Sit up straight, fold your hands and direct your attention to the front of the room! The Sylvan Learning Center has reopened, and class is now in session. If you were once a botanist, or if you’re part of the new enrollment, then this lesson is for you. I’m sure everyone here has become well acquainted with the new banlist, which means you know that Lonefire Blossom went back to three. And while that certainly helps, we should not overlook the new additions given to Plants in the latest Gold Series set. I have been messing around with this build of Sylvans for a bit, and I wanted to share it with the rest of the class.
3 Sylvan Hermitree
3 Sylvan Sagequoia
3 Lonefire Blossom
2 Sylvan Princessprout
2 Rose Paladin
1 Rose Lover
1 Glow-up Bulb
1 Sylvan Marshaleaf
1 Fallen Angel of Roses
3 Miracle Fertilizer
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Sylvan Charity
2 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
2 Mount Sylvania
1 Soul Charge
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Vanity’s Emptiness
Extra Deck: 15
2 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand
1 Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector
1 Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter
1 Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Stardust Spark Dragon
1 Star Eater
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Armory Arm
1 Naturia Beast
1 Crimson Blader
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Mechquipped Angineer
Side Deck: 15
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Flying “C”
2 Maxx “C”
2 Mirror of the Ice Barrier
2 Dark Hole
Let’s start with the Main Deck. When you look at this list, the first thing that should come to mind is speed. I’ve maxed out on every reasonable draw card available to this theme. Upstart Goblin is the easiest of them all. Most of you already know how it works, but just in case you missed out on what was happening in 2014, I will do a quick review. Since Sylvans have the ability to manipulate their draws, you can do things like activate Mount Sylvania, discard a Plant monster, and place Sylvan Charity on the top of your deck. From there, Upstart Goblin allows you to blatantly draw into it, which is imperative to getting this deck to take off. You can also do the same thing if you have a Trade-In or Sacred Sword of Seven Stars. Just place a Sylvan Hermitree or Sylvan Sagequoia on the top and then draw it with Upstart’s effect. Though there are a couple of cool things you can do with Upstart Goblin in this deck, it is going to be used to draw into Charity 99% of the time.
To compensate for the insane amount of draw power, I added two copies of Rose Paladin and one copy of Reinforcement of the Army. Rose Paladin has the unique ability to search for level 7 or higher Plant monsters, so you can add Hermitree or Sagequoia depending on which draw card you have. He can also search Fallen Angel of Roses which combos well with Miracle Fertilizer, or with dead draw cards. Let’s say you have a Fertilizer from last turn sitting face-up on the field, and you have a dead Trade-In in your hand. You could revive Hermitree, use his effect, and then bounce it to your hand with Fallen Angel to draw two cards. You can do the same type of trick with Sagequoia and Sacred Sword since you’re allowed to banish a level 7 monster on the field to pay the cost. Also, Sacred Sword combos with Princessprout since her level can become anything from 1 to 8. In fact, if you feel that you won’t have an immediate use for her when she is special summoned by her own effect, the safest level to make her is always going to be level 7.
• You will have access to a level 8 Synchro should you see Spore or Glow-up Bulb.
• You can use her for Sacred Sword to draw 2 cards.
• You can make a Rank 7 Xyz with her and Sagequoia/Fallen Angel.
Rose Paladin happens to have another great effect which comes up enough to be mentioned here. If he destroys a monster by battle and sends it to the graveyard, you can immediately tribute him off to summon a Plant from your hand or deck in defense position. This will almost exclusively be used to summon Lonefire Blossom which bypasses that whole “defense position” portion of the effect. I can tell you that this effect shines a lot in the Hero matchup because they often summon Goblinbergh on turn one to special summon Elemental Hero Shadow Mist. That gives them access to Mask Change, and that’s one of the cards you do not want to see before you get to establish a graveyard. If you have Rose Paladin, you can summon him and attack Shadow Mist, which will force the activation of Mask Change, and then you can redirect your attack to Goblinbergh. It will also be in defense position since it randomly has that effect, and its defense is 0. From there, you just summon Lonefire and tribute it off in Main Phase II to summon a Hermitree in attack position. If it holds up, you can come out of a very bad situation. If not, you should go to game two and side in your Mirrors of the Ice Barrier and mass removal cards. Rose Paladin also beats over those stray Manju(s) and Senju(s) which may force a Valkyrus from your opponent’s hand.
Mathematician is another monster that has some unique uses. Thanks to Rose Lover, you have less of a chance of ending up with dead trees in your hand (Hermitree and Sagequoia). Back in 2014, we used to say that someone was building a forest whenever that person drew too many of them. That will rarely be a problem with the extra draw cards and Mathematician sending Rose Lover to the grave. Also, when a monster is special summoned by her effect, it is unaffected by trap cards that turn which may be relevant against decks like Heroes, Burning Abyss, Ritual Beasts, etc. In general, I just use her to bring out Hermitree or Lonefire Blossom after I’ve already normal summoned for the turn, or used the effect of Miracle Fertilizer.
If we move along to the Extra Deck, I’m sure that you’ve noticed Naturia Beast. You can make him with Rose Paladin and Glow-up Bulb, which comes up randomly, but when you get it off it’s almost an auto-win against Necloths. That means that once Glow-up is in the grave, Rose Paladin becomes lethal. The rest of the extra deck is pretty standard. I play Star Eater strictly because it can get around Valkyrus and attack over anything in that deck. This can be important when you really need to clear a monster to prevent a disaster. Crimson Blader is also pretty good if your opponent leaves himself open. It prevents you from getting caught by Trishula and Brionac on the following turn, and it stops the summon of Valkyrus, too. It can be quite nasty when it resolves.
The bread and butter combos for this deck have not changed. You want to establish a first turn Felgrand as much as possible so that you can have some form of defense. That usually entails getting Hermitree on the field and Princessprout on the top. This will be accomplished with either Mount Sylvania or Sylvan Charity. Everything else is just riding the wave of pluses and making sure that you play your cards in the correct order. I do warn newcomers that this is one of the hardest decks to play perfectly. It stresses the order of operations more than anything you’ve ever seen, and it requires a lot of mental fortitude to plan out your turns effectively. If you cannot play your turns fast enough, then do not try to use this deck at a premier event because you will go into time every round, or you will receive slow play warnings and game losses. Take it from Hoban—losing in time when you know you are going to win otherwise is a terrible feeling.
• Foolish Burial
I could easily see Mathematician being taken out for Foolish Burial, especially since they both fulfill similar purposes. On one hand, Mathematician is good for making instant Synchro and Xyz plays by sending Glow-up Bulb or Spore, and also being a 1500 floater to beat over Manju and Senju. Foolish, on the other hand, does not use your normal summon, so you can combo it with Miracle Fertilizer in the early game or you can send a Sylvan to bring out Sagequoia. It kind of sucks that Blaster is no longer an option because that would strengthen the argument for Foolish by a lot. The thing is, I don’t need Foolish to send a Hermitree because that’s what the three copies of Trade-In are for, but maybe I can cut it down to two and make space. Actually, as I am writing this I just realized that Foolish Burial allows you to make a first turn Naturia Beast with Rose Paladin, which may be enough to warrant playing it in the main. I will be testing that this week.
This is a card that Sylvans do not normally play, but I could see it being used for defense and combos. A lot of the time, you can be left completely open for attacks if your play does not go through. The tokens can keep your lifepoints up, and they give access to things like Formula Synchron. The only problem is that your extra deck space is already limited, and you’d be making a lot of room for one card.
In today’s meta, this card is unplayable. You don’t have a turn to just sit back and do nothing. The other decks can hit you way too hard in one turn. If you remember, Kuribandit used to shine when HAT was one of the most played decks because you got at least 2,563 turns before you died. I tried it against both Burning Abyss and Necloths, and I lost more than half of my lifepoints to grab a Miracle Fertilizer. That is clearly not an even trade.
I only want to play this card because of Dark Law and the Djinn Lock. It sucks in virtually every other scenario, but those two scenarios are common enough to consider this card. What I really don’t like about playing something like this in the main is that it would be a one of, so you may not even draw it when you need it, and it does not advance your gamestate when your hand is subpar. Raigeki is the definition of high variance. I think I side enough to deal with those scenarios, anyways, and you should always be going first with this deck if you do not know what your opponent is playing. You cannot risk the chance of them playing something like Heroes and going into a first turn Dark Law, which is like 90% of their openings.
I think that this deck has a really good chance at being competitive in the current format if played correctly. There are definitely things that can be worked on to increase its chances, and that’s what testing is for. I advise everyone to give it a try and tweak it to his or her liking. If there’s anything particularly useful that I might have missed, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician