Welcome to the next installment of the CDS articles, this time focused on combining Pendulum monsters with Ritual Summoning! Ritual monsters have always been the odd man out, requiring a large commitment in order to bring them to the field, so what better way to compensate for this hefty investment than to use Pendulum monsters to serve as the material? Just wait until you realize the other potential benefits!
As always, a sidebare before I begin. This deck will be using many cards that are easily seen as being ‘meta’; however, I hope that you can look past that. The strategy I will be introducing you to today is more focused on the true power of the whole Dracoslayer theme, rather than only a shade of its potential to support the insane Performapals. Now that this caution is out of the way, let’s begin!
Ritual monsters have always been powerful cards, and the fact is that they boast some of the most powerful monster effects in the game. From the downright invincibility of Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon and the unparalleled disruption of Herald of Perfection or Herald of Ultimateness, to the one-sided Giant Trunade and Chain Energy combined into Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon and the entire phase skipping of Amorphactor Pain, the Imagination Dracoverlord, these Ritual monsters are very powerful, yet require considerable setup to achieve and summon. Trust me, I can continue listing extremely powerful Rituals, but I think you get the point. Despite releasing more and more support cards for our blue monsters, they really have only had time to shine thus far as the Nekroz archetype and through certain degenerate Gishki combos. But what if I told you that there is Ritual support beyond your wildest dreams once you combine Rituals and Pendulum monsters? Would you believe that there already exists a generic Ritual Spell that allows you to Ritual Summon a monster from your Graveyard (that isn’t named Nekroz Cycle)? How about that there are alternative options to searching out any Ritual Spell or Ritual monster beside Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands? If you haven’t heard of any cards like those, I’m sure you have at least heard about the one Ritual Spell card that is the only Ritual Spell to have ever been included on the TCG Forbidden/Limited List, Advanced Ritual Art, but have you ever considered what would happen when you used that alongside a couple of Normal Pendulums? The deck I’m presenting today will be using these cards to great effect and more, so let’s start talking about our key players.
First up, let’s discuss the Ritual Spells that you will be relying upon. In one corner, we have Advanced Ritual Art, the Spell with which you want to open. By sending a combination of Normal monsters from your deck to the Graveyard, you can Ritual Summon any Ritual monster from your hand. If you happen to send multiple Normal Pendulum monsters, let’s say at least two of them, then you could just return those back to the hand with Dark Factory of Mass Production at a later point. So instead of just getting a Ritual Summon, you also setup both Pendulum scales. That’s great and all, but I know we can do even better than just that, which is where our secondary Ritual Spell for the mid-game comes into play: Odd-Eyes Advent. This Ritual Spell can Ritual Summon any Dragon-type Ritual Monster from the hand or Graveyard, just as long as you tribute Pendulum monsters. The best part? This Ritual Spell is also searchable by a Field Spell, specifically Sky Iris, which can also search out additional Pendulum monsters on demand. If you haven’t gotten the picture yet, every piece of the Ritual and Pendulum engine in this sort of strategy serves a dual purpose, and that is what makes this deck so powerful.
Onto our Ritual monsters of choice, we have quite the array of options. Once you limit it down to Dragon-type Ritual monsters, you are left with 9 options, but not all of these are good options. So i’m going to narrow it down to the following, outlined in the table below with each’s benefits:
- Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon – Level 7 Ritual monster, so has synergy with Level 3 and Level 4 Pendulum monsters, both of which are represented by Normal Pendulum monsters. In addition, you can also lean upon Metalfoes Wolflame to serve as a single material. When summoned, it is a one-sided Giant Trunade to which your opponent cannot respond. Additionally, it requires your opponent to pay 500 LP to activate any cards or effects. It effectively clears out any potential obstacles for your OTKs, plus it applies a time limit to your opponent due to the LP costs.
- Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon – Level 8 Ritual monster, so clearly works best with Level 4 Pendulum monsters. I don’t think I need to state just how powerful this Ritual monster can be, the immunity to targeting and destruction can leave your opponent grasping at straws. The other part of his effect, the doubled piercing damage, means that games end quickly once he hits the field.
- Amorphactor Pain, the Imagination Dracoverlord – Another Level 8 Ritual monster that reaps the aforementioned benefits. Upon summoning, your opponent then skips their next Main Phase 1, pretty much blockading any hope at a counteroffensive. While they can dip into Main Phase 2 to get an answer onto the field, it can give you the time you need to extend your winning push over 2 turns. The second and definitely more important part of his effect is that Amorphactor completely negates the effects of Ritual, Synchro, and Xyz monsters. Lastly, when he leaves the field, you get another Dracoverlord to add to your hand, typically either Vector or Lector, whichever Pendulum scale that you require.
- Lord of the Red – The last Level 8 Ritual monster that you should be considering. While Gravity just limits the number of plays and Amorphactor just delays them, Red is the only Dragon-type Ritual that truly lets you respond to your opponent’s cards and effects with pure destruction.
- Paladin of Dark Dragon – This Ritual is not like the others. Being Level 4 grants him the unique characteristic of only needing one tribute to Ritual Summon. His main purpose is to be summoned with 1 Normal monster, and then use his effect to Special Summon Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon from the deck, which then brings Paladin right back.
Now that we have our options out of the way, let’s talk Pendulum Engines, of which there are three key ones that you should consider. The first, and my personal favorite, is a Dracoslayer/Dracoruler engine. Remember, we need to be using engines that include Normal Pendulum monsters. Not only do you already have the existing synergy with Amorphactor, but you also have very powerful support cards, such as Draco Face-Off and Forge of the True Dracos at your disposal. The second option is the Igknights, since they are undisputedly the best at filling the Extra deck with Pendulum monsters to summon in one blast for various summons. These Warriors reign supreme in terms of searchability, as you have Painful Decision, Reinforcement of the Army, Summoner’s Art, and Ignition Phoenix all rearing to go. Slightly behind the Igknights are the Metalfoes, which are very similar since they are also a Normal Pendulum archetype with the same searchability benefits, although their Spell and Trap support typically is ran in higher numbers, and the searching of the opposite scale takes an extra turn. Lastly, you can consider the Odd-Eyes Pendulum Engine. Not only do you have natural synergy with Sky Iris, but the Levels of each Pendulum Monster in the Odd-Eyes archetype correlates with your Ritual monsters (3 + 5 for Level 8s, and 7 for Level 7s). The downside to this engine is that these Pendulums are not Normal monsters, so you have to rely on a secondary engine to have the Normal monsters for Advanced Ritual Art. I think that I’ve spent enough time introducing your options when it comes to this strategy, so let’s start talking about key cards for how I build the deck!
- Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands
- There is no comparison to this searcher, his Level and effect cannot be trumped. Also, in this Dracoslayer-heavy variant, he can overlay alongside Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer to form Bujintei Tsukynomi for additional draw power.
- Spiritual Whisper
- A Manju that triggers upon being Pendulum Summoned. Also comes with the additional ability to not be destroyed by battle once per turn, but you will rarely make good use of that effect. Lastly, it is WIND so you can overlay into Lightning Chidori as needed.
- 3 of the Ritual Monsters contained in the above chart
- When running a Ritual deck, you want to avoid bricking as much as possible. In a deck where you can easily Ritual Summon back from the Graveyard, there is really no need to run more than 1 copy of each Ritual. In exchange, you can just choose to run more searchers for those Rituals.
- Master Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
- Part of the Normal Pendulum entourage, also works well by bringing in all of the Extra deck support of the Dracoslayers.
- Vector Pendulum, the Dracoruler
- Again, part of the Normal Pendulum entourage and is searchable by Amorphactor when he falls to the Graveyard.
- Lector Pendulum, the Dracoruler
- The highscale Pendulum Dracoruler monster, searchable by Amorphactor as well as by Draco Face-Off.
- Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
- This Pendulum monster is limited for a reason, and he works even better in a deck build around the slayers.
- Odd-Eyes Mirage Dragon & Odd-Eyes Persona Dragon
- Searchable Pendulum scales via Sky Iris, also they have decent monster effects if you actually get to Pendulum Summon them.
- Advanced Ritual Art & Odd-Eyes Advent
- Can’t have a Ritual deck without Ritual Spells.
- Draco Face-Off
- Powerful search spell for a Pendulum scale that also loads a Pendulum monster into your Extra deck. Can’t beat that.
- Preparation of Rites
- Only if you run Odd-Eyes Gravity Dragon.
- Dark Factory of Mass Production
- Turns Advanced Ritual Art into a double Pendulum monster search.
- Sky Iris
- Searcher for Pendulum scales and Odd-Eyes Advent. I don’t really think this needs any more justification.
- Daigusto Emeral
- Turns out a generic Rank 4 Xyz can actually be a key card for a Ritual deck. Not only does it recycle Odd-Eyes Gravity back to the deck if you need to resolve a Preparation of Rites, but it is also great at recovering all of the Normal Pendulums ditched to the Graveyard during Ritual Summons.
Additional Tech Options to Consider:
Many of the following cards are simply additional options to augment your Pendulum backbone to your Ritual deck. Remember that you can always consider more Trap cards as well if you really need to fill more space, but I have a strong feeling that space will be very hard to find.
- Metalfoes engine – By throwing in 2 Wolflame, a Silvird and 2 Combination, you can build the pool of Normal Pendulums that you can send for Advanced Ritual Art. Also, if you do draw into one of the Metalfoes, you will have a slow way to build up both Pendulum scales. So to be clear, you do not have to stick to just one Pendulum Engine: feel free to experiment with combinations.
- Sea Dragoons of Draconia – Normal Pendulum support, but it also serves as a Level 3 high-scale to send with Advanced Ritual Art.
- Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon – Support for the large number of Dragon-type monsters in your deck, in particular to bring back some of your Ritual monsters after they leave the field. Required if you choose to run Paladin of Dark Dragon as another Ritual monster, since this is his main purpose.
- Forge of the True Dracos – One of the most powerful Draco cards, but it does have a very large activation requirement. Although a field-wipe is generally worth it when all of the cards go to the deck.
- Master Peace, the True Dracoslayer – The boss monster of the Draco archetype, it gives disruption to your deck, plus it floats when it is destroyed. It is best combined with Forge, but it is always another option to consider even if you don’t choose to run Forge.
- Igknight Reload – Draw power for any Pendulum deck, so it is always a tech option to consider.
- Pendulum Rising – Lets you turn your Manju or Whisper into one of your Level 4 Pendulum monsters. I personally like the quicker access to Luster Pendulum, but space can be an issue.
- Dragon Shrine – Loads the Graveyard with both a Normal and a Ritual for you to then bring back with Dark Factory of Mass Production or Odd-Eyes Advent.
- Gospel of Revival – Can be used to bring back Red, Gravity, or Amorphactor, and then it protects your Rituals from being destroyed.
- Unexpected Dai – Special Summons any of your Normal Pendulums directly from the deck, particularly effective in variants that use Master Peace.
- Urgent Ritual Art – Allows for you to Ritual Summon during your opponent’s turn. This play can be quite unexpected and quite powerful; however, it is only useful if you have already Ritual Summoned and if you have a Ritual Spell in the Graveyard without having a Ritual monster on the field.
Check out my sample decklist hidden in the spoiler below:
As always, the above list is just my personal build. Feel free to tinker and improve on it however you can. Until the next time, keep innovating and building creative decks! Most of all, just enjoy dueling for the fun that it can be!
Reminder, I also take suggestions for future CDS articles! While I have not run out of cool ideas, I do want to be writing articles about strategies you are interested in. So if you desperately wish to see a CDS article about the archetype, theme, or strategy you love, feel free to private message me on the YGOrg Discord server with your ideas: my username is Quincymccoy.