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Creative Deck Strategy: The Predator Rose

Bring out the green thumb as we tend to the Rose Garden with some less-than-friendly support plants.

Raging Mad Plants in…

Love them or hate them, the Plant type as we know it has been around for quite some time ever since the infamous Plant Synchro era. With decades of support, it’s about time that we got to see some potential come back from the bulb and reenter the game. In particular, there will be a suite of new Plant-type support cards in the near future, as the latest Duelist Pack approaches both the TCG and the OCG. Let’s check out what the garden has in store. As you probably guessed, this is intended to be the first of multiple articles showcasing the versatility and power of some of the new cards unleashed in the newly revealed Duelist Pack: Legend Duelist 4 that was just released to the OCG. However, this site is not YouTube; therefore, I have no interest in spamming in all caps about how broken a Black Garden-searching generic Synchro can be or showing various decks hard-committing to the field only to be OTK’d on turn two by a perfect hand and a ridiculous chain of Plants. Instead, I will be trying to show just how non-linear these themes can truly be, despite what replays may want you to believe. With each article, I will be doing my best to show unique variants with additional or varied win conditions and strategies. In other words, we’re just putting the name Creative Deck Strategy and backing it up with some actual creativity. That being said, if other article ideas come up that seem more intriguing, I may choose to focus on some other archetypes rather than just limiting myself to Harpies, Railway, Lunalight, or Cyber Angel. But today, let’s bring out the roses.

So what’s new in the Garden? Before we can get to that, we have to better understand where this support is coming from. The Rose series has had a varied past, sprouting from the beginning with Akiza Izinski’s ace Synchro Monster, Black Rose Dragon. This fearsome Synchro was iconic back in the day, as it was one of the first monsters to begin to demonstrate just how powerful having a toolbox suite of options at your fingertips in the Extra Deck could truly be. While Stardust Dragon may have been the more iconic Signer Dragon, Black Rose definitely gave it a run for its money for being the most competitive option over its lifetime. What made Akiza’s deck so convoluted was that in pretty much all of its forms, it focused on a ton of Plants and Plant-type support cards, but the boss monster was a Dragon. The other Plant Synchro monsters from her deck that were eventually released just didn’t cut it, as they were simply not powerful enough. Now that we’ve covered the backstory, the stage is set to focus on the new cards. One of her most annoying but signature cards was the Field Spell Black Garden. Each time a monster is summoned, a Rose token is planted on the opponent’s side of the field, and that monster’s ATK is halved – what an annoying effect. This saps the power of many monsters in the game, and has been the crux of many OTK decks that relied on the opponent summoning a couple of low ATK monsters in ATK position, such as the Bujin Susanowo OTK strategy from many moons ago. So, the first support card, Blooming Rose*(YGOrg Translation)played off of that, summoning as many Rose tokens as possible to the field. While this may have been a better support card back in the day before Link monsters could be summoned using tokens, its singular use in the modern game is its second effect to banish a Black Rose Dragon or a Plant monster until the End Phase. This is mainly useful in tandem with attempting to use its effect to allow Black Rose to avoid its own destruction, but due to the new support it isn’t really necessary. So why mention this card at all? To be honest, I’m covering this card first because quite frankly, it isn’t that great and I just wanted to get it out of the way first!

The next support card was Garden Rose Maiden*(YGOrg Translation), a generic Level 5 Synchro that adds Black Garden to the hand when it is summoned. Due to the searchability and versatility of this card, so many options are on the table. While the search is nice, the better of her two effects is actually the second – by banishing herself from the GY, you get to bring back any Rose Dragon monster or Dragon Synchro from the GY. This gives new life to a dead and forgotten Black Rose that just bombed the field then returned… for free? Yup. That’s totally on the table. But what other Rose Dragons can combo well with Maiden? Glad you asked, let’s introduce you to the war of the roses in Dragon form! First up is White Rose Dragon*(YGOrg Translation)and while this seems to combo well with Plants in general, there is even more potential to his effect than meets the eye. Unfortunately this monster is being released alongside the other Rose support cards as a magazine promo, but one can hold out hope that we get him in the TCG just as soon as the Duelist Pack! First, when it is Normal summoned you get to bring another Rose Dragon to the field from your hand or GY. This won’t matter in the early game, but it does play a great role in the mid to late game. Secondly, if you have a Plant or Dragon tuner, you can Special Summon it from the hand. This is awesome, as it makes a monster that traditionally would use your one Normal Summon for the turn and turn it into an extender as well as a combo starter. Then lastly, when it is sent to the GY as Synchro Material, you get to send any Level 4 or higher Plant from the Deck to the GY. I’ll definitely be talking about this last effect more when we get into the archetype that this article pairs the Roses with, but guess you’ll just have to wait to devour that knowledge. The other new Rose Dragon is Red Rose Dragon*(YGOrg Translation), the fearsome new tuner enabling so much for the deck. Its one and only effect is simple at first, but is pretty awesome. When it is sent to the GY for a Synchro Summon, you get to Special Summon another Rose Dragon from your Deck (probably White Rose). Then, if you are Synchro Summoning a Plant or Black Rose Dragon, you get to add either Blooming Rose (should be next to never) or the other main support card from the Duelist Pack, Frozen Roars*(YGOrg Translation). This combo of Rose Dragons effectively means you get to summon a field nuke, Special Summon another Rose Dragon, and add a free spell to the hand, all for the low cost of having both in hand (in the early game) or a Normal Summon (in the mid/late game). And the Spell card you get to search ain’t too bad either – trading a monster you control for either 2 draws and a discard or a search of a Plant monster, depending on what you choose to send. This card can even combo with your Black Rose to ensure that your field nuke can’t be blocked by Infinite Impermanence or Effect Veiler, both of which are extremely common in the current age.

So now that we’ve met the significant new cards and understood what they do, let’s sit down and go through the deckbuilding process for deciding on how to build out a deck for them. First, it’s clear that we want a Plant-type core, as Lonefire Blossom, Glow-Up Bulb, and Spore are just too good in any deck focused around Plants. But let’s be honest, even if we maxed out on the Rose Dragons and dipped into the only other Rose Dragon in the game, Blue Rose Dragon, we still would not have enough plants, nor would we even have any Level 4 or higher Plants to get to the GY with the White Rose when you Synchro Summon with it. Plus, it would obviously help to have a bit more Plant-type monsters in general, as we would always want more Plants to search out with Roars. We can address the first problem with a band-aid of throwing in the other generic Plant-type support card, World Carrotweight Champion, but we still do not have a large base to pick from. We would really benefit from having another Plant archetype that has access to tuners, synergy with Black Garden, strong turn 1 plays in the case we don’t draw the Rose Dragons, and more Level 4 or higher Plants to send with White Rose. To avoid dragging this out further, there is really only one archetype to consider that meets all of these criteria – Predaplant.

The Carnivorous Garden:

The Predaplant archetype has always had a soft spot in my heart. I always wished that it was strong enough to compete, as the Sylvan just didn’t cut it for me in terms of Plant archetypes and Aromage have significant design limitations to avoid overdoing it with the hidden power of an archetype designed to recover absurd amounts of LP at no cost. I’d be happy to go into a further discussion about that later, but let’s get back to my lethal plants. This archetype is made up of carnivorous plants and carrion flowers spliced with animals, resulting in man (and monster) eating omnivores. The problem with this archetype was that it was Fusion-based without a good way to recover card investments, as you didn’t have a good way to make up for the minimum -2 in card advantage when summoning a Predaplant Fusion. Also, no in-theme Fusion options saved you card advantage, outside of their monster that let you use your opponent’s monsters as Fusion material. The other reason that this theme didn’t take off was that it was a counter based deck, and pretty much no counter based deck has ever been seriously loved for their counters (RIP Aliens, Venom, Cloudian, B.E.S., Kaiju, Ice Counter, etc.). Sure, they may have had decent strategies, but those strategies didn’t really employ the counters outside of casual play. Hopefully Mythical Beast will be powerful enough after the upcoming Spellcaster Structure Deck R to do so, but we shall see. So, after highlighting all of these downsides of the design of both major aspects to the deck, what does Predaplant bring that makes it work with the Rose Dragons?

Well, let’s go back down our list. First, we needed a Plant archetype with tuners, and we have that here as Predaplant Banksiogre is a Level 6 tuner. It also happens to have the ability to SS itself from the hand Kaiju-style, tributing an opponent’s monster with a Predator counter. For most opponents who never knew this card existed, they simply won’t know what’s coming to them. Secondly, we needed a deck that had synergy with Black Garden, and there might be no better card at that than Predaplant Spinodionaea. Simply Summon it while you control Garden, and then attack the fresh rose token that was spawned to get a free Predaplant from the deck. This lets you turn a standard Normal Summon under garden into a Link 2, or sometimes even more. Combine that with Banksiogre, and you can Normal Spinod, put a counter on an opponent’s threat, tribute it away to Special Summon Banks, then run over the two tokens you summoned for an extra summon and… yeah you get the picture. The next requirement on our list was strong Turn 1 plays in the case we don’t have the Rose Dragons, and you should look no further than the most common Predaplant monster, Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio. Used for its synergy with Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra, this is a great duel opener, trading a ‘dead’ monster in hand for a better Predaplant from the deck. Then, since we are running more than just cobra in here, you could also go into a Banksiogre for a Crystron Glassfiber*(YGOrg Translation) play or a Spino for a 3rd summon off of your Normal… yeah the opportunities here are numerous.

Continuing down our checklist, we also wanted a theme that was able to synergize with the sending of White Rose, so a Level 4+ Plant that wanted to be in the GY was a must. Good thing Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra exists. First and probably most importantly, it shares the same ability to Special Summon itself by tributing a monster with a Predator Counter, but unlike Banksiogre, it also can Special Summon itself from the GY with that ability. It’s other effect is also key in multiple ways. When it is on the field or GY, during either players turn you can banish another Predaplant from the GY to reduce the ATK of a monster on the field by 500. While that seems like a minimal reduction, since it is permanent, you can really bring down an opponent’s boss after a couple activations. The secondary benefit to Hydra’s effect is that this brings us back to our main requirement – synergy with Black Garden. Since Garden’s second effect requires a precise ATK total to Special Summon a monster from the GY, using Hydra to reduce a Rose Token or 2 by 500 ATK opens up the ability to Special Summon more monsters back with Garden. Combined with your other plants, this pretty much opens up any monster from being brought back with the right combination of monsters. Sweet. Are you convinced yet about what this deck brings in terms of power? No? Okay, that’s fine, let’s just talk about some other strategic synergy and the combos that this array of plants also brings to the table.

Combos and Strategy:

  • A Black Rose Nuke does not leave you defenseless…

One of the biggest issues with a Black Rose Dragon play that is tied to the Normal Summon is that it generally means your field will be left open for an opponent’s counterattack on the following turn. But Predaplants also have a hand trap of their own, Predaplant Sarracenient. When your opponent declares a direct attack, you can summon Sarracenient from the hand. This then forces the opponent to make a choice – cancel the attack of their monster or choose to continue to attack, losing their monster and allowing you to search a Predap card. While any of your other Predaplant monsters are fair game for the search, my favorite card to bring back is Predaponics. This Continuous Spell lets you Special Summon back a Predaplant once per turn, allowing you to slowly regrow your army with an endless supply of Synchro or Link fodder. It’s also a great card to begin the duel with as well, due to the combos with Scorpio that allow you to go into an Aromaseraphy Jasmine*(YGOrg Translation). Combos into combos into combos, that’s the name of the game here.

  • Breaking Boards faster than roots on concrete…

Need another reason to run this deck? How about the fact that Predaplants can break Extra link boards in multiple ways. The first and most common is the ability to nest Black Rose Dragon‘s effect inside a chain of multiple card effects. For example, Synchro Summoning it with Red and White Rose allows you to build the chain as Red Rose CL1, Black Rose CL2, then White Rose CL3. Since your opponent can only respond to the last effect in the chain, they cannot chain to Black Rose with something like Borreload Savage Dragon or even Tri-Gate Wizard. This play also lets you destroy the field, then summon a White Rose and then add a Frozen Roars, going at WORST an even trade in card advantage, and that’s the case when you do not destroy anything with Black Rose. In which case you shouldn’t be nuking, but that definitely sounds like a poor decision anyways. The second way to break boards is through Super Polymerization. Yes, this card exists and is still powerful. Since most decks are running at least one or two DARK Link monsters, it is pretty much always live by having a Predaplant out (to Summon Predaplant Chimerafflesia) or if there are 2 DARK monsters on the field (to Summon Starving Venom Fusion Dragon). And in the odd case that you are facing Lunalights or some other Fusion deck, just say goodbye to their multi-fusion OTK by Fusion Summoning a Predaplant Dragostapella. That play is truly one of the best in the world.

  • Opening going first…

Going first and nothing to Nuke? No problem! If you open with a Scorpio, summon it and discard a monster for its effect. Now you have two options – If you discarded a Spore or Glow-Up Bulb, you’re golden to go straight for the Cobra and add Super Poly to the hand and go into Jasmine shenanigans, but if you have a White Rose in hand, bring out Bankisogre instead. In either case, bring out Jasmine by linking your two Predaplants. Next, use Jasmine’s eff tributing either your Plant tuner that you brought back or the White Rose you Special Summoned, Special Summoning Lonefire from the deck. Lonefire brings out either Glow-Up or Spore (the one you didn’t use), which then lets you Link into Summon Sorceress. Bring back your new Plant tuner, then use Sorc to search out a Plant of an appropriate level to Synchro Summon Rose Maiden. This then adds a Black Garden to the hand. You basically end with a pretty bland field that dares your opponent to go for a big play to break your board, giving you plenty of Rose Tokens to play with, or it lets you continue the festivities by summoning more Plants each turn with Sorceress! Either way, you’re digging through your deck at a quick pace.

  • Ending with a White Rose dragon on your field…

If you manage to have a setup to go into Glassfiber with a White Rose in hand, you can bring out one of your Level 1 tuners straight from the deck with Glass, then Special Summon White Rose from the hand. Remember, this play can be made off of a Normal Summon of Scorpio, since it can bring out Banksiogre from the deck, resulting in a tuner and a non-tuner ready to go! Synchro Rose Maiden, sending Carrotweight to the GY with White Rose. Then you get a Black Garden to the hand. After activating Garden and ending, you have the option of using Glassfiber on the opponent’s turn, bring out Shooting Riser Dragon, which sends Hydra from your deck to the GY. At any point during your opponent’s Main Phase, you can then Synchro Black Rose using Riser and Rose Maiden, nuking their field then setting yourself up to bring back your free Black Rose with Garden Maiden on the next turn! That’s definitely an unexpected play, as Black Rose generally doesn’t get Synchro Summoned during the opponent’s turn when you have a Garden up! Also, if your opponent happened to have a monster unable to be destroyed by card effects when you started the play during your turn, don’t forget that Banksiogre can place a counter on it when it is initially sent to the GY for your Link Summon. This allows you to use your newly GY’d Hydra to get that indestructible monster off the field. Sure, it is a slower combo, but that is the life one must lead sometimes with so many monsters that have destruction protection in this day and age.

Summon Limits and Utility Shifts with gametime…

There are a lot of options and combos available to this deck. Similar to my last article, this Plant combination is all about giving yourself as much versatility to play as possible. And in terms of deckbuilding strategy, there is not an over-reliance on the Normal Summon either. Like I talked about in the WhiteFish article, running a minimal amount of monsters that need to be Normal Summoned is preferred. But what this build does is that the utility of each card changes as the duel progresses. A Normal Summon early on for Red Rose Dragon unlocks a White Rose Dragon to Summon itself from the hand, but later in the duel you will want to use your Normal Summon on the White Rose. Similarly, you will probably be relying on Scorpio Normal Summon to setup your field early on, but then once you have Garden in play, the stronger summon is definitely Spinodionaea. Also, what you use each card for varies differently at points of the duel. White Rose is an example of a recovery option, early game extender, and setup monster all wrapped into one; Spinodionaea both sets up the Tribute Special Summons and synergizes as a playstarter with Garden; Garden switches from an annoyance to a play extender to bring something back from the GY… I think you get the point. Alongside the versatility, that is what makes this theme and mashup of archetypes so unique – they all grow and evolve with each phase of the duel, blooming just a bit more. And of course, the age-old proverb is definitely true – Every rose has its thorns.

Sample Decklist:

Monsters (25):
||| Lonefire Blossom
||| Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio
| Glow-Up Bulb
| Spore
|| Predaplant Banksiogre
| Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra
||| Predaplant Spinodionaea
||| Predaplant Sarraceniant
| Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra
| World Carrotweight Champion
||| Red Rose Dragon
||| White Rose Dragon

Spells (14):
|| Allure of Darkness
|| Black Garden
| Foolish Burial
| Super Polymerization
| Polymerization
||| Predaponics
||| Frozen Rose
| Monster Reborn

Traps (1):
| Predaplanet

Extra Deck (15):
| Predaplant Chimerafflesia
| Predaplant Dragostapelia
| Starving Venom Fusion Dragon
|| Black Rose Dragon
| Garden Rose Maiden
| Borreload Savage Dragon
| Cyberse Quantum Dragon
| Shooting Riser Dragon
| Splendid Rose
| Aromaseraphy Jasmine
| Crystron Glassfiber
| Firewall Dragon
| Knightmare Phoenix
| Summon Sorceress

Themed Tech Options:

  • Predapruning – A one off recovery Spell available to Predaplants, I prefer the turn after turn recursion of Ponics, but you could go with one copy of this instead to allow yourself the ability to bring back a Predaplant monster and use its effect.
  • Predaplant Flytrap – I’ve always wanted a Level 2 Plant to combo with Spore in my playtests, as it is easier to make a Garden Rose with a Rose Token, but I never actually ended up adding it to the deck. This would be the best monster to do so, as it serves as a pseudo-Spinodionaea with its Counter placement.
  • Chirubime, Princess of Autumn Leaves – This is more of a side-deck option, but if you are facing an opponent running hand discarding tools, you can use this princess as a discard to trigger its effect and Special Summon a Plant from your deck. Aka, against something like Topologic Gumblar Dragon or Danger! Mothman! 
  • Blue Rose Dragon – Probably a better option to summon from the deck with Red Rose Dragon than a second copy of White Rose, but it is less combo-friendly to draw into.
  • Super Solar Nutrient – Gives more opening plays to the deck, also combos with Black Garden extremely well.
  • Pollinosis – Again, combos well with Black Garden, but there are trade-offs to running more Trap cards in a build designed for wiping out established boards rather than preventing them.
  • Mark of the Rose – This card is nothing to laugh at, also it has some really cool cardtext in the OCG following a text update in the Duelist Pack! Also, getting a single plant to the GY should be super easy to satisfy its activation conditions.
  • Fragrance Storm – Combo card with Black Garden, also happens to be a potential draw engine if you really need to trade one of your own draws for a topdeck.
  • Cactus Bouncer – Another Black Garden combo card. At this point I feel like I’m repeating myself, but there are quite a lot of cool cards you can consider running with Garden being more searchable than ever. Except maybe when Ancient Fairy Dragon was still around.
  • Botanical Girl – This card opens a lot of cool plays when it is used for a Link Summon, searching most of your Predaplants. It is slightly slow and requires a Normal or Special to get onto the field, but that trade-off might be worth it to some.
  • Dark Rose Fairy*(YGOrg Translation)The other new Rose card from the Duelist Pack, this card opens up Trishula with a White Rose normal summon, also combos with a Red Rose summoned off of Glassfiber to make an easy Garden Maiden play. But it leaves something to be desired, since it is not a Plant or a Rose Dragon monster.
  • Crush Card Virus – Combos with a Rose Token for fun times. Against only certain decks though, plus you give a lot of free setup.
  • Bold and Invincible*(YGOrg Translation) – This is a very generic card that combos well against a meta that is heavily monster Special Summon based. Additionally, it combos well with Jasmine to profit from its search effect even though you are not running Aroma Garden. But I guess technically you could if you wanted to include more Field Spells and take the Rose archetype in more of an Aroma direction rather than the Predaplant one.
  • Dark Armed Dragon – With so many DARK monsters and Hydra to control your GY, you definitely have the manipulation to run this monster. But the question becomes, do you actually need to be running more destruction power in the deck?

Conclusion:

If you’re still sticking around watching the flowers grow, thanks! You made it, the garden is in peak bloom. If you’ve skipped down to the bottom looking for a TL;DR, sorry, but this type of article doesn’t have one of those. As for this deck strategy, the Rose cards now offers a really cool synergy with Black Garden that can then respectively boost up the unloved and under-performing recent Plant archetype, the Predaplants. With field nukes, searching, and versatility, alongside  Fusions, Synchros and Link monsters, you will definitely have the opportunity to have a fun time with these plants. And at the end of the day, this strategy is something pretty unique, mixing non-negation disruption with extremely open turn 1 plays. Oh and the ability to include non-Kaiju tributing monster removal should not be overlooked as well! All things considered, this Garden originally introduced by Akiza Izinski is set to grow!

Reminder, I also take suggestions for future CDS articlesI really want to see some input from you! In fact, this article was actually one of those requests. While I will (hopefully) not run out of cool ideas, I do want to be writing articles about strategies you are interested in. So 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.

Quincymccoy

Hello everybody! I serve as Number VIII of the Organization; however, my main role on the site is writing regular Deck Strategy articles! I enjoy fleshing out archetypes to their fullest potential and helping people discover amazing new techs and decks to try out!