Sylvans are a fun little plant deck, although not competitive they do make it fun to play.
Introduction to Sylvans
(Note: When I mention excavating, I also mean milling, unless stated otherwise.)
Sylvans are an archetype that aim to excavate, mill, and control placement of cards in their deck. You benefit from milling because the monsters (spells/traps do not have GY effects) all have GY effects when they’re sent that way via excavating. Being a plant-based archetype, they benefit greatly from generic plant support like ‘Lonefire Blossom’ and have plenty of ways to get their boss monsters out (as well as some generic XYZ monsters).
Things to know that won’t be covered:
- Most Sylvan cards have text that basically says, “when you excavate, if it’s a plant-type monster, send it to the GY, otherwise place it on the top or bottom of your deck”, so I won’t be mentioning that.
- This is *purely* a guide to the cards and what the cards do, at most I’ll do outside of that is suggest some plant support cards.
(If you think anything here can be improved or have a suggestion, feel free to comment it!)
You will be seeing “excavate(d)” a lot here, hope you enjoy reading it over and over again.
(Note: There will be a number beside each monster’s description, that is their level)
Sylvan Snapdra*sinagon – Snapdra*sinagon is basically an extender for milling, as when he’s sent to the GY (from deck, hand, or field) you can excavate the top of your deck. He’s great for thinning out your deck when you need to, but he can be a bit of a garnet. 
Sylvan Peaskeeper – Peaskeeper is a good combo starter since he’s level 1 (more on this later), and when he’s normal/special summoned he excavates the top of your deck. His second effect is mostly why you want him, since when he’s excavated you can special summon 1 level 4 or lower monster from your GY. 
Sylvan Cherubsprout – Cherub is the main target for Peaskeeper to be special summoned, since he’s also a level 1 and when special summoned, you can choose to excavate 1 or 2 cards. His second effect is also decent, letting you special summon 1 level 1 plant-type monster from your deck (once per turn), making going into rank 1 XYZ monsters that much easier. 
Sylvan Princessprout – Arguably one of the more important cards, since both of her effects are really good. You can tribute her, excavate, and then place 1 ‘Sprout’ (meaning only her and Cherubsprout) from your GY to the top of your deck. Her second effect basically just makes it easier to go into XYZ monsters, as when she’s excavated you can special summon her and change her level from 1-8. 
Sylvan Komushroomo – Komushroomo is a card you don’t want in your hand or on the field, but you want him to be excavated. On-field he has a flip effect (but is NOT a flip monster) that lets you excavate 1-5 cards, which is a good effect but too slow and too easy to play around. When he’s excavated, though, you get to destroy 1 spell or trap on the field (which is not once per turn). 
Sylvan Marshalleaf – Marshalleaf allows you to excavate 1 or 2 cards when you normal summon him, making him a good starter. When he’s sent to the GY, you can target 1 monster on the field and destroy it (not once per turn). 
Sylvan Mikorange – Mikorange is probably the weakest of the Sylvan cards, as she has to be destroyed by either battle or your opponents card effect to excavate a card. When she’s sent to the GY, all plant-type monsters you currently control gain 300 ATK/DEF, which is fine since this isn’t once per turn and stacks, but there are usually better targets if you can control what’s being milled. 
Sylvan Bladefender – Bladefender is a decent card for the most part, mostly because when he’s sent to the GY via excavating, you can add him to your hand. His first effect says if he destroys a monster by battle, you can excavate the top of your deck, but I don’t know how often you’d be able to pull this off. 
Sylvan Flowerknight – Not much to say about Flowerknight other than he’s a decent card, when he’s normal summoned you can excavate the top card of your deck. You’ll mostly want him for his 2nd effect, though, as when he’s sent from deck to the GY, you can place choose to place 1 Sylvan card on the top of your deck. 
Sylvan Lotuswain – Lotuswain is a card you’ll mostly only use for his ‘if this is sent to the GY’ effect, as he’s a level 5 and there are better targets to special summon from the GY. Once per turn, you can excavate your deck equal to the amount of cards your opponent controls, making him useful if he’s on the field, but getting him on the field is a pain. If he’s sent to the GY from the deck, however, you can shuffle 5 Sylvan cards onto the bottom of the deck in any order you choose. I’d say he’s more of a side-deck option than main, but he has his uses. 
Sylvan Guardioak – Guardioak is an alright card and relies less on variables like Lotuswain does. Once per turn you can excavate 1-3 cards from the top of your deck, and if he’s sent to the GY by excavation, you can choose 1 card from your GY and place it on top of the deck. 
Sylvan Sagequoia – Sagequoia makes it easy to go into rank 7s, as he special summons himself from the hand when a Sylvan monster is sent to the GY, and (once per turn) you can excavate the top of your deck. He’s also useful for retrieving your Sylvan spells/traps, as when he’s sent to the GY from the deck, you can add 1 Sylvan spell or trap (from your GY) to your hand.
Sylvan Hermitree – Although you probably won’t have him on the field for long (mostly because you’ll want to make rank 8s with him), when he is on the field you can excavate the top of your deck AND draw 1 card, making him a prime target for special summoning from the GY (more on that later). When he’s sent to the GY you can look at the top 3 of your deck and change the order, making him useful for a controlled mill. 
Mount Sylvania – It’s the only field-spell of the archetype, and it’s a decent on at that. You can send 1 plant-type monster from your hand or (face-up) field to the GY and then place 1 Sylvan card from your deck on the top. During your opponent’s end phase you can excavate the top card of your deck, making it useful to get in something like a Marshalleaf to pop a card.
Sylvan Charity – Sylvan Charity is a card you’ll pretty much always want to run 3 of, because it’s that good. You draw 3 cards, then if you have a Sylvan card in your hand (which you most likely will), reveal 2 cards (including 1 Sylvan card), then place those cards on top of the deck in any order. If you don’t have a Sylvan card in-hand even after drawing, you place your entire hand onto the top of the deck in any order. This card makes it easy to get rid of any potential garnets and control your milling even more, while letting you get card advantage.
(Note: More on traps later)
Sylvan Blessing – You can place 1 card from your hand on either the top or bottom of your deck and then special summon 1 Sylvan from your hand or GY, it also makes that monster special summoned unaffected by card effects that turn. During the end phase, place it on either the top or bottom of the deck.
Sylvan Waterslide – Every time an opponent’s monster declares an attack, you can excavate the top of your deck, and instead of conducting your draw for the turn (mandatory effect), you excavate the top of your deck.
Sylvan Princessprite – Princessprite is an amazing card, not just because she’s easy to bring out most of the time. You can send 1 monster from your hand or field (face-up) to the GY and then special summon a Sylvan from your GY, making getting your plays rolling that much easier, and you don’t have to detach a material to activate this effect. You can detach a material from her to excavate the top of your deck, BUT if it’s a spell/trap, you can add it to your hand rather than placing it on the bottom or top of your deck. [Rank 1]
Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter – Orea is another really good card for the archetype, as you can send 1 monster from hand or field (face-up) to the GY to look at the top cards of your deck equal to the level of that monster and place them on the top in any order (ex: if you send Guardioak, a level 6, to the GY by this effect, you can look at 6 cards on the top of your deck). You can then detach a material, excavate 1-3 cards, and then return that many number of cards on the field to the hand (this doesn’t target). [Rank 7]
Alesei, the Sylvan High Protector – You can declare 1 card name and then excavate the top of your deck, and if it’s the card you declared, add it to your hand, otherwise send it to the GY. Very good card since you can almost always control what’s on top, and even if you don’t, milling is still useful. If a card is sent to the GY by card effect (this includes excavating your own card(s)), you can detach 1 material and then target 1 card on the field, place it on either the top or bottom of the deck. [Rank 8]
Sylvans are a pretty technical deck for the most part, and although they’re not the hardest deck to learn or have the highest skill ceiling, they do have some stuff you should keep in mind. Things to keep in mind are:
- You don’t want to fill your deck with lots of traps or spells, as they can hinder your ability to excavate and get effects off, since there are only a few cards (namely Princessprout and Alesei) that can add those spells/traps to your hand when excavated (they rarely get milled).
- The traps aren’t all that good, mainly Waterslide since it’s a mandatory effect and you may not always have something you want excavated during your draw phase (ie: excavating a Marshalleaf without a monster to destroy).
- The deck can work with other plant archetypes, but know that since this deck does like milling, you should mainly keep to cards that like to be in the GY (things like Rose Lover).
(Note: These will only be descriptions)
Good plant support cards to have are:
- Rose Lover – You can banish this card from your GY; Special Summon 1 Plant monster from your hand, and if you do, it is unaffected by your opponent’s Trap effects this turn. You can only use this effect of “Rose Lover” once per turn.
- Lonefire Blossom – Once per turn: You can Tribute 1 face-up Plant monster; Special Summon 1 Plant monster from your Deck.
- Evil Thorn – You can Tribute this card; inflict 300 damage to your opponent, and if you do, you can Special Summon up to 2 “Evil Thorn” from your Deck in Attack Position, but their effects cannot be activated.
- One for One – Send 1 monster from your hand to the GY; Special Summon 1 Level 1 monster from your hand or Deck.
- Spore – If this card is in your Graveyard: You can banish 1 other Plant-Type monster from your Graveyard; Special Summon this card from your Graveyard and increase its Level by the Level of that banished monster. Each player can only activate the effect of “Spore” once per Duel.
- Flowerbot – If this card is sent to the Graveyard: Draw 1 card, then place 1 card from your hand on the top of the Deck.
- World Carrotweight Champion – If this card is in your Graveyard: You can send 1 Plant-Type monster from your hand or face-up from your field to the Graveyard, except “World Carrotweight Champion”; Special Summon this card. You can only use this effect of “World Carrotweight Champion” once per turn.
- Staysailor Romarin – (Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up monster you control; send 1 other Plant monster you control to the GY, and if you do, the next time the targeted monster would be destroyed by battle or card effect this turn, it is not destroyed. If this card is sent to the GY by a card effect: You can send 1 Level 5 or lower Plant monster from your Deck or Extra Deck to the GY. You can only use each effect of “Staysailor Romarin” once per turn.
Here we come to an end for the Guide to Sylvans – Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel guide. I hope this guide has helped you with your gameplay. If you have something to add to this guide or believe we forgot some information to add, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually by approving them!
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