Being Green-Minded in Standard

It’s been a couple of weeks since the M14 spoilers started picking up momentum once again. And so far, I’ve been seeing a number of interesting cards that may impact the current standard. However, of all the cards that have been spoiled so far, there are a few cards which really caught my attention and got me excited and the first and foremost of them would be this card.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

The hydra creature type has existed for as long as the game itself but for years, no hydra has seen play in any format (If I am mistaken, please corrects me, thank you very much in advance). However, it seems that Kalonian Hydra would be an exception.  So what does the hydra have going for it? Let’s look at the stats shall we?

Kalonian Hydra costs a total of five mana. If we are to compare it with some of the green creatures which costs the same mana that is seeing play in standard right now, in reference to their overall impact in the game, it may be a bit outclassed by Thragtusk and Wolfir Silverheart. Thragtusks gains you five life and has a big body. Not to mention the fact that it leaves a 3/3 beast token when it leaves the battlefield. Either way, you still gain value out of it. Wolfir Silverheart on the other hand, enters the battlefield either as a 4/4 creature with the possibility of being an 8/8 in addition to giving another creature some much needed buff though it’s no longer seeing play as compared to the former, but still offers value when it first enters the battlefield. Kalonian Hydra however, only gets 4 +1/+1 counters when it enters the battlefield in addition to its trample ability and then nothing more. No immediate value or board impact whatsoever plus it’s a 4/4 body for five mana. Then again, if the opponent is unable to find an answer right away, Kalonian Hydra will be a two turn clock.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

Yes, you read that right. The first time that the hydra attacks, it will become a gargantuan creature with 8 +1/+1 counters on it and take note, it has trample. A Thragtusk blocking it would perish and the 5 life gained by the Thragtusk when it first enters the battlefield will be nullified by the attack since the remaining unabsorbed 5 damage will trample through the opponent. And it doesn’t end there. If, once again, the opponent doesn’t have a quick fix to the situation, he will be facing a very angry hydra with 16 +1/+1 counters on it and it clearly spells doom to the opponent. Of course, just like with the old Baneslayer Angel dilemma, the hydra can easily be slain by a Doomblade. But then again, almost all creatures without hexproof or any form of protection that is non-black can be killed by Doomblade, provided that the opponent is holding such an answer at that time.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“Do you have it?”

But what if he isn’t holding such an answer at that given time since he may have used up his spot removals killing the first wave of creatures that was trying to kill him in the earlier turns? Game over right? So how can we further abuse this creature’s ability? Let’s try looking at some cards which have synergy with it.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“I am going to rip your heart and feed it to the hydra!”

Whoa. Little did we know that Kalonian Hydra greatly benefits from Exava’s second ability! Just imagine playing a turn four Exava followed up by a turn five Hydra. So we’re looking at a total of 13 power on the board? Thanks to Exava giving the Hydra a much needed haste to devour your opponent at the soonest possible time and the Hydra, pumping Exava for one more time, your opponent would likely be pushed to the back seat. At the same time, both cards converted manacost should not pose a problem since the traditional midrange Jund can even cast a Garrul Primal Hunter with its three green mana in its converted manacost. So what more with Kalonian Hydra which only has two colored mana in its converted manacost? Moving forward, there’s another creature which has great synergy with the aforementioned Hydra…

Being Green-Minded in Standard

SFX: (fungal gibberish)

Corpesjack Menace hasn’t seen much tournament play for the reason that it often comes late in the game for your creatures to even benefit much from it. Sure, having a 4/4 body for only a converted manacost  of four is acceptable in standard but then again, creatures don’t often benefit from its ability. Throw in a Kalonian Hydra on the fifth turn however and you’re seeing a menacing five manacost trampling creature with 8 +1/+1 counters which will be attacking on the next turn as a creature with 32 +1/+1 counters.  If that doesn’t kill the opponent then I don’t know what will.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“Why does math have to be so hard even in Magic?!”

As of right now, Kalonian Hydra costs around $20 in SCG and still has a lot of supply of the card. Now, I am not a professional financial analyst or anything like that but I feel that people are not giving the Hydra enough credit.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“July 4th, 2013”

Though I am happy to hear that some of my friends and even Mr.Brian Kibler himself recognizes the Hydra’s potential. Overall, only time will tell but right now, I am excited to get my hands on a playset of those!

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“See? Mr.Kibler likes it too!”

And it only took a day for the Hydra’s stock to jump to this! Take note that the number of stocks as shown above was yesterday’s stocks and this one here is today’s stocks. Looking at this numbers, we can clearly see that people are gradually recognizing its potential.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“July 5th, 2013”

And let’s not even get started with a 6th turn Aurelia, the Warcaller. Sheesh.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“Attack….Again…With Hydra….Still Alive?”

For those who are looking for some deck list, here’s one that I came up with. Take note that this deck is still untested but this can at least give you something to consider for future deck building.

Bug Midrange

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 24

4 Breeding Pool

2 Drowned Catacomb

2 Forest

2 Hinterland Harbor

2 Island

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Watery Grave

4 Woodland Cemetery

 Creatures: 32

2 Cloudfin Raptor

3 Corpsejack Menace

4 Experiment One

4 Gyre Sage

4 Kalonian Hydra

1 Primespeaker Zegana

4 Renegade Krasis

4 Strangleroot Geist

4 Witchstalker

2 Zameck Guildmage

Spells: 4

 2 Abrupt Decay

2 Doomblade

Setting aside the Multi-headed beast, I would also like to mention another one which deserves special attention.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“The Big Bad Wolf is out to get ya.”

No wonder Little Red Riding Hood got eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. Having the hexproof ability can be a very nifty thing especially if you’re into eating little naughty children. Not to mention that this Big Bad Wolf also has a knack for munching on mean witches like the ones good ol’ Hansel and Gretel encountered. On a serious note, having a 3/3 body for three mana along with a neat ability is already good in itself. But then again, adding the second ability to it makes it really sweet. Just imagine how troublesome it would be for an esper-based control player when you play a turn two Voice of Resurgence, followed by a turn three Witchstalker. Other than being an obvious addition to the Bant Hexproof archetype, this creature fits well with other green-based aggro decks and can still be put in the main board despite having a second ability that is effective only against the blue and black decks who enjoys playing spells on your turn. Though the two green mana in its converted manacost can be challenging for a three color deck like Bant Hexproof, the introduction of Elven Mystic might be able to make a difference as compared to Arbor Elf which is limited to untapping forests. Like Kalonian Hydra, I also want to get my hands on this as well. Right now, it’s selling at around $6 and has lesser stock as compared to the Hydra. It might be that Hexproof players are already preordering it for obvious reasons. And wow, when I first checked the number of stocks of Witchstalker, it was still showing 18 left but now.

Being Green-Minded in Standard

“July 5th, 2013”

Here’s an updated Bant Hexproof list:

Bant Hexproof

Main Deck: 60

Lands: 22

4 Breeding Pool

1 Forest

1 Glacial Fortress

4 Hallowed Fountain

4 Hinterland Harbor

4 Sunpetal Grove

4 Temple Garden

Creatures: 22

2 Ascended Lawmage

4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim

4 Geist of Saint Traft

4 Invisible Stalker

4 Voice of Resurgence

4 Witchstalker

Spells: 16

4 Ethereal Armor

4 Rancor

4 Spectral Flight

4 Unflinching Courage

Hope this article helps you get a grasp of the possibilities that awaits us as soon as M14 hits the stores.

Thanks for reading,

Raven

Image credit: gatherer.wizards.com, starcitygames.com, personalizedchiropractic.com