Jeremy enjoys dueling in between working as a chemical analyst and campus building manager.
The Extra Zone in Yu-Gi-Oh
Pendulum monsters are versatile cards that can either be summoned like other monsters or placed as pendulum scales, which count as spells and let you summon other cards. Additionally, pendulum monsters go to your extra deck instead of graveyard when defeated, where they can be revived via pendulum summon.
However, pendulum monsters cast from the extra deck must occupy either an extra deck zone or one that a link monster points to. But you can alleviate this problem with kamikaze pendulums, whose self-destroying/tributing effects quickly clear up space for other monsters—which reign supreme? These are the ten best zone-freeing pendulum monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!
10. Performapal Odd-Eyes Light Phoenix
Part of Phoenix's charm is his synergy—being part of both the Performapal and Odd-Eyes archetypes qualifies him for many tutors. His scale value is a mediocre 3, but when an opponent directly attacks you, Phoenix can destroy your other pendulum scale to summon himself, blocking the attack.
As a monster, Phoenix has decent ATK and can tribute himself to give another Performapal 1000 more ATK for the turn. That's only a moderate boost, but it's a quick effect and helps free up your extra zone when needed.
9. Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin
Kirin is a fantastic card that ranks lowers because of his current ban. He's one of few pendulum scales to have no effect, but offers a nice low scale of 2. As a monster, his stats are solid and he can't be targeted by opposing effects, but his real treat comes from his effect, letting you instantly return both a pendulum monster you control and an opposing monster to their respective hands.
Kirin can choose himself for this effect, but he can also pick your other pendulums, and the fact that you can interrupt opposing turns with it really seals the deal. If revived into your extra zone, Kirin can also use this to bounce back to hand (where he can be cast into a main monster zone or set as a scale).
9. Supreme King Gate Infinity
Infinity is a risky but rewarding scale, carrying a tantalizingly high scale 13 but only letting you pendulum summon if you don't already control monsters. Used as a monster, his stats are pitiful, but Infinity 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 stats become zero and its effects are negated, but this helps you play "Supreme King Z-ARC", one of the strongest albeit hardest to summon monsters in the game. You can also support Z-ARC with...
8. Supreme King Gate Zero
Zero offers a helpfully-low scale zero, and unlike Infinity, he can still pendulum summon if you control monsters. His scale effect also prevents you from taking damage while you control Z-ARC.
But to get Z-ARC out in the first place, you'll want Zero's monster effect, destroying himself and another of your face-up cards to play a dragon-type fusion or synchro monster from your extra deck. Again, its stats become zero and its effects are negated, but it helps prep for Z-ARC, or could be used for tribute/link fodder.
6. Supreme King Dragon Odd-Eyes
Rounding out our Supreme King trio, this one's level 8, which would normally make him hard to pendulum summon (few scales exceed 8), but can be done with Infinity "Kai-Den Kendo Spirit". Anyway, Odd-Eyes has a lame scale 4, but can tribute a Supreme King Dragon monster and destroy himself to tutor a pendulum monster with 1500 or less ATK from your deck.
As a monster, Odd-Eyes has the amazing effect of doubling battle damage your pendulums (including himself) deal to opposing monsters. Plus, as a quick effect, Odd-Eyes can tribute himself during your battle phase to special summon up to two different face-up Supreme King Dragons or Gates from your extra deck in defense position. Since this isn't technically a pendulum summon, you can place these in main zones, giving plenty of fodder and space for other creatures.
5. Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer
Sorceror has a nice scale 2 and increases the ATK of all your Performapal monsters by 1000 for the turn when a Performapal is pendulum summoned to your field. Not bad, but you probably want him as a monster; when special summoned, Sorceror can destroy up to two of your face-up cards (possibly including himself) to add as many different Performapals from your deck to hand.
In addition to this great tutor, Sorceror's spellcaster type blends well with the pendulum Magicians and his 1500 ATK is just low enough to qualify for the search effects on Supreme King Odd-Eyes and "Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon".
4. Timebreaker Magician
Not only his Timebreaker part of the popular Magician archetype, he's a great low scale, carrying a value of 2 and preventing the first effect destruction of your pendulum monster(s) from enemy sources each turn.
If you pendulum summon Timebreaker from the hand and no other monsters at the same time, his ATK doubles to a fierce 2800. But he also provides a constant removal, able to banish himself and another monster until your next standby phase. In addition to eliminating threats, the cool thing here is that when the monsters return, they'll occupy main zones even if they started in extra. This means you might purposefully target your own extra deck creature to (eventually) put both it and Timebreaker into main zones and free up more room.
Round out the card with the popular spellcaster type and dark attribute for one of my personal favorites; fortunately, Timebreaker is surprisingly cheap, costing less than a single dollar!
3. Crystal Master
Crystal Master's biggest sin is being part of a lame archetype, but he himself offers a fantastic card. His scale is rather mid-way at 5, but prevents opponents from targeting your Crystal Beasts and Ultimate Crystal monsters with card effects.
As a monster, Master's stats are lukewarm, but he can tribute himself to add an Ultimate Crystal or Crystal Beast monster or Crystal spell/trap from your deck to hand. Few tutors can so easily pull multiple card types; recast Master into an extra zone each turn, then sacrifice him to free space while filling your hand.
2. Performapal Odd-Eyes Dissolver
Dissolver has a lame scale 4, but he can once per turn fusion summon a dragon monster using materials from your hand or field, sparing you the need for a fusion spell. His level 8 can make him difficult to revive from your extra deck, but you can special summon Dissolver from your hand when your pendulum monster battles an opposing one; doing so makes yours immune to battle destruction in that fight.
Coupled with his own 2600 DEF, Dissolver can really stall foes. From there, he can prompt a fusion summon (of any monster type) during your main phase by using himself with your other monsters or pendulum scales as material.
This again saves the need for a fusion spell and puts the monster Dissolver saved to good use. Finally, like Phoenix, remember that Dissolver belongs to two useful archetypes, further reinforced by his dark attribute and spellcaster subtype.
1. Archfiend Eccentrick
Technically a member of the Archfiend family, Eccentrick can really go in any deck. She offers a decently-high scale 7 and can destroy herself to take out an opposing spell or trap. Alternatively, as a monster, Eccentrick can tribute herself to destroy an opposing monster.
So you've got spell/trap or monster removal as needed, all packed into one potent and revivable package. You might especially consider Eccentrick for spell-counter pendulum themes like Mythical Beast or Endymion, who can especially benefit (replacing Eccentrick's scale means you've activated two magic cards to gain spell counters from).
Using Pendulum Monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh
Ever since the fusion, synchro, and xyz monsters were cleared to only take main monster zones, there isn't as great a need to save your extra slot. Still, today's cards clear room to revive other pendulum monsters (or themselves again) or cast a link monster, making them important pieces in pendulum strategies.
Remember that pendulum summoning from the hand only uses main zones, so cards that transfer pendulums from the extra deck to the hand (like "Oafdragon Magician" and "Qlimate Change") also help. But for now, as we await Konami's next batch of pendulum martyrs, vote for your favorite and I'll see you at our next Yu-Gi-Oh countdown!
© 2020 Jeremy Gill