Pendulum monsters are weird. They’re not like synchro or xyz monsters. Those use pre-existing cards, support pre-existing gameplay by accelerating it. Xyz monsters are my favorite game mechanic in any card game I’ve ever played. The ability to add them to any deck, their super simple summoning conditions, and the options you can gain by including multiple Xyz monsters of the same level is remarkable.
Pendulum Monsters are new-ish
This new mechanic is different and jarring. You have to go out of your way to learn how it works and, if yo do, it may not suit your playstyle or the types of decks you like to play. Pendulum Firefists? Pendulum Mermails? Pendulum Gustos? What would those even look like and why would you want them?
But the time investment doesn’t stop there. Pendulums are even further complicated by archetype restrictions. Pendulum monsters don’t mix well with older decks because some older archetypes are pretty inclusive (same for some Pendulum themes) – they are very selective about what they mix with. Pendulum Monsters have scales and some have restrictions about what you can/cannot summon with them. Even if the scales work for your build, you still have to worry about type, attribute, and the kind of support that the Pendulum Theme comes with and if its speed will be compatible with your deck.
Pendulum monsters aren’t very helpful for deck building
How then, will you find the right pendulum monsters for your deck or play-style? Are you to look at every pendulum monster, and every pendulum theme in an attempt to understand how it works? To figure out if the theme is inclusive or exclusive, test, and often end with a half-pendulum deck that is less effective than if you had kept the pendulum theme pure? That is a very large commitment with very marginal returns.
The solution to the inclusive vs exclusive problem is to make clearly identifiable, generic scaled splashable-pendulum monsters that are just good enough to be used, but not good enough to take attention away from “real” pendulum decks. But people won’t buy that, so the next step would be to make “reasonably” generic, searchable, consistent pendulum monsters.
The problem with that, of course, is why would anyone use anything else?
What do you think about pendulum monsters? How much effort have you put into playing with them, against them, etc? I’m curious to hear about your experiences, please share them in the comments below, or reach out to me on twitter @mattcarterwa.