- "Sylvan (Shinra)" is an archetype of Plant-Type monsters that will debut in Legacy of the Valiant. Their basic playing style involves revealing other "Sylvan" monsters from the Deck and sending them to the Graveyard, in turn activating their effects, ranging from card destruction to monster revival. So far, the "Sylvan" monsters between Levels 1, 2, and 3 generate field advantage when sent from your Deck to the Graveyard, while the Level 4 and higher monsters rearrange the top of your Deck for more efficient use. Their effects also let you, if no Plant-Type monsters were revealed, send potentially dead draws to the bottom of the Deck, thus allowing good draw advantage. This mechanic has a very "MTG Stasis/Slide" feel to it, and makes you wonder how relevant it can/will be in regards to Yu-Gi-Oh; a game with an inherently faster, and unforgiving pace. This archetype will be the first to introduce the new mechanic called Excavate. You will become quite familiar with the Excavate mechanic once you delve into this discussion.
- RUN 2-3 Peaskeeper's effects aren't outright bad. They do seem underwhelming though. The fact that you can get it's effect even when it is Special Summoned adds some value to the card, especially when you open weak and your game depends on activating a Miracle Fertilizer way before you may want to, as well as, getting a target you really don't want. And as for the Special Summoning effect: It, again, is not bad, but you generally won't want to/be concerned with Special Summoning your Level 4 or lower Plants not named Dandylion, Lonefire Blossom, or Spore. I have dropped to a lone copy of this since it can facilitate Excavating in situations where you have stacked a key utility card on top of your deck.
- RUN 3 (2) Spiritree's first effect is quite nice, especially if you reveal another Sylvan Monster. The goodies just keep coming. The biggest point of discussion about Spiritree is that it is a Level 8 Monster that has no self-Special Summoning effect, so, it hitting the field seems quite difficult. It's not as difficult as one would think since the deck will run Lonefire Blossom which immediately puts it on-field, and you should also be running three Miracle Fertilizers. What is interesting is, once the deck gets going, especially with Dandylion in the mix, Normal Summoning Spiritree becomes much easier. Mark of the Rose can also help to mitigate the difficulty of Normal Summoning it as well. As you will notice with all of the Excavation effects in this deck, correct application/ordering/decision making will be paramount. Spiritree's second effect will help you set up other Sylvan effects so make sure you are ordering things right; especially if you have the Field Spell active since it's effect can set you ahead in a game as a potential +1 per turn.
- RUN 1-2 Stoolhouette is one of your best Turn 1 single cards. With a 2000 DEF your opponent will have to put a huge body on-field to push him out of the way, but that really doesn't matter that much anyway. You are looking to resolve this effect since you can move unwanted Spells/Traps to the bottom of the deck, on top of possibly/hopefully revealing/sending useful Sylvans to the Graveyard. This is the best one-timer resource building effect the deck has. It's second effect lends even more utility to the deck since it serves as Spell/Trap removal. A generic play to show this card's real quality would be a situation like this:
With Sacred Sylvan Peak active on the field: Discard 1 Plant-Type Monster to place Sylvan Monster (Stoolhouette) on top of your deck.
- In your Opponent's turn they set 1/2 Spell/Traps.
- In their EP activate Peak's effect to reveal the top card of your deck.
- It is a Plant, Sylvan Stoolhouette, so send it to the Graveyard
- Activate Stoolhouette's effect to destroy a Spell/Trap card your Opponent controls.
It's like the deck's built in EP Mystical Space Typhoon. Being able to remove Spell/Trap threats in the EP before your Opponent can use them against you is an excellent utility.
- RUN 1-2 (3) Best case scenario for Leaflow is that you have just resolved a Spiritree Excavation and know that you have two Sylvan Monsters on top of your deck which makes Leaflow a superb play. But truth be told; I never want to draw this card, or even summon it. I would just prefer to use him, at least for most cases, as Monster removal. Granted this doesn't happen all the time; after all, we should be running three copies of Leaflow, but in theory, I personally want to get his effect via Excavating. With that having been said, the ability to Excavate for two is a nice medium from the two cards that dig for one, and the other two which reveal 3-5.
- RUN 1-2 Knightcissus is the deck's "big" Level 4 body. While we all know that 1800 ATK is not intimidating at all, it's the best you have to work with for the Level 4 or lowers currently, and thus, must be treated as your beat stick. Knightcissus Excavates for one, and when it is Excavated it acts as one of the deck's facilitators since it allows you to put a Sylvan into place for a later Excavation. The card is not bad, but it does seem to get lost in the interactions that will have your attention when playing the deck. I have it as a RUN 2-3 currently, but I'm not wholly convinced it needs to be at more than one, or even in the deck. But for now, I think I like it since you don't want to cut too many of the Sylvans from the deck just due to the fact that Excavating becomes less potent.
- RUN 0 (1) My first version of a deck, regardless of archetype, especially if there is very little to choose from, is to almost take the "Let's run three of each card - unless a card just stands out as trash" mind set. Well, just because this archetype was slightly confusing at first, since this happens to be the most unnatural mechanic we have ever had introduced into the game, I figured I would err on the side of caution and just see how every card interacts in game situations and with each other, and then go from there. So, while most people immediately wrote this card off since there are some warning signs to be seen, I actually got in-game information on the card and how it works, or not, for the deck. Oark's Excavation effect seems to address a need the deck could potentially have: The lack of Pot of Avarice. While it won't put large quantities of Sylvans back into your deck, it could potentially put one on top for a clutch Excavation. It is also like Spiritree in the fact that it can Excavate once per turn, versus just upon Normal/Special Summoning. But, alas, Oark did see his way out of my version of the deck. The reasons are that the Level 6 is quite irrelevant in regards to the Xyz Mechanic, on top of the fact that you really don't want a large amount of Tribute Monsters that really don't do anything to progress the game via their effect in regards to removal, or negation.
- RUN 0 (1) I was initially very disappointed with this card for the fact that looking at the archetype overall you can see the possibility for one, or two, more support cards to hit the scene and make this deck really function. And needless to say, I felt Bladefender's effect to be lacking. After setting the deck aside for a bit I reconsidered it's place in the deck, if, in fact, there was one. I do think there is. Not only will Bladefender be another possible Sylvan for Excavation purpose, it does have a 1900 ATK body and that does mean a little at least. One of the aspects of the deck that always bugged me is that the Excavation's of card's like Komushroomo and Hermitree often hit a lot of cards that were not Sylvans, and this is one of the big reasons why I feel Bladefender has value in the deck. While it's Excavation effect isn't stellar, Bladefender adding itself back to your hand can offer some quality. Free activations of Mount Sylvania to start, but also for discards for cards such as Redox and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, etc.
- RUN 0 (1) I want to tell you that I remained excited about the information on Mikorange being spoilered as much as I was when I heard Sylvan were getting one more card. But, once I read the card's effect, I was once again let down. I want to be fair to this card, as I tried with Bladefender after disliking it initially since there is the possibility I change my mind, so I will say that the fact that it will allow you to Excavate a card when it is destroyed either by Battle OR Card Effect is quite nice. Even if that was the lone effect, it would be much better than seeing more text following and the text being what it is: I just cannot see an ATK and DEF boost of 300 offering the deck something it sorely needs, since it cannot possibly be in need of that. Especially in the introduction stages of a new mechanic. But alas, I sit back and think, that for a new mechanic, the starting point isn't so bad and I could, in fact, see this as a one-of. But nothing more most likely.
- Sylvan Sagequoia
Wind / Plant / Effect / Level 7
ATK / 2600 DEF / 2100
When a "Sylvan" monster is sent to the Graveyard (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn: You can excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, send it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, place it on the bottom of your Deck. If this card is excavated from the Deck and sent to the Graveyard by a card effect: You can target 1 "Sylvan" Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard; add that target to your hand.
- Sylvan Ferrylotus
Water / Plant / Effect / Level 5
ATK / 2300 DEF / 1100
Once per turn: You can excavate cards from the top of your Deck, equal to the number of cards your opponent controls, send any excavated Plant-Type monsters to the Graveyard, also place the other cards on the bottom of your Deck in any order. If this card is excavated from the Deck and sent to the Graveyard by a card effect: You can target up to 5 "Sylvan" cards in your Graveyard, except "Sylvan Ferrylotus"; place those targets on the bottom of your Deck in any order.
- Sylvan Snuffspy
Dark / Plant / Effect / Level 1
ATK / 900 DEF / 400
If this card is sent from your hand or your side of the field to the Graveyard: You can excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, send it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, place it on the bottom of your Deck. If this card is excavated from the Deck and sent to the Graveyard by a card effect: You can excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, send it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, place it on the bottom of your Deck.
- This trio of Plants needs very little explanation since we should all be well acquainted with them and how they work. I will say that Spore is the least useful of the three at this point, and Lonefire Blossom is the most important of the three. Early game Lonefire Blossom's can really put your Sylvan deck into motion. It will dig your Spirtrees out of your deck, and possibly your Tytannial, Princess of Camelias if you are running it. Lonefire isn't crucial to the deck, but it just makes everything better. While most of the decks will run Lonefire, and possibly even Dandylion, I have seen some builds that opted out of running Spore. One last note on Spore's potential value is that it could be used to put an additional body on the field which would make Normal Summoning Spiritree easier. ****Now that Lonefire Blossom is available to run in your deck at two once again, this can only bolster the effectiveness of the deck, as well as some of it's card choices.
- RUN 2-3 Crane Crane turns out to be quite the nice utility. Crane seems to be a great stabilizer, as well as a facilitator, for the Sylvan deck. It can make Meliae plays which can create your pushes for position; or even make Zenmaines for holding/defending positions; or Leviair as a continuation play.
- RUN 1-2 Debris Dragon was a generic addition at first for me, but after playing the deck I upped Debris from a one-of to two. There are so many targets in the deck for Debris it makes sense in that regard, but also it makes Ancient Fairy Dragon a reality quite easily which can turn an Opponent's Dragon Ravine/Spellbook Tower into a Sacred Sylvan Peak.
- RUN 0-2 Spell Striker is one of the latest additions to the Sylvan deck. It's not out of the ordinary, or unexpected for that matter, but it does help to focus the deck a bit more. You will probably be dropping certain flavor cards in hope of adding cards that get you to a more specific goal versus the more fluid and changing game. It's a Special Summonable Level 3, Earth, Body that helps get you to Meliae easier/quicker. I'm not sure I am for that style of build myself, but I am not overlooking the quality Striker could bring.
- RUN 0-1 Tytannial is one of the latest additions for myself since I am trying to really refine the scenario based aspect of the deck. This card has been key in the Fire Fist, Bujin, Blackwing match-ups, but also has value in the larger match-ups as well. When Dandylion is a factor in the game, Tytannial becomes a huge threat to your opponent, although I will say the Tiger King Xyz for the Fire Fist deck is quite a pain since he can turn her effect off and there is zero she can do about it, haha.
- Card Trooper has made it's way into some players variations of the Sylvan deck. I must admit that when I was conceptualizing the deck in my head this is one of the several cards that made immediate sense to me. But after taking the deck through several stages of building, Card Trooper's value has only decreased more and more, for me. While I never actually put Card Trooper into any of my builds, I can say that milling in this sense really isn't what the deck wants to do.
- Copy Plant is another card I haven't personally tested, but I can see the value and allure that is drawing players to it. If you have Copy Plant and Spiritree on the field, you have an easy Rank 8 play at your fingertips. And since Copy Plant's value comes from it's ability to Level Modulate better than any card in the game, the rest of it's value is quite superficial and easy to understand in regards to facilitating Syncro and/or Xyz Summoning.
- Magical Merchant is another card that stood out to me in theory mode as a card that could offer great quality to the deck. But, unlike Card Trooper, I actually put this into practice. I will say I didn't outright dislike how Merchant worked, but it never did what I imagined it could do. This is not to say you shouldn't consider/test this card on your own, but for my particular version of the deck, it seemed when I had Merchant in hand I always wanted it to be a Veiler. Also, when I had Magical Merchant after the first 2-3 turns, it really never hit the field. It just remained as dead weight in my hand since I couldn't even use it for Sacred Sylvan Peak. But again, you should test this card for yourself.
- I have seen a few Sylvan decks take the Level 8 approach since you can get an optional take on how the deck can function. In the conceptual stages I was really considering Chirubimé and Talaya for the Trade-In/Rank 8 direction the deck would take. I also doubted Spiritree a lot at this point in creating as well, so there is that to factor into my thought process. I also saw a Phoenixian/Trade-In variant that was built to push when it could, but also had the handy trick of burning the opponent out of LPs throughout the game. The deck made Coach King Giantrainer to help facilitate this aspect of the deck. The Level 8 approach is definitely an avenue you can travel down when considering how you want to play the Sylvan archetype/strategy just be aware that the deck will change how it plays and will put less emphasis on the Excavation mechanic and use it as more of a "splashed" effect to add into the mix.
- A quick note on Poenixian Cluster Amaryllis: This card may just be something to consider as a one-of whether or not you are going the Level 8 route. Just the fact that once it hits the Graveyard you can have a reliable source for your Rank 8 plays, or just a body in general.
- RUN 3 Sacred Sylvan Peak is the deck's theme specific Field Spell that can really serve as a great resource builder. You can use the first effect to pitch dead Tribute Monsters from your hand to turn them into a stacked Sylvan Monster for a later Excavation. The second effect is used in your Opponent's End Phase. It Excavates a single card which can be used, generically, in tandem with it's first effect. While the first effect won't be as utilized as the second effect, doesn't mean it is bad, or useless. The second effect is just a stand alone card which doesn't require an investment of discarding a card in hand or one from your field. Also keep in mind that for the first effect you can choose to tribute a Plant Type Monster from your side of the field in situations where you don't have in-hand Plants you want to part ways with just yet.
- Sylvan Charity
Draw 3 cards, then reveal 2 cards in your hand, including at least 1 "Sylvan" card, and place them on top of your Deck in any order, or, if you don't have any "Sylvan" cards in your hand, reveal all the cards in your hand and place them on top of your Deck in any order. You can only activate 1 "Sylvan Charity" per turn.
RUN 3 Without a doubt this possibly one of the best cards the Sylvan deck has acquired in the surge of support it has received and is going to receive. The ability to stack a card whenever you may need via card effects such as Flowerknight or Mount Sylvania, or to place a card on top via a Monster's effect like Hermitree, there are almost endless ways to guarantee that you will draw a Sylvan to make this card net some real advantage. Go ahead and read it again. Go ahead....
- RUN 3 Miracle Fertilizer is a must at three; no questions. Fertilizer will allow you to turn your Excavations into real quality. Getting back your Lonefire Blossom can lead to obvious value, but also being able to have access to your Spiritrees since Summoning them by Fertilizer's effect is infinitely easier than trying to Normal Summon them.
- RUN 2-3 Mark of the Rose is a great utility for the Sylvan deck. It will let you take your Opponent's problem monsters and let you turn them against them.
- RUN 0-2 Terraforming wasn't initially a card I wanted in the Sylvan deck, but that is due to how much I overlooked the quality of the Field Spell at first. Now that I understand the deck and how it works much more, Terraforming is a one-of currently for me. I would run two if I wasn't running Debris Dragon which goes into Ancient Fairy Dragon which is another access point to the Field Spell.
- Foolish Burial is one of the first Spell Cards to come to mind when thinking of Plants. That's not right or wrong, just the way it goes. In my initial, beta, runs of the deck, I did include Foolish Burial in my lists. But, after testing the deck quite a bit, I soon dropped it to open up slots which I felt could be better utilized. After all, the best you are going to get out of this is Dandylion or possibly a Spiritree to set-up an early Miracle Fertilizer. Let your preference make the call.
- One For One is another Plant staple that we may be drawn to when building Plant decks just because we know what it does and how it works in the deck. With that having been said, there is a bit more legitimacy to One For One since some Sylvan decks have taken to running a copy(s) of Copy Plant. Copy Plant's level modulation effect can come in handy for Synchro, and/or Xyz, Summoning. This can be a real selling point for both Copy Plant, and One For One.
- RUN 1-2 (3) Sylvan's Blessing is a card that at face-value makes a lot of sense. Now I guess you would expect me to use this next sentence to debunk that theory. Well, I obviously will not be taking that route. The more I sit and think about it, the more I can remember situations in testing where I would draw a Stoolhouette or Leaflow and would want them on top of the deck instead for an upcoming Excavation. This would facilitate that, as well as, putting an in-Graveyard Sylvan on the field to use for a Tribute/Synchro/Xyz. And you would also have the ability to stack it on top of your deck, or place it on bottom, in your End Phase you if so choose. I am constantly saying I think this deck really wants Pot of Avarice back in the game, and while this won't be anything near Avarice, it can help address the need that Avarice would fill; just in it's own unique way.
- Sylvan Waterslide
When an opponent's monster declares a direct attack: You can excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, send it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, place it on the bottom of your Deck. During your Draw Phase, instead of conducting your normal draw: Excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, send it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, add it to your hand.
RUN 0-1 While there is some obvious synergy with this card, I'm not sure how many Sylvan players, who are competitive minded players, will jump at this card. It seems to be underwhelming, but testing for yourself can help you place a value on the card.
- RUN 0-3 Call of the Haunted was kind of a default add for me. When looking at the deck in concept mode I realized quickly, as we all should, that if we are successfully navigating the deck, key cards will wind up in the Graveyard; including cards like Spiritree that we would much rather Summon from the Graveyard versus from our hand. Use preference to lead you to the right number for you, but I will say that I have already noticed that the OCG has left Call of the Haunted out of it's builds at this point.
- RUN 0-2 Pollinosis is a tech I picked up from the OCG where the game seems to be more creative and lax in how they complete their lists. Pollinosis is not such a big shock that it would see play in a Plant deck, but just a breath of fresh air since at times in trying to develop a deck you can find yourself getting caught in the hive-mind where people are quick to tell you cards are bad and play styles don't exist. I won't bank on this card sticking around, at least not in the TCG, but since I was happy to see it included, I will at least give it a run for a few games regardless of whether or not it sticks around for me.
- RUN 0-1 The Transmigration Prophecy is just another card to mill over that will let you return Sylvan Monsters back to the deck in case that is something you feel you need. The added benefit of TTP is that it has applications against other match-ups instead of just being theme support.
- I must say that I don't have much experience with this guy from the testing I have done with the deck. I actually believe I have only made it once since I am generally making Felgrand when the Rank 8 play becomes available. I am making a change to my builds currently which will see me testing out the likes of Phoenixian Cluster Amaryllis and Copy Plant. These two cards should increase the amount of times the Rank 8 becomes available much more than it currently is for me. But let's look at the card's quality. It's first effect allows you to abuse the Excavation/Stacking you do in a game via your Sylvan effects since you would know what card is on top of your deck. It's second effect is a bit awkward, but it's removal so you need to get adjusted to using this and how best to do just that. It's more of a set-up play that requires a bit more focus. His stats are quite nice. Not every Monster in the game will be used to attack the opponent, or their Monsters, so that 3200 DEF will attempt to allow you to set-up and develop your strategy especially since there are very few Monsters that see play currently that will be able to get over that DEF.
- Oreia, the Sylvan High Arbiter
Dark / Plant / Xyz / Effect / Rank 7
ATK / 2800 DEF / 2500
2 Level 7 monsters
Once per turn: You can send 1 Plant-Type monster from your hand or face-up from your side of the field to the Graveyard; look at a number of cards from the top of your Deck, equal to the Level of the sent monster, then place them on the top of the Deck in any order. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; choose a number from 1 to 3, then excavate that many cards from the top of your Deck, send any excavated Plant-Type monsters to the Graveyard, also place the other cards on the bottom of your Deck in any order, and if you do, return cards on the field to the hand, except this card, up to the number of monsters sent to the Graveyard this way.
RUN 0-1 Here is the newest Sylvan Xyz. With the addition of Sagequoia to the Sylvan deck, you can now add Dragon Rulers beyond the obvious reasons. Now you can use them to not only connect Synchro plays, as well as utilize their own effects from time to time, but now you can put Rank 7 Monsters on the Field. There is also a loop that puts three Oreia on the field in one turn, so there is no question that there is value here, but - Dracossack and Big Eye are still available and when the Extra Deck gets tough on space, it's generally archetype specific cards like this that don't make the roster.
- You will have several quality Rank 8 Monsters to choose from to address multiple situations, and these are probably the most common/best to choose from. With that being said, I do think that the Sylvan deck retained a small percentage of it's hype due to the ability of the deck, regardless of variation, to make Felgrand. And Felgrand is good enough to consider running two copies if you find the space for them in your Extra Deck.
- Wind-Up Zenmaines and Leviair the Sea Dragon are the two best, generic, Rank 3's that offer the Sylvan deck value that is dependable, and applicable, amongst multiple match-ups/scenarios. There are other choices for you to make, for sure, but we'll leave that up to the individual.
- If you are like me and have found that Crane Crane is a bit too much of awesome, then you are going to want to have at least two copies of Meliae of the Trees in your Extra Deck. This card, if her effect is allowed to resolve, is just too damn good. Special Summon Lonefire Blossom from your Graveyard = Profit. Xyz Summon Meliae with Dandylion = Profit = Detach Dandy to Special Summon Lonefire = YUP.
- I have taken to running Debris Dragon since it just makes sense in regards to the Meta. You have a tremendous amount of targets to make Debris Dragon live which will in turn affect how you build your Extra Deck. The deck has a quality Field Spell that can net advantage and the pound-for-pound best deck in the game thrives off of a Field Spell. Ancient Fairy Dragon acts as removal and a facilitator. And Black Rose Dragon is Black Rose Dragon; you are running Debris and Dandy for goodness sakes.
- The deck can hit the Level 8 Synchro but I wouldn't stray too far from these three guys. Now, obviously, Stardust Spark Dragon could be Stardust Dragon, but as long as you are factoring in Scrap Dragon's utility, and Crimson Blader's ability to hate on the Meta, you should be fine. I'd say three spots in the Extra Deck for the Sylvan deck should be more than enough, but 1-2 would probably be best.