This starter deck comes with two monsters of a brand new type known as Pendulum Monsters. You play them in your deck like regular monsters, and can summon them like any other normal Effect Monster. However, in addition to the traditional monster zones, two new “pendulum” zones have been created between the extra deck and field card zone on the left and between the deck and graveyard over on the right. In these zones, they are treated as Spells and not Monsters, and have a different effect while in those zones.
There are a few other things you should know about Pendulum Monsters. First of all, when they are sent from the field from the graveyard, by combat or a card effect, even if they are face-down, they are sent to the Extra Deck face-up. Yes, the Extra Deck. It will make more sense later.
However, if they are sent from the hand, Main Deck, or Extra Deck, or have their summon or effects as a Spell Card negated they go to the graveyard like normal. Also, placing monsters in Pendulum Zones is not considered a Normal or Special Summon. You cannot discard a Pendulum monster already in a Pendulum Zone in order to play another one (like you would a Field spell card) but you can play them as often as you like as long as you have open Pendulum Zones in which to play them.
The Pendulum ability on this card is rather wordy. Let’s break it down.
“You must control no monsters to activate this card. If a Pendulum Monster you control attacks or is attacked, your opponent cannot activate Trap Cards until the end of the Damage Step. Unless you have a “Magician” card or “Odd-Eyes” card in your other Pendulum Zone, this card’s Pendulum Scale becomes 4.”
The first part of that effect is pretty self-explanatory. It means that this card essentially becomes a continuous spell card with an ability that can only be activated when you control no monsters – that is, no monsters except for a Pendulum Monster in the opposite zone.
The effect is fairly basic: whenever a Pendulum Monster you control attacks or is attacked, your opponent can’t activate any of his/her Trap Cards until the end of the Damage Step. That seems pretty helpful, especially if you control no monsters.
So this last part probably has a lot of people confused, because it certainly blew my mind. Unless you control a Pendulum monster with “Magician” or “Odd-Eyes” in its name in the opposite Pendulum Zone, this card’s Pendulum Scale becomes 4? What the heck does that mean? Well, you see the numbers under the blue and red symbols? That is the card’s Pendulum Scale.
We’ll get to exactly what that means in a minute. But let’s look at its Monster effect:
“Each turn, the first card(s) in your Pendulum Zone that would be destroyed by an opponent’s card effect are not destroyed.”
That’s a pretty handy ability. It can protect your other Pendulum cards, as they now become like Spell cards that can be removed by Dust Tornado, Mystical Space Typhoon, and the like.
Let’s take a look at the other Pendulum Summon card in the deck.
Let’s take a look at his Pendulum Zone spell effect:
“If a Pendulum Monster you control attacks or is attacked, your opponent cannot activate Spell Cards until the end of the Damage Step. Unless you have a “Magician” card or “Odd-Eyes” card in your other Pendulum Zone, this card’s Pendulum Scale becomes 4.”
Wait, that looks awfully familiar. It is almost identical to the other Magician except for the fact that it stops Spell cards from being activated – which most likely would be Quick-Play spells such as the Forbidden Cycle (Chalice, Dress, Lance, etc.)
So what is its Monster effect then, since we mostly likely have to Tribute Summon for it?
“Once per turn, when exactly 1 other Pendulum Monster you control (and no other cards) is returned to your hand by an opponent’s card effect (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon 1 monster from your hand with the same name as that returned to the hand.”
Notice that it says Special Summon and not Pendulum Summon. That’s still a pretty cool effect, though, if not a little niche.
Now that we’ve seen what these guys do, what do they do together?
Let’s say we get both of these out on the board at the same time in opposite Pendulum Zones. One has a scale of 8, but it becomes 4 unless the other card in the Pendulum Zone has “Magician” or “Odd-Eyes” in its name. Fortunately for the other Magician in the deck, there is also another Magician. This means that you have a 1 on one side and an 8 on the other. So what the heck does that mean?
Having both of your Pendulum Zones occupied allows what is called Pendulum Summoning. At the beginning of each card you may Pendulum Summon as many creatures as you like from your hand that are between the levels of the two Scales on the cards occupying the Pendulum Zones. This means you can summon any monster between levels 2-7 directly to the field. This sounds pretty nuts, doesn’t it? Well, believe me, it’s a lot easier said that done!
Also, there’s another very interesting thing about Pendulum Monsters that must be mentioned here. When they are destroyed, they sometimes end up in the Extra Deck face-up. The only way to get them back from there is to summon them with a Pendulum Summon again later. Don’t worry about the number of cards in your Extra Deck – as they don’t count towards your 15 card limit.
The Yu-Gi-Oh Wikia has a good breakdown of the mechanics of Pendulum Monsters, as well as a summary of the mechanics of Pendulum Summons.
These two cards are pretty fascinating and add quite a complex new mechanic to the game of Yu-Gi-Oh. In the near future, we’ll take a look at the rest of the Super Starter Deck and see how its two Pendulum Monsters help the deck.