To keep it short I'm making a Hydra Tribal edh deck and was thinking about including Cauldron of Souls. I am not sure how it interacts with hydra creatures where you have to pay X for them. If I have a Hydra with base 0/0 and 5 +1/+1 counters on it that dies and is brought back with Cauldron of Souls, is it now a 4/4 or does it instantly die as it is brought back as a 0/0?

1 Answer 1


Cauldron of Souls is not really a good card in a Hydra deck.

107.3f If a card in any zone other than the stack has an {X} in its mana cost, the value of {X} is treated as 0, even if the value of X is defined somewhere within its text.

That means that if the Hydra enters the battlefield in another way (e.g. from the graveyard through an animate effect, Flicker, or persist), it has no knowledge about the X you spend when you originally cast it (which may be turns ago, or have not even happened at all). Instead, X=0, the Hydra re-enters the battlefield with 0 +1/+1 counters and it instantly dies (unless it has a base toughness higher than 1 - it needs to survive the -1/-1 persist counter as well).

Otherwise, it would be a little overpowered, since +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters cancel each other out, and you would be able to repeatedly bring it back. (Though for 5 mana + the cost of the Hydra, you might expect such a powerful effect.)

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    Ok thanks, thats sort of what I was expecting but I can always be hopeful.
    – Hydra Fan
    Dec 11, 2019 at 16:32
  • A bit confusing to say it dies from the -1/-1 counter, because a 0 toughness creature would die even if it did not have a -1/-1 counter.
    – GendoIkari
    Dec 11, 2019 at 16:41
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    Slightly off topic, but Cauldron of Souls works very well with creatures that say "enters the battlefield with N +1/+1 counters". N may vary, but isn't X cost. For instance, Bioessence Hydra or Clockwork Hydra. If that creature was given persist, it would return with N-1 +1/+1 counters, and could be persisted again in the manner you're thinking.
    – Aetherfox
    Dec 11, 2019 at 17:37
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    Re "A Hydra entering the battlefield from anywhere but your hand has no knowledge about the X you spend when casting it", That's statement has so many errors. For starters, the hydra absolutely does know the X chosen when it was cast, no matter from where it was cast. I think you meant to say that X is 0 when the hydra wasn't cast, but you talk about the hydra having been cast.
    – ikegami
    Dec 12, 2019 at 1:17
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    Re "Otherwise, it would be a little overpowered", That's not a valid argument. There are other infinite combos in the game.
    – ikegami
    Dec 12, 2019 at 1:22

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