The pendulum mechanic has finally been fixed. The recent release of Breakers of Shadow has brought us some of the most anticipated and powerful cards that we have seen in a long time. If you remember, my biggest gripe with pendulums was the fact that it essentially reduces your hand by two cards. Going first emphasizes that flaw even more. Now, however, the scales generate advantage from just being in the pendulum zone. In this article, I am going to analyze Pepe post BOSH and go over some of the other strong influences in the new meta.
Let’s start by stating how great Performapal Monkeyboard actually is. The pendulum effect allows you to search for any level four or lower Performapal monster in your deck, which will usually be Skullcrobat Joker. This is great because Joker is one of the very few normal summons that Pepe plays, and you will want to summon one on virtually every turn. It’s the same way we all felt about having a Senju or Manju every turn while playing with Nekroz. From there, Joker can search any of your missing pieces, like Performapal Sorcerer, Guiturtle, Lizardraw, or another Monkeyboard. If you haven’t noticed by now, that means that one Monkeyboard or one Skullcrobat Joker can complete both pendulum scales by itself. Gone are the days when a top-decking pendulum deck was considered to be dead. You can now draw one card and bring back all of your extra deck.
Guiturtle acts as a crazy draw engine every turn by allowing you to abuse Performapals for plusses. You will usually want to combo it with Lizardraw because you draw a card when you play it, and then draw another card when you destroy it with its own effect. This means that your Guiturtle has room to draw an additional card on your following turn because the other scale is vacant after Lizardraw’s effect. So every turn that Guiturtle sits there, you will be drawing either two additional cards, or one additional card and a search with Monkeyboard. The Lizard is also perfect for fulfilling Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer’s effect since you probably won’t be doing anything else with it. The only other thing I can think of is using it to summon Dinoster, the Dracoslayer fusion monster.
Of course, the most obviously absurd card in the set is Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer since it allows a lot of this to be possible. He simply pops up to two cards on your side of the field, including himself if you want, to search that many Performapal monsters. He combos perfectly with Plushfire, Ariadne, and Damage Juggler. He also allows you to get rid of your scales in case you’re playing a mirror match, so you won’t autolose to Wavering Eyes. It almost reminds of the Nekroz mirror where you cleared your field to play around Trishula. That being said, it should reduce the effectiveness of Wavering in the meta. The other cool thing is that you can draw two cards after your pendulum summon by having Sorcerer search Guiturtle and Lizardraw. This is only necessary if you’re digging for something other than Performapal monsters, since most of the time you will probably search Joker and another combo-piece.
Draco Face-off gives the deck easy access to Luster Pendulum, which is vital in every matchup. The card essentially gives your deck extra tuners. It also helps to make sure you pendulum summon five monsters as soon as possible, especially if you end up getting Luster Pendulum to your pendulum zone. Perhaps the most useful thing you can do with it is chain it to Anti-Spell Fragrance to summon Ignister on demand. After all, who doesn’t love having a combo piece act as an extra out to a floodgate?
These new cards add a ton of consistency to Pepe. I think everyone can agree that it was lacking in that department before this set. There were games where you’d draw Luster Pendulum and it seemed like you had the best deck in the format, and then there were games where you wouldn’t and it felt like you should be playing anything else. When I play with this form of Pepe, I feel right at home. It’s so strong and consistent that I feel comfortable sitting down in front of any opponent, playing any deck. And to be honest, I have not felt that way about a deck since 2013 Dragon Rulers (either format). To me, this alone justifies the price tag.
Outside of the cards that are meant strictly for Pepe, we have Twin Twister, Traptrix Rafflesia, Cyber Dragon Infinity, Fiendish Rhino, and Kozmo Tincan. All of them add to the complexity of the game, which is a good thing because it promotes innovation. Twin Twister chained to a first turn Anti-Spell Fragrance is the most satisfying feeling in Yu-Gi-Oh right now. It’s even more absurd when you’re discarding something like Damage Juggler to fulfill the cost. You don’t have to discard something with a graveyard effect to make the card good, though. Most of the time, you don’t need every card in your hand to win the game. There will also be games where you draw multiples of the same card. What are you going to do with two Monkeyboards? Well, you can discard one for Twin Twister and use the other to combo off. It is easily one of the best side deck cards to come out in a long time, and some players may even find main deck uses for it, too. I was considering siding Cyber Dragon Core for the Kozmo matchup because of its graveyard effect and synergy with Twin Twister. I’m sure there are tons of other things that go well with it as players reevaluate the card pool.
Traptrix Rafflesia is something that we don’t see very often: a rank 4 defensive card. Before its release, you were pretty much limited to Giant Hand, and Ptolemaeus to go into Pleiades. She forces your opponent to play awkwardly to get around her effect, which may prove impossible at times if the hand isn’t strong enough. Most people use Treacherous Trap Hole with her since it doesn’t really have an activation requirement outside of a trapless graveyard. The great thing is, you can summon Rafflesia to get out of certain fields. If your opponent has Naturia Beast and Pleiades on the field, you can summon Rafflesia to pop both, regardless of Pleiades bouncing her back. Of course, this means players will begin to bounce back whichever level four monster you normal summoned that turn instead of waiting for the Xyz. Playing cards like Time-Space Trap Hole makes opposing pendulum summons an autowin for you since everything will simply go back into the deck. Games will not last long, so an open field is usually game.
Fiendish Rhino puts BA back into the game by returning some of the consistency it lost on the banlist. The deck will now take its place as “Anti-meta” going forward, maining cards like Mistake, Anti-Spell Fragrance, Solemn Strike, Grand Horn, Fire Lake, Twin Twister, and anything else that gives pendulum decks a hard time. If someone can solve its main problem, which is breaking established fields, he/she will have a strong contender in upcoming events. The BA engine is still one of the most powerful things to happen in Yu-Gi-Oh.
Kozmo Tincan almost solves the biggest problem with Kozmos, which was going first. The deck now has a strong opening play, and it can play things like Call of the Haunted to further emphasize the effectiveness of said card. I’m still not sure if that’s the right direction the deck should be going in, but I’m sure Kozmo enthusiasts like Jeff Jones will figure something out to keep it in contention. Kozmojo is also pretty broken because it doesn’t target, and it can get rid of both pendulum scales at once. Bring out Sliprider to destroy one, and use Kozmojo’s effect to banish the other. Thank god for Monkeyboard being able to set up both scales now.
If I had to rank the decks this format, I would have Pepe as number one, Kozmo as number two, and BA as number three. The reason why BA is not number two in this country as it is in Asia is because Kozmo exists here. Not only is it a bad matchup for BA, but it also makes some of the cards that hurt Pepe useless. For example, what are you going to do with Anti-Spell Fragrances and Grand Horns against Kozmo? Even things like Skill Drain, Fire Lake, and Effect Veiler suck in the Kozmo matchup, but they’re all amazing in the Pepe matchup. If you could pick your tournament, the deck would probably be number two.
Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician