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Top 10 Pendulum Cards (When Going Second) in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.

Going Second in Yu-Gi-Oh!

If you play second in Yu-Gi-Oh!, your opponent enjoys an easy board setup, with only hand traps to stop their first-turn plays. However, in exchange, the second player gains a bonus draw and the ability to attack first.

Second-turn players can also immediately use card effects that hinder opposing fields; which cards most interfere with an established board? Here are ten great pendulum cards for playing second in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Performapal Radish Horse

Performapal Radish Horse

10. Performapal Radish Horse

ATK: 500
DEF: 2000

Part of the big Performapal archetype, Radish Horse's scale effect makes an opponent's monster lose ATK equal to that of a Performapal you control, great for clearing the path for a hefty battle phase.

Plus, Horse's monster effect lets you special summon it from hand if your opponent controls a special summoned monster (and at least as many monsters as you), meaning you can almost always activate it when playing second. From there, Horse can make an enemy lose ATK equal to Horse's (usually 500), giving that amount to itself or an ally for the turn.

Purple Poison Magician

Purple Poison Magician

9. Purple Poison Magician

ATK: 1200
DEF: 2100

Purple Poison's scale effect destroys himself when your dark spellcaster battles to give your monster 1200 ATK for that fight. Not only does this boost your card, it activates Purple's destruction ignition, which destroys any face-up card.

Both of these abilities work well when playing second, as you'll be able to immediately attack and likely have several face-up targets to pick from. You can also destroy Magician with the effects of Sky Iris and Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, weakening your opponent's field while replenishing your hand.

Gigathunder Giclops

Gigathunder Giclops

8. Gigathunder Giclops

ATK: 1400
DEF: 1700

Gigathunder's not an ideal scale with a midway value of 5, but its effect can change the battle positions of two monsters on the field. This can activate the monster effect of a second Giclops, which destroys a faceup spell/trap when its battle position is changed, which Giclops can trigger itself via normal summon.

Also note that Giclops is a tuner and can return a card in your pendulum zone to hand if destroyed as a scale, making it a versatile card with various disruption tools.

Acrobatic Magician

Acrobatic Magician

7. Acrobatic Magician

ATK: 800
DEF: 2300

Acrobatic Magician makes a nice low scale of value 2 that can special summon itself when your monster is destroyed via effect (even your own). Magician can also summon itself from hand when a spell/trap's activation is negated, likely when going second against a full field.

If destroyed as a monster, it can reenter your scale, again offering a versatile card with popular typing (dark spellcaster). It's also the only level 5 pendulum magician, meaning it (alongside Harmonizing Magician) can access level 9 synchros like Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen.

Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon

Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon

6. Odd-Eyes Phantom Dragon

ATK: 2500
DEF: 2000

Phantom Dragons wields a pair of aggressive, battle-dependent effects. As a scale 4, if you have an Odd-Eyes card in your other scale, it can once per turn give your battling monster 1200 extra attack for that battle phase.

As a monster, if your pendulum summoned Phantom Dragon scores battle damage, it can then inflict 1200 effect damage per Odd-Eyes card in your pendulum scale. While I wish this also triggered with neighboring Performapal or Magician archetypes, it means that one attack can land a total of 4900 damage!

Foucault's Cannon

Foucault's Cannon

5. Foucault's Cannon

ATK: 2200
DEF: 1200

Foucault's Cannon can be searched with the spell Summoner's Art and has a useful scale 2. Plus, at the end of the turn you activate its scale, you can destroy a faceup spell or trap your opponent controls, making it much better when going second.

As a normal monster, Cannon has no effects, but this makes it a great candidate for the summon-from-deck ability on xyz monster Ebon Illusion Magician.

Mythical Beast Garuda

Mythical Beast Garuda

4. Mythical Beast Garuda

ATK: 1200
DEF: 1600

Garuda's a versatile play because he works better monster-wise going first, but scale-wise second. If you have no other pendulum scale, he'll destroy himself to pop a spell/trap.

As a monster, Garuda can summon himself by removing three spell counters from your field when your opponent normal/special summons to bounce that monster back to hand. Garuda's DEF is only decent at 1600, but ruining the right summon can really devastate an opponent's combo.

Abyss Actor - Extras

Abyss Actor - Extras

3. Abyss Actor - Extras

ATK: 100
DEF: 100

Extras has a decent low scale of 3, and while your opponent controls a monster, he can summon himself from hand, basically a free summon when going second. As a monster, he can tribute himself to play another Abyss Actor from your deck into your scale, but you won't be able to special non-AA for the rest of the turn (you can actually pick another Extras if needed, but it won't be able to activate the scale effect until the next turn).

So basically, use his effect after pendulum comboing all your generic cards, or simply build a dedicated Abyss Actor deck.

Performapal Odd-Eyes Dissolver

Performapal Odd-Eyes Dissolver

2. Performapal Odd-Eyes Dissolver

ATK: 2000
DEF: 2600

Notably, Dissolver belongs to both Performapal and Odd-Eyes families, with dark-spellcaster typing to boot. His scale isn't great at 4, and his ability isn't much better, letting you fusion summon a dragon using monsters from your hand/field.

Instead, you'll want his hand trap effect, summoning himself when your pendulum battles to prevent its battle destruction. Remember you can use this effect even in battles you initiate, hopefully piling on another 2000 damage if you can directly attack with Dissolver. Then, activate Dissolver's effect to fusion summon using himself and pendulum monsters/scales you control; normally, you'll want the omni-negater Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon.

Archfiend Eccentrick

Archfiend Eccentrick

1. Archfiend Eccentrick

ATK: 800
DEF: 1000

Eccentrick is basically a better Garuda. Her scale effect is similar, destroying both herself and another spell/trap, and her monster ability tributes herself to target and destroy a monster.

Of course, both of these require opposing cards to be fielded, so Eccentrick's much better going second, but she's a potential 1-for-2 that can be reused on future turns if revived. She's also a level 3 fiend, so you can nab her from deck with Tour Guide From the Underworld.

Perfect for any pendulum deck, she's also surprisingly cheap, costing just one dollar!

Hand Traps for Going Second

Today, we examined a variety of pendulum effects that work best when going second, but you'll also want generic hand traps to disrupt your opponent's combos. Popular options include the search-blocking Ash Blossom, the destruction and negation on Infinite Impermanence, and the combo-punishing Nibiru the Primal Being.

With the right hand traps and field disrupters, your pendulum deck is on its way to a quick win, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh! countdown!

© 2021 Jeremy Gill

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