Welcome once again you mystical, magical, maniacs to another article from Cards n’Flux where we talk fun, awesome strategy for the game of Magic the Gathering. With Planechase 2012 just hitting the shelves, we already have a number of fun spoilers for this year’s Core Set, Magic 2013. We have confirmed not only the return of Vampire Nocturnus, Captain of the Watch, and Clone, but we also have the reprinting of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker arguably the most powerful ever printed that was not utterly broken. Along with Magic 2013, Wizards is also shipping their newest version of Duels of the Planeswalkers which will use 2013 cards. In fact, when people download Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, players will have the opportunity to go to a nearby store and get a free promo card. The promo cards are Serra Avatar for Steam/iPad, Primordial Hydra for Xbox 360, and Vampire Nocturnus for PS3. Looking at these promo cards, it almost seems unfair. Serra Avatar has potential to see real play in Commander decks as it’s power and toughness are equal to your life total, Vampire Nocturnus (at time of writing) is worth $20, while Primordial Hydra… is a dinky $4 and has never seen constructed play. Well, why don’t we take this article to make this often overlooked card into a prime power house?
First up, why exactly is Primordial Hydra so often put down and ignored as a possible big Green All-Star? The simple answer is that it takes far too long for it to get going. If you play the Hydra on turn three it will be a 1/1. Next turn it becomes a 2/2, next turn 4/4, next turn 8/8, next turn 16/16. So after five turns of waiting, Primordial Hydra finally becomes a big enough threat for it’s final ability to give it trample. The worst is, during that time Primordial Hydra is just a big target. With no protection like hexproof or shroud, we are one Doom Blade, Unsummon, or Oblivion Ring from losing all the mana we put into it. If we could just find a way to protect our Hydra to the later turns, then maybe it might become of Green’s biggest hitters.
One great way to protect any creature these days is through the ability hexproof, which prevents our opponents from targeting our creatures with their annoying spot removal. Currently, Green has two cards that we could use to give our big Hydra the instant protection it needs to stay on the field. First up is Ranger’s Guile a one mana instant that not only boosts our hydra by +1/+1, but also gives it hexproof. This is definitely our ideal card for protecting our Hydra, but we need more. Thankfully there is more. Sheltering Word out of Avacyn Restored is another instant speed hexproof card we can use to protect our Hydra with the added bonus of giving us a life boost. Imagine this card when our opponent targets our 16/16 Hydra. We could dash all our opponent’s hopes with one card. However, two cards even at full play set are just not good enough. This is why we need to run at least three Swiftfoot boots. On turn two we can play this pair of nice shoes, then around turn four we can play Hydra and equip so that we do not have to always have an answer in our hands to deal with what our opponent might throw at us. On top of all this, if we include one or two Asceticism, we should have enough to protect our big guys from the slings and bolts of our opponents.
Alongside our Hydra, we will need some other big Green swingers and some support creatures because one card does not make a deck. For support we have got to have our trusty Llanowar Elves or Birds of Paradise and we could easily use a full playset of Borderland Rangers. These three should give us some nice mana acceleration. Now we move to some big hitters. Unfortunately we might not have this guy around for much longer, but Dungrove Elder is arguably one of Green’s best cards in a while. With every forest we play, Dungrove Elder just keeps getting bigger and with hexproof the only way for our opponent to deal with him is a sweeper like Day of Judgment. Good news is we are only a few Green cards in and we already have some great Green fatties to almost replace Dungrove. First up we have Elderscale Wurm a wurm who loves sevens. For Seven mana you get a 7/7 with trample that when he enters the battlefield if your life total is less than 7 it becomes 7 and from then on if you would take damage that would reduce your life total to less than 7, it does not. Basically, it is Green’s version of Platnium Angel, as along as Elderscale is on the field you cannot die, meaning another great target for our Hexproof package. Another fun creature to come out of 2013 is Thragtusk a 5/3 for five mana that is sure to see play. Now, you’re probably thinking why will a 5/3 see play, it’ll die to the first decent burn spell it sees. That’s true, but when a 5/3 gives you 5 life when it hits the field and when it dies gives you a 3/3 beast token, then it is pretty easy to see why it will see play.
We still need to fill out the deck a little more. One card we definitely want in the deck to help out our Primordial Hydra is Increasing Savagery. With four mana we can jump our little one headed hydra into the big swingers by adding five +1/+1 counters. The power of this card is amazing as it can turn even our little Llanowar Elves into a 6/6, plus with flashback we drop another 10 counters onto something else. Another card I personally like is a card that might very well see play after the Titans leave standard, Soul of the Harvest. With the same stats as Primeval Titan, what Soul of the Harvest gives us is card draw whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under our control. Sure, we might not have as many creatures as we would like to abuse this power with, but a 6/6 Trampler can always find a way to help.
From here we can add in or subtract whatever we want to make the deck fit our desire. If you want to have a few support creatures in front helping to buy time for when we drop our hyrda then Elvish Visionary to draw cards and Deadly Recluse to kill or dissuade all attackers would be some great choices. If you do not want to be limited to just one big bomb or want some real problem creatures then you will find nothing better than Strangleroot Geist and Vorapede. Either way, here is a basic list of what could make Primordial Hydra quite a force to be remembered:
3x Birds of Paradise
3x Borderland Ranger
3x Primordial Hydra
3x Dungrove Elder
2x Soul of the Harvest
1x Elderscale Wurm
4x Ranger’s Guile
3x Increasing Savagery
3x Swiftfoot Boots
This deck list runs fewer playsets than I usually like to run, but it gives us what we need. If we get a Primordial Hydra on the field we can certainly protect it pretty well. Plus, if we do end up losing our Hydra, we will have a fair amount of good creatures to swing in with. If you want a more aggressive form of this deck, my suggestion would be to drop the Elderscale Wurm, the Birds of Paradise, and one Thragtusk so you can run two Vorapedes and four Strangleroot Geists. If you want a longer lasting deck, then card draw through Elvish Visionary and lock down with Deadly Recluse at the cost of some Swiftfoot Boots and the Birds would probably be best. Play around with the concept of this deck, I’m sure you’ll have fun.
Thank you all my happy readers for tuning in once again to this article series. I always have a blast writing it and occasionally receiving messages about my articles just fills me with all kinds of joy. Just remember, that even if everyone around you says a card you like is complete trash, just know there is always a way to make a deck where the card works. And as you work out the perfect deck for your favorite, forgotten card just keep this phrase in the back of your mind, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.