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Hey everyone, some of you may already know me but I’d like to introduce myself. I’ve been playing Duel Links for almost a year now, I joined last year right after the Pegasus event (God I used to hate Relinquished!).
Crazy thing about me is I have zero TCG experience in Yu-Gi-Oh! but I played Magic for almost 5 years and Pokémon prior. Yet, I’ve reached King of Games pretty much every season since the second month of playing but I didn’t start entering tournaments until recently, maybe 2 or 3 months ago.
I’ve seen a really high success rate with Sylvans coming in 2nd place in Duel Links Pro Tournament 15 losing to a mirror, 2nd in Duel Links Mini Open, 2nd in Duel Links Challenger Series #11 losing to mirror, winning two of Tekumse’s tournaments and placing Top 8 in multiple Duel Links Meta’s Meta Weekly.
Not too long ago they called us a meme Deck, but before you know it we started kicking ass, tournament after tournament! This guide is for anyone new to Sylvans as well as those who use them but don’t maximize their combo potential simply thinking that milling Sylvan Komushroomo or Sylvan Marshalleaf wins you games.
- Grit: the new #1 skill when it comes to Sylvans! The activation requirement of this skill still remains a mystery, but it allows you to hang on with 1 LP which buys you a turn to recover and setup an OTK if you have World Carrotweight Champion or Rose Lover in the Graveyard.
the #1 skill when it comes to Sylvans.Your main goal is to open with at least a Sylvan Komushroomo (first), World Carrotweight Champion (second), or Rose Lover (third) all three are vital in an opening hand.
- Heavy Starter: it guarantees that you open with a Sylvan Hermitree, Sylvan Guardioak, or Sylvan Lotuswain under the one condition that you have at least one copy of all three in your Deck.
- Beatdown: for those who trust that their opening hand will be good enough to win.
Who Are They?
Each Sylvan Monster has an effect to excavate cards in the deck as well as a Graveyard effect when they’re excavated themselves.
Each Sylvan Monster has unique effects to excavate the Deck as well as Graveyard effects that activate when they’re excavated themselves.
3 × Sylvan Komushroomo (Shroom):
Shroom is primarily used to excavate 5 cards into the Graveyard to setup OTKs or just board wipes giving the user a greater advantage over their opponent. When it’s excavated, its effect allows you to destroy one Spell/Trap on the Field (yours or your opponents), allowing you to remove troublesome cards like Wall of Disruption, Mirror Wall or Super Rush Headlong. You normally want to set Shroom with some form of backrow protection, mainly effect negating cards like Divine Wrath or Ultimate Providence to deal with Abyss Soldier, Geargias, Cyber Angels, Archfiends or anything else that can destroy or send it back to your hand.
3 × Sylvan Marshalleaf (Marsh):
Aka the “Smaller Bigger Beater”. You want this guy in your Deck rather than in your hand. When milled he can destroy one Monster on the Field which opens up OTKs or at least weakens your opponent’s defenses. If you find yourself with a Marsh in hand don’t worry, he can still excavate two cards off the top of the Deck and with luck mill another Marsh or Shroom to pop something on the Field.
2/3 x Sylvan Guardioak (Oak):
Probably the most important Sylvan in the Deck, Oak is a 2400 ATK beater which can get you over many Monsters. His effect allows you to mill between 1 and 3 cards which like previously stated you’d aim for Sylvan Marshalleaf or Sylvan Komushroomo to pop cards on the opponents side of the Field. When Oak is sent to the Graveyard he allows you to put any Plant-Type Monster on the top of your Deck which is great if he’s already on the Field and you have another card to setup a combo play.
2/3 × Sylvan Hermitree (Hermit):
The Sylvan boss with 2700 ATK allows you to swing over most Deck’s bosses. When he gets milled he allows you to look at the top three cards of your Deck and reorder them in any order you want which is great because then you can setup a combo play.
2/3 × Enemy Controller (ECon):
Adding an ECon or two is good for any Deck that has offensive or defensive versatility. For us it’s primarily used for ECon tribute-take plays. Let’s say you flip up a Shroom and don’t mill a Marsh, you can ECon a face-up Monster to tribute for Sylvan Guardioak or Sylvan Lotuswain. You can Summon a World Carrotweight Champion, then ECon tribute-take your Carrot for your opponent’s Monster, then use Carrot’s effect to discard Rose Lover and Special Summon itself and finally use Roses’ effect to Special Summon a third Monster all in one turn!
3 × Rose Lover (Rose):
The most important non-Sylvan card in the Deck. Since Sylvans entire Monster line up is Plant-Types a Rose in the Graveyard can Special Summon any Monster from your hand whilst also also making it immune to Trap card effects that turn! Rose can combo in multiple ways from being set, used as tribute fodder then using her effect to Special Summon a Monster then ECon tribute-take or discarding her with a card effect then activating her effect. This is hands down the first card you want to add.
1/2 x World Carrotweight Champion (Carrot):
Like Rose Lover, Carrot is used to ECon tribute-take, fuel for a Spells/Traps that require a discard or even as a decoy set Monster for Turn 1. You want him in the Graveyard to initiate the combos of getting 3 Monsters on the Field in a single turn. The basic combo is Special Summon him from the Graveyard by discarding Rose, then use Rose to Special Summon a Level 5 or higher Monster then Normal Summon the third Monster. Alternatively, you can Normal Summon Carrot and then ECon tribute-take and do the same process too!
2/3 x Divine Wrath:
Primarily to protect your Shroom from cards like Abyss Soldier, Archfiend Emperor, the First Lord of Horror, Golden Flying Fish, or any other Monster with an effect to send back to hand or destroy your Monster. Your primary discards are Rose Lover and World Carrotweight Champion but if push comes to shove you can discard anything in order to save your Monster as well as destroying your opponent’s.
2/3 x Ultimate Providence:
Pretty much the same as Divine Wrath with the added utily of being able to negate Spells or Traps.
Important note: you don’t need both Divine Wrath and Ultimate Providence in the core cards, two copies of either in total is sufficient.
These cards are interchangeable and vary each Deck.
Sylvan Lotuswain (Lotus):
Lotus is a unique and not highly used Sylvan. His on Field effect of excavating cards equal to the number of cards your opponent controls isn’t as versatile as the others. His Graveyard effect on the other hand allows you to return up to 5 Sylvans to the bottom of the Deck in any order you choose which is great for long dragged out duels being able to recycle your Sylvan Marshalleaf/Sylvan Komushroomo to be reused again.
Sylvan Snapdrassinagon (Snap):
Snap’s on Field and Graveyard effects are the same and it’s simply to excavate another card. This is great when you combo with World Carrotweight Champion to Special Summon him to the Field while also excavating another card.
Dark World Lightning:
Very important for the mirror match as it allows you to destroy a set Sylvan Komushroomo as well as discard a Rose Lover for a potential OTK on Turn 2.
Tribute to the Doom:
Another great discard tech that allows you to discard Rose or Carrot and then destroy a Monster on the Field to further combo plays.
Allows you to banish bigger Monster that Sylvan Hermitree cannot swing over such as Archfiend Emperor, the First Lord of Horror, Saffira, Queen of Dragons/Cyber Angel Dakini boosted by Cyber Angel Idaten or even Gozuki which don’t get their Graveyard effects/protection.
Different Dimension Ground:
Is a great tech for the mirror since you already know your opponent plans to excavate his Deck you can banish all of his milled Monsters instead of letting them hit the Graveyard essentially making them waste Sylvan Marshalleaf/Sylvan Komushroomo’s effect. But be wary as this applies to your Monsters too.
Magical Merchant (Merchant):
Merchant is more for the aggressive player as its effect allows you to mill the top card of your Deck until you get to a Spell or Trap card. This is great for clearing the board for OTKs but it requires a lower amount of Spell/Trap’s in your Deck. Merchant also loses all value once you’ve draw all of your Spell/Trap’s as his effect will not activate. That factor is why he sees little to no play in tournaments. It’s a great card for the ladder though but it’s an Insect so excavating it with a Sylvan effect will just send it to the bottom of the Deck.
Great card to stop traps from destroying your monsters, preventing Archfiends from getting their combos off, stopping Geargia from activating Pulse Mines and other such instances.
Treacherous Trap Hole (TTH):
Useful vs. decks that utilize field control as well as setting up Carrot/Rose combos without the use of Econ while destroying an opponent’s monster. The main downside is, if you run 2 copies, the second one becomes dead after you use the first one because of its activation condition.
There are many more techs available but these are the most common.
Tournament Top Decklists
1st Place: Deadfun - Duel Links Pro Tournament 15
2nd Place: Whoiskp - Duel Links Pro Tournament 15
1st Place: Jayrabian - Duel Links Challenger Series #11
1st Place: Gabriele94 - Duel Links Open #5
As you can see the core cards don’t usually change while almost each Deck utilized other techs to the player’s preference.
Cool Combo Tips
There are several combos to pull off with Sylvans and specific tech cards, in no particular order I’ll list a few.
Enemy Controller tribute-take with World Carrotweight Champion over Rose Lover:
I know you’re thinking “but why, I can use Roses effect to Special Summon another Monster”. Yes you can but if you Normal Summon then ECon tribute-take with Carrot first, then you can use its effect to discard Rose, and then use Roses effect to get a third Monster on the Field that’s also not affected by Trap cards.
Milling Marsh/Shroom with Sylvan Guardioak:
Always take into consideration that Oak puts the next card on top of your Deck so let’s say you’ve already set a Shroom Turn 1 and your opponent doesn’t attack it. Turn 3 you draw a Marsh, flip the Shroom milling yourself a Carrot, Marsh, Shroom, Oak, and ECon (which goes to the bottom) depending on your opponent’s Field you want to use Oak to recycle whichever Sylvan is necessary to pop more cards on the Field. This allows you to pop more cards on the same turn increasing you chances for an OTK.
Baiting the mirror match:
If you already have a set Shroom in the mirror match and your opponent has any backrow it’s better to try and “bait” them by Summoning Marsh, this helps in two ways:
- They’re forced to decide whether to negate Marsh or take the risk of you milling a Shroom and popping whatever the backrow is.
- It allows you to check for specific backrow delays during Normal/Special Summons as others do not. Learning to judge delays also helps when getting ready for an ECon tribute-take play.
Using Sylvan Hermitree to setup an OTK:
The best way to setup a combo is when you excavate Hermit. You’ll see the next three cards in your Deck, you basically want to organize them in order of importance - this all depends on the Field. Let’s say you see two Marsh and a Shroom, you’ll want to order Marsh first then Shroom and then the other Marsh, that’ll guarantee you pop a backrow and Monster on your next turn as long as Marsh isn’t negated.
No backrow so Rose before Shroom:
Not saying this works 100% of the time but now that Sylvans are getting more and more popular setting a Rose over a Shroom turn one if you don’t have backrow protection may be more beneficial as more Decks are adding cards to get rid of Shroom, denying you of the +5 mill.
Milling more than one Sylvan Guardioak:
Remember if you mill more than one Oak, the effect of the first one will be the next card you draw and the effect of the second Oak will be the card after. Bear that in mind while trying to make plays after milling two or more Oak.
Here I opened with Sylvan Marshalleaf, Sylvan Guardioak, Rose Lover and Dark World Lightning going second I chose not to Restart. Not knowing what I’m playing my opponent set one Monster and one backrow. I used Lightning to destroy his backrow (which was Wall of Disruption) and then discarded World Carrotweight Champion. I then Special Summoned Carrot discarding Rose. I Normal Summoned Marsh which excavated a Sylvan Hermitree and Enemy Controller. I then used Hermit to organize the next three cards in my Deck which ended up being a March, Oak, and Ultimate Providence - I left them in that order. I then used the effect of Rose Lover in the Graveyard to Summon Oak from my hand and mill the single Marsh which destroyed my opponents face down Monster. This then allowed to me to swing for game!
After 50 games of testing Grit Sylvans I opened with brick hands 7 times. This put me at a 14% chance of opening with a brick. Using a standard build of 3x Sylvan Komushroomo, 3x Sylvan Marshalleaf, 3x Rose Lover, 2x World Carrotweight Champion, 3x Sylvan Guardioak, 2x Sylvan Hermitree, 2x Enemy Controller, 2x Ultimate Providence. I didn’t lose all the games I bricked. Of those 50 games when needed Grit saved me 14/22 times with no actual formula of when it will activate. So that means there is a 14% chance to open with a brick with a 63.6% chance of being saved with Grit. The brick hands aren’t ideal but a % chance of being saved by Grit gives you a better chance to OTK next turn depending on the field.
- Mirror (Sylvans):
Sylvan mirror matches are the hardest matchup for Sylvans. It typically comes down to side techs, the coin toss, and who opens with an effect negating Spell/Trap card. A few tips would be if you’re going first to set a Rose Lover/World Carrotweight Champion over Shroom if you don’t have any backrow protection. If you have backrow protection it’s fine to set Shroom. If you’re going second two things to consider:
- If your opponent has backrow protection you should set a card or risk being OTK’d.
- If your opponent doesn’t have backrow protection Normal Summon a Marsh if you don’t have anything to prevent a potential Shroom from flipping next turn, or setting Shroom with protection yourself.
Typically the first person to negate and flood the Field wins the mirror match. Teching cards like Dark World Lightning, Tribute to The Doomed and Different Dimension Ground are great for the mirror match.
The Key is to not allow them to make Spellbook of Fate plays. We have a variety of ways to do this being Econ taking with Rose or Carrot. Using Ultimate Providence on Spellbook Magician of Prophecy or techs like Anti-Magic Prism, Magic Deflector or Chain Dispel. Without Fate, Spellbooks won’t be able to prevent basic Sylvan plays.
Geargias usually will have 2 or 3 backrow set before you start making combos. Fortunately for us, one Ultimate Providence or Divine Wrath can swing the fight in our favor. Going first you want to set Shroom, Carrot or Rose (in that order). Getting Rose in the Graveyard is vital as most of their backrow will be Traps. Rose plus milled Marsh/Shroom will allow you to easily dismantle their defenses before they can begin flipping like crazy! Techs like Dark World Lightning, System Down or Tribute to The Doomed further increase your chances to win this matchup and most Geargia players activate their Monster effects so their Monsters are face-down (to avoid ECon shenanigans) which make them prime targets for Lightning! You shouldn’t struggle with this matchup.
Through testing, Ive found that Magic Deflector and Anti-Magic Prism work great at stopping Heroes. Magic Deflector basically stops them from being able to use any of there spell cards for the remainder of the turn from there you have to quickly setup Herm/Oak plays to win. It’s best to wait until after they try to Forbidden Chalice your shroom or after they play Mask Change to use it to maximize the loss of resources for you opponent. Anti-Magic Prism works in a similar way, but instead of negating quick play spells for the turn, it allows you to destroy one card on the field. With that being said, using judgement you’d either pop a monster from being Mask Changed into Masked HERO Anki or a backrow that was set this turn since they can’t activate it. Econ Anki during battle phase, UP/DW if it tried to activate its effect or destroy backrow before they draw into the Mask spell is how to overcome this obstacle. Not a fun match up, but it’s definitely winnable.
Sea Stealth Attack:
The key when playing against Sea Stealth Attack is to make your opponent banish their sole Monster to get a clean swing for OTK. You can use Rose Lover’s effect on a Sylvan Hermitree to swing over Citadel Whale as Sea Stealth Attack will have no effect on him. The main strategy is to mill Sylvan Komushroomo to force your opponent to banish then you can try to swing for game!
Similar to the SSA matchup except you cannot destroy their monsters by battle if Amazoness Queen is on field. Rose summoned monsters aren’t affected by Amazoness Onslaught so swing away to destroy Amazoness Princess fast and early. Even if they have board control, milling one Sylvan Komushroomo can swing the game back in your favor. Things to remember are that destroying Onslaught with Komushroomo will give them ANY Amazoness from the GY including Queen if she’s there so sometimes it’s better not to destroy it.
We are the reason Aliens got bumped from Tier 1. They have many Battle Phase plays that we can disrupt in the Main Phase as well as removing any Alien counters by Special Summoning Carrot or tributing for Oak or Sylvan Lotuswain. Our boss is bigger than theirs (Alien Overlord) and with them having so few Monsters in the Main Deck you can usually win after popping off 2 or 3. Remember, a lot of Alien Decks use Wall of Disruption so exercise caution and swing with a Sylvan that was Summoned with Rose Lover’s effect. The main strategy is to destroy backrow, keep Alien counters off your Monsters to prevent an Alien Overlord Special Summon and swinging your bosses with Rose’s effect if any backrow remains.
If you don’t open with an effect negation Spell/Trap like every other Deck you pretty much get OTK’d by Cyber Angels. However, if you’re lucky and manage to get a backrow card immediately negate Senju of the Thousand Hands, Cyber Petit Angel or Gishki Chain in order to stop them from setting up game. Once you survive that you basically play the Deck like any other opponent trying to pop with Marsh and getting the big boys out with Rose. Cyber Angel’s are still weak against Enemy Controller tribute-take plays as majority of builds have no room for backrow protection. The main strategy is to negate any searcher in order to swing for OTK or at least flood the Field in attempt to ECon tribute-take for game.
The most consistent tournament Deck in Duel Links and for good reason, popping a Gozuki or Samurai Skull (by an effect) will just allow them to Special Summon another Monster. Almost their entire backrow is chainable, so if you activate Shroom (in the Graveyard) your opponent will just chain the Spell/Trap. Since Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon gets a 200 ATK boost from Wasteland (using Straight to the Grave) destroy that first, afterward your goal is to clear backrow while attacking the lower ATK Monsters. For those who pack ECon please remember if they have Bacon Saver in the Graveyard and you ECon take, you lose! The main strategy is to pop the Field Spell so Red-Eyes Zombie Dragon can’t get over Sylvan Hermitree or Sylvan Guardioak while trying to end the game with an OTK as soon as possible.
Without exaggeration Archfiends are likely the hardest matchup for us since majority of their Monsters are bigger than Sylvan Hermitree, destroying Archfiend Empress or Archfiend Cavalry with Sylvan Marshalleaf only gets a bigger Empress back on the Field with their Special Summon effects. The best thing to try to do in this matchup is to only pop Emperor and back row. The key to fiends is they self-mill in order to aggressively attack, you may win via mill out or Econ taking. You can also use Marshalleaf’s effect on Archfiend Empress when chained with another Sylvan effect to make her miss the timing and not allow her to be able to special summon from the grave. MAIN Strategy, destroy back row so they can’t summon big fiends and keep swinging over smaller fiends.
I hope this guide helps you all either succeed in tournaments, Ranked Duels ladder, KC Cup or even just pissing people off. I’ll add more as new Boxes are introduced and the meta changes. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to eat more greenery! ☺
If you have any thoughts or questions, leave a comment below!