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Much Abrew: Four-Color Hydras (Modern, Magic Online)

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. Last week during our Instant Deck Techs, Four-Color Hydras came out on top. While the deck was designed for a tribal Modern tournament (where everyone had to play at least 20 creatures of the same creature type in their main deck), which puts us at a disadvantage against normal Modern decks, the idea looks sweet and semi-competitive enough that we're going to take it out for a spin and see if it can actually compete in the powerful Modern format. The main idea of the deck is simple: make as much mana as possible as quickly as possible (potentially even infinite mana, with Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid) and then use that mana to cast some really huge Hydras and hope that our big beaters will be enough to take down our opponent. Does the Hydra tribe have what it takes to smash some Modern faces? Can a deck designed for a tribal tournament compete in a non-tribal event? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we can talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Four-Color Hydras


  • Rather than play a league with Four-Color Hydras (the deck probably isn't quite ready for a league), we played five matches in the two-player queues and ended up going 2-3, which is actually quite a bit better than I expected heading into our games, beating Soul Sisters and Storm while losing to Jeskai Ascendancy, UW Control, and Death's Shadow. 
  • Perhaps more impressive was the fact that we were actually close in a lot of our losses, with most matches going to three games. Against UW Control, if our opponent wasn't really good at blind-flipping Terminus, we might have stolen another victory with the Hydras.
  • The deck itself is pretty strange. At its best, it can be pretty scary. We actually picked up a Turn 3 infinite Hydra with Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid making infinite mana, which we used to cast a Hydroid Krasis to draw (basically) our entire deck. This, in turn, allowed us to cast infinitely big (and hasty) Mistcutter Hydras to close out the game. On the other hand, at its, worse we're basically a slow midrange deck that can really struggle against fast combo or against removal-heavy decks that can keep our mana dorks off the battlefield, trapping our expensive Hydras in hand. 
  • One thing that playing Hydras made me realize is that the Modern format is actually somewhat soft to random big creatures. A lot of decks rely primarily on conditional removal like Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push, which means you can actually jank out a reasonable number of decks by playing something like a Kalonian Hydra on Turn 3 since opponents simply can't kill it and it quickly becomes too big to block. While Hydras might not be the ideal way to go about it, playing random big creatures quickly actually seems like it could be a pretty good plan in a format where people are mostly concerned about fighting efficient creatures and graveyard-based decks.
  • As far as the Hydras themselves, some are much better than others. Hydroid Krasis and Mistcutter Hydra are the two most important since they allow for the infinite-mana combo kill, while Kalonian Hydra is extremely powerful and good at dodging removal. On the other hand, some of the lesser X-Hydras (like Primordial Hydra and Savageborn Hydra) are somewhat questionable since they die to both Fatal Push and Path to Exile and don't have the upside of haste or of drawing cards like Hydroid Krasis or Mistcutter Hydra. While playing a bunch of different Hydras is fun and flavorful, the deck would probably be more competitive if we focused on playing more copies of the best Hydras and cut some of the lesser tribe members.
  • One of the most impressive Hydras in our deck was Managorger Hydra, which is surprising. Our deck doesn't seem built to take advantage of the card since we normally play a single spell each turn. If Managorger Hydra was good in Hydra tribal, imagine how good it would be in some sort of spellslinger deck that's looking to harness its power. We should probably try some sort of Modern Miracle Grow deck at some point in the not-too-distant future.
  • You probably noticed some slight changes to the deck. First, we turned Birds of Paradise into Arbor Elf. In a deck with Utopia Sprawl, it's really hard to not take advantage of Arbor Elf, especially since our deck wants to make as much mana as possible as quickly as possible. We also completely rebuilt the sideboard, which was very rough in the original version of the deck. If we're going to handicap ourselves by playing a tribal Modern deck against normal Modern decks, having a decent sideboard seems like a good idea.
  • So, should you play Four-Color Hydras? I think the answer is a soft yes. The deck is fun, flavorful, unique, and good enough to steal wins against the Modern format at large, but it's probably more of a for-fun semi-competitive deck than something that will win you a tournament. I could certainly see it competing and picking up some wins at Friday Night Magic though, and doing it in style!


Anyway, that's all for today! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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