Bant Hydra - Returning to vintage



  • Not going to bore anyone with the long details. I played vintage exclusively between 2002 and 2006 when I was active duty in the USMC. Once I separated from the USMC I left the scene. Through an odd chain of events I found myself back into it now.

    I always liked the "Fish" style decks and decided to try one out at a local event after some prodding from the community. So my initial concept was this:

    Land (16)

    2x Flooded Strand
    1x Island
    1x Karakas
    1x Strip Mine
    2x Tropical Island
    1x Savannah
    2x Tundra
    4x Wasteland
    2x Windswept Heath
    

    Artifact (4)

    1x Black Lotus
    1x Mox Emerald
    1x Mox Pearl
    1x Mox Sapphire
    

    Instant (17)

    1x Ancestral Recall
    1x Brainstorm
    2x Flusterstorm
    4x Force of Will
    3x Mental Misstep
    3x Swords to Plowshares
    

    Creature (15)

    4x Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
    3x Qasali Pridemage
    3x Meddling Mage
    3x Managorger Hydra
    4x Noble Hierarch
    2x Trygon Predator
    

    Sorcery (6)

    3x Gitaxian Probe
    1x Time Walk
    

    Enchantment (2)

    3x Stony Silence
    

    Sideboard (15)

    2x Containment Priest
    2x Engineered Explosives
    2x Mindbreak Trap
    2x Nature's Claim
    4x Rest in Peace
    3x Serenity
    

    I play Death and Taxes in Legacy and figured Thalia would be decent against storm and such. I played five of six possible rounds in the event going 2-3 . I lost to Mentor Gush three times and won versus Mentor Gush as well as against a really cool Enchantress deck (which oddly enough splashed for Mentor as well). Minus a few play errors on my behalf (mostly forgetting to Mental Misstep stuff and some Hydra triggers) I feel I did alright despite my showing. Gush Mentor really stifled me for the day. Occasionally I could pull out a game if I stick a Sword to Plowshares or race with a protected Hydra, but for the most part I just felt behind the 8-ball the whole day. After talking to a few people, namely my opponents, I started forming an idea for revisions to my deck almost instantly. Initially I was turned off with the idea of running my own Mentors in the deck, but as son as round 3-4 hit I realized just how good the card is so I folded and started working on a deck the used it but still maintained the fidelity of what I started with. My initial revision looks like this:

    Land (16)

    2x Flooded Strand
    1x Island
    1x Karakas
    1x Strip Mine
    3x Tropical Island
    2x Tundra
    4x Wasteland
    2x Windswept Heath
    

    Artifact (4)

    1x Black Lotus
    1x Mox Emerald
    1x Mox Pearl
    1x Mox Sapphire
    

    Instant (17)

    1x Ancestral Recall
    1x Brainstorm
    2x Flusterstorm
    4x Force of Will
    3x Gush
    3x Mental Misstep
    3x Swords to Plowshares
    

    Creature (15)

    1x Aegis of the Gods
    3x Managorger Hydra
    3x Monastery Mentor
    4x Noble Hierarch
    2x Trygon Predator
    

    Sorcery (6)

    3x Gitaxian Probe
    1x Ponder
    1x Preordain
    1x Time Walk
    

    Enchantment (2)

    2x Sylvan Library
    2x Stony Silence
    

    Sideboard (15)

    1x Aegis of the Gods
    2x Containment Priest
    2x Engineered Explosives
    2x Mindbreak Trap
    2x Nature's Claim
    3x Rest in Peace
    3x Serenity
    

    I understand that it is still a bit creature heavy to truly "abuse" monk triggers but from what I have seen even a creature heavy deck has some stuff that can get a few triggers rolling. I really poured over the SB and despite seeing ZERO shops at the event I went to I am pressed to not drop any Serenity (yet). So I am passing this deck to a few people who play on Magic Online for some additional information. The mana base is pretty decent. The third Tropical Island should probably be a Tundra but I don't have the spare cash right now for one so it will have to do. Any insights in the deck would be appreciated. I really want to keep Hydra in the deck, it has become on of my favorites rather quickly.



  • @studderingdave

    Here is a tempo deck I had quite a bit of success with in the fall.

    Finals Split 12/5 TPG 16 Ppl

    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Windswept Heath
    3 Tropical Island
    3 Tundra
    1 Savannah

    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Black Lotus

    4 Meddling Mage
    4 Werebear
    3 Managorger Hydra
    2 Snapcaster Mage
    1 Elspeth Knight-Errant

    4 Force of Will
    4 Gush
    4 Preordain
    4 Mental Misstep
    3 Gitaxian Probe
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Time Walk
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Misdirection
    3 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Land Grant
    2 Null Rod

    The bears and hierarchs serve a similar purpose but we found pridemage to be lacking and not quite impactful enough in the starting builds.

    And after much testing and tweaking this is what we have gravitated towards

    3 Flooded Strand
    2 Misty Rainforest
    2 Polluted Delta
    4 Tundra
    3 Tropical Island
    1 Island
    1 Library of Alexandria

    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Sapphire

    2 Managorger Hydra
    3 Monastery Mentor

    4 Force of Will
    4 Gush
    4 Mental Misstep
    4 Preordain
    3 Mana Drain
    2 Path to Exile

    1 Ancestral Recall
    1 Brainstorm
    1 Dig Through Time
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 MindbreakTrap
    1 Ponder
    1 Supreme Verdict
    1 Time Walk
    1 Treasure Cruise

    2 Gideon Ally of Zen diktat
    1 Sylvan Library

    1 Sacred Ground
    1 Supreme Verdict
    2 Stony Silence
    3 Natures Claim
    3 Containment Priest
    2 Rest in Peace
    3 Pithing Needle

    I played this list to a 4-2 finish at coopersburg narrowly loosing to two top 8 finishers in the day. Gideon is surprisingly strong. Going forward we might go to 1 sylvan and swap verdict out for something in the board or maindeck.

    Keep working with the hydra his strength is undoubted but he needs great backup or other distractions.

    Hail Hydra!



  • Have you thought about utilizing Tireless Tracker over Hydra? It's still vertical growth (which can be a detriment in modern Vintage) but it has a much more relevant body when citp, Landfall - which seems much easier to trigger, human - Cavern of Souls, and is a card advantage engine in and of itself.



  • Hydra has the tramps which is
    Very important against mentor/pyro decks



  • thank you everyone for the comments. i really feel better knowing that this deck can work right when played well. I plan on focusing on i over time and building up the cards I need for it soon. I am going to add the mentors, gushes and cantrips and see how I do on the 19th.


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