Siding For: Electrumite Pendulums

Kelly Locke

2/27/2018 11:00:00 AM

The aftermath of YCS Atlanta made it clear that Pendulum Magicians had replaced SPYRALs as the deck to beat in tournament competition, and that's chiefly thanks to Heavymetalfoes Electrumite. Magicians were able to shift from an attrition-style strategy with Time Pendulumgraph and Timestar Magician to a far more aggressive and Link-heavy build thanks to Electrumite.

More importantly, Electrumite helped the deck stay afloat after the recent Forbidden & Limited List. It's not an exaggeration to say that Pendulum Magicians would be nowhere near the Top Tables at a YCS without it.

Current Pendulum strategies are now largely defined by how effectively they can play Heavymetalfoes Electrumite, and how much card economy they can leverage from it. It's not a trend exclusive to Pendulum Magicians – two Metalfoes builds have already scored Regional Top 8's with potentially more to come. I think it's only a matter of time until someone wins an invite to the WCQ with Zefras, and I'm sure Electrumite will continue to fuel Pendulum strategies long after Magicians are nerfed into the ground. (Editor's Note: This article was written before Day 2 of YCS Bochum where Zefras Top 4'd, and the UDS, where Zefras won .)

 Heavymetalfoes Electrumite
Heavymetalfoes Electrumite158159
Set Extreme Force
Number EXFO-EN098
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 1800 /
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Pendulum Monsters
If this card is Link Summoned: You can add 1 Pendulum Monster from your Deck to your Extra Deck face-up. Once per turn: You can target 1 other face-up card you control; destroy it, then add 1 face-up Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck to your hand. If a card(s) in your Pendulum Zone leaves the field: Draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Heavymetalfoes Electrumite" once per turn.

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Elecrumite Pendulums require a different Side Deck approach than their predecessors. Cards like Evenly Matched and Twin Twisters are a little worse than they were just a month ago, while others like The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode and Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries are better than ever. There's still the old guard of anti-Pendulum tech that's performing as expected, too: Anti-Spell Fragrance and Dimensional Barrier can and will end games by themselves.

Despite Pendulums clearly taking up the vacancy left by SPYRALs there's still plenty of diversity in the current competitive scene. Side Deck tech needs high match-up utility to make the cut, and that's especially true with FTK versions of Pendulum Magicians running around. Last week I discussed how hand traps play out against these new builds, and I'd like to start by hitting up that topic again because they're so important to avoiding the unbreakable boards Pendulums are capable of making.

Staying In The Game Playing Second
The final match between Dablessin Wilson and Jeremy Mitchell at YCS Atlanta is an excellent snapshot of the current state of the competitive scene. In a Pendulum Magician mirror match the player who starts the duel and remains uninterrupted over the course of their turn is practically guaranteed to win that game, and that much is obvious from the two and three turn games that comprised the final match.

Both Wilson and Mitchell had opportunities to set up massive boards complete with negation bodies and Quick Effects that would have been unthinkable in January. Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon embarrasses Evenly Matched, and Tornado Dragon is fantastic in the mirror or against any strategy that's using Field Spells. Union Hangar and Trickstar Lightstage are at the mercy of Tornado Dragon, and depending on the match-up other Rank 4's like Evilswarm Nightmare or Abyss Dweller were an option. Both players ran Norito the Moral Leader in the Extra Decks to help knock out Evenly Matched, Raigeki, and other mass removal effects.

Negation prevents most blowouts from Evenly Matched and its partner in crime: Magical Spring. Many competitive players brushed off the Pendulum match-up last format because there were six cards that could nearly auto-win the match-up. Resolving Magical Spring, drawing into Evenly Matched, and banishing most of your opponent's field was absolutely devastating. No other deck lost to Evenly Matched in the same way, and it was another huge challenge Pendulums have had to overcome.

Evenly Matched is now so readily countered that it's become a bit of a liability. Odd-Eyes Vortex Dragon, Norito the Moral Leader, Tri-Gate Wizard, and sometimes Mist Valley Apex Avian challenge players to bait out negation before they can activate their trap. Evenly Matched is still sided for the match-up, of course, but there are alternatives that are gaining steam as players look for ways to dodge interruption.

Kaijus remain a strong pick and can eat up one particular negation body to clear a path for more devastating effects. Lava Golem deals with two cards at the cost of your Special Summons, but that's a fair trade for some strategies – including Pendulum Magicians . Finally, The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode can wipe out your opponent's monsters and breaks nearly all of the ideal boards Pendulums can produce. It's a phenomenal Side Deck pick if you're looking for something other than Evenly Matched, and it's totally immune to Artifact Lancea and Mind Crush.

As you're siding in counters to monsters like Tornado Dragon you'll want to be siding out your most vulnerable cards. There's too much interruption for Continuous Spells and Traps to have an impact going second, and some Field Spells are just out of luck against a solid opening from Pendulum Magicians. You don't want to be holding Brilliant Fusion when you're staring down Tornado Dragon and Vortex Dragon.

 Tornado Dragon
Tornado Dragon131198
Set Maximum Crisis
Number MACR-EN081
Level 4
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Wyrm
Attribute WIND 
A / D 2100 / 2000
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Level 4 monsters
Once per turn, during either player’s turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card, then target 1 Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy it.

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Instead, bring in Foolish Burial to yard your most important cards. Siding isn't always about including devastating counters to your opponent's strategy; sometimes it's about making yourself less vulnerable to their interruptions.

Depending on how the first turn of the duel plays out – which is largely predicated on your opponent's opening hand and your hand traps – you might not need to worry about Turn 2 as much. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit can stop Heavymetalfoes Electrumite from hitting the field entirely, and Effect Veiler can greatly reduce the deck's ability to build a powerful field.

In the most extreme case – the Pendulum Magician FTK – hand traps are a necessity. Effect Veiler even edges out Ghost Ogre in that situation because negating Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom both erases its ATK gains and stops your opponent from potentially reviving it with Monster Reborn.

Setting Up Going First
The conventional wisdom last format was to simply let Pendulum Magician players start the duel, and then hammer them with Evenly Matched.

Now, given the negation power of first-turn Pendulum Magician fields, it's to your advantage to shut down their plays early. There are few cards that do this better than Dimensional Barrier – arguably the single-best Turn 1 trap against Pendulum Magicians. Even in a now Link-heavy strategy, there's still the need to Special Summon Pendulum Monsters and use their effects. As soon as Dimensional Barrier's flipped it puts your opponent in a situation where the vast majority of their monster cards can't be Special Summoned Summoned, and at best they'll have lost an entire turn to a single card.

Unsurprisingly, the move towards Link Summons has greatly reduced Dimensional Barrier's match-up utility. It's useless against Trickstars and True Dracos, and less effective against ABC's thanks to their great Link Summoning potential. Dimensional Barrier's worthy of debate despite its strengths against Pendulums, but that didn't stop Jeremy Mitchell or Dablessin Wilson from siding copies. Anti-Spell Fragrance is an option for non-Pendulum strategies so long as you have other ways to defend your set-up from Evenly Matched.

Both Mitchell and Wilson also sided in Solemn Judgement when they were playing first, to add another negation option into the mix. It's an obvious pick for any deck that's trying to avoid Evenly Matched, but its match-up utility is so extreme that realistically it can fit into any Side Deck. The only match-up where Solemn Judgment is arguable is against Trickstars; giving up half of your Life Points can put you scarily within striking range of numerous burn effects. But that's still not enough to fold on Solemn Judgment entirely, but it's far from a staple Side Deck pick at the moment. We'll see if that continues as players continue to explore this long-Forbidden trap.

Spell and trap removal will almost always have insane utility from format to format, and there were plenty of sided Twin Twisters and Cosmic Cyclones at YCS Atlanta. Not everyone was actually bringing those cards in against Pendulums, but Cosmic Cyclone can act as yet another piece of disruption and as an out to other backrow cards.

The problem with setting Quick-Play spells this format is that most of them can be easily replaced with hand traps. With three copies of Evenly Matched in seemingly every Side Deck right now you want to keep as many cards off the table as possible.

 Cosmic Cyclone
Cosmic Cyclone149334
Set Structure Deck: Cyberse Link
Number SDCL-EN029
Type Quick-Play Spell
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Common
Card Text

Pay 1000 LP, then target 1 Spell/Trap on the field; banish it.

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Cosmic Cyclone does answer destruction-immune Pendulums searched off Pendulum Call, and that's fine for situations where you don't have Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring to negate the search effect. Speaking of which, anti-search effects are weirdly positioned in this match-up. Ash Blossom's of course awesome because it answers both deck searches, Special Summons from the deck, and cards like Foolish Burial and Dragon Shrine. In a world without Ash Blossom I think we might see Thunder King Rai-Oh show up as a more popular pick, especially with its Summon negation to burn out even more of your opponent's card advantage.

There's one more card I want to talk about for siding while playing first against Pendulum Magicians: Imperial Order. It's actually a much more viable pick with Performapal Skullcrobat Joker Forbidden, since your opponent's search effects are almost entirely sourced from spells.

The Pendulum effects of Chronograph Sorcerer and Abyss Actor - Curtain Raiser will be negated, which limits your opponent's ability to put monsters on the field. The end result is that it's harder for your opponent to put together a Pendulum Scale, and even if they do their Summoning potential will be limited.

Pendulum Magicians are absolutely the deck to beat, but there's still incredible diversity at the Regional level. It's a great opportunity for The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode to shine, and a totally new battleground the defining card of games two and three: Evenly Matched. Solemn Judgment is shaking things up again in a good way, and while any FTK is never good for the game I suspect it won't be around for long. Overall the competitive scene is healthy, and Side Deck construction is ever so slightly more varied from a month ago. For me, that's the best news I've heard in a long time.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​ personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​ ​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​ Twitter​​​ ​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​ . He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

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