Designer’s Quip: Rahi Beasts

Another one of these, this time focused on the great number of mostly land-dwelling, mostly mammal-like Rahi that fit into the Beast Type.

See also:

Current Members

BCOR and BBTS already introduced 10 Beast Rahi, all but 2 being EARTH-Attribute and the others WATER. They can further be divided into 4 Level 3 Pendulums with a GY/banish focus, 2 Level 4 Pendulums with a gimmick of granting effects when used as Synchro material, 2 Synchros at Levels 6 and 8, and a pair of Level 7 Normal Pendulums. So, in that order …

Level 3

Ussal, Crab Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1000 / DEF 1000

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn: You can reduce the Pendulum Scale of the card in your other Pendulum Zone by 1 until the End Phase; this turn, while this card is in your Pendulum Zone, you can also Pendulum Summon “Rahi” Pendulum Monsters from your GY, but monsters Summoned this way are destroyed during the End Phase.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower EARTH monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your GY. You can only use 1 “Ussal, Crab Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The general theme of the Level 3 Rahi is that they play through the GY despite being Pendulum Monsters, and the Ussal both participates in and enhances that playstyle. Its Pendulum Effect lets you Pendulum Summon Rahi out of the GY, if sent to the GY it revives any low-level EARTH monster (important for some combos involving Onu-Matoran, who of course make significant use of Ussal steeds), and if banished revives a Level 3 Rahi. Being a crab, it would technically make more sense to have this be Aqua like other crabs, but that just doesn’t seem right to me.

Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Beast | ATK 1200 / DEF 1400

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
“Rahi” monsters you control gain 700 DEF. If a “Rahi” monster(s) you control would be destroyed, you can destroy this card instead.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If you do not control “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand or GY) by changing 1 Level 4 or lower “Rahi” monster you control to Defense Position. If Summoned this way, banish this card when it leaves the field. If this card is banished: You can return 1 of your banished “Rahi” monsters to your GY, except “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi”. You can only use this effect of “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The only piece of legacy support from BBTS here, the Hapaka does its shepherd duty through various defense-related effects. It is also the only one of the current Level 3 Pendulums to not have a proper GY effect, but a summoning condition from hand or GY, and when banished it puts another banished Rahi back in the GY (which unfortunately wouldn’t trigger the “sent to GY” effects).

Mahi, Goat Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 700 / DEF 1500

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
(Quick Effect): You can send 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck to the GY, then destroy this card. You can only use this effect of “Mahi, Goat Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can add 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your Deck to your hand. If this card is banished: You can add 1 of your banished Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monsters that was not banished this turn to your hand. You can only use 1 “Mahi, Goat Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Mahi is absolutely central to the Level 3 GY strategy, since it helps toss your Pendulums over from the Extra Deck, searches the various Level 3s when sent itself, and recycles the used ones when banished. Restricting this one to Beasts would probably really kill the old Level-based grouping.

Brakas, Monkey Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1200 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, if you draw a card(s), except during your Draw Phase: You can banish that card(s); draw 1 more card.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can place 1 “Rahi” card in your Deck on top of your Deck. If this card is banished: You can draw 1 card. You can only use 1 “Brakas, Monkey Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Brakas, meanwhile, is more of an afterthought with effects that revolve around drawing cards. It’s actually an outdated reference to the old version of Matau that also drew cards, because for some reason Matau’s staff is named “Kau Kau” after the sound Brakas make.

My first overarching observation on these cards is that they include some really important tools for the current Level 3 Pendulum lineup that’s all about GY and banishing – Mahi goes without saying, Hapaka is an easy extender, and the Ussal provides multiple forms of revival in one card. Brakas exists, I guess. However, that playstyle cannot actually be realized to its full potential with only Beast Rahi: The cards you’re supposed to use for banishing are the Level 2 Rahi handtraps (which also require banishing a Rahi from GY), and none of those are present in this Type. So if the old strategy is to be kept alive, which I’d kind of like because Level 3 + GY is a match made in heaven and keeps getting support, any change to these cards restricting them to a dedicated Beast Rahi deck is going to be a bit difficult.

Level 4

Fusa, Kangaroo Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1600 / DEF 1300

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If a card in your Pendulum Zone is destroyed: You can place 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck in your Pendulum Zone. You can only use this effect of “Fusa, Kangaroo Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●Your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated during the Battle Phase.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Fusa, like all the current Level 4 Pendulums, Special Summons itself from the Pendulum Zone to an empty field and grants an effect – in this case a Battle Phase effect lock – to any Synchro using it as material. It also replaces another destroyed Pendulum Scale with a Rahi from the Extra Deck, which is part of a little destruction-based subtheme that never really went anywhere.

Vako, Rhino Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1900 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, if a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: You can add 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your GY to your hand. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●If this card attacks or is attacked: Draw 1 card and reveal it, then if it was a “Rahi” monster, you can discard it, and if you do, this card gains ATK equal to half the discarded monster’s ATK until the end of this turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Vako, meanwhile, is very battle-focused, with a recycling Pendulum Effect that triggers when a Rahi wins battle and a Synchro-granted effect to draw and boost ATK when battling.

Unlike the Level 3s, I’d have absolutely no qualm redesigning these to suit a more xenophobic Beast strategy. Both of their effects strongly suggest such a Deck would be focused on primitive beatdown, which does sound quite thematically fitting as well.

Synchros

Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 8 | EARTH Beast | ATK 3000 / DEF 2500

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
At the start of the Battle Phase: You can destroy all face-up or all face-down Spell/Trap Cards on the field, then this card gains 500 ATK for each of your cards destroyed this way, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Mata Nui Cow, Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1800 / DEF 2400

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can destroy Spell/Trap Cards on the field, up to the number of “Rahi” monsters you control. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Add 1 Level 4 or lower “Rahi” monster from your GY to your hand.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

I put these two up together because they both, without any dedicated planning I remember, provide the same service that definitely helps do unga bunga stuff unhindered: Spell/Trap removal. The big Kuma-Nui more or less destroys them all while boosting its own ATK if any of your own cards get hit, and the smaller Mata Nui Cow selectively destroys a few with the extra benefit of giving you a Rahi back to hand later. The Cow’s effects are actually referencing the old effects of Pohatu and Gali (whose parts it is built from), so in the latest version it actually would have to do Spell/Trap destruction and monster negation instead …

Normal Pendulums

Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 3/3 | EARTH Beast | ATK 2600 / DEF 2300

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. While you control exactly 1 “Rahi” monster (and no other face-up monsters), that monster gains 1000 ATK and cannot be destroyed by card effects.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Surprisingly, the Kane-Ra Bull is not a herd animal. Unlike some beasts, it does not require others of its kind for protection.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Muaka, Tiger Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 8/8 | WATER Beast | ATK 2800 / DEF 1900

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. If a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: Gain LP equal to the destroyed monster’s original ATK.
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[ Flavor Text ]
This Rahi relies primarily on its claws when hunting. Sinking them into its prey, it forces the unfortunate victim to the ground and then finishes the job with its teeth. The Muaka will then carry its kill off to a nearby lair.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

These two are currently the most targeted Beast Rahi support available, in the sense that their standard Pendulum Effects require being paired up with another Level 7 Beast (i.e., each other). Their unique effects, again, suggest beatdown. The Kane-Ra significantly buffs a Rahi as long as you control no other monsters, which is a rather specific requirement that could certainly be built around if it stays, and the Muaka rewards you for destroying monsters by battle with LP heals, which … could stand to be more useful, honestly.

Potential Members

Before even looking at the data, there’s a few things I’m specifically interested in based on the existing cards we looked at so far: Candidates for Level 2 handtraps, more Rahi with combat-related traits, and some Beasts that aren’t EARTH.

Actually setting the filter reveals a whopping 27 lines with Beast appearing anywhere in the Type suggestions. Sadly only 2 are Level 2, but there’s always some flexibility with Levels, so no reason to lose hope just yet. More promising is that only 11 of them have EARTH as the only possible Attribute, so the remaining 16 can provide much-needed variety across all the others.

We won’t know about how well they lend themselves to beatdown without looking at the individual creatures, so let’s get right into it. Once again keeping in mind that Level estimates are far from an exact science, it’s probably still not bad to proceed in order of approximate size.

Level 4 and below

The smallest Beasts on record are actually closely related: Lava Rats and Stone Rats, estimated at Level 2 and thus a perfect fit for those missing handtrap Rahi, should we keep that concept. Lava Rats (which appear in Tales of the Masks, possibly earning them a slot in the current expansion BPEV) have the unique ability to set themselves on fire and emerge unharmed, while Stone Rats will just chew through everything up to and including solid rocksbrother – both of these could probably be translated into useful quick effects that maybe even interact with battle somehow.

Slightly larger rodents at Level 3 are the Kinloka, a Kanoka-slinging Stone Rat on steroids, and the Ice Vermin, pack hunters capable of producing Rhotuka. It’s very interesting that both of them happen to feature the launcher gimmick of their respective years, because I have plans on how to integrate those into effects: Kanoka work by manipulating counters to perform actions based on the various powers found in the disks, while Rhotuka reflect the unique abilities each being can imbue into generic energy wheels by having appropriate effects on the monsters themselves that chain to the activation of some basic Rhotuka Spell. So these two Rahi would do something along those lines, already making them quite different from the Level 3s we’ve had so far.

Also at Level 3, we have the Archives Mole, a creature known for excellent cooperation, the Rock Ussal variant, and the Colony Drones that work as slaves under the Visorak. The Drones are part of the Visorak ecosystem contained in the DARK Insect typing, but as unwitting slaves and obvious non-Insects, they are instead LIGHT Beasts (or maybe Beast-Warriors, given the humanoid shape) – most likely we can disregard them for a Beast Rahi deck since they more or less have a home over there. The Rock Ussal is said to be more aggressive than the regular Ussal, so that’s convenient for the intended beatdown playstyle, though the same can’t be said for the peaceful and passive Moles. Maybe those should rather take on an utility role like the regular Ussal.

For the final Level 3 and the first Level 4, we have the VNOG all-stars Gafna and Burnak. I confidently noted these down as Pendulums because how can they not be when they form an iconic pair, and the other interesting aspect is that they each come in a wide array of elemental varieties. There’s two ways I could go about this: Either make several Gafna and Burnak cards that constitute a deck of their own, or make just one each for the regular Beast pool and give them some kind of Attribute manipulation gimmick. I’m strongly leaning towards the latter because there’s no way making 10+ cards for palette swaps of webgame enemies is going to be worth it.

The Crystal Climber is an interesting case because one of its notable traits, namely that it feeds on Ice Bats, suggests an out-of-Type interaction with those. Not really a problem, since I don’t want to make these sub-archetypes too xenophobic anyway (it should be more “Beast Rahi work significantly better when played with other Beast Rahi” than “you cannot play Beast Rahi with non-Beast Rahi”), and that kind of thing would probably only be a subtle interaction.

The Kavinika is a plain and simple wolf Rahi, so that shouldn’t be hard to fit into an aggressive strategy, and the energy-tracking Energy Hounds are one of the easiest imaginable excuses to make a searcher for … something. Finally, the Shallows Cat is a smaller relative of the Muaka that should obviously be played alongside its large Normal Pendulum counterpart.

Level 5 and 6

This range houses Rahi that seem just a little too massive or powerful to play among the low-level fodder, but also aren’t quite up there at boss status. For example, the Archives Beast as a large transforming ambush predator and the Kraawa as a pacifistic creature that absorbs energy and grows in size would fit in here, but both of those might be more at home in the DARK Rahi theme.

From the Rahi Beasts encyclopedia, possible additions to this section of the lineup include

  • the Blade Burrowers, who dig tunnels in a familiar pattern that could even justify linking them to some end-of-story stuff in gameplay. Potentially even higher-level since they’re stated to be very powerful, even if it’s not really evident in their known abilities or story appearances.
    • the Fader Bulls, who teleport away from danger (not always with beneficial results) and so would probably get some kind of temporary self-banishing quick effect. Could be WIND-Attribute as well, since it vanishes “into thin air”.
    • the Rock Raptors, aggressive and territorial creatures who hunt with rockslides. Based on their name, they could also be Dinosaur- or Rock-Type (the latter of which could be used to group them with Spiny Stone Apes, who share their habitat). Curiously, the combiner representing this Rahi has a Rhotuka launcher, but no Rhotuka power is mentioned anywhere.

With regards to the good old beatdown strategy, the most solid idea I’m getting out of these is that the Fader Bull could sneak its way into attacking twice if it can banish itself and come back in the span of a single Battle Phase, which sounds pretty fun to pull off. Also, getting it off the field temporarily could turn the Kane-Ra buff on if exactly one other monster is left behind.

On Voya Nui, there’s the Lava Ape, best known for blocking that one bridge at the start of VNOG, and the carnivorous Mud Crawlers, not really known at all because they were just described briefly. Both of those could be pretty much anything, I guess, and at the very least the big unga bunga gorilla falls perfectly in line with what is planned so far.

Level 7 and 8

For the large Beasts, we have the Ash Bears, who indeed have no notable traits outside being big, but hey, one of them was in Mask of Light. That particular specimen named Graalok was closely associated with Lewa, which might justify a WIND Attribute to break up the EARTH monotony, but it’s kind of a stretch.

A very interesting one is the Kikanalo, a large herd Rahi with an unusually well documented place in its ecosystem. That implies, on the one hand, a subtle out-of-Type interaction with the Catapult Scorpions, who leave the Kikanalo alone because they help them get food, and on the other a perfectly fine in-Type interaction with the Kane-Ra, who form joint herds with them. Never mind the fact that the card design on Kane-Ra is entirely based on it NOT being a herd animal. Maybe I’ll have to go a little less hard on that idea to accomodate this little contradiction in the lore.

The previously mentioned Spiny Stone Apes actually play into this ecosystem as well, since they act as protectors for the Rock Raptors who prey on both Kikanalo and Kane-Ra. By the name, this one could also be a Rock monster, but all the possible interactions with the other Beasts of Metru Nui are a pretty good argument against that.

Speaking of things that could be Rocks, the Rock Lion could be a FIRE monster for either Type due to its white-hot mane … wait, did Bionicle invent Leonite 15 years in advance? Well, anyway, assuming the other rocky names remain as Beasts, this one probably will too, in which case it’s another decent boss monster to have.

The Arthaka Bulls are legendary Rahi who seemingly can’t decide if they’d rather be a centaur or a minotaur, and since they are known for their intelligence, they could be the part of the boss monster lineup that enables some trickery in addition to the usual beatdown. The wiki also (without a source) says something about an Arthaka Bull possibly guarding the Blade Burrower map under Metru Nui, so that suggests synergy in another direction.

And finally, we close this section with another legend, the Key to Nongu Keetongu. This wise biomechanical Sasquatch could totally be a Beast following the precedent set by Danger! Bigfoot!, and with his main quality being healing powers he also represents a more defensive departure from the core strategy. However, with a Rhotuka that can fire back the force of what he blocks, it’s not hard to see how that defense could be put in service of further offense.

Level 12

At the apex of beastly creatures stands none other than the largest land Rahi ever seen on Metru Nui, the posterchild of the book so aptly titled “Rahi Beasts”: The Tahtorak.

Any Synchro archetype should have a giant boss to bring out in a hype way by climbing up to a super high Level, and the kaiju-sized Tahtorak is easily the most suited to fill this role for the Beast Rahi. So with that we already have the initial parameters that it’s a Synchro Monster, somewhere in the 10-12 range (I’d go with 12 because the comparatively tiny Manas are already at 10), and probably an Accel Synchro requiring Synchro monsters as its materials. If it’s Level 12, precedent suggests it should even require 2 non-Tuner Synchros, but that precedent consists entirely of a few specific boss monsters from 5D’s, so maybe we can just ignore it. These days, there’s even plenty Level 12 Synchros that work with regular materials, so that’s always a possibility too. And probably way smarter if we end up keeping the gimmick for the Level 4 Pendulum Monsters as granting effects to Synchros made with them.

Doing that kind of climb consistently, of course, requires significant combo potential, so that has to be kept in mind with all the smaller Beasts. Furthermore, the Tahtorak appears in the story before the Visorak, so it would presumably be released in the same set as the Toa Metru and predate all the support from Rahi Beasts (which would either come out with the Visorak, or in a separate expansion pack if it’s too much), which means the combo already needs to be in place by that point. With 18 Beasts on the spreadsheet up to and including the Metru Nui set BCOL, that should be doable.

So what does it do once it comes out? Well, this thing boasts mainly brute strength and a thick hide, so after going through all the combo what we end up with is once again good old unga bunga beatdown. The Tahtorak’s abilities are that it’s big, has some significant form of protection, and can probably do something like attack multiple times or blow up stuff on the field. Just apply enough of these ingredients to make it a legitimate win condition, and the strategy all comes together.

Conclusions

Since this is the first of the Type-based posts, I’d like to start with a general thought on this method of dividing up Rahi that I hadn’t considered before doing such a detailed analysis. That is, I now doubt a very strict split into Types is going to work for the low-level Rahi – with basic utility effects like the Mahi’s, that would mean either not letting some Types have access to it, or making a version for every single Type. Neither sounds like a very good idea, so going forward we should probably operate under the assumption that different Rahi decks are going to feature some shared lineup of generic utility Rahi, and then go for the Type specialization with the rest of their Main Deck and especially the bosses in the Extra Deck. If possible and thematically fitting enough, we could even make it so these generic Rahi come from otherwise rare Types, so they’re “equally out of place” in all the major strategies.

Another thing to keep in mind is the linear nature of time, as a consequence of which some Rahi will be released significantly earlier than others depending on which part of the story they come from. For the Beast-Types in particular, that means you won’t actually have access to the final win condition (Tahtorak) until BCOL, and the biggest bosses before that are just Muaka, Kane-Ra, Kuma-Nui, and Ash Bears. So there’s a bit of a balancing act in making sure the cards that set up those also work for the stuff released later, ideally while still achieving some degree of playability as long as the sub-archetype is still in an incomplete state. At the same time, a significant number of these cards come after the Tahtorak, so even at the time of BCOL, there should still be some spots left open to be filled with later support. All in all, going to be a bit tricky to figure out.

The next thing that struck my eye is that there are a few more tightly knit groups to be found even within the Type. For example, looking at the Metru Nui rodents (Lava Rat, Stone Rat, Kinloka, Ice Vermin), there’s a few notable connections centered on the Stone Rats in particular: Lava Rats have almost the same name, Kinloka are explicitly similar to them, and Ice Vermin fought them for territory after the Great Cataclysm (this also involved Kavinika, if we look beyond rodents). So something like a “rat engine” using intentional synergies between all of those could legitimately end up happening.

The other major group is the ecosystem of Kikanalo, Kane-Ra, Rock Raptors, and Spiny Stone Apes. I think the most interesting thing is that all of these are somewhat large, so if we were to go the route of Accel Synchro Tahtorak, these might very well be the combo-focused Synchro Monsters that bring it out. Well, except for the Kane-Ra, which is already a Normal Pendulum whose conditional buff is probably also going to be a significant design factor over here.

Finally, there’s some stray pairs such as Blade Burrowers and the Arthaka Bull that guards their tunnels, or Voya Nui’s Gafna and Burnak, but I’m not too sure what to do with those yet.

In any case, the overall strategy Beast Rahi will gravitate towards as more become available is building up into individual large boss monsters – of which there is no shortage at Level 7 and above – ultimately culminating in the giant Tahtorak and winning the game quickly through beatdown. Everything else should just help you do that more consistently or provide you with outs to various methods your opponent could be using to keep you from doing that.

Designer’s Quip: Rahi in the DARK

As the first part of a series investigating different ways to group the many, many Rahi that appear in Bionicle lore, we look at those that could be given the DARK Attribute – signifying either an especially close connection to their Makuta creators or some other aspect of their nature that makes them best described as a creature of darkness.

See also:

Current Members

At the time of this writing, exactly one DARK Rahi has been implemented – the Manas, monster crabs most notable for acting as the guardians of Makuta’s lair in the 2001 story.

Manas, Monstrous Crab Rahi

Effect MonsterLevel 10 | DARK Aqua | ATK 3200 / DEF 2600

Cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn, if a Spell/Trap Card is activated: This card gains 800 ATK until the end of this turn. During your Standby Phase: Return this Special Summoned card to your hand.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

This card is functionally the boss of the Normal Pendulum series of Rahi based on the large sets from that year, though it may seem a little underwhelming, being just a big beatstick with solid protection. Now the fact that it already belongs to a fairly well-established group that I would also like to keep intact speaks against the Manas playing a role in a deck built around DARK Rahi, but maybe it’s possible to set things up so that it fits in both.

Potential Members

A superficial evaluation of the unimplemented Rahi that have DARK among their potential Attributes shows that Insect is easily the most common Type, occuring no less than 13 times – half of the 26 lines in the filter. The remainder is spread quite thinly across a great variety of Types: Aqua, Beast, Beast-Warrior, Dinosaur, Dragon, Fish, Reptile, Rock, Winged Beast, and Zombie.

In terms of Levels, 11 of these Rahi are suggested to be Level 4 or lower, another 11 range from Level 5 to 7, and the last 4 are major bosses at Levels 11 and 12. 8-10 are vacant, but as mentioned in the initial overview, these Level estimates shouldn’t be taken too exactly.

DARK Insects

So what’s the deal with those exactly? One of the most standout names on this list are the Visorak, a subset of Rahi who are sure to get a theme entirely to themselves as the main antagonists of the 2005 storyline. While my primary plan for them so far has been to do the usual thing with color-coded villain squads and spread them across the FIRE/WATER/EARTH/WIND Attributes, I noted down the secondary option of making them all DARK because a) their specific powers aren’t really all that elemental and b) they literally serve the Brotherhood of Makuta, an organizations of beings that are all about darkness.

A further argument in support of the DARK Insect Visorak plan is the significant amount of cards adjacent to the horde that could also be fit into that typing. Not only the Venom Flyers who support them in the air, the Gate Guardians who … guard their gates …, and their ultimate weapon Zivon, but also their relatives, the Silver Chute Spiders, and their nocturnal predators, the Metru Mantis. Almost the entire Visorak ecosystem is included within the category of DARK Insect, which would allow for some nice thematic interactions via support cards addressing that category rather than specifically the Visorak archetype. Also, Inzektor synergy sounds cool.

That just leaves a handful of potential DARK Insect Rahi that have nothing to do with Visorak. For examples, the Archives Beast really only fits into DARK as a non-elemental predator that strikes from the shadows, and could be an Insect to go with its powers of mimicry (common among insects). The “Worms” that appear in exactly one maybe-canon fan story meant to explain why there are Bohrok in the Maze of Shadows game (I’m probably not actually implementing those, but who knows) and the Subterranean Worm are victims of a recurring classification issue – by Yugioh precedent, regular old worms would be assigned the Insect Type, but it doesn’t seem very fitting for the various worm Rahi. So while these two examples could be DARK Insects, I’d probably rather go with alternate options, making the Bohrok-controlling Worms Zombies (to match the Krana) and the subterranean one a Reptile (because it really resembles the Duel Terminal alien “Worms” more than the worms we have in reality). A more convincing random Insect is the Niazesk, which I would make DARK since it’s a venomous pest on a special mission assigned by the Makuta.

Two more DARK Insect candidates can be found on Voya Nui: The Fenrakk Spawn have a few reasons for being DARK – they fit in with the Visorak as fellow spiders, they are described as “monstrous” just like the Manas, and the mutated Fenrakk ridden by Vezon would be nice to have as DARK to suit its status as part of the year’s final boss and to provide convenient setup for the Kardas Dragon (more on that below). The Protodax retains its Insect status from the microscopic Protodites, but could be DARK to signify its “monstrous” nature and hostile demeanor. Having too many DARK Ignika guardians could feel a bit redundant, though, so I’m not too sure about that one. The Spine Slug could be an Insect just like the various worms, but I’m leaning more towards Aqua or Reptile with that one.

To summarize, DARK Insect Rahi is a group that will most likely mainly consist of the Visorak and related Rahi, with some potential bits of legacy support in later years. The various worms and the Archive Beast make it possible that some members show up even earlier, but don’t count on it.

Rahi Nui and the Normal Pendulums

I’m trademarking that band name, by the way.

This section right here is probably the one with the most immediate significance out of all the Rahi planning, because its centerpiece, the Rahi Nui, will get its first release in the BPEV expansions at some point in 2023. This giant beast is described as a mashup of Tarakava, Kane-Ra, Muaka, Nui-Jaga, and Nui-Rama – those Rahi that came out as large sets in 2001 and were adapted as Normal Pendulums in BCOR. There could not be a more obvious successor to the previously shown Manas as the boss monster of that group.

Before rambling on, here’s a quick primer on what’s up with these Normal Pendulum Rahi.

Insect

Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 5 | Scale 3/3 | WIND Insect | ATK 1800 / DEF 1700

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 5 Insect “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. You can target 1 “Rahi” monster you control; Special Summon 1 “Rahi” monster with the same Type and a lower or equal Level from your Deck, but it cannot attack this turn. You can only use this effect of “Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Flavor Text ]
A harsh buzz fills the air…a rustle of wings…a dark shape flying out of the sun…the warning signs of a Nui-Rama attack.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Nui-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 5 | Scale 8/8 | EARTH Insect | ATK 2300 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 5 Insect “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn: You can add 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster in your Extra Deck to your hand, then destroy 1 card in your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Nui-Jaga commonly hunt in packs, which helps to make up for the fact that they are not very fast. One of the creatures will drive prey forward, usually into a canyon, where others wait to strike. Once the target is surrounded, the Nui-Jaga will call to each other. Their cries have been compared to the sound of glass breaking.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Nui-Kopen, Wasp Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WIND Insect | ATK 2100 / DEF 2000

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; excavate cards from the top of your Deck until you excavate a “Rahi” monster, then, if that monster’s ATK is higher than the target’s, send all excavated cards to the GY and take control of the target until the End Phase. Otherwise, Special Summon that monster and shuffle the remaining cards into the Deck.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)
Reptile

Tarakava, Lizard Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 6 | Scale 3/3 | WATER Reptile | ATK 2600 / DEF 1200

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 6 Reptile “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. When an opponent’s monster declares a direct attack: You can destroy this card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck.
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[ Flavor Text ]
The first thing to remember about Tarakava is that even if you can’t see them, they are always there.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Sand Tarakava, Lizard Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 6 | Scale 8/8 | EARTH Reptile | ATK 2300 / DEF 1800

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 6 Reptile “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster you control; place that target in your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Sand Tarakava are slightly smaller than their Tarakava relatives. Their hunting method is to hide under the sand and wait for unsuspecting prey to come near.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Tarakava-Nui, Lizard King Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 7 | WATER Reptile | ATK 2900 / DEF 0

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
You can target 1 monster your opponent controls; this card loses 1000 ATK, and if it does, shuffle that target into the Deck. You can only Special Summon “Tarakava-Nui, Lizard King Rahi(s)” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)
Beast

Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 3/3 | EARTH Beast | ATK 2600 / DEF 2300

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. While you control exactly 1 “Rahi” monster (and no other face-up monsters), that monster gains 1000 ATK and cannot be destroyed by card effects.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Surprisingly, the Kane-Ra Bull is not a herd animal. Unlike some beasts, it does not require others of its kind for protection.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Muaka, Tiger Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 8/8 | WATER Beast | ATK 2800 / DEF 1900

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. If a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: Gain LP equal to the destroyed monster’s original ATK.
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[ Flavor Text ]
This Rahi relies primarily on its claws when hunting. Sinking them into its prey, it forces the unfortunate victim to the ground and then finishes the job with its teeth. The Muaka will then carry its kill off to a nearby lair.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 8 | EARTH Beast | ATK 3000 / DEF 2500

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
At the start of the Battle Phase: You can destroy all face-up or all face-down Spell/Trap Cards on the field, then this card gains 500 ATK for each of your cards destroyed this way, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

These are actually one of the main reasons I started thinking about splitting Rahi into Type-based groups, because that’s already how they work – each of Insect, Reptile, and Beast has a pair of 3/8 Normal Pendulum Scales with the same Level, and a Synchro monster (based on related combiners) that is one Level higher. Beyond this basic structure, they also all share Pendulum Effects that make it so your scales can’t be destroyed and your Pendulum Summons can’t be stopped if you pair them up correctly. Finally, the DARK Manas was meant to top off this package as the large man™ you make by Tributing all your Pendulum Summoned fodder.

The Rahi Nui will also be DARK (kind of a no-brainer when it literally lives in the Place of Shadow), but instead of a large main deck monster it’s going to be the first (and maybe only) Rahi Fusion, as is only fitting for this kind of Frankenstein combination. Without giving away too much of my already fairly specific plans for its effect, I will say that it’s going to 1) interact with both Rahi Normal Monsters and DARK Rahi to simplify its summoning, 2) take on the Types (and maybe Attributes?) of whatever Rahi are used as its material, and 3) provide a way to cheat out matching Synchros. Point 2 is why I have its Type noted as Dinosaur rather than something that fits its canon components – would be a waste to overlap with those, after all. I guess something like Fiend would work even better since it appears nowhere else in the spreadsheet, but I kind of want to keep that one reserved for the Makuta themselves.

With regards to point 1, it’s worth taking another look at the possibly Insect-Type Subterranean Worm, because that one is also planned for BPEV and in fact originates from the exact same novel. If DARK Rahi help bring out the Rahi Nui more easily, it probably would be good to have more than just the Manas, so putting one into the Extra Deck as a Synchro would really boost accessibility. In that case, the Rahi Nui synergy should also be kept in mind for the choice of its Type, though at this point in time I’m not sure of how that impacts it.

There’s also a second Rahi Nui card representing its more powerful original form planned, but that one isn’t until the Metru Nui story, so it’s going to be a while before it comes up.

And the Rest

The remaining Rahi which I noted with the DARK Attribute for one reason or another don’t have all that much to do with each other, so let’s just go over them in order real quick:

  • Kardas was created from a mutated specimen of the Fenrakk Spawn we already saw in the DARK Insect section, so if that is DARK, so is this. Intuitively it makes more sense to have it be FIRE, what with being born in a pool of lava, but there’s already a large Dragon Rahi with a much stronger claim to that Attribute: the Kanohi Dragon. Besides, DARK Dragon is a conveniently well-supported typing on the Yugioh side of things, and some of those also look quite fiery.
  • Krahka is a shapeshifter and therefore pretty hard to classify, but for its Attribute I’d either pick EARTH because it lives underground or DARK because shapeshifting is a “dark magic” kind of power. Similarly, assigning a Type to something that can take various forms is hard, and I just went with Psychic for its supernatural abilites. Having such an unusual Type might be convenient for Rahi Nui reasons … except it won’t help you with the “cheating Rahi out from the Extra Deck” part because no other Rahi has it. Hmmm.
  • Nivawk qualifies for the DARK Attribute by virtue of closeness to Makuta, being pretty much a personal pet. And Winged Beast is actually a Type missing from the Normal Pendulums that the Rahi Nui could put to good use.
  • The Kraawa acts like a black hole with its limitless energy absorption, and so into DARK it goes. Beast is also a decent Type to have represented.
  • The Dark Hunter Minion could technically be a Rahi, though I’m probably not going to go that route. If I did, though, he’d fill the niche of a DARK Beast-Warrior, which is again a Type not really common among Rahi.
  • The Archives Beast was already mentioned as a potential Insect for its mimicry, but could also be a Beast for … you get one guess. However, that’s a bit redundant with the Kraawa, and it’s not like there’s going to be a critical mass of DARK Beasts either way.
  • Energy Hounds could be either LIGHT or DARK since their main ability is “tracking energy”, but I’m leaning more towards LIGHT.
  • The Makuta Fish would be DARK for no deeper reason than it’s name (which is itself kind of a problem because it would be part of the Makuta archetype), but if implemented this way, that would also check off the Fish Type. And since it first appears in Tales of the Masks, it could actually come out together with the Rahi Nui in BPEV.
  • The Spine Slug, a parasite that feeds on the rage of Skakdi, can only be DARK on account of its ability, but as a Slug it’s in a similar ambigouous place as worms when it comes to Type. Aqua and Insect both work, but I almost think Reptile might be the best choice because my current plans make the Piraka (and therefore all Skakdi) Reptiles as well.
  • The Mountain of Xia is a giga-scale Rahi that would be a giant boss monster of the unique DARK Rock typing. Unless I go real fancy and make it a Field Spell …
  • Cliff Screecher and Necrofinch are two DARK Winged Beasts with wonderfully edgy death-related traits, the former being a lich in mythology and a sadistic bastard in reality and the latter somehow continuing to sing after death. Both of these would be good additions as small Rahi with interesting abilities.
  • The Night Creeper is a one-off mention of a nocturnal Rahi that could fill the role of a mid-sized DARK Reptile, if needed.
  • A hybrid of a Rahi and a Shadow Matoran that would be a DARK Beast-Warrior in place of Minion.

What becomes clear from all these examples is that DARK Rahi don’t really take off until Metru Nui, but from there on there’s consistent opportunities for support – mostly Insects, but also others. What they’re missing is a dedicated boss monster, since the Zivon is more for Visorak specifically and The Mountain would be strange (but not technically impossible) to have in such a central role. Maybe the ease of Rahi Nui access is enough to make up for that, especially considering the stronger original form that isn’t directly reflected in the spreadsheet …

Designer’s Quip: The Shapes and Sizes of Rahi

So, uh, Rahi. There’s a lot of them. I tried putting just the ones from Mata Nui into an archetype back in BCOR, and even after the sheer amount of cards forced me to spread them over several design concepts you can mix and match, it ended up as a bit of a mess. My current plan to (eventually) improve on this involves introducing a clearer division based on Types and maybe Attributes, which would enable more focused deckbuilding and support.

Rahi were pretty much present throughout the entire story taking place in and around the Matoran Universe, so there will frequently be new ones for many expansions to come. That means I need to be careful to not design myself into a corner, especially if the overhaul is going to put the cards into more specific niches. Hence the point of this post: Taking a look at all the Rahi on record and determining which Monster Card properties they should get!

… It may be a bit silly to refer to this one as a “quip”.

The Raw Data

Based on the Rahi page on BS01, I have put together a spreadsheet outlining how I imagine all these critters would work as cards.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rbmHNEC0MVAyZotXg8HlXebirKiDcIXudsqRERQYHpM/edit?usp=sharing

The Raw sheet lists them in descending order of relevance (ranging from those that got mainline sets or were central to the story all the way down to those Greg Farshtey made up on the spot to describe some noise), while the Stats sheet counts the prevalence of a few different categories.

Since Types and Attributes are often not entirely clear-cut, I’ve left myself the freedom of picking up to three choices per Rahi for these properties, ranked in order of preference.

Observations

Let’s begin by making some broad statements based on aggregate statistics. Of the 166 Rahi considered, 44 have already been implemented in expansions up to and including BBTS. Since anything with a relevance of 2 or below is somewhat unlikely to ever be implemented, we can stick with the 127 above that treshold and say we’re about a third of the way through (though some already implemented Rahi are from the lower relevance levels). Looking at these numbers, a fully realized Rahi archetype would easily be one of the largest in the game, which just reinforces that it’s probably a good idea to split it up a bit.

But how to split it? A look towards the Attribute and Type distributions provides some hints. With regards to the former, we can see that most Rahi are EARTH or WATER, a significantly lower number are FIRE or WIND, and even fewer LIGHT or DARK. However, DARK has an especially large difference between the count of Rahi that could be DARK and the count of Rahi that I would preferrably make DARK – meaning it’s often considered as an alternate option. Given the Rahi’s status as creations of the DARK Makuta, I somewhat like the idea of giving that Attribute a special role in the archetype and have them form their own distinct type of deck together.

For everything else though, my preferred method of organization would be by Types. In a nice parallel to EARTH and WATER, two of the most prevalent Types are Beast and Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent (they already share so much support, might as well count them together), along with Insect. Reptile and Winged Beast are smaller, but still major groups, and then everything else just contains a few outliers each.

Another division that’s already in use to some extent is the one by Levels, but in the making of this list it became apparent that assigning Rahi a Level based on their size is a pretty approximate affair, and really just about any Level 4 could also convincingly be Level 3, for example. So it might be better to leave the exact decision up to gameplay considerations.

That gives us a few specific groups of Rahi to examine in detail. When I started writing this, the plan was to go over them all right away, but out of consideration for what is left of my and my readers’ sanity, I have now decided to split them up into separate posts.

The links can be found here once they’re done:

  • DARK Rahi
  • Beast Rahi
  • Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent Rahi
  • Insect Rahi
  • Reptile Rahi
  • Winged Beast Rahi
  • Type Leftovers
  • Ambush Predators

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.