Synchro vs. XYZ, and Pendulums!
White. Black. A tuner and a non-tuner. Two
of the same level. Synch. Detach. 5D.
Zexal. Yes, it's the two juggernauts that have rewrote
and defined YGO for the past six years. At this point,
YGO has existed just as long with them as they have without
Now, with a new type of monster (Pendulums) coming soon,
this will change. We won't have to say goodbye to
them, but we will see a lessened role for them. Sets
will no longer be dedicated to XYZ's just as they have
stopped being dedicated toward Synchro's. Both will
probably get a steady pulse of support, but the spotlight
will be all on the Pendulums.
Okay, Synchro vs. XYZ. Who wins? For their
respective times, Synchro (2008-2011) and XYZ (2011-2014),
Synchro's have been the more powerful ones and XYZ's have
been the (relatively) balanced ones. You can cite the
fact that XYZ's don't accept tokens as material for this
fact, but that would greatly undermine the context of this
Synchro's were way more powerful and chaotic. They
have made a much bigger splash. But this is because
they came out earlier. XYZ's came around when
Synchro's had already been dominating the scene. Let's
say the speed of YGO (the meta, gameplay, format) was a 5/10
in early 2008. Synchros bumped that up to an 8/10.
XYZ's and their many support cards bumped it up to a 9/10.
They're about the same in abolute terms but the former is
stronger in relative terms. If XYZ's had come out in
08' instead of Synchro's it would've been the same big jump.
Going back to the GX era, which Dark Maltos called "the
regressive era", cards were really weak. Fusions were
main appeal, but the problem was that really specific
materials made them situational and the need for
Polymerization made them a -1. Combine situational and
-1 together and you get a simple fact that totally ruins a
style of play that Konami/UDE has been peddling for years.
Suddenly, the ability to summon a 2500 ATK beater in an
instant swept away the competition. Not only that but
these beaters have powerful effects, can be splashed in the
most casual of decks and you have a whole Extra Deck of
different options. Scrap Dragon for offensive control
and Stardust Dragon for defensive control, for example.
There have been broken cards on both sides. Draccosack
was brutal during the E-Dragon era and Trishula was brutal
(period). But transcending all of the minor points,
YGO has been in a constant novelty rush over the years.
In my From Gargoyles article, I mention the art and themes
have shifted from medieval fantasy horror to a fun
kid-friendly game. Sometimes marketing to kids is more
effective. Before Chef Boyardee was a canned food
advertised for kids, it was a boxed product advertised for
adults to cut meal costs down in World War II. So, it
could well happen for YGO (and it did). But changing
the theme wasn't enough. It was the core gameplay that
needed a novelty injection.
Fusions had intended to be that special somebody, but they
fell short. So, speeding up the game with the even
more lethal Synchros did the trick. But the game
depended on constant updates on Synchros to keep that.
Still, lots of other archetypes developed (numerous ones
that didn't focus too much on them). XYZ's consumed a
whole era too, and I'm not quite sure dedicating an entire
game to a single game mechanic is good. But then again
what other option is there?
One thing you could say about XYZ's is that they're quite
derivative of Synchro's. They're basically like
Synchro's but summoned slightly differently and their
effects ignite differently. We've gotten to a point
where it's hard to think of a viable meta without both of
them. It's irreversible and we can never go back to a
point where they aren't powerful. So, the only
solution left is to create a new type of monster to trump
Synchro's were a faster extrapolation of Fusions.
XYZ's were a derivative re-hash, but Pendelums, with the
ability to summon other monsters and be activated as Spells,
are totally different and open up new possibilities
entirely. What kinds of possibilities? Who
knows. All I know is that whatever they are, we will
have to learn to love them for the next 3 years, until
something else dethrones them.
(SYNCHRO VS. XYZ: Join the discussion on the Pojo forums