Designer’s Quip: Rahi, Rahi Everywhere

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but the Rahi archetype from BCOR is in a bit of a weird spot design-wise, since I never really got it into a state I’m totally happy with. It’s therefore pretty high on the list of things that might need an overhaul in the future. But until that happens, they’re pretty much a hodgepodge of not entirely thought-out themes and mechanics, and right now I’d like to point out something interesting that emerged from that without much planning on my part.

Pictured above are examples of the three most commonplace variations Rahi come in: Level 4 Pendulum Monsters who can Special Summon themselves from the Pendulum Zone and give effects when used as Synchro Material, Level 3 Pendulum Monsters with effects that trigger when going to the GY or getting banished, and Level 2 Tuners with handtrap effects that require banishing themselves plus a Rahi in the GY. The bottom line here is: Their gameplan involves them appearing in and moving between just about every location the game has (except non-Pendulum S/T Zones).

Why do I feel the need to highlight this? Because, if you think about it, it matches up perfectly with the way all the various non-civilized creatures known as “Rahi” inhabit every nook and cranny of the Matoran Universe. So I’m seriously considering keeping it around as a central point when the eventual redesign happens, even though Pendulum Monsters and GY effects in particular sounds like a somewhat moronic combination. With a bit of streamlining and proper balance considerations, I imagine this gimmick could be a lot of fun.

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.