What Happened to Pendulums in 2020?

As a fan of pendulums and their playstyle for years, I noticed a drop in pendulum players during recent formats. The current best variant, Mythical Beast Endymion, sees little to no play. While it is okay for Pendulums to not be a part of every format, it is interesting to see how and why Pendulums have been unable to adapt to the recent metagame. Pendulums are decent, but there are factors contributing to its lack of play. This article will cover the major factors of Pendulum incompetency.

Where Electrumite Slumbers

To start off, the current Forbidden and Limited List, without a doubt, is the biggest pendulum killer at the moment. The lack of Heavymetalfoes Electrumite has crushed the consistency of every pendulum strategy. To rely on Crowley, the First Propheseer as the go-to Link 2 is a major downgrade.

Heavymetalfoes Electrumite is incredibly powerful and may deserve the ban, but another issue lies with the slow release of other previously banned pendulum cards. For example, it might have been interesting to see Astrograph Sorcerer released to limited status because of its known history of explosive plays with Electrumite. Double Iris Magician is currently limited for reasons nobody can answer and Performapal Skullcrobat Joker still rots in his cell.

While most of the mentioned cards hardly relate to the current Pendulum strategy, it directly contributes to why Pendulums cannot see major success. Builds are inflexible and variants are not varied. There has only been one strategy since Electrumite’s ban, and it has been unable to adapt or evolve in the new meta. 

Master Rule 5

Everyone cheered when the April 2020 revisions allowed Goyo Defender to be a playable card again. Well, everyone except Pendulum players. While it appears unfair that Pendulums share the same restrictions as Link monsters, it is necessary to balance the mechanic. Nobody wants to relive Master Rule 3 Pendulums; a once per turn Soul Charge with little restriction is very frustrating to play against.

Speaking of balance, it contributes to Pendulum’s current incompetency. Players love to preach balance in competitive Yugioh but continue to play cards and strategies that lock the other opponent from playing. For example, True King of All Calamities is not played because it is balanced; it is played because it single-handedly wins many matchups. Calamities carries monstrous stats, boasts a great effect, and is generic. Master Rules can be thought of in a similar way. Why would anyone play restricted Pendulums when there are decks that can consistently summon multiple Fusions, Xyzs, Synchros, and even Main Deck monsters with less thought? Balance does not define the meta, but rather power and consistency. In other words, Master Rule 5 continues to severely limit the power of Pendulums while boosting other strategies. 

Counter Policy

This may sound like a joke, but after having played one tournament with Mythical Beast Endymion, the new policy documents were a huge annoyance. The most recent policy documents enforce the usage of separate counters instead of dice to reduce accidental misrepresentation of the game state. Technically, dice are allowed, but it is restricted to one die per counter.

As much as a player can love their deck, it really is no fun to summon Selene, count all the spells on the field and in the GYs, and stack 15 pennies on top of the card just to spill them over anyways. Then you have to put more pennies on other cards like Citadel and Mythical Beast Jackal King. Who is going to carry that many pennies? Writing the counters down as an alternative is even more unappealing. As I am typing this article, I am purchasing a new deck to avoid cluttering my table with spell counters. The policy documents contribute as an additional factor to the declining usage of Pendulum decks. 

Concluding Thoughts

Electrumite’s death is no doubt a big factor in the decline of Pendulums but is certainly not the only one. Policy, rules, and the lack of other options make the deck less appealing to players as well. In order for Pendulums to be successful, they need new, powerful cards. The latter is more likely, but only time will tell for sure.

Keebsters
27
Avatar

Keebsters

YGOPRODeck Writer and YuGiOh Enthusiast. Lives in Southern California as an active player and judge. Favorite Color: Blue


12 thoughts on “What Happened to Pendulums in 2020?


  • Avatar
    January 6, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    1

    5

    Tell you the truth. Im not sure why players keep calling it MR5. Look at it as an MR4.5 for their “Revision”, because Konami will allow Pendulums to come back soon in a new MR “Revision”. The same reason why Synchros are back. Even Astrograph at 1, is pretty powerful af but it should be limited and Electromite should be at 1 but this cards will only work if Konami decides to make DM/Pend. Magician meta.

  • Avatar
    January 6, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    1

    1

    why did you add DM to that like they will ever be good

  • Avatar
    January 6, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    3

    1

    MR5 is just a an unofficial nickname used by the player base to refer to MR4 2020 Revision, because who has time to say all that. It’s not that different from people who refer to calamities as “VFD”, or halquifibrax as “needlefiber”.

    But to your point regarding pendulums and any future revisions to MR, the entire point of MR4 was to neutralize the pendulum summoning mechanic, which was extremely broken, so the odds of any revisions made in the future to benefit pendulums are pretty low. If you don’t believe that, look no further than the history of MR4 and the banlist. When MR4 was first introduced, it was very effective at balancing the pendulum summoning mechanic. However, players who didn’t rely on pendulum monsters were affected by this because of the summoning restrictions that came with the newly added EMZ and the link summoning mechanic. Konami fixed this by revising MR4 so that all extra deck monsters were no longer restricted to the EMZ or using a Link monster’s arrows, with the exception of link monsters and pendulum monsters.

    Looking at the banlist, you can see many attempts made by Konami to powercreep pendulums. Right before Electrumite got released in the TCG, Konami banned Double Iris and Joker, 2 key cards that added consistency to Pend Magicians, which was already pretty formidable, even after MR4 was implemented, but the hit didn’t do much once players realized that 3 Electrumite and 3 Astrograph was all that was needed to make all kinds of loops that generated crazy advantage, including an FTK to the opponent by using nightingale with 2 Starving Venoms. After that, Astrograph and Starving Venom got banned, so Pend Magicians were seriously hit and were just not able to compete as strongly against the meta, even though they still had Electrumite at 3. Fast forward to the release of the Endymion structure deck, and Pendulums become somewhat relevant again, and Konami mitigates this by banning Electrumite and limiting Servant of Endymion.

    Konami is not looking to make Pendulums a big thing again. They can provide new support here and there, but nothing game breaking, and if it does become that way for whatever reason, there’s always the banlist to fix that. But even if they were to boost pendulums again, out of all the reasons in the world to do so, it will not be to make DM/Pend meta. Konami doesn’t define the meta, the player base does. DM is just nostalgia fuel to push product for Konami. If they wanted to make DM competitively viable, they would’ve done so a long time ago.

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    0

    0

    Even though I’d love pendulums to be usable again (maybe a new pendulum archetype) i just don’t think it’s realistic. Konami seems to have just abandoned pendulums for the time being. Recently its like they want to make the game even more unplayable and unfair than it already is.

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    0

    0

    There is a lot more reasons contributing to pendulum’s overall incompetence in the metagame but if all you can come up with is the banlist and a policy change, I guess that’s good enough for a surface level reasoning.

    The real issue is that the deck has had 0 acceptable matchups throughout the entirety of 2020 except for a fairly easy matchup against Shaddolls (which were greatly outshone by Spyrals which was nigh unwinnable). Electrumite was banned while the deck was barely tier 3 if even.

    Astrograph is one of the few cards that should stay banned and yet you were saying “eh it’d be interesting” (lmao good reasoning) but nearly every single pendulum card could come back to varying amounts without consequence. Kirin could come back to any amount, Monkeyboard is effectively only a joker searcher because Performapals are unplayably bad, Joker should have been at 3 a long time ago, Electrumite could come back to 1, Double Iris could come back to 3, Servant could be at any amount, Ignister can easily come back to 3, and Draco Face-Off is literally worse quick launch because you’re summoning a remarkably worse monster than Tracer and you have to run Dracoverlords, all of which are terrible. All of the listed changes could occur and MBE nor Pendulum Magician would be meta-relevant again.

    The deck loses embarassingly to nearly every equalizer printed since the 2019 Megatins, and Pendulum endboards even with all the proposed unbans just wind up being about as good as any other off-meta deck without a lot of the consistency due to Pendulum being inherently flawed, lacking in consistency, and unable to prevent your opponent from popping off when they go first while struggling to deal with interruption when you try to go first. You can build boards that put out multiple interactions and negations going first, but when even Time Thief of all decks can make 6 interruptions off of literally just Bezel ship and any monster, 2 of which being backrow, wanting to bring Pendulum of all things to an event doesn’t really make sense.

    Pendulum is bad. God is dead. Konami has killed him.

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    0

    0

    TL;DR- powercreep and banlist lol

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    0

    1

    thanks captain obvious

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    0

    0

    Ur welcome

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    0

    0

    pendulum still best deck

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    0

    0

    >

    VFD GO BRRRRRRR

  • Avatar
    January 7, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    1

    0

    PEND BEST DECK LET’S GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

  • Avatar
    January 11, 2021 at 2:37 am

    0

    0

    I personally play odd-eyes, which is really powerful if played to its fullest, being able to top strategies like zombies and eldlich

To post a comment, please login or register a new account.