Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
Pendulum Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
Introduced in the Arc-V anime, pendulum monsters took dueling by storm. With their ability to revive from the extra deck after being defeated or to be initially set in your pendulum zones, these cards offer an incredible amount of variety (even after the implementation of Konami's new extra-deck limitation rules).
With dozens of powerful pendulum archetypes available, many rookie duelists forget to search beyond their chosen series to find generalized support. But with hundreds of monsters to browse, which cards can aid almost any deck? These are the 10 best non-archetype-dependent creatures in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Foucault's Cannon
One of the original pendulum monsters, Foucault's Cannon bears the dark attribute, spellcaster type, and normal monster status, making it particularly helpful in Dark Magician decks thanks to their copious similarities.
Being a normal combatant, Cannon doesn't wield any special effects when fielded, but its 2200 ATK exceeds that of most pendulum monsters. It's also a good choice for your low pendulum scale (you want one low and one high), bearing an excellently minuscule scale of 2 and a nice scale ability: during the end phase of the turn you activate Cannon, you can destroy any face-up spell or trap on the field. This helpfully eliminates a pesky field spell, continuous spell/trap, or even an opposing pendulum scale.
9. Performapal Fire Mufflerlion
Although Fire Mufflerlion belongs to the sizable Performapal family, its effects benefit any pendulum assortment. Mufflerlion's scale of 5 is rather midway, but when a pendulum monster you control is destroyed by battle, you can special summon Mufflerlion from your zone, meaning you shouldn't be stuck with your lukewarm scale for long.
Or, to avoid that mess altogether, simply normal or pendulum summon Mufflerlion from the get-go. As a level 3, it can be normal summoned without tributes (unlike level-5 Cannon), and while out, once per turn when a pendulum monster you control destroys an opponent's monster in battle, that monster gains 200 ATK until end of turn and can attack again. This awesome trait lets your strongest behemoth strike twice with boosted ATK, and as icing on the cake, the second blow doesn't have to be on another monster (it can be a direct attack).
8. Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
A card that's semi-limited as of this writing, meaning you can only include two rather than three in your deck, Luster Pendulum operates smoothly even outside its Dracoslayer brethren. It possesses an undesirably midway pendulum scale of 5, but Luster bears an awesome scale effect that lets you (once per turn) destroy your other scale and add a copy of the destroyed monster from your deck to your hand. This basically nets you a duplicate of what you had while filling your extra deck with a monster ready to be resummoned, and it lets you place a different card in your scale if desired.
As a monster, Luster bears a respectable 1850 ATK, can be normal summoned without tributes, and counts as a tuner, letting it summon synchro monsters when used in conjunction with nontuners. That said, Luster's effect only lets it be used as special summon material for Dracoslayer monsters, but tuner-pendulum blends like Luster are pretty rare and in high demand. Thankfully, you've got several potent extra deck Dracoslayers to choose from like Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer.
7. Performapal Drummerilla
Another Performapal who can assist any build, Drumerilla's low scale of 2 already tempts, and it can once per turn boost the ATK of a monster you control by 600 when that monster battles an opposing creature. This gives your champion a hefty increase until the end of the turn and can activate on either player's battle phase.
As a monster, Drumerilla only wields 1600 ATK, but he utilizes the same ATK-increasing effect; when a monster you control (including Drumerilla) battles, you can once per turn temporarily buff it by 600. While each Drumerilla can only use its effect once per turn, you're welcome to activate multiple instances of the ability if you have multiple gorillas fielded, letting your army easily eclipse the ATK of even your opponent's most powerful unit.
Additionally, if there are no monsters on the field, you can normal summon Drummerilla as a level-4 monster instead of 5, meaning you won't have to tribute and granting you a sweet alternate summoning condition for this versatile beast.
6. Samurai Cavalry of Reptier
Perhaps today's simplest card, Samurai Cavalry of Reptier wields a decent scale of 3 but no scale effect. However, it can be normal summoned without tributes, bears a solid 1800 ATK, and when attacking a nonpendulum opposing monster, you can immediately destroy that card before damage calculation. This means Samurai can annihilate almost any adversary in battle, and since the effect doesn't target, it can even obliterate shrouded foes like Obelisk the Tormentor.
Also note that Samurai possesses the rare dinosaur monster type, making it combo well with your other ancient reptiles in prehistoric builds.
5. Timebreaker Magician
A member of the bountiful Magician archetype, Timebreaker Magician enjoys access to numerous supports but can hold his own even outside his comfort zone. Timebreaker wields a helpfully low pendulum scale of 2 and one of the best scale effects in the game: once per turn, when one or more pendulum monsters you control would be destroyed by an opposing card effect, they aren't destroyed. This awesome shield guards your creatures against common removals like Mirror Force, Raigeki, Bottomless Trap Hole, and many more.
Timebreaker's also an impressive monster. He can banish himself and a targeted monster until your next standby phase, a useful way to temporarily exile your opponent's strongest monster (this also removes their xyz material), and when Timebreaker is pendulum summoned from your hand while no other monsters are being summoned, you can double his lukewarm 1400 ATK to a daunting 2800. What else can I say? An excellent scale, excellent removal, easy normal summon, and potentially doubled ATK make Timebreaker a force to be reckoned with.
4. Kuro-Obi Karate Spirit
Arguably the game's best spirit monster, Kuro-Obi Karate Spirit (like most spirit cards) returns to your hand during the end phase if he was normal summoned or flipped face-up that turn. However, when normal summoned, you can send all spells/traps your opponent controls to the graveyard that are in the same columns are your pendulum scales. This can eliminate up to two opposing tricks at once, and Kuro-Obi enjoys a sturdy 2400 ATK. Plus, if you don't want him to bounce back at the end of your turn, simply pendulum summon him instead.
However, Kuro-Obi's best treat involves his amazingly high scale of 9. Very few pendulum monsters reach that peak without having some sort of trade-off or restriction, and this grants you access to some of the game's best level-8 warriors like Dark Magician of Chaos. Plus, when a pendulum monster is summoned, Kuro-Obi returns to your hand from the scale, letting you either reset him or instead normal summon him for his sweet spell/trap destruction.
3. Rescue Hamster
Despite its low stats, Rescue Hamster will help you rapidly harness your other pendulum monsters. While it wields a poor scale of 5, you can banish it from your pendulum zone to add two pendulum monsters with the same name from your extra deck to your hand, a great way to have them take up the abundant normal monster zones when summoned rather than the scarce extra monster slots.
Additionally, when your normal summon Hamster and have a level-5 or lower pendulum monster in your extra deck, you can tribute hamster to special summon two copies of your chosen monster from your deck, but they have their effects negated and are destroyed at the end phase. Having their abilities inactive stinks, but you can still use them as beatsticks, or better yet, perform an xyz summon with them to avoid their incoming destruction. Either way, you're gaining two monsters with little effort expended.
2. Archfiend Eccentrick
With a decently high scale of 7, Archfiend Eccentrick accesses a nice number of cards. Even better, while in the pendulum zone she can destroy herself to target and destroy any spell or trap on the field, essentially giving you a free Mystical Space Typhoon right off the bat.
That said, ever since the extra deck rules dampened our summoning, reviving pendulum monsters from your extra deck makes casting other extra deck monsters (fusion, synchro, xyz) tricky since they have nowhere to go. Luckily, Eccentrick helps by tributing herself to target and destroy one monster on the field, simultaneously serving as monster removal while also freeing up your zone. She can even target one of your own monsters if you wish (perhaps to activate the effects of cards like Supply Squad). Spell/trap removal, repeatable monster removal, and a decent scale help Eccentrick function superbly even outside her Archfiend family.
1. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
Yuya's signature monster from the Arc-V anime certainly impresses in the actual game. As a monster, Odd-Eyes wields impressive ATK and DEF alongside a stellar effect: it doubles battle damage to opponents when fighting opposing monsters! Combo this with ATK-boosting (Performapal Drumerilla, Mufferlion, and Odd-Eyes Unicorn) effects to really pile on the hurt fast.
Additionally, when placed in the pendulum zone, Odd-Eyes nullifies battle damage you receive from combat involving your pendulum monsters and can destroy itself in the end phase to search for and add any pendulum card with 1500 or less ATK to your hand!
If you're still not convinced, consider the numerous support cards (Sky Iris) and extra deck upgrades this behemoth receives (Rune-Eyes, Beast-Eyes, etc.). A card with several alternate forms that also shines by itself, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon easily earns today's top spot.
Future of Pendulum
Although Konami's main focus has moved on, pendulum decks still enjoy a vast number of support cards and new releases. Be sure to factor in these adaptable titans when constructing your deck list to catch your opponent off-guard with unexpected strategies beyond those of your archetype.
But for now, as we eagerly await more pendulum-containing expansion sets, vote for your favorite monster and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
Questions & Answers
Question: What was Konami's new extra deck limitation?
Answer: Well, "new" for the time this article was written, I'm referring to the changes that accompanied link summoning, which (unlike before) only let each player control one extra monster at once unless they unlock additional zones using the arrows of link monsters.
© 2018 Jeremy Gill