Late Bloomers – Making Sylvans Work

Though my last article covered this same archetype, there’s been a significant gap in time between then and now, and in that time Sylvans have received considerable new support. Sylvan Duelists now have their own version of [ccProd]Graceful Charity[/ccProd], the ability to abuse [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd] to top everything off… the moment we saw Primal Origin it really all looked amazing on paper. But what happened when the set actually released? Sylvans went from one of the most promising decks of the year to barely topping Regional Qualifiers. The Sylvans were lost amidst a sea of Geargia, Bujin, and Hand decks, only resurfacing with a couple notable showings the past few weeks.

What’s the ultimate downfall of the Sylvan strategy? There are a few reasons that all contributed to the deck’s failure to launch. Comparing it to the top strategies of the current format, Sylvans still can’t match the consistency of archetypes like Geargia and even Bujin; the deck relies very heavily on particular cards and plays to work, and it doesn’t have enough immediate search power to address that problem.

Take [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd] for example. You generally rely on Lonefire to lay the foundation for everything Sylvans can do, since it’s the primary searcher that brings all of your big beatsticks to the field – everything from [ccProd]Sylvan Hermitree[/ccProd] to [ccProd]Shooting Quasar Dragon[/ccProd]. But while Lonefire is a searcher itself, Sylvans have no effects to search Lonefire in the first place and it’s a Semi-Limited card. You have to draw into Lonefire through sheer luck or send it to your graveyard, and even with a fantastic deck-thinning engine courtesy of [ccProd]Sylvan Charity[/ccProd], there are still decent odds you might never see it. When that happens the deck’s subsequently crippled.

So the lack of precise search power combined with dependency on [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd] is a problem. Kuribandit’s the second big issue – it’s a major double-edged sword. Sylvans can’t play much backrow – you need to use so many card slots for themed support and recursion that you don’t have much room for defense, and if you used that deck space for defense instead you’d sacrifice the stability of your core engine. If your opponent traps [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd] on the field with simple negation like [ccProd]Effect Veiler[/ccProd], or you fail to draw into protection to make sure you survive when [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd] does work, you leave yourself wide open with very few options.

So, what can we do to mitigate these issues? There are some unconventional, but surprisingly effective tech choices that can help tremendously in overcoming these downfalls. Let’s take a look at an updated build.

Late Bloomer Sylvans – 40 Cards
Monsters: 26
3 [ccProd]Sylvan Marshalleaf[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Sylvan Hermitree[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Sylvan Sagequoia[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Sylvan Princessprout[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Sylvan Komushroomo[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Sylvan Cherubsprout[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Copy Plant[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Dandylion[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Spore[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Naturia Cosmobeet[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Kuribandit[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Rose Archer[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd]

Spells: 14
3 [ccProd]Mount Sylvania[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Sylvan Charity[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Miracle Fertilizer[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Rank-Up Magic The Seventh One[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd]

Extra Deck: 15
1 [ccProd]Formula Synchron[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Mist Bird Clausolas[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]T.G. Hyper Librarian[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Armades, Keeper of Boundaries[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Black Rose Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Stardust Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Shooting Star Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Shooting Quasar Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Meliae of the Trees[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 107: Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number C107: Neo Galaxy-Eyes Tachyon Dragon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 11: Big Eye[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand[/ccProd]

The greatest strength of the Sylvan deck is its amazing late game. Pluses and minuses of card economy mean nothing when you can summon a [ccProd]Shooting Quasar Dragon[/ccProd] and draw three cards for virtually nothing. There’s a considerable amount of graveyard manipulation, too, which lets you stack your draws once your plans are in motion; no deck can best Sylvans in terms of topdecking. That’s the most important point to keep in mind when you’re building this deck – you want to weigh many of your choices really carefully and ensure that you’re taking full advantage of this perk. The graveyard recursion and draw manipulation is reflected in this build in particular, where you can see that I opted for hand traps like [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd] and Maxx “C”. They give you a grinding asset, saving you from OTK’s or protecting your Life Points for [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] plays. And in this deck, [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd] doesn’t just keep you alive – it often guarantees an immediate chance to bounce back and steal wins.

[ccProd]Naturia Cosmobeet[/ccProd] allows for [ccProd]Shooting Quasar Dragon[/ccProd] plays: the simplest method involves just [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd], but there’s a multitude of other play sequences that can end with Shooting Quasar as well. The main method involves popping one Lonefire to Special Summon your second copy, using that to bring out [ccProd]Spore[/ccProd], then playing [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] to revive both Lonefires so you can Special Summon Cosmobeet and [ccProd]Dandylion[/ccProd]. From there you Tune Cosmobeet and [ccProd]Dandylion[/ccProd] together to make [ccProd]T.G. Hyper Librarian[/ccProd], and use one of the subsequent Fluff Tokens with [ccProd]Spore[/ccProd] to Summon [ccProd]Formula Synchron[/ccProd]. It’s a classic Plant Synchro play, and it lets you draw two cards off your effects. You then banish any one of your handful of Level 3 Plants from your graveyard to bring back [ccProd]Spore[/ccProd], and use the second Fluff Token with it to make a Level 5 Synchro monster (Armades, Keeper of Boundaries or Ally of Justice Catastor). That gets you another draw with Hyper Librarian, and from there you make your Quasar. You end up controlling a 4000 ATK beater with built-in negation, along with three extra cards for just the two cards you invested.

[ccProd]Mount Sylvania[/ccProd] lets you pitch the cloggy high-Level monsters from hand so you can revive them later with [ccProd]Miracle Fertilizer[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd]. It also allows for strong hand correction: you can use it to get [ccProd]Sylvan Charity[/ccProd] on your following turn off your normal draw, or even combo it with [ccProd]Upstart Goblin[/ccProd] if you need to draw Charity that turn. It also puts [ccProd]Sylvan Princessprout[/ccProd] to the top of your deck to make Xyz plays with [ccProd]Sylvan Sagequoia[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Sylvan Hermitree[/ccProd]. Princessprout provides a level of stability that this deck just never had before, because rather than having to completely rely on [ccProd]Copy Plant[/ccProd] with [ccProd]Sylvan Cherubsprout[/ccProd], Princessprout easily replicates what that combo accomplishes and performs more reliably: unlike Cherubsprout, Princessprout excavates when you Normal Summon, and unlike [ccProd]Copy Plant[/ccProd] you can change its Level to anything you want without needing to mimic a particular Plant on the field. On top of that it’s compatible with [ccProd]Sylvan Charity[/ccProd] to make the deck that much smoother. The only advantage to [ccProd]Copy Plant[/ccProd] is that it’s a Tuner, but [ccProd]Spore[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Naturia Cosmobeet[/ccProd] are more than sufficient to cover you for your Synchro plays. Princessprout and [ccProd]Copy Plant[/ccProd] are ideally used to make [ccProd]Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack[/ccProd].

Since we’re on the topic of cards and combos that you’ll set up with [ccProd]Mount Sylvania[/ccProd], you might notice the lack of [ccProd]Sylvan Peaskeeper[/ccProd]. Since you have [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Miracle Fertilizer[/ccProd], Peaskeeper doesn’t serve much of a purpose – it’s just slower and less consistent by comparison. Peaskeeper takes an extra step of setup than those spells, is a major dead-draw as you won’t always have Charity, and makes the strategy even more reliant on [ccProd]Lonefire Blossom[/ccProd]. The only worthwhile target to revive with Peaskeeper’s effect is Blossom, since its ability is restricted to Special Summoning monsters Level 4 or lower.

[ccProd]Rose Archer[/ccProd] is one of my favorite picks. It stops commonly seen cards like [ccProd]Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare[/ccProd], [ccProd]Torrential Tribute[/ccProd], and even [ccProd]Needlebug Nest[/ccProd]. She allows you to push for game safely, and her activation condition is nonexistant since Sylvans are plant-based.

I believe there’s still plenty more to discover that could help polish the core engine and make it more competitive, and every time I meet another Sylvan player, they have their own neat take on the deck or helpful tech. What do you tech in your Plant deck to speed it up? Do you think Sylvans have the potential to do better in competitive play? Let me know!

-Amanda

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