How to Defeat Annoying, Popular Yugioh Decks, Part 3
The writer opens the gates, and welcomes one and all to the third chapter of Deck stomping and bashing. The new game mechanic has arrived with an archetype to finally show how powerful it is. After staring down an Apoqliphort Towers, if you still believe the Pendulums are a joke, the writer's got a bridge and a pass to Seto Kaiba's Stubborn Club he wants to sell you. But never fear, fellow duelists, for plenty of new archetypes wielding old game mechanics will make you sit dumb-founded as they blow-away your lifepoints. This new army of decks separates itself by not focusing on swarming, filling the field with monsters within a blink, or destruction, but on persistence. You disintegrate them one turn, they can make a come back easier than a supernatural serial killer. To an ignorant duelist, the Qliphorts, Shaddolls, Yang-Zing, and Burning Abyss will be an infestation of sentient cockroaches, saying, “I want some more, sir,” after each of your nuclear strikes. The writer is proud to say, as of this day, you are no longer among the ignorant, for after reading this hub, the current, most annoying, popular Decks will be under your boot.
Pendulums: What Are They? How Do They Work?
Even with Qliphorts, Performapals, and Pendulum Normals hitting the scene, many duelists still draw blanks when facing a Pendulum archetype, considering how their mechanics distinguish themselves from everything else gracing the game. Similar to the Crystal Beasts, Pendulums can be treated as Monsters or Spell cards. You should also notice that all effect Pendulum Monsters have two paragraphs of effects.
As Monsters: The paragraph on the card's bottom becomes its effect. They follow the same rules as every other Monster you order to cower or slaughter. However, when a Pendulum Monster is destroyed, instead of going to the Graveyard, it goes face-up in the Extra Deck. Even if the Extra Deck reached its 15 card limit. Why, you ask? That will be explained in the paragraph after the next one.
As Spells: Pendulum cards have their own zones when played as Spell Cards called (Ding! Ding! You guessed it!) Pendulum Zones, located to the right of the Graveyard and Field Spell Zone, to the left of the Deck and Banish Zone. When in these zones, the top paragraph details its effects, and the Scale Numbers, the numbers by the red and blue diamonds on both sides of the card, become significant. The left number matters when a card's in the left Pendulum Zone; the right number matters when a card's in the right zone. Also important to note, cards that affect Spell Cards affect Pendulums in the Pendulum Zones, but not card effects that target Monsters. Similar to when assuming Monster card form, when a card in a P.Z. (Pendulum Zone) is destroyed, it goes face-up in the Extra Deck. Now the fun part...
Pendulum Summoning: When a P.M. (Pendulum Monster) occupies the left and right Pendulum Zones, once per turn, a player is allowed a Pendulum Summon, a type of Special Summon. Remember those pretty, seemingly insignificant numbers next to the red and blue diamonds? When a player Pendulum Summons, one can Special Summon monsters from the hand and P.Ms from the Extra Deck whose levels are between the left number on the left card and the right number on the right card. For example, if one has a P.M. In the left zone with a 3 by the blue diamond, and a P.M. in the right zone with a 7 by the red diamond, a player can Pendulum Summon monsters with levels between those numbers (4, 5, 6). One can only Pendulum Summon monsters from the hand or face-up in the Extra Deck, granted that monster's level is between the scales and it has no special summoning conditions.
Qliphorts: Welcome to the Flying Fortress Circus
The Plague: The executive card designers sat at a table one day and said, “What have we not covered in Yugioh yet? Let's see, we have angels, demons, pets of angels, Little Shop of Horrors, the shapes nobody can pronounce, midgets on desserts, guitars playing guitars, we've done tarot cards twice, constellations...” Then the nutjob of the cutting room floor, and the only member suffering from Tourette syndrome, ejaculated from his mouth: “Flying buildings, from the future! Named after Jewish demons! Computer systems!” And so the Qliphorts were born. The Qliphorts, the premier, playable Pendulum Deck, is powerful by utilizing Pendulum mechanics alone. These beatsticks swarm easily via Pendulum Summon, and for just a mere 800 lifepoints, Qliphort Scout searches for any Qliphort card. To add needles to the cake, the Performapal circus has been seen providing free shows on these sentient skyscrapers. Combine Performapal Trampolynx with Qliphort Scout, and a fortress conductor can grab two Qliphort cards per turn. Unfortunately, their searchability and high attacks are atoms compared to their boss tower that is Apoqliphort Towers. Requiring the tribute of three Qliphorts to normal summon, the summoning of those three as easy as attracting bees after bathing in honey, It is not only unaffected by spells or traps, but also unaffected by any monsters with a Rank/Level lower than its whopping 10 stars. Oh, it also has 3000 Attack, drops the attack and defense of all Special Summoned by 500, and can make the opponent send a card from their hand or field to the Grave. Good luck blowing that tower down... As a matter of fact, let's not. Let's fill these over-budget, floating Taj Mahals' foundations with sand to prevent their atrocious architecture from ever being built in the first place.
- Halt the searches: Without their signature two-turn search, a Qliphort field becomes an abandoned mine in Japan. Siding Mistake, a continuous Trap Card that denies players adding cards, unless they're drawing, and you'll snatch the blueprints from under the constructor's nose.
- Make it a No-Fly Zone: The fumbling towers suffer from the same problem as overgrown, fire breathing lizards: Most of them have high levels, relying on Pendulum Summons to grace the field. Vanity's Emptiness, Vanity's Fiend, or Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo will stop these Franken-Louvres from consuming your air space.
- Break the Scales: So far, all the Pendulums share one vital weakness: Their reliance on Pendulum zones to Special Summon. Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado, or the Spell-Shattering Arrow (Heck throw in all three if you can) prove the most effective in keeping your skies clear of floating firewalls blasting circus music at maximum bass.
FYI... The Qliphorts can run Skill Drain with little to no consequence for their monsters. Unless your deck is more vanilla than white ice cream with wafers in it, the writer suggests holding back at least one Trap-disrupting card for it.
Shaddolls: Your Favorite Monsters Given Marionette Makeovers
The Plague: The newest fusion archetype is just as nightmare inducing as it is annoying. Hellishly crafted from Naruto's Sasori and The Puppet Master's workshop, with haunted weeping willows, brimstone, the Worms, and Dark Worlds used as materials, the Shaddolls all have flip effects, and gain effects when sent to the graveyard by a card effect. Even with the synergistic choreography of the little puppets, it's the big ones, a.k.a the fusions, that make the Shaddolls eclipse your field, for these guys were made to stun. El Shaddoll Winda limits her puppeteer's opponent to one summon per turn, Shekhinagan negates monster effects once per turn, and their boss puppet, Construct, destroys Special Summoned monsters at the start of the Damage Step, and buffs 2800 attack in case it can't. Oh, and the show's not over yet... When any of their fusions are sent to the graveyard, the controller can add one Shaddoll Spell or Trap card from their Graveyard to their hand. You know what they say, “Once a Shaddoll Fusion party gets started, you'll party till you drop,” or at least until your lifepoints hit zero. So, if attacking The Puppet Armada gives them advantage, and if destroying them with card effects makes them giggle while dancing on your empty field as they smack your lifepoints, what's a duelist to do? Cut the strings, remove the stage, and bury the dummies, that's what.
Dark-Evil Puppets, So... : Ding for another correct answer! The Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror negates the annoying fusions' stun tactics on the field, the flip-effects, and their effects in the grave. Essentially it'll stop everything these Full Moon caricatures can throw at you.
Erase their materials cache: Without the Graveyard for this overrated puppet show to get its Winda and Flamvell Hedgehog parts, it would be forced to make its actors with old-fashioned wood, and what's spooky about that? Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos stops all their Graveyard-reliant effects, and even halts Shaddoll Fusion.
Keep the big puppets on the shelf: These Elemental Hero wannabees never got the hint that fusions are so GX. Everyone's into Arc-V and Zexal now, where the Pendulums keep swinging and the Xyzs swarm like wasps on a kid with a stick. Side into Non-Fusion Area, a continuous trap that stops fusions, to remind a Shaddoll player what year it is.
FYI... With cards like Shaddoll Fusion, El Shaddoll Fusion, and Nephe Shaddoll Fusion, you'll find yourself wondering whether you're facing a distant cousin of the Spellbooks. Spell Canceller, Dark Bribe, or Magic Jammer are all efficient in preventing puppet/monster abominations from getting stringed.
Yang-Zing: Chinese Dragons Don't Die; They Multiply
The Plague: The new Bey-Bey kids of Synchro Summons are on the block. Every wondered what would happen if the Gustos were born by a nuclear waste site? Fanfic no further, for your nightterrors have come true! When the Yang-Zing are destroyed by battle or by card effect, they grab another of their elongated brethren from the Deck. Of course, that's only the beginning of your dragon/worm war, because their boss Synchros are as majestic as they are deadly. Braxia underwhelms with 2300 attack, but returns cards on the field to the deck depending on the number of wyrmies used for its birth and can destroy a Yang-Zing to Special one from the Graveyard, while Yazi can destroy an opponent's card in exchange for destroying a Yang-Zing. Did the writer forget to mention the Synchros gain continuous effects depending on what segments make their slimy bodies? Bixi adds protection from Traps, Puloa provides it for Spells, Bi'an prevents destruction by battle, Suanni grants an attack and defense boost. It's almost like Yugioh created its own version of the human centipede, only in this version, every fleshy link adds superpowers instead of the urge to gouge one's eyes out. But so what? A chain's only as strong as its weakest link, and in this case you've got three.
Halt The Deck Summons: The never-ending dragon train derails itself once you stop all the little wyrms' flight from the Deck. Deck Lockdown will stop these mythological-freaks for two turns, granting you enough time to give their tamer a lifepoints thrashing.
- Focus on Banishing: The Yang-Zings' power comes from their pain, like sick masochists bringing their buddies along for blissful chain beatings at the local biker bar. Don't feed their need. Side Banishing cards, such as Dark Core, Karma Cut, D.D. Fissure, Macro Cosmos, and Banisher of Light to end their empowering march of self mutilation by granting them tranquil nothingness.
- Exploit Their Differences: The Attributes of the Yang-Zing have as much in common as the fans of Beethoven and Justin Bieber. Switch to the continuous trap Gozen Match, or the one turn Battle of the Elements, to keep these long-back lizards from syncing messily on your dueling table.
FYI... A Synchro Deck is nothing without its tuners, and the turners of the Yang-Zing are ripe for Chain Disappearance, a Trap Card that banishes a summoned monster with 1000 or less attack, and all copies of it from the hand and Deck.
Burning Abyss: Not Everything Good Comes in Threes
The Plague: Three may be the magic number, but is also, coincidentally, the level of all the monsters running the 8th Circle of Hell. Hailing from everyone's favorite epic poem bastardized by popular culture, the Burning Abyss, dark fiends for the level three, have abandoned torturing naughty politicians for boiling lifepoints, and they're very efficient at it. With the ability to Special themselves from the hand if the owner controls no Spells or Traps, they swarm like undead roaches. Since they gain effects when sent to the Graveyard, regardless of the method, they recover like zombies with healing factors: When sent to the Graveyard, Scarm adds a level 3 Dark Fiend from the deck to the hand (Tour Guide deja vu anyone?), Graff Special Summons a Burning Abyss from the Deck, Circ Specials one from the Graveyard, and Calcab returns a Spell or Trap card on the field to the hand. Scared yet? Well you shouldn't be; we haven't even got to Dante yet. The Pimp of Hell, Dante is a rank 3 Light Warrior who comes knockin whenever two level 3s cry his name. He can send three cards from the Deck to the Graveyard once per turn, gains 500 attack for each card sent to the Graveyard until the end of the opponent's turn, and when he dies, he adds a Burning Abyss card from the Graveyard to the owner's hand. Also, when he gets pissed, A Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force can transform him into Constellar Pleiades, one of the most troublesome Xyzs ever to grace the Astral Plane. Facing Dante alongside the ugly, feral cousins of Sangan, you'll feel like only the army of Revelations can offer salvation. Hold that thought... Over a trash bin. Dante, a rank three Light Warrior, is not the evil man himself, and his level three buddies aren't Cerberus. A few precautions can keep this Anti-Christ-of-the-week and his lava-lathing hounds singing to pentameter in poesy land.
It's a Dark Archetype, Brutha: Oh, yeah, you guessed it ^_^! What other attribute would a bunch of Fiends getting their kicks from boiling politicians be? And what card would suck their eternally damned souls in a card effect-less realm? The Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror folks. Buy it, dress it, keep it, love it. Three, as a matter of fact. Love three.
Target Scarm: Mr. Most-Fashionable-Nails-In-Sheol is the heart of the Deck. He grabs your opponent Tour Guides, Browws, and other Burning Abyss, plus he's more recyclable than a large cup from Taco Bell. Debunk and D.D. Crow prove effective in ending his threat, and so does Mistake in ending his influence.
Abet their Self-Destruction: The writer failed to mention a vital fact all the level 3 Burning Abyss share: If another monster not a Burning Abyss occupies their field, they destroy themselves, a positive for their master when you consider their annoying habit of getting effects when returning home, but also an Achilles Heel. The trap Ojama Tokens, the field spell Black Garden, and the monster Santa Claws (Volcanic Queen or Lava Golem if you're going the Stall deck route) permanently put ice over their lava pit, forcing your opponent to rethink sending Dante's flying monkeys over your turf.
FYI... Don't let their swarming condition fool you. Burning Abyss rely heavily on Trap support to assist them reaching the Graveyard. Any Trap card disruption, such as Wiretap, Dark Bribe, Royal Decree, and so forth, will aid you escaping your turn in the pitch pit.
Another Round Won, But Simply a Victory of One
Konami did well creating an array of archetypes representing the game's rainbow of mechanics, yet the discerning and diligent will always exploit a weakness in any gloating deck. The Qliphorts swing from the Extra Deck and the Hand, yet stand on shaky foundations. The Shaddolls fuse into frightening horrors, but their worship of Spells curses them to remain in their shoe boxes. The Yang-Zing sync to breed themselves while resetting the opponent; however, their lack of attribute unity is exploitable. Finally, the Burning Abyss stack their small threes to keep you under the lava pit; fortunately, their allegiance to the darkness and the Graveyard leave them forever damned. The Pendulums may have the potential to overcast every other archetype, yet Konami still remembers the spirit of the game by giving older game mechanics time to shine. They remember it's the differences in the Yugioh, not one new strategy made to solicit money from duelists, that empower the game's soul.