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Monday Night Matchup: Plant Synchro VS Gravekeepers

December 14th, 2010

Tonight’s Monday Night Matchup pits the winning Deck from YCS Atlanta against the winning Deck from YCS Milan: Gravekeeper’s VS Plant Synchro! Both of these tremendous tournaments were held during the same weekend, but their Top Decks were very different. The pace of Plant Synchro clashes with the crippling control of Gravekeeper’s, making for a unique matchup that’s frequently favorable for the Duelist wielding the tomb-keepers.

Blame the Metrodome collapse.

The Gravekeeper’s Advantage

The Top 32 of YCS Atlanta was packed with Plant Synchro Decks. In fact, there were more Plant Synchro Decks in the Top 32 than any other Deck. So how did 3 Gravekeeper’s Decks snag all of the Darklord Prize Cards? By seizing their advantage over the most popular Deck in the Top 32.

Gravekeeper’s Decks use Necrovalley to lock up the opponent’s Graveyard so that he or she can no longer access it. For a Plant Synchro Duelist, this spells trouble. Plant Duelists rely on Debris Dragon to Special Summon monsters like Dandylion and Lonefire Blossom from the Graveyard so that they can Synchro Summon big monsters like Black Rose Dragon. With Necrovalley active, Debris Dragon’s effect won’t work. Plant Synchro Duelists can’t use Pot of Avarice to draw cards either, since they’re not able to send 5 monsters from their Graveyard back to their Deck while Necrovalley is on the field.

Necrovalley also turns on the effect of Gravekeeper’s Assailant. Since Assailant can change the position of an opposing face-up monster whenever it attacks while Necrovalley is face-up, it can switch 0 ATK Fluff Tokens into Attack Position and smash right through them to inflict a massive 2000 points of damage! This is a major weakness for Plant Synchro Decks in the Gravekeeper’s matchup.

Royal Tribute is another powerful card in the Gravekeeper’s versus Plant Synchro matchup. Plant Synchro Decks typically run a lot of monsters. Gravekeeper’s Duelists can strip a Plant Synchro Duelist’s hand of all these monsters by activating Royal Tribute.

In Duels 2 and 3, things can get even tougher for an unsuspecting Plant Synchro Duelist. Since most of the monsters in a Plant Synchro Deck have less than 1500 ATK, a lot of the monsters in there are vulnerable to Deck Devastation Virus. If a Gravekeeper’s Duelist puts Deck Devastation Virus in from his Side Deck, he can Tribute one of his 2000 ATK Gravekeeper’s while Necrovalley is face-up in order to destroy the opponent’s hand and future draws!

Plant Synchro Fights Back!

Fortunately, if you’re a Plant Synchro Duelist, there’s a lot that you can do to overcome the Gravekeeper’s matchup. The key to victory against Gravekeeper’s Decks usually rests with destroying Necrovalley. Since Necrovalley locks down a Plant Synchro Duelist’s plays, enables a Gravekeeper’s Duelist to activate Royal Tribute, and boosts the power of all Gravekeeper’s, it’s the primary threat that a Plant Synchro Duelist needs to take down.

Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Caius the Shadow Monarch are great cards to use to get rid of Necrovalley. Ryko can destroy any card on the field and Caius can remove Necrovalley from the Duel with its effect. If you can leave an opponent without an active Necrovalley long enough to take advantage of your Graveyard and make your biggest plays, you can mount a comeback no matter how far behind you may be!

Unfortunately, since Ryko and Caius are Monster Cards, they have their weaknesses. One of these weaknesses is that they’re both vulnerable to Royal Tribute while they’re in your hand. Caius’s Summon can also be negated by cards like Solemn Warning, and Ryko can be destroyed by the effect of Gravekeeper’s Descendant while it’s face-down on the field. In either case, you won’t get your monster’s effect, and won’t be able to take down Necrovalley. Tech cards like Mystical Space Typhoon and Dust Tornado, however, are harder for Gravekeeper’s Duelists to stop, and can give you huge edge in this matchup by making it easier to destroy Necrovalley.

Ancient Fairy Dragon is another great card that a Plant Synchro Duelist can use to destroy Necrovalley. The easiest way to Summon it is by Tuning your Level 4 Debris Dragon with a Level 3 non-Tuner like Dandylion. Even if you can’t use Debris Dragon’s effect to Special Summon a monster from your Graveyard, its 2000 DEF may be high enough to help it stay on the field while you Summon another monster to join it. By Tuning the Level 4 Debris Dragon with a Level 3 non-Tuner, you can Synchro Summon the Level 7 Ancient Fairy Dragon, whose power lets you destroy a Field Spell Card every turn! Since Ancient Fairy Dragon only destroys 1 card at a time, its effect, unlike the effect of Black Rose Dragon, can’t be stopped by Starlight Road.

An early Summon of Tytannial, Princess of Camellias through the effect of Lonefire Blossom can also be critical to a victory for a Plant Synchro Duelist. Tytannial’s 2800 ATK and 2600 DEF can be tough for most of the Gravekeeper’s monsters to fight through, even with Necrovalley face-up on the field. Strong monsters like Tytannial give Plant Synchro Duelists an alternate way to win, even if they can’t destroy an opponent’s Necrovalley.

Plant Synchro Decks have a tough matchup against Gravekeeper’s Decks, but it’s not insurmountable. With some solid strategy and the right tech, either Duelist can triumph!