Mystic
Asset. Accessory

Item. Charm.

Cost: 2.
Test Icons:

You get +1 .

After a skill test at your location begins, exhaust Crystal Pendulum: Name a number. If this test succeeds by that number or fails by that number, draw 1 card.

Drazenka Kimpel
Jacqueline Fine #11.
Crystal Pendulum
Reviews

Holy Rosary is a true classic, easily one of the best Mystic cards in the Core Set and still a top performer many years later. So when Crystal Pendulum came out, I was initially a bit resistant to switching over to this. Sure, for Jacqueline Fine with her built-in token manipulation and 9 Sanity, the Pendulum seemed like a slam dunk. But elsewhere, was it really worth giving up the concrete benefit of 2 Sanity soak for unreliable card draw? Most of my Mystics don't run a lot of token manipulation at lower XP levels. And this is the same class that must start every single campaign with 2 mental trauma (it's in the rulebook.)

But the more I weigh the Rosary and the Pendulum, the more I've found myself swinging in the latter direction, if you know what I mean. Practically speaking, even without any support, the Pendulum represents something in the neighborhood of 25-30% of a card every round. And the thing is... that's good! That does add up over time. I think it's at the least highly competitive with 2 Sanity. And that's just the floor for the Pendulum. Factor in the random token manipulation effects you may have wanted to run anyway (Diana likes her Dark Prophecies, for instance), and the Pendulum does better.

Moreover, the Pendulum tends to scale really well into the late campaign. Most Mystics want to pick up the really powerful token manipulation effects like Grotesque Statue and Seal of the Elder Sign because, well, those are great cards. And they certainly lead to more draws from the Pendulum. And in the mid-to-late campaign, you'll miss the 2 Sanity from the Rosary a lot less, because you'll have options like Deny Existence V, soak-heavy Charisma builds, etc.

So I think it's very close between the Rosary and Pendulum in the early campaign, and then as the campaign progresses, the Pendulum tends to get better and better. So I've found myself tilting that way recently, and I've been happy with the results.

A final note. The Pendulum is a fiddly card and does have the potential to seriously slow down the game in multiplayer. If you're going to run this, I recommend memorizing the contents of the chaos bag (which is helpful for good gameplay in any case), so you can be quick in making your predictions. Be mindful of your pace of play here. No amount of extra draw is worth dragging the game to a halt!

CaiusDrewart · 2496
I have not played this card outside of Jaqueline yet. But I would probably use it with "Scrying Mirror". Have you tried this combo? I would say, the horror you can take from mid- to late campaign due to DE (5) and all also scale with the horror you have to take, when upgrading Shrivelling (3) to (5). Unless, if you are Akachi, who has her Shriv-DE on a stick with "Wish Eater", or Diana, who rather takes "Azur Flame". That let me apreciate the horror soak of the Rosary even then. But I sure should give the Pendulum more of a try! — Susumu · 156
If you play it early without support, it's on average 2 extra cards, which IMO is a wash to 2 Sanity. But you play it late though, the value drops drastically compared to the Rosary. And in the late game playing Shriv 5 or Clairvoyance 5, I'd definitely still appreciate the additional buffer from Rosary. — suika · 7772
It works better if you're less dependent on horror soak, for example if you're playing Azure Flame instead of Shriveling, as you might choose to do on a Diana build anyway given her unimpressive sanity to begin with. — Achire · 2
Worth remembering that 2 Sanity might matter more if you’re taking two copies of Arcane Research, which almost every Mystic does. Personally I dont like the pendulum outside of a token focused build where you can consistently predict the outcome. — StyxTBeuford · 12523
Yes, I'm not trying to say the Pendulum has completely obsoleted the Rosary. I don't think that's the case, I think it's pretty close between them and it's certainly more than valid to take the Rosary. But I did want to make the point that I think the Pendulum is quite playable even you don't really build around it. You can still expect to draw multiple cards on average which is very good. — CaiusDrewart · 2496
And one more little point I want to add is that the Pendulum has really impressed me in multiplayer because of how it works on any skill test at your location. If you have a Survivor teammate who's failing to win, or who is spamming Eucatastrophe, or a Rogue teammate who's playing Three Aces, and so on, all this kind of stuff works really well with the Pendulum. I've been really surprised by how often my Pendulum users have picked up free cards with things like this. — CaiusDrewart · 2496
The Pendulum can also be quite Expert-friendly because the negative slant of the Expert bag, combined with the rule that limits your test result to a minimum value of 0. This means that the Pendulum odds may be heavily weighted in your favor. Like, say Daisy is at your location and draws On Wings of Darkness on Expert. Well, assuming she doesn't bother trying to boost and pass this test, which she generally won't as it would usually be a huge waste of resources, then there's something like a 3 in 4 chance she's going to get a modified result of 0 and fail by exactly 4. (And what could be more fun than auguring the failure of your friends for profit?) — CaiusDrewart · 2496
Yeah, it sounds like it's a lot stronger in multiplayer harder difficulties. On lower player counts I think I'll still swing more the way of Rosary, but I'll definitely be giving the Pendulum a shot next time in 4p. — suika · 7772
If you or a friend is running ancient covenant/favor of the sun, that's 3 guaranteed cards from this — NarkasisBroon · 1
@NarkasisBroon that reads almost like the tag of a prescription drug commercial. "If you or a friend is running ancient covenant/favor of the sun, ask your doctor about Crystal Pendulum" — StyxTBeuford · 12523

The best comparison is to Holy Rosary. Same cost, slot, tags, level etc. The difference is you're trading away 2 Sanity for possible card draw each turn. The question is then how often will you draw the cards? If you are doing chaos bag manipulation then this card is great but what about a standard mystic? That depends on the bag composition.

Its important to notice that you will succeed on a Pass or Fail by that number so to figure that out you have to do some math. First off it fluctuates due to scenario effect tokens having different values each scenario but I'll create a bag as an example.

+1:2 0: 3 -1: 5 -2: 4 -3: 2 -4: 1 F : 1

Find the number you want to succeed on, then sum the qty's above and below, then again, and so on. If you are trying to succeed on the -3 then you can call 0 for 2/18; 1 for 5/18; 2 for 5/18 etc... If you are trying to succeed on the -2 then you can call 0 for 4/18; 1 for 7/18; 2 for 4/18 etc...

Though the bag may be quite different from this its not unreasonable to say that you'll probably succeed 1/3 of the time. So now you're trading 2 sanity for an unreliable extra card every 3 turns or so. I think it really depends on your deck composition and if you need that extra sanity or not. If you're taking the spells that give you horror then I'd recommend the Rosary. If not, then I think I'd probably prefer the Pendulum.

kamiidude · 5
It is also worth noting that this combos with Scrying Mirror. Since both trigger at the same time, "After a skill test at your location begins", you can revolve Scrying Mirror first and guaranty some draws. — Gnarls Apprentice · 1
it also combos with Premonition — Zinjanthropus · 170
I'm not clear on how this card works. Am I supposed to guess the token modifier that will be drawn, or the final amount I failed/succeeded by? EXAMPLE: Willpower test difficulty 3, Jacqueline has 6 Willpower. She currently is at +3 above the test difficulty. If I think I will draw a "0" token, then am I supposed to say "0" or say "+3" because I will be passing the test by +3? — VanyelAshke · 155
Other than Premonition which allows you to see the next token drawn, I'm not clear on how to make Crystal Pendulum reliable/good? Is there a certain number that is best to guess? Scrying Mirror and Premonition combo well due to the timing window, but what about the rest of the time, or if you're not playing Scrying Mirror? Olive McBride makes you resolve 2 tokens, so there's no way to know with certainty what to guess for Crystal Pendulum. Dark Prophesy is random as well, no guarantee. I struggle to understand how to get value from this card, outside of playing Premonition and Scrying Mirror. — VanyelAshke · 155
@VanyelAshke, Ritual Candles help. — FBones · 13479

As Gnarl's Apprentice and Zinjanthropus have noted in the comments, this card will work with Scrying Mirror and Premonition. And if it combos with those, then you can also use Dark Prophecy and Olive McBride as well, making the card draw an all but guarantee when you want it. You can also use Recall the Future to ensure a success. This makes it an incredibly powerful tool and worth considering in anyone who is going to pack even a few chaos bag manipulation effects.

Scroll of Prophecies has rapidly become a mainstay of mine, and I suspect it will continue to be so since it occupies the much less congested Hand slot. However, the Pendulum is cheaper, does not require an action to activate, and doesn't force you to discard. All of which are incredibly valuable traits that cannot be overstated. The reason the scroll works so well is that you're generally comfortable discarding something; I am anyways. And if that's the case, it means there are key cards in your deck you want to have down; the rest are just candy.

The Pendulum will help you draw up those axis cards you want to see as well as grant you that sugar rush I mentioned, and the boost ensures you aren't sacrificing your accessory slot. Really, the only downsides to this card is it will be inconsistent when you don't have tech to help see the tokens, and not all the tech is full proof. You could replace this with a different accessory once you've dug up those essentials, but again, that +1 means you don't have to.

This is an exciting card that plays well with the guesswork approach. 's have been a bit starved for card draw but that is changing. Crystal Pendulum is a welcome addition that makes your jewelry of choice all that much more competitive and rewarding.

EDIT: One thing I did not mention originally is that even taking a gamble is not hugely risky, and not simply because there's nothing lost if you guess wrong, but because you're guessing the modifier, NOT the token. Unlike Recall the Future, the Skulls could be say -1, which is a popular token already. You're statistically more likely to get the card draw in this way, and seems to be an improvement over Recall the Future.

LaRoix · 1489
The big caution with Pendulum is that it obviously competes with Rosary. Rosary is a better option, I think, if you are using suites of spells and not any real token pulling mitigation, since the horror soak is super relevant and the draw will trigger not often at all. In fact, I think the way I'd very loosely play it is Pendulum should pair with Olive while Rosary should pair with Initiate. That said, I could see myself Relic Hunter-ing for both. — StyxTBeuford · 12523
I actually found it a bit tricky to use with Olive, because she resolves 2 tokens, so it can be kind of unpredictable what the modifier will be. Still make sense in the same kind of decks, though. — Zinjanthropus · 170

One thing to note is that Ritual Candles improves your odds of connecting with this card because you can choose to use Ritual Candles ability after seeing the token, giving you a little flexibility with your call.

Also Jacqueline Fine gets extra use from Crystal Pendulum because she can opportunistically select which token to keep.

FBones · 13479
It was really great n a solo expert Jacqueline Fine deck ! — AlexP · 164