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Whoa, Sick Hydra!


Description

The idea of this deck is to poison your own Hydra to pump out Hydra heads, then use Dimona's power to get off two big swings in round 1. Thanks to the high Terrify number on a pumped up Hydra, you can swing past the battlefield on each swing to go direct to the PB. The core of Hydra+Poison+Order takes [[Divine:class]], [[natural:class]], [[ceremonial:class]], and 3 [[basic]], leaving you 4 dice for the other 3 cards in first 5.

The deck is split between the burn cards that can finish an opponent off in later rounds, and an array of options for the last three first 5 cards to try to ensure the big Hydra swing. The real difficulty of your first five is managing main actions; ideally you want to take at least 5 main actions after playing Poison and before your first Hydra swing, as this leads to 18 in swing damage. If you use 6 main actions after Poison, you get the full two swings for 10 damage each.

Each main action you lose costs you 1 head, and therefore 2 damage (one from each swing). A cheap summon book is nice because it gives two guaranteed main actions (place the book, and summon) and usually a third (attack). Raptor Herder can also max out at 3 main actions (play, attack with herder, attack for zero with hatchling), and Fire Archer can ping the Hydra to get 2 heads in one turn. Other allies give 2 actions, as does Abundance (plus it gives more cards which can add more mains) and Prepare. Small Sacrifice gives 2 main actions and adds a head directly via the SS damage.

A typical aggressive first 5 if you're not facing illusion dice would be Summon Hydra, Angelic Rescue, Poison, Raptor Herder, Summon Admonisher. You play the Hydra in your first turn and Poison it the second turn. Then you play book, summon, and attack with the Admonisher, and play and attack one at a time with herder and Raptor. By turn 9 when you swing the Hydra, all 7 heads are attached and you hit for 10. Then you use Order and swing again for another 10. If your opponent can do nothing to disrupt this, the 20 damage will win you the game in round 1 against most PBs.

Side actions or reactions give no mains, of course, but are important in some matchups. Angelic Rescue counters Fear, Beguile, Mark Prey, and many other removal/exhaustion spells - it's usually a good card to start with. Heal can remove a pile of poison wounds, giving the Hydra the margin to survive Aftershock, a buffed Lioness attack, or the counter from a buffed big hitter that can still block (or even a hypno-swing). Law of Assurance (prevents Illusion from wolfing your Order dice) and Dispel (counters Astrea's MotG, leaving Rescue to counter Beguile) are plays that only give you a single main action, but counter things that will otherwise ruin your plans. Including several of these cards might prevent you from swinging for lethal, but doing 14 damage or so in the first round usually sets you up for a burn win in later rounds.

Still, there's some counters to this build that can't be blocked even if you see them coming. Choke is pretty bad because if someone chokes the Hydra, Terrify goes away and they can block and counter with any unit. Redirect blunts one of your two swings, cutting the damage in half (although it's a rare first 5 play). Law of Sight prevents Angelic Rescue from being played, opening up all sorts of other ways the Hydra can be destroyed or exhausted. The hardest of hard counters to the build is Regress; there's really not much you can do if your opponent regresses the Hydra after you attach Poison but before they do anything that can trigger Angelic Rescue.

All in all it's a potentially devastating build, even though many decks have a way to survive round 1 and eliminate the Hydra if they see the attack coming and don't get outmaneuvered on first 5. But if you don't see it coming and counter correctly, the round 1 kill is very much on the table. Hail Hydra!


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