Greater Good and (Nylea's Bow) to have a repeatable effect that's awesome.

I can't wait for more hydras to be released with Born of the Gods. I eventually want enough Hydras to make a full-on tribal commander deck, but I love how many I can utilize in this Rosheen deck.

Woodfall Primus + (Nylea's Bow); add Greater Good for a sacrifice outlet.
Stuffy Doll + Rolling Earthquake, Clan Defiance, or Molten Hydra.
Stuffy DollThran Dynamo + Silklash Spider.
Viridian Joiner + Eldrazi Conscription.
Viridian Joiner or Gyre Sage + (Strength of Taruju).
Kalonian Hydra; that's it. It's awesome in this deck. It works with so many things.
Stuffy Doll + Vigor: Nullifies Stuffy's awesomeness but it makes Stuffy ever-growing.
Any damage-dealing spell + Vigor.
Basilisk Collar + Spitting Hydra, Molten Hydra or Apocalypse Hydra.
Basilisk Collar + Stuffy Doll.
Bow of Nylea is also incredibly useful, replenishing +1/+1 counters on Spitting Hydra, Apocalypse Hydra, and Molten Hydra. It also pumps up Gyre Sage and Viridian Joiner.
Plus many others I am sure. Plus, again, how awesome is Wort, the Raidmother alongside all them big ol' burny spells?

So often an opponent will Spin into Myth my Rosheen and think I'll concede because my commander is gone. While there are a couple ways to make Rosheen less targetable, I honestly don't give a flying fig if she dies the true death or is shuffled. I have so many other mana sources to power huge X spells and Hydras that I don't really care.

It's very satisfying to have a huge Savageborn Hydra that I Power Matrix and then Fling. This deck is not as stone-cold a killer as an Oloro deck or very competitive deck, but it achieves two goals I have been playing around with: hydras and Rosheen. I recommend it to those looking for a Rosheen build that they then want to make their own.

Let me posit this to you, dear readers, what X-spells or X-activations should I have included I failed to?

Thanks for Reading!


adam_the_mentat -
atomicboosh - MTGO client 


I liked this deck a lot by SilencerPL at Mon, 02/10/2014 - 21:23
SilencerPL's picture

Maybe you could just write a bit more about how this deck looks in games and focus more on practical synergies which happen more often, not only on paper. By the way, what is so good about "Stuffy Doll + Thran Dynamo + Silklash Spider"? ;]
I also don't really like some slots like Praetors' Counsel, Eldrazi Conscription or Stuffy Doll, but the rest is cool. In the big power creature decks, you should play Mosswort Bridge and Hunter's Insight no matter what type of player you are and what cards you like ;)

choices by Adam_the_Mentat at Mon, 02/10/2014 - 23:16
Adam_the_Mentat's picture

That's why I say everyone should use my deck as a foundation for their own brewing. :)
Conscription is in there because this deck packs a lot of mana, and it's fun to put on viridian joiner, as well as an already huge hydra. A Double Strike Savage Hydra that's already huge and then gets that bump can be epic.
The Thran Dynamo bit is actually a typo,: I meant to say Stuffy Doll + POWER MATRIX + silklash spider.
If you tap the matrix and give stuffy flying, you can then activate the silklash and wind up damagin' the fudge out of your opponent by damaging the flying-stuffy.
For some reason I always confuse Thran Dynamo and Power Matrix.
Every single time I put Hunter's insight in a deck, Commander, classic, or otherwise it gets cut. It's too conditional for me. I would pick Soul's Majesty over it every time, and that's usually what I do.
As for "practical synergies which happen more often, not only on paper."
If you are looking for fun, zany Johnny combo brewing that is wacky to play, then come to me :) If you are looking for the tip of the johnny combo iceberg which often floats over into spike territory and want a deck that wins everytime without fail, then our play styles are different so you will probably always be slightly disappointed in my decks.
And, finally, as for Stuffy Doll: Rolling Earthquake, the silklash combo, and clan defiance can be used to severely damage your opponent while if your opponent has hexproof from a leyline or something, you can use banefire or red sun's zenith on the stuffy to get through to your opponent. It's indestructibility lets it live through wrath spells, if he's untapped opponents really don't like attacking knowing some of the damage is coming back to them, and regardless of anything else, it pings your opponent for a damage everytime you tap it.
Also, I write pretty large articles filled with graphics I personally make. I feel like throwin in tons of deck analysis would not only be time consuming but would also prevent folks from trying the deck themselves. I also don't have the time to record matches and post them.

There has to be some deck of by Paul Leicht at Mon, 02/10/2014 - 23:36
Paul Leicht's picture

There has to be some deck of vorthosian quality that has a heroic fella killing a hydra to invoke gaea's revenge.

To address the point brought up by Silencer a bit more. There are people like myself who dabble in mad science and then there are the real mad scientists. My mad science tends to either be more timmy or spike than pure Johnny and I find that to perfectly fine (and fun) but Boosh is one of the guys you gotta read if you want some hidden tech no one even remembers anymore that will destroy your opponents in style. And by style I mean in true Red Skull fashion...(that bastard!)

On a side note I am a big fan of Nick Fury, I just wish they hadn't erased his past as a WWII vet when they reinvented him for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is an OK show but needs more Marvel.