Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Pendulum Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!
Pendulum monsters are my favorite type of Yu-Gi-Oh! card, as their abilities let you either play them like you would other monsters or as scales (which count as spells) that summon monsters with levels in between two scale values.
Also, pendulums head to the extra deck when destroyed, from which they can be revived via a pendulum summon (though you'll need link monster arrows to get back more than one). So sure, pendulum decks are great and all, but they have one dreaded counter that players often sideboard to use against pendulums: Anti-Spell Fragrance.
Sideboarding Anti-Spell Fragrance
Here's how Fragrance shuts down pendulum decks so easily. Once activated, it makes both players set spells the turn before they play them. This is already bad for non-scale spells, as you'll have to wait for them and risk them being destroyed, but it's even worse when you remember that you can't set pendulum scales at all!
In other words, with Fragrance out, scales can't be played until it leaves. If you play second and your opponent sets a Fragrance, sometimes they've won with that one card, as pendulum decks are heavily reliant on pendulum swarming. Luckily, there are counters, so if you see your opponent sideboarding in a best-of-3 match, note they may be grabbing a Fragrance—here are 10 cards to fight back with!
10. Royal Decree
Try fighting one continuous trap with your own; Royal Decree negates all other trap effects on the field while active. A useful tool, especially for decks that don't run other traps and thus won't be hurt, but note that if your opponent turn-ones Anti-Spell Fragrance, you'll have to wait a turn to set Decree, meaning you won't be able to pendulum summon on your first round.
9. Tornado Dragon
Tornado Dragon's stats are both mediocre at 2100 ATK and 2000 DEF, but he accepts any two level 4s as material and has a great quick effect, detaching a material to target and destroy a spell/trap. This makes an excellent counter to Anti-Spell, and since it's a quick effect, you can hold off until the end of your opponent's turn, which forces them to wait on spells as well.
8. Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
Lyla has decent 1700 ATK and can switch her battle position with an effect that simultaneously targets and destroys an opponent's spell/trap. Doing so prevents Lyla from changing positions again until the end of your next turn, so you'll very rarely get to reuse this ability, but it's still a great anti-Fragrance counter.
Also, Lyla mills three cards at your end step, perfect for graveyard-stocking themes like Lightsworns or Shaddolls, including . . .
7. Shaddoll Dragon
Dragon has strong 1900 ATK and a flip effect that bounces any opposing card, plus the popular dark attribute and spellcaster type. But most relevant for today's list, he can target and destroy a spell or trap when sent to the graveyard by a card effect.
This GY ability triggers no matter where Dragon was sent from, so he makes great discard fodder. You can even mill him directly from your deck with cards like Mathematician, Shaddoll Fusion, or Future Fusion.
6. Breaker the Magical Warrior
When normal summoned, Breaker gains a spell counter, which boosts his 1600 ATK to 1900. Nice, but you can (and probably should) expend the spell counter for his effect, targeting and destroying a spell/trap.
Like Shaddoll Dragon, he also packs the dark-spellcaster stats, synergizing with popular supports in Dark Magician themes.
5. Trap Eater
Trap Eater sends an opposing continous trap to the graveyard to summon himself from hand, taking out a threat while swarming your field, and since he's a tuner, he's great for synchro summons.
Now, Trap Eater can't be summoned except by his effect, so you'll probably want to sideboard him until you're sure you'll face continuous traps, but when he works, he works.
4. Gigathunder Giclops
Gigathunder is simply one of the most versatile pendulum cards. You can play him as a scale 5; not the best value, but nice to have available, and his scale effect lets you change the positions of your pendulum monster and one opposing monster.
Better yet, he can destroy a face-up spell/trap when he shifts battle positions, which he can do when normal summoned, similar to Lyla. He's also a tuner, although he'll banish himself is used for a synchro summon if he was summoned from the extra deck.
3. Heavy Storm Duster
The worst part about Duster is that, like any trap, you have to set it for a turn before activation, so playing second against Fragrance means you'll have a delay before you can remove it. Still, it targets and destroys up to two spells/traps (at the expense of your battle phase that turn, although this is easily avoided by simply using it on an opponent's turn). If you're extra lucky, you can bait a removal before triggering Duster in response.
2. Cosmic Cyclone/Mystical Space Typhoon
Cyclone pays 1000 life to target and banish a spell/trap; Typhoon doesn't cost life by only destroys its target. Either way, both cards can avoid Fragrance thanks to their quick-play speed, letting you chain them in response to Fragrance's activation.
1. Twin Twisters
Like Cyclone and Typhoon, Twisters chains in response to a Fragrance activation, letting it avoid Fragrance's set condition. Twisters discards a card to destroy up to two spells/traps; if you pitch Shaddoll Dragon, you'll hit up to three opposing cards! Removal plus graveyard filling equals one of the best spell/trap removals in the game.
Great for any deck, Twisters is surprisingly cheap, costing well under two dollars!
Today we examined the best ways for pendulum decks to avoid Fragrance's potentially crippling powers. They also work well against Imperial Order, which negates spell effects (although you can still play scales, they just won't have effects) at the cost of 700 life points at its controller's standby phase.
Remember that you often won't see Fragrance or Order until your opponent sideboards them in (after seeing you run pendulums) in round two, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next YGO! countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill