Pendulums have a common reputation of being the “best deck.” Even if it’s a joke, it’s had its moments in the spotlight as a meta deck. Pendulum has been a polarizing mechanic since its release. That’s due to the power this summoning mechanic can have on paper. It’s the only mechanic that has the power to summon multiple monsters at once. Today, I want to take a look at the history of Pendulums. I will go through the successful Pendulum Decks in the meta and see what each Deck offered. This will help us see how much the Pendulum mechanic took over the meta. Were they the powerhouse they had the potential to be, or did Konami well balance the mechanic?
Table of Contents
- How the Mechanic Works
- Introduction to Metalfoes (Sept 2016-Feb 2018)
- Metalfoe Pendulums
- Metalfoe Spells and Traps
- Metalfoe Fusions
- Useful Pendulum Goodies
- Metalfoe Variants
How the Mechanic Works
There are two different phases of the Pendulum mechanic and how it worked. When it was introduced in Master Rule 3, you had no limitations for this new mechanic. You had two special zones for Pendulum Scales and you could freely summon as many monsters as possible from the Extra Deck. You could also summon from the hand, and nothing changed with the rule change. In Master Rule 4 or Master Rule 2020, the Pendulum Scales moved to your Spell and Trap Zones. You were also locked to summoning Pendulums to the Extra Monster Zone or zones your Link Monsters point to. Even after they freed up Xyzs, Synchros, and Fusions from Master Rule 4’s change, Pendulums stayed the same.
Now why did they not change the rule for Pendulums after Master Rule 4 and free them up like the other mechanics? Well it’s cause of how unfair it is to summon so many monsters at once for free every turn. Most of the successful Pendulum Decks were before Master Rule 4. After the change in 2017, they needed their own Link Monster to really have the power boost to be a force. They’re still playable in the new Master Rule, but the Pendulum-focused Link really put Pendulums on another level. With that said, let’s look at all the Decks and see how good the mechanic did before and after the Master Rule change.
Introduction to Metalfoes (Sept 2016-Feb 2018)
Around the time we saw the end of Dracopals, we had the debut of the Metalfoe archetype. This archetype is full of vanilla Pendulum Monsters with scale effects to get your Spells and Traps. By popping a face-up card you control with your scales, you could instantly set a Spell/Trap to your field. The four main Pendulums being vanillas also let you access vanilla monster support. The Deck had several variants, so let’s analyze the Deck and see how it did.
Every Metalfoe Pendulum has an effect in the scale to pop another face-up card you control to set a Metalfoe Spell/Trap to your field. You had the four primary vanillas in Goldriver, Silverd, Steelen, and Volflame. You also had a lone Effect Monster in Bismugear, who searched a Metalfoe monster during the End Phase it was popped.
The vanillas offered good synergy with cards like Painful Decision, Summoner’s Art, and Rescue Rabbit. Having some Level 3 or lower Psychics also meant Emergency Teleport. Having all this access to your monsters help get your scales set or more cards to pop. It was pretty easy to generate advantage to get to your monsters, which was perfect for their effects.
Metalfoe Spells and Traps
There were several good cards to set off your Metalfoes. First off was the Normal Trap: Metalfoes Counter. This was a decent card to help float into a Metalfoes from Deck when your cards were popped. It could also banish itself from grave to recover a Metalfoe in your Extra Deck. Metalfoes Combination was decent when Fusion Summoning to revive Metalfoes, but you mainly wanted to pop it for Metalfoe searches.
The best card, however, was Metalfoes Fusion for letting you access your Fusions, alongside putting itself back in Deck for a draw. You also got Fullmetalfoes Fusion for a Fusion Summon on the opponent’s turn. The Fusion Summons mainly using Pendulums also means you can set up more Pendulum Summons. Having the versatility and consistency in the Spells and Traps was pretty good. The fact the main Fusion Spell could put itself back in Deck is fairly good as well. It means you don’t have to max out on the card. The other Spells and Traps could be recovered as well via one of the Fusions.
Now we get to the Fusion Monsters. There are the two vanilla Fusions in Metalfoes Adamante and Metalfoes Crimsonite, but those aren’t too good without Super Polymerization. Metalfoes Orichalc was a decent Fusion for its double piercing and pop upon leaving the field, plus it was easy to summon with just 2 Metalfoes. Metalfoes Mithrilium is a great Fusion for the archetype, just using a Metalfoe and any Pendulum now. It could put your Metalfoe cards in grave back in the Deck to bounce any card. This either let you reuse your cards or out the opponent’s. It also floated into a Metalfoe Pendulum from your grave or face-up Extra Deck, so it offered some recovery.
Finally, you got Fullmetalfoes Alkahest, an easy Fusion to summon as well with just a Metalfoe and vanilla, to equip your opponent’s monsters to it. This was good to getting cards to your field to pop with Metalfoe effects, or at least getting rid of the opponent’s monsters. You could also use the equipped monsters for your Fusion Summons, opening up some of the vanilla Fuisons as well.
Useful Pendulum Goodies
Now to talk about some of the other Pendulum goodies you could use. You got the obvious Wavering Eyes synergy with any Pendulum Deck. Metalfoes popping cards does open up some Guiding Ariadne synergy. The most interesting combo, however, was using Qliphort Scout to search Qliphort Monolith. Scout could then be popped so you aren’t locked to Pendulum Summoning just Qli monsters. This package was used to give Metalfoes access to Cyber Dragon Infinity. Using Majespecter or Dracoslayer cards were also an option, but those will be mentioned later. Rescue Hamster could also be a decent card in the Deck. Outside the Pendulums, you could use Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow to produce Tokens to pop. It was also free access to Ultimaya Tzolkin with Adamante.
Now it’s time to look at all the Metalfoe versions we’ve seen in history. There’s not a lot to pure Metalfoes, but the archetype was good enough to be used with other stuff. This portion will list all the Metalfoe variants and go through them in detail.
First off we get to the Majespecter variants. There isn’t much to the Majespecter package in this Deck. The main goal was using Majespecter Racoon – Bunbuku. Bunbuku could then search for Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin, an easy Pendulum Summon for Metalfoes. The fact only the opponent cannot target or destroy your Metalfoes means you can at least pop them for Metalfoe effects. Having Unicorn offers for a good disruption option in the Metalfoe Deck, something the Deck doesn’t have much of. It was a consistent, yet small package used in most to all Metalfoe Decks.
Now we get to using a Dracoslayer package. The main card to get to was Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer. This could pop your other Metalfoe scale to get to another copy. It ensured you could do multiple pops a turn for Spells and Traps. It also meant Synchro access to Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer. You could also Fusion Summon a Dinoster Power, the Mighty Dracoslayer. Having both means Number 38 was accessible in the Extra Deck. It was consistent to use Dracoslayers with Draco Face-Off, alongside some Dracoverlords. Getting to Lector Pendulum or Vector Pendulum was pretty decent in a scale for a mirror match. The Dracoslayers and Dracoverlords offered some decent options for Metalfoes, making it a worthy set of cards to use.
Floating effects were going to be perfect for Metalfoes, so Kozmo was a great match. You already had the Emergency Teleport synergy with both archetypes using Psychics. The Metalfoe monsters were mainly good for popping your big ships. You can summon something like Kozmo Dark Destroyer or Kozmo Sliprider to pop a card, then a Metalfoe can pop them. This gets you a Spell/Trap for the Metalfoe archetype and then a smaller Kozmo. Kozmo DOG Fighter could be useful as well for generating Tokens to pop. Now, you couldn’t try and pop a Kozmo Farmgirl and use her effect to banish and get a bigger Kozmo then set your Spell/Trap. You have to destroy the card to set the Metalfoe Spell/Trap. With that said, popping your big ships was more than enough. Also, don’t forget popping Kozmotown could get you a Kozmo search.
Yang Zing Metalfoes
Speaking of popping cards to float. Yang Zings were the most obvious option. Destroying any Yang Zing and getting to another while getting a Metalfoes Spell/Trap was pretty good. It was nice to get to Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing to help set up a Synchro. You could also get to Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing to either Pendulum Summon or pop. This could get you a Zefra Spell/Trap like Oracle of Zefra or a Yang Zing Spell/Trap like Yang Zing Path or Nine Pillars of Yang Zing. It was the most obvious mix when Metalfoes were first revealed, so it wasn’t surprising to see it get some success.
Metalfoes ABC actually saw a little success. It’s mainly because the ABC pieces were able to have decent floating effects. A-Assault Core got back a Union from grave, B-Buster Drake searched a Union, and C-Crush Wyvern summoned a Union from hand. They were easy to get to the field with Union Hangar as well. The Metalfoes putting your Unions in grave also means you get quick access to ABC-Dragon Buster. Adding its disruption and floating effect to the other Metalfoe stuff had some decent power. Always interesting to see two meta Decks at a time mix together to become one.
Zoodiac took over at the beginning of 2017 to where most other Decks would need to adapt them in to keep up. Metalfoes were able to adapt the engine, mainly thanks to Baobaboon. Popping 1 Baobaboon lets you get 2 Baobaboon from the Deck. Baobaboon could put bricks back in the Deck for more draws. The main appeal was to summon M-X-Saber Invoker. Invoker was then an instant access to the Zoodiac package by getting you to Zoodiac Ratpier. It was one of the more hyped Zoodiac variants with the release of Baobaboon and it ended up working well.
Abyss Actor Metalfoes
This might be one of the more fun Metalfoes variants, but it had little success. The main goal in this Deck was to pop your Abyss Actor – Wild Hope. This helped search any Abyss Actor monster to set up a bigger Pendulum Summon. You could search your Abyss Actor – Superstar to search Abyss Scripts. You could pop an Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie to remove an opponent’s Level 4 or lower monster, or have the opponent destroy it to float to an Abyss Actor. It was a fun and decent version of Metalfoes that worked and saw a little success, but it was more of a rogue version.
Metalfoes True Draco
The final Metalfoes variant, at least for Master Rule 3, makes use of the other powerful archetype of 2017. Metalfoes synergize with True Draco by popping the Spells and Traps of the archetype. Destroying the Spells let you pop backrow while the Traps let you pop monsters. You also had Metalfoes Combination as tribute fodder for your True Dracos. It made for extra plusses while summoning Master Peace, the True Dracoslaying King. Having Dragonic Diagram also pop your Combinations was good for double searches. This Deck probably abused Metalfoes Combination better than any other variant, which is a main reason as to why it worked.
Metalfoes were overall a successful Pendulum archetype. It was probably the best archetype in terms of variants. It did hold up a bit in Master Rule 4, but those variants will be saved for a Master Rule 4 part. The Deck also received some new support in 2021’s Blazing Vortex, but that doesn’t have much in terms of results as of writing this. We also have one of the greatest Links in the game associated to Metalfoes. The only issue was it being a good generic Pendulum card. Next time, we’ll get to some of the final Master Rule 3 Decks that topped before Master Rule 4.
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