Although several cards from the latest MTG expansion Ravnica Allegiance have seen competitive play, there is one card that has, in most people’s minds, emerged as superior to the other Allegiance spells, and is arguably one of the best Magic cards in standard. The terrifying and adaptable Hydroid Krasis has certainly had a significant impact on the format, and has enabled otherwise unsuccessful strategies, yet, because of this utility, has similarly seen a meteoric rise in valuation, begging the question of whether Hydroid Krasis is worth the price. In this article, we consider the pros and cons of the only Jellyfish Hydra to ever be printed in Magic, and discuss how to proceed in your purchasing decisions and deck choice moving forward.
Hydroid Krasis is by any standard a fantastic card, and provides the caster with a myriad of benefits for a variety of situations. First and foremost, Hydroid Krasis is an acceptably costed flying creature that can function both as an aggressor against opponents who cannot block creatures with evasion and also as a defender against bloodthirsty sky-decks like Mono-Blue Aggro. Hydroid Krasis also draws half its X casting cost in cards and gains half of X in life, two actions that by themselves are extremely helpful against control and aggro decks respectively, and additionally difficult for opponents to deal with because the draw and life gain triggers of Hydroid Krasis are on cast, not resolution, of the spell. This individual card, then, provides a number of advantages for the player that casts it, making it individually one of the most powerful creatures in standard. In addition to its own functionality, Hydroid Krasis is overwhelmingly strong as a result of the incredible synergies it has with other cards in the format. Wilderness Reclamation, for example, allows the player to tap all their lands to cast the largest possible Hydroid Krasis during their main-phase while also having mana available for counter magic during their opponents turn. Likewise, Sultai decks running Memorial to Folly and Find//Finality can run out Hydroid Krasis early to smooth out land drops and dig to removal only to return the creature during the late game and cast it for a much more significant amount. Hydroid Krasis is also an excellent win condition for the Simic Nexus deck, which its previous Bant iteration had virtually no way of winning the game aside from a concession from its opponent.
Although Hydroid Krasis is a haymaker mythic that can singlehandedly take over games, there are a few troubling drawbacks to the card that may make a player reconsider picking up a full playset. One oddity regarding the card arises from its mana cost; on cast, the cost of Hydroid Krasis is variable depending on its X value, but as a permanent, the spell has a static converted mana cost of only one green and one blue. This paradoxical relationship leads players to forget the substantial vulnerability that Hydroid Krasis has once it’s on the battlefield regardless of its power and toughness. Spells like Ritual of Soot and Entrancing Melody, for example, which are designed to hit small, early game creatures, accidently function as effective answers to Hydroid Krasis, while the threaten ability from Angrath not only uses your scaling creature against you, but also sacrifices it at end of turn because of its low CMC. Additionally, because Hydroid Krasis is technically a 0/0 creature that only has power and toughness because of its counters, it will die to state based effects if it ever leaves and then returns to play, substantially increasing its weakness to cards like Deputy of Detention and Conclave Tribunal. Finally, because Hydroid Krasis is in fact a creature, it suffers the same profound weakness as all other creatures in that it dies to removal regardless of its power and toughness. True, Hydroid Krasis has beneficial effects on cast, making it substantially better than most cards in the format, but in the face of the ubiquitous targeted removal like Mortify and Vraska’s Contempt that the best MTG arena decks are utilizing, and the addition of Kaya’s Wrath to the format, This Jellyfish monstrosity still makes its way to the graveyard the same as everyone else.
Hydroid Krasis is undeniably a format defining card, one that updated the older Golgari list and helped streamline the Bant Nexus list to make it play like a combo deck instead of control. However, it suffers from some weaknesses that make it less difficult to answer as a threat than a number of other curve topping spells in the format, such as Carnage Tyrant, and it is not currently seeing play in any other format. Still, some of the best MTG decks in standard are relying heavily on Hydroid Krasis, and, since it was released in the newest Ravnica Allegiance set, it will remain in the format for a long time. Ultimately the card may be too expensive for speculation, but if you have the available funds it is certainly worth picking them up if you want to play Simic Nexus or Sultai Midrange in the next competitive tournament or Grand Prix.