M1G1: mulled to 6 on the draw, but have the hydra in hand. playing against GR. his first play is jade mage, which is quickly webbed to stop any shananigans. next turn i play an elf and manalith which is responded with a shock and manic vandal. talk about wrong place at the wrong time. i know he has burn so i have to play the hydraw at a high enough initial total so that it doesn't meet a chandra's outrage or incinerate or something stupid. i play him at 9 life with 5 counters, he had just played a greater basilisk. now i know i have to kill him in one swing which means i have a 3 turn clock. the math doesn't work so i have to chump twice to stay alive. i'm at one life when i swing for 40.
M1G2: again i have to mull a no-land hand into 6 on the draw. during sideboarding i know i took out a land since i got a bit flooded midway into that first game. and with 3 mana dorks and a manalith, i figured i'd be ok. opening hand was 3 forests, two ice cages, and a sacred wolf. brought in the other cage since he didn't reveal any self targetable effects.
he turn two's a skinshifter, and it never attacks the whole game. this game goes pretty long, and my opponent was not very cordial about losing to the hydra once again. didn't know what to tell him, it was turn 21 when i drew it and played it. and the board stalled once again with me at 3 life, him at 20. isn't that how the game is played? removal, trading, card draw, bomb for the win. sorry.
M2G1: facing a fellow clan member who has a good UB bounce and fliers deck. not the best for all of my enchantment removal, and single reach creature. plus he's playing the hydra's worst nemesis: gideon's lawkeeper (x2). game one goes pretty long like usual. i keep a slow hand with 3 removal spells and the spinner 6 drop. he curves out pegasus, skywinder drake, alabaster mage (which burns off the ice cage on the drake), cancel my spinner, then the board stalls a bit. him with a webb'd mage and a stingerfling. me with a looter and azure mage at 3 life. next turn carnage wurm for the win. down 0-1 but definitely winnable.
M2G2: this is the big one. i keep a greedy opening 7 on the play with forest, mountain, unsummon, doom blade, hydra, manalith, and spinner. i figured if i can get that one land in the next two draws to drop the manalith, i would be able to get this so long as i play around his counters. problem... i miss my 3rd turn land drop. i get it turn 4 to drop the manalith, bouncing the drake to try and save tempo, but he continues to drop all of his helpful little guys. alabaster mage, looter, drake, lawkeeper, aether adept bouncing a lawkeep'd hydra.
next turn i play a fleetwing and trollhide to halt his flying assault instead of replaying my hydra. and this is where i think he had a big misplay that opened up things up for me. he oblivion ring'd the trollhide so that he could continue to attack in with this hoard that consisted of, at that point: looter, two lawkeepers aether adept pegasus, alabaster mage, and skywinder drake against my one fleetwing. i doom blade the mage, trade with the drake, take 5 down to 6 life.
next turn i play arachnus spinner, pass. he taps the spinner before combat and i activate to fetch a web for his stormfront pegasus. attacks down to 2, he plays peregrine griffen. mind you this board state. he has not one, but two tappers, a looter, an adept, and a griffin that both attack for lethal. i have an unsummon, and hydra in hand, with 7 mana on board. we get to talking a bit since we're clan members, and i've done everything but conceded at this point. then i just play it out... like you ALWAYS should.
i draw an ice cage. okay, this is removal. now i it's a math game and a blocking game. unfortunately, the math doesn't add up to where i could save my hydra if he attacked all in. i bounce his one lawkeeper, ice cage the 2nd. play the hydra for X=2. i'm tapped out. if he attacks all in, he kills my hydra, but trades his two relavant creatures, and would be left with a looter and a 'just-played' lawkeeper.
his turn, draw. loot. play lawkeeper. pass. i web his other lawkeeper at the end of his turn. and i have survived! saved the hydra, isolated his tappers, and made it so his attacks are no unprofitable. now i just have to hope he doesn't have another way to remove the hydra from combat (pacifism, frost breath, unsummon, adept, o-ring... these all insta-kill me. and his looter means he's filtering MUCH quicker than i can in top deck mode.
i top deck a skinshifter, pass. he loots, plays a skywinder drake, pass. we continue to brick for several turns even with his looting, and me playing a divination. the hydra is now a 32/32 when he scoops. WOOT!!!
M3G3: i curve out with the nuts. turn one elf into turn 2 manalith. turn 3 fleetwing into counter mana. then when he's tapped out with a looter on board, i play chandra. he does o-ring the chandra next turn but i EOT naturalize the play the spinner to get the scoop.
so i dont want to say that i won only because of my bomby cards (spinner, chandra, and hydra). but it does help. never giving up and playing the game out was the key lesson here. i was dead on board by a mile, at 2 life. bounced and isolated a few threats, got a few good draws, and won the match.