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"Sylvan" (Japanese: (しん) () Shinra) is an archetype of Plant monsters that debuted in Legacy of the Valiant.

In the TCG, "Sylvan" cards pioneered a new game term, "excavate".[1]



Each "Sylvan" monster is based on various plants and take on a variety of occupations, with touches of various aspects of Shinto, Japan's chief religion.

Sylvan Monster Origin
Sylvan Hermitree Delonix regia tree/Hermit
Sylvan Sagequoia Sequoia tree/Sage
Sylvan Guardioak Oak tree/Guardian
Sylvan Lotuswain Lotus Blossom/Coxswain
Sylvan Bladefender Blade of grass/Defender
Sylvan Flowerknight Flowers/Knight
Sylvan Marshalleaf Leaf/Marshal
Sylvan Mikorange Orange fruit/Shrine maiden
Sylvan Komushroomo Mushroom/Komusō
Sylvan Peaskeeper Pea pod/Peacekeeper
Sylvan Snapdrassinagon Snapdragon/Assassin
Sylvan Cherubsprout Plant sprout/Cherub
Sylvan Princessprout Plant sprout/Princess
Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector Alseis plant/Byakko
Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter Suzaku
Sylvan Princessprite Princess/Sprite


The Japanese word shinra is shortened from shinrabanshō (森羅万象) meaning "all things in nature", hence the plant-life motif. This could also allude to the concept of kami, or "Shinto gods/spirits" that are omnipresent. The word "sylvan" refers to an association with the woodland, specifically that which inhabits the wood, is made of tree materials, or comprises the forest itself.

Playing style

Almost all "Sylvan" monsters have the common effect of excavating a number of cards from the top of the Deck, and sending any excavated Plant monsters to the Graveyard. In turn, the other effects of the Main Deck "Sylvan" monsters activate when they are excavated from the Deck and sent to the Graveyard.

Their basic playing style involves excavating other "Sylvan" monsters from the Deck and sending them to the Graveyard, in order to activate their effects, ranging from card destruction to monster revival. Their effects also let the player, if no Plant monsters were excavated, send potentially dead draws to the bottom of the Deck, thus allowing good draw advantage. However, this mechanic can also place handy cards on the bottom of the Deck, so before blindly excavating the cards, it is recomended to use effects that reorder the cards on the top of the Deck, in order to make the most of the strategy. Cards like "Sylvan Charity" and "Mount Sylvania" are indispensable for the Deck for this very reason.

Sylvan Level Attribute Trigger Effect when excavated
Cherubsprout 1 LIGHT.svg Special Summons 1 Level 1 Plant-Type monster from your Deck.
Peaskeeper 1 WIND.svg Special Summons 1 Level 4 or lower Plant-Type monster from your Graveyard.
Princessprout 1 LIGHT.svg Special Summons this card from your Graveyard.
Snapdrassinagon 1 DARK.svg Excavates the top card of your Deck, and if it is a Plant-Type monster, sends it to the Graveyard. Otherwise, places it on the bottom of your Deck.
Komushroomo 2 FIRE.svg Destroys 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field.
Marshalleaf 3 WATER.svg Destroys 1 monster on the field.
Mikorange 3 WATER.svg All Plant-Type monsters you currently control gain 300 ATK and DEF.
Bladefender 4 EARTH.svg Add this card from your Graveyard to your hand.
Flowerknight 4 EARTH.svg Places 1 "Sylvan" card from your Deck to the top of your Deck.
Lotuswain 5 WATER.svg Places up to 5 "Sylvan" card from your Graveyard to the bottom of your Deck.
Guardioak 6 EARTH.svg Places 1 Plant-Type monster from your Graveyard to the top of your Deck.
Sagequoia 7 WIND.svg Add 1 "Sylvan" Spell/Trap Card from your Graveyard to your hand.
Hermitree 8 FIRE.svg Rearrange the order of the top 3 cards of your Deck.

When playing "Sylvans", there is a tendency not to rely on Normal Summons, facilitating the use of "Miracle Fertilizer" without heavy repression. Such plays could include discarding "Sylvan Hermitree" with "Mount Sylvania" and then having the advantage placing the card desired by its owner. Then "Miracle Fertilizer" can be used to revive "Hermitree" to excavated the stacked "Sylvan" and draw a card.

One of the advantages of "Sylvan" is the lack of adding cards from the Deck to the hand, placing them on the top of the Deck, instead. While this may seem disadvantageous, by using cards such as "Shared Ride" or "Mistake" one can punish the opponent for adding cards or stopping them altogether, thus keeping with the pace of the Duel or slowing the opponent down without affecting the playing style of "Sylvan" player. This advantage becomes apparent against Decks that rely on adding cards to the hand, such as "Raidraptor", "Monarch", "Tellarknight", etc., or lockdowns involving "Thunder King Rai-Oh".

The boss monsters of the archetype are "Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter" and "Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector". The latter's effect excavates the top of the Deck and then bounces cards on the field without targeting them, up to the number of Plant monsters excavated and sent to the Graveyard. This effect can be used to recycle cards like "Miracle Fertilizer" and/or take target-immune opposing monsters off the field, like "Borreload Dragon", "Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon", "Supreme King Z-ARC", etc. It can also reorder the cards from the top of the Deck, setting up the excavation effect the "Sylvan" monsters, including itself. The former's effect adds a card from the top of the Deck to its controller's hand, provided they correctly guessed the excavated card's name; if the guess was wrong, "Alsei" spins an opponent's card, which can give the "Sylvan" player a control over the opponent's future draws, while getting rid of a troublesome card in the process.

With the advent of Link Monsters, "Aromaseraphy Jasmine" became an essential card for the Deck, with two search effects for Plant monsters and a blanket protection against battle destruction to the Plant monsters it points to. It can be easily Summoned by sending "Dandylion" to the Graveyard with the effect of "Mathematician", which in turn can be Tributed as cost for its effect. ~~This combo no longer works as Dandylion is banned~~


As with any Graveyard-reliant Deck, "Sylvan" is vulnerable against cards like "The End of Anubis", "Soul Drain", "Dimensional Fissure", "Silent Graveyard" and "Macro Cosmos". Also, "Sylvan" monsters have very assorted Attributes, making it a cinch to cripple their field presence via "Gozen Match" and "Battle of the Elements".


  1. Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Blog: Everything That’s Available for Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG (both now, and soon….)