With the new Magician and Performapal cards shaking things up, the surprise winner this week was Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin. While Majespecters struggle to Pendulum Summon the Level 6 Kirin with their Scale 2-5 split, the new Pendulum Magicians offer Dragonpit Magician at Scale 8, easily searched with cards like Pendulum Call and Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon. A Scale of Dragonpit Magician and Dragonpulse Magician let you pitch Pendulum Monsters from your hand to destroy opposing threats, and they establish the Scale to Pendulum Summon Kirin. From there, you can control the field with Kirin's ability.

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Kirin's effect lets you bounce a Pendulum Monster from your field once per turn, to bounce an opposing monster back to your opponent's hand. That means you can protect Kirin and break up combos to keep your opponent from setting up, while reusing the effects of monsters that trigger when you Normal Summon them. The most popular card for that combo is the new Performapal Skullcrobat Joker, which searches a Performapal, an Odd-Eyes, or a Magician Pendulum Monster every time you Normal Summon it.

The combo is cyclical once it gets going: you search Dragonpit Magician or Dragonpulse Magician with Skullcrobat Joker to set up, use them to Pendulum Summon Kirin, and then bounce Skullcrobat Joker back to your hand with Kirin's ability. That makes it tough for your opponent to stick a monster on their turn, and when you Normal Summon Skullcrobat Joker your next turn, whatever card you search can be discard fodder for Dragonpit or Dragonpulse. That makes it easier to keep Kirin on the field, which means you can use its effect to control the game, which means you'll bounce and re-Summon Skullcrobat Joker again.

Not to mention that you can use those free searches to build your OTK's, and that Skullcrobat Joker itself is a convenient Scale 8 to help Pendulum Summon Kirin if needed. While we saw lots of Pendulum variants in Regional Top 8s last weekend and many of them ran very different cards, Kirin seems like it might become a staple moving forward.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer