First Turn Plant Plays

Hey guys! I’m back this week after making Top 8 at YCS Kansas City this past weekend with Plants.  Plants are a deck with a lot of different options and they play in a very non-linear way. In this article I want to help you sort through many of the first turn plays that you would have in this deck and give my opinion on when it is best to do which of the following plays.

There are three main normal summon monsters in the deck that at different times will be an optimal turn 1 play. These monsters are Reborn Tengu, Tour Guide from the Underworld, and Thunder King Rai-Oh. One of the reasons that Plants is the best deck is that there are very few one card outs to the above cards. This means that your opponent will often have to waste multiple cards to get rid of one of your cards, meaning that summoning any one of these three cards is a very low-risk investment. This creates a problem though, if you have all three of these in your hand, which one do you summon first to get the most out of it?

A Generalization

I’d like to go ahead and create a generalization that I think holds true to be the best play in most cases, that being that if you have all three of those in your hand and are going first against an unknown deck, summoning Thunder King will be the best play.

The reason for this is that it creates an immediate threat to every one of the meta decks at the moment. If you’re playing against Agents, they can’t search with Earth and would have to waste their Venus into Gachi play just to get rid of it. This lets you put more pressure on them the following turn with a Tengu play.

Plants don’t have that many one card outs to Thunder King. They run a low number of traps and most of them can do little to an already summoned Thunder King.  There outs come in summoning a monster and playing Enemy Controller/Book of Moon on Thunder King and attacking over it. Ideally they’ll have to summon their own Thunder King Rai-Oh and crash with yours to get rid of it. If they do this, not only did you reduce the total number of cards in the game state while you have cards like Tengu and Tour Guide still in hand that can take advantage of a reduced game state, but you also took out a card that would potentially be a problem for you when you forced them to ram. Had you summoned Tengu first turn and they summoned Thunder King and attacked over it, you’d be down a Tengu and forced to summon your own Thunder King to deal with theirs. At which point, if they had Warning, you’d be in a terrible position. Also had you played Tour Guide and gone into Sangan and passed, you would be in an even worse position if they had Thunder King. Even if you set protection, you’re only an MST and Thunder King away from losing a game where you had a solid hand.

In short, Thunder King is the best to summon first turn as they will either be forced to synchro and take a negative to get over it, or waste power cards like Enemy Controller, Book of Moon, or Dark Hole to get over it.

The Tour Guide Plays

There are also three main Tour Guide plays that you can make if you were to open with him. These plays include summoning Tour Guide and getting Sangan, summoning Tour Guide, getting Sangan, and making Leviathan, and summoning Tour Guide and getting Sangan and making Wind-Up Zenmaines.

One thing I want to point out is that even when the first turn play involves exceeding, I like to get Sangan and XYZ with that as opposed to getting Tour Guide and XYZing with that. The reason for this is that Tour Guide is a power card, much more so than Sangan and you’d rather draw a Tour Guide late game than draw Sangan and have a dead Tour Guide left in your deck because you went Tour Guide into Tour Guide first turn.

Alright I’m going to start with the Tour Guide into Sangan and pass play. This is still a solid play, however I don’t feel like it has nearly as much power as it once did. Firstly Thunder King is everywhere and this play is hurt a lot by that. Sangan is still an amazing card, but I really feel like this is only the best option when they either Maxx “C” you or have One for One in your hand. Generally I think the next two options are better.

The next option is summoning Tour Guide and getting Sangan and making Leviathan and ending. There are a couple times where I like this play. This isn’t really a play I would do against an unknown deck. I do however like this play a lot against Rabbit as they have trouble dealing with anything with more than 2400 Attack. The other time I like this play is when you know that you are playing against Plants and you can back the play with a Maxx “C”. Essentially they are going to have to special multiple times to deal with the threat. This guarantees you a plus off of Maxx “C”. The first play against Rabbit is also greatly improved if you have Maxx “C” to back your Leviathan, but I’d say that making Leviathan is still really good first turn against Rabbit even without the Maxx “C”. This is because they will generally have to waste their Rabbit making Utopia and ramming to deal with it.

The third and final option is summon Tour Guide, getting Sangan, and making Zenmaines. This play is extremely safe and is my favorite play against an unknown deck. There are virtually no one card outs to this play. The best thing that most decks could do against this play is play Dark Hole and end. This forces you to detatch both materials as Zenmaines has to kill something. In doing this, you still got a plus one and don’t have to play around Dark Hole the rest of the match. You also forced them to end their turn without making any plays. If they don’t have Dark Hole you will almost certainly get a plus 2 from the card. I also feel like this is good as it deals with problem cards like Thunder King or Dimensional Fissure.

That Leaves Tengu

While I think the other two are generally more useful to summon first turn, there are some advantages to summoning Tengu first turn. First of all, it ensures that it doesn’t get Warninged. This is also huge first turn if you open either Lonefire or Caius. Tengu followed up by either one of those the following turn puts huge pressure on your opponent.

A deck that I like Tengu first turn against when I don’t open Thunder King is Agents, if in addition to Tengu I opened a level 1 tuner. This is because first turn you summon Tengu and end. Their most common first turn play is to summon Venus and make Gachi.  This will let them run over your first Tengu, but on your turn you can summon your tuner and make Catastor and pull the last Tengu from your deck. The Catastor then attacks Gachi and removes both materials from it as Catastors effect doesn’t prevent it from going to the damage step. Once both of the materials are gone, Tengu can once again attack over Venus which will leave you in a solid position. This is another play that is strengthened if you have Maxx “C” to go along with it. In this situation, I would Maxx “C” on the second activation of Venus’ effect to force them into making Gachi rather than taking a chance that they have another Venus in their hand. The end result is you forcing a plus from Maxx “C” and you winding up with huge field presence.

I hope that this article gives you a little bit of insight on my decision making process in common first turn Plant plays. Feel free to leave a comment if you would like me to further explain something or you simply don’t agree with something I said. Until next time!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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