Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
How Do Pendulum Scales Work in Yu-Gi-Oh?
Even with the extra deck limitation rules, pendulum summoning remains a powerful Yu-Gi-Oh mechanic. Pendulum cards can be either be used just like regular monsters or set as pendulum scales. When you have two scales, once per turn you can special summon cards from your hand or face-up in your extra deck whose levels are in between your scale values, an excellent swarming tactic.
Scales also provide a variety of ongoing effects, making them versatile tools. You'll want one high scale and one low, accessing the greatest range of monster levels, but which cards offer the smallest scale values? These are the ten lowest pendulum scales in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Astrograph Sorcerer
Many cards tie for scale one; today's list highlights several of my favorites. As of this writing, Astrograph Sorcerer is banned, and it's easy to see why. Not only does he provide a scale one without restricting you to a certain archetype (as many do), he can destroy himself to special summon "Stargazer Magician" from your hand/deck or place him into your pendulum zone.
Additionally, as a monster, Astrograph wields 2500 ATK, and you can special summon him from your hand when a card you control is destroyed. Then, you add one card with the same name as one destroyed that turn (and is currently in your graveyard, extra deck, or banished area) to your hand from your deck, essentially replacing your lost unit with a free newcomer. As if that weren't enough, you can banish Astrograph along with four corresponding dragons (see his text) to summon "Supreme King Z-ARC", one of the strongest fusion monsters in the game.
9. Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon
One of several impressive Chaos monsters, Armageddon can pay 1000 life points and destroy himself as a scale to return one of your banished dragons to your hand, skillfully recovering exiled cards. Better yet, as a monster, Chaos wields 3000 ATK, but you can only special summon him (from your hand or extra deck) by banishing one light and one dark-attributed monster from your graveyard.
Additionally, you can pay half your life points and send all cards you control to the graveyard, other than ones in the extra deck zone, then you can send cards your opponent controls (from any zone) up to the number you sent, inflicting 300 damage for each of their units moved to the graveyard by this effect. Thus, your opponent should lose far more than you do, but note that Chaos is returned to the bottom of your deck when he leaves the field.
8. Purple Poison Magician
Poison offers a scale one and the ability to destroy himself when your dark spellcaster monster battles to grant it an extra 1200 ATK for the battle. Additionally, Poison wields an impressive 2100 DEF for a level four monster, and when destroyed by battle or effect, he can destroy any face-up card.
Thus, Poison's useful as both a scale and a monster, and he also counts as a Fusion Dragon, helpful for summoning Z-ARC. Additionally, not only does he work well with the Supreme King and pendulum Magician cards, but he also meshes with "Dark Magician" decks thanks to their shared type and attribute.
7. Fire Opalhead
One of the best normal pendulum monsters, Fire Opalhead is the only one to offer a scale zero, making him invaluable for swarming level ones normal creatures. He really is a normal monster in every sense, as he offers no effects as either a monster or a scale, but he likewise has no restrictions and his 2500 ATK makes him a decent beatstick. Simple but effective, Opalhead's a prime addition to normal or dinosaur decks.
Pendulumucho offers a rare zero scale with an interesting recovery, letting you once per turn return a pendulum monster that's either banished or in your graveyard to your extra deck face-up. This combos well with his monster effect, which lets you special summon a level one pendulum monster from your extra deck when Pendulumucho is summoned, but it's banished when it leaves the field.
However, you can avoid exiling it by using it for an xyz summon, which should be easy considering you'll have two level-one monsters fielded. Thus, Pendulumucho offers helpful abilities and a superb scale that work with any archetype—just watch out for his frailty in battle.
5. Supreme King Gate Zero
One of the best Supreme King card available, as a scale, Gate Zero prevents you from taking any damage while you control Z-ARC. And if you have "Supreme King Gate Infinity" in your other scale, you can destroy both to search any fusion spell or "Polymerization" from your deck.
Despite 0 ATK and DEF, Gate Zero is a useful monster, as he can destroy both himself and another face-up card you control to special summon a dragon-type fusion or synchro 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 it helps prepare Z-ARC's summon and can be used as link material. Even better, when Gate Zero is destroyed as a monster, you can place him into your scale, mitigating the cost of the effect.
4. Odd-Eyes Phantasma Dragon
Phantasma offers another rare scale zero, and he can once per turn discard a card to add a face-up dragon from your extra deck to your hand, swapping out cards as needed.
Phantasma is difficult to pendulum summon on account of his level eight status, but you can special summon him from your hand if you have two pendulum scales and a face-up Odd-Eyes in your extra deck, although you can't pendulum summon that turn. Either way, if Phantasma attacks an opposing monster, during that battle they'll lose 1000 ATK for each face-up pendulum monster in your extra deck. Coupled with his fierce 3000 ATK, this helps you defeat nearly any opponent while scoring some hefty battle damage, a fierce bonus on top of his numerous Odd-Eyes synergies.
3. Abyss Actor - Mellow Madonna
Madonna's pendulum effects let you once per turn pay 1000 life points to search a different Abyss Actor pendulum card from your deck, but you can't special summon monsters other than Abyss Actor pendulum monsters for the rest of the turn.
A somewhat costly effect, but the search can be worth it, especially when combined with Madonna's great scale. As a monster, Madonna's decent 1800 ATK is boosted by 100 for each "Abyss Script" spell in your graveyard, and she also carries a sturdy 2500 DEF. Additionally, you can special summon her from your hand when a pendulum monster you control is destroyed by battle (useful if your scales aren't set yet), and she can once per turn summon a level four or lower Abyss Actor from your deck when an Abyss Script is activated, but it's returned to your hand at the end phase.
You can avoid this bounce by using it as link or xyz material before the turn ends, or simply let it return to activate as a scale later. For her respectable battle stats, great scale, and swarming capabilities, I use Madonna in every Abyss Actor deck I craft, and she's surprisingly cheap, costing well under a single dollar!
2. All-Eyes Phantom Dragon
While he sadly doesn't carry the Odd-Eyes name (and won't qualify for supports), as a scale, All-Eyes allows a dragon pendulum monster you control to attack twice each turn, although other monsters can't swing that round. This works great with independent cards like Phantasma, and it entices you to keep other units in defense position (useful if your opponent counters with a card like "Drowning Mirror Force").
You can only special summon All-Eyes by tributing all monsters you control (minimum two), with at least one being a dragon-type pendulum monster. A costly entrance, but once per turn, when All-Eyes battles, you can double his ATK for the rest of the turn, ravaging foes with a brutal 6000 power! Additionally, as a quick effect, he can negate one spell/trap per turn by sending a face-up spell or trap you control to the graveyard, a great way to spend unneeded pendulum scales while negating opposing cards.
1. Divine Go-D/D/D Zero King Zero God Reiji
Based on Reiji, Yuya's main rival from Arc-V, this amazing card excels as both a scale and monster. In the pendulum zone, it has scale zero, negates the first effect damage you take each turn (great with the D/D "Dark Contract" cards), and lets you once per turn normal summon a level five or higher D/D with no tributes.
As a monster, Reiji can't be destroyed by battle, takes no battle damage, and when attacking, can have his ATK become equal to your opponent's life points for the turn if they're at 4000 or less LP. Reiji can also tribute a monster to let himself attack directly that turn, prevent foes from using spells/traps that round, or prevent them from using graveyard/hand effects that turn.
All excellent abilities, and the tribute effect isn't even once-per-turn, letting you activate multiple traits in one round if you wish.
Which Low Scale Should I Use in My Pendulum Deck?
Today's cards highlight the lowest scales available, with the rare scale zeros accessing even level one monsters. However, it's generally more important to have a sufficiently high scale, as high-level monsters need tributes to normal summon (while level four and lower don't), making it more crucial to avoid their costs with pendulum summons.
Thus, take a look at your deck and determine what scales will benefit you most based on which monster levels you employ. Often you'll find that "worse" scale values offer better effects to compensate, so don't automatically exclude units even if they're outside your preference. But for now, as we eagerly await Konami's next expansion of small pendulum scales, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill