Nothing could have brought me out of a writing hiatus as fast as the release of the Pendulum Magician deck this past Friday. I had some time to play with it over the weekend, and I love the overall consistency it has when compared to PePe. Perhaps there is something about having six good search cards again that makes me enjoy the prospect of the deck, or maybe it has something to do with the Spellcaster theme? Either way, I have a list, and I want to share it with you since we do not have much time left before Armageddon. And what type of Magician would I be if spent my whole life mastering secrets without sharing the power?
3 Mist Valley Apex Avian
3 Performapal Skullcrobat Joker
3 Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
3 Wisdom-Eye Magician
3 Dragonpit Magician
2 Oafdragon Magician
2 Nobledragon Magician
2 Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin
1 Dragonpulse Magician
1 Performapal Splashmammoth
1 Xiangke Magician
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Pendulum Call
3 Wavering Eyes
2 Summoner’s Art
2 Sky Iris
1 Odd-Eyes Fusion
2 Solemn Scolding
Side Deck: 15
3 Mechanical Hound
3 Chaos Hunter
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Maxx “C”
2 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
Extra Deck: 15
2 Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon
1 Odd-Eyes Rebellion Dragon
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Majester Paladin, the Ascending Dracoslayer
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Performage Trapeze Magician
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Mecha Phantom Beast Draccosack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Odd-Eyes Absolute Dragon
1 Number 39: Utopia Beyond
1 Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon
1 Ancient Fairy Dragon
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
If you analyze my list, you will quickly realize that I did not build it to go second. One of the reasons for this is because we cannot control die rolls, but we at least know what will happen when we lose one. Just about everyone who plays this game right now wants to go second. This is advantageous to a deckbuilder because you can make your deck specifically to go first. If you win the die roll, you choose to go first. If you lose the die roll, they will tell you to go first. By building with that in mind, you essentially eliminate an entire aspect of the game and you get what you wanted almost every round.
Now, of course this can only be done with a deck that is really consistent, otherwise you would just brick and lose quickly. In fact, that is the reason why Kozmo is not the best deck right now. It literally cannot go first, so losing the die roll is the worst thing that can happen. Because of this, it is hard to consistently do well when there is an uncontrollable factor that has such a huge impact on performance. Building to go first takes that uncontrollable factor and minimizes it immensely. And make no mistake about it, this deck can go second and still work efficiently. It is just that my build is blatantly geared towards going first. Many players utilize cards like Maxx “C”, Mystical Space Typhoon, Raigeki, and things of that nature, which are all good cards when going second, but they are terribly subpar going first. If you open with Maxx “C” going first, you actually have four cards in your hand. This is something that I have written about in greater detail before, and I recommend checking that article out if you have not seen it.
As to what my deck can do going first, there are a couple of things that it aims to establish. Three copies of Mist Valley Apex Avian make it extremely difficult for opposing pendulum decks to make a decent play. This brings me to another point, which is the flawed nature of the pendulum mechanic (soon to be fixed in January). That is, it requires you to give up two cards that do not generate immediate advantage when played as a scale. Outside of Luster Pendulum with Plushfire, nothing impressive is currently happening in the pendulum zone. There are also far too many cards that destroy multiple scales at once (Wavering Eyes, Spell Shattering Arrow, Fairy Wind, Storm, etc). That being said, a pendulum deck going second only actually has four cards in his or her hand, and they are more vulnerable to "disasters before use" than the scales of someone going first. A Player going first will get to utilize the scales before the opponent has a chance to really respond. If you have an Avian on the field, that player only has three cards in his hand now since one of them can be negated by his effect, and two of them are needed to make pendulum plays. The same thing applies to Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon. Once you start throwing out combinations of the two, or add Majespecter Unicorn to the mix, it can become nearly impossible to break the lock. The good thing is that your opponent does not get many turns to break your board. You can usually kill them on turn two, or establish a board that is so ridiculous that it does not matter if they continue to play.
To aid in summoning the first turn Vortex Dragon, I added a single copy of Performapal Splashmammoth. Its effect is only once per duel, but it allows you to fusion summon any dragon fusion monster by using monsters you control. Splashmammoth is searchable with Skullcrobat Joker, and it can use itself for the fusion summon. However, I usually pendulum summon the Mammoth in defense and use the Joker for the fusion summon if I have that option available. The reason for this is because I want to return Joker to my deck when I negate something, since he is one of the best cards in the deck. Not to mention that the Mammoth has 2300 defense, which is pretty good because it can wall Sliprider and several other monsters.
Against PePe, Kirin is your best friend. It stops them from utilizing their rank-4 engine, which means they will have a hard time getting to Masked Chameleon, Jigabyte, or Partnaga. It also happens to return Joker to your hand if you have him out, and that will probably win you the game if the opponent cannot establish a board after having his/her monster bounced back to the hand. Kirin also has semi-relevant stats, making it able to beat all Psychic Kozmo monsters, and it does well in defense, too. Another factor to consider is that it literally cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent’s card effects, so Dark Destroyer can be completely walled by just a Unicorn, and you will not have to worry about all of the mass removal that Kozmo players tend to use.
The scales in this deck are nothing short of phenomenal. You can usually pendulum summon any monster from levels 3 to 7, but even just 6 and 7 is good enough most of the time. For example, when I activate Pendulum Call, I tend to grab Dragonpit Magician and Wisdom-Eye Magician. This gives me a follow-up play on the following turn when the lingering effect of Pendulum Call wears off. Of course you will want to go into Oafdragon Magician and add back your Wisdom-Eye for later use when your opponent gets rid of a scale, since it can literally search for whichever one you happen to be missing at the time. Alternatively, you can just pitch the Wisdom-Eye Magician for the effect of Dragonpit Magician to destroy a backrow. Dragonpit also makes this deck very resilient to Vanity’s Emptiness. Since the card has to be flipped face-up before you pendulum summon, and since you will almost always have Dragonpit Magician as one of your scales, you can just destroy the opposing Emptiness before you proceed. If they have another backrow, you can destroy that instead to get a quick two-for-one. Having built in backrow destruction is such a nice feeling when you consider that Nekroz had to draw all of its outs to floodgates, and none of them were a part of the theme.
I play two copies of Summoner’s Art because I noticed that the deck is heavily reliant on getting to the 8 scale. In fact, the side deck is, too. I side tons of ignorant monsters that require Dragonpit to summon, so in order to avoid bricking you will probably want to keep it that way. I also do not want to use my Joker searches on Dragonpit if I can help it. It is the same logic we used for Brionac not wanting to search Shurit. Joker can search anything in the deck, so you want that option to remain as open as possible.
Sky Iris is a hate it or love it type of card. Sometimes it is the best card in the world and other times it is just not what you want. The reason I play it is because it helps to summon Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon on turn one, and it can search Odd-Eyes Fusion. This means that you when you do not have access to Splashmammoth, the preferable way to summon Vortex Dragon, you can just search the fusion spell. If your opponent ever has two monsters on the field, you turn any card into a Vortex Dragon. It randomly prevents your opponent from targeting your scales, too, which may come up when someone wants to Castel you. The best interaction with the field spell is typically joker since you can search something, then destroy it to search an Odd-Eyes card, then pendulum him back in the same turn. Every time you destroy a card with Sky Iris and then summon it back, you get a +1.
If you were wondering about the Trishula in the extra deck, you can make it with Dracossack and Nobledragon by using the tokens. That play is also cool because you can destroy a card by tributing Dracossack before you summon Trish. I also just like that summoning Dracossack and Castel in the same turn can get rid of two scales which is very relevant in simplified games. And speaking of simplified games, have you seen the Mechanical Hounds in the side? That card is beyond obnoxious in this deck. If you win game one, there is a huge chance that you will be going first in game two, and Mechanical Hound may make that game end faster than the side decking. It also has another interaction in the mirror match when facing down an opposing Mist Valley Apex Avian. Since Avian cannot negate the act of scales being played in the pendulum zone, you can pendulum summon Mechanical Hound and attack over it. Be warned that the Hound does conflict a bit with your own Apex Avian and Majespecter Unicorn, so you may run into some awkward scenarios.
As for everything else, I think this deck is pretty basic and not too hard to play. Double Wisdom-Eye Magician is a good way to generate some card advantage and get your scales set up, so I tend to search out a second one when I already have one. For whatever reason, the effect is not once per turn. Meteorburst Dragon can summon Oafdragon from the pendulum zone so that he can fetch a card from the graveyard and somewhat minimize Wavering Eyes. Meteorburst also works wonders against PePe and Kozmo since both do a lot in the battle phase. Your opponent cannot use Damage Juggler, Plushfire, Trick Clown, Honest, or any Kozmo monster in the battle phase. That means you can guarantee game by making it to the battle phase with enough damage on board. I would consider siding a single copy of Performapal Dummerilla for the Kozmo matchup as it makes your Meteorburst Dragon, Apex Avians, and Vortex Dragons stronger than Dark Destroyer, and they can negate its graveyard effect. Drummerilla is also searchable by Joker just like everything else in the deck, and it does not conflict with Wisdom-Eye Magician.
If you are looking for something consistent and good going first or second, then this deck may be right for you. Try it out and see how you like it.
Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician