Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
How Do Pendulum Scales Work in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Pendulum monsters remain a powerful force in Yu-Gi-Oh, as they can serve as either monsters or as pendulum scales. You can have up to two scales active, and they're treated as continuous spells, often providing supporting abilities. Better yet, scales let you once per turn pendulum summon monsters from your hand or extra deck whose levels are between your scale values!
For example, having scales 2 and 7 would let you pendulum summon monsters with levels between 3-6, a powerful swarming tactic that quickly overwhelm foes. However, scales rarely exceed 8, and those that do often restrict you to a specific archetype. But do any high scales avoid these limitations? Find out as we countdown the 10 biggest pendulum scales in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Kai-Den Kendo Spirit/Kuro-Obi Karate Spirit
As some of the best spirit monsters in the game, these warriors are the only scale nine cards who lack any restrictions, making them great choices when you need to cast level eight monsters. They bounce back to your hand when you pendulum summon, but this actually helps, as you can now either reset them or utilize them as monsters.
Thanks to their spirit status, they also bounce back to to your hand at the end of the turn they were normal summoned, but this lets you reactivate their entrance effects. Kai can send all cards your opponent controls in the same column as one of your pendulum scales to the graveyard; Kuro removes all opposing spells/traps in the same columns as both your scales. Both are useful cards that I highly recommend.
9. Leonardo's Silver Skyship/Sakyo, Swordmaster of the Far East/Shelga, the Tri-Warlord
These cards don't have restrictions on what monsters you can use with them, but before you get too excited, note they're all forbidden in official play. Still, it's not actually their impressive scales that warrant the bans, but their effects, as these cards can let you win matches (two out of three games) with a single duel.
While serving as your pendulum scale, each lets you banish three pendulum monsters of a corresponding type (machine, warrior, or psychic), then target another pendulum monster you control; if it attacks directly that turn and reduces your opponent's life points to zero, you win not just the game but the whole match. With such intimidating effects on top of fierce scales, Konami wisely limited these aces to casual play.
8. Deskbot 005/Deskbot 007
Like many high scales, these machines prevent you from pendulum summoning monsters other than their own archetype (Deskbots), but they both offer a handy scale 10. Additionally, 005 can destroy a spell/trap when summoned and gains 500 ATK for each Deskbot in your extra deck; 007 gains 500 ATK for each in your graveyard and prevents your opponent from attacking your other Deskbots.
Both skillfully assist your theme, and if you can field two 007s, their combined powers will prevent your opponent from attacking any Deskbot, forming a sturdy barrier.
7. Twilight Ninja Kagen
Like the Deskbots, Kagen only lets you pendulum summon monsters of his Ninja archetype and his effect can't be negated. Fortunately, in addition to his impressive scale, he can also once per turn boost the power of your attacking Ninja monster by 1000, a prime increase that can really turn the tide of a battle.
Kagen doesn't excel as a monster, bearing weak stats and a mediocre effect of tributing himself to grant another Ninja 800 extra ATK for the turn, but his potent scale more than compensates.
6. D/D Savant Newton/D/D Savant Kepler
Some of the best D/D cards in the game, both Newton and Kepler prevent you from pendulum summoning non-D/D monsters. However, Newton can destroy himself to negate an activated trap effect that would damage you (as many D/D cards do). Kepler reduces his scale by two during your standby phase, then destroys your non-D/D monsters with a level greater than or equal to its scale value, so Newton's usually the safer choice.
You can also discard to Newton to recover a D/D or Dark Contract card from your graveyard, and Kepler can bounce a D/D or search a Dark Contract from your deck when summoned, making each a versatile and worthy addition to the D/D archetype.
5. Dark Anthelion Dragon
Dark Anthelion begins as an xyz monster in your extra deck; you'll need to summon him by melding any pair of level seven monsters. Once fielded, you can (on either player's turn) detach a material from Anthelion to halve an opposing monster's ATK and add it to Anthelion's already-impressive 3000 until the end of the turn, letting him dominate any foe in battle.
Additionally, if Anthelion is ever destroyed, you can place him in your pendulum zone, where his scale 10 thankfully has no archetype restrictions. Additionally, he lets you halve an opposing monster's ATK for the round during each of your turns, letting Anthelion hinder your foe's army no matter which zone he occupies. And if you prefer synchro/pendulum over xyz/pendulum, you can instead opt for "Odd-Eyes Wing Dragon", who also carries a scale of 10.
4. Yosenju Shinchu R
Scale: 5 (11 with effect)
One of the best Yosenju cards in the game, Shinchu R automatically shifts to defense position when used as a monster, where he employs a solid 2100 DEF and prevents your opponent from attacking other Yosenju monsters. As a scale, he begins at a value of 5, but can increase to 11 each turn if you have another Yosenju card in your other pendulum zone.
You can't special summon non-Yosenju cards for the rest of the turn after doing this, but the trait makes Shinchu R one of few pendulum cards that pairs well with another copy of itself. He also raises your value just high to summon his theme's level 10 boss monster, "Mayosenju Daibak," whose fierce ATK and effects will quickly devastate opponents.
3. Performapal Five-Rainbow Magician
Five-Rainbow bears an insane scale 12, but he only lets you pendulum summon monsters from your extra deck. Additionally, he carries an interesting effect, preventing players with less than four set cards in their spell/trap zone from attacking or activating monster effects, while those with four or more double the original ATK of their monsters.
These oddities make Five-Rainbow a tricky but effective stall tactic. Plus, his regular effect lets you add him to your pendulum zone from your graveyard when you set a spell or trap, making him great discard fodder since he's easily recovered. And note that he synergizes with both the Performapal and Magician structures.
2. Odd-Eyes Revolution Dragon
For such an impressive scale, Revolution's only downside is restricting your pendulum summons to dragon-type monsters. Additionally, you can destroy him to revive a dragon-type synchro, xyz, or fusion monster from your graveyard.
If used as a monster, Revolution has to be either pendulum summoned or special summoned by tributing a dragon synchro, xyz, and fusion monster. He gains ATK and DEF equal to half your opponent's life points and lets you pay half of your own to shuffle all other cards on the field and in the graveyards into the deck. Or, you can discard Revolution and pay 500 LP to search a level 8 or lower dragon pendulum monster from your deck, showcasing just how versatile he is.
1. Supreme King Gate Infinity
Infinity bears an absurd scale 13, high enough to special summon even level 12 monsters (the strongest in the game). However, he can't pendulum summon while you control a monster, so you'll have to wait until yours are defeated before using his impressive scale again. Honestly, that's a tame restriction, and if you control "Supreme King Z-ARC", you can gain life points equal to an opposing monster's ATK each turn.
Despite both his battle stats being zero, Infinity's also an effective monster, as he can destroy himself and another face-up card you control to special summon a dragon-type xyz or pendulum monster from your extra deck. Its effects are negated, its stats become zero, and it can't be used as xyz or synchro material, but you can use it as link or fusion material, and Infinity can place himself into your pendulum zone when destroyed.
Essentially, Infinity is a must-have for a devoted Supreme King deck, but I've also found him quite useful even outside his archetype, as he can field high-level cards like "Dark Magician of Chaos" without needing to tribute. Fortunately, despite his powers, he's surprisingly cheap, costing less than a single dollar!
More Pendulum Scale-Altering Cards
Today we've explored several high-scale units, some independent of a specific monster series, but you can also adjust any scale with cards like "Pendulum Shift", which lets you change a player's scale to any number between 1-10 for the rest of the turn. Additionally, be sure to carefully read the scale effects of pendulum monsters, as many can modify their own values.
Even with the extra deck limitation rules imposed alongside link summoning, pendulum monsters remain a versatile and competitive bunch that I look forward to seeing Konami expand in future sets. But for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill