Hermitree for the Win: Performing with Sylvans

Hello all! This week I will be writing about the Sylvan deck that has risen in popularity since ARGCS MilWaukee and the NAWCQ. One reason to play the Sylvan deck is it is capable of making very powerful, threatening boards for very few cards. Another strong point about Sylvan is it’s ability to grind through lots of backrow. Sylvans, just like most combo decks, only lose out to a fraction of the relevant defensive cards Game 1. The relevant cards that give Sylvans a hard time Game 1 are as follows: Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute,Solemn Warning, Vanity’s Emptiness, and Maxx “C” to an extent. Other popular defensive cards like Breakthrough Skill, Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, Compulsory Evacuation Device,and Book of Moon are all mediocre versus these combo decks because they are simple one for ones. Usually, this would be a good thing to force the combo deck into a simplified gamestate, but ever since Soul Charge’s release, one for oning against combo decks can lead to pretty detrimental things if your opponent is able to bait out your trap that stops Soul Charge. When your opponent Soul Charges back four monsters and you have 2 one for one traps, what are those cards going to do for you? Absolutely nothing. Those simple one for one defensive cards become worthless against a field full of monsters. Bottomless Trap Hole, Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute, Vanity’s Emptiness all stop Soul Charge with only 1 of your own cards, which is what you need to do in order to beat the combo decks. Wasting defensive cards that stop Soul Charge on other cards as opposed to using your other traps is what will lose you the game versus combo decks.


300px-SylvanHermitree-LVAL-EN-UR-1EAfter that little briefing on combo decks, let’s move on to how the Sylvan deck works. Sylvans mainly rely on Sylvan Hermitree excatating a Sylvan card you put to thetop of your deck with either Sylvan Charity, Mount Sylvania, or Sylvan Princessprout’s effect and then plussing off of Sylvan Hermitree’s effect. At first, I was skeptical on how the deck will be able to win without opening Lonefire Blossom, but boy was I wrong. If you are able to get a Sylvan Hermitree in the graveyard in any way and have a way to bring it back, you’re usually in pretty good shape. The ways to get Sylvan Hermitree in the grave without the use of Lonefire Blossom are as follows: Discarding it with Mount Sylvania, putting Sylvan Hermitree to the top with Sylvan Charity or Mount Sylvania and then using Princessprout, Marshalleaf, or even Sagequoia if you were able to get him onto the field, and then using their effect to excavate your Sylvan Hermitree, which you know is at the top of your deck. Also, when going second, you can draw Sylvan Hermitree and Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos to discard your Sylvan Hermitree and Blaster to destroy one of your opponents cards. Once you have your Sylvan Hermitree in the graveyard, you have to Soul Charge or Miracle Fertilizer it back. Considering there are three Soul Charge, three Miracle Fertilizer, and three Sylvan Charity, the odds of seeing a Soul Charge or Miracle Fertilizer are very high. Keep in mind, this is all if you DON’T open Lonefire Blossom.


Now that I’ve given you some background on the Sylvan deck, here is a sample deck list that I was testing with for a little while.


Main Deck: 40

Monsters: 17

Spells: 19

Traps: 4


Now that you have seen a sample decklist, let me show you how some of the common opening hands play out.


Cards Necessary: Lonefire Blossom + Soul Charge

  • Lonefire Blossom into Lonefire Blosom into Sylvan Hemitree, use Sylvan Hermitree’s Loeffect to excavate the top card.
  • Play Soul Charge for both Lonefire Blossoms, Lonefire Blossom into Sylvan Hermitree and use the other Lonefire Blossom to get Sylvan Princessprout.
  • Use Sylvan Princessprout’s effect to excavate your top card then put Sylvan Princessprout on the top of your deck with her own effect.
  • Use Sylvan Hermitree’s effect to excavate your Sylvan Princessprout and draw a card, special Sylvan Princessprout at Level 8.
  • XYZ for Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand.

Ending Result: Sylvan Hermitree + Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand + Draw off Sylan Hermitree.


That play was pretty simple. Only thing to make sure that you do is to use your first Sylvan Hermitree’s effect before playing Soul Charge because you have a higher chance at hitting a plant before using Lonefire Blossom’s effect, which will take two plants out of your deck. Also, you can Soul Charge the plant you excavated back if you hit with Sylvan Hermitree if it’s worth it.


Cars Necessary: Lonefire Blossom + Mount Sylvania + any Plant

  • Lonefire Blossom into Lonefire Blossom into Sylvan Hermitree.
  • Activate Mount Sylvania to stack Sylvan Princessprout.
  • Use Hermitree’s effect to excavate Sylvan Princessprout and draw a card.
  • Special Princessprout as a Level 8 and XYZ for Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand.

Ending Result: Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand + Draw off Sylvan Hermitree

That play was extremely obvious and should need no explanation.


Cards Necessary: Sylvan Hermitree + Mount Sylvania + Miracle Fertlizer

  • Activate Mount Sylvania to discard Hermitree to stack Sylvan Princessprout.
  • Miracle Fertilizer back Sylvan Hermitree.
  • Use Sylvan Hermitree to excavate Sylvan Princessprout and draw a card.
  • Special Princessprout at Level 8 and XYZ into Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand.

Ending Result: Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand + Draw off Sylvan Hermitree + Floating Miracle Fertilizer

Again, that play was not difficult at all, very simple.


This next play can “search” you a floodgate card on Turn 1 of the game, but it takes the nuts to pull off. You need to be able to make Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter, tribute off either a Sagequoia, or preferably a Sylvan Hermitree with Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter’s  and also have an unused Sylvan Hermitree on the field. So, you use Oreoa, the Sylvan High Arbiter’s effect totribute either Sylvan Sagequoia, or Sylvan Hermitree to look at the top 7 or 8 cards of your deck and put a plant on top and your floodgate directly after it. Then you use Sylvan Hermitree’s effect to excavate your plant on top and draw into your floodgate wtth his effect. Let me show you how you can pull this play off with 1 of many combinations of cards.


Cards Necessary: Lonefire Blossom + Soul Charge + Foolish Burial

  • Lonefire Blossom into Lonefire Blosssom into Sylvan Hermitree
  • Foolish Burial a Sylvan Hermitree
  • Soul Charge back both Lonefire Blossoms and Sylvan Herimitree
  • Tribute one Lonefire Blossom for Sylvan Princessprout and the other Lonefire Blossom for Sylvan Sagequoia

Current Field: Sylvan Hermitree + Sylvan Hermitree + Sylvan Sagequoia + Sylvan Princessprout

  • Use Sylvan Princessprout to excavate the top card and then put her on the top of your deck.
  • Sylvan Hermitree to excavate your Sylvan Princessprout and draw a card, special Sylvan Princessprout as a Level 7.
  • XYZ with Sylvan Princessprout (Level 7) and Sylvan Sagequoia for Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter.
  • Tribute off your used Sylvan Hermitree for Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter’s effect.
  • Look at the top 8 cards of your deck and put a plant on top then your floodgate right after it.
  • Use Sylvan Hermitree to excavate your plant and draw into your floodgate.

Ending Result: Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter +Sylvan Hermitree +2 Draws off Sylvan Hermitree + A floodgate

That play is actually just downright insane when you can pull it off. However, if you already drew your floodgate in your opening hand you don’t want to do this play. Just make sure you don’t end up with an Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter and two used up Sylvan Hermitree’s on the field!


Now that you know a little bit on how the Sylvan deck plays out, let me inform you about some cards to watch out for while playing Sylvan.

Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, and Soul Drain

20131012171909!SoulDrain-REDU-EN-R-1ESylvans literally cannot play under these foodgate cards aside from summoning Lonefire Blossom into a big beater. Sylvans need their graveyard to be able to play the game of Yu-Gi-Oh and if you take that away from them, they will not have a fun time. Fortunately for Sylvans, not many decks have the capability of siding these common floodgates because most decks this format revolve around using the graveyard in some manner. The main deck last format that was able to side these effectively was Geargia, but the banlist took a heavy toll on that decks playability.


Deep Dark Trap Hole

300px-DeepDarkTrapHole-PHSW-EN-R-1EThis card is super frightening to me when I’m playing Sylvan It’s a lot scarier than the commonly played Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare because the Sylvan player has the ability to play around Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, whereas it is impossible to play around Deep Dark Trap Hole. Another thing that Deep Dark Trap Hole does is it gets rid of our floating Miracle Fertilizers due to the Deep Dark Trap Hole destroying the monster Miracle Fertilizer brought out. Another great thing about Deep Dark Trap Hole is it usually stops the Sylvan player’s Soul Charge play, aside from them bringing back Lonefire Blossom. Essentially, with your opponent playing Deep Dark Trap Hole, it’s like them playing more copies of Bottomless Trap Hole. Forbidden Lance is the go to card to out the holes.


Vanity’s Emptiness

VanitysEmptinessSTBL-EN-C-1EThis card can be very scary for the Sylvan player to stare down if it is accompanied by a threatening field. The Sylvan player must have Mystical Space Typhoon or a way to excavate Sylvan Komushroomo otherwise the game is pretty much over.


Sadly, there really isn’t any way to effectively play around correctly timed side deck cards while playing Sylvan. It’s just a matter of being able to read your opponents backrow correctly and baiting them out accordingly. For example, if you’re trying to push a Soul Charge play through and you read your opponent has Bottomless Trap Hole, you could summon Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos first to try and bait out the opponents Bottomless Trap Hole. Also, playing certain cards in your deck to combat the traps you know do the most damage to you is vital. That is why we included cards like Forbidden Lance in our list. Maybe a card like My Body as a Shield would be better than Forbidden Lance though due to its ability to stop board wipes. Only testing them both will tell you the answer.


MysticalSpaceTyphoonSDMA-EN-C-1EOne cool thing about Sylvan though is the fact that siding floodgate cards against it is very risky because of Sylvans ability to pump out a threatening board easily and quickly. Sure, if your opponent draws their floodgate in their opening hand on Turn 1, then congratulations to them. The odds are nowhere near in their favor of that happening multiple times. So, the question for Sylvan players is, do you play the odds of them statistically not seeing a floodgate card in their opening hand Turn 1 by not siding answers such as Mystical Space Typhoon? You have to decide yourself if you want to make your deck worse by siding in cards to answer their floodgates knowing that the odds of them opening it Turn 1 are very low. Personally, I don’t think it is worth it to side in answers to their floodgates when playing versus the extremely slow decks. In my testing, I was able to pump out a threatening boar and load my grave early enough to render their floodgates useless.


That about wraps it up for this week’s article guys! I hope you learned something new about Sylvans that you didn’t know before. Also, I hope you absorbed some information on how to beat Sylvan from this article. I will be at the 20k in Ohio this weekend so feel free to come up and say hi! Until next time!

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