The Case Against Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon

On November 18, 2014 by Kyle Schrader
oepd-post Photo Credit: Kazuki Takahashi

Playing Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon in Qliphort is like playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in every chamber.

A month and a half ago, I introduced you to then-debuting “Qli” archetype in this article. Since publication, I have had a lot of time to play with this deck myself and have came a long way from sample decklist I included in the aforementioned article. One of the biggest things I noticed in my testing is how much of a wet blank Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon has been.

These findings may seem in contrast to the established trends in the OCG as well as those from a few high profile Non-Premier TCG events. Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon as a 3-of in Qliphort is staple. In this article, we will look at the reasons for benefits of playing Odd-Eyes as to why it is the status quo. I will then explain why the costs of running Odd-Eyes outweigh the benefits. We will find that the card creates drag on the deck by generating dead cards.

Before we get too far, a quick note on the numbers I will be using to illustrate my point.

Throughout this work, any calculations will be based on a deck size of 37 rather than 40. This is because I am of the belief that every deck, especially Qliphort, should contain 3 Upstart Goblin in the Main Deck. If you are unsure of the difference between a Deck of 40 and a Deck of 37, it is about 3% if X>1. The following chart should help better explain:

COUNT TURN P(X > 1) P(X > 2) P (X > 3)
40 2nd 39.43% 5.36% 0.20%
1st 33.76% 3.64% 0.10%
39 2nd 40.30% 5.64% 0.22%
1st 34.52% 3.83% 0.11%
38 2nd 41.20% 5.93% 0.24%
1st 35.32% 4.03% 0.12%
37 2nd 42.15% 6.24% 0.26%
1st 36.16% 4.25% 0.13%

Next, a reminder of what Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon does.


DARK/Dragon/Pendulum/Effect/Lv. 7/PS. 4/2500ATK/2000DEF

Pendulum Effect: You can reduce the battle damage you take from a battle involving a Pendulum Monster you control to 0. During your End Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, add 1 Pendulum Monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each Pendulum Effect of “Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon” once per turn.

Monster Effect: If this card battles an opponent’s monster, any battle damage this card inflicts to your opponent is doubled.

The primary reason for running Odd-Eyes is too dig for the deck’s bread and butter, Qliphort Scout. The Qliphort deck is happiest going first and finishing with its version of The Agent of Creation – Venus + Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, Qliphort Carrier/Qliphort Helix equipped with Saqlifice. In order to make that play, a Scout is usually needed in the RED/BLUE.

Odd-Eyes Dragon secures at least 1 Scout in hand by Turn 2. A Qliphort deck that cannot access Scout by this time has to come up with some creative solutions to win the match-up. My favourite is +300/-300 Beatdown, but that’s a topic for another time. Let’s take a look at how more often you are to access at least 1 Scout thanks to Odd-Eyes.

Pot of Duality
The table below is broken up in absence of Pot of Duality and with the card. Duality is relevant because it allows you to dig for your 8th or 9th card. As a quick aside, I absolutely recommend Duality because it not only helps you dig for Scout and other cards, it is great after boarding, and you can even hedge its downside of no Special Summons by utilizing Laser Qlip.

Probabilities of Acquiring Scout by Turn 2

WITHOUT DUALITY (57.85% – 63.84%)
X Count Min. Max.
>1 6 (3 Scout & 3 Art) 61.02% 68.33%
>1 9 (3 Scout, 3 Art, 3 Saqlifice) 77.45% 83.79%
>1 12 (3 Scout, 3 Art, 3 Saqlifice, 3 Odd-Eyes) 87.81% 92.38%
WITH DUALITY (36.16% – 42.15%)
X Count Min. Max.
>1 6 (3 Scout & 3 Art) 79.57% 83.79%
>1 9 (3 Scout, 3 Art, 3 Saqlifice) 91.95% 94.95%
>1 12 (3 Scout, 3 Art, 3 Saqlifice, 3 Odd-Eyes) 97.20% 98.36%

As you can see from the table, in the 1/3 of games you open Duality, you will be approximately 6% more likely to see Scout by Turn 2 than if you did not. In the other 2/3 games, it is about 10%. Weighted out, you’re looking at ~8-9% consistency is seeing Tool by Turn 2, which is somewhere between every 11-13 games. A YCS is usually 11 Rounds + 5 in the Playoff if you plan to win, which equals out to 3-4 games that you lose the consistency. This becomes smaller, like 1 or 2 games, in an event like a Locals or Regional. Let’s be generous with our summary: The addition of Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon to the Qliphort Deck increases the likelihood of seeing Qliphort Scout by Turn 2 by nine per cent. You will see Scout in 4 more Games throughout a Premier-Event and in 2 more Games throughout a Non-Premier Event.

The obvious cost of playing Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon is giving up slots in the main deck to accommodate it; you forgo the opportunity to play something else. Let us assume you max out on Odd-Eyes to optimize opening it. This is where the card is most useful, on Turn 1. Thus, as you can only use it once per turn, opening 2 or more Odd-Eyes is akin to bricking. Ipso facto, Odd-Eyes gives us an inherent 4.38% – 6.50% chance of bricking. That is 1-2 games in a Premier event, 0-1 games Non-Premier.

If we revisit our earlier example, Odd-Eyes is comparable to The Agent of Mystery – Earth in the circa-2012 Agent deck. In other words, it’s the second choice. However, unlike Earth, you can’t banish it to summon a behemoth like Master Hyperion. Moreover, unlike Agents, you already have an immediate Rota for Scout in Summoner’s Art and another in Saqlifice; this is where the problems for Odd-Eyes snowball.

Drag Created By Odd-Eyes
The benefit of Odd-Eyes is seeing Scout by Turn 2 more often, however, it is possible to open Scout itself. It is also easy to search Scout off Saqlifice. Thus, every time you resolve Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon, you make a Summoner’s Art dead. Every time you draw Scout before Art, you make an Art dead. Every time you tutor Scout off Saqlifice, you make an Art dead. The other two Odd-Eyes are dead if you open with one and they’re all dead if you do not. This is because Odd-Eyes is the least desirable card in the deck after Turn 1. Even without Odd-Eyes, Qliphort runs the risk of making Scout dead because of Qliphort Scout itself and Saqlifice. However, Scout is the card you want and the Equip has many functions. This leaves us with Odd-Eyes vs. Art, and Art is much faster. Thus, simply adding Odd-Eyes to your deck alone gives you at least 3 dead card in the BEST CASE scenario, in every game. It is six dead cards in the worst case.

Let us now take a look at the probability of drawing a dead card on the next second, again using Duality and the lack thereof:

WITHOUT DUALITY (57.85% – 63.84%)
X Count Min. Max.
1 Dead Draw 9.38% 19.35%
WITH DUALITY (36.16% – 42.15%)
X Count Min. Max.
1 Dead Draw 10.34% 21.43%

This means because of Odd-Eyes, you are likely to have a dead draw on your second turn one in every 5 to 11 games, or 4 to 10 times in a Premier event and you will lose because of it. You may argue that dead drawing on Turn 2 will not outright lose you the game every time, which is correct, but it is far from ideal to willingly put yourself turn behind. People have tried to remedy the dead draws this by adding cards like Sacred Sword of Seven Stars or more targets for Summoner’s Art, but all of those are complete nonstarters. Odd-Eyes also gets a much worse after boardings as your opponent brings in a myriad of hate.

To summarize, and in a very generous fashion to Pro-Odd-Eyes players: The addition of Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon to the Qliphort Deck increases the likelihood of bricking outright by about four per cent and of dead drawing on the second draw by about nine. This means you will brick at least once in a Premier event and dead draw at least four times, zero bricks and two dead draws in a Non-Premier event.

Performpal Trampolynx
But wait! You’re probably thinking that I completely forgot to mention Odd-Eyes can also search out Performpal Trampolynx. Don’t get me wrong, Trampolynx and Scout are the dream and I am always happy to see the single copy I play. After all, it’s the Cheshire Cat with a trampoline on its back. However, Trampolynx is not that gamebreaking. If you are in a situation where it is, you could also just as easily put Carrier/Disk in the RED/BLUE. You are likely in the better situation with those monsters anyway because they give your Qliphort monsters +300 ATK. This is why Odd-Eyes searching Tramp is good enough reason to justify it.

To reiterate, being the most optimistic about the benefit of Odd-Eyes and most conservative about the cost: Odd-Eyes will allow you to see Tool by Turn 2 in up to 4 more games, but you will Brick at least once, and you will Dead Draw on Turn 2 at least four times in a Premier event. Thus, BEST CASE, the addition of Odd-Eyes Dragon will outright cost you at least one game in a Premier event; you will break even in a Non-Premier. This game could be the difference between topping and bubbling and the difference between 1st Place and 2nd Place.

Honestly, it’s a testament to how unbelievably powerful Qliphort is that it can have up to six dead cards and still be head and shoulders above the competition. Assuming I have not made a Type I Error, I hope I have to convinced you to drop this card. Playing Odd-Eyes Pendulum Dragon in Qliphort is like playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in every chamber. The good news if you drop the card and you opponents does not, you can be confident that they have dead cards in their deck.

In contemporary Yu-Gi-Oh!, deckbuilding is a substantial part of the game. Best case, you lose one game because Odd-Eyes in a Premier event. Worst case, you lose at least nine games because of Odd-Eyes in a Premier event. Being realistic, you’re throwing away at least two matches just by putting Odd-Eyes itself in your deck. Many games are won and lost before you even sit down at the table. Don’t give your opponent free wins.

Kyle Schrader was a member of United Gosus from 2010 to 2015, serving as the immediate Past-President and Past-Chairman.