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.
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.
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.
- What Happened to Pendulums in 2020? - January 6, 2021
- Tech Side Cards for Yugioh’s June 2020 Meta - July 1, 2020
- Card Review: Selene, Queen of the Master Magicians - March 19, 2020