I've always been a big fan of Plants. I've written about them often and I've played them in my various decks for even longer. In fact, when you go even further, the Plant Engine of Lonefire Blossom, Glow-Up Bulb, Dandylion, and Spore has been featured in more decks than you might even realize. Those five cards have a way of working their way into different strategies and elevating mid-level decks into higher echelons of competition.

I was understandably excited when the Aromages were first revealed. A new Plant theme is always worth your attention – especially one with the possibility of being viable. Even though I missed the bus when it came to Sylvans, I intended to get onboard with Aromages. Subsequently, Konami announced the Secret Rare status of Aromage Jasmine and I realized that I'd have to let that bus pass entirely.

Being the resident budget guy here on TCGplayer forces me to occupy myself with cards that are more attainable for those of us unwilling or unable to shell out the big bucks for shiny decks.

But, Look! Prices Have Fallen!
I wanted to take the time to write about Aromages right now because as of my writing this, Aromage Jasmine is only $8. That puts the deck right into budget territory. It seemed worthwhile to discuss it.

Aromage Jasmine is the heart and soul of the deck and without it there really isn't much in the way of an actual strategy. It has two effects, both of which are incredible by anybody's standards. First, once during either player's turn if you gain Life Points, draw a card. That effect's worded so that if you control multiple Jasmines you'll draw for each. It's a great way to keep cards flowing, and the Aromage theme is loaded with ways to guarantee that the effect works well and works often.

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Jasmine's second effect is equally awesome in different ways. If your Life Points are higher than your opponent's, you can Normal Summon a Plant monster in addition to your Normal Summon or Set. That effect's great because it lets you build your field and push towards game even quicker than before. Its works really well with two monsters in particular. The first is Gigaplant. Truth be told I've never been a really big fan of Gigaplant but it's better here than it might be elsewhere thanks to Jasmine's effect. With an extra Normal Summon you can put Gigaplant on the field and Gemini Summon it in the same turn. That's the ideal, and for the first time it's a completely realistic goal.

The second monster that makes great use of Jasmine is the brand new Red Resonator from High-Speed Riders. It's also the second big reason why I'm writing about Aromages aside from Jasmine's current affordability. Red Resonator has two effects, and just like Jasmine both of them are awesome. When you Normal Summon it you can Special Summon a Level 4 or lower monster from your hand; since Resonator's a Tuner, you can make pretty much any Synchro between Levels of 3 and 6. A lot of your aggression comes from that effect.

Since much of this strategy centers around having higher Life Points than your opponent, Queen of Thorns is a great Synchro here. This deck's loaded down with the non-Tuner Plants necessary to make Queen of Thorns and the easiest way to do it is with Red Resonator and Aromage Rosemary. You can do it with a number of combinations of the smaller Plants, and you can use Fluff Tokens from Dandylion as well.

Queen of Thorns forces each player to pay 1000 Life Points to Normal or Special Summon a monster from their hand, unless it's a Plant. Since 90% of everything you're going to Summon is Plant to begin with, that effect rarely hinders you. Most of the time, it's going to radically limit what your opponent can do and if they want to get Queen of the Thorns off the field, it will likely cost them at least 2000 LP.

Red Resonator's also great for getting Aromage Jasmine on the field in Defense Position. Jasmine's got a 1900 DEF booty which is way better at keeping it on the field than its 400 ATK. Any opportunity to get it on board in defense is worthwhile. Plus, with Jasmine's extra Normal Summon, you can put another Plant onboard to Tune with Red Resonator. Huzzah.

Red Resonator's second effect is equally awesome. You won't use it with the same kind of frequency as its first ability, but when you do it can radically shift the game. Whenever Red Resonator's Special Summoned, you can target one monster your opponent controls and gain Life Points equal to its attack. Not only will that effect trigger your Aromages and get you free cards and all sorts of things, but that's the kind of effect that could swing the Life Point counter back in your favor and make all their secondary effects live as well. More often than not, it's a sort of Hail Mary kind of play or just outright flashiness, but it's impressive when you do in fact use it.

So before I go any further, let me show you the deck. Then I'll discuss the rest of the Aromage cards and how you go about triggering all of these Life Point gains.

DECKID=103666It often seems like the monsters are always the best part of a new theme, and that the spell and trap support's sort of an afterthought. I'm happy to say that isn't the case with Aromages. The deck has a Field Spell and two Continuous Trps, and all of them are just incredible. Let's start with the Field.

Aroma Garden's arguably the second most important card in the entire deck aside from Aromage Jasmine. Once per turn, if you control an Aroma monster, you can gain 500 Life Points and your monsters will also gain 500 ATK and DEF until your opponent's End Phase. That effect will actually last even if Aroma Garden leaves the field.

It also has a second effect that any time an Aroma monster's destroyed by battle or card effect, you'll gain 1000 Life Points. The first effect is key to victory in most duels. The Life Point boost triggers effects from every Aromage, as well as the traps that we'll be discussing here soon, consistently and without wasting cards. The only other way to do that is Poison of the Old Man which I'm sure you never thought you'd actually play, but here you are.

Garden's stat boost is also invaluable. It plumps Jasmine up to a much more resilient 2400 DEF and boosts Queen of Thorns and Gigaplant up to 2700 and 2900 ATK respectively. The fact that those boosts last until your opponent's End Phase is just great. When you couple that with Aromage Cananga's effect to drain 500 ATK and DEF from your opponent's monsters when your Life Points are higher, things start to get downright unfair.

Now, that last scenario isn't even considering the Continuous Traps. Humid Winds is your search card, trading 1000 Life Points for any Aromage from your deck. Also, if your Life Points are less than your opponent's you can gain 500 LP once each turn. It's great to have around when LP isn't in your favor since it triggers your Aromages, but it's even better coupled with its partner in crime, Dried Winds, the more aggressive of the two traps. Once per turn, if you gain Life Points, Dried Winds destroys an opposing monster.

That effect's outright brutal. I've come back from horrible positions just with Dried Winds and Humid Winds. Every turn I'd boost my Life Points a little higher and then thin out my opponent's field, monster by monster. That effect also works with Aroma Garden and Poison of the Old Man, which you can set alongside Dried Winds for use on your opponent's turn. Dried Winds also has a secondary effect that sort of works as a Wall of Revealing Light, but that destroys everything instead of defending against it. Granted, you won't be using that effect unless you're going for the kill, and since you pay up to the distance between the two totals, it can become a mighty large liability quickly. Still, it's worth keeping in mind.

Alright, Buck! Where's The Bang!?
At the moment, this one pushes $100. However, the second any new Aromages get announced, or any sort of cool Plant comes out, or any other card that could possibly be used in this deck sees a rumor of release, Jasmine will sky rocket because of its Secret Rare status.

If you haven't picked up the deck yet, I really suggest that you do. It's a really fun strategy that straddles the line of control and combo really well, and never gets boring. Maybe you're already playing it and you have some cool techs that I haven't even considered yet? Let me know in the comments!

-Zach Buckley

Zach is husband to his beloved wife, Emma. He's also a composer who's studying composition and production formally in an attempt to be both happy and poor. You can follow his progress on these goals by checking out his sporadically updated blog at www.wordpress.com/zwbuckleymusic