Preparing for the Meta: An Analysis of Our Current Pendulum Monsters

Good afternoon, duelists! Kiley Davis here, ready to give you guys some valuable information that will help you all prepare for all the new products that are coming in the following months! Today I plan to highlight a number of cards that will certainly impact the meta, specifically in regards to the new Pendulum Summoning mechanic.

First and foremost, I’d like to discuss a handful of cards that will be released in the next major set, Duelist Alliance. Duelist Alliance introduces numerous new archetypes such as the Shaddolls, Stellarknights, Yang Yings and the TCG-Exclusive Burning Abyss and Ultra Athlete archetypes, but also helps push the new game mechanic, Pendulum Monsters!

TourGuideFromtheUnderworld-CT09-EN-SR-LEBefore diving further into this discussion, I’d like to point out how currently infantile the newly-introduced Pendulum mechanic is. Glancing over the minimal amount of Pendulum monsters we currently have, one would argue that at first glance, this new mechanic seems useless. However, I’d like to remind you guys about when XYZ Monsters were first introduced. When XYZ Monsters were introduced into the game, they were initially met with a lot of hate. Some players thought the mechanic was useless, others thought it was busted. Right before the first XYZ Monsters were introduced, players were given a little TCG exclusive card named Tour Guide from the Underworld. Maybe you’ve heard of it? This card single-handedly carried an entire new game mechanic on its back during the first few months of XYZ monsters. Although we were very limited in our XYZ monster choices, Tour Guide became a staple at 3 (with a Sangan!) simply because of how busted it is. Regardless of how you feel about the new Pendulum monsters, there is nothing that the playerbase can do except embrace this new mechanic, just as we had to do with XYZ monsters before this, and Synchro monsters before that. Even though currently it is somewhat difficult to effectively abuse the Pendulum mechanic, I’m positive it won’t last this way for long. Using Tour Guide from the Underworld as the basis for my argument, I believe that Konami will print a Tour Guide-equivalent TCG Exclusive for Pendulum monsters to help push this new mechanic. But of course, this is all speculation.

FlashKnight-DUEA-JP-RThe first Pendulum card that has been generating a lot of discussion is actually a normal monster! With the introduction of this new card mechanic, Konami has effectively breathed new life into an otherwise stale monster type. Now that the Pendulum mechanic exists, it’s possible for pendulum/vanilla monsters to actually see play! Currently, the most significant of these normal Pendulum monsters is Flash Knight. Simply put, Flash Knight is a Normal 1800/600 LIGHT Warrior/Pendulum with a Pendulum Scale of 7/7. And legitimately, that’s it. He doesn’t have any Spell effect, he’s just good ol’ Flash Knight. When looking at just Flash Knight, he doesn’t seem too competitive; he’s got some decent stats, but he’s still a vanilla. It’s okay though, because this guy is currently pretty tutorable. Right now, we have Reinforcement of the Army at 2, meaning that you can effectively RotA out one part of your two-piece pendulum puzzle. The drawback to Flash Knight‘s searchability is he (like all of the current Pendulum monsters) is the same scale on both sides. This means that, unfortunately, you cannot “go off” with two Flash Knights- you need to have a second Pendulum monster to actually make him work. But like I said above, we’re currently in the Pendulum monster’s infancy; yeah, we don’t have a lot to work with now, but this will change very quickly.

tumblr_n5madlvxRg1rem1amo1_400The next new card I’d like to discuss is one of the much-needed boosts for the Pendulum Monsters: Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon. Unlike Flash Knight, Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon displays a lot of tactility as both a monster and as a spell. Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon is a Level 7 DARK Dragon/Pendulum with 2500/2000 and a Pendulum Scale of 4/4. As a monster, it allows you to inflict double the battle damage when it battles an opponent’s monster. As a spell, however, Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon is able to destroy itself during your end phase to let you search for a Pendulum monster with 1500 or less attack from your deck. Although we currently have a limited pool of Pendulum monsters, we’re able to tutor out both Stargazer and Timegazer Magician among others, enabling a Pendulum scale of either 1-4 or 4-8.

There are a few reasons why this card is busted. First and foremost, it’s a Level 7 DARK Dragon. This means several things, primarily the fact that this deck fits comfortably in any deck that plays Dragons. As a Level 7, Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon can be used with the Dragon Rulers to overlay into Rank 7s, such as Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, but this goes without saying. The most important thing to point out about Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon is the fact that it’s Eclipse Wyvernable. Yes, this means you can tutor out a tutor that turns into a recurring 2500 beatstick when it’s done tutoring, letting you effectively thin your deck all while establishing some recurring field-presence in the process. Also, Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon destroys itself to activate its effect, which is extremely relevant. When it gets destroyed, Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon (like all the other Pendulum Monsters) goes face-up to the Extra Deck for you to Pendulum summon out when you re-establish your Pendulum Zones. This means that  that not only does Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon pay for itself immediately by replacing itself with another card, but it enables itself to be a recurring Pendulum monster by default.
FoucaultsCannon-DUEA-EN-OPAnother Pendulum Monster worth pointing out is another vanilla monster. Foucault’s Cannon is a Normal Level 5 DARK Spellcaster/Pendulum with 2200/1200 and a Pendulum Scale of 2/2. As a Spell, its effect is “During the End Phase, if this card was activated this turn: You can target one face-up Spell/Trap card on the field; Destroy it.” Obviously you can use this to simply destroy a number of your opponent’s cards. Sure, you can destroy already-established floodgate cards like Skill Drain, Dimensional Fissure and Kaiser Coliseum, but you can also use Foucault’s Cannon to interact with your opponent’s Pendulum Zones. Destroying your opponent’s established Pendulum Zones effectively prolongs their ability to easily Pendulum Summon out recurring monsters, thus increasing your likelihood of winning. In addition, Foucault’s Cannon is one of the first Pendulum Monsters that can be tutored out through Summoner’s Art, meaning that you are able to efficiently tutor out a Twister-equivalent that would also help fill your Pendulum Zones.

DragonHornHunter-DUEA-EN-OPThe third Pendulum Monster worth discussing is the TCG’s first exclusive Pendulum Monster, and it’s yet again, another vanilla! Dragon Horn Hunter is a Level 6 DARK Warrior/Pendulum, with 2300/1000 stats and a Pendulum Scale of 3/3. Since it’s a Normal Monster, it’s only got some sick flavor text in it’s Monster effect slot, but as a Spell it says “All Normal Monsters gain 200 ATK. You take no battle damage from battles involving Normal Monsters you control.” Off the bat, it’s another Summoner’s Art target, and it provides Normal Monsters with a 200 ATK boost. This card combined with Shine Knight allows for a Pendulum Scale of 3-7, all while empowering Normal Monsters in the process. Is it possible that Konami is trying to push an all Normal Monster deck? Most likely not. Instead, it’s very possible that Konami is just testing the waters with Pendulum Monsters, and they’re starting by empowering the safest option: Normal Monsters. It is worth noting that as a Scale 3/3, this card enables Scale 4+ Pendulum Summons, which will likely be useful. However, this card has absolutely no synergy with Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon and Timegazer and Spacegazer Magician, since you can’t Pendulum Summon with two Scale Numbers that are sequential.

Just like Konami did with Xyz Monsters, it’s worth speculating that they will most likely support different Scales at different times; at first, it’s possible that a very limited Scale will be playable. And then a different Scale, and then a different one. It would be absurd if Konami immediately printed a splashable Scale 1/1 and Scale 10/10, enabling every deck to Pendulum Summon. Instead, it seems like they’re gonna take their time and do things very carefully.

300px-QliphothDisk-NECH-JP-SRMore evidence that Konami is going to be taking the Pendulum Monsters slowly is made clear through an archetype available in the next set, The New Challengers. The Qhiphort archetype is one of the first that utilizes the Pendulum Summoning mechanic. While this archetype is the absolute stones and deserves its own in-depth article, in short, this archetype relies on Pendulum Summoning out some dudes, and then tributing them for some more of the same dudes. While the archetype currently has four Pendulum Monsters (two 1/1 and two 9/9), all of them share the Pendulum effect “You cannot Special Summon any monsters, except “Qliphoth” monsters (this effect cannot be negated).” This means that even though the archetype is busted, you’ll most likely only be able to Special Summon exclusively Qhiphort dudes. Since this is one of the first Pendulum Monster archetypes, Konami’s got to be very careful with the Pendulum Monsters they print, but Konami takes the safe route by printing an archetype that is pretty much completely unable to interact with other cards. Oh and the whole archetype is capable of abusing Return of the Monarchs, but that’s also a different story for another time.

300px-RescueRat-NECH-JP-ROne of the last Pendulum Monster I’ll be discussing is Rescue Rat. Although this card is also in The New Challengers, not Duelist Alliance, this card emphasizes the fact that Konami is really trying to make Pendulum summoning a thing. Just as Rescue Cat helped make Synchros mainstreamand Rescue Rabbit made XYZ monsters more legitimate, Rescue Rat really helps drive the new Pendulum mechanic and make it playable. Rescue Rat is a Level 4 EARTH Beast/Pendulum with 300/100 and a Pendulum Scale of 5/5. As a Spell, you’re able to banish it from the Pendulum Zone to add two face-up Pendulum Monsters with the same name from your Extra Deck to your hand, but you can only do it once per duel. As a Monster, it says “During your Main Phase, if this card was Normal Summoned this turn and a face-up Level 5 or lower Pendulum Monster is in your Extra Deck: You can Tribute this card; Special Summon from your Main Deck, two monsters with the same name as one Level 5 or lower Pendulum Monster that is face-up in your Extra Deck. Their effects are negated, and they are destroyed during the End Phase.”

Just by reading over this card’s effects, it’s very obvious that this card was made primarily to promote the Pendulum game mechanic in its infancy. Rescue Rat clearly enables dozens of plays with both it’s Monster and Spell effect. As a Spell, you can banish it to add two Foucault’s Cannons to hand, giving you the ability to destroy more of your opponent’s face-up Spells and Traps. As a Monster, you can also use Rescue Rat to enable XYZ-based plays. Rescue Rat has a complicated effect that will only get better and better with time. Although both of Rescue Rat‘s effects have some sort of restriction, this card is still completely overpowered. If I had to predict this card’s impact on the gamestate, I’d prophesize that Rescue Rat will do the exact same thing that Rescue Cat and Rescue Rabbit did; Rescue Rat will initially be one of the hottest cards of the format until Pendulum Monsters are at the point that they don’t Rescue Rat. Once we get more Pendulum Monsters and the game mechanic is permanently instilled in the playerbase, Rescue Rat will be quickly limited, seeing as it served its original purpose of selling the mechanic.

PMCapture-DUEA-KR-R-1EThe last odd-ball Pendulum Monster worth pointing out is P.M. Capture. P.M. Capture is a Korean OCG Exclusive Level 4 DARK Zombie/Pendulum with 1800/0 and a Pendulum Scale of 5/5. As a Spell, it says that when you Pendulum Summon a Zombie-type monster(s), you can prevent them from being destroyed by battle or card effects for the rest of the turn. As a Monster, it says that when it destroys an opponent’s monster by battle, you can target one Pendulum Monster in your graveyard and add it to your hand. Because the Pendulum game mechanic is still in its baby form, all of these tutor cards become exponentially more useful. This is another Pendulum monster that, like Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon, is fully-capable of looking after itself. If you play inevitably play numerous copies of this card, you’ll find yourself capable of Pendulum summoning back the same P.M. Capture off of a Pendulum Zoned P.M. Capture turn after turn, giving you the ability to spawn an 1800 ATK beater that can’t be destroyed by battle/card effects and does stuff when it destroys an opponent’s monster. Even though this card is an OCG Exclusive at the moment, it is very possible that we get this card eventually. However, the fact that this Pendulum Monster is exclusive to the Korean OCG helps add diversity to the independent gamestates of Yu-Gi-Oh! (For those of you who are confused, these are the Japanese OCG, the Korean OCG, the North American TCG and the South American/European TCG. The only differences between these gamestates are the available cards and the limited/restricted lists.)

As I’ve stressed above, the current problem with the Pendulum Monsters is that we have a severely limited number of them, which results in a limited combination of plays. After we get Duelist Alliance, we will only be able to:

  • Combine Flash Knight and Foucault’s Cannon for a Pendulum Scale of 2-7.
  • Combine Flash Knight and Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon/Timegazer Magician/Stargazer for a Pendulum Scale of 4-7.
  • Combine Flash Knight and Dragon Horn Hunter for a Pendulum Scale of 3-7.
  • Combine Timegazer Magician and Spacegazer Magician for a Pendulum Scale of 1-8.
  • Combine Timegazer Magician and Foucault’s Cannon for a Pendulum Scale of 2-4.
  • Combine Timegazer Magician and Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon for a Pendulum Scale of 4-8.
  • Combine Stargazer Magician and Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon for a Pendulum Scale of 1-4.
  • Combine Stargazer Magician and Foulcault’s Cannon for a Pendulum Scale of 2-4.
  • Combine Foucault’s Cannon and Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon/Timegazer Magician/Stargazer for a Pendulum Scale of 2-4.
  • Combine Foucault’s Cannon and Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon/Timegazer Magician/Stargazer for a Pendulum Scale of 2-4.
  • Combine Foucault’s Cannon and P.M. Capture for a Pendulum Scale of 2-5.
  • Combine Foucault’s Cannon and Dragon Horn Hunter for a Pendulum Scale of 3-5.

While this seems like a detailed selection of Pendulum monster combinations, you can see that several of these combinations only enable one level of monster to be Pendulum Summoned, and immediately become less efficient than some of the other combinations. In fact, one of the most interesting combinations currently is Flash Knight and Foucault’s Cannon/Dragon Horn Hunter. Both of these monsters are able to be tutored out by Normal Spell cards, and together they allow for monsters between Level 3-6 and 4-6 to be Pendulum Summoned easily. Yes, Timegazer and Stargazer Magician can enable a Pendulum Scale of 1-8, but realistically, you are forced to either play them together, or pair them up with the Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon and limit your Pendulum Scale. And even then, these three monsters aren’t very synergistic with other Pendulum Monsters at the moment; you can’t tutor out Dragon Horn Hunter with Odd Eyes Pendulum Dragon, and you can’t Pendulum Summon using Dragon Horn Hunter and Timegazer/Stargazer Magician.

Because of all of these minor complications, the final question obviously is, “what decks am I supposed to even play Pendulum Monsters in?” Let me answer that question with a question, “Why are you so worried about making these Pendulum Monsters work the instant we get them?”

300px-MistValleyApexAvianHA02-EN-ScR-1ECurrently, we have a small list of decks that have been playing around with the Pendulum Summoning mechanic. Most of the current Pendulum decks try to utilize good Tribute Monsters that would otherwise require more than one tribute to summon, or monsters that get their effects when they are Normal or Special Summoned. For example, one currently popular theory-oh! deck is Mist Valley Ninjas, a deck that abuses the ability to Pendulum Summon Mist Valley Apex Avian turn after turn. This is pretty much the singular goal of the deck, since it is able to initially Ninjitsu Art of Super-TransformationHanzo into a Apex Avian, and then proceed to use it to control the game. In order to play this deck, you’d need to play Scale 8s to Pendulum out Apex Avian, but you’d also probably want to play a Scale 1-3 so that you can also Pendulum Summon out your Hanzo. This means that Mist Valley Ninjas have the option of playing the Flash Knight/Dragon Horn Hunter combo, since they’re already playing Reinforcement of the Army, and could easily find room for Summoner’s Art.

GreenGadgetSD10-EN-C-1EAnother popular theory-oh! Pendulum Deck at the moment is Pendulum Gadgets, since Gadgets all gain their effects when they’re Normal or Special Summoned. This means that, in addition to using Kagetokage/Tin Goldfish to go into tutors like King of Feral Imps and Gear Gigant X, you could also hypothetically Pendulum Summon out a bunch of Gadgets, then make a bunch of Gear Gigant Xs, and tutor out other useful cards to either gobble up your Normal Summon or to prepare yourself for the next turn. This deck has a lot of potential because of how many cards replace themselves; All of the Gadgets pay for themselves, and then you have the ability to make even more tutors to make your plays explosive. This deck is very similar to Geargia in spirit because of it’s ability to consistently gain some sort of advantage, make Rank 4 plays that make up for the inherent card loss, and generally grind out a longer duel. This deck initially fell short for a while because of it’s inability to crank out more than one Rank 4 per turn. However, with cards like Soul Charge and mechanics like Pendulum Summoning, it’s very possible that this deck may emerge in the competitive scene following the release of Duelist Alliance.

Although we may have a somewhat rough group of cards introducing us to Pendulum Summoning, we have to remember that Konami is still just introducing the game mechanic to us. These cards are just testing the waters on the mechanic, because seriously, this Pendulum mechanic could easily be busted wide open if  After both the playerbase and Konami get our metaphorical feet in the water, I’d assume they will print more complex Pendulum Monsters. In the mean time, we are forced to get Pendulum Monsters that empower Normal Monsters like Dragon Horn Hunter and Pendulum Monsters that work exclusively with their archetype like the Qliphorts. Somewhere down the line we will probably get some Pendulum monsters that have two different Pendulum Scale numbers so you can play them in either Pendulum Zone, or a small Pendulum Monster archetype that is easily splashable into other decks. Only time will tell, but it’s clear that Pendulum Monsters are here to stay!

So, what do you think of Pendulum Monsters currently? Do you think they’re going to impact the metagame immediately when we get Duelist Alliance, or is it going to take a few more cards before we have our first competitive Pendulum Monster deck? Let me know in the comments below!

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