The conventional Performage Performapal deck is pretty tight on space. There's almost 30 cards that you must play to have a functioning strategy, leaving most duelists with about 10 spots to really work with. Looking at Top Cut deck lists so far, four to six of those slots usually seem to go to hand traps like Effect Veiler, Maxx "C", or Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. That leaves the Performage Performapals pilot with very little room for innovation, and it basically tells them that they can't run any more engines because there's simply enough space.

It's not surprising then, that the Pendulum Magicians have fallen almost completely off the map. Even running a slim lineup of Wisdom-Eye Magician, Pendulum Call, and a few Magicians to dig for with the Wisdom-Eye will run you upwards of eight cards; Performage Performapals just can't fit that.

But did duelists throw in the towel for Magicians too early?

For starters, it's important to note what separates Magicians from both Performapals and Performages as an engine: the main advantage is that you've got a much higher range of monsters that you can summon, because Dragonpit Magician is a Scale 8, whereas Performage Performapals cap out at Scale 6. Having the option of Pendulum Summoning Level 7 monsters is huge, especially when you usually leverage them into Synchro and Xyz Summons that aren't possible in Performage Performapals.

Beyond that, I don't think a lot of people saw that Breakers of Shadow introduced several pieces of Magician support. I don't blame them - Breakers of Shadow has so many good cards it's easy to miss some of the choices that don't seem as competitive at first glance. Today's deck is going to take advantage of the existing strengths of Magicians while including some neat tricks courteously of Tuning Magician, an awesome new card that I stumbled upon last week.

Tuning Magician's basically a Glow-Up Bulb from your hand or grave if you have two Magicians in your Pendulum Zones, which opens up a couple cool interactions that weren't possible before. Let's take a look at what I've been testing:

DECKID=104158 As the namesake might suggest, Armageddon Knight's a key component of this strategy. You're playing three different targets to send to the graveyard with its effect: Tuning Magician, Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite, and Shaddoll Dragon. You really want to see Armageddon Knight in every opening hand, so you're even playing Reinforcement of the Army to search it out.

Tuning Magician's insane. You can Special Summon it from your hand or grave as long as you have your Pendulum Scales set up, and then it's banished when it leaves the field. There's a few choices of Synchros, such as Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer, and Enlightenment Paladin. I don't have to tell you how powerful those first two are, but Enlightenment Paladin's brand new to the dueling scene. Whenever you Synchro Summon it using a Magician monster you get to add back a spell from your grave, absolutely free! Wavering Eyes is probably your best target, but Pendulum Call and Twin Twisters are far from bad, too.

Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite is cool for a lot of reasons. It can bounce back Pendulum Scales to put a free Level 4 monster on board, while also allowing Pendulum Scale adjustment. A play a found myself doing quite often was adding back a Wisdom-Eye Magician with Oafdragon Magician, and then bouncing the Oafdragon Magician to free up a spot for the newly added Wisdom-Eye Magician. Furthermore, you can Normal Summon Armageddon Knight to send Zephyros, then bounce it back to your hand, and then Pendulum Summon Armageddon Knight to send Tuning Magician. That sets you up for a Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, and all it took was a complete Pendulum Scale and one Armageddon Knight.

Sending Shaddoll Dragon with Armageddon Knight has been a standard play in a variety of decks over the past year, but it's especially useful here because it outs Anti-Spell Fragrance. That card shuts down Pendulums entirely, and as a result a bunch of rogue duelists have been Main Decking multiple copies to lock out Performage Performapals in Game 1. Considering all the deck thinning you're playing, as well as three copies of Armageddon Knight and one Reinforcement of the Army, it's safe to say that if your opponent flips Anti-Spell Fragrance you'll almost always have an immediate way to destroy it.

Taking Advantage Of Metagame Trends
Most of the competitive scene has pushed the Magicians to the wayside, but I'm still holding on to hope because they solve a huge problem in Pendulum mirror matches: Wavering Eyes. A lone Wavering Eyes can singlehandedly swing the tide of a game even if you're in complete control, so I've been staying away from Pendulum strategies for the last couple weeks. Call me paranoid, but I'm not a fan of getting blown out by one card that everyone's playing three of and that there's really no protection from in common decks.

But Magicians have Pendulum Call, an awesome spell that lets you discard a card to search two Magicians from your deck. That's already powerful by itself, immediately setting up your Pendulum Scales. It's also important for searching out Dragonpit Magician, your star player for making Enlightenment Paladin. But maybe more importantly, Pendulum Call protects your Pendulum Scales from destruction for an entire turn, helping you deal with the threat of Wavering Eyes. That one turn opening's usually enough time to set up a Stardust Dragon, which is a constant counter to Wavering Eyes and Ignister Prominence. While it could be argued that you could make Stardust Dragon in a lot of Pendulum themes, I think the value of Pendulum Call's protection is what makes Stardust shine in this theme more than others.

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Dragonpit Magician and Dragonpulse Magician are also great metagame calls because they deal with popular problem cards. Most notably, Dragonpulse Magician forces a Cyber Dragon Infinity negation, while Dragonpit Magician preemptively hits a game ending Solemn Warning or Solemn Strike. In a lot of scenarios, Performage Performapals are aiming to lock the opponent out of the game with just a huge single-turn opening, and Magicians counter that defensive start incredibly well.

It's pretty tough to end with a ridiculous field if you go first with this deck, and that's probably the biggest weakness when you compare it to Performage Performapals. However, if you open with Wisdom-Eye Magician and Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, or with two Wisdom-Eyes and any Level 4, you can end your first turn with Cyber Dragon Infinity. I've also included two copies of Mist Valley Apex Avian which is a solid Turn 1 opening, and a much smaller investment than Infinity.

Anyway, let me know what you think about Magicians going forward, and if you've experimented with some of the more underrated cards out of Breakers of Shadow! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, leaving his Christmas tree up through January, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.