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Bioessence Hydra: The Golos Killer?

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I want you to read that title.

Then read it again.

Then read it one more time.

By this point you likely also need to go read what Bioessence Hydra even does. Luckily, the kind folks at CoolStuffInc have included this handy card image!

Bioessence Hydra

Yes, Bioessence Hydra. The card that was released in War of the Spark that took advantage of all the planeswalkers in the set, but never really saw its day in the sun. I remember opening one in Sealed for the War of the Spark Prerelease, and it was just bonkers. Even if you only had one planeswalker in play, or only played one planeswalker after the fact, this was usually attacking as a 9/9 with trample for five mana. And let's talk about trample, because in a world full of things like Gilded Goose and Field of the Dead Zombie tokens, trample on a creature like this makes all the difference in the world.

I'm not sure if you've heard, but this weekend is the Mythic Championship, and the decklists have all been posted. It turns out that only six players (yes, you read that correctly: six) have registered decks that don't contain Green cards. It's pretty insane. There are only six decks out of dozens of players that don't contain Forests. That's how powerful Green is right now. And I can't say I really disagree. You think about cards like Nissa, Who Shakes the World; Oko, Thief of Crowns; Once Upon a Time; Hydroid Krasis; and Questing Beast and you begin to realize that Green in Standard is currently stacked.

That might be part of the reason my buddy JoshVS shipped me the following list (which I made some adjustments to) and told me he was doing fantastically with it. (I also cleaned house with it, by the way, and you can find our matches in the videos below!)


Oko, Thief of Crowns
You see, the one thing I noticed when I saw that nearly 90% of the field was playing Green at the Mythic Championship, was that none of those players were running Bioessence Hydra. And after trying this deck out, that seems...just ridiculous. I'm kidding, of course, but I really want you guys to check out the video below; there were times we were attacking with a 22/22 Bioessence Hydra that also happened to draw us a card when it entered the battlefield. (Thanks, Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner!)

It's pretty easy to admit that Hydroid Krasis and Oko, Thief of Crowns are the best Green cards in Standard right now, or at least in the Top 4 if you happen to have other personal favorites. This deck is sporting both as a four-of and a three-of, respectively. There's nothing much that I need to say about these, but the Krasis does happen to go well with the combination of cards I'm going to talk about next.

Ah, Merfolk Skydiver. Yes, I was about as confused as you are with this one, but it turned out to be pretty decent. I wasn't sold on the full four, so I actually added a fourth Frilled Mystic instead, but the main thing you want to do with the Skydiver is add a counter to your Incubation Druid, which is another old favorite that hasn't received much attention recently. Once we have a counter on the Druid, not only did we cheat our way to adding three mana with it, we can also untap it with Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. This makes for some huge, huge mana boosts for our Hydroid Krasises. Don't forget that you can also proliferate with the Skydiver, adding counters to any permanent that can have 'em, which is a lot in this deck, and each counter that gets added to a planeswalker also adds one to our Bioessence Hydra.

Merfolk Skydiver
While Oko might be one of the strongest and most obnoxious planeswalkers we've seen in a long time, there's definitely another reason for us to include him in the deck. Oko starts at four and, with two plus abilities, has a very easy time adding a ton of counters to our Bioessence Hydra. It wasn't super uncommon to have Oko at six or eight loyalty when the Hydra hit the board, making it at least a 10/10. Typically, Kiora is also going to have around six loyalty, while ramping us from three mana to five mana, giving us another way to make the Hydra a 10/10. Nissa, Who Shakes the World? Again, another planeswalkers that comes down on five and immediately shoots up to six. Truth be told, this deck actually has a very easy time getting our Hydra into double digits. If you're able to have or cast multiple planeswalkers in conjunction with the Hydra, the game is almost certainly over.

One of the best parts about our unsung rare is that there aren't actually that many ways to get rid of it right now in Standard. When we were playing it against the Golos / Field of the Dead deck, they simply didn't have many answers to it. In fact, the only Golos match we lost was to the version that had Agent of Treachery. Unfortunately, we also didn't have many ways to deal with our own Bioessence Hydra that was stolen. I don't think this is a huge problem, but cards like Deafening Clarion simply aren't going to cut it against our 14/14 and 22/22 Hydras (yes, those were actual stats we were attacking with). I was even considering adding our own Agent of Treachery, which I still think is a good option, especially with our mana production.

Other than that though, the deck was seriously crushing. The deck is basically a powerful Simic shell with the addition of a really powerful and hard-to-deal-with trampler. I genuinely encourage you guys to try this deck out; at the very least, even if our wins were a complete fluke, you should still have a blast. I mean, even in the worst case scenario we have things like Nissa, Oko, and Hydroid Krasis, which are some of the strongest cards in Standard right now. One card I could definitely see adding is Questing Beast, since that dude is ridiculously overqualified for any job he applies for. I'm always impressed by it, and always more than I expect I'll be. It's also another creature that gets around Zombie tokens quite well. Another thing I could see doing is removing the Frilled Mystic, due to their cost and our deck's desire to regularly tap out, and adding something cheaper like Negate to protect our threats. I'm not sure if that's great, but I'm definitely eager to try it since this deck seems like it has a lot of potential, especially against the "best deck" in the format.

Ultimately, I think the question you need to ask yourself when it comes to this deck, and more specifically, this card, is "is a 10/10 to 20/20 trampler good for five mana?" And I think the answer is a resounding "yes."

As I mentioned earlier, you can check out the videos below, and there are some gems in there:

Thank you so much for reading. I love you guys to death, and I appreciate all the support. Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts. (Is Bioessence Hydra the truth?) And be sure to use promo code FRANK5 to get 5% off your purchases! I'll catch you all next week!

Frank Lepore

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