Yu-Gi-Oh! Deck Debut: Vaalmonica Synclown

Carter Kachmarik
November 15, 2023


Valiant Smashers debuts in under a week, bringing three new archetypes into the fray: Mementotlan — a mediocre graveyard strategy, Centur-Ion — a means to turbo Hot Red Dragon Archfiend King Calamity, and today’s focus — Vaalmonica.  While Centur-Ion is the deck receiving the lion’s share of hype, I have faith that the tools in Vaalmonica might make it quite a bit better than folks initially assume.  While the fact that they’re Pendulums and rely on counters may recall thoughts of Endymion, this hyper-consistent duo is closer to Live☆Twin/Evil★Twin in that they need only resolve a core effect to get started.  Many deckbuilders are cramming plenty of mill tools into this strategy, from Tearlament to the Ishizu fairies, but what I’m showing off in this article is a pared-down build that’s looking to use 3 independent engines as the crux of its gameplay.  Presenting: Vaalmonica Synclown.

Note: Some card images & names are subject to change upon release

Vaalmonica focuses on Resonance Counters, which are added to your two main monsters, Angello Vaalmonica & Dimonno Valmonica, while they’re in your Pendulum Zones; each monster accrues these counters from either gaining LP, or taking damage, and can be set from a single copy of either in hand.  This makes the core of the strategy ludicrously consistent, as you’re able to open any of your 9 total ensured copies of a Vaalmonica monster, and get the engine going.  The unfortunate aspect comes down to the power floor — these counters do nothing on their own, and moreover, have significant deckbuilding constraints in order to be added to your scales.

Once you have those scales though, the deck does begin to show its strengths, as all your non-Field Spells/Traps offer multiple solid options depending on access to names, from hand sculpting, to searching, to bouncing opposing monsters.  If you do hit 3 Resonance Counters, you might even steal an opponent’s monster (not unlike Ursarctic), or gain access to the Extra Deck in the form of Zebufera, Vaalmonican Hallow Heathen, and Duralume, Vaalmonican Heathen Hallow.

Everything else you’ll be running is meant to assist in swarming & providing access to more avenues to accrue Resonance Counters.  First up, Performages, who are well-known for enabling PePe, and Clownblade, two of the most independently powerful decks Yugioh has ever seen.  For us, they’re powerful discard fodder, solid monsters to Pendulum Summon, and in the case of Performage Trick Clown, damage that can come on either players’ turn.  In particular, we’re often “hiding” Trick Clown attached to an Abyss Dweller, able to detach it on the opponent’s turn and get our third Resonance Counter by taking damage, creating a body for I:P Masquerena to go into S:P Little Knight, and sometimes stealing an opposing monster via Vaalmonica, the Agathokakological Voice.

Next up, Performage Damage Juggler is simply a way to access either Trick Clown or Performage Mirror Conductor when you discard it to either Vaalmonica, but the true spice here is the aforementioned Mirror Conductor.  Not only is this a way to incur damage on a reasonable Normal Summon/Level 4 Pend, it also completes our scale, should Angello Vaalmonica leave the zone.  That might not seem commonplace, but as you’ll see, there’s some very interesting mechanisms we have to make use of our Resonance Counter generators.  All told, the Performages are a solid addition, but are inherently unsearchable outside of via Damage Juggler, so we can’t count on them every game.

That fact is in contrast to the Synchrons, the other major engine being run here, which power up the Deck in a whole host of ways.  First up is Assault Synchron, a free Special Summon Level 2 DARK Tuner that even damages us — this card is good in a lot of decks, but really finds a home here.  Its secondary effect won’t come up much, unlike in other builds, but it’s the front half we’re worried about.  Next up is Revolution Synchron, which makes any Level 4 into a Level 7 Dragon Synchro, and reborns itself, all without needing the NS.  Most decks use this card in concert with Ancient Fairy Dragon, which you can certainly do, but in Vaalmonica specifically, Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon is a phenomenal target.  You can Summon out your Angello (leaving, hopefully, a 3-Counter Dimonno in scale), use its effect, and then reborn Revolution Synchron, going into something like I:P Masquerena, and either of your Link-1s.  Then, on the opponent’s turn, you can use the Link-1’s effect, and follow that up with S:P Little Knight, a classic high floor play.

For our Assault Synchron lines, we’re often making either Mannadium Trisukta, and going into Baronne/Crystal Wing, or in a more spicy direction, via Blackwing - Boreastorm the Wicked Wind.  This monster can send Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite to the GY, reborning himself, causing damage, and making Borea a Level 4, potentially turning on your 3 Resonance Counter effects.  Crucially, though, we can also simply send Blackwing - Sharnga the Waning Moon to the GY (another Level 2 DARK Tuner) to have a Quick Effect pop on either turn, if we’re threatened by something like Nibiru. 

Lastly, there’s Performapal Odd-Eyes Synchron, which…shockingly comes up.  It’s a Normal Summon, in contrast to our other Synchrons, but can make a Level 6 Synchro of your choice (including Borea) by Summoning a scale out.  Often this card comes into play via Tuning, as the best name to get in a hand which has no reliable NS, but does have access to another Synchron name, already.  Both our Performage & Synchron ratios are 2:1:1, and with Tuning, that evens out to a powerful, consistent toolbox that allows you to see a ton of extenders at critical points.  Kashtira Fenrir is also added as a free body that replaces itself for your Vaalmonica discards, and is coincidentally 2400 ATK, turning Sharnga into a free Summon.

Vaalmonica is a deck that can essentially be built to any degree of aggressive highrolling that the player desires, which I feel is a strong sell of the archetype.  Whether you’re a more conservative player like me, wanting to pack in non-engine and additional names for easy extension, or someone looking to cram this full with cards like Heroic Challenger - Thousand Blades, Tearlaments, or more, you can absolutely do that.  That said, while you only need to find quite literally 1 out of 15 cards in a 40 card deck to get going (As either Pendulum, the Field, Scelta, and Versare all start the combo), the payoff is meager and the floor is rock-bottom.  This is an archetype with a gimmick that is enabled consistently but which lacks the enablers to actually do something with it; if Vaalmonica gets a support wave like Rescue ACE, it’s primed to immediately become a meta threat.  This strategy is consistent beyond nearly anything else I’ve ever played with, and all it’s missing is a reason to actually entertain such a hyper-consistent gameplan.

The main issue with this strategy does simply come down to a lack of sufficient payoff — if you enjoy Salamangreat, for example, this isn’t anything new to you.  You’re able to get started 91.9% of the time, as stated above, but what that’s actually doing for you is debatable at best.  Here, we’re essentially trying to end on a readied S:P Little Knight 100% of the time, plus at least one other form of interaction, either via Vaalmonica Followed Rhythm, Sharnga in GY, or Zebufera, Vaalmonican Hallow Heathen.  Like a lot of modern decks, you’re not dissuaded by losing the die roll, as cards like Fenrir & Super Starslayer TY-PHON - Sky Crisis can equalize easily.  I’d simply be on the lookout for any good, new cards which inflict damage or gain LP, as Vaalmonica is far closer to genuine playability than many might expect.  It has all the tools to be a meta deck, just no capstone.

A somewhat disappointing debut for Vaalmonica, but their future is surely bright, so long as they receive a reasonable wave in the next core set to be revealed, Legacy of Destruction!  I have a special fondness for Counters, and seeing Pendulums not simply devolve into a pile of Spellcasters is a welcome design decision!  How would you play to this musical archetype’s strengths?  Is there a synergy piece I missed?  Let me know in the comments below!