| This article/section is missing crucial information and may require additional research to answer the following questions:|
|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Hydra is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.|
|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Upkeep Cost||14 per turn|
|# of Figures||9 *|
|Melee Attack per figure||6|
|Defense per figure||4|
|Hit Points per figure||10|
+10% To HitFire Breath 5
The Hydra's Melee Attack is ferocious, and is also preceded by a powerful Breath Attack that deals Fire Damage. The Hydra has a constant Regeneration that will restore its health, and it is immune to most Curses and other combat maledictions.
The Hydra may appear to be a Single creature, but for (almost?) every purpose it is actually treated as a 9-figure unit - with each of the creature's 9 heads behaving like a separate figure. As a result, its "dry" combat values belie its true potential.
The Fantastic Unit Edit
Physical Description Edit
The Hydra is a massive reptile covered in green scales. It has 9 separate heads, each on its own neck. Each head has a mouth full of sharp teeth, and can breathe fire at its enemies. Wounds and injuries received by the Hydra will quickly congeal and begin regenerating lost bodyparts - even whole heads.
The Hydra appeared in ancient Greek mythology, where it was defeated by the great Heracles (Hercules) who cut off each head one-by-one, burning the stumps with a torch to keep them from growing back.
Multi-Figure Creature Edit
A fully-healthy Hydra possesses 9 heads. Although it appears as only a single large creature, the unit is treated as though it is actually made up of 9 separate figures, and thus works similarly to a multi-figure unit.
As a result, each of the Hydra's heads will deliver its own attack, as per the rules of multi-figure Melee Damage. Furthermore, the Hydra's heads suffer injuries in sequence (with the first head receiving damage and only then, if the first head dies, the second head receives damage, and so forth).
The visual representation of the Hydra does not show how many heads are left: the Hydra will always appear to have exactly 5 heads - even if in actuality it only has one head left. The number of remaining heads is therefore clearly displayed in the unit's details panel for reference.
Attack Properties Edit
The Hydra's Melee Attack strength is 6. Coupled with the creature's innate +10% To Hit bonus, this gives an average damage output of 2.4.
Each of the Hydra's currently-living heads attack simultaneously, as though they were separate figures in a unit. Therefore, although each attack is only mildly strong, the total damage output from all 9 heads can be quite powerful. As the Hydra loses heads of course, its Melee Attack will become proportionally weaker.
Furthermore, before applying its Melee Damage, each Hydra head also makes a Breath Attack with a strength of 5, which should deliver about 1.5 points of Damage on average. This attack inflicts Fire Damage, so units with Magic Immunity and/or Fire Immunity are highly unlikely to suffer any damage from it.
Defensive Properties Edit
Despite its scaly skin, the Hydra is one of the least defensible Fantastic Units in the game, with a Defense score of only 4. Thus, it will block only about 1.2 points of Damage from any attack made on it.
On the other hand, the Hydra is also one of the toughest units in the game. Each head possesses 10 Hit Points, allowing the unit to sustain a total of 90 points of Damage before it is completely destroyed!
Note again that the Hydra is considered a Multi-Figure unit for purposes of sustaining damage - its heads will die one by one, weakening the unit's attack strength with each lost head. The number of remaining heads is clearly displayed at the top of the unit's details panel.
Finally, the Hydra possesses a Resistance score of 11 - one of the highest Resistance scores of any unit (not accounting for enchantments and other combat effects). Therefore, Curses and other combat maledictions that do not incur a Resistance penalty may not affect the Hydra at all. Such a spell or ability would need to inflict at least a -2 Resistance penalty to have any chance of affecting this unit.
Other Properties Edit
The Hydra is exceptionally slow, Walking at a pace of only 1, both on the overland map and during combat. It must struggle to close the distance with the enemy to avoid being weakened by Ranged Attacks in the interim.
Fortunately, the Hydra possesses the innate ability of Regeneration. Therefore, it will regain exactly 1 Hit Point at the end of each combat turn (i.e. each time the Hydra's army finishes its turn). If the Hydra has fewer than 9 heads remaining, and all living heads are fully-healthy, the next regained Hit Point will restore 1 head back to life - as occurs with Multi-Figure units. That head will now have 1 Hit Point, and additional regained health will slowly heal it until it is at full health. After that is done, the next head is restored (and the next, and so on) until the Hydra regains all 9 heads with each of them at full health.
Furthermore, thanks to Regeneration, if the Hydra's army wins the battle, the Hydra is restored to full health immediately when returning from combat to the overland map. This occurs even if the Hydra was completely destroyed during the battle!
Basic Tactics Edit
The Hydra is a veritable power-house, delivering a massive Melee Attack and capable of absorbing vast quantities of Damage before being destroyed. Even if it is severely wounded, or even killed during battle, the Hydra will regain full health if its side manages to win!
This makes an army comprised entirely of Hydras almost impossible to destroy, and makes this one of the most powerful creatures in the game.
On the other hand, the Hydra is quite fragile in terms of blocking damage, which makes it vulnerable to enemy Ranged Attackers and direct-damage spells. Try to reach the enemy lines as quickly as possible, engaging as many enemies as possible before the Hydra is overcome.
Remember that the Hydra's Fire Breath attack is only used when the unit voluntarily attacks an enemy - and not when Counter Attacking. Therefore, it may be prudent to make one attack and then retreat, forcing the enemy to waste their turn closing the distance with the Hydra (if they choose to do so). Otherwise the enemy might attack the Hydra on its own terms, in which case the Breath Attack will not be used.
Finally, if your Hydra is severely injured, consider allowing it a few turns to Regenerate. This may or may not be possible, depending on whether enemy units are actively chasing your Hydra around the battlefield. It is too slow to easily evade opponents trying to destroy it while it is weak.
Enemy Hydras Edit
Hydras are exceedingly rare as neutral creatures, and may or may not be encountered at all during an entire campaign. If they appear, they will be found in high-level Chaos Nodes or Towers of Wizardry, and are usually found alone. If not alone, they will be accompanied by any kind of lower-level Chaos creatures.
Hydras are slow, and therefore can be attacked rather safely with Ranged Attacks to whittle them down. Unfortunately, they also Regenerate, so it is important to concentrate fire against the creature until it is dead - to prevent it from restoring its own health. Note however that a Hydra with several heads missing is significantly weaker in Melee Combat, and may be engaged by other strong units with little danger.
If possible, try to assault the Hydra during your own turn, rather than letting it attack your units. This prevents it from using its Breath Attack. This is often easier than it sounds, as the Hydra is frightfully slow and has a hard time maneuvering.
Remember that if you do not defeat the Hydra's entire army, the creature will return to life at the end of the battle. This is one of the reasons why an army made up of 8 or 9 Hydras can be virtually impossible to defeat...
Ability Overview Edit
- This unit has an extra 10% chance to hit its target with every attack. This improves its statistical chance to inflict more Damage with each attack it makes.
- At the end of its combat round, this unit regains 1 Hit Point, as long as it is not already at full health.
- If the unit has one or more dead (missing) Figures, and all remaining figures are at full health, the next Hit Point will restore 1 Figure to life. Subsequent turns will see that figure regaining health until it is fully-healed, whereupon the next figure is restored to life, and so on.
- If an army stack containing this unit wins a battle, the unit is restored to full health immediately at the end of the battle. If the unit was killed, it is restored to life and full health at the end of the battle (again, only if its army won).
- If the unit is killed in battle, and its army retreats or is defeated, it is destroyed and will not regenerate.
- Whenever this unit makes a Melee Attack against an enemy target, it also delivers a Fire Damage Breath Attack with a strength of 5 per Figure.
- As a Breath Attack, this damage is delivered before the enemy gets the chance to retaliate. Any figures in the target unit that are killed by the attack do not get to deliver any Melee Damage.
- This Breath Attack does not occur when the unit is Counter Attacking against an enemy assailant.
- This effect does nothing against targets possessing the Magic Immunity or Fire Immunity abilities.
The Summoning Spell Edit
The new unit is created with full Movement Points, and may move and/or attack immediately as necessary.
To keep the Hydra in play, it is necessary to pay an Upkeep Cost of 14 per turn. This is drawn automatically from the caster's Mana pool each turn. Failure to pay the required costs due to lack of Mana in the pool will lead to the Hydra being immediately destroyed, along with any Unit Enchantments currently affecting it.
If the unit is destroyed in combat, then it is gone from the world entirely, and there is no further need to pay its Upkeep Costs.
You can also dismiss the Hydra voluntarily. To do this, right-click the unit's icon and then press the red "Dismiss" button on the bottom right corner of the unit's details panel. A dismissed unit is gone forever, but of course you can always cast the Hydra spell again to get a fresh new one. The primary reason to dismiss a Fantastic Creature would be to remove its Upkeep Cost (conserving Mana as a result).
As a Very Rare Chaos spell, Hydra may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 3 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Hydra may not be acquired at the start of the campaign regardless of how many Spellbooks the wizard possesses. It must either be Researched during the game, or acquired through other means.
Wizards with 3 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Hydra during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Chaos Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Hydra has a base Research Cost of 1,850.
With at least 3 Spellbooks, the Hydra spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
Known Bugs Edit
Two bugs are known to afflict the Hydra. Fortunately, neither of them is serious and they do not destabilize the game.
Mysterious Bonus Health Edit
In some circumstances, the Hydra may begin acquiring bonus health (shown as golden Heart icons) while regenerating. As it regains health, the bonus Hit Points will increase with each restored head, until the final head has 20 instead of 10. This is undocumented, there is no known reason why it should happen (given the rules of the game) and thus is most likely a bug. One reasoning for that could be the ability of the mythological hydra to regrow two heads for each that is destroyed, making it stronger the harder it is fought. The problem with this theory however is that the same bug effects all Regenerating units with more Hit Points (per figure) than (maximum number of) Figures, which includes Shadow Demons, War Trolls and standard Troll units who gained Elite rank.
Missing Animation Frame Edit
The Hydra's attack animation is missing one of its frames. As a result, whenever the Hydra is engaged in Melee Combat with another unit, it will visibly flicker.
Fortunately this does not have an adverse effect on the game, but can be annoying nonetheless.