Designer’s Quip: Matoran’s Best Friend

Oh golly, finally a post that talks about something else than Rahi and …

nah, tricked you, still a Rahi post. But only one more to go after this, so we have in fact reached peak penultimacy. I’m not sure that’s a word, but at the very least it’s a combination of letters that has been typed before.

See also:

Concept

Certain Rahi appear not only in the wild, but also fill significant roles within Matoran society, particularly its more rural incarnation on the island of Mata Nui. Whether they are used as beasts of burden, kept as pets, or handle more specific tasks, that is a relationship that would be nice to reflect in card design.

To some extent, this has already been done from the Matoran side:

Matoran Racer Onepu

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 700 / DEF 500

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 of your banished EARTH monsters; place it on the bottom of the Deck, then you can reveal any number of “Matoran” monsters in your hand, and if you do, gain 500 LP for each. During your Main Phase: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Beast “Rahi” monster from your hand or GY, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use each effect of “Matoran Racer Onepu” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.20.4)

Matoran Pilot Kongu

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WIND Warrior | ATK 800 / DEF 400

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can send 1 Winged Beast “Rahi” monster from your hand or Deck to the GY, and if you do, this card can attack your opponent directly this turn. You can only use this effect of “Matoran Pilot Kongu” once per turn. When this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can banish 1 WIND monster from your GY, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls with DEF less than or equal to that banished monster’s ATK; destroy it.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.20.4)

These two individuals whose occupations both involve riding certain types of Rahi interact with just that in-game Type, providing a point of synergy that justifies mixing a Rahi or two into an appropriate Koro deck. In the other direction, the interaction is a bit less targeted and stems mainly from that small group of Rahi that provide a generic revival effect for their respective Attributes – as we will see in a moment.

To summarize the question at hand: What is the best way to encode these connections between Matoran and Rahi into designs going forward?

Implemented

For four of the six Attributes, we already have one Rahi each that helps out by bringing back other matching monsters from the GY. Most prominent in this group are the EARTH and WIND ones that are already involved in combos with the Matoran shown above.

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 Ussal is a crab that sees widespread use among Matoran for … more or less anything you might use a horse for in our world. Transporting passengers or cargo, riding into battle, racing for sport, and all that stuff. Their chief employers are the Onu-Matoran and, on Metru-Nui, also the Le-Matoran. Between being strictly ground-based creatures and their special skill of helping with tunnel-digging, it’s clear EARTH is the most reasonable Attribute to support.

The other effects are specific to Rahi, so a Matoran deck won’t derive any benefit from them (though they do theoretically work with additional copies of the card). This isn’t necessarily a problem, since the synergy already functions fine when built around the single generic effect, but we will have to reconsider the in-archetype interactions in light of the shift to Type-based substrategies. Perhaps in that process, we could take some care to give the Rahi in this little category abilities that, to some extent, still apply in a non-Rahi deck – like recycling themselves, for example.

Kewa, Vulture Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 1400 / DEF 400

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If you control no other cards: You can add 1 WIND monster from your Deck to your hand, except “Kewa, Vulture Rahi”, and if you do, destroy this card during the End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Kewa, Vulture Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WIND monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can add 1 “Rahi” card from your GY to your hand. You can only use 1 “Kewa, Vulture Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Gukko and its subspecies, including the Kewa, are the aerial steeds used in Le-Koro, and thus a close counterpart to the Ussal. It only makes sense then, to make it the WIND representative of the same category, and indeed much of what we said for the crab also applies to the vulture. The Pendulum Effect on this one is actually extremely useful in generic WIND decks, being able to search basically anything as long as you use it on an empty field, but it also definitely isn’t surviving a redesign, so eh.


Daikau, Floral Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Plant | ATK 1500 / DEF 300

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
You can send 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck to the GY; all monsters your opponent currently controls lose ATK equal to that monster’s ATK, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Daikau, Floral Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WATER monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can discard 1 “Rahi” card, then target 1 monster with 2000 or less ATK on the field; destroy it. You can only use 1 “Daikau, Floral Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Infernavika, Lava Bird Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | FIRE Winged Beast | ATK 1100 / DEF 800

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, at the start of the Battle Phase: You can target 1 face-up monster you control; this turn, when that target battles an opponent’s monster, destroy both monsters at the start of the Damage Step, except FIRE monsters.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower FIRE monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can banish the top card of your Deck; add this card to your Extra Deck face-up. You can only use 1 “Infernavika, Lava Bird Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Now the WATER and FIRE members don’t get more than a footnote in this article, because neither the Daikau nor the Infernavika are in any way utilized by Matoran (and the former technically isn’t even a Rahi). I just gave them these effects to round out the quartet as an afterthought, and they’re probably not keeping them.

Of course, this does raise the question of who should instead fill the niche for these Attributes – would be unfair for only half the villages to have Rahi support, after all. Ta-Koro is a bit out of luck here, since it seems like the only real candidates are an elemental recolor of Po-Koro’s Mahi and an unnamed six-legged fox … not exactly the most worthwhile things to turn into cards.

We do, however, have one more legitimate option for Ga-Koro.

Keras, Crab Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Aqua | ATK 1400 / DEF 500

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
At the start of the Damage Step, if a monster you control with 1000 or less ATK battles an opponent’s monster: You can destroy this card, and if you do, that monster you control gains 1400 ATK until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Keras, Crab Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can target 1 Level 4 or lower monster on the field; that target is unaffected by Spell/Trap effects until the end of this turn. If this card is banished: You can target 1 Set card on the field; destroy it. You can only use 1 “Keras, Crab Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Keras are a more aquatic kind of crab that served as special steeds to the Ga-Matoran when they were fighting off the Bohrok swarms. This is reflected by their effects that actually all work generically to either support those with low ATK and/or Levels (Hint: that includes Matoran), or fight against face-down cards (Hint: Bohrok are Flip Monsters). That’s kind of a step up in terms of splashable design compared to what we saw so far, but given the clear parallels to Ussal and Kewa, replacing some part of these abilities with the WATER revive currently held by the Daikau is under serious consideration.


Now, moving on to Rahi that have been implemented, but failed to receive any mechanics reflecting their canon domestication. There’s a surprising amount of these.

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)

Mahi are iconic for the herds of them that can be seen (and heard) in MNOG’s Po-Koro, but their usefulness as livestock has only been adapted here in the sense that they provide a lot of helpful utility effects to the Rahi archetype. One idea I have for an overhaul is to have an effect that not only provides a bit of generic utility, but also resembles some part of what Po-Koro does – the destruction replacement effect, for example, was specifically based off the Mahi trading happening in the village!

Husi, Ostrich Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Winged Beast | ATK 1700 / DEF 1100

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If a card in your Pendulum Zone is destroyed: You can Special Summon 1 face-up Level 4 or lower “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck. You can only use this effect of “Husi, Ostrich 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.
●If this card is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the GY: Target 1 “Rahi” monster in your GY with a lower Level than this card; Special Summon it.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Husi plays a similar role as livestock slash trade item, and in this case the effect it gives to a Synchro Monster is based on the idea of “trading”. But again, nothing here in any way works outside the Rahi archetype, so adjustments will have to be made if we want Matoran synergy.

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)

For the protection of their Mahi herds and Husi flocks, the Po-Matoran employed Hapaka. Accordingly, the effects on this one are themed around protecting other Rahi (or in case of the banish one, “returning them to the herd”), but again locked into the archetype specifically. Adjusting it for use with Matoran is going to be a bit awkward because the color scheme and their habitat in the mountains suggest to me that it’s an Ice Rahi, thus WATER … but it’s mainly used in Po-Koro, which wants EARTH. A though nut.

Since these three are so explicitly connected and all belong to the Beast/Beast-Warrior/Winged Beast typings, I could actually see them primarily acting as a small synergistic group within that strategy. Then maybe helping out Matoran could be kept to a largely symbolic level, with effects that can technically work in a Po-Koro deck, but don’t necessarily have to be so good you actually would use them.

Dikapi, Ostrich Rahi

Synchro Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 5 | EARTH Winged Beast | ATK 1000 / DEF 1650

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can choose a number from 1 to 4; reduce this card’s Level by that number, then take damage equal to that number x 300. When using this Synchro Summoned card as a Synchro Material, you can use 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster in your Extra Deck (and no other monsters) as the other Synchro Material.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

On a less prominent note (in fact I wasn’t aware of this previously), the Dikapi apparently were also tamed by Po-Matoran, but as mounts for scouts and messengers rather than for trading. As the resident Synchro Tuner, this is a key piece in the Beast & co Synchro climb strategy, so I’m having a hard time imagining it redesigned in a way that also works with decks using Matoran. But maybe there is a chance if the materials are adjusted to make it feasible? Po-Koro does also want to spam stuff from the Extra Deck, after all. Side note, since the Dikapi’s big selling point is endurancem, and strong grind game is all the hotness in Yugioh these days, it would be nice if it did something related to that.

Moa, Bird Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 1300 / DEF 600

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
You can banish 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck; this card’s Pendulum Scale becomes the same as that monster’s, and if it does, destroy this card during the End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Moa, Bird Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can shuffle 1 of your banished “Rahi” cards into the deck. If this card is banished: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your hand. You can only use 1 “Moa, Bird Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

To continue and complete the theme that Po-Matoran will tame anything, the Moa also appeared domesticated in the one game that included it. But that was only one individual Rahi, so honestly it’s probably better to just ignore that unless we happen to figure out a really subtle way to include it.


Gukko-Kahu, Hawk Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 2500 / DEF 1000

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Synchro Summoned: Draw 1 card. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Add 1 “Rahi” monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each effect of “Gukko-Kahu, Hawk Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

What we can’t ignore is the Gukko-Kahu, the larger of the birds ridden by Le-Koro’s aerial cavalry. This is another case where the domestication was translated into effects with broad utility, but in this case one of them is a simple draw, so that’s even generic. Once again, an adjustment of materials might be all it takes to make this justifiable in a Le-Koro deck. Those aren’t explicitly about Synchro Summoning, but with Makani in there, they certainly can.

Potential Members

Now on to those candidates that have not yet received cards. This could be because we haven’t reached their part of the story yet, or because they were just deemed too irrelevant.

By that latter category, I really just mean the Lightfish, the shiny little things you see floating in Ga-Koro’s lamps in MNOG backgrounds. If implemented, they would go into the Fish/Aqua/Sea Serpent strategy that centers on effect-based removal and disruption, while also helping the Ga-Matoran playstyle that wants as many quick effects as possible. That does sound like a winning combination at first, but then things stop aligning when you consider the Attribute – wouldn’t this one have to be LIGHT going by the name? When Ga-Koro has one of the most xenophobic Attribute limitations of all the villages? I guess you could work around it a bit if it was able to banish itself from the GY as cost for a quick effect, but still, doesn’t sound too optimal. And just making it WATER feels so boring.

Anyway, I think that does it for the Rahi species that were domesticated on the island of Mata Nui. It’s worth mentioning that the Mask of Light movie prominently figures a specific Ussal and Gukko that are both going to get their own cards in the next expansion, but I already have a fairly solid plan in place to make those work primarily in the Mask of Light deck while having some secondary utility for Rahi decks.


The years of 2004 and beyond, of course, introduced some more Rahi kept by Matoran. With the wolf-like Kavinika, taming them and using them as guard dogs ended in failure, so maybe giving them outside synergy isn’t even the right move. But I think it would be funny if I manage to figure out a technically generic effect that looks enticing to include in Ga-Metru decks, but ends up not working in practice due to debilitating drawbacks that bite you in the ass. Not exactly an easy balancing task, though.

Razor Whales, gentle giants of the sea, can also be tamed and ridden by Matoran once their tail spines fall off in old age. This gives us the interesting case of a Rahi that joins the domesticated group with a delay, which is mechanically problematic in a speed freak game like this one. Perhaps it could work in a way where it has one effect representing its young self, and using that one immediately enables a second one that has it acting as a mount. And like many large Rahi, there’s a good chance this would be a Synchro, so this is another case where we might want it to be generic for use with Matoran.

The Kikanalo is a bit of a questionable inclusion, since they aren’t exactly kept by Matoran. Rather, they’re accidentally beneficial due to the Protodermis they dig up – which is also appreciated by other Rahi like Catapult Scorpions. It stands to reason that this trait may translate into some (semi-)generic way to generate (excavate?) resources, but I don’t think it needs to be tuned to the point where you’d actually use it in a Po-Metru deck or anything like that. There’s also the matter of Toa Lhikan riding a Kikanalo in his set representation, but that never comes up in the lore and is also sufficiently explained by Lhikan being just that badass, so I don’t think it needs to be addressed from the Rahi side.


Moving on to Voya Nui, there isn’t really much worth mentioning – even the native Rock Ussal were never seen domesticated, probably because they’re a more aggressive breed.

But even in this kind of hostile ecosystem, the Le-Matoran Piruk specifically still managed to have a pet, namely a tame Burnak. Since this is such a minor one-time thing in side media, much like Lhikan’s Kikanalo, it should be sufficient to maybe include some unassuming piece of synergy with whatever Piruk ends up doing.


And as the last hurrah of Rahi getting along with Matoran, we dive into the waters of Mahri Nui and find Hydruka at work in the air fields. In a first since Mata Nui, we’re looking at a Rahi that appeared primarily in a domesticated state, so that definitely should be a significant part of the effect design. They harvest the air bubbles that are essential to the survival of the underwater Matoran, which makes me think their role should be to provide whatever in-game resource will end up representing that. Of course, this being 2007 story material that won’t be implemented for ages, the details are still fuzzy at best.

Finally, we do also have two more cases of specific individuals being tamed, rather than a species as a whole.

One is the Energy Hound Spinax, guard dog of The Pit. While their looks and abilities indicate they might very well be serving similar roles in a lot of other places, we only ever see one of them. Since their skill at tracking was always going to be the primary guide for their design anyway, domestication status probably doesn’t even make a difference here. Throwing in a pit (this was a typo but I’m leaving it) of synergy with all the other stuff surrounding The Pit only makes sense, of course.

The other, as I am just realizing, may actually be a throwback to the Ussal and to Pewku in particular, since we’re talking about a Hahnah crab kept by Jaller.

While it didn’t do much other than act as a Cordak mount, I could see it belonging less with other Rahi and more with the Toa Mahri archetype as a “team pet” of sorts. The affinity for heat also suggests FIRE synergy, so you really don’t have to look hard to find generic usage for this one.

Conclusion

Rahi domestication was primarily a focus during the Mata Nui years, so a large part of the cards to consider here have already been implemented. However, since only a select few of them actually incorporate synergy with Matoran, this is going to be a major point to consider in upcoming redesigns. So far, the main direction has been support based on the Attribute, which I intend to keep at least for the Ussal and Kewa, since those already work pretty well with their Matoran handlers. The Keras may also join this group, but at the same time its present incarnation shows a different approach of having the card generically help with the task for which it was tamed.

When it comes to the remaining Rahi, it would of course be nice to have a proper FIRE member so every village gets a helping Rahi, but it’s a bit unfortunate that the first real opportunity for that is the Hahnah all the way in 2007. Others can be categorized either as being domesticated at large scale for a given purpose, or as wild creatures that beneficially interact with the Matoran population in some spots, or as pets that belonged to certain individuals. I believe the Keras model of just doing something generically helpful and thematically appropriate should work fine for the first two types, while the final one is easily handled by synergizing specifically with the pet’s owner.

An interesting thought that cropped up along the way is that large Rahi like the Kahu or the Razor Whale, which are generally expected to be Synchro Monsters, could be made accessible to Matoran and others by simply making their materials fully generic. This potentially simplifies effect design compared to main deck cards, since you can then incorporate them in a combo without needing to justify running a non-archetypal brick.

Finally, I want to make sure that these Rahi, while capable of helping Koro and other non-Rahi decks, do also still have a spot in their native Rahi strategies. After all, a big reason to split those up by Type was always that it simplifies design of anything added to the archetype later, and that’s especially useful when you have the extra challenge of also making it work outside the archetype.

It also helps, as I’m just noticing, that all the Rahi covered here come from only two Type groups: Beast/Beast-Warrior/Winged Beast and Fish/Aqua/Sea Serpent. No Reptiles or Insects to be found, and nothing exotic either if we (rightfully) ignore the Daikau. In other words: We now know everything except those two groups is free to throw around archetype locks and such without having to worry about ruining some lore-friendly hybrid in the distant future!

Designer’s Quip: Surprise Rahi

Boo! Bet you didn’t expect another one of these! What, you obviously did because there are several unaddressed items left in the overview? Shut up and pretend otherwise for the sake of my joke, because this is the Ambush Predator article.

Much like an ambush, this should be relatively quick since it’s such a small group, but let’s see what there is to cover.

See also:

Concept

The reason I’m specifically highlighting this one as a “behavioral grouping” in addition to those that go by card properties is that it appears prominently in the traits of a few different Rahi, and translates fairly nicely to card game mechanics. So naturally, it would be nice to have a somewhat consistent way of representing ambush predation, though we may need to differentiate based on the broader deck types each Rahi is meant to play a role in. Today’s goal is getting a handle on exactly that.

The Rahi Who Predate Ambushingly

An early and already implemented example of an Ambush Predator is the Tarakava, as evidenced by its flavor text.

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)

What’s relevant here is the Pendulum Effect that Special Summons in response to an attack, “ambushing” the opponent with a monster they couldn’t see – but it was always there. Never mind that they could technically see it in the Pendulum Zone, we can’t exactly give a Normal Monster a hand effect.

This effect implements the idea of a sudden Tarakava attack, but also somewhat ties into the broader planned Reptile Rahi playstyle that’s supposed to be all about moving monsters back and forth between Monster and Pendulum Zones (and a future overhaul would probably align with that even more closely). A Beast-Type employing the same hunting tactic, by comparison, may have received a version of the effect that doesn’t mess around with Pendulum Zones in the same way.

We should probably consider a quick statistical rundown of the remaining Ambush Predators, which I have marked as candidates for the “Flip” subtype in the spreadsheet. These make up a modest total of 5 Rahi, consisting of 2 Insects, 1 Reptile, 1 Beast and 1 Winged Beast.


On the Insect side, the general plan calls for making them weird and toolboxy, with the option of integrating them with other Rahi Types or the established Insect pile. The latter has its own prominent ambush predator in Infinite Antlion, popping out of the hand and then popping the opponent’s cards during battle. We could use this as reference, however we must keep in mind there’s a significant difference between this Level 3 and the substantially larger 5- and 6-star Rahi noted down as ambushing Insects.

One is the Chute Lurker, a Visorak combiner that could also be Aqua because it’s amphibious and could also get away with being a Level 4, but my instinct from just looking at it leans more towards a high-level Insect. Its ambushes take the form of grabbing prey that comes flying around curves in the Le-Metru Chute System, so the exact implementation of its effects will hinge on how we end up representing that stuff. In any case, the Flip idea where it would be triggered by the opponent attacking it sounds much too slow for such a speedy context, so more likely it’d be something from the hand again. Maybe related to some measure of speed like when your opponent is drawing/summoning/activating too much stuff in a short period of time.

By comparison, the Tunnel Stalker’s wait-and-lurk approach to hunting would actually go well with it sitting face-down, “under the sand”, and assaulting whatever dares walk over it. The tricky part is also providing enough general utility to be worth playing when your chances to get off the battle effect as planned aren’t exactly going to be high, but I imagine we could just have it offer a weaker version of its gimmick from hand and/or GY as a less high-roll alternative.

There’s actually a third maybe-Insect, which also happens to be our first probably-Beast. You see, typing tends to be a bit uncertain on shapeshifters like the Archives Beast, so my two main options are to go with what’s mentioned in the name or the kind of animal most known for mimicry. Either way, the unique method of ambush by shapeshifting means we’re probably combining the element of surprise with one of copying properties of other cards – maybe more than just monsters, given that its part in the story had it posing as a room. As an Insect, this would probably be implemented in a fairly simple and straightforward manner to work as a standalone tool, while as a Beast, I could see it being more of a inherited effect in the same vein as the current Level 4 Pendulums, aiding that Type’s goal of climbing into big Synchro bosses. And if it’s instead a Reptile – could be – then it might do something like destroying a Spell/Trap to take its zone and then assault monsters from there.

As a sister Type to Beasts, the Winged Beast representative Vahki Hunter would likely be worked into the same Synchro climb strategy, but might up being itself one of the mid-tier bosses since it’s pretty damn big. As previously noted, its diet of mostly machinery should manifest in some kind of bonus against Machines, but the broader effect representation of its ambushing tactics should be generically usable to have any relevance. It attacks the tail end of passing Vahki squads, so maybe something “at the end of the Battle Phase”, to somewhat keep with the beatdown theme?

And finally, the Swamp Stalker is a Reptile that hunts much like a crocodile … which is just the Tarakava all over again. Except this one doesn’t punch and is smaller, even more so when it’s not a mutant specimen. I struggle to think of anything super original it could do while aligning with the scale manipulation gimmick, so maybe the Reptiles just need to cook a bit more before we settle on something here. It’s from Karda Nui, so there’s ample time.

Conclusion

I definitely don’t get the impression that my very first idea of making the Ambush Predators a cohesive Flip-based strategy has any chance of panning out at all. The different types they span simply have too widely varying needs and gimmicks, and mechanics based on ambushing aren’t a strong enough focus to easily work as a completely standalone thing with so few members.

Instead, what’s probably going to happen is that they all end up as unrelated pieces of their own native strategies, offering different takes on ambush-based effects depending on what most helps the decks they’re supposed to go in.

But maybe, just as a little gag, we could set things up so eventually a support card can be made that works for specifically those scattered Rahi? Like by making them all Flip monsters after all (that don’t necessarily rely on flipping), or using a common statline, or have an effect pattern that could be referenced by a “that has an effect that …” clause. We’ll see, not like it matters too much.

Designer’s Quip: Rahi with a side of …

A little addendum to the Rahi Type groupings that were recently completed, because for some reason I neglected to go over generic support cards that already exist for each Type – even though those should play a major role in any design decision, whether you want to ensure synergy or deliberately conflict for balancing reasons.

We’ll go over this for each of the major Types that contain a lot of Rahi, which means this article can also double as a collected recap of the results previously reached for each of them. The minor Types that only contain a few Rahi can be disregarded since they either don’t cover enough cards to matter much, or they have a very specific playstyle that will have to be engineered from scratch once we get there anyway.

Beast

Main Article

Playstyle: Beatdown with big Synchro bosses

One option that immediately comes to mind is Tri-Brigade, a Link-spamming engine of the three Types Beast, Beast-Warrior, and Winged Beast. Now this is already kind of at odds with the concept of the Beast Rahi as an aggressive Synchro spam that should eventually end on the massive Tahtorak, but perhaps a free Link monster somewhere could be a useful bonus. The Tri-Brigades do not technically lock us out of any Synchro plays, for what it’s worth.

In fact, their proper Beast member Kerass does something that lines up pretty well with how Rahi currently function: It discards a monster from hand to Special Summon itself, which is one of the ways to trigger the GY effects on our Pendulum Rahi. And the effect to cheat out a Link that all Tri-Brigades share has a cost to banish, so that’s the trigger for the other standard Rahi effect right there.

Another classic support card is Obedience Schooled, a mass Special Summon of Level 2 or lower Beasts from the Deck. The low Level cutoff, effect negation, and strict Beast lock prevent the card from working too well in most recent Decks that use Beasts, and similar issues apply to Rahi – for one thing, the Beast Rahi start at Level 3 currently, and by current design patterns, all Level 2s would be Tuners anyway. Though if that last point were to change, this card would be easy Synchro access up to Level 6 …

Still not as easy as Cattle Call, however, because that just trades any Beast for a Beast Synchro of any Level, or another Extra Deck monster of the same Type. It’s not allowed to do anything, of course, but being easy fodder for an Accel Synchro might already be enough value by itself if you’re trying to do a Tahtorak combo. That said, there’s one thing to be careful about: This card sends from field to GY as cost, which means it straight up doesn’t work with Pendulums. That might be an issue.

What doesn’t fall into this trap is Tributing, which brings us to Cocatorium. Of course, the real point of this one would be the effect that banishes from your Deck as cost, providing pretty much the best way to trigger those on-banish effects. Sure, it’s technically a Winged Beast, but not after it resolves the effect. And we might join those Types together a bit anyway, considering the whole Tri-Brigade shtick.

Other options like Melffys and the Mystical Beasts suffer from the same Level 2 or lower issue we saw on Obedience Schooled, so they probably won’t be usable.

Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent

Main Article

Playstyle: Board control via removal effects

Looking at the Types mixed together here and the strategy they’re supposed to be following, the first and foremost thing to come to mind is the non-archetypal series of cards colloquially known as “Generation Fish“. After all, it consists of small Level 3 Aqua, Fish, and Sea Serpent monsters that use their effects to remove stuff from the field and gradually inflict damage, with the added element of banishing themselves … a thing that Rahi very much also do.

Numerous support cards such as the beautifully named Counter Trap Oh F!sh! or Fish and Kicks further reinforce the idea that getting banished is what you’re supposed to do under the seas, so going into that direction almost seems to be the only reasonable choice. Of course, most of these cards are pretty old, so they might not be useful directly, but the general design pattern continues to be used to this day – just look at Minairuka, a card from <the current year> of 2023.

Also recent and related, though only to the Fish third, is the whole Ghoti archetype. In their case, banishing facilitates Synchro plays, making the connection to another of the general properties Rahi have – in contrast to the Generation Fish, which were more made for Xyz. Now the unfortunate part about these is that they only work with Fish, so mixing them into the deck might run into some conflicts. Maybe the Extra Deck ones would work fine though, that could be interesting to try.

A similar one-Type support card is the iconic Deep Sea Diva, though she should be comparatively easy to integrate since you don’t need a critical mass of Sea Serpents or anything – just one good low-level Sea Serpent Rahi somewhere in the Deck would be enough to get value. Which, looking at the analysis again, is actually not certain to ever exist. But if it does after all, this would be a good way to get to it.

And while we’re on the topic of classic moist monsters already, can’t forget the whole Mermail and Atlantean archetypes, with their members spread across just these three Types. Rather than banishing, these cards like to have WATER monsters sent to the GY, especially from the hand. That, once again, is something Rahi in their current state also enjoy being involved in, so it’s looking more and more like the Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent segment especially should stick with the focus on those particular mechanics.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that the Mermail and Atlantean gimmick is based on the WATER Attribute rather than any Types, so the synergy might be limited to only a (fairly large) part of the Rahi under consideration here – maybe there will be multiple ways to build decks depending on what support you want to align with.

Insect

Main Article

Playstyle: Broad toolbox that can be mixed with other deck types

Insects are kind of known for having a long history of support that somehow all works together in a big pile (kind of like Dinosaurs), so let’s see if we can make it through all that.

Starting with the gross ones, the “C”s have special synergy with Insect decks, specifically those that fit Contact‘s requirement of EARTH and <1500 ATK. Among the Rahi, our beloved Fikou already falls in that range, and the spreadsheet lists a lot of other tiny EARTH critters that eventually could. But in an environment where the Maxx one is banned, the roaches probably aren’t the most relevant support cards.

Sticking with the Contact-searchable EARTH Insects, there’s also Resonance Insect, a monster with one effect when sent to the GY and another when banished … wait a minute that’s just a Rahi. Maybe the real mid-Level Insect Rahi were the generic support cards Konami made along the way. Gokipole fits too, to some extent, despite our lack of Level 4s in the Rahi archetype proper. Level 5 and up for Resonance has some options though, and the part where it mills an Insect is always going to have its uses.

Another card that can do that, and is often used with the ones mentioned before, is Giant Ballpark. It can send any Level 4 or lower Insect, which covers most of the Rahi that might be relevant, and gets a bonus for Normal Monsters, which unfortunately doesn’t work because our only Normals are Nui-Jaga and Nui-Rama , merely one Level too high. I don’t think it’s worth wasting a slot on a low-Level Normal Insect Rahi just to enable that litte bit of extra swarming.

We’ve already seen that the generic support covers the GY/banish aspect of mid-Level Rahi monsters, but what about the Synchro stuff? Well, there are some good Insect Tuners available as well, such as Dragonbite or Fairyant – once again, a Level 3 and a Level 4, just the area where Insect Rahi are scarce. Given that the generic Tuners are here as well, it might make sense to have some non-Tuners among the various small Insect-Type Rahi monsters.

Speaking of Fairyant, that card is shared support for Insects and Plants, which is actually a pretty common combination. Hell, it even has its own Dragon Ruler in Beargram, who would be pretty fun to use for a Rahi build as well. Plant Rahi were already discussed in the article about the weirdly Typed ones, with the conclusion that there’s at most one of them, so there won’t be a lot happening on that front. Luckily Beargram works even with just Insects.

That more or less covers the generic pile stuff, but we’re far from done yet. Because now, there are still various Insect archetypes, most of which interact and mix with the pile in some way. The shit you have to put up with just to properly design some bugs.

Battlewasps are the main representative of Insect Synchro in the actual game, though I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen anyone in the wild playing them as an archetype. For the most part, their relevance is anchored entirely by the fact that Pin the Bullseye is a free Special Summon that aligns conveniently with time rules at tournaments, so we might be fine ignoring them. Maybe not entirely, since the fact that Rahi also make Synchros (if Insects end up following that) might make these cards fit in better than they usually do.

With some more relevance in the current decade, we have Beetroopers, a well-disciplined army of insects that literally does not even know what a Synchro is. Instead they spam Links and sometimes Fusions, which is of some interest for Rahi purposes since we already said Insects might not actually be a Synchro-based strategy and instead branch out in the Extra Deck a bit. Even without that, there’s interesting things in the Beetrooper Main Deck, be it free summons or the searchable Counter Trap.

And since we’re going through the Extra Deck Types already, Xyz have Digital Bugs. I guess. They’re a Rank 3-7 LIGHT Insect strategy with a gimmick of changing battle positions (also built on by other Insects like Cicada King). Given the general lack of Insect Rahi in those middle Levels, I feel like we wouldn’t be able to make these work even if we did go in an Xyz direction. Plus they specifically need LIGHT Insects, of which we don’t have many in the spreadsheet either.

Finally, a special mention goes to Inzektors for being a DARK Insect archetype, which is a typing we have already strongly considered for Visorak in particular. However, they themselves don’t really interact with the DARK Attribute in any special way, so their gimmick of equipping monsters to each other might be of interest for other Insect builds as well. For example, Picofalena is often used to set up Resonance Insect’s effect, so maybe similar Rahi effects could also benefit – except you can’t get Pendulums to the GY that way …

Overall, I don’t get the feeling there’s going to be much success integrating the existing generic support into such a thing as an Insect Rahi deck. Those engines and combos are already so complete that going out of our way to align with them would more likely just make our Rahi work in service of the standard Insect pile. Now I do want to do something with banishing since that has historically been a Rahi thing and Beargram is too juicy to pass up, but beyond that I’ll probably not go out of my way to connect to anything here.

But also, given the idea of Insect Rahi as a portable toolbox, it’s possible they’ll be given the role of generic shared Rahi support rather than being their own strategy. And in that case, having a second life as part of an unrelated big bug spam deck may prove entertaining.

Reptile

Main Article

Playstyle: Midrange deck with backrow/Pendulum Scale manipulation gimmick

Alright, here’s Snake Rain. The fact that triggering 4 GY effects at once is always just one unsearchable Spell and a discard away is pretty much a key design guideline for all Reptile archetypes. Basically, you want to get some use out of this card without breaking it, so while Reptiles do frequently have GY effects, they’re either not too impactful or apply relatively heavy restrictions to make up for the ease of access. I guess we’ll be sticking to that too, and make sure to make at least 4 names we want in the GY.

Another nice things Reptiles have is an Extra Deck searcher in King of the Feral Imps, and it comes with the added “benefit” of being an Xyz, thus detaching even Pendulums to the GY. Looking through the spreadsheet, the medium Reptiles tend to be Level 4 more than Level 3, so in light of Snake Rain as well, we might break with tradition and make the 4s the ones that want to be dumped in this case. Also, if you add a card to hand you generally want to use it, so there should be Reptile Rahi that do something in hand even after investing in a whole Xyz.

The most recent Reptile archetype I can think of is Ogdoadic, very clearly built with Snake Rain in mind and thus designed around the principles described before. If we also want to follow those principles, it might make sense to mix and match with whatever these guys are supposed to be, but there’s just a teensy little problem: Ogdoadic supports LIGHT and DARK Reptiles. Barely any Reptile Rahi are LIGHT or DARK. Not zero though, so maybe a crossover point can be found.

Reptilianne are a purely DARK Reptile archetype that likes monsters with 0 ATK on both sides of the field, which I suppose could be arranged with all the frogs and slugs and maybe worms on our schedule. The main issue is again the DARK Attribute, but we do actually have some critters that could slide in there, like the Spine Slug or the Night Creeper. Also, Reptiliannes are a Synchro archetype, so maybe their actually quite good modern tuners like Lamia can be put to work.

And for the pure LIGHT Reptile archetype, there’s Worms, with the main point of interest probably being the generic support card W Nebula Meteorite. It flips monsters, draws cards, and then summons a big LIGHT Reptile from Deck. Great.

In fact, the only LIGHT Reptile Rahi we have – Red Serpent and Crystal Serpent – are pretty large, so this could be a good enabler for them if we can just find fodder to flip. Those two are actually key to the whole “scale manipulation” gimmick, so more ways to get to them are certainly nice.

From these archetypes, it has become apparent that having mostly EARTH/WATER/FIRE/WIND Reptiles among the Rahi actually limits our options quite a bit, which is in some way a good thing because it gives us more freedom to make good cards without worrying what they could be combined with. Perhaps a clause like “non-DARK/non-LIGHT Reptile” could even make an appearance somehwere.

One last side note before moving on:

Specifically the Rahi known as Red Serpent spawned the idea of a gimmick where monsters are shoved into backrow and/or Pendulum Zones, and looking back that sure is reminiscient of the Snake-Eyes, an archetype of serpentine FIRE monsters that shove monsters into the backrow. I would just like to document here that a) they’re not actual Reptiles, so not relevant to the topic and b) the original Reptile article was in March and these came out in July in Japan, so Konami actually owes ME royalties.

DO NOT check the release date on Sinful Spoils of Subversion. That is all.

Winged Beast

Main Article

Playstyle: Combination of multiple small, efficient combo lines

The Tri- in Tri-Brigade stands for the three Types it consists of and supports. Given that we’ve already talked about having the few Beast-Warrior Rahi mixed into the Beasts, I’m strongly considering going all the way by including Winged Beast Rahi in that group as well. In that case, Tri-Brigades and other Tri-Typed support would work perfectly. Might really be a good idea to provide a Link of our own in that case too … (there may or may not be something planned for MoL already).

As for dedicated Winged Beast support, we have a very strange one in Floowandereeze. These migrating birbs embrace the spirit of old-school Yu-Gi-Oh by not Special Summoning at all … and then throw it out by Normal Summoning a million times instead. The strict restriction on every effect makes it hard to combine with an archetype that doesn’t follow the same alternative lifestyle, but historically, unrelated high-Level Main Deck Winged Beasts have made good bosses here, so maybe that’s worth keeping in mind?

The Simorgh archetype is also interested in Normal Summoning, but not quite so obsessive about it – they still do a bit of Special Summoning on the side. There are also some weird gimmicks of mixing DARK and WIND and wanting your opponent’s Spell/Trap Zones to be empty, but the main draw is probably that Bird of Perfection is Mathmech Circular if you squint really hard, and it works with all Winged Beasts.

Speaking of empty Spell/Trap Zones, Harpies are pretty good at accomplishing that. They’re not exactly an archetype that can be mixed into stuff easily since they tend to need a lot of each other, but Cyber Slash Harpie Lady is generic for Synchro decks and has a decent bounce effect that can even trigger by activating Pendulum Scales. And she enables Feather Storm from hand, which is funny. Theoretically the synergy could be taken further by having Rahi Spells/Traps/Pendulums that like to be destroyed, but I’m not sure it would pay off.

Continuing the theme of birds with faces, Lyrilusc are a Rank 1 Xyz archetype of Winged Beasts. That means their poopy little Levels don’t exactly lend themselves to Synchro or Pendulum Summoning, but they already swarm like crazy by themselves and their bosses can do some neat stuff like attacking directly 5 times and then making a big Zeus, so this is another thing that could work as an independent engine. However, the lack of Level 1s in the spreadsheet probably means the synergy is very limited.

And then there’s them, of course. The DARK Winged Beasts. Blackwings and Raidraptors. Two unrelated archetypes that both happen to revolve around the same Attribute/Type combination, but one of them is Synchro and the other Xyz, meaning they aren’t generally played together anyway. The question is, can we do anything with Rahi to benefit from the existence of these cards?

Blackwings of course have their fair share of Tuners to contribute if we’re hurting for those, but since Rahi also have a Pendulum side to them, I think good old Zephyros may actually be the most relevant thing. Bouncing scales can be useful for resetting something, and we could be cute and provide effects that trigger off the self-damage, particularly on our DARK Winged Beast Rahi. Currently that’s on an Aqua , funnily enough.

As for Raidraptors, while Xyz Summoning and the whole Rank-Up searching that particular archetype does isn’t really part of the Rahi gameplan, these birds also offer shockingly strong support to the general category of exactly Level 4 DARK Winged Beasts. Which means if we make sure to hit just that Level/Attribute/Type alignment, we can use Force Strix and Wise Strix to get them straight from the Deck – and neither of those locks us out of Synchros!

Overall, I’m not convinced the Winged Beast archetypes are really worth designing around much, with the exception of simply making the DARK ones Level 4 to unlock all that Raidraptor support. The spreadsheet currently has some for Level 3 and Level 5, so we’d only need to take a bit of creative liberty to allow that. And of course, linking (haha) up with the Beast Type for that Tri-Brigade engine is probably a good idea.

Conclusion

I know I JUST repeated this, but my biggest takeaway from this probably is that Beast/Beast-Warrior/Winged Beast should be joined together for the Rahi as well. Other than that, it’s nice to see that there are several specific points of synergy for the GY and banish gimmicks I currently have on Rahi – that’s a good sign for maybe being able to keep that focus intact on at least some Types. And identifying certain statlines that align with existing support, such as low-Level Beasts, high-Level Insects, or Level 4 DARK Winged Beasts, is exactly what I was hoping to get out of a list like this.

Finally, seeing all these cards that have huge potential if played in a Deck that sticks to their respective Type(s) has once again made me feel confirmed in my decision to separate the Rahi out this way. Can’t wait to figure out all the possible builds that might be able to use this stuff. On the other hand, that design goal will be difficult to balance with the wish for a generic support lineup that avoids the pitfall of needing to clone the same Utility effects for each Type, so that should be the next thing we look at in this series.

Designer’s Quip: And Then There’s These Rahi

Having pondered in some detail the various monster Types that are found commonly among Rahi, what now remains must be, by process of elimination, only those that are uncommon. Here go the leftovers.

See also:

General Stats

The major Types we have covered so far include 152 of the Rahi in the spreadsheet, or 91.56%. The remainder we are about to deal with makes up a mere 28 entries, or 16.87%. Huh? That clearly adds up to more than 100%? Because in many cases, more than one Type is under consideration, and if one of those is common and the other not, the Rahi in question counts for both.

Interestingly, only 2 of those 28 have been implemented so far, so segmenting by “current” and “potential” members probably makes no sense here. Instead, we’ll go Type-by-Type.

Beast-Warriors

In general, most of the rare humanoid Rahi could go in here, however the argument for it is not all that strong when cards like Danger! Bigfoot already show Beasts can perfectly well be humanoid as well.

Speaking of which, the Bigfoot of Bionicle is Keetongu, so that’s a prime example right there. Back in the Beast article, it was noted that his healing abilities suggest a defensive focus that is otherwise not how Beast Rahi operate, so if that difference is at odds with the playstyle more than it supplements it, a class change to Beast-Warrior would be an easy way to circumvent the issue entirely. Having a rare Type would also serve to highlight Keetongu as special, similar to how the story doesn’t really treat him like a Rahi at all. It’s just the idea of having the two Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) in different Types that makes me a bit uneasy about this …

On the other hand, minotaurs and centaurs are pretty consistently Beast-Warrior, and since the Artakha Bull is somehow both, it seems like a perfect fit. They’re even legendary beings much like Keetongu, making it thematic by our own logic as well. There were some ideas of possible Beast synergy back in the other article, but also there’s no rule saying you can’t play a Beast-Warrior in a Beast Rahi deck – maybe that’s not a bad route to go.

The last strong candidate, who may not even get implemented for lack of relevance, is Mutran’s hybrid of Rahi and shadow Matoran – practically a Beast-Warrior by definition. With Keetongu (and maybe the Bull) being LIGHT and this one obviously DARK, that even gives us an opportunity for chaos stuff, but “Chaos Beast-Warriors” isn’t exactly a term that rings a lot of bells.

A less relevant LIGHT-DARK pair consists of the Visorak’s Colony Drones (vaguely humanoid creatures enslaved as cattle against their will; probably just going to be Beast on account of how ordinary the are), and the Dark Hunter Minion (humanoid result of a Rahi experiment; dubious if he’s even to be made part of the archetype, and I’m leaning towards no). Both fairly unlikely to actually end up as Beast-Warrior Rahi.

Conclusion: We are going to have between 0 and 3 monsters in this Type when all is said and done, with the only “relation” being that two of them are kind of mythical and considered highly intelligent. As a result, I could see them serving as a special class of boss monsters in a Beast deck, but in that case I might decide to just make them Beasts after all. Depends on what works in practice.

Dinosaur

We never made it to the actual Dinosaurs of Bota Magna in the Bionicle story, but that means the Type is perfectly free to be used for particulary ancient and/or dino-like Rahi. In fact, a similar design approach was already used for the technically-not-Rahi Gahdok and Cahdok a while ago.

When it comes to true Rahi that are also Dinosaurs, though, none have been implemented as of yet. So what are the candidates? Well, the first pair actually hails from the BPEV expansion that is currently under development.

(Fanart by Vrahno)

The Rahi Nui – never officially depicted beyond its Nui-Jaga tail – is a DARK amalgamation of the five main Rahi of 2001 (i.e., the Normal Pendulums), which already provides two good reasons to make it a Dinosaur. One, being a hypothethical mega-combiner of multiple large sets certainly gives it the size one associates with those creatures, and two, it needs a Type distinct from its Insect/Beast/Reptile components to make clear it’s a mashup, not an upgrade of just one of them. The latter point is also important gameplay-wise, since currently it’s planned as a Fusion that inherits the Types of its materials on top of its native Type – obviously using the canon materials should provide maximum effect rather than having one of them be redundant.

In relation to that, the Subterranean Worm is another Dinosaur candidate, for reasons of gameplay more than lore. There is that one bit where Turaga Whenua tells Onua that “This creature has existed on Mata Nui longer than either of us”, but that doesn’t have to mean much with Bionicle’s general weird timeline. No, I mainly want to make this one a Dinosaur because the Rahi Nui should also be getting a contact fusion procedure that requires DARKs, the Subterranean Worm would be a DARK Rahi Synchro (thus always accessible), and so having it be a Dinosaur provides a natural drawback to that convenient method of access since it basically gives you -1 Type on the big guy. I’ll have to test if this pans out, but the idea sounds nice to me.

The other area of high Dinosaur probability are the First Rahi, those primordial sea creatures created directly by the Great Beings in the time before time. I already went over them in the Sea Serpent article and sketched out the idea that they (and their Matoran buddy Mavrah) could be a little self-contained mini-archetype using some kind of “ancient” mechanic design like Ritual Summoning. So aside from the way the Dinosaur Type obviously lines up with their age, it would also serve to make them more isolated from the more modern Rahi species since they wouldn’t share Types with most of them. Even the Rahi Nui overlap would probably be irrelevant if they’re not DARK. However, if Sea Serpent synergy actually ends up fitting them really well, that other option absolutely is still on the table.

And with much lower probability, there’s the Rock Raptor and the Troller mentioned in the spreadsheet – the former because of its name, and the latter because it’s supposedly really big. Neither is a very compelling reason, and with everything else so far clearly painting Dinosaurs as a very rare and unique class of Rahi, we probably shouldn’t pollute the pool. Consider those two rejected.

Conclusion: The BPEV DARK Dinosaur Rahi, Rahi Nui and Subterranean Worm, are pretty much already confirmed since the weird uncommon Type has actual gameplay significance for them. I mean, I could also make them Wyrms or something, but that’s even more random thematically. The non-DARK Dinosaurs that might join them in Metru Nui have yet another totally different playstyle planned for them, so I guess you could say Dinosaur is just what we use for big dudes that are intentionally meant to sit apart from all the broader Rahi Type groupings.

As a side note, being built to work in specific and unusual ways by themselves will also make these monsters harder to incorporate into the general Dino pile of Yugioh, which in turn makes things easier in the design phase because we don’t have to consider all those interactions too much.

Dragon (and Wyrm)

Speaking of piles, D R A G O N S are up next. Here we actually find one of the two currently implemented examples, the Hikaki.

Hikaki, Dragon Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | FIRE Dragon | ATK 1900 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
When a “Rahi” monster(s) is Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Rahi” Tuner from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Hikaki, Dragon Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
● When a Trap Card is activated (Quick Effect): You can shuffle 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck into the Deck; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

This is explicitly and evidently (look at its cute little wings) some kind of miniature dragon, and also one of the most generically useful Rahi monsters in the current arsenal. The Pendulum Effect searches you a Tuner to go with that Rahi you just Special Summoned, and a Synchro Monster made with this card gets a bonus Trap negation effect. This, of course, is part of the package it forms with the Insect Kofo-Jaga and the Winged Beast Taku – a group that was assembled based on no particular reasoning I can recall. Arguably, the Hikaki is the most interesting out of them all because not being tied to any of the major Types makes it very suitable to be reimagined as a general-purpose shared utility for any kind of Rahi deck, something that will probably be needed to avoid making the same basic effects over and over again. But more about that another time.

Another small dragonic Rahi is the Phase Dragon, a fire-breathing speed freak that avoids crashing into things by becoming intangible. For the latter ability, I also have it under consideration for a Wyrm-Type – because what could be more “Phantom Dragon” than a dragon phasing out of reality? But since that’s the only time Wyrm appears in the spreadsheet, it should probably be a Dragon just so there’s a few other companions in the archetype, unless there’s some unique benefit to be gained out of having exactly 1 Wyrm. In any case, the lore on this one is well positioned to be another generic utility thing, such as a searcher temporarily banishing itself for cost.

The Cable Crawler that was already considered for Beast and Reptile could also be a mid-sized Dragon, because I have no idea what it’s supposed to be and there’s fire coming out of its butt. Probably not though, just the presence of a Rhotuka effect already runs counter to the idea of widely usable Rahi support I’ve been building up in this section so far.

And with that, we’ve reached the actual big legend-class Dragons, such as Kardas. This final boss of 2006 was previously seen in the DARK Rahi article, following the logic that it should match the Attribute of the Fenrakk it mutated from, and as noted there, making it a Synchro would tie in well with all the DARK Dragon support from the approximate direction of Red Dragon Archfiend.

On the other hand, being a mutation rather than a natural Rahi also raises the possibility of a non-Synchro Extra Deck type, and if it was FIRE we could maybe have all the Dragon Rahi with the same Attribute ….

Because this last one sure is FIRE as hell.

The Kanohi Dragon is THE giant dragon of Bionicle lore, once requiring an entire extra-large Toa team including four Toa of Ice to defeat. It also happens to be part of the “Kanohi” archetype, but I’m not sure there’s a way or even a reason to make that relevant, considering in-universe it’s only called that because its scales kind of look like masks.

Both of these could just serve as generic top-end bosses for all kinds of Rahi, slightly less useful than the Type-specific options but still powerful. That way, the dragonic spirit of sharing remains intact even at the largest scale.

Conclusion: Much like that era of Yugioh where every deck had to have a Dragon somewhere, Dragon Rahi are well positioned to provide splashable support to all Rahi regardless of Type, be it through Main Deck utility cards or large Extra Deck boss monsters. My only worry is how they need to be simultaneously strong enough to be worth using everywhere and weak enough to not overshadow the actual stars of each deck, but surely a sweet spot for that can be figured out in testing.

Machine

Yep, there’s a Machine Rahi. Maybe.

The Toa Terrain Crawler is more like a Sea Serpent in its naturally occuring state, but the specific one that appears in the story is so heavily mechanized it probably qualifies for a Type change. And there’s even more weird things going on with it, from being part of a “vehicle Rahi” subtheme already covered in the Sea Serpent article to technically belonging to the “Toa” archetype (well, I guess we can put on the Exo-Toa clause).

Conclusion: It’s just one thing and already belongs to a weird subtheme that doesn’t really need to interact with other Rahi at all, I don’t think it even matters if it’s Machine or not.

Plant

Yep, there’s a Plant Rahi. But not really.

Daikau, Floral Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Plant | ATK 1500 / DEF 300

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
You can send 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck to the GY; all monsters your opponent currently controls lose ATK equal to that monster’s ATK, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Daikau, Floral Rahi” once per turn.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WATER monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can discard 1 “Rahi” card, then target 1 monster with 2000 or less ATK on the field; destroy it. You can only use 1 “Daikau, Floral Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Daikau has already been implemented as part of the Rahi archetype along with most of its fellow Quest for the Toa enemies, but technically speaking that is not accurate. This isn’t a Makuta-made Rahi, but rather some weird semi-sentient plant thing with no clear lore explanation, born from the Energized Protodermis based disguise function that created the whole island of Mata Nui.

Should it therefore not be archetypal? There’s precedent for that with the Vatuka , a similarly non-Rahi enemy mob from the same game, but instead it belongs to a subtheme of Trap Monsters I have previously called “Elementals“. The Daikau doesn’t go in there either, so it’s in a strange position of its own.

Thematically, I could see this being some form of Trap Monster anyway, what with the whole carnivorous plant chomping whatever walks into it, and perhaps one that works well with Rahi without being part of the archetype. But such a change would need to be coordinated with everything else, since the current effects are clearly built around stuff Rahi currently do, and in particular the GY one is the WATER side of the recurring revival series.

Conclusion: It’s certainly a plant, but its fate is uncertain to the point where we can’t even say yet whether or not it will remain in the Rahi archetype. Either way, it’s once again just one single card and thus won’t have much of an impact.

Psychic

Yep, there’s a Psychic Rahi. Maybe two.

Krahka, antagonist of a cool little novel-only Metru Nui sidequest, would be pretty hard to pin down to a Type on account of being a shapeshifter. But that’s some kind of special power, and on top of that in this case it even includes partially copying the mind when impersonating a sentient being, so Psychic seems about right … or maybe Illusion is the best fit now that it exists?

In any case, given the story role, this would most likely be a standalone boss monster, and the original Type shouldn’t matter too much since changing shape ought to overwrite it with the target’s. Mechanically, I’m pretty settled on this being an Extra Deck monster (because it’s even a combiner) with a standard stat and effect copying ability, so how it interacts with the archetype doesn’t seem all too relevant – you just make it to do all kinds of fancy stuff.

The other candidate is the Kratana, a vision-granting creature that looks like a cross betweene Kraata and Krana – so it could be a Psychic, a Fiend, or a Zombie. I’m most inclined to go with the first option because it actually describes its nature rather than just its looks, but what are the implications of that? It’s certainly not a boss monster like Krahka, so presumably it would have to find its way into a Main Deck as some kind of little guy, and thus it would be off-Type in just about any kind of Rahi deck. Might be fine depending on how much I plan to integrate general-purpose Rahi that can be shared between Types, but otherwise, there’s also the option of having it be something like a low-Level Synchro or a Link-1. Hell, since it just appears one time as a plot device, it might as well be a Spell Card that just does some vision-y thing.

Conclusion: There are possibly multiple monsters here, but still below the critical mass that would allow them to have a dedicated playstyle, and with not enough connection to any other Type to ride along there. These would have to be fairly splashable general-purpose cards, or alternatively niche options that you build a deck around with no regards for Type synergy.

Pyro

The lone Pyro Rahi is really more a representative of the aforementioned Elementals, but since it has been decreed a Rahi by the mighty power of SSGS (i.e., Some Shit Greg Said), we might as well include it. The Fire Entity, I mean.

Being an Elemental in all but technical classification, this will probably go somewhere near the Trap Monster lineup, maybe simply a member of it with a Rahi name so you get a direct link into the archetype. Or a regular Rahi monster that acts as support for the other Elementals.

Conclusion: Yet another standalone that has its synergies cut out for it by lore, and thus doesn’t require much hard thought in advance.

Rock

There are actually quite many, and by that I mean 5, entries in the spreadsheet for the Rock Type. But before you get your hopes up, all but one have it as a secondary option with exactly Beast as the primary. Let’s start with the definite Rock, I guess.

On the island of Xia stands what is simply known as The Mountain, a gigantic Rahi acting as a man-eating landmark of cultural significance. It’s a bit arguable if this is really a Rahi and not some other kind of lifeform that just happens to come from a Makuta lab, but assuming it is, it would be the largest Rahi by a significant margin. So large, in fact, that including it in the usual Level hierarchy for denoting size seems incorrect. Maybe a Link or Xyz would be the way to go.

The other option we should consider for a moment is making it a Field Spell, since it is basically part of the island. That would, however, mean it has neither Type nor Attribute, so Rock Rahi might not exist at all. On the other hand, it gives us an excellent excuse to provide a Rahi Field Spell, though with the varying needs of many Rahi subthemes and how late in the game it would show up, it’s hard to imagine that being very practical. As it stands right now, I much prefer the idea of having it be an Extra Deck monster without a Level. Maybe including different stages of its growth could even result in a whole Link climb strategy in the same vein as Sunavalon?

The question for the shakier candidates then becomes whether or not they could nicely support something like that. Starting from the smallest, we have a Rock Ussal, which should probably be some kind of offensive tool since that’s the main thing contrasting it from the regular variant. Which, by the way, is firmly in the Beast Type, so I don’t feel too good about diverging for this one. Moving on, the Rex Rock Raptor is already somewhat larger and also feels more at home in Beasts since most of its ecosystem interactions are with other Beasts. The potential sole exception would be the even bigger Spiny Stone Ape, but well, if that one’s a Beast as well it still works out. Finally, the Rock Lion, as cool as FIRE Rock sounds, is also too large and boss-like to really go with a Link climb or anything like that just trying to ladder into a big Mountain.

Conclusion: Despite many candidates, I really feel like it would be best to keep this exclusive to The Mountain and put everything else in Beasts. However, the idea of including multiple developmental stages of The Mountain does still open up a way to get a little subtheme out of this Type.

Thunder

Once more an Elemental sneaks into the Rahi archetype, this time with the Avohkah, living bolts of lightning that the Toa Mata exterminated from Karda Nui in the time before time. Not exactly the biggest claim to relevancy, but I always thought these sounded super cool and would very much like to include them. However, with the second Elemental now having revealed itself to be a Rahi, I also find myself seriously questioning if we shouldn’t just include all of them just for consistency’s sake. The Vatuka is the main exception and also the only currently implemented one, and it actually has a confirmed non-Rahi origin related to Energized Protodermis, so things are weird on multiple Levels here. Difficult.

Conclusion: Whether we formally recognize this as a Rahi or not, it’s going to be first and foremost a part of the Elementals and thus a Trap Monster, meaning the Type matters very little, as with previous similar cases.

Zombie

There are exactly three candidates for this Type. One is the Kratana, as previously explained because it’s similar to a Krana; and as previously explained, I’d rather make it Psychic to reflect its actual nature. The other two are the lich-like Cliff Screecher and the questionably canon “Worm“, but since the alternatives of Winged Beast and Insect respectively are such large groupings, they’re probably much better off staying in there and benefiting from the free support. Maybe the Cliff Screecher could turn itself into a Zombie via effect, that seems neat.

Conclusion: Among all the candidates, there is not one for which I actually prefer the Zombie Type over the other options, so I expect it won’t end up being used for any Rahi after all.

?

One Rahi for which I couldn’t find a Type at all, and which actually isn’t even counted in the statistics I wrote at the start, is the Sand Screamer. Look, what am I supposed to do with a creature whose entire gimmick is that nobody knows remotely what it looks like or what it does other than scream in the desert? I guess the combination of being predators and their place of residence makes me think of some kind of desert antlion thing, so Insect may be on the table. Or the move might just be to represent them with a Spell/Trap and dodging the issue of Monster Card properties entirely. If I even consider implementing them, that is – not like they’re relevant to the main plot in any way.

Conclusion: Well we can’t not give it a Type if we make it a monster, so either it gets whatever I feel like or it won’t be a monster. Simple as that.

Overall Conclusion

Well, well, well, looks like some of these actually have a good reason to exist. Here are once again the verdicts in summary:

  • Beast-Warrior: Likely yes – for some special cases related to the Beast strategy.
  • Dinosaur: Yes – DARK Dinosaur very soon, a few more probably later.
  • Dragon: Yes – splashable utility and/or boss monsters.
  • Machine: Maybe – only example is too much of a special case to matter.
  • Plant: Maybe – it already exists, but might not actually be a Rahi.
  • Psychic: Likely yes – Rahi with mental powers, meaining unique effects.
  • Pyro: Likely yes – related to Elementals, exact synergy to be determined.
  • Rock: Yes – only The Mountain, possibly different stages of its growth.
  • Thunder: Likely yes – see Pyro.
  • Zombie: No – all possible members are better placed elsewhere.

In general, we can say that these Types are going to be either splashable support for all Rahi decks, slightly weird add-ons to previously defined groups, or standalone strategies of a few monsters united by more than just their Type.

And now that we’ve figured that out, all that’s left to cover are some more ways to group the Rahi we’ve already seen, but this time without taking into account their typing – stay tuned for that. The Rahi Update draws ever closer!

Designer’s Quip: Recycling

Surprise, one of these that isn’t part of the ongoing dissertation in Rahi zoology for once.

The topic this time is “recycling”, i.e., returning cards that have been previously used up to advance the game state into a location where they can be used once more at a later point. This was on my mind with the last update specifically because Nuva Emergence does it, and so do the Bohrok and Bohrok-Kal that are the other focus of BPEV.

But before we go into these details, I actually want to start off with a more general tangent on the concept.

Recycling in Yugioh

Looking at the history of the actual game, there’s an argument to be made that recycling is one key thing that can contribute a lot to making a deck powerful, particularly in modern formats where you can make a lot from just the right few resources.

For example, Gladiator Beasts are often considered one of the first major decks with something resembling a modern playstyle, and sure enough a form of recycling is baked right into their core mechanics. Whether you tag out after battle or go into a Fusion, the monsters all return to the Deck, exactly where you want to have them for the next tag-out. This is what I would call “long-term recycling” – you don’t immediately get resources back, but it basically ensures you never run out of plays. Balancing-wise, it’s interesting to note that, because there is no direct advantage gain and because you technically lose potential resources on the field and such, this can be (and often is) even coupled with other benefits.

Later in history this long-term recycling also starts extending to the truly “spent” cards that are banished or in the GY, such as in the case of Thunder Dragon Fusion, a card that puts stuff back in deck with the side benefit of, once again, a Fusion Monster. On top of that, it also has a search effect in the GY itself, so over the course of two turns it alone lets a single monster perform a full circuit from GY/banished back to hand. Another common dynamic is recycling things into the Deck for draws, from Pot of Avarice to Runick Fountain. And in the Madolche archetype, we see returning to Deck not as something tied to an immediate benefit, but still as something all the monsters just do for free.

Of course, we can’t talk about long-term recycling without mentioning what is now widely known as perhaps the most powerful and versatile archetype ever printed, Tearlaments. Like Thunder Dragons, they can recycle fusion materials from the GY (though not banished) back into the Deck, and like Gladiator Beasts, they do this without the need for a Fusion Spell, instead using an effect on the same monsters you use as material. The result is a strategy that essentially makes its boss monsters at the “cost” of an infinite resource loop. It’s this entire concept we’ve been talking about taken to a logical extreme.

But that’s not even all Tear has to offer, because if you look at the Spells and Traps, you will find that many of their secondary effects when sent to the GY allow you to bring spent cards from all kinds of other locations back to your hand. Yes, this archetype also has short-term recycling, and there’s our segue.

By “short-term recycling”, I mean giving resources back into play directly, usually to the hand or field.

A personal favourite of mine that makes use of this a lot is Speedroid, including Speed Recovery, which actually does both revival and adding back to hand. Similar features are present on the three Synchro Monsters that help you climb into big bosses: Cork Shooter immediately brings its materials back to the field on Summon, Hagoita can revive itself if you control a Tuner, and Puzzle gives you a monster back in the End Phase to ensure followup. What we can see on all these effects is that, in contrast to the long-term recycling, the part where you get back a card is purely a payoff balanced by some kind of condition or cost. Which makes perfect sense when you consider the simple key difference that short-term recycling generates immediate advantage.

For our final example, let’s look at the Invoked engine, where Aleister searches Invocation, gets fused away and banished, and is added back to hand so you can also use him as a stat booster or to repeat the combo next turn. At the same time, Invocation itself gets put back into the Deck as long-term recycling, with the short-term recycling in and of itself being what you gain from doing so.

This is entirely in line with our overall hypothesis: Long-term recycling is a cost, short-term recycling is a benefit – and clearly the former can even pay for the latter.

Recycling in BYE Themes

Onu-Koro, Village of Earth

Field Spell

You can target up to 5 EARTH monsters in your GY; shuffle them into the Deck, then gain 600 LP for each card shuffled into the Main Deck this way. If your LP are higher than your opponent’s: You can send 1 EARTH monster from your hand or field to the GY, then pay LP in multiples of 1000 (max. 3000); draw 1 card for every 1000 LP paid, then, if your LP are lower than your opponent’s, send that many cards from your hand to the GY. You cannot Normal or Special Summon monsters the turn you activate this effect, except EARTH monsters. You can only use each effect of “Onu-Koro, Village of Earth” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Starting in BCOT, our foremost representative of long-term recycling is Onu-Koro. Nothing makes this more evident than the effects of its central Field Spell, letting you shuffle back EARTH monsters to gain LP that can subsequently be converted into multiple draws. The theme here is being rewarded for the “work” you did putting those monsters into the GY, and that’s probably also a core reason shuffling stuff back is generally treated as a cost- it requires setup.

Turaga Onewa

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [↙ ↘] | EARTH Spellcaster | ATK 1450

2 monsters, including an EARTH Warrior monster
You can target 1 Level 4 or lower EARTH monster in your GY; the player with the fewest total cards in their hand and field draws 1 card, also add that target to your hand, and if you do, banish 1 card from your hand. If an EARTH monster(s) is Special Summoned to a zone(s) this card points to: You can target 1 of your banished EARTH Warrior monsters; Special Summon it in Defense Position. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Onewa” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

The village for truly short-term recycling is Po-Koro, where you just try to build big boards through elaborate combos and therefore have a strong interest in getting your resources back as quickly as possible. However, the fact that you tend to use up those recycled cards immediately makes this strategy surprisingly weak at recovery, and thinking about that made me just realize a hidden third mode of recycling I haven’t been distinguishing so far.

Turaga Matau

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [↙ ▶] | WIND Spellcaster | ATK 1400

2 monsters, including a WIND Warrior monster
During your Main Phase: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WIND monster from your hand in Attack Position, but its ATK becomes 0. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can activate this effect; during the Standby Phase of your next turn, add 1 WIND monster from your GY to your hand, then, if your opponent controls more monsters than you do, you can make all monsters they currently control lose 700 ATK/DEF until the end of that turn. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Matau” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Le-Koro has recovery as its explicit focus, and to achieve that, it does a lot of “mid-term recycling”, as you might call it. Matau is a perfect example with his ability to return a monster from your GY on the next turn, but there’s also Makani’s delayed recycling of WIND Warriors and Tamaru’s ability to come back out of the GY with any discard. These effects are clearly more like short-term than long-term recycling since they’re still treated as benefits, but the delay associated with them acts as part of the tradeoff in the equation.

Rahi Swarm

Spell

If your opponent controls a monster and you control no monsters: Add 2 “Rahi” monsters with the same Type, but different names, from your Deck to your hand. For the rest of this turn, your opponent takes no damage. You can banish this card from your GY; Special Summon 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY, but it cannot attack, also it is destroyed during the End Phase. You can only use 1 “Rahi Swarm” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

There’s no dedicated recycling theme in BCOR (… yet!), but there certainly lies some potential in the fact that most Rahi Spells and Traps have additional effects in the GY restricted by a shared HOPT with the regular effect. That means after (hypothetically) building a big Rahi board, if it gets broken and the turn passes back to you, you could (hypothetically) use that accumulated stock of effects as followup to rebuild and remove whatever your opponent put up. Might be an idea worth exploring in an upcoming overhaul.

Bohrok Lehvak

Flip Effect MonsterLevel 4 | WIND Machine | ATK 1400 / DEF 1900

FLIP: Special Summon 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster from your Deck in face-down Defense Position, except “Bohrok Lehvak”.
During your Main Phase 1: You can shuffle this card into the Deck; destroy 1 card on the field.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Bohrok Nuhvok Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Machine | ATK 700 / DEF 1000

If you control “Bohrok Nuhvok”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Nuhvok Va” once per turn this way. You can send 1 card from your hand to the GY; draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Nuhvok Va” once per turn. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Shuffle 2 “Bohrok” monsters, except “Bohrok Nuhvok Va”, from your GY into the Deck, then draw 1 card.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

And that brings us straight to BBTS and the Bohrok, an archetype equipped with massive long-term recycling capabilities because it needs to keep up the illusion of an endless swarm despite being limited to 3 of each monster. The Level 4 Bohrok put themselves from the field back as cost for their destructive effects, while (some of) the Level 2 Bohrok Va put monsters from the GY back as cost for a draw. All just as observed above, which is funny considering I had none of this theory really figured out back when I made these cards.

Bohrok Tahnok-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | FIRE Machine | ATK 2100 / DEF 2200

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; it cannot attack or activate its effects this turn, also you can detach 1 more material from this card, and if you do, destroy all monsters your opponent controls with less than 2000 ATK. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Tahnok-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

Anyway, the Bohrok-Kal act as a logical extension of the concept with their shared clause of putting detached materials back into the Deck. However, this one is actually pulling triple duty because not only does it enable your resource loop, it also limits the ability to attach Krana from the GY by not putting them back there and can keep your opponent off GY resources if you snatch up some of their cards with Bohrok Counterattack .

Nuva Emergence

Trap

Fusion Summon 1 “Toa Nuva” Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, by shuffling the Fusion Materials listed on it into the Deck, from among your hand, GY and/or face-up banished cards. If your opponent controls a monster, you can also banish 1 monster from your Deck as Fusion Material. During the Main Phase, except the turn this card was sent to the GY: You can banish this card from your GY; add 1 “Nuva” Spell/Trap from your Deck or GY to your hand, except “Nuva Emergence”, then discard 1 card. You can only use each effect of “Nuva Emergence” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.6.5)

Meanwhile on the Toa’s side, the aforementioned Nuva Emergence is the main point of recycling, being a classic Fusion Summon by shuffling back materials. However, this is less good in this particular strategy than it has historically been because the materials you can recycle are limited to Toa Mata and Energized Protodermis, meaning it can’t get spent Toa Nuva themselves back into rotation. That’s why it also has a way to use a material from the Deck, so you have a better chance to assemble what you need for the Nuva that are still available.

The secondary effect, meanwhile, is our mid-term recycling that can also act as a search, which is the same effect all the Nuva have on Summon. The key advantage it boasts on this card is the fact that you can do it without having to pull off a Fusion Summon, which is obviously greatly appreciated whenever you aren’t in a particularly good spot – the exact times you can really use some recycling.

Conclusion

Where was I going with all this? Good question. Just consider it my recent thoughts on the topic in somewhat organized form. Key points as takeaways:

  • Long-term recycling is beneficial, yet also treated as a cost due to the setup it needs.
  • Short-term recycling is a payoff that is balanced by some form of cost, which can even be long-term recycling.
  • Mid-term recycling is like short-term recycling, but delayed and cheaper.
  • Archetypes that are good at recycling have a strong track record of being both successful and seen as fun to play.
  • I should design more archetypes than I already have with recycling in mind.

And that’s all. Now time to get back on that Rahi classification grind!

Designer’s Quip: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Rahi!

A Winged Beast Rahi, to be specific. Been a while since the last one, but this is the final big Type grouping, so let’s fly right into it.

See also:

Current Members

The expansions thus far have populated the sky with a familiar number of 9 Rahi with the Winged Beast Type, their Attributes split between EARTH and WIND with a touch of FIRE and their Levels mostly ranging from 2 to 4 with outliers at 5 and 6.

Level 2

As usual, these are Tuners with handtrap effects, with both of the Winged Beast pair hailing from BBTS.

Pokawi, Flightless Bird Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Winged Beast | ATK 300 / DEF 600

(Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY; monsters your opponent controls lose 500 ATK for each of your banished “Rahi” monsters, until the end of this turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Pokawi is a representative of the EARTH Winged Beasts, or the flightless birds as its name states. The ATK reduction effect represents a deterrence tactic employed by Pokawi swarms, in which they abruptly scatter to disorient predators and flee in the confusion.

Mata Nui Fishing Bird, Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 500 / DEF 400

(Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY, then target 1 card your opponent controls; banish it until the End Phase, and if it was a face-up monster with 2000 or more ATK on the field, banish 1 random card from your opponent’s hand face-down. You can only use this effect of “Mata Nui Fishing Bird, Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Mata Nui Fishing Bird is the aerial WIND representative in this smallest size range, with an effect based on how it habitually annoys much larger creatures.

What both of these effects have in common at a glance is banishing – the Pokawi’s ATK reduction scales with the number of your banished monsters and the Fishing Bird is a banisher in and of itself.

This is not so much an early attempt at a Winged Beast gimmick as just something that came about because the Rahi handtraps are generally heavy on banishing, but maybe it can be transitioned into the former as well. After all, banishing is a mechanic with a lot of meanings in the design language, from different dimensions to freezing, so why shouldn’t “abducted by a bird” be a valid reading? Though in that case I guess it best fits the WIND ones …

Level 3 and 4

Following the standard pattern, these are the non-Tuner Pendulums with GY/banish triggers at Level 3 and granting effects to Synchros at Level 4.

Kewa, Vulture Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 1400 / DEF 400

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If you control no other cards: You can add 1 WIND monster from your Deck to your hand, except “Kewa, Vulture Rahi”, and if you do, destroy this card during the End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Kewa, Vulture Rahi” once per turn.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WIND monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can add 1 “Rahi” card from your GY to your hand. You can only use 1 “Kewa, Vulture Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Kewa belongs to the former category, and is also part of a series we’ve previously seen with the Ussal . Just like that one floated into other EARTH monsters, this one floats into other WIND monsters, and it’s for more or less the same lore reason: Matoran used Kewa as airborne steeds, so in a Le-Koro deck this can combo with an accomplished pilot such as Kongu . The Pendulum Effect to search any WIND if you control no other cards is similarly splashable support (and possibly a bit too generic), while the recycling of Rahi cards on banish is mostly useful in its native archetype.

Infernavika, Lava Bird Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | FIRE Winged Beast | ATK 1100 / DEF 800

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, at the start of the Battle Phase: You can target 1 face-up monster you control; this turn, when that target battles an opponent’s monster, destroy both monsters at the start of the Damage Step, except FIRE monsters.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower FIRE monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can banish the top card of your Deck; add this card to your Extra Deck face-up. You can only use 1 “Infernavika, Lava Bird Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Infernavika, introduced one expansion later, is the FIRE member of that same series, but lacks the usual justification because nobody rides these. They’re more known for living around stuff so hot nobody dares approach them, which is a trait nicely implemented by the Pendulum Effect. The banish trigger, meanwhile, is a rare example of a Level 3 Rahi that does further banishing in hopes to trigger another, so that’s one more point in favour of banishing being a Winged Beast thing (though again not on a WIND one).

Moa, Bird Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 1300 / DEF 600

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
You can banish 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck; this card’s Pendulum Scale becomes the same as that monster’s, and if it does, destroy this card during the End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Moa, Bird Rahi” once per turn.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can shuffle 1 of your banished “Rahi” cards into the deck. If this card is banished: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your hand. You can only use 1 “Moa, Bird Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

For an actual WIND example of that concept, we have the Moa‘s Pendulum Effect, which banishes straight from the Deck as cost, providing a way to trigger any other Level 3 Rahi. The monster effects are just sort of arbitrary utility things, so not much to be said about those. Actually it’s kind of weird this is even WIND when it’s a probably flightless Po-Wahi creature …

Speaking of which, Husi time.

Husi, Ostrich Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Winged Beast | ATK 1700 / DEF 1100

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If a card in your Pendulum Zone is destroyed: You can Special Summon 1 face-up Level 4 or lower “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck. You can only use this effect of “Husi, Ostrich Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●If this card is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the GY: Target 1 “Rahi” monster in your GY with a lower Level than this card; Special Summon it.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

All the abilities here are pretty much based on the Husi trading going on at Po-Koro’s markets: The Pendulum Effect “trades” itself destroyed in the scale for a Rahi in the face-up Extra Deck, and a Synchro that used it as material gains a similar effect for the GY. I think there’s probably more interesting things that could be done from that foundation, especially if we put aside the standard Level 4 effect pattern and that weird destruction-based Rahi subtheme that never really worked. But what exactly that is will probably depend on the result of this current Winged Beast analysis.

Taku, Duck Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 1400 / DEF 1700

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
During your End Phase: You can add 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck to your Extra Deck face-up. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
● When a Spell Card is activated (Quick Effect): You can shuffle 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck into the Deck; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Taku represents yet another subtheme, namely the negate-granting we previously saw with the Kofo-Jaga . This little ducky takes care of the Spells, and its Pendulum Effect is meant to help provide the fodder you need to pay the negate cost.

Synchros

We’ve had Tuners and we’ve had non-Tuners, so how about we put them together? Conveniently, the existing Winged Beasts also provide Synchros for that purpose.

Dikapi, Ostrich Rahi

Synchro Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 5 | EARTH Winged Beast | ATK 1000 / DEF 1650

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can choose a number from 1 to 4; reduce this card’s Level by that number, then take damage equal to that number x 300. When using this Synchro Summoned card as a Synchro Material, you can use 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster in your Extra Deck (and no other monsters) as the other Synchro Material.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Dikapi is even a Synchro Tuner, and a pretty flexible one since it comes with built-in Level modulation and the ability to reuse Pendulums as Synchro material. Works in just about every kind of Rahi deck.

Gukko-Kahu, Hawk Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WIND Winged Beast | ATK 2500 / DEF 1000

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
If this card is Synchro Summoned: Draw 1 card. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Add 1 “Rahi” monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use each effect of “Gukko-Kahu, Hawk Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

And one Level higher, the Gukko-Kahu provides the double utility of drawing and searching as the greatest example of a domesticated Rahi. Also very generically useful, and unfortunately that makes it hard to glean any ideas for unique Winged Beast mechanics from it.

What we see here is an actually already pretty complete package of Tuners, non-Tuners, and Synchros, but without much unifying them beyond matching Levels. There’s the banishing concept, but even that feels pretty questionable at this point …

Hopefully the unimplemented Rahi of this Type can provide some enlightenment.

Potential Members

With 11 more unimplemented, there’s about as much here as what we’ve already covered. The dominant Attribute is unsurprisingly WIND, with individual specks of WATER, FIRE, EARTH, and LIGHT, as well as a few DARKs (already covered in the other article). So pretty much everything, but EARTH in particular actually only appears one additional time despite previously looking like a major group of “flightless birds”.

Level 2 and 3

Being covered togethere here because frankly, with birds it’s always hard to tell whether they’re really smol or just kinda smol. So anything I’ve noted down for one of these Levels could very well fit the other.

Ko-Metru’s Ice Bats probably go on the smaller end since they’re generally talked about in terms of large swarms, and being a Level 2 Tuner with a handtrap effect (as is the current concept, which may or may not survive) would well fit their nature as pests causing constant property damage. We’ve previously heard of these critters over at the Beasts as the Crystal Climbers’ favorite food, so it’d probably pay off to have something mechanically a little unique so the Climbers can interact with the Bats specifically.

The sole LIGHT Winged Beasts are the Klakk, releveant in the 2008 storyline because their screams conveniently happen to be the cure for all kinds of inner light drain. This suggests an effect that brings back stolen monsters, cures debuffs, or stuff like that – perhaps even a “banish a monster and return it to the field under its owner’s control” that would do all of that. Which, by the way, is another mark on the banishing tally.

Then there’s the Smoke Hawk, a Xian bird you’ve probably never heard of because it only showed up once and got no description whatsoever. The only reason to adapt this one is if we want to do something specific with the FIRE Attribute, since just by the name it could go in there.

And finally, the already discussed DARKs are Cliff Screecher and Necrofinch, which we may as well cover together because for some reason they’re both WAY up there on the edge scale. Cliff Screechers are bats said to be immortal because they keep their soul outside their bodies, and even outside of mythology they hunt by killing their prey through the shock of repeated near-death experiences. Put together, this sounds like a monster that just keeps coming back, and has an effect to (temporarily) sacrifice itself in order to wear down the opponent’s resources. The Necrofinch, meanwhile, can “remaing singing after it is deceased”, which just makes me think of a Tuner that Synchro Summons from the GY.

Level 4

The Lohrak makes its third appearance here after being considered as a Sea Serpent and as a Reptile, and with the benefit of hindsight I think it’s safe to say it fits either of those better than the Winged Beasts. Pretty much everything in here is a proper bird with a beak and all that, so a ravenous poisonous snake would be an odd inclusion, wings or not.

Back to said proper birds, we have the Lava Hawk, which for all intents and purposes is just the Infernavika’s big brother. They hunt literally inside of lava streams and are completely immune to heat, so something like the Archnemeses where a normally self-destructive effect is combined with destruction immunity seems worth considering. Well, that particular example is obviously way too high-powered for a low-Level monster. Also, thinking back to the Smoke Hawk, the one reason I can think of to implement that one is to round the FIRE Winged Beast Rahi out to a trio of Level 2-4. Maybe.

And another repeat performance from the Manutri, previously covered under the Aqua type due to card design precedent for Penguins. All I have on record for them is a vague idea of doing something with equips, which is so far out there we probably don’t need to bother breaking tradition to put them into Winged Beasts. Plus, it would mess with the whole EARTH flightless bird idea to suddenly have one of them as WATER.

Level 5-8

On to the big birds, of which there are surpisingly few.

Nivawk is a named representative of a species of large flying scavenger Rahi, though this particular individual also engaged in nest robbery to feed. It might be DARK in order to synergize with Makuta Teridax, its master, but the broader species without those evil inclinations and connections would probably just be plain old WIND. Starting to sound a bit like Simorgh here, maybe we could see some Tribute Summoning happen?

The Gukko is not to be confused with the already implemented Gukko-Kahu subspecies, but really quite similar in its role as a flying Rahi domesticated by Le-Matoran. That means the two will probably overlap mechanically, providing some manner of utility effects, but since they are in fact distinct creatures and the Gukko plays a fairly significant role in Mask of Light, there does kind of need to be a separate card for this. Maybe we can come up with some cute interaction between the two kinds of Gukko. Could also involve the Taku as another Gukko relative and the Kewa as another flying steed.

And the largest thing the spreadsheet has to offer the Winged Beasts is … not really a bird, despite my earlier claims.

The Vahki Hunter just fell into this Type by virtue of a) having wings, b) not looking like anything else whatsoever, and c) that little joke in Rahi Beasts where they ask Kualus to comment as the resident expert for flying Rahi, because this one has wings too. In any case, it does fill the very empty niche of an actually large boss for Winged Beast Rahi, given the fact that they literally eat Vahki for breakfast. That diet immediately suggest some sort of anti-Machine effect, but to avoid being cripplingly specific, maybe it should be something generic with a lore-friendly bonus when used against Machines? The fact that this thing is also an ambush predator is a topic in its own right …

Conclusion

I can’t exactly say the design direction for Winged Beast Rahi became clear and obvious at any point here, but having reviewed the data we can at least assert some key facts:

  • The currently implemented Winged Beasts already contain a solid balance of Tuners, non-Tuners, and mid-Level Synchros.
  • The most common Attribute is WIND followed by EARTH, with some interesting smaller groups at FIRE and DARK.
  • The Levels cap out at approximately 8, with no actual gigantic final boss in sight.
  • A few of their effects involve banishing in some capacity, but not quite enough to consider it an ongoing theme.

I feel like that last point might be worth building on, especially for the WIND Winged Beasts. That Attribute, after all, has a recurring theme of returning to the hand that presumably represents flight, so combining that with (temporarily) banishing opponent’s cards as design language for “snatched by a bird” makes a really straightforward and fitting set of effects. The EARTH Winged Beasts, being mostly covered by the early Rahi in the current expansions already, could then act as the more down-to-earth (haha) combo enablers that don’t bother with the gimmick and instead just provide an efficient route towards making your Synchros. The two or three FIRE monsters could form a nice little engine centered around the idea of being too hot to touch, while the DARKs with their shared undead theming could provide plays in the GY.

That’s a fair variety of playstyles already, and that kind of versatility is probably good to have when there isn’t really the one big payoff we want to go into. Instead, Winged Beast Rahi combos would aim to get easy and repeatable access to their mid-sized Synchros, which then help them win the game without any single one being a full win condition by itself.

Designer’s Quip: The Rahi who Secretly Rule Society

There aren’t that many of them, but the Reptilians have surely invaded every single influential position in the Matoran Universe. What scaly visage is hiding beneath YOUR Turaga’s mask?

So yeah, welcome to the Reptile Rahi article.

See also:

Current Members

A nice set of 5 Reptile Rahi is currently in the expansion, though with not much diversity on other card properties – all of them are Level 4 or higher, and the only Attributes present are FIRE, WATER, and EARTH.

Normal Pendulums

AKA the Tarakava family.

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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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)

These Lizards with a Determination to Fist are mostly characterized by their high ATK stats, though the Sand variant is a lot more balanced in that regard. For Pendulum Effects, other than the standard Type-based protection clauses, the regular Tarakava summons itself into battle in a way matching its signature surprise attacks, while the Sand Tarakava kind of performs the inverse operation by putting a Rahi into your Pendulum Zone at will. And the big Tarakava-Nui can just punch things straight back into the Deck at the cost of its own big ATK.

I feel like all of these effects could use some improvement, considering the Sand Tarakava one is even a Quick Effect on a Spell and thus massively against design principles, but let’s consider them as they are for now. An interesting theme I’m seeing here is a mix between beatsticks and effect-based removal on the same cards, almost like a middle ground between the proposed Beast and Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent Rahi playstyles. A “missing link”, if you will. Fitting, isn’t it?

Others

Now let’s see if that idea holds up through the remaining two examples.

Bog Snake, Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | WATER Reptile | ATK 1500 / DEF 1500

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If your opponent takes effect damage: Draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of “Bog Snake, Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
● Each time your opponent activates a card or effect, inflict 300 damage to your opponent immediately after it resolves.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

And immediately the Bog Snake makes things screwy by going into a completely different direction, namely effect damage. Because venom. This is more significant for its interaction with the Ghekula, its natural enemy, than with any other Reptiles, so maybe we shouldn’t think too much about this one.

Ranama, Magma Toad Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 4 | FIRE Reptile | ATK 2200 / DEF 600

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
You can target 1 card your opponent controls; banish both that target and this card until the End Phase of your next turn. You can only use this effect of “Ranama, Magma Toad Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Ranama is our one and only Level 4 Synchro, and it does bring the desired combination of reasonably high stats and effect-based removal. That said, I feel like it tilts a bit more towards the latter, and, come to think of it, a toad should probably rather be placed in the Aqua Type for consistency’s sake. Hmmm.

Not much clarity on what exactly could set the Reptiles apart yet, but moving on.

Potential Members

The unimplemented part of the spreadsheet promises up to a quintupling of the Reptile Rahi pool, with 20 more entries waiting in the wings. Granted, some of those are the Rahi Nui and various worms that are unlikely to really get this Type in the final product, but that still leaves a fair number.

Level 4 and below

The selection of small (potential) Reptile Rahi starts at the Level 1 Spine Slug (already aptly covered in the DARK article), continues with the Level 2 Sand Frog (mentioned once in a serial), right into the Level 3 Fire Serpent (mentioned once in an online character bio with no direct archive available).

And after that three-card straight flush of things we don’t need to bother with, Level 4 finally brings some more noteworthy examples. Well, once we skip over the Air Serpents allegedly from Karda Nui, at least. Okay, the Stone Snake Krahka transformed into one single time probably also doesn’t count.

Which leaves us with two we’ve actually looked at before. The Crystal Climber could be a Beast or could be a Reptile, and is probably going to end up wherever its little mini-synergy with the Ice Bat can be implemented more smoothly (probably Beast though, to keep the Tri-Types together).

The Lohrak has a pretty good chance of becoming a Reptile since it is primarily a snake, and the same thing applies here as when we went over it for the Sea Serpents: Surprise attacks and poisonous flesh, kind of a decent fit mechanically.

Level 5

A surprising number of Reptiles are seemingly sized just between Matoran and Toa, which is a range of exactly this one Level.

A familiar one is the Cable Crawler, a bird-eating Rahi that kind of seems like a climbing lizard. Or a Beast, the lines tend to blur. What speaks for the Reptile typing is their vertigo-inducing Rhotuka power, which they use both to hunt their prey and stun larger creatures – a fine match with the kind of modular strategy considered so far. Assuming you can make the Rhotuka effects work, which might be a bit though in a Deck not focused on them. The tangentially mentioned Mud Crawler suffers from the same Beast-Reptile ambiguity, but if we even bother implementing it, it probably falls here as well due to the acid breath.

The Longfang is explicitly a Reptile, but also a bit disappointing in terms of abilities, since it’s just big and hunts with it jaws, which sounds more like a beatdown-focused Beast Rahi. Throws a little wedge into our plans.

The situation with the Swamp Stalker is similar, though it at least has the decency to be an ambush predator. Estimating the Level for this one is a little tricky because while we know the one that existed as a combiner model was mutated and enlarged, it’s not exactly clear what size the regular ones would be. Of course, that only matters if that version gets a card to begin with.

Finally, the Tunnelers make up for the above examples’ lack of abilities in spades, with their special power to absorb and reproduce anything used against them. This notably can and has been exploited as a weakness, so what it likely translates to is a mandatory trigger effect that copies the opponent’s effects somehow. There’s also the strange “madness” that causes them to change physically and go on a rampage, which could supply the beatdown component to round out this tricky effect in a hybrid Reptile strategy.

Level 6 and 7

Tahu reached the top of the barrier and looked at Lewa as if his brother Toa had turned into a giant swamp lizard.

BIONICLE Chronicles #4: Tales of the Masks

And that’s all it took to put the “Giant Swamp Lizard” into the BS01 Rahi list and therefore into my spreadsheet. No way we’re implementing this one, but presumably it would be Giant (Level 6-ish) Swamp (WATER/WIND) Lizard (Reptile). Shocking.

Speaking of which, the Red Serpent is a Maze of Shadows Rahi with electric powers, which in their one canon use had the remarkable effect of temporarily fusing Matau into a wall. And this right here is where I get a brilliant idea for a gimmick that could set Reptiles apart from all other Types of Rahi. It’s based on a pun, so get ready for this. Are you ready for this?

Scale Manipulation.

As in, Pendulum Scales. Because Reptiles have scales, the two main deck Tarakava already sort of do something like this, and the Red Serpent’s ability could also be very nicely represented by having it shove a monster into the backrow Vaylantz-style. The beatdown/removal hybrid could then be a secondary thing to ensure you have all the tools you need to win while playing around with such a weird gimmick.

The DARK Subterannean Worm is the kind of Worm that I’d rather have as a Reptile than as an Insect, but really both of those options kind of overlap the Normal Pendulums it’s supposed to be grouped with for the whole Rahi Nui package. Still unsure about this one, but its Attribute means it’s not too relevant for the broader Type anyway.

Night Creepers belong to the category of briefly described creatures, with six legs and seven feet (of length), overall sounding kind of like a lizard to me. Nothing of major interest here either.

Furnace Salamanders are said to be the size of a Toa when upright, but upon further consideration, that’s probably a poor reason to put them at the same Level – their swarming behaviour definitely suggests a smaller, less powerful creature at Level 4 or something. Size aside, they’re notable for their agile movements and painful bite, so it sounds like we have another candidate for mixing tricky effects and decent beatdown ability here.

Level 11 (Crystal Serpents)

The most magnificient (likely) Reptile Rahi are those created not by a Makuta, but by the master smith Artakha: The four Crystal Serpents. They spend most of their time dormant in the four corners of their maker’s island, but when active, amplifying light through their bodies lets them generate heat rays powerful enough to destroy a whole wave of Visorak at once. So between that impressive feat and their general legendary status and origins, they obviously have to get a pretty high Level. However, given how odd they are in the context of Rahi overall, I went with 11 rather than the 12 usually used for ginormic boss monster Rahi, just to make it a little weirder.

And while it’s subtle, the above description does contain a nice connection to the Pendulum Scale gimmick considered before: The serpents live in the four corners of the island, and where are the Pendulum Zones located? That’s right, the four corners of the field.

So what I’m thinking here is this: Each of the four serpents actually gets a distinct card to make a little Level 11 mini-archetype, and their effects allow them to be placed into both your and your opponent’s Pendulum Zones. Then, on some trigger, they wake up, Special Summon to your field, and just blow shit up immediately. It’s even more fitting because Crystal Beasts, while not Pendulums, are the OG “monsters in S/T Zone” gimmick deck, and what is a Crystal Serpent if not an off-Type Crystal Beast?

Conclusion

The Reptile Rahi are a mix of snakes, lizards, and generic predators that could just as well be argued to be Beasts. Unlike that Type, however, their hunting methods tend to involve “trickery” such as toxins or special abilities, suggesting something other than the most straightforward beatdown strategy. At the same time, they are also physically more formidable than the smaller end of the aquatic Types of Rahi, which kind of puts them at a balanced middle ground between being beefy beaters and control tools with disruption or removal effects.

That alone may not be enough to guarantee a solid identity, but several of them also have powers or traits suggesting a gimmick of backrow and Pendulum Scale manipulation (which coincidentally also fits with the already implemented Tarakava). So by focusing on that, we can establish a unique playstyle and win condition for Reptile Rahi decks, which the individual monsters’ jack-of-all-trades nature should help carry out in a variety of situations.

Designer’s Quip: Rahi of Many Legs

And/Or chitinous hides, mandibles, compound eyes – whatever it is that identifies them as Insects.

See also:

Current Members

In BCOR, we can find 9 Insect-Type Rahi, spread across all regular Attributes except DARK, with WIND just barely being the most common at 3. Of these Rahi, 4 are Level 2 or lower Tuner monsters, which isn’t all that surprising considering smallness is quite the intuitive Insect trait. The rest doesn’t get all that big either, capping out at Level 6.

Normal Pendulums & Associates

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.
—————————————-
[ 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-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.
—————————————-
[ 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 and Nui-Rama form the only pair of Rahi to currently rely on the Insect type, in this case to get the same standard Pendulum enhancements that Muaka and Kane-Ra have over at the Beasts. Additionaly, the former recycles a monster while popping a Pendulum Scale for synergy with the destruction-based subtheme (you can really tell how poorly thought out that was when a card that demands Insects interacts in a way not relevant to a single other Insect Rahi), and the latter does some good old swarming.

Both of these effects are useful, but more in a generic way that doesn’t really suggest any particular design direction for the Type as a whole. I guess swarming makes some literal sense when you think of Insects, but that alone does not a gameplan make.

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)

The matching Synchro upgrade is the Nui-Kopen, which implements a very fancy method of stealing a monster or Special Summoning even more Rahi from the Deck. One option references the role it played in Lewa getting an infected mask in MNOG and the other fits into the swarming theme, so this seems sensible enough in principle.

Fikou, Spider Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 1 | EARTH Insect | ATK 600 / DEF 400

You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 Level 3 or higher “Rahi” monster you control; reduce that target’s Level by 1, then Special Summon 1 “Fikou, Spider Rahi” from your hand or Deck. You can only use this effect of “Fikou, Spider Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

In case you were wondering why the Synchro upgrades are always one Level higher than the base forms, it’s because of the Fikou, a Level 1 Tuner that brings out other copies of itself by draining a Level from a Rahi on the field. Which technically means you’d end up with the same total Level rather than +1, so I may not have entirely done the math to the end. Still, I really like the idea of this effect, and again it provides another way of swarming.

Handtraps

Other than occuring in swarms, Insects have a reputation for being annoying as hell, so it’s only fair that we find a relatively high concentration of the Level 2 handtrap Rahi in this Type.

Hoto, Firebug Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | FIRE Insect | ATK 600 / DEF 300

(Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY, then target 1 Spell/Trap your opponent controls; banish that target. Your opponent cannot activate the targeted card in response to this effect’s activation. You can only use this effect of “Hoto, Firebug Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Hoto is your Spell/Trap removal, with the built-in benefits of banishing and not letting the targeted card be activated in response, since the cost would otherwise be pretty high for such an effect.

Lightning Bug, Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | LIGHT Insect | ATK 600 / DEF 300

(Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY; negate the effects of 1 face-up monster on the field until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Lightning Bug, Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Lightning Bug, which if the wiki is to be believed should actually be called Electric Bug (they hadn’t figured that out yet when I made BCOR), negates monster effects, and even does so without targeting, which is pretty strong to have as a Quick Effect. In a more functional Rahi archetype, this might honestly be overpowered, but right now it really doesn’t feel that way. Also, only currently implemented LIGHT Insect.

Cliff Bug, Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Insect | ATK 500 / DEF 500

When your opponent activates a card or effect (Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY, then target 1 card on the field; it is unaffected by the effects of cards with the same card type (Monster, Spell, or Trap) as the card your opponent activated, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Cliff Bug, Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Cliff Bug goes in a more defensive direction by just making cards unaffected by some card type. This is actually pretty similar to what Turaga Nokama does in the updated version of BCOT, which is quite fitting due to the Cliff Bug being a Ga-Wahi creature (and the only WATER Insect Rahi for now), but completely accidental. I did not remember this card existed until a good while after I did the overhaul for everything Ga-Koro.

It’s worth noting that in contrast to the Beasts, which had a few monsters that benefit from being banished but no handtraps to do the banishing, the Insects suffer from the opposite problem right now – handtraps, but no banish triggers.

Others

Two more cards remain. First, a single Level 4 Pendulum and the second FIRE Insect Rahi.

Kofo-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | FIRE Insect | ATK 1300 / DEF 1900

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
When a “Rahi” monster is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Kofo-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●When a monster effect is activated (Quick Effect): You can shuffle 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck into the Deck; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that monster if its ATK is lower than the ATK of the monster you shuffled into the Deck.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Kofo-Jaga is the first we’re seeing out of an attempted three-part engine that all grant monsters using them as Synchro material a negate at the cost of shuffling back a Rahi Pendulum from the Extra Deck. In the Pendulum Zone, it has the standard ability to Special Summon itself, and it can search another Rahi Pendulum if a monster is Normal Summoned. You’re basically meant to use this by Normal Summoning a Tuner, searching your other Pendulum Scale, and spamming out a bunch of monsters for a big Synchro play, which is certainly … a bit less reliable following MR4.

Kirikori-Nui, Locust Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 3 | WIND Insect | ATK 1400 / DEF 1000

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can send 1 “Rahi” monster from your Deck to the GY; this card gains 500 ATK. You can banish this card until the End Phase of your next turn; destroy 1 card on the field. You can only use this effect of “Kirikori-Nui, Locust Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Keeping with the theme of Insects being smol, the Kirikori-Nui is a tiny Level 3 Synchro, and one I’m quite fond of. It dumps a Rahi to the GY for cost on summon (potentially triggering various things … that are not Insects), and then can just banish itself for a bit to non-targetingly destroy a card. Probably a bit too slow by modern standards seeing how it’s not a quickie and for some reason comes back during your next End Phase, but still cool.

Potential Members

35 of these little critters still await their implementation, so that’s quite a lot. For the most part, we are looking at tiny Level 1 and 2 monsters, but there’s also a few at Levels 3 and 4 and a decent amount at Level 5 and above, up to legitimate Level 12 candidates. Given the massive skew towards low Levels, it will be interesting to see if we can actually derive a competent strategy from these.

Level 1

Practically every Level 1 monster in the spreadsheet belongs to this Type, boasting a grand total of 11 unimplemented entries.

This includes a wide variety of astonishingly irrelevant critters such as the Acidfly, Bog Leech, and Metallic Hornet – names that probably won’t seem intimately familiar even to dedicated Bionicle fans, because they were each mentioned one single time solely as a comparison for how something sounds or looks or whatever. Given the nigh-zero amount of information that can thus be gleaned from the source material about them, the only reason I could see to implement these is if I really need some extra Level 1s. Which seems unlikely given how many there are here anyway.

Just marginally higher on the relevance scale are Fireflyers and Devourers, whose swarms at least have a smidgen of actual screentime courtesy of an Insect Control Rahkshi. Still, they’re more likely to appear on a Spell/Trap depicting that particular incident in the Archives than as dedicated monster cards. Sand Snipes are one of those curious creatures that only appear in guidebooks, but have a unexpectedly interesting description – in this case, they’re small biting pests with a strange habit of drowning themselves in liquid protodermis. That suicidal nature could well inspire some kind of entertaining self-sacrifical effect.

Meanwhile, the Fikou-Nui is a boss from the cancelled ’01 game, but the fact that visual footage of it exists and its relation to the iconic little orange spider might just mean it will get its share of spotlight in the expansion at some point. Maybe because it’s all black, I once upon a time put together a draft of it as a Rank 1 Xyz Monster, which would be quite a unique niche to fill in the archetype.

And probably the most significant role played by any of these miniature Insects in the actual story goes to the Protodites, microscopic beings who were seen in 2006 both as the building blocks of Zaktan’s body and in massively enlarged form as Protodax. Their ability to split in two when struck could make for a neat monster effect (though kind of limited by only having 3 copies), but since their appearances are so indirect, maybe they’ll also end up relegated to a Spell/Trap slot.

The remaining entries – Worms, Spine Slugs, and Niazesk – are clear DARK monsters and therefore have already been covered in that article.

Level 2

A wide variety of worm-like Rahi can be found noted at this level, among them Spiked Fire Worms, Slime Worms, Feeder Worms, Borer Worms, and Rock Worms. All but the last one are just more rhetorical devices with a single mention in the books, and the Rock Worm’s slightly greater relevance only stems from the fact that the Toa Metru once faced a giant one mutated by Energized Protodermis. So the small one might make it in too at that point, just to have a canon material for bringing out its big version.

The Electric Spider is exclusively a Quest for the Toa enemy that was retroactively packaged into a common naming pattern with the Electric Bug. If implemented as a card, it would probably do something similar to that little effect-negating handtrap. Maybe negate effects outside the field or something?

And finally, the Frost Leech is another parasite like the aforementioned Spine Slug, except it feeds off heat rather than rage. Perhaps this could translate to some kind of union-like mechanic where the Leech attaches to a monster and slowly “freezes” it.

The surprising takeaway so far is that, even though the numbers suggest a cornucopia of extremely low-Level Insect Rahi, a detailed inspection reveals that almost all the actually relevant ones have been implemented already.

The Visorak Ecosystem

Perhaps the most relevant Insect Rahi are 2005’s Visorak, already featured prominently in the DARK article along with various Rahi directly related to them. Still, it’s not totally impossible that the Visorak could end up getting other Attributes once we reach them, so let’s quickly go over them in the context of Insects as a whole too.

The Visorak themselves would be Level 4 monsters that, if not DARK, would be spread across FIRE, WATER, EARTH, and WIND as per their color schemes. The main features I have currently planned for them are a generally tightly coordinated playstyle likely making use of a dedicated “Visorak” archetype, and Rhotuka effects that trigger off the activation of some basic “Rhotuka” Spells to represent the various Rhotuka powers found in the lore. These very specific features mean they probably wouldn’t mix too well with random other Insect Rahi, but perhaps planning some crossover points in advance would be nice.

The obvious candidates for those are the other Insects canonically related to Visorak: Venom Flyers, Gate Guardians, Silver Chute Spiders, and Metru Mantisses. All of those do even have options for non-DARK Attributes listed: WIND because it flies, LIGHT because it projects illusions, LIGHT because its shiny, and WIND because it’s green, in that order. However, in the case where Visorak aren’t DARK either, WIND would overlap with the main horde’s Keelerak, which is a bit annoying. An interesting point for the Insect Rahi pool as we’ve seen it so far is that all of these are Level 4 or higher, but it’s possible that the ones we have yet to cover sufficiently fill that niche anyway.

The Zivon also needs to be mentioned as a gigantic Level 12 Insect Rahi, meant to be the final boss Visorak. I’ve cooked up a nice little plan to make this one a Ritual Monster summoned not by a regular Ritual Spell, but rather by the Rhotuka effect of the Visorak Kahgarak – exactly the way it’s canonically called forth from the Field of Shadows. That’s not exactly compatible with generic usage, however, so another reason I’d honestly prefer the Visorak sectioned off in their own DARK Insect corner.

Level 3 and 4

The only(!) Level 3 Insect Rahi on record is the Dagger Spider, found in the Green Belt of Voya Nui and built as a tiny little combiner model. Incidentally, the latter is a quality it shares with the Kirikori-Nui, so maybe it could be another low-Level Synchro? Effect-wise, their method of attacking involves feints, so maybe similar mechanics as with Utopia + Double or Nothing could be applied.

Level 4 includes the Visorak and some other DARK Insect stuff mentioned previously, but also the Sea Spider. Which is technically still connected to the Visorak, but since it’s one of their natural predators and unlike the nocturnal Metru Mantis has nothing to do with darkness, I can’t really justify shoving it into DARK. Not sure what to do with this one.

And that’s it for this section. Shockingly, there are practically no Insect Rahi I would place at these Levels, so unless I find other stuff to up-/downgrade or come up with a very unusual playstyle, there might legitimately be no choice but to let the Visorak mix with the general Insect pool after all. But even then, that would mean Insect Rahi only really start working in 2005 …

Level 5 and Higher

After the drought in the middle Level range, it’s surprising to see that quite a few oversized Insects can still be found at the higher Levels.

One particular subcategory I’d like to start with are those that have “Flip” listed as a potential subtype: Archives Beast, Tunnel Stalker, and Chute Lurker. These three share the common trait of being ambush predators, which is something I might yet devote a separate article to since it applies to quite a few Rahi and has some interesting ways to be implemented in card form. One possibility being that we make them Flip Effect Monsters, and since they’re all pretty big and high-Level, they’d probably Special Summon themselves face-down as well. Also, all three of these could have different Attributes (Beast DARK, Stalker EARTH, Lurker WIND/WATER), which is always nice for variety.

Outside of the ones connected to the Visorak, there’s some further big DARK Insect Rahi. The Subterranean Worm set to release in BPEV is probably going to be support for the Rahi Nui since that’s the main focus of that expansion Rahi-wise, but if it really does end up an Insect, it could be generically useful enough to also include in the broader strategy of the Type. Protodax and Fenrakk Spawn appear in Voya Nui and are both related to the guardians of the Ignika (the former directly, the latter indirectly), but again, generic usefulness in an Insect deck may be possible.

With the WATER Attribute, we have the Frost Beetle, one of several creatures closely connected to Ko-Metru’s Knowledge Towers (maybe a multi-Type subtheme/engine is hiding here?). Their thing is that the whole species got more intelligent by consuming the Towers’ Memory Crystals and integrating the information therein into their hivemind, which is … cool, but doesnt quite give me any functional ideas until I’ve figured out what Knowledge Towers do. In-game, I mean.

The magma-shooting Catapult Scorpions are FIRE Insects for a rather obvious reason, and since they look like significantly beefier Nui-Jaga, their Level is noted as up there at something along the lines of 8. Considering that they are explicitly super aggressive in addition to their size, they’re probably the most straightforward choice for a big game-ending Insect Synchro boss monster.

And if you want to go even more huge, consider the Troller, a worm stated to have a mouth “large enough to swallow a city block”. That would suggest it can’t possibly be anything below Level 12 as noted in the spreadsheet, but at this point I’ve practically dropped that idea for two reasons. One, Krahka transforms into one while fighting Roodaka, and I just see no way that scene could logistically work if their size was really as described. And two, from what we’ve seen so far, there’s really no way an Insect Rahi deck could support a full-on Level 12 boss monster. So we might go a bit smaller with this, maybe a more defensive option in the same weight class as the Catapult Scorpion (though it also doesn’t feel entirely right to group these two together).

Conclusions

Quite possibly the strangest Type yet. They’re either tiny or gigantic, with very little in the mid-Level size range, which leads to them almost completely missing certain crucial components of the Rahi playstyle as it has been implemented so far. The main redeeming factor in that sense are the Visorak, but they’re kind of busy doing their own thing and also don’t show up until a while later in the story.

It might therefore be necessary to step out of preconceived notions about Rahi card design a bit further than I’ve done in previous Type analyses. Beasts were a Pendulum/Synchro deck with a beatdown focus while Fish & co were a Pendulum/Synchro deck using more effect-based means of board control, but maybe Insects don’t necessarily have to be Pendulums or Synchros in the first place. Especially the latter is kind of inconvenient for a deck full of low levels anyway, unless we’re talking about teensy utility Synchro Monster like the Kirikori-Nui. For actual boss monsters, it could very well end up being the case that Insect Rahi instead put out a Link, a Rank 1 or 2 Xyz, or even an easily searchable Main Deck monster. Maybe the Level 2s won’t even be Tuners or handtraps if both of those features don’t synergize well with everything else.

Of course, once the Visorak and their relatives/allies/enemies do appear, the potential for a more conventional Synchro strategy does increase significantly. I am, however, still leaning towards placing those into a more isolated section as DARK Insects, so if the main Insect Rahi deck should use them, that would require an unusual degree of DARK acceptance on that end. I think this is realistically achievable by just making sure the Visorak never apply any locks that extend beyond the Type and keeping their interactions with the “Visorak” archetype and the DARK Insect typing strictly positive, so you can still put them in a non-DARK deck to use some of their features (though they’d obviously be more powerful in their dedicated strategy). This special mixing of Attributes could then be yet another strange feature of Insect Rahi compared to other Types.

More generally, I think “weird kinds of variety” might unexpectedly wind up being the niche for Insect Rahi, judging by these last two points. Having stuff like Links, Xyz, low-level Synchros, Main Deck bosses, and an entire DARK sub-archetype in the toolbox would probably provide ways to work around certain things regular Rahi decks might struggle with. And in that sense, having the weirdness of Insects also be splashable to some degree should be very healthy for the versatility and resiliency of Rahi as a whole.

Designer’s Quip: Marine Rahi

Ahoy! For today’s installment of this ongoing investigation, we will delve into the depths of the sea in search of Fish, Aqua, and Sea Serpent monsters.

See also:

Current Members

9 Rahi have been implemented from this thalassic trifecta of Types, although it’s mostly concentrated on 7 Aqua monsters with a small side of 2 Fish monsters. Let’s start with the fishies.

Ruki, Fish Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Fish | ATK 700 / DEF 100

(Quick Effect): You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY; destroy 1 monster your opponent controls. You can only use this effect of “Ruki, Fish Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Ruki belongs to the group of Level 2 handtraps that banish from the GY as cost, which were so sorely missing from the Beast section. This one offers the especially simple and useful service of monster destruction.

Takea, Shark Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | WATER Fish | ATK 1800 / DEF 900

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
At the start of the Damage Step, if a “Rahi” monster you control battles: You can double any battle damage your opponent takes from that battle. You can only use this effect of “Takea, Shark Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●If this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: Special Summon 1 “Rahi” monster from your Deck with ATK less than or equal to half the damage inflicted, but it cannot attack this turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Takea shark, on the other hand, is a Level 4 and thus grants bonus effects when used as Synchro Material. It has a nice little self-synergy going on between that and its Pendulum Effect, since doubled battle damage allows bringing out a wider range of Rahi from the Deck.

Aqua, meanwhile, encompasses all kinds of at least slightly watery critters that clearly aren’t fish or serpents. On the smallest end, that means the Shore Turtles, who act as a defensive handtrap that prevents battle while potentially leaving some monsters turned in the wrong orientation when your turn rolls around.

Shore Turtle, Rahi

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Aqua | ATK 0 / DEF 1200

When a monster declares an attack: You can banish this card from your hand or field and 1 “Rahi” monster from your GY; change the battle positions of all face-up monsters. You can only use this effect of “Shore Turtle, Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

At Level 3, we evolve to crab with the Keras, which follows the current standard structure for Rahi at that Level and provides somewhat arbitrary utility based on its role as a steed the Matoran rode into battle against the Bohrok.

Keras, Crab Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Aqua | ATK 1400 / DEF 500

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
At the start of the Damage Step, if a monster you control with 1000 or less ATK battles an opponent’s monster: You can destroy this card, and if you do, that monster you control gains 1400 ATK until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Keras, Crab Rahi” once per turn.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can target 1 Level 4 or lower monster on the field; that target is unaffected by Spell/Trap effects until the end of this turn. If this card is banished: You can target 1 Set card on the field; destroy it. You can only use 1 “Keras, Crab Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

What else fits under the Aqua umbrella? Well, how about some frogs? Toads. Whatever.

Makika, Toad Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Aqua | ATK 600 / DEF 2100

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If a card in your Pendulum Zone is destroyed: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy that target. You can only use this effect of “Makika, Toad Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●If this card is destroyed by battle: Destroy the monster that destroyed it, and if you do, inflict damage to your opponent equal to that monster’s original ATK.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Ghekula, Amphibious Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | WATER Aqua | ATK 1550 / DEF 1400

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
During your Main Phase: You can add 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Deck or GY to your hand, except “Ghekula, Amphibious Rahi”, and if you do, take damage equal to its original ATK. You can only use this effect of “Ghekula, Amphibious Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●Once per turn, if you take effect damage: Gain LP equal to the damage you took, and if you do, inflict the same amount of damage to your opponent.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Makika and Ghekula, both sitting at Level 4, go in two drastically different directions. The former is part of that weird little destruction-based subtheme, letting you pop an opponent’s card if your other Pendulum Scale is destroyed and granting Synchros an effect to strike back against whatever destroys them by battle. The latter messes around with effect damage, dealing it to you in exchange for a search as its Pendulum Effect and redirecting it to your opponent in its Synchro-granted effect. The most interesting thing here in terms of overall planning might really be that the Ghekula can search any other Rahi Pendulum, which I imagine would be nice to have in just about any Deck that uses those.

Waikiru, Walrus Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | WATER Aqua | ATK 1800 / DEF 1000

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
When the battle position of a face-up monster(s) you control is changed: You can apply this effect until the end of this turn, depending on that monster’s new battle position.
● Attack Position: It gains ATK equal to its Level/Rank x 200.
● Defense Position: It cannot be destroyed by battle or card effects.
You can only use this effect of “Waikiru, Walrus Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can change the battle position of up to 2 face-up monsters on the field that have the same battle position.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

A significantly larger aquatic creature is the walrus – in real life, but over there in the Matoran Universe, the Waikiru seems to be about the same size as the other Level 4s we just looked at. Like the Ghekula and Takea, it has a self-synergistic gimmick: Changing battle positions, which a Synchro made with it can do as a Quick Effect and which it rewards with position-dependent buffs from the Pendulum Zone.

And if you thought we were done evolving to crab, you’re wrong, because evolution has advanced even further to reach a truly monstrous degree.

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)

Mana Ko, Guardian Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 11 | LIGHT Aqua | ATK 3500 / DEF 2800

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner “Rahi” monsters
Control of this card cannot switch. The ATK of all face-up monsters your opponent controls is halved during their Battle Phase only. When this card that was Synchro Summoned using exactly 1 non-Tuner monster as material leaves the field: Special Summon that non-Tuner monster from your GY. This card that was Synchro Summoned using 2 or more non-Tuner monsters as material cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent’s card effects.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Manas belongs more to the DARK Rahi faction and also acts as the boss monster of the Normal Pendulums, so it probably isn’t all that relevant to a deck based on aquatic Rahi. The Mana Ko may be worth looking at as the largest Rahi Synchro currently available, though it kind of relies on inheriting powerful bonus effects from its materials to really live up to that title. Honestly I’m not sure this thing is any sort of aquatic creature at all, but like, what is it even supposed to represent then?

Potential Members

The spreadsheet lists 32 Rahi from the seas that are yet to be implemented, ranging from tiny Level 1 plankton to massive Level 10, 11, and 12 leviathans. Unlike the Beasts we previously went over, I don’t really have any particular ideas for an overarching playstyle yet (though maybe something could be done with those self-synergies on the Pendulums?), but let’s still use the same order from small to large and see where we end up.

Level 1 and 2

We begin with a Rahi from MNOG that was actually missed in BCOR, namely the Lightfish that illuminate the leaf huts of Ga-Koro.

They don’t really do anything except glow, but that already makes a pretty strong case for the LIGHT Attribute. The Type could be Aqua (as is most usual for jellyfish) or Fish (just to match the name), and its effect could honestly be pretty much anything from disruption (“blinding” enemies, like the Lightning Bug from BCOR) to searching (“lighting” the way). So, not really much help in clearing up the playstyle mystery by itself.

A thematically similar creature is the Lava Eel, except it emits FIRE rather than LIGHT. Being a fish that doesn’t have the traditional fish shape and also an elongated aquatic (or rather, magmatic) animal arguably qualifies this Rahi for all three of Fish, Aqua, and Sea Serpent, but going by precedent Fish makes the most sense. I’ve grouped it with the Lightfish in terms of Level due to the similarities, but looking again at the one animation where it’s shown, it really is quite a bit larger than that. I guess there’s also the juvenile versions that Matoran keep as pets, but multiple cards for a Rahi this irrelevant probably makes no sense. Whatever the Level, perhaps effect-wise something could be done based on the passive emission of light/heat, like a continuous effect granting buffs and debuffs.

The Makuta Fish also makes its home in the waters of Mata Nui and Metru Nui, though it was already mentioned in the DARK Rahi discussion and probably isn’t super relevant for the general Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent pool if it has a home over there. I’d just like to add that IF that is the case, and IF we also end up keeping the structure where Level 3 Rahi have GY and banish effects, there’s a strong argument in favour of bumping this up to Level 3 so it can combo with Allure of Darkness. On the other hand, if we make it WATER, it would probably end up being a slight variant of the Ruki in effect just like it is in concept, so that’s probably the less interesting route.

Also from the DARK Attribute, the Spine Slug could potentially be Aqua, but I somewhat doubt it, and it wouldn’t matter to the non-DARK pool anyway.

And looking at the remaining entries, we can first notice what is going to be a common phenomenon with these Types, namely that a whole lot of them show up once the story goes to Mahri Nui in BPOP. This is quite obvious just from the fact that it’s the arc that takes place entirely underwater, but it’s exacerbated by some 2007 guidebooks that introduce various Rahi as pure worlbuilding fluff.

One such case is the Dust Darter, a tiny, tiny fish that swims in the dust waterfalls of Karzahni – making it a prime candidate for the elusive EARTH Fish typing. Otherwise, their main trait is eating through metallic protodermis in swarms, so it could have a destructive effect similar to the Ruki, but aimed at non-monster cards. Not sure how to represent the swarm aspect though – maybe it’s worth considering to have the card represent a whole swarm to begin with? Wouldn’t be totally unheard of …

The next tiny, deadly creature doesn’t even need the protection of a swarm, and sits at the curious position of being totally irrelevant yet central to the plot due to the metaphor it appears in. I am talking, of course, about the Water Wraith, a toxic Rahi that hunts by using itself as bait, lovingly(?) handcrafted by Makuta Teridax himself. This ability, mirroring the Makuta’s own plan to take over the universe, suggests an effect where the Wraith lets itself be destroyed by an opponent’s monster, kills that monster in the process, and then comes back to “feast” – whatever that entails.

I guess the Gadunka also has to be considered in this Level range as an originally tiny Rahi, even if the bulk of the relevance obviously lies with the particular specimen enlarged by the Ignika. A quick glance over the general traits of the species reveals some familiar concepts – small, powerful jaws, agressive and territorial. I swear, something in the seas in and around the Matoran Universe is making all these Rahi ornery. Anyway, sounds like another thing in the vein of the Ruki … and so does the next one.

Appearing in a grand total of one comic, Reef Raiders are quite clearly just another kind of bity fish, so there honestly might not be much point in implementing them. Maybe something distinctive could be made out of the fact that they live in the Pit, but as of right now I’ve got nothing.

What I do now have, however, is some basic idea of what the deal is with aquatic Rahi. Even the small ones tend to be agressive, voracious, dangerous to touch, or some combination thereof, so it’s starting to sound sensible that the Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent types could contrast the Beast beatdown with a theme of taking out the opponent’s field via effects rather than battle. We’ll see if that idea continues to hold up as the subjects of our research increase in size.

Level 3 and 4

Potentially another example of the popular bity fish paradigm (though technically a mammal) is the Razorfish, but between being the smaller counterpart of a whale and damaging ships with their scales I’d guess they’re probably a bit larger than the ones above. Effect-wise, this trait seems to lie at a crossover point between the destructive nature of the other bity fish and the passive harmful effects found on the likes of Lava Eel and Water Wraith.

The Cave Fish employs a different kind of defensive tactic, inflating itself to scare off predators. It’s not exactly clear how big these are in their default state, so arguably putting them at Level 2 would make more sense. The stat boosting implied by its signature ability also matches up kind of well with the current theme of handtraps at that Level, though it remains to be seen whether or not that theme survives the redesign.

In this level range we begin encountering a higher number of potential Sea Serpents, even if there tends to be a bit of ambiguity due to the fact that regular snakes are traditionally typed as Reptiles.

So when you look at the Lohrak (Lorax?), described as a slimy, flying serpent, you can see it as a Winged Beast due to its wings, as a Reptile because it’s a snake flying through the air, or as a (WIND) Sea Serpent because it’s a snake “swimming” through the air covered in wet slime. Between their vicious surprise attacks and their poisonous flesh, they at least would certainly fit into the mechanics suggested in this article so far.

Similar caveats apply to the Air Serpents, the likely flying (but not necessarily winged) snakes the Toa Mata fought in Karda Nui back in the day. However, if we ever reach the point where I implement Rahi only mentioned one single time, I probably need an intervention, so let’s not talk about this one too much.

The Rock Ussal pops up here again, since just like the regular Ussal, being a crab theoretically does qualify it for Aqua type (and having Rock in the name for Rock …). There’s an argument to be made that it fits because it’s more agressive than the regular Ussal while still being a fairly small critter, but I’d rather keep consistency with the main variant, which I prefer as a Beast.

Other than crabs, the Aqua type also tends to include turtles, in this case the Dermis Turtle, known for its near-impervious shell, excellent hiding skills, and ability to predict storms. This is quite a contrast to the usually quite hostile and offensive nature of other small Rahi we’ve seen, but somewhat in line with the already implemented Shore Turtle. So it seems reasonable that turtles might represent the defense-oriented weirdos among this subset of Rahi, while everything else focuses on taking apart the opponent’s field. Having that niche filled somehow should come in handy if it’s integrated nicely.

A very interesting species introduced with the Mahri Nui bulk are the Hydruka, domesticated by the Matoran for air harvesting and capable of shooting solidified air bubbles for self-defense. They’re certainly going to fill some kind of specific role based on that in the 2007 cards, but at this point in time, the main design idea I’m getting out of them is due to their color schemes. Morak and Thulox, the named members of the species pictured above, are blue and red – which means they’ll be a pair of Pendulums because, quoth the spreadsheet, “it’s literally the law”.

The Hahnah crab is also red, and since its only real appearance in the story is in the form of the specific individual that briefly acted as Jaller’s mobile turret, I figure it would probably be rather detached from the Rahi archetype and more act as support for the Toa Mahri. Or for FIRE monsters since it’s attracted to heat?

Rounding out the 2007 selection, we have the Manutri, which yet again introduces a new base animal: penguins. Now you would be justified in thinking that those are birds and thus Winged Beasts, but in Yugioh that is for some reason not the standard. Lore-wise, Manutri are just those weird creatures Karzahni turned into an armed fighting force and then never used because some intern probably made that whole thing up on the spot while writing the magazine,leaving them a pretty blank slate. So they might just do something similar to the other Penguins (could arguably even be made part of the archetype, though I’m not sure I’d want to go there), maybe with a side of Karzahni and/or equip synergy.

And to finish off this whole Level range, the amphibian Parakrekks are one of those cases where the obvious lore-based interaction lies outside the Type, and in this case kind of even outside the Rahi archetype. They travel in swarms following in the wake of rampaging Protocairns, which are supposedly Matoran transformed by Energized Protodermis, and then hang around for a long while after those creatures have died and literally become one with the ground.

Protocairn (not technically a Rahi)

This overall dynamic seems to suggest quite an interesting and clear design direction:

  1. Make Protocairn by using a member of the recently introduced Energized Protodermis archetype to fuse with a Matoran (this also helps the consistency of Energized Protodermis by expanding the valid fusion materials)
  2. “Rampage” with the Protocairn, destroying some stuff and all that
  3. Have the Protocairn die and “transform into new landmass”, which might mean something like floating into a Field Spell
  4. Said landmass is also infested by Parakrekks, so they somehow show up at the same time and become a sticky menace on the field

So this would basically be an engine that starts out with removal and ends by setting up pretty much an entire board, which certainly has a lot of potential. The Parakrekks themselves are also notable for their skill in concealing themselves, so some fun Flip shenanigans are on the table with them.

Level 5-8

The “-” sign in the title is a bit misleading because somehow, with no intention on my part, I used only exactly Levels 5 and 8 from this range. But as stated repeatedly already, Levels are kind of flexible anyway, so most likely something will still end up squeezed into the area inbetween at implementation.

One creature noted at Level 5 in the spreadsheet is the Proto Drake, a Sea Serpent that moves through the seas, skies, and Ta-Metru’s vats of molten Protodermis alike.

The only reason it’s at exactly this Level is because it feeds on (Level 4) Takea sharks, so obviously it has to be at least a little bit bigger than those. The mobility in different environments could be implemented by having the card smoothly move itself between different locations, such as Monster Zones and Pendulum Zones – kind of like some current Rahi already do, but with more ease.

Chute Lurkers are amphibious and so could be put under the Aqua Type, though their spider-like appearance and hunting method makes me lean more towards Insect. Chutes are characteristic of Le-Metru, so arguably WIND Aqua would be kind of fitting and has some appealing novelty to it, but there are a few monsters with that combination already, so probably not a good enough reason by itself.

Moving back in the approximate direction of turtles, Pit War Tortoises are only known for the mutated and armed specimens found in the seas around Mahri Nui, so their situation kind of resembles the Manutri. They do have an additional noted trait of long life spans (kind of seems standard in the MU anyway, but let’s not think about it too much), which more or less aligns with the previous observation of turtles being more defense-oriented. These tortoises just also happen to have guns on their backs.

Razor Whales, our first Level 8 candidate, are the larger cousins of the Razorfish mentioned previously. Instead of sharp scales that sink ships, they have sharp spines that mostly act as a deterrent. Despite not being anything turtle-adjacent, these whales also contrast the small fish by being gentle and defensive in nature, which could make for a neat little gameplay dynamic within the Razor family.

The Great Temple Squid is an interesting case: Its first appearance is in Tales of the Masks, a book covered by the currently ongoing expansion BPEV, but they aren’t properly introduced until Metru Nui (where the Great Temple is located). So I’ve been thinking about teasing them with a related support card in BPEV and only actually making the monster once we reach BCOL. Thematically, this creature is a near-apex predator that actively hunts prey with its tentacles, so we seem to have reached a point where the aquatic Rahi are large enough to employ offensive tactics similar to the Beasts.

This idea is further supported by the Doom Viper, a Sea Serpent if I’ve ever seen one.

These toxic-breathed monstrosities pretty much just go around killing everything they come across, so they make for quite the formidable boss monster. In a way, they’re the upscaled version of all those small Rahi using poison to defend themselves, except the Doom Viper very much attacks.

Speaking of upscaled, the particular Gadunka that was turned enormous by the Mask of Life is definitely going to be its own card. Given its unnatural origins, it should probably be something unusual for Rahi, like a Fusion or Ritual monster summoned with an Ignika support card. Since it is just as agressive as it was when tiny, but now big enough to actually threaten most other creatures with its mighty jaws, this seems to be yet another case where a large aquatic Rahi simply goes for straight beatdown.

Vehicles

And now we briefly depart from the Level-based structure to look at something weird. In the 2006 and 2007 playsets, the designers really felt like including some vehicles, which story-wise mostly were explained as modified Rahi. That leaves us with an assortment of cockpit-bearing animals capable of supporting one or more riders, which probably should be implemented with some kind of unique shared mechanic.

The first example of this trend is actually a playset combiner model: The Caravan Crawler, modified by the Piraka from a specimen of the unseen Lava Crawlers. As creatures with a hard shell that live around lava streams, they qualify pretty well for the nice combination of FIRE Aqua (the ol’ Suship), and their bad temper makes them hard to control – a notable contrast to the other turtle-like creatures who are usually on the calmer side.

But it is not until Mahri Nui that the vehicle theme really kicks off, as we are introduced to the Stinger Whale and Spider Crab.

Both of these carry one passenger the size of a Toa or Barraki, meaning they must be fairly high-level to reflect how big they are. Aside from appearance, they only real difference between the two Rahi is that the Whale has more speed and less armor than the crab, which is a decent balance to have. The big question is how to handle the passengers in effects – maybe with some gimmick of equipping to other monsters?

That concept immediately becomes a bit problematic with the Toa Terrain Crawler, the largest of the vehicular Rahi, because a main point that sets it apart from the smaller ones is its ability to house multiple passengers – but you can’t exactly equip to multiple monsters at once. Maybe a solution would be pulling a Super Quant and having the vehicles be Xyz that take the pilots/passengers as material, which would also serve nicely to set them apart from other Rahi. Another minor point on the TTC specifically: Its modifications are said to be so extensive that it appears more mechanical than organic, so it might just end up being the first Machine Rahi, rather than the currently suggested Sea Serpent.

Level 10-12

At these Levels, we reach Rahi that can be described as downright mythical, such as the Crystal Serpents created by Artakha. They’re practically a collection of highly unusual traits – their creator is not a Makuta, there are only four of them, they only feed every few centuries, and the heat rays from their crystal bodies are potent enough to instantly wipe out a whole wave of invading Visorak. Given their oddity and power, I figured they would fit well at the also quite odd Level 11, as LIGHT Sea Serpents or Reptiles. Nothing suggests they’re aquatic in any capacity, so the latter might actually make more sense now that I think about it.

That leaves us with just one more marine Rahi of truly legendary proportions, the so-called Dweller in the Deep.

Not to be confused with Abyss Dweller, Dweller in the Depths, or The Deadly Dastardly Dragon Dwelling in the Dangerous Dark Deep, of course. Supposedly its jaws are large enough to swallow the entire Great Temple of Ga-Metru, and while that’s probably an exaggeration, the fact that it feeds on Great Temple Squids still qualifies it for Level 10 or above. We could follow the same approach already suggested for the Tahtorak and make the final boss of the Type(s) a big Synchro to climb into, but the fact that the small Rahi in this case tend to help take apart the opponent’s field with their effects kind of leaves less room for the necessary combo enablers. So it might be better off as a more easily accessible thing that doesn’t really do anything outside of being exceedingly large so you can get around effect resistances and stuff.

The First Rahi

I lied, there’s even more huge things in the water. It’s just that the remaining ones form yet another special subgroup that is set apart from the rest of their Type. I am talking about the First Rahi, famously studied by Onu-Matoran Mavrah in the tunnels outside Metru Nui.

These ancient sea creatures created by the Great Beings themselves consist of several dozen briefly described varieties, so there’s ample room to build a little self-contained engine from them, presumably also involving Mavrah in some way. Since being ancient is their core identifying feature, it would make sense to have them also be kind of antiquated in terms of card type, like making them large main deck bosses or even Rituals. Of course, that would be mostly aesthetic and they’d still need to live up to modern standards of playability.

Even though I’ve covered them in this article now, I’m actually strongly considering making them Dinosaurs instead of Sea Serpents. It’s a nice way to signify their primoridal nature, and outside the very special case of the Rahi Nui, that Type is pretty much unused anyway.

Conclusion

That was quite a lot to go over, but I think there are several fairly intersting conclusions to be had.

  • Low-level Fish/Aqua/Sea Serpent Rahi are absolutely willing to punch above their weight class and attack anything that moves, either physically or by means of poison or other harmful emissions. Therefore, one of the selling points of this Type alliance could be that even the fodder has some ability to interfere with the opponent’s field through their effects – as is already the case with cards like the Ruki.
  • As Levels grow higher, these tactics begin to lose relevance and are replaced by simple large apex predators, as well as peaceful creatures kept safe by their sheer size. This suggests a shift from effect-based removal/disruption to beatdown and large bosses, granting these Rahi a nice amount of flexibility.
  • Turtle-like Rahi are pretty consistently oriented around defense, so they could fill precisely that niche between the two types of offense listed above. That might just be exactly what is needed to complete the aquatic Rahi as a nicely rounded sub-archetype.
  • There are a few different groups that exist within their own little card ecosystems outside the main Fish/Aqua/Sea Serpent one. That means the Parakrekks and their connection to the Protocairn, the rideable “vehicles”, and possibly even the numerous primordial Rahi around Mavrah. While these are generally going to be their own thing, it might be worthwhile to invest in support cards for Rahi of the three Types that are also of use to such detached engines.

In terms of introduction order, these cards are spaced pretty evenly, with the obvious exception of the major flood coming in with BPOP. The only notable delay is that non-Manas Rahi larger than Level 4 only start appearing from BCOL onwards, so the “large boss” aspect of the strategy won’t be available until then. Maybe the Squid-based support card from BPEV could be something that helps fill the gap in the meantime.

So, it’s looking like the aquatic Rahi will be the “balanced” portion of the archetype, their win condition combining effect-based control of the boardstate with the ability to simply make large monsters, with some literal turtling added to the mix for safety.

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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
—————————————-
[ 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.
  • the Cable Crawlers are also pretty hard to place into a Type, but as bird-eating predators Beast would be one option. Could also be Reptiles for the same reason, or I guess Dragons because there’s fire coming out of their butts.

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.