Includes Video Replays: Let the blessed winds come as its time for the garden to flourish with LP.
NOTE: This is the first Replay-paired CDS article. See the Garden Combos section for a link
Introduction to the Rikka:
The third archetype featured in the newest deck build pack, the Rikka archetype is definitely one that people praised for its artwork rather than its effects or capabilities. But as many of you expected, that’s the perfect theme for me to write about – one with tons of creative potential and not a large spotlight. So let’s talk about how this theme stands today and how far these plants might grow in the future! The Rikka archetype features a variety of leveled WATER Plant monsters that revolve around tributing and supporting their even-ranked Xyz boss monsters. But at its core, this archetype was clearly designed for the Plant-type as a whole in a similar fashion to how the Zombie World support was for Zombies. It’s meant to be a backbone core for Plant decks, rather than just a standalone archetype. So, as you probably guessed from the title, we will be working in a secondary Plant archetype. For this article, I chose Aroma, but you can also work these ladies into Sylvan, Plant Princess, and more.
Before we get into any hybrids or engine discussion, let’s talk about the important lineup. We’ll start with the core of the deck, Rikka Petal. Petal is the Level 1 of the theme, and both of its effects are integral. First, it can add any Rikka from your Deck to the hand as an ignition effect (or send it to the GY if you choose). Secondly, during your opponents End Phase, it can summon itself back to your field if you control only Plants or if you control no monsters. So not only does this give you a monster to work with for your second turn, but it also gives you an additional Rikka as well. Think of this as a +2 in card advantage every turn your survive in the duel! But Petal isn’t the only search option for the theme – they actually have 2 other key options.
Mudan the Rikka Fairy is the defensively oriented Level 6 Rikka that can Special Summon itself from the hand by tributing a Plant monster. Secondly, whenever it is Normal Summoned or Special Summoned by the effect of a Plant monster, you can add a Rikka Spell/Trap to the hand. This works extremely well with pre-existing Plant support, but it also fits in well with all of the goals and plays that this theme has to offer. One Spell that Mudan can search is Rikka Glamour, a Normal Spell with an optional cost. Glamour is pretty simple: it adds any Rikka from your deck to the hand, but if you chose to tribute a Plant to activate it, you also get to add another Plant with the same Level. This gives you flexibility, especially when the Rikkas cover a wide array of Levels.
Other key options for Mudan include the themes two trap cards. Rikka Tranquility can Special Summon a Rikka from your GY, and if you choose to tribute a Plant to activate it, you also get to summon another Plant from your GY. The disruption option lies in Rikka Sheet, which prevents players from activating the effects on the field of a targeted monster your opponent controls. If you choose to tribute a Plant to activate this trap, you get to take control of that monster until the End Phase and make it into an artificial Plant monster. Sure this ensures you don’t get blocked from bringing back Petal, but more importantly, it lets you tribute your opponent’s monster with Tranquility if you happen to have both traps at the ready!
The last key Main Deck monster to cover in this introduction to the theme is probably the second-most important just behind Petal – that’s Snowdrop the Rikka Fairy. Similar to Mudan, Snowdrop can tribute any Plant monster to summon itself from the hand, but it also brings a second Plant along to your field. Since this is so generic, it works extremely well with a ton of the existing Plant support – especially against duelists relying on Impermanence, Veiler, or other negation options that still leave your monster on the field. This gives you the perfect chance to continue your play with a Snowdrop! It’s second effect lends itself to the Xyz component of the archetype, targeting any Plant you control to make all Plants become that monster’s Level until the End Phase. This second effect all but guarantees access to the two Rikka queens of the archetype – a Rank 8 disruptive option and a Rank 6 protective option.
Teardrop the Rikka Queen is the iconic monster featured as a cover card for the set for a reason – it is quite powerful for a Rank 8. By detaching a material, you can target a monster on the field and tribute it. This is even a quick effect while it has a Plant monster as material! Its second effect boosts Teardrop by 200 ATK for the turn each time a monster is Tributed, which gives you a bit extra power if needed. Kanzashi the Rikka Queen on the other hand is the Rank 6 option. First, it has a trigger effect that if a monster is tributed, you can detach a material to summon a monster from either GY and make it into a Plant monster. This lets you steal your opponent’s strongest cards, or just generate more options to tribute with your Rikka cards. Lastly, if any Plant would be destroyed by a card effect, you get to tribute a Plant from your hand or field instead – great protection!
All of these options considered – the Rikka deck has a lot to do with Tributing, but its quite clear that all of this tributing bears a significant cost. Without the free advantage offered by Petal returning each turn, you can quickly run out of tribute fodder on the field to work with – this is the reason why other Plant type decks are the option. So without further ado, let’s switch gears to the second archetype that excels in everything the Rikka need – Aromage!
Reintroduction to the Aromage:
As one of the few LP-centric archetypes in the game, Aroma is one of the best examples of using LP as a legitimate resource. Each Aromage typically carries two effects – the first that triggers when you gain LP, and the second which provides a benefit for your field whenever you have higher LP than your opponent. So let’s talk about the key members that support our Rikka friends.
First up is one of the more recent Aromages, Aromage Laurel. This Level 1 Plant is essential for its first effect – whenever you have more LP than your opponent, you can Special summon it from the hand. This is a perfect option to search with Glamour, since you can grab Petal and this at the same time, but we will get back to that later. Its second effect lets you turn a Plant monster you control into a Tuner when you gain LP. Finally, its third effect brings us home – when it is sent to the GY, you can gain 500 LP. This lets you trigger so many different things, but we will get to that in the Combos section, don’t worry.
The next important Aromage is Aromaseraphy Angelica. This Level 1 tuner for the archetype can be discarded during either players turn to gain LP equal to the ATK of an Aroma in your GY. Secondly, while you control an Aroma while having more LP than your opponent, you can summon Angelica back from the GY, but banish it when it leaves the field. This serves as a second summonable monster that doesn’t require a normal summon, giving you even more fodder for Rikka tributes or for Xyz Summons! But both of these cards pale in comparison to the true hero of this hybrid build and Plant decks everywhere – Aromaseraphy Jasmine.
This link 2 has it all, so let’s break down each effect. First, while your LP are higher than your opponent’s, it and any Plants it points to can’t be destroyed by battle. Its second effect lets you tribute a monster it points to (hard once per turn), tutoring any Plant monster from your deck. Its third effect lets you add a Plant from deck to hand when you gain LP. As I said – this has it all. It can tutor your Rikkas, it can tutor your Aromas, it can make sure you have a Petal on the field… all you need is 2 Plant monsters to make it. So… Isn’t it lovely that Teardrop summons 2 Plants from the hand? But where Jasmine really gets Special is when you combine it with other Aromages, like Laurel. If you end up using Laurel as one of its materials, Laurel will trigger giving you 500 LP, then Jasmine will immediately trigger, searching another Plant from the deck. It is really not overstating it to say that this is the heart and soul of this and any Plant deck.
The last key element to Aroma for our strategy today is the Winds traps, supported by Aromaseraphy Sweet Marjoram. This Level 6 Synchro searches any of the Winds upon being summoned, but it also provides the normal two Aroma effects. First, while your LP are higher, your opponent cannot target Plants with card effects. Secondly, when you gain LP, you get to destroy a card on the field. Both of these effects are cool, but let’s talk about what it can search. Blessed Winds offers you 2 ways to gain 500 LP, either by sending a Plant from your hand or field or by shuffling a Plant from the GY, OR you can choose to pay 1000 LP and summon any Aroma from your GY. On the other hand, Humid Winds lets you pay 1000 LP to search any Aroma from your deck, but if your LP are lower than your opponent’s, you can gain 500 LP (and probably trigger your Aroma effects). Both of these traps are key to disruption during the opponent’s turn, and each gives you more longevity in the duel. Remember, longevity means more Petal recursions, and more Petal recursions means more advantage.
This has been a fairly long-winded introduction to these two undervalued archetypes, but it’s definitely necessary to begin seeing the synergy between the two. Let’s check out the decklist and perhaps you will begin to see even more how these two themes are like two peas in a pod.
Glamourous Combos in the Garden:
This hybrid strategy is all about combos, and almost all of those originate with one of 2 cards – Rikka Petal or Evil Thorn. Thorn is a generic Plant, but it can tribute itself to inflict 300 dmg to your opponent, then you can summon up to 2 other Evil Thorn from your deck. This instantly gives you the 2 monsters you need for Jasmine, as well as setting up your LP to facilitate the summoning of Laurel from the hand. Petal on the other hand lets you search Snowdrop, which gets itself and another plant from your hand to the field for your Snowdrop. Start with both Petal and Thorn? Well that’s perfect, because then you have your 2 monsters for Jasmine, and something for her to tribute! Remember, Lonefire Blossom exists, and can be treated as a copy of either, so between the copies of Glamour and your Level 1s, you are literally running 13 cards that is effectively one of these 2 combo starters. It’s more if you open Rudan with any other Plant you can Normal Summon, but I understand that can be a bit of a stretch. But don’t just take my word for it – have a look.
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Hopefully this helps you get a picture of how the Rikka can be fully leveraged by a partner Plant archetype, especially one that offers extra summoning power and tons of searching. There’s also a couple more Rikka monsters that each had their moment to shine across the examples, so let me discuss them quickly. Hellebore the Rikka Fairy is the offensive Level 8, and it can be tributed from your hand or field to negate an opponent’s monster effect that targets while you control a Rikka monster. Stopping Effect Veiler is really nice, let me tell you. It also can tribute a Plant monster to summon itself back from the GY, giving you just a bit more firepower. The offensive Level 6 Erica the Rikka Fairy serves in a similar role, tributing itself from the hand or field whenever an attack is declared involving a Plant monster, giving your monster 1000 extra ATK. Also, while it is in the GY, any time a Plant you control is tributed, you can summon Erica back from the GY. This can be another Xyz material, or simply another monster to tribute for your Rikka effects.
The last Rikka in the build is Primula the Rikka Fairy, the only Level 4 monster I choose to run. Whenever any Plant you control is tributed, you can Special Summon Primula from the hand, thus this has great synergy with Lonefire, Jasmine, Thorn, the other Rikkas, … okay okay, just about everything. It also lets you target up to 2 monsters and increase their levels by 2. This effect is the primary way of summoning your Sweet Marjoram, since you can target an Angelica and any other Level 1 to get to your Level 6 Synchro. This makes it a great option to search, especially since every extra body on the field means more tribute fodder and more combo potential at your fingertips!
Lastly, you’ll notice that a lot of combos originate with Aroma Gardening, the continuous spell for the Aroma theme. Its first effect lets you gain 1000 whenever an Aroma is summoned (hello instant Jasmine search), and its second effect lets you Special Summon an Aroma from your deck whenever your opponent declares an attack while you have less LP than them. While the second effect is very reactive and will not trigger in most duels, it can be an excellent deterrent to keep you alive for just that one more recursion of Rikka Petal to give you enough firepower (plantpower? PowerPlant?) to win the game. Because at the end of the day, effective use of this strategy requires the management of 3 different resources. Card Advantage, standard for any Yugioh deck; Life Points, normally unimportant until they hit zero; and the last is Time, the opposite of how most strategies aim to close the duel as quickly as possible. Mastering these three resources will let you tame the garden and really make the most of your queens.
Additional Tech Options:
- Unmentioned Rikka Support Cards
- Cyclamen the Rikka Fairy – This is the only Rikka that specifically benefits from being Tributed, as it summons itself back from the GY. However, you should already have enough tribute fodder in Thorn and Petal, so this is largely unneeded.
- Rikka Flurries – Whenever you tribute a monster, so does your opponent. This gives you more monster removal, but you shouldn’t necessarily need that if your Sweet Marjoram and Teardrop are hard at work!
- Lekunga – This monster is a hidden Rikka support card, simply banish 2 WATER monsters from your GY and get a free Plant token. Since this has no once per turn restriction, you can very well field a whole slew of tokens later in the duel after using a lot of your Rikkas. The downside is its weakness early in the duel, so there’s that to worry about.
- Trial and Tribulation – This Spell benefits from Tributing specific numbers of monsters during the turn, so Rikka may be one of if not the best deck for ensuring you get the effect you want. You also get a ton of cards into the GY over the course of the turn that you may want to recover, making this an actually quite attractive option to some.
- Other Aroma Support
- Aromage Jasmine – Draws and extra Normal Summons are both extremely helpful to the deck, just Jasmine works best when you can guarantee triggering its draw effect. With only 3 Gardening in the current build and none of the Aroma Field Spell, you don’t have that guarantee.
- Dried Winds – The last Winds continuous trap, this one gives you additional monster destruction. The downside here is that you don’t want to equalize your LP with your opponent’s, because you want the extra time that higher LP brings.
- Aroma Jar – Please don’t seriously run this, but it can be a troll card to set in a casual setting with your friends. If they can’t out it, you get tons of LP.
- Ancient Leaf – Since your opening turn typically results in having more than 8000 LP, you can run this draw spell for good measure to improve consistency. This also doesn’t hurt you in the short term, since almost all of your combos begin with 1 monster. The downside is that even though it doesn’t have a once per turn restriction, you don’t generally have enough LP to spare 2 activations on the first turn, so that extra card advantage may not be fully usable.
- Ancient Sacred Wyvern – LP-based deck that features a LIGHT tuner and Level 6 monsters? Wyvern is easily accessible and can close games – as long as you bring it out before locking yourself into Plants with Snowdrop.
Since picking this strategy for a CDS article, a new card has been revealed for the Rikka theme. You can read about it on our site here. Strenae the Rikka Queen (YGOrg translation) is a new Rank 4 Xyz monster for the theme, rounding out the even Ranked Xyz monsters. First, Strenae can detach a material to return any Plant monster or Rikka card in your GY to your hand. This gives you even more recovery than the current TCG state of the archetype. More importantly, its second effect works extremely well with the deck. Whenever it is tributed while having Xyz material, you get to summon any Rank 5 or higher Plant Xyz monster from your Extra Deck, then attach Strenae to it as material. This new addition to the theme works wonders for all Plant decks, but it is especially good here at unlocking the odd-leveled Sylvan Xyz monsters that would otherwise be difficult to summon such as Orea, despite having a very powerful effect when it is. Strenae also works well with Jasmine, Lonefire, Snowdrop, and all of the other tools we discussed earlier – if anything, it only increases the importance of Primula and will necessitate running the maximum number of copies of that!
Beyond just Strenae, the future for this theme is bright. Since it directly supports any Plant archetype, Rikkas can always get stronger with the release of new Plant themes. Just like how Zombie World became the new norm for Zombie-type decks, and how each Zombie archetype or individual card released since has been judged on its ability to fit that mold. It’s quite refreshing to see a type like Plants have a resurgence, especially when each of their themes supports a different summoning mechanism (Fusions, Synchros, and Xyzs). If only we had a Ritual Plant deck to round things out nicely…
Thanks for spending some time in the gardens with our watery queens. Hopefully you learned something new about this last archetype of the Secret Slayers triad, and I hope you try out the build because this deck can really combo chain with the best of them. Setting up a field with a bit of disruption and a lot of protection can go a long way, so go out there and plant some seeds of your own. They may blossom into something quite glamourous. Worst case scenario, just save this advice for the next Plant archetype to be released, because the Rikkas will for sure play a role there for archetypes to come. With that, thanks for reading, and catch you next time when we ReBoot a classic combination. And no, I’m not talking about cars.
Reminder, I also take suggestions for future CDS articles! I really want to see some input from you! If you wish to see a CDS article about the archetype, theme, or strategy you love, feel free to private message me on the YGOrg Discord server, the YGOrganization Forums, or just post a comment in response to this article on our Facebook page with your ideas to keep under consideration! On most YGO-related communities my username is Quincymccoy, so feel free to reach out. As of now, I have a couple of outstanding requests that I am looking into: Cyberse, Generaider, HERO, Mecha Phantom Beast, Shaddoll, Vehicroid.