Release: Carvers of Po-Koro

As previously announced, here’s Po-Koro, freshly reworked!

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For a detailed introduction to the new cards, best check out the Theme Guide all about them. There, you can also find a sample decklist and Best of Test demo video, so really no reason to repeat any of that stuff here.

Aside from that, the one update of the release is C.C. Matoran Taipu, whose non-OPT ATK boosting effect was adjusted so it can only be used on monsters with less than 2000 ATK. While stats barely matter, the ability to make arbitrary monsters arbitrarily big if you can just repeatedly send this one card from field to GY seemed a bit abusable, so now it’s more limited to its intended purpose. But you can still cheat by using multiple in the same chain 😉

And finally, just one more thing:

A card I did not update, but identified as possibly needing changes, is C.C. Matoran Maku. What I noticed is that the Warrior type does not really have any hand traps with significant effects outside battle, which might be a legitimate Konami design rule due to how searchable Warriors are. Maku’s ability to protect a target from pretty much any one effect stands out as uncharacteristically useful in this light, so I might need to get rid of that ability.

However, I already have the whole lore mapping for making cards unaffected worked out and don’t really want to move away from the idea. So my solution would be to let Maku continue doing that, but from the field rather than the hand, and expanding her self-summoning effect to also work from the hand. That way, you can’t respond quite as immediately and the utility is a lot lower, but the basic concept stays intact.

I have not done anything to implement this yet because it would affect Ga-Koro as a whole enough to make at least a partial rerun of the test circuit necessary, but once I find a good time for that I might just try and see how this change works out. In the meantime, if anyone has a different opinion on this issue, I’d be very happy to hear it – not sure yet if the way I’ve interpreted things is actually the correct one.

Theme Guide: Po-Koro (BCOT)

Among the villages on Mata Nui, I’d say Po-Koro is pretty high up there in terms of memorable traits. There’s the sculptures made by the resident carvers, the busy trading going on at the bazaar, the entire sport of Koli, and of course that little plague it suffered under in MNOG. For my particular depiction of the Village of Stone, I chose to focus on the first two of these: Trading and carving. (Koli is something I plan to study in more detail when it transforms into Kolhii later down the line, since it gets much more focus in the story then, and the plague is a topic for BCOR.)

Let’s begin dissecting from the second effect, since that will usually be the first you use. This one represents carving, and what it does is, like most Koro stuff, mainly inspired by the corresponding MNOG2 principle. In Po-Koro’s case, that means “Creation”. My first association with this in game terms has alway been the various Extra Deck summons (literally putting your monsters together to CREATE a new one), but upon further reflection I realized that there is one mechanic that creates stuff more literally than any other, and that is Tokens – those straight up don’t exist in any form until an effect says they do. So by combining those two ideas, I ended up with an effect that summons Tokens whenever you Special Summon from the Extra Deck.

“But isn’t that basically just Linkross for every summoning method?”, you might ask, and you wouldn’t be exactly wrong. However, there are some extra hoops to jump through here that hopefully fix the glaring balance issues with the concept. Most trivially, this card is in the Main and not the Extra Deck, so it’s already less consistently accessible by default. Then there are also two points that prevent using it too generically: You need to banish an EARTH Warrior (the “sculptor”) from the GY as cost, and you only get Tokens (the “sculptures”) up to the number of EARTH materials (the “raw materials”) in the summon. Note especially the banishing, which is meant to directly discourage mixing the Po-Koro strategy with Onu-Koro (where the resource loop relies on not getting your monsters banished). They both revolve around the EARTH attribute since Stone doesn’t exist separately in Yugioh, so I made sure to strongly distinguish them by playstyles instead. The final restriction meant to prevent Linkross-tier combos even in those decks that can make Po-Koro work is that whichever summoning method you use to trigger it becomes entirely locked for the rest of the turn (as opposed to just restricting how the Tokens are used). So the moment you make your Tokens, you need to be ready to pivot to something else. In MNOG2 terms, this sensitive issue of timing matches up quite well to the Kolhii skill of Strategy that is derived from Creation. I was quite cautious making this effect since it’s so close to a recently banned card, and initially it was even more restricted, but test runs suggest the current level of power should be fine without causing any notable problems. As usual, feel free to prove me wrong.

The secondary effect (which is listed first because that seems to be the convention for continuous vs activated effects) allows you to save your monsters from destruction by “trading” fancy Rocks, as they do on the Po-Koro bazaar. This is possibly not the best trade since you have to go as far as banishing a monster to protect another, but the Tokens made by the other effect are conveniently Rocks and in their case banishing is no different from destroying, so the idea is to mainly use those. One pesky detail I only noticed after implementing the effect is that it does not protect from full boardwipes because you can’t banish a card already marked for destruction as replacement, but it’s still fairly handy regardless.

If you compare to the other Koro field spells, you might notice that this one is much less xenophobic: You need to play EARTH monsters, including at least one EARTH Warrior, to make it work, but it doesn’t punish you for playing anything else. This is because, in the name of creation and creativity, I wanted to leave it possible to put whatever you want into the Extra Deck, as long as you’re using at least two different summoning methods.

Those were some long-ass design notes, but to summarize and boil the strategy down to its essence: The idea of a Po-Koro deck is simply to spam as much as possible from the Extra Deck, building a board while combining at least two different summoning methods, and any Tokens left at the end of that can act as additional protection.

As usual, the village itself is only part of the equation here, so on to the rest. For example, what could you summon from the Extra Deck to make especially good use of Po-Koro’s effect?

Turaga Onewa is meant to be one answer to this question. On having an EARTH monster summoned next to his arrow, he will immediately bring back a banished EARTH Warrior, which transforms the cost to summon Tokens into one more monster on the field. Of course, the summoning restriction means you can’t use all this field presence to just continue Link Summoning, so you’ll need to make sure you have a Tuner or something to really benefit here. One thing I considered doing for a bit was letting Onewa turn the monster he brings back into a Tuner, but what bothered me there was that it would potentially allow you to just use the same Gouki-based deck I had for Onu-Koro and still reliably fulfill the requirement of two Extra Deck summoning methods. Kind of runs counter to the separation I’m trying to achieve, although it would technically be a distinct strategy even if it uses the same cards as its vehicle.

Since you can’t always expect to draw Po-Koro and do the setup that way, Onewa’s first effect provides another way to banish stuff, and comes with a lore gimmick to its math representing his famous ability to resolve disputes fairly. On top of the perfectly neutral action of putting a monster from the GY back into the hand and banishing a card from the hand, it gives a draw to only the player who is currently behind in advantage, so it works out to +1 if that’s you and -1 if it’s your opponent (and neutral in every other case). Fair.

The Kanohi Komau has mind control as its power, and with the original version back in 2014, I was quick to make the obvious association and write an effect that takes control of an opponent’s monster. In hindsight, that’s a bit above the intended powerlevel of Noble Kanohi, so the redesign instead turns it into a passive effect of using mind control to “stun” the weakest enemy (in terms of ATK, because unfortunately there isn’t a willpower stat that could be used for perfect accuracy). This fits well with the Huna and Rau as an effect that just inconveniences the opponent a bit and forces them to play around it, and for Po-Koro’s particular strategy of building a board with Extra Deck monsters, it makes a reasonable addition to the usual negates and disruptions you want to set up. Tributing a Sculpture Token to revive Onewa together with the Komau is something that happened semi-frequently during testing.

One noteworthy aspect of the way Onewa brings back banished monsters is that they are free to use their effects, so we can gain further advantage by using targets with beneficial effects on Special Summon. This is the niche our first Po-Matoran plays into.

Both of Hafu’s effects are essentially retained from his original incarnation, with a bit of adjustment. Being the master carver, he’s fully meant to facilitate more Extra Deck summoning and brings back another Level 2 Warrior (could be another Matoran, or a generic Tuner like Junk Anchor to enable Synchros) when Special Summoned. His other ability is crafting “Hafu originals” in his own likeness, meaning whatever uses him as material inherits his name. This mainly has applications in a dedicated “C.C. Matoran” strategy, where members of the archetype get a range of neat benefits. Here, it’s really just a cute gimmick that barely comes up.

I did consider a few additional tweaks for the Special Summon effect during testing, such as making it trigger on Normal Summon as well or expanding its target range to Level 4 or lower Warriors, but since the deck I ended up building seems to be able to utilize him just fine as is, it appears no such buffs are necessary.

If you’re familiar with the structure of these Koro strategies, you already know that the last piece of the puzzle is the village’s Toa, but in the case of such an Extra Deck focused theme, a Main Deck boss is a bit of an odd fit. Still, I feel like I managed to give him an effect that provides a fair level of utility.

What Pohatu brings to the table is Spell/Trap removal, and to match Po-Koro, he does it whenever monsters are Special Summoned from the Extra Deck. Furthermore, since we don’t want him to be useless after you have already built your board, he has a secondary trigger off the effect activations of Extra Deck monsters. Do note, however, that this is a trigger effect and not a quick effect, meaning it will activate on a separate chain only after the triggering effect has resolved.

The mental image behind this S/T destruction is destroying stuff by kicking a rock at it, and so it’s fitting to have a bonus effect if you actually happen to have a Rock monster (e.g. a Sculpture Token or a Suva). I went with the ricochet idea here, which means you get an additional (non-targeting) S/T destruction in that case. Seeing how the law of creative heroic thinking permits using the environment to harm enemies indirectly, letting the second destruction affect monsters as well may be a viable option, though in that case it would probably be fair to also destroy your Rock monster as a downside.

Finally, the Kanohi Kakama, Great Mask of Speed, lets the equipped monster move fast enough to attack everything in a single Battle Phase, essentially letting you use Pohatu to clear out all the monsters after using his effect to clear up to 2 backrow. This is a scenario that occured exactly 0 times during the test circuit, but hey, theoretically it sounds useful.

Sample Deck

I couldn’t think of any existing EARTH Warrior archetype that focuses mainly on Extra Deck spam while also adhering to the rule of using 2+ summoning methods, so I had to get a bit more creative than usual to fill the holes left by the not yet created Po-Matoran. Therefore, I’m including a section to explain the deck I built to test Po-Koro this time. As with everything else, feedback and criticism on this part is absolutely welcome.

The route I took to fulfill the 2 summoning method requirement was Link + Synchro, since they’re much easier to pull off than Fusion and immediately put banishable monsters into the GY unlike Xyz. In order to get access to the necessary Tuners, I picked Junk monsters as the EARTH Warrior core: Forward as a free Special Summon to start making Onewa, Anchor as a Tuner that also happens to be a Level 2 Warrior for Hafu, Converter as another Level 2 Warrior who does both searching and setup for Synchron (who is unfortunately not EARTH, but still good), and Servant as a free Special Summon whenever I have any of the others out. For the actual Matoran, we have just one Hafu (he only triggers on Special Summon, so having him in the hand isn’t the greatest) and three Taipu because free Special Summon going first. The latter isn’t a Po-Matoran, but since the Chronicler’s Company are meant to work together, I figured there was no way to avoid synergy through the shared attribute in this case. Thanks to Taipu’s presence, Hafu’s name change actually matters occasionally, by still letting you attack with some of your monsters from the Extra Deck after you summoned Taipu. The remaining EARTH Warriors are one Super Agent as an unreliable Special Summon and potential Spell/Trap remover, and Pohatu as your main Spell/Trap remover, Kakama search target, and Suva enabler.

The second major group of monsters, providing a fitting distinction between Earth and Stone, are Rocks. We have Adamancipator Researcher as a Tuner whose Special Summon from the hand is enabled by Po-Koro’s Tokens, Nemeses Keystone as another Special Summon that can trigger Onewa while recycling other banished stuff and to banish for Po-Koro’s protection so it comes back to hand at the end of the turn, and Nibiru to initiate extinction events. The Suva is also technically a Rock, and its purpose is of course being Tributed for Pohatu and then coming back every turn, which can actually trigger Onewa if you have Po-Koro up because the Suva counts as all non-DARK Attributes in that case.

The Spells can be quickly summarized as Kanohi, searchers, and ways to Special Summon to Onewa’s zone (most interestingly Word Legacy Succession, which does exactly that). And of course, we have the Dragoon package I put in to celebrate the complete freedom of Extra Deck choices and then proceeded to regret immensely because it’s so powerful and easy to make that it ends up distracting from the actual point of the Deck. Which is why I ended up intentionally siding it out for the rest of the match every time I won a duel during testing, even when I didn’t actually use it.

The Extra Deck could probably be filled a million different ways, but what I settled on after trying a lot of variations is:

  • Double Onewa to get free monsters.
  • Isolde to trigger the Kakama’s search and to get Hafu or Junk Anchor (either as followup to Onewa or as an alternative if you don’t have the setup to trigger him).
  • Halquifibrax because it has just as much synergy with Po-Koro as it did with Linkross.
  • Desert Locusts to summon via Halq for a discard while potentially triggering Onewa.
  • Linkuriboh because it can be made with a single Sculpture Token.
  • Avramax as a big dude you can make e.g. with Onewa and Isolde.
  • Herald of the Arc Light as an easy banishing floodgate and negate.
  • Jiujiu as an indestructible removal tool.
  • Marcher and Integrator so you can get to Jiujiu from Researcher and two Sculpture Tokens while drawing in the process.
  • Dragite as a negate and removal tool.
  • Quandax to make Dragite while getting a WATER into the GY so the negate is turned on.
  • Verte Anaconda plus Dragoon in case you mess up the actual combo but feel like winning anyway.

Finally, the side deck is just a pile of EARTH staples and cards that are really good in some situations, plus a few options to fill the Extra Deck slots left open when removing the Dragoon stuff (Accesscode and Apollousa as alternate bosses, Reprodocus and Geonator Transverser as alternate Links you can make with random monsters).

To see all this in action, continue right on.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Po-Koro


Po-Koro decks encourage Special Summoning from the Extra Deck and excel at providing a bunch of material to do so. However, lacking dedicated boss monsters of its own and having some tricky requirements and restrictions on the Field Spell, the success of the strategy is very much dependent on what other cards you combine it with, perhaps more so than any of the other villages. Also, the need to have cards to both make Onewa in the Extra Monster Zone and trigger him with an additional Special Summon can be quite the hurdle to consistency.

Release: Dumbed Down Edition

Introducing version … i.1.4??? … of the Bionicle YGOPro Expansion! I’m not sure how I feel about this being the first ever official release post on the new website, but well, here we go.

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Release summary

For this version, we take a little break from the grand tales of adventure taking place on the island of Mata Nui, told in the ancient days of 2001, and instead focus on the more recent reimagining of the story released in 2015. The original Bionicle was famously filled to the brim with fancy names and deepest lore, but for this short-lived G2 Lego decided all of that was way too complicated for a franchise aimed at kids, so they did their best to simplify the new version. In the words of fans less happy with this decision, they dumbed it down. And in a convenient coincidence, much the same words have been used to describe a certain new duel format Konami introduced for Yu-Gi-Oh a short while ago, which is why it seemed natural to combine the two. That’s right, fellas: It’s time to rush rush go rush.

The stars of the G2 story are the six Toa, though they were mainly marketed under the name “Master” in keeping with the simplification efforts. As archetypes are not (yet) a thing in Rush Duels, there’s no problem with using this term for the card names as well, but not having archetypes also raises the question of how our heroes’ effects can be made to work together like a proper team. My solution was to use Level 6 Warriors as a pseudo-archetype, since Rush Duels only have a few of those right now. With that as a general theme, the individual effects are then simply based off each Toa’s characteristics as described in bios and seen in the story.

Tahu is the leader, so he has the ability to boost everyone’s ATK. And he’s described as being both lucky and forgetful, so the whole thing is based on a gambling condition where forgetting what’s in your Deck can get you in trouble. Gali can be “as fierce as the raging ocean”, and since I figure battle Traps aren’t going to do much against the raging ocean, she’s able to block those. Onua doesn’t say much, but what he says is usually important – so his effect has the most difficult condition paired with a really powerful and versatile payoff. The condition itself involves controlling 2 or more Toa (more accurately, Level 6 Warriors) to go with Onua being the big unity advocate of the team. Pohatu is the fearless vanguard who leads the way into danger, but on the other hand he is afraid of doesn’t like the dark. These two traits mesh together surprisingly well into an effect that powers him up with piercing and an ATK boost to eradicate face-down (“dark”) cards. An unintended consequence is that he is the only Toa whose effect does not explicitly interact with other Level 6 Warriors, but that actually fits how he was portrayed as kind of a loner in G2 specifically. Kopaka didn’t slip, he just changed to Defense to recycle a monster from the GY. Due to infinite Normal Summons and global soft OPT, you can make an infinite loop if you use this on another Kopaka, but since it’s one with no net change it didn’t seem worth preventing with an extra clause. Lewa carelessly rushes into battle at the expense of his teammates, but in doing so finds solutions others would overlook. I imagine being able to simply attack directly while ignoring any strong monsters on the field is a decent solution to some situations the others might have trouble dealing with.

This is probably the right point to briefly mention two interesting aspects of Rush Duel card design that immediately stood out when implementing these six. One is the significantly lower stat threshold for each monster level – Tahu here at 1800 is seriously the highest a non-Legend Level 6 Effect Monster can go at this point. Tahu specifically had his ATK chosen so his own 700 boost would bring him to the 2500 ATK I gave his G1 counterpart, but the rest just ended up with general semi-appropriate values. The other thing is that Rush Duel cards are strictly limited to having a single effect, which almost automatically makes things stay very simple. Self-synergy as a concept is barely applicable here.

Anyway, on to the Spell and Trap.

First is Okoto as the Field Spell for the Toa (Level 6 Warriors). Rush Duel Field Spells pretty much just grant continuous buffs, so that’s what this one does too. Just a plain old stat boost that ramps up as you gather more of the team.

And finally, Skull Spider Ambush is kind of a standalone thing exploring a little design space niche I found interesting. Rush Duels do not (yet) have any handtraps, they have no Main Phase 2, and you draw to 5 cards every single turn. Therefore, discarding a card during the Battle Phase is actually mostly beneficial, but you also generally want to get everything out of your hand before battling so you draw more. So an extremely powerful battle Trap that the opponent can negate with a discard could be really good, or really useless. Which one do you think it is?

And that’s it for this release. I tried to keep the power level in line with the currently existing Rush Duel stuff, but I feel like it still ended up a bit ahead of the curve. Definitely had a lot of fun playing around with this alternate format for once, though. Hope you enjoyed it too, happy April Fools’ Day, and we’ll be back to Mata Nui for the next update (probably Po-Koro).

Deck Idea: Nokama’s Secret Village

Once upon a time (last week or so), in the middle of building this website and uploading cards, my mind wandered to Secret Village of the Spellcasters. And in that moment, it hit me. “Wait a minute”, I thought. “I made Nokama a Spellcaster!”

And thus was the birth of Nokama’s Secret Village.

You see, Turaga Nokama has the effect to make herself and the monsters she points to completely unaffected by two out of the three card types, depending on what you banish from the GY as cost. Secret Village prevents your opponent from activating Spell Cards as long as you control a Spellcaster and they don’t. Therefore, with Secret Village active, Nokama could make herself and one other monster you control unaffected by every single effect your opponent can legally use.

Add to that the other two benefits she gets from pointing to a monster – being indestructible by battle and recycling a WATER monster from GY or banished during each of your opponent’s End Phases – and you end up with a fun little challenge to the opponent. Can they use their restricted options to break through your protection, or will you get to recover your resources for a followup push in the next turn?

This by itself is certainly not an unbeatable challenge. Even assuming just running over the monster next to Nokama’s arrow isn’t feasible (due to protection or beefy stats), it’s still possible to use single cards like Kaijus or Evenly Matched that don’t care about “unaffected by effects”, or just use monster-based removal to get rid of Secret Village before exploiting the Spell-shaped hole in Nokama’s defenses. Since Nokama needs to activate an effect to turn on her protection, a negation or removal in response to that will also really screw up the plan. And if your opponent manages to get at least 9200 damage on board, they can just disregard the challenge entirely and beat you to death straight through your feeble little Turaga.

So to make this idea reasonably effective, we still need to combine it with additional threats and/or disruption. I tried to achieve this by tweaking the Mermail/Atlantean-based build I originally came up with for Ga-Koro a bit, here’s how it turned out.


Most of this is just standard Mermail/Atlantean stuff and you can probably find much better descriptions of that elsewhere than I’m able to write, so I’ll just explain the other additions that specifically help this deck idea.

Crusadia Arboria, being a WATER Warrior, serves as the honorary Ga-Matoran that allows reliably making Nokama. She can either be Special Summoned directly from the deck by Crystron Halqifibrax, or searched out by ROTA or Mermail Abysspike and then Special Summoned to your zone a Link Monster points to (which is why playing Salamangreat Almiraj can really unbrick certain hands). Instant Fusion and Elemental Hero Steam Healer are also a possible route to Nokama.

In addition to Secret Village itself, we play the extra field searchers Metaverse (because getting to the Village anytime before your opponent’s Main Phase is good enough) and Set Rotation (because giving your opponent Ga-Koro probably isn’t going to hurt much, also they can’t activate it anyway with Secret Village up).

For the Abyss-scales that go on Abyssmegalo or Abyssgaios, I included both Cetus and Mizuchi – the former actually gives some additional benefit (such as negating Evenly Matched) when we’ve already locked the opponent out of Spell Cards, while the latter is much better in cases where we can’t get to Secret Village. And the combined ATK boost from having both equipped makes it a whole lot harder to solve the challenge via battle.

A last-minute addition to the side deck that unfortunately never came up in my brief tests is Ice Dragon’s Prison, which in theory should have a bunch of utility in this deck. You can use it to fill Nokama’s zone during your opponent’s turn in case whatever was there originally gets removed, and chances are you’ll actually get the banish for free since your monster will be unaffected by Traps. Honestly might be main deck worthy, but I’d have to test more to be sure.

Random sample hands:

Again, most of this is standard Mermail/Atlantean stuff that probably could be done better, the interesting part is just how Nokama is worked into this.


I ran about half the usual AI testing circuit with this deck and got some, well, mixed results. The basic strategy of sitting on an invincible pair of Nokama + big body and recycling monsters every turn does often work, but the fact that it only slightly disrupts the opponent’s plays with maybe an Atlantean discard here and a negation there does give them a lot of room to break through the small gaps that do exist. And if they do, it’s going to be pretty hard to turn the tables back because setting up the initial board eats up a lot of resources. Similarly, if they just don’t bother with Nokama and instead build up an annoying board of their own, the one monster you get back in the End Phase might not be enough to mount the kind of offense you need at that point. These issues could potentially be fixed by moving away from pure WATER monsters a bit and including more cards that hinder your opponent with relatively low investment, but that would take some additional effort to figure out and feels a bit less interesting to me since it’s off-theme.

Also, another source of problems was that I’m straight up not smart enough to play Nokama competently. The fact that she immunizes monsters on both sides of the field against a specific, variable subset of cards has been the source of many fuckups leading to probably avoidable losses. The existence of this effect irrefutably proves that I know much more about making Yugioh cards than about playing them.

Anyway, despite the problems found in testing, there were definitely times when things did go as envisioned and I was able to enjoy being on the dispensing end of a soft lockdown facilitated by a 28-piece Lego set from 2001. For an example, check out the video below.

Designer’s Quip: Elementals

A card from BCOR that actually never came up in the Theme Guides is the Vatuka. This living pile of dirt is quite unusual among the biomechanical creatures of the Bionicle universe, but not actually unique. Other examples include the Avohkah who once lived in Karda Nui, the Fire Entity that Vakama fought at one point in the books, or on the less canon side the Snowbird from Quest for the Toa and the various bosses from Legend of Mata Nui.

The idea I came up with is to implement these types of creatures as Trap Monsters that support a certain Attribute, with the added gimmick that they can be activated/summoned from the hand while you control a Field Spell, because they are born from natural elemental forces (or something like that). So far the Vatuka is the only one, but if/when I get to any of the others, I plan to use the same style.

Interestingly, The Island’s Dark Tyrant also has the clause where you can activate it from your hand if you control a Field Spell. This is because the card shows Makuta controlling the aforementioned “natural elemental forces”, so it’s basically a pseudo-elemental. But only pseudo, because rather than a Trap Monster it only summons a Token. And because it’s a Makuta card, it also works from the GY.

The Element Lords from Spherus Magna are also technically elementals, though of a significantly different nature. Maybe I’ll work them into this concept somehow.

Designer’s Quip: The Thin Line Between Victory and Defeat

Notice the similarity between these cards? That’s right, both are Quick-Play Spells that let you activate one of two effects if you control a specific category of monsters. Even more, in both cases the first effect has lower requirements and provides some simple utility, while the second needs more setup but deals a potentially game-ending blow.

This is, of course, no coincidence. As It Was in the Before-Time shows the scenario in which the Bohrok swarms successfully eliminate everything else that dwells on the surface, and The End of the Swarm shows the scenario of their defeat that eventually came to pass in the 2002 storyline. They are victory and defeat, so they naturally form a pair – though which one is which obviously depends on what deck you are playing.

No, I am still not going to explain what’s going on with the Level 8+ monsters and Continuous Spells. Try to figure it out on your own if you really want to know already, or just wait patiently 😉

Designer’s Quip: The Unintended Jahnok Combo

Splashability is when a card or group of cards can be used outside their own deck/archetype to achieve benefits in combination with entirely unrelated cards. Taking this into account when making custom cards adds a lot of depth and therefore fun to the process while also achieving more balanced results, but for a long time I didn’t really do that. So once in a while I have the funny experience of looking back at older designs and realizing they do something generically useful I wasn’t actually going for. Here’s one such example.

Bohrok Tahnok can shuffle itself into the Deck to destroy a face-up monster, and this is a Quick Effect. Already seems quite useful, but between having to return to the Deck, the limitation of the targets to only face-up monsters, the fact that it targets at all, and the lack of a built-in way to easily bring it out, it probably wouldn’t be that good to just splash it into random stuff.

In comes the second card of this package, the Krana Ja. By discarding it from your hand while you control a Bohrok, you can scout ahead and render everything that is already visible on your opponent’s field ineffective during the following turn, and like many other Krana it can return from the field to your hand during Main Phase 1 to bring out a Bohrok from the Deck at the cost of immediately ending the turn.

The bottom line is that by just getting a Krana Ja on the field somehow in your Main Phase 1 (e.g. with One for One or simply a spare Normal Summon), you can easily out any single monster that can have its effects negated. Return the Ja to your hand to Special Summon a Tahnok from your Deck, activate the Ja from your hand during the immediately ensuing End Phase (since you do have a Bohrok now), then in the following turn activate the Tahnok’s Quick Effect to target and destroy whatever you like. At this point all protection and/or negation on your opponent’s field will be negated by the Ja, so you don’t have to worry about that stuff at all.

Now, this does ultimately cost you your Battle Phase and only takes care of a single monster, so it probably isn’t really that impactful in the grand scheme of things. But I found it pretty funny that these two cards on their own could pull this off even though neither of their designs was in any way geared towards it. The Tahnok just has a Quick Effect because it’s fast, and the Krana Ja does what it does because it’s literally a Scout.

Theme Guide: (Exo-)Toa (BBTS)

After collecting all types of Krana and descending into the depths of the Bohrok Nest to stop the swarms for good, the Toa Mata came across a new power to aid them in this quest, sealed deep beneath the earth. Suits of armor equipped with powerful weaponry, at the cost of inhibiting their innate elemental powers.

The Exo-Toa, like the Boxor used by the Matoran, is represented by a Union Monster, but like the Toa, it’s Level 6, so getting it on the field where it can do all the Union stuff is the first challenge. The built-in solution is being able to Special Summon itself if all monsters you control are Normal Summoned Toa, though in hindsight it probably wouldn’t be broken to drop the “all monsters” part. Anyway, equipping it gives an enormous boost of 2000 ATK, but comes with two downsides. First, it negates the monster’s effects (i.e., the “elemental powers”), and second, it robs the Toa of their individuality by replacing their name with “Exo-Toa”. Which, due to the little clause at the start of the card text that I’m pretty sure has never actually been used in history (because why would it?), means the are not technically “Toa” monsters anymore and thus lose access to archetypal support cards. This, unfortunately, includes the Kanohi (even in their most recent and well thought out form as of the time of this writing), which canonically shouldn’t be affected by the armor. Might have to come up with something to fix that.

As if this wall of text wasn’t enough, the Exo-Toa has a final consistency-boosting effect to make sure it’s capable of carrying the frankly kind of useless original Toa Mata designs to playability: After going to the GY, it Sets Exo Armaments from the Deck during the End Phase. And once the next turn starts, you can immediately use this Trap Card to bring out a Toa Mata from your hand and equip it with an Exo-Toa from Deck or GY, completing the package in one shot. This also conveniently makes it so the effect negation is actually relevant on the old versions of the Toa Mata who only had on-summon effects, since this way the negation is already active when that effect tries to resolve.

Once in the GY, the Trap turns into what it really takes its inspiration from, namely the array of equipment found on an Exo-Toa. The “boxing claw” works similar to the Boxor (just because of the name) and prevents your opponent from using effects while an Exo-Toa (which could be the Union Monster itself or a Toa that has been equipped and renamed) battles. The armor simply grants protection as you would expect it to. And the electro rocket flies in a straight line to destroy something in the same column as an Exo-Toa, which can be two columns with one copy if you set up the zones correctly when equipping (one from the equip card, one from the equipped monster). Do note that all of these are Quick Effects due to this being a Trap Card.

So the Exo-Toa has many powerful features, but in the story, they were not enough to overcome the combined power of the Bahrag. And I did indeed design the cards specifically so nothing they do can actually out the Bahrag when paired up with both their protection effects online. Because that requires an ability that can only be used when the Toa shed the armor and return to their own elemental powers.

The Toa Seal is the ultimate finishing move achieved when six Toa of different elements combine their powers, imprisoning whatever is unfortunate enough to be in the middle in an inescapable mass of crystalline Protodermis. Accordingly, this card requires six Toa to activate, but due to Yugioh’s Attribute lineup not quite containing the boatload of elements Bionicle has, we will settle for different names. And since getting 6 monsters on the field is only technically possible, you may also pick from those in your hand and GY, though those will be banished on resolution. The result is a non-targeting mass banishing of up to 6 cards, which easily gets past the mutual protection of the Bahrag queens and wipes out pretty much everything else while it’s at it. The number of cards banished from the hand is limited by the number of Normal Summoned Toa participating in the seal, because just banishing 6 from the hand specifically sounded a bit too broken even with these difficult requirements.

The final new card on the Toa’s side is The End of the Swarm, and it’s a … kinda weird one. Assuming you have a Toa, it grants you the choice between two effects relating to Level 8 or higher monsters (?). One temporarily banishes (??) one of those to recover a Continuous Spell (???) from the GY. The other locks a number of your opponent’s monsters depending on your Level 8+ count into face-down Defense Position and basically makes your monsters go UCT on them, except continuous.

Now I can reveal that the second of these effects represents the deactivation and subsequent cleanup of the Bohrok, referenced in the name of the card. Face-down is their sleeping state, so they get switched into that, and the rest is mostly to bypass their Flip effects because this would be kind of self-defeating otherwise. As for what is going on with these Level 8 or higher monsters, Continuous Spells, and the entire first effect, I will remain quiet. Just enjoy the foreshadowing and wait for the answer to your questions to one day rock your universe (okay, that might be overstating it a bit).


While the Toa Mata are currently undergoing a total redesign in order to make them playable on their own, this was actually one of my first attempts to fix those old designs by introducing a small, consistent combo that they could use in the likely event that Plan A (just somehow summoning a lot of Toa) didn’t work out. It provides a 4k+ ATK beater who, with the Exo Armaments correctly set up in the GY, has access to either an effect lockdown during battle, protection against both destruction and targeting, and a limited Quick Effect destruction. Nothing crazy, but at least good enough to actually start getting somewhere in most games.

Once the BCOT overhaul is done and the Toa Mata are fully updated with a more competent strategy, these cards may have to be adjusted for that. But in the meantime, you can find a sample deck using both them and the old Toa in the BBTS release.

Theme Guide: Matoran (Boxor) (BBTS)

In chronicling the struggle between Matoran and Bohrok, the BBTS expansion obviously also needs to show some stuff on the Matoran side. That mainly means their famous anti-Bohrok invention, but let’s first look at some new cards unrelated to that.

Kotu, serving as the left hand of Turaga Nokama and a Rahi Tender, gets her only real notable bit of screentime in this part of the story, so I took the opportunity to include her. She has the skills to calm aggressive beasts, lowering their ATK, and on Normal Summon can return a monster to the hand in such a way that it’s mainly beneficial in the specific case where your opponent stole one of yours (or you’re just playing Kaijus).

The Chronicler’s Courage depicts Chronicler Takua’s heroic last stand against the swarms invading Ga-Koro, which really just stalled them for that brief moment before the Toa defated the Bahrag. Accordingly, this card simply stalls against battle by bringing out small Warriors to guard against attacks and granting them some protection. Hey, it could potentially buy you a turn.

And now for the main event.

In the village of Onu-Koro lives Nuparu, a Matoran with a passion for machinery. Though this sometimes leads him to neglecting other work such as digging (or attacking, to explain one of the card’s effects already), his time to shine comes when he is trapped in a cave after the Gahlok invade Onu-Koro. There, he and his fellow Matoran discover an Empty Bohrok Shell, the mechanical hull of one of the attackers that has lost its Krana. Nuparu begins tinkering, and soon the machine is remodeled into a new weapon that would shift the power balance between Matoran and Bohrok: The Boxor.

Playing these cards, you too can recreate this grand tale. The Empty Bohrok Shell places itself directly into your GY in order to search any EARTH Matoran, which includes of course Nuparu, but also the Boxor due to its full name. Then, with Nuparu on the field and a Boxor in your hand, you can activate Nuparu’s effect, banish the Shell from the GY, bring out the Boxor, and use its Union ability to equip to a Matoran of your choice. And now you are ready to overcome any Bohrok in battle and even halt the march of the swarms by denying them their monster effects that would call more of them from the Deck. As a bonus, banishing the Shell can unleash some vestiges of the Bohrok’s destructive power (though not during the same turn you used it for searching), and if the Boxor-equipped Matoran is not Nuparu himself, Nuparu can grant that 2000 ATK beater a second attack at the low cost of not attacking with his own measly 600 (though not during the turn he summoned the Boxor).


Sample duel ft. Bohrok AI from development version (some cards outdated)


These cards still predate the dedicated Koro playstyle just like the ones in BCOR, but in this case that doesn’t matter as much because at least the Boxor series forms its own little combo independent from other strategies. Adding them to a Matoran deck of any kind will significantly increase its power in the Battle Phase, which is a pretty good niche to cover for an archetype of Level 2 monsters with (almost) only three-digit ATK values.

The BBTS release includes a sample Boxor deck, which uses Matoran from BCOR (also included in the link) together with the new cards.

Theme Guide: Rahi (BBTS)

The Bohrok invasion also introduced some new Rahi into the story, because the designers came up with a bunch of combiners and had nothing better to do with them. This means the Rahi archetype experiences a bit of growth in this expansion.

For the Level 4 group (Remember: Special Summon themselves from the Pendulum Zone, grant effects when used as Synchro Material), there are two new additions.

The Waikiru is a creature with two sides in multiple ways: Slow on land but quick in the water, and docile at rest but aggressive when threatened. It changes much like monsters change their battle positions, so that’s the theme for this Rahi’s effects. A Synchro monster summoned with it gains a position-changing Quick Effect, and in the Pendulum Zone it grants appropriate buffs to your monsters when their battle position changes.

The Ghekula, natural enemy of the Bog Snake, is entirely built to be a counter to that exact Rahi from BCOR (which had effect damage as its gimmick), granting a Synchro Monster the ability to effectively redirect effect damage you take to your opponent. And if you don’t want to wait for your opponent to damage you, the Pendulum Effect provides a good source of damage as well.

A battle between Ghekula and Bog Snake, captured in the wild (little known fact: swamps have wooden floors)

The Level 3s with the banish/GY triggers get 3 new members.

The Infernavika is a small bird that protects itself from predators by hiding among streams of lava, and thus has a Pendulum Effect that can cause battles to take place in an environment hostile to all but FIRE monsters. The attribute theming continues with its effect when sent to the GY, which complements the Daikau, Ussal, and Kewa from BCOR by reviving a FIRE monster, and when banished, it can deftly escape to the Extra Deck while banishing the top card of your Deck in its place.

Serving as a steed to Matoran in the battle against the Bohrok swarms, the Keras helps out your small monsters with both its Pendulum Effect (aiding them in battle for an ATK boost) and its GY effect (carrying them across difficult terrain to protect against effects). The remaining effect that triggers when banished is anti-Bohrok rather than pro-Matoran, but still derives from the same idea.

Perhaps the most notable addition is the Hapaka, a Rahi used to safeguard flocks of other Rahi. Accordingly, its Pendulum Effect boosts the DEF of Rahi and prevents their destruction, but the more interesting part is the GY effect, or lack thereof. Instead, it has a Special Summoning procedure from hand or GY by “guarding” another small Rahi. And when banished, including as a result of its own summoning condition, it will return “stray” (banished) Rahi to the “herd” (GY).

Finally, there are two new Level 2 Tuners, both of them coincidentally birds.

The Pokawi disorient enemies by moving quickly in great numbers, so its effect weakens your opponent’s monsters in proportion to how many Rahi you have gathered up in the banished “zone”. Mata Nui Fishing Birds have a habit of swooping in to annoy larger predators and then escaping again, which I translated into a “swoopy” (if that makes sense) temporary banishment effect that includes an extra reward if used against large monsters.


These new cards mostly focus on fitting the available tidbits of lore on these Rahi into the established frameworks of the archetype from BCOR, so while they do introduce some new gimmicks and options, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any real change in terms of the overall playstyle. The possible exception is the Hapaka, which actually does break with the framework a bit and introduces an entirely new way to get a Level 3 Rahi on the field. But given the myriad of unpredictable deckbuilding options Rahi have in their current wonky state of design, it probably isn’t even feasible for me to conduct enough tests to confidently confirm or deny this assessment.

Anyway, the BBTS release includes not only a sample deck featuring all of the new Rahi, but also decks built entirely around the Waikiru’s and Ghekula’s respective gimmicks. They also require cards from BCOR, so be sure to use the complete version linked above rather than just the standalone BBTS expansion.