Only few creatures in Warhammer realm are more horrible than Hydra. Nobody knows exactly what are Hydra’s origins – whether it’s warping of Chaos or it was there before the Old Ones came. This monstrosity Dark Elves are breeding for one purpose only– War. It can breathe fire, attack with all its fangs and tail, and many warriors are scared of Hydra before battle even occurs. At first, it was used to break lines in enemy defense, but after many experiments on creature, Hydra became ultimate weapon. Beastmasters used different breeding techniques and casted enchantments upon Hydra’s eggs to raise ferocity of new generation.
Hydra is amazing as sculpt and as miniature on battlefield. In my humble opinion it is one of the best choices and “a must” in every DE army. For 175 points you get Terror, Fire breathing, Regeneration and 5 Wounds on Toughness 5, 7 Strength 5 attacks, and it rerolls all misses because of Eternal Hatred. Do I have to say that it is accompanied by two Beastmasters, each with two attacks and Eternal Hatred?
Hydra is very potent unit (monster). Throw it at anything on the other side of the table and it would die by Hydra’s attacks. It was too good in previous edition, when there were much less attacks from units in general, but it is still almost broken monster. Hydra has special rule that if something is shooting at it (i.e. shooting or magic attack) all attacks hits Hydra, they are not allocated between unit. So essentially, you don’t even have to put Beastmasters on the table, except when in close combat and Hydra is dead.
4+ Scaly Skin isn’t something that would save monster, but combination with Regeneration makes it much more powerful. If you are fielding Hydra, look out for enemies with flaming attacks, they negate Regeneration. A single magic rune for 5 points can cost you a monster worth 175. Don’t put it in the open, as lot of shooting attack from some units can hurt her badly. Save it for the close combat, it is something Hydra excels at.
It is true that Hydra has a breathing attack, and it is far more powerful than in previous edition. It uses a tear-drop template, and anyone under the template is hit, there are no 4+ partial hits anymore. Strength of this attack is number of wounds left on it. I just can’t see how breathing fire can beat the raw power and number of attacks in close combat.
Close combat is usually like this: Hydra charges. Unit charged checks for Terror. Whether they passed or not, two Beastmasters attacks first, reroll failed hits. They kill few man, then there is counter-attack. Hydra is taking some hits, nothing that 4+ and Regeneration can’t ignore. Now is monster’s turn. It attacks for 7 attacks on unit, rerolls failed hits, and there are four casualties. I used average to below average results in this example.
Hydra will continue to bring mayhem on the field, but you can’t leave her alone in there. You must support it’s flanks, and the best way to do that is to stay in line when you’re attacking with DE. Darklings have powerful hatred, they have some great elite units for close combat, so put them close to Hydra. This is important for one other thing; enemy frequently is using baits to “feed” Hydra, so use your other units to crumble all baits, so Hydra can find worthy (and big in points) opponent.
Hydras are very powerful that many tournaments are seeing two Hydras in every DE list. Because of raw power and ability to cope and kill everything, DE players love their monstrosities. So I can’t recommend it enough to all Darkers out there.