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card review Dark Hydra, Lord of the Evil Planet: Hail the Necromancer King!

Card Review
Dark Hydra, Lord of the Evil Planet: click to enlarge
Dark Hydra, Lord of the Evil Planet

Card text:

When you put a creature into the battle zone, you may return 1 creature with the same race from your graveyard to your hand.
Double Breaker

  • Collector Number: 9
  • Rarity: Super Rare
  • Type: Creature
  • Race: Dark Lord
  • Power: 6000
  • Cost: 6
  • Civilization: Darkness
  • Artist: Masaki Hirooka
Dark Hydra, Lord of the Evil Planet
Hail the Necromancer King!

written by nerafim
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History, Art and Theme

Hidora is a card that was released real early in the game in Japan, as a promo for set 13, and since then it was just a card that was always held in high regard.

Because it was an earlier card, the art and even theme is pretty straightforward. The picture shows us a good, full view of Hidora from above, with little extra elements and backgrounds.

And Hidora definitely has a style befitting of himself. He is arguably a very large and solid fellow, which is obvious if you take into account the fact that the image shows Hidora from an above angle. His armour is the second reason, which is very bulky and thick looking, especially at the legs.

It’s a typical style of armour for Japanese arts, with some pretty impressive curves and decorations. It’s all black, with stripe patterns on the arms and legs, and it’s padded with blue elements on the arms, some large protruding shoulder guards with a red undertone, a blue collar at the back and a blue cloth around the waist. And most impressive of all is the fact that his chest plate is in the form of a creature’s face (or it might just BE a creature face) with golden eyes and the cloth around the neck of the armour doubling as eyebrows. On the back he also seems to have which looks like two blue poles, likely some form of weapons.

Afterwards you can notice his head, which is pretty small compared to the scale of his armour. His face seems to be skeletal and with a mask (special feature on all Dark Lords) on the bottom of his face and a white star shaped helm on top. The main feature of his head is the white flowing hair, which is totally cool.

And finally there is the large blue flowing cape (which might just be mystical energy) that seems to be made of multiple pieces with various strange elements on it. On the right and above part of the image there is something that looks like a blue creature head with eyes, mouth and teeth. The right side of his cape is held up with his hand, and it curves, showing something that looks like a spike on the end, and a Dark creature figure under it, the creature under the cape being a nice reference to Hidora’s omnipotent creature related effect.

As for the theme, that is given primarily by his Dark Lord Race, which is the leading race of the Darkness Civilization. As a race they engage in research of taboo experiments, technology, genetics and mystic, occult, magic arts in pursuit of immortality and conquering death. Everything else in the Darkness Civilization is created by them, with the Dark Lords having power of life and death over them.

So as one can see, Dark Hidora is a most excellent example of a Dark Lord, being nothing short of a necromancer king of sorts.

His name is also relevant to his theme. The actual Japanese name seems to be “Hydra”, the name of the multi-headed Greek myth creature, with the multi-headed creature symbol seeming to fit Hidora’s flexible control over creatures. Furthermore, Hidora is the lord of the Evil Planet. The “evil planet” in symbolism is Pluto, which is the name of the Roman God of Death, Destruction and the Underworld. Again, it’s a very strong thematic element.

Race and Civilization

Well Darkness holds control over all that is Death, including life’s relation to death and the ability to conquer it. Darkness is the civilization that has a plethora of direct creature revival applied in many different ways and coming in all shapes and sizes, but Hidora is easily one of the absolute best forms in existence.

As a matter of fact, Darkness’s best arguable presence in the metagame, both at the moment in Japan and throughout the game’s history is due to grave related effects. And the strongest forms of Dark revival are featured on the ban/restrict list, but whereas Inferno Gate and Inferno Sign were great because they could play a strong(er) creature directly from grave to battle, Dark Hidora is on the list for the flexibility and large amount of revival.

Practically Hidora fits well with Darkness, due to the fact that Darkness creatures have A LOT of negative effects that come as a price for the good cost/power/effects that they receive, and the most common form of such negative effects is that the creatures are destroyed, usually when battling, blocking or attacking. Alternately there are also Dark effects where you sacrifice your creatures to gain something, so all this gives a lot of synergy between Hidora and the civilization.

As for the Race, the Dark Lords started early in the game, but they had some pretty relative effects and weren’t that well defined at first (some notable destruction though) but later in the game, or more precisely exactly as Hidora got restricted and soon banned, Dark Lords have their true mechanic developed: grave revival!

Since most races in this game focus on one aspect turned game mechanic of their Civilization, Dark Lords are the indisputable masters of grave and “undeath” (as if we couldn’t see that coming from their lore), and they master revival in the same way that Cyber Lords master draw or Beast Folk master mana acceleration.

So lots of members have various interesting forms of revival and grave manipulation: Death Noble revives 2 creatures on destruction, Carnage revives on blocking, Balcry plays Dark Lords from the Grave, Hades allows you to summon from Grave, Yata Izuna plays evolutions from grave, and so forth. Other DL help you send things to grave like Dark Lucifer (also revives) and Jinnai, and Dark Lords also went into combinations with the Knights and Samurai races so you have things like the Romanoffs and Caesar to play even Spells (or Gears) from the Grave. Some Lords are even quoted in the flavor texts of other revival cards.

And Hidora does have a practical relation with his Race because his effect allows you revive a Dark Lord when you play Hidora himself. So this opens up some good tactics that existed with Hidora such as Dark lords with effects that destroy (Hazaria, Mendosa), with effects on destruction (Schuka, Damudo), Megaria, and the ever popular Galumta.

However, what’s interesting here is that most of the Dark Lords and revival that I listed above came while Hidora was restricted or banned, meaning that the Dark Lords only really found their principle mechanic as Hidora was leaving the game. And in fact some of these lords do try to replace some of the uses of Hidora but more balanced, such as Balcry or Carnage.

So it’s almost as if Hidora’s power grew so great that it broke up and became divided between the other Dark Lords. It’s a pretty unique and interesting relation in DM, between such a strong creature effect and the mechanic of its race. So considering that Dark Lords are also the leading race, it can easily be said that Hidora is the King of the Darkness Civilization.

The Creature Body

It’s pretty rare for a creature with a continuous tactical effect, especially one that gains resources, to have such a good body. Only Fuuma Trash Train comes close, but nonetheless Hidora’s power seems great even by the standards of cards released later on, such as Lord Reis.

For a resource non-evolution creature that needs further triggering on his effect, Hidora is also high in terms of cost.

But all of this does work out for the best really.

The 6 cost fits well because 6-7 mana is a good amount to use his effect and revive and play a bunch of stuff at once, making all sorts of combos and plays. And it also gives you time to play various creatures for advantages before it, which would be destroyed or sacrificed, meaning that you have something in the grave once he is played: Rothus, Dark Soul Creation, Dandy Eggplant/Emergency Typhoon are some good examples.

If the cost was less even by 1 then Hidora would be pretty insane. His cost does help the opponent prevent him and have a better fighting chance to be honest.

As for the power, 6/6000 is very standard in this game. Such good power on a tactical effect card can be put to good use, allowing you to use Hidora to counter attack or go for the shields with Double Breaker. But the true advantage is that because of his effect you can build up or revive a good sized army, which makes it very hard for the opponent to remove your entire field.

Simply put, Hidora doesn’t get washed away in a mass kill or counter-attack, unlike other cards with weak power and tactical effects. The power also makes him do very well against removal and also makes Hidora such a sturdy attacker.

The Effect

The standard [Double Breaker] aside, Hidora’s effect is simply brilliant. It may not look like much, or just standard revival to somebody new in the game, but his effect is in fact rather ingenious because it used a more specific but abstract and triggered criteria: when you play a creature you can revive a creature of the same race.

And in the metagame this is just great, because you can do a lot of things with it, since all creatures have at least one race.

First of all this has a lot to help with in deck building where strats easily have all the creatures in a deck part of just 2-3 races. It really opens up a synergy in the deck, especially because of creatures with two races at once.

The immediate practical advantages should be obvious, since creatures DO get destroyed and all:

Whenever you play a creature you (ideally) gain another one from grave, so it’s kind of like draw but you get to have some choice and control on what would be best to get.

You can do well even if you play on topdecking.

You can quickly re-use or regain a creature, especially “on summon” effects without having to draw or something to get another one.

Or conversely, you can use the space in your deck for fewer copies of more different and versatile creatures, especially since graving them is easy with say Dandy Eggplant.

The low cost creatures usually used for early game suddenly gain times more efficiency, because they can revive something larger and play it at the same time, or start a chain of smaller creatures swarming.

You can also pretty much recover from a mass whipping of your field actually.

Playing creatures for free/less like with Soulswap, Miraculous Rebirth, cost reduction, Shield Trigger, “summon on discard”, G-Zero or Ninja Strike means that you can gain an accelerated amount of advantages in a single turn, especially with “on summon” effects that can destroy, discard or give you more resources.

You can summon a small creature and get an Evolution for it from the grave and play on the same turn. On the same note of Evolutions, Hidora backed up Meteoburn pretty well.

The advantage of creatures that have multiple races, such as rainbow creatures, should be self implied.

One can even make much better use of double edged destruction effects such as Apocalypse Day, Blizzard of Spears or Trap Commune.

Not to mention a lot of more specific and powerful combos that I will mention lower.

So in a more abstract sense, what Hidora’s effect does is that first of all it strongly reduces the efficiency of your opponent’s destruction (or the act of sacrificing your own stuff), and second of all it blurs and breaks the boundary between the graveyard and the hand very well.

And it’s this latter one that will end up making Hidora overpowered.

Hall of Fame

That’s what the ban/restriction list of this game is called. Hidora ended on it as a “restricted to 1 copy” card a while after set 28 was released, and then got banned at the start of set 31.

What happened there is that the new set block opened by set 28 had a huge focus on multiple-races creatures. There were 3 huge meta-races released, each with powerful mechanic supports and large number of members and strategies: Knights, Samurais and Shinobi. And even more so, these multiple-races were on creatures with just one civilization, as opposed to a creature having more civilizations to go with all the different races like it was until then.

So what happened is the same the same old story of most cards on the card list: it’s an old card that had a powerful, yet balanced abstract effect earlier in the game, and as the game went and became more complex, the cards power and usefulness grew to awesome levels and it became too strong.

It’s obvious what such multiple-race cards do with Hidora:

On the one hand these meta-races give a common race to a lot of good cards and the power of these races is also high.

On the other hand because these cards have 2-3 races at once, that makes a very tight connection between other good or obscure races creatures, making a lot of good synergistic engines. Even more so since “not having a lot of races” is also a way of balance, which can be overcame like this.

So Hidora hit it pretty big with Knights and Shinobi.

Knights are badass because of their strong connection with Spells, and because they also entered in combination with other Dark Lords. So this is pretty much like extending Hidora to Spells in a way, but also the main races that Knights combined with. He was pretty big with Chief de Baula, Romanoff, Gregorias, Bloody Shadow, etc.

The other one was Shinobi, which because of their mechanic could be played from hand in any turn for various effects whenever an opponent’s creature attacks or blocks. So that is pretty huge for synergy and gained advantages.

And that’s how Hidora left the game while dividing his power to the Dark Lords to follow.

Combos and Tactics

One of the huge and critical aspects of Hidora were the various combos and cycles that could be done, and that’s mainly because in DM if more effects take place at the same time, in this case when you put a creature into battle, then you can choose the order in which to do the effects.

Here are some old time classic combos:

1) Destruction loops with Rothus, and company. You could play Rothus once or twice each turn, because you used his effect to destroy himself and then Hidora’s effect to revive him.

So you basically never lost a card in your hand at all, you just needed to tap mana, and this can gain you field control very FAST!

And you can extend on this with Wingraios that doubles well alongside Rothus, Simian Warrior Grash that adds a mana burn twist to it, and even potential cost reduction cards to play Rothus for only 3 cost or less, which makes for a great play at 6 mana.

Alternative destruction loops would be Dolmarks(+Otto), Heavy Dragon(which has great cost reductions), and Dark Lupia+Necrodragon Zekira.

2) Trap Commune is one of my personal favorites. It’s self-explanatory.

I like it with Pharzi and Light Bringers.

3) Mana burn with Brock, the Scr.ewhead Soldier.

All you need is Hidora, Simian Warrior Grash and maybe a light/water creature on your side, and you can play Brock as many times as you have a fire mana.

This is an old classic.

4) Having some means of graving yourself might come in handy.

Slash Charger was good for as long as it was unlisted. Worked great with making sure you got another Hidora in hand when you played the first one.

Dandy Eggplant is the longest running one, then there is Colorful Dance and Emergency Typhoon. Good stuffs.

5) Hidora itself wouldn’t really need any support aside from graving another copy, but Savers would be one of the best choices. Only Breiga was in the same timeframe as Hidora.

But Savers in general is a good thing to recycle. Rustle, Apostle of Waltz can count as one also.

Marxval, the Electro-Fuuma (and then there is also a couple of pure Water and pure Fire ones) is pretty great for Hidora too, especially with Heavy Dragon on top.

6) Falconer, the Lightfang Ninja is as popular as the Armorloids ones because it pretty much gives you INFINITE BLOCKER!

…well provided that Falconer dies in battle, but that’s easily fixable with Immortal Blade/Megaria which gives Slayer to all creatures.

And the insane part about this one is that it’s a blocker that can’t even be fixed by any blocker removal, only if you are lucky enough to discard, and even then you can have handguard with Waltz.


Hidora is as huge of an impact on race based decks as Petrova was, even more so actually.

I already listed tactics and combos, but aside from those some of the big, popular races that Hidora got involved with was: Armorloids for awesome on all fronts, Liquid People for flexibility, Beast Folk for smoothness and Galumta, Guardians and Great Mecha Kings for powerful fields, Gods can be helped well also, etc.

Basically races with lots of good low cost creatures, and some strong evolutions is leaning on ideal, but Hidora also does great with other Dark Lords and of course multi-race decks. Some fattie creature choices wouldn’t necessarily end up bad either.

Here are some examples:

1) Ash Land Krieg, is what I call it. But it’s basically the classic Hidora Armorloids.

Ok, this list I posted is more in hybrid format and not following some rules, but you get the idea.

It shows most tactics, and the form is still pretty close to what can be made in the game for as early as the sets in ENG, KP or set 19.

2) Tyrant Slaughter is a personal favorite of mine from Bell. It just has a good amount of everything in it.

3)Pluto Praetorians. KP version of Hidora Guardians.

4) I have cool ideas for some vintage Beast Folk ones but I am too lazy to seriously work on them now. I’ll post some other time.

5) I should post a Shinobi one here also…

Conclusions and Ratings

Not much else can be said about this great card. It’s one of the best resource gain cards of all time, but the really great thing about it is how interesting it was and how long it lasted in the game giving good times to everyone.

Even as he became overpowered he was still doing it in style, and his smooth race based flow is something always interesting to think about when mind-gaming.

Having all the mono and rainbow multi-races creatures and meta combination races was a very good, almost clear direction for the game to take, so Hidora had to go to maintain the balance and allow new things to thrive, such as Origins and other things to come.

But he was a high level card, considered for listing even long before this, so his contribution to the game is legendary, and it can still be followed by those who play on KP, or like to experiment on TCO.

If you are the kind of player that likes to move things around all smooth or en mass, or if you are really into card loops or you just like necromancery, then you must give Hidora a try.

So to wrap it up, I say Hidora is worth a 10/10 for interesting effect and combo value, 10/10 for stylish imbalance, 9/10 for practical use, and 10/10 for theme and lore.

Eternal glory to the King of Darkness!!1!11!1!shift+11one1!



Modified on November 19, 2014 09:12 am

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Discussion about this Card Review
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Author Message

Avatar for alphadios
Subject:    Posted: May 26, 2010 06:47 am Reply with quote Report content icon

Nice work! I rate it 5.

Anyway have to write something for rating 5,your comment is too short,you have too many spelling error(it happens when writing a card's full name)are boring!
Back to top Modified on May 26, 2010 06:53 am 

Avatar for nerafim
Subject:    Posted: May 27, 2010 04:06 pm Reply with quote Report content icon

Thanks for the support guys.

Alphadios, the comment you are supposed to post is not here, lol.

It's together with the vote it seems. Look at the other votes.

You are required to post a comment there when rating it either 1 or 5.

But please don't be lazy to write something and vote less though, guys ;P.
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Avatar for zera
Subject:    Posted: July 1, 2010 05:49 pm Reply with quote Report content icon

Why so much Effort for a banned Card Review? Next Card Review will be Judgment of imba?

Will you debate how fortunate it may be to clear the field of weak creatures and increase ure hand size with that? xDD

I wanna attempt to make an Article of a Card that nobody plays, Gigajadou, but it will be inferior to this because the card of your choice is much better and leaves a better impression :-///
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Avatar for waileukwu
Subject:    Posted: July 2, 2010 01:07 pm Reply with quote Report content icon


There are amazing cards in DM. There are even more amazing cards in the smaller halls of fame (restricted cards), but the truly game bending cards are the ones in the hall of fame. They might not be too powerful by themselves, but can easily be used to greater destruction of ur opponent. For one, I am actually glad that some one did a review on Hidora, not only because it is one of my favorite cards, but it truly does make one understand why the hall of fame is made.

Judgement of Fire and Water (I know the name is longer, but yeah) is a wonderful card, why don't u make yourself a card review and let's see how u do with it?
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Avatar for djcard
Subject: card review   Posted: July 2, 2010 01:41 pm Reply with quote Report content icon

very informative and detailed I give it an 5!
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Avatar for alphadiosthe2nd
Subject:    Posted: August 7, 2010 08:26 am Reply with quote Report content icon

Dark Hidora is just badass. That's why by simply looking at the above combos, any newcomer can tell why it got banned.
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Avatar for hipporules1
Subject:    Posted: August 9, 2010 04:32 am Reply with quote Report content icon

i don't get it whats synergy...
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Avatar for nerafim
Subject:    Posted: August 22, 2010 04:20 pm Reply with quote Report content icon

quote from zera:

Why so much Effort for a banned Card Review? Next Card Review will be Judgment of imba?

I made the article on the card because it's still a card in this game, and it has importance.

Just because it's banned now doesn't change the fact that it was a strong presence in this game's history for almost 20 sets. That counts.

Also understanding why and how it was banned is a way to learn things about the game, including strategic thinking and metagaming.

Anyway, I see this article was selected for Card of the Week at last, which is pretty awesome. Thanks a lot to all that voted.

I've been meaning to make some extra small mentions on it, such as Hidora being good bait for Azaghast and ting well into Ghosts (also Black Feather loop for destruction) and maybe bother to put together a deck for Hidora and Ninjas.

But I figure that would be too overly-retentive so I'll just leave it like that.

Anyway, thanks again guys.

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