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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