Top 10 Pendulum Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
Love 'em or hate 'em, pendulum monsters made a huge impact in the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game. Many players considered them overpowered; even game distributor Konami greatly restricted their usage with the rule changes that debuted alongside link monsters.
Regardless of your stance, pendulum monsters offered unparalleled speed to duelists, often ending matches in one or two turns. Whether on the field or in the pendulum zone (PZ), these guys were the gift that kept on giving. To see what I mean, let's review the ten best (legal) pendulum monsters!
10. Deskbot 005
Our first monster's PZ effect sadly prevents it from summoning non-Deskbot monsters, somewhat restricting its usage. However, its regular monster effect more than compensates: when normal or special summoned, 005 can destroy any spell or trap on the field.
As long as you're using pendulum scales (PS) that can summon a level 5 monster (and most can), you can consistently reuse 005 as both a trap removal and a meat shield to block an attack. 005 works best in Deskbot decks, but functions surprisingly well in any pendulum build.
9. Qliphort Monolith
Several overpowered Qliphort monsters (Towers and Scout) have rightfully been banned, yet many remaining members of the archetype still demonstrate great potential. Monolith can be used as level 5 beatstick in any pendulum deck, but it really only belongs in Qli arrangements.
Despite its restrictions, don't underestimate it. Unlike the effect Qli monsters, Monolith wields enough ATK to defeat many foes when special summoned, and its PZ effect combos superbly with the Qlis: at the end of your turn, you can draw cards equal to the number of Qli monsters used for a tribute summon. This grants card advantage by consistently refilling your hand, and can add as many as three at once (if you Tribute Summon Qliphort Skybase).
8. Qliphort Helix
Another Qli-only card, Helix nonetheless offers much to enjoy. In the PZ, it simply reduces the ATK of all opposing monsters by 300, a great dampening effect. As a monster card, its ATK drops to a still-respectable 1800 when special summoned or normal summoned without a sacrifice, but maintains a healthy 2400 if tribute summoned.
Plus, if normal summoned, Helix is immune to the effects of monsters with a lower Level than it, saving it from pesky flip effects! Even better, when tributed, Helix can destroy any spell/trap, granting some much-needed non-monster removals to the Qlis, and making it quite versatile in any series.
Basically, if you're running Qlis, put three of these in your deck.
7. Samurai Cavalry of Reptier
A card with no restrictions on its usage, Reptier has good ATK for its level, a desirably low PS, can be normal summoned without a tribute, and wields an amazing effect: whenever it attacks a non-pendulum monster, you can destroy that monster.
Honestly, not much else to say; when Samurai's around, any non-pendulum decks will struggle to simply keep their monsters alive. Nice to see the often underutilized Dinosaur type receive such a potent member in the competitive tcg.
6. Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer
Pendulum Sorcerer has an even lower PS (which is good, you want one on the high end and one on the low) and several other boons. Its PZ effect boosts the ATK of Performapal monsters by 1000 for the turn when a Performapal monster is summoned. Even better, when special summoned, Sorcerer can destroy up to two of your own cards to add a corresponding amount of different Performapals to your hand.
This combos beautifully with Supply Squad, a continuous spell that lets you draw when one of your monsters is destroyed, but also stands on its own. In essence, Sorcerer consistently replenishes your hand whenever it's not serving as a strong PZ candidate.
Oh, and its 1500 ATK qualifies it for the effect of our number one monster, but we'll get to that soon enough.
5. Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
A limited card, Luster isn't banned but (as of this writing) can only appear once in your deck. Its PS is a bit midway for my liking, but Luster nonetheless harbors several boons. First, it brandishes hefty ATK for a level 4, and the seemingly-undesirable 0 DEF actually combos well with cards like Masked Chameleon.
Then, Luster's PZ effect lets you (once per turn) destroy your other PZ card to add another copy of that card to your hand. This consistently helps refill your arsenal, and if you need Luster removed from your pendulum zone, you can always use the effects of cards like Sky Iris or Pendulum Sorcerer to destroy it, or your opponent might lend you an unknowingly helpful hand with a removal.
Finally, as a monster, Luster restricts the types of cards it can special summon to Dracoslayer monsters, but it also counts as a tuner, accessing great extra deck beasts like synchro monster Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer.
4. Wisdom-Eye Magician
Another limited card, Wisdom serves as a staple for any Magician pendulum decks. Ignore its undesirable scale 5, because Wisdom can destroy itself if you have a Performapal or Magician in the other PZ to place any pendulum Magician from your deck into the zone!
This both searches for a needed PZ card and fills your extra deck with a monster ready to be Pendulum Summoned. You can also discard the card to activate a scale-altering effect, but in most cases you're better off just placing it in the PZ.
3. Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
Yet another limited card, Joker also belongs in any pendulum Magician deck. It has a temptingly high scale, although placing it there restricts your special summoning to Performapal, Odd-Eyes, and Magician cards. A better use is to simply normal summon the card, as it can add any one member of those three archetypes to your hand.
From there, Joker carries enough ATK to conquer weaker monsters and can be used as fodder for a future tribute summon. Overall, a great hand-replenishing card and candidate for rank 4 xyz creatures.
2. Archfiend Eccentrick
Eccentrick has a scale of 7, one away from the ideal high end of 8, but it likely won't matter: you can tribute Eccentrick in the PZ to destroy any spell or trap, meaning it typically doesn't remain in your zone for long.
That's a great removal already, but afterwards, (once fielded) Eccentrick can tribute itself to destroy any monster on the field! This makes it a resummonable monster removal after already serving as spell/trap removal—all for no cost! You can even target your own monster to destroy if you'd like, perhaps to activate cards like Supply Squad.
1. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
Yuya's signature monster from the Arc-V anime functions stupendously 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 battling opposing monsters! Combo this with ATK-boosting (Performapal Drumerilla) or opponent ATK-reducing (Burden of the Mighty) effects to really pile on the hurt fast.
Additionally, when placed in the PZ, it nullifies battle damage you receive from combat involving your pendulum monsters and it can destroy itself (in the end phase) to add any pendulum card with 1500 or less ATK to your hand!
If you're still not convinced, consider the numerous support cards and extra deck alternate forms this behemoth receives (like Rune-Eyes and Beast-Eyes). A card with numerous forms that also stands on its own two feet, Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon easily earns today's top spot.
Which monster do you prefer?
Alhough link summoning clipped their wings, none will forget the reign of pendulum monsters, who wiped the floor with almost any non-pendulum deck they encountered before extra deck monsters became limited.
They may be down, but they're not out, and only time will tell whether pendulum cards will retain their prowess in future duels. In the meantime, vote for your favorite entry, and I'll see you at our next countdown!
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© 2017 Jeremy Gill