I have a soft spot in my heart for monsters with pendulums.
I was so surprised by the new way to summon pendulums, and that’s what made me fall in love with Yu-Gi-Oh again.
Pendulum monsters are cards that are half spells and half monsters.
You can either play them as monsters and use their monster effects, or you can play them in the pendulum zone as spell cards and use their spell effects.
If you’ve played Yu-Gi-Oh before, you might not understand how the pendulum calling works at first.
Still, I think you should learn how to play them because there are so many different types of pendulum decks, each with its own amazing and flexible strategies.
So let’s talk about some of Yu-Gi-Oh’s best pendulum monsters so far.
18. Qliphort Helix
Helix is another card that only Qli can use, but it still has a lot to give. In the PZ, it just lowers the ATK of all enemy monsters by 300, which is a great way to slow them down.
As a monster card, its ATK drops to a still-respectable 1800 when special summoned or normal summoned without a sacrifice, but it stays at a healthy 2400 when tribute summoned.
Plus, if Helix is called normally, it can’t be hurt by the effects of monsters with a lower Level than it. This makes it immune to flip effects, which can be annoying.
Even better, when Helix is sacrificed, it can destroy any spell or trap. This gives the Qlis some much-needed removes that don’t involve monsters and makes it very useful in any series.
Put three of these in your deck if you’re running Qlis.
17. Qliphort Monolith
Towers and Scout, two overpowered Qliphort monsters, have been banned for good reason. However, many other Qliphort monsters still have a lot of promise.
Monolith can be used in any pendulum deck as a level 5 beatstick, but it should only be used in Qli setups.
Despite its limits, don’t underestimate it.
When special summoned, Monolith has enough ATK to beat many foes, and its PZ effect works great with the Qlis: at the end of your turn, you can draw as many cards as Qli monsters you used for a tribute summon.
This gives you a card advantage by filling your hand over and over again, and you can add up to three at once (if you Tribute Summon Qliphort Skybase).
16. Deskbot 005
Because of its PZ effect, our first monster can’t call monsters that aren’t Deskbots. This limits how it can be used.
But its usual monster effect more than makes up for it. When 005 is summoned normally or with a special effect, it can destroy any spell or trap on the field.
As long as you’re using pendulum scales (PS) that can call a level 5 monster (and most of them can), you can use 005 over and over again to get rid of traps and stop attacks.
005 is best in Deskbot decks, but it works surprisingly well in any pendulum build.
15. Deskbot 007
If you don’t know what pendulum monsters are or what they do, you should check out Deskbots.
Deskbot 007 gets 500 more attack points for every Deskbot monster you have in your graveyard.
The whole point of Deskbots is to have a ton of Deskbot monsters on your field and in your graveyard, giving each of them an insanely high attack stat.
Really, it’s not hard for these monsters to get 5000 attack or more.
Deskbot 007 also has piercing damage in battle, which means that your opponent will have a very hard time fighting against him.
Deskbot 007 also has a great 10 scale balance. This means you can pretty much call every Deskbot monster in your deck with a pendulum.
14. Rescue Hamster
Rescue Hamster is a great pendulum monster that can be used in almost any pendulum deck.
You can pay a tribute to this face-up card to special summon two pendulum monsters with the same name as a pendulum monster in your extra deck that is level 5 or higher from your deck.
Even though their powers are nullified and they are destroyed in the extra deck, this is a great way to get more resources for summoning from the extra deck on the field.
For instance, you could use one of these monsters as a link. Or you could put them on top of each other for an XYZ call.
13. Qliphort Scout
This card was so good for Qliphorts that at one point it was put on a list of cards that should be banned.
Even a joke called “Pay $8 to feel great” came from Qliphort Scout.
Its pendulum effect lets you pay 800 life points to look through your deck for any Qliphort monster.
There are a lot of insanely good Qliphort monsters to choose from, so putting this guy in your pendulum zone is a surefire way to have a good turn.
12. Amorphage Goliath
The Amorphages deck makes it impossible for your opponent to do anything.
All Amorphage monsters have the same monster effect, which is that neither player can special summon monsters from the extra deck while they are face up on the field.
In a modern format like this one, where most decks can’t play without being able to call from the extra deck, this effect is absolutely devastating.
While it’s in the swaying zone, it acts like a Macro Cosmos with only one side.
When a card that isn’t an Amorphage card leaves the field, it is not sent to the graveyard. Instead, it is banned.
This will make it very hard for your opponent to win the game, since once their monsters are gone, they are gone for good.
11. Endymion, the Mighty Master of Magic
This card has the most words on it of any Yu-Gi-Oh! card.
So, to sum up this mini-novel of a card in a few words:
Its monster effect lets you stop your opponent from using spells and traps by taking spell counters off the field. Endymion decks are all about putting spell counters on the field, so there are plenty of these as well.
Even though this guy has counters on it for spells, it’s also pretty much unbreakable by card effects. This means you’ll have a lot of power to stop card effects for a long time.
If your opponent does manage to destroy this card in battle, you can not only search a normal spell from your deck and add it to your hand, but you can also just pendulum summon him back the next turn.
10. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon
If I wasn’t trying to be fair, I’d put this guy at number 1 just because I remember him from my childhood.
I have two whole pages in a book full of just this card’s different versions and artworks.
When the Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon strikes, it does twice as much damage to your opponent’s monsters as it does to its own.
And cards like Dark Rebellion XYZ Dragon can make it harder for your opponent’s monsters to attack, which means this card can do a lot of damage.
The swinging effect of this card is also very useful in a pinch:
You can destroy this card in the pendulum zone to search your deck for and add to your hand any pendulum monster with 1500 attack points or less.
This can give you the exact pendulum monster you need to finish your scales on your next turn, so you can immediately call back Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon.
The legends about the Zefra archetype are really cool. They involve the Qliphorts, the Nekroz, the Shaddolls, and more!
All of this was described in the Duel Terminal series, which I think you should check out.
This guy is the most powerful monster in Zefra decks, and in that deck, it is the boss monster.
While it’s in the pendulum zone, you can send any Zefra pendulum monster from your deck to the extra deck to change this card’s pendulum scale to match that monster’s.
Not only do you get more monsters to pendulum summon from your extra deck, but you can always find a way to finish the scales no matter what other cards are in your pendulum zone.
But what really sells this guy is his monster effect.
Special summoning costs 3 tributes, but when you do it, you can do another pendulum call on your turn!
Then, you can give one of these monsters as a sacrifice to special summon a different Zefra monster from your deck. This means that you will get the monsters you want, when you want them.
8. Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm
You would have a hard time finding a pendulum deck that doesn’t include this card.
You can special summon it for free as long as it is in your graveyard and you don’t control any monsters.
The best way to use this card is to send it to the grave on your first turn with a card like Dragon Shrine or Foolish Burial, which gives you a free monster.
You can then use it for whatever you want: link summons, synchro summons, XYZ summons, etc.
You can also add a Supreme King Gate monster from your deck to your hand when it is special summoned.
The Supreme King Gates were monsters with swinging scales of 0 and 13, respectively. If you put these cards in your pendulum zone, you can pendulum call any level.
7. Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer
I was playing Performapals at the time this card came out, so my thoughts of it are bittersweet.
When this card came out, there was a deck called “Pepe” that was incredibly strong.
Due to how much Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer helped this deck, the price of this card shot up into the hundreds, and I had no way of paying that.
His pendulum effect makes all of your Performapal monsters hit 1000 times stronger. When combined with cards like United We Stand, this can lead to some very powerful attacks.
And when you special call a Performapal Pendulum Sorcerer, you can give up cards you control to search your deck for other Performapal monsters.
This is a great way to find the exact combo pieces you need, and it brings much-needed stability to Performapals.
6. Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon
The fact that this card is an XYZ-pendulum monster makes it unique.
You have to first bring this card out as an XYZ monster. Once it is out, it works exactly like a Pendulum monster.
And if this card is XYZ called using an XYZ monster as material (you’ll need cards like Xiangsheng Magician and Xiangke Magician to do this), you can use two effects.
First, during the fight phase, it can attack twice. This is pretty good, with an attack score of 3000.
Second, you can remove 1 XYZ material from this card to destroy every card your opponent controls and give this card 200 attack for each card killed.
The crazy thing about this effect is that you can do it twice because it only costs 1 material to use.
This means that even if your opponent gets back on their feet after losing every card, you can still wipe out their field again.
5. Odd-Eyes Arc Pendulum Dragon
This is by far the best card in an Odd-Eyes-only deck. It lets you bring out a wide variety of Odd-Eyes monsters.
What it does is:
When an Odd-Eyes monster you control is killed in battle or by a card effect, you can call another one from your hand, deck, or graveyard.
When you combine this with cards like Sky Iris that let you search for Odd-Eyes monsters by destroying your own cards, you get a strong effect.
4. Harmonizing Magician
With this card, Pendulum Magician decks went from being good to being great.
When it’s pendulum summoned from your hand, you can special summon another Pendulum Magician from your deck in defense position, but its benefits are cancelled.
This is a great way to set up extra calls from the deck.
I’d suggest using these cards to call some of the Supreme King extra deck monsters. To be summoned, they need two dark pendulum monsters, which this card gives them.
For example, when the Supreme King Clear Wing is synchro summoned, it kills all of the monsters that your opponent controls.
This makes Harmonizing Magician a Raigeki that can be played three times.
3. Amorphage Sloth
This card was played in other than just Amorphage decks because it only costs one tribute to call normally.
It works the same way as other Amorphages, which is to stop your opponent from using the extra deck.
The plan was to call a lot of cards from your extra deck during your turn, then put this card down right at the end so your opponent can’t use their extra deck.
You can also use this guy’s swinging effect in Pure Amorphage builds:
While you control an Amorphage monster, neither player can add cards from their deck to their hand, except for Amorphages.
In Modern Yu-Gi-Oh, a weak deck is one that can’t find its best cards. A good deck is one that can.
If you can stop your opponent from looking at all, it will be a huge surprise for them, and they’ll have to come up with a new plan pretty quickly.
2. Wisdom Eye Magician
This is without a doubt the best card a Pendulum Magician can play.
As long as you have another Pendulum Magician in your other pendulum zone, you can destroy this card and put any other Pendulum Magician from your deck in its place.
This gives you the exact pendulum numbers you need whenever you need them, making it easy to call a pendulum.
Wisdom Eye Magician also works great with cards like Star Pendulumgraph, which let you search your deck for Pendulum Magicians whenever one of them is killed. This turns this card into a double search.
1. Chaos Emperor, the Dragon of Armageddon
As if the old Chaos Emperor Dragon wasn’t strong enough, they made a swinging monster that is just as strong.
It is called in the same way as the original: by removing a light monster and a dark monster from your graveyard.
And when it’s on the field, you can pay half of your life points to send all the cards you control to the graveyard and the same number of cards from your opponent’s field.
Then, your opponent takes 300 damage for every card they lost, which can be more than enough damage to end the game.
It’s also important to remember that monsters in the extra monster zone don’t get killed. This means that you may still have a monster to use to destroy your opponent.
You can also use the pendulum effect of this card to bring back some of your banned dragons, which can be very helpful if you have cards like Dragon Mirror in your deck.