The Challenge Deck is a special self-running deck with its own set of rules. Players are encouraged to pilot it against one another one-on-one or in groups of up to four with guidance from the included instructional playmat. The Challenge deck contains 60-cards (18 Heads and 42 Sorcery cards). The 15 unique cards are not legal in regular Magic, which is made clear by their different card back. Some of the Heads have the supertype elite. When playing against this deck the player may use their Hero cards. The Hydra follows a predetermined sequence of casting cards from its shuffled deck and blasting the player for damage. The goal is to eliminate all of the Hydra heads before it eats you. When you cut one head down, sometimes more grow back. If you win against the challenge deck, you win a third Hero card (The Slayer). The Face the Hydra Challenge Deck is available as a saleable product for $11.99.
11 Hydra Head
How to Play
You can battle the Hydra alone or with friends (just replace "you" with "each player" in these rules). At the end of any turn, if there are no Heads on the battlefield, you win! Use the regular Magic rules with the following exceptions:
- You start with up to two Hero cards on the battlefield. (You don't need a Hero to play.)
- Choose a starting number of Heads. Take that many cards named Hydra Head from the Challenge Deck and place them on the battlefield. Shuffle the remaining cards to form the Hydra's library.
- You go first. (Don't draw a card on your first turn.)
- Then the Hydra takes its turn, and so on.
- You can attack Heads directly with your creatures. Any number of creatures can attack a single Head
- Growing New Heads: Whenever a Head leaves the battlefield, reveal the top two cards of the Hydra's library. Put any Heads onto the battlefield and any sorcery cards into the Hydra's graveyard.
The Hydra's Turn
- At the start of the Hydra's turn, untap any tapped Heads.
- Reveal the top card of the Hydra's library. The Hydra casts that card. When the spell resolves, if it's a Head, put it onto the battlefield. If it's a sorcery, follow its instructions and then put it into the Hydra's graveyard.
- The Hydra deals 1 damage to you for each untapped card named Hydra Head it controls and 2 damage to you for each untapped elite Head it controls.
- If the Hydra would be dealt damage or lose life, instead deal that much damage to a Head of your choice.
- Ignore effects that would cause the Hydra to draw or discard cards, or any impossible actions.
- If a Head would move to any other zone than the graveyard, instead put it into the Hydra's graveyard.
- You make any choices for the Hydra.
Additional rulings and recommendations
- Each player starts at 20 life.
- If teams are facing the Hydra, it is recommended to use a shared team turn (like what's used in an Archenemy game) with up to four players per team. In this way, the players attack the Hydra together.
- All cards in the Hydra Deck, including Heads on the battlefield are colorless and have a converted mana cost of 0.
- Up to four of the 18 Heads start on the battlefield based on difficulty
- Heads and sorceries cast by the Hydra work like any other spell and can be countered.
- Prevention effects (such as one the Hero Card The Protector creates) still work, but since Heads (and the Hydra itself) have no color, effects that prevent damage from a color (e.g., a green source) won't do anything.
- Damage dealt by the Hydra is dealt all at once. Although the Hydra never attacks, this damage is considered to be combat damage for cards such as Fog.
- Players can't gain control of any Heads.
- If a Head would go to any zone other than the Hydra's graveyard, it's put into the Hydra's graveyard instead.
- The Hydra's ability to "grow new heads" is a triggered ability.
- For gaming purposes, growing new heads isn't regeneration.
- The Hydra plays on even if its library is empty.