Legendary Duelists: Sisters of the Roseprominently features new cards for Harpies, Cyber Angels, Lunalights, andTrains.

As the name suggests there are also five new 'Rose' cards to complimentBlack Rose Dragon – the ace monster of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's character AkizaIzinski. Her cards aren't a theme in the same way that Harpies are; insteadthey're mostly a loose collection of various Plant and Spellcaster monsterswith some limited synergy. Red Rose Dragon adds a small amount of cohesionto the concept, but all of the new cards are interesting on their own.

Roses Are Red...And Black… Also White
Red Rose Dragon's easily the most exciting piece of Synchro and Plantsupport in Sisters of the Rose as it replaces itself twice overwhen contributing to the Synchro Summon of Black Rose Dragon or a PlantSynchro Monster.

Tuners in today's game need to offer serious value with either a built-inSpecial Summon or by replacing themselves in some way. Synchros these daysare competing with the insane economy of Link Monsters, and the old schooltactics of running Normal Summon Tuners with a utility effect is long inthe past. The standard for Tuner monsters in 2019 is much higher, and RedRose Dragon meets those expectations by doubling down on replacing lostcard economy from a Synchro Summon.

Summoning any Synchro with Red Rose Dragon will trigger its effect toSpecial Summon a Rose Dragon monster from your hand or deck. Even Summoninga Blue Rose Dragon will mitigate the inherent -1 of most Synchro Summons,but Blue Rose isn't the ideal monster to pair with Red Rose. Instead, WhiteRose Dragon is Red Rose Dragon's obvious partner – the two monsters haveexcellent synergy together and form an outstanding Synchro Summoning enginethat can be loaded into any strategy.

#####CARDID=24646#####

White Rose Dragonis still over a month away in Savage Strike Special Edition, butthere's no point in talking about Red Rose without mentioning the card it'sdesigned to work with. White Rose follows in the aftermath of Red Roseeither from being Summoned from the deck, or if you Normal Summon it withRed Rose in your graveyard. The follow-up play is thematically andstrategically important for those times you Summon the field-nuking BlackRose Dragon. You'll always want to have an immediate play after Black RoseDragon resolves, and by triggering Red Rose Dragon you'll have thatfollow-up loaded on the field every time. Just make sure Red Rose is ChainLink 1 so it resolves after Black Rose Dragon.

On its own, White Rose Dragon can Summon Red Rose Dragon or Black RoseDragon from the graveyard, and its built-in Special Summon effect pairswith numerous Plant or Dragon-heavy Synchro strategies. The two mostpopular Plant Tuners in the game can already Summon themselves from thegraveyard, but unfortunately White Rose Dragon's third effect can't sendthose monsters to the graveyard. The 'Level 4 or higher' restriction on itsgraveyard-sending effect makes White Rose significantly less competitive,although some Plant themes can leverage high Level Plants through MiracleFertilizer.

World Carrotweight Champion's likely the best target for most Plant themes,but I imagine other Synchro strategies using the Rose Dragons will skipthis effect entirely. But don't overlook the ability to send PredaplantDrosophyllum Hydra to the graveyard in Predaplants: that deck'ssurprisingly close to a playable state thanks to Predaplast, SuperPolymerization, and Predaplant Dragosapelia.

More Rose Support
Red Rose Dragon does more than simply Summon a Rose Dragon from the deck.Synchro Summoning a Plant or Black Rose Dragon lets you add a copy ofFrozen Rose or Blooming of the Darkest Rose from your deck to your hand,and both cards are worth talking about.

Frozen Rose is particularly exciting as its effect can search LonefireBlossom, Spore, or Glow-Up Bulb. Those are historically some of the bestmonsters in the game, and having a spell to directly search them isincredibly useful. What's more, Red Rose Dragon sets up Frozen Rose by bothsearching it and Summoning a monster to use as fodder for itseffect. You'll need to send a non-Dragon monster from the deck to thegraveyard to search a Plant, and the Rose Dragon Summoned by Red Rose worksperfectly.

The draw effect of Frozen Rose is a little trickier. Depending on the Planttheme in question it's rarely ideal to send your monsters to the graveyardwithout using them for another Extra Deck Summon. I think it's useful in apinch, but the main appeal of Frozen Rose is its search effect. It alsocombos well with Mind Control: taking an opponent's monster to use for anExtra Deck Summon or a search for a low-Level Plant is a totallyreasonable play. Looking at it from a card economy perspective you're stillcoming out ahead, if not by much. Burning two spells is painful even if oneof them was sourced for free.

#####CARDID=24647#####

Blooming of the Darkest Rose, on the other hand, has very few uses outsideof one particular strategy. Special Summoning a small number of Tokensbased on the amount of Field Spells on the Field or in the graveyard islargely a gimmick. You'd need to run an exceptionally large Field Spellline-up to make it worth running over Scapegoat, and the fact that'ssearchable by Red Rose Dragon isn't enough to encourage playing it. DarkestRose's second effect is seemingly designed to keep your Black Rose Dragonalive when its effect resolves, and it's the much more competitive effectsince it also counters targeted effect negation.

Surprisingly I think Blooming of the Darkest Rose does have aplace as an exceptionally powerful tech card in a totally unplayed theme:Triamids. That deck's built around three Field Spells: Triamid Fortress,Triamid Cruiser, and Triamid Kingolem with monsters that can rapidly cyclethrough them and quickly load up the graveyard with Field Spells. I thinkDarkest Rose is simply a better Scapegoat in that deck and the Rose Dragonengine's a fitting complement to the usual monster line-up. That'sobviously a very limited example of this trap's usefulness, for the mostpart searching Frozen Rose with Red Rose Dragon will be the better option.

A New Synchro Recalling An Old Friend
I used to love playing Black Garden back in late 2008. Plants weretotally reinvented with Crossroads of Chaos and gained new winconditions beyond spamming the board with Gigaplant.

Tytannial, Princess of Camellias presented a new go-to Summon for LonefireBlossom, and Copy Plant added Synchro Summoning possibilities that wereonly just emerging at the time. Miracle Fertilizer and Mark of the Rosewere impressive search cards, but without a cohesive monster line-upoutside of Lonefire Blossom the deck just wasn't able to compete withGladiator Beasts, Lightsworns, or the incredibly dominant Tele-DADstrategy.

Black Garden slowed the game down enough to disrupt the game's most popularstrategies, and adding Geartown and Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon providedan on/off switch for its Token-Summoning and ATK-halving effect. Tokengeneration is huge in today's game, but Black Garden forces you torely on your opponent's behavior. It's not necessarily a bad strategyagainst decks that repeatedly Summon monsters – you'll be halfing theirmonster's ATK and scoring free monsters to use for Link Summons next turn.Unfortunately Black Garden is almost useless when playing first in the dueland it's not as impactful as an actual floodgate. You'd almost alwaysrather have a Rivalry of Warlords or Gozen Match on the field, althoughit's worth noting that Black Garden does have solid synergy with bothtraps.

The new Plant Synchro Garden Rose Maiden is a little confusing because itseffect to search and recycle Black Garden is so underwhelming. No moderndeck is being built around Black Garden, but there's another effectattached to the Field Spell that's really important here. You can destroyBlack Garden and all other Plants on the field to Summon a monster – anymonster – from your graveyard with an ATK exactly equal to those destroyedPlants.

If you have a single Rose Token then you could destroy Black Garden toSummon a monster with 800 ATK from your graveyard, or if you had two RoseTokens you could Summon a monster with 1600 ATK. Garden Rose Maiden has1600 ATK, and it's seemingly designed to be Summoned with Black Gardenagain and again.

#####CARDID=24644#####

Each time you Special Summon Garden Rose Maiden you can add back your copyof Black Garden. Both of Maiden's effects are once per turn, but there'snothing stopping you from Summoning it during your next turn. In themeantime you can use it as a stepping stone for another Synchro Summon, oruse it in a Link or Xyz Summon. You could even send it to the graveyardwith Frozen Rose to fix your hand.

There's a good incentive to send it to the graveyard: its second effect isa Monster Reborn for a Rose Dragon or Dragon Synchro – potentially veryuseful for themes that are pumping out huge Dragon Synchro Monsters.Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon and Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon are probably itsbest options.

Extra-Foolish Burial and PSY-Framelord Omega let you put Garden Rose Maidento use without Synchro Summoning it repeatedly. It fills a niche bySummoning monsters outside the Level restriction of Return of the DragonLords, but its pool of targets is admittedly limited.

Unfortunately new Dragon Synchros are a rare sight these days, andSisters of the Rose only has a reprint of Black Rose Dragon. A newretrain of Black Rose would go a long way towards making Maiden and theRose Dragon Main Deck cards worth playing.

Aromaseraphy Jasmineis finally slated to arrive in April inDuel Power, and it's an absolutely essential card for Plant themes and strategies.Its effect bypasses complicated plays with Frozen Rose and simply SummonsLonefire Blossom from the deck by tributing another monster. It's anexcellent Link Monster with insane potential even in a post-Dandylionworld, and every Plant theme benefits from its arrival here in the TCG. Italso gives the Black Garden-Rose Maiden loop a real end goal: providingrepeat Link Material to Summon Jasmine at an astonishingly low cost.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​for more updates ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.