When the Great Spirit was cast into a deep slumber, the Toa Mata were the six heroes sent out to rectify the situation. However, some faulty equipment caused them to miss their intended landing point and float in the ocean for a thousand years before they could actually begin their mission, turning them into the colorful sentai team of amnesiac skeletons we know and love today. Now, it is time to dive into the cards representing these central figures of Bionicle lore and their tale.
Aside from the individual traits outlined in the tabs above, there are some noteworthy shared aspects to discuss. The Toa Mata are all Warriors of varying Attributes, and they are Level 6 because that’s kind of an iconic number and also feels like about the right placement for Toa in general – they’re too special to be among the low-level “fodder”, but also not that individually powerful compared to some of the other crazy beings that can be found in the Matoran Universe.
This choice of Level means they require a Tribute to Normal Summon and are therefore horrendous unplayable bricks by default. The normal (and most effective) way to work around this would be adding some handy built-in Special Summoning conditions, but to properly match the delayed arrival of this Toa team, I went with something slower instead and made a “simplified” Tribute Summon the standard method of bringing them out. What that means is that they all share an effect that allows their Tribute to come from the hand instead of the field, provided it is either another Toa Mata or a different monster of their same Attribute. This way, they are actually pretty easy (though still somewhat expensive) to Summon provided you are playing them in either a dedicated Toa Mata deck or an Attribute-based strategy (likely their village‘s), which is exactly how they’re meant to be used.
Once you get the monsters on your field, they each provide different effects meant to represent their elemental powers. These effects are relatively strong, but bogged down by another intentional inconvenience included in the design: As the Toa Mata are fundamentally a reactive force created to respond when the universe is in danger, their effects too will only activate in response to certain events. The trigger conditions are mostly generic enough that you can reasonably set them off yourself and not wait for your opponent to play into them, but that still means a Toa Mata alone is often no more than a beatstick. Refer to the individual descriptions for more detail on these effects and how to trigger them.
What we have so far is just a lineup of mighty heroes with some pretty inconvenient downsides, so it’s going to take a bit of external help to work around those downsides and build a deck that feels good to play. Luckily the Toa Mata had some ridiculously good support infrastructure despite being stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere, so the lore gives us plenty of setup here.
First and foremost, there’s the 12 Kanohi each of them had access to, but those are covered in detail in a different guide, so let’s just quickly note that they are Equip Spells that grant different effects to Toa and each of the 6 Great ones has a GY effect which banishes a monster from the GY to search the Toa Mata who mainly wears that mask.
To manage the many Kanohi and ensure you have the correct power when you need it, a Suva is absolutely essential, but in a proper Toa Mata strategy, these shrines can do even more than that.
SuvaEffect MonsterLevel 1 | LIGHT Rock | ATK 0 / DEF 0
While in your hand, and while face-up on the field if you control a “-Koro” Field Spell Card, this card is also WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH-Attribute. Once per Chain (Quick Effect): You can pay 500 LP, then target 1 “Toa” monster you control; equip 1 “Kanohi” Equip Spell from your hand or GY to that target, except a card that is in the GY because it was destroyed while face-up on the field and sent there this turn. If you control a “Toa” monster: You can Special Summon this card from your GY. You can only use this effect of “Suva” once per turn.
The mask-swapping effect is in fact sandwiched between two other abilities that help the Mata. Since the Suva counts as all Attributes except DARK in the hand, you can always Tribute it for any Toa without even Summoning it first, granting a big consistency boost. And the fact that it comes back from the GY once per turn if you control a Toa immediately offsets the Tribute cost, while ensuring fairly reliable access to any Kanohi you have in the hand or GY.
If Suva is so good, why isn’t there a Suva 2? Well, there is.
Suva KaitaEffect MonsterLevel 1 | LIGHT Rock | ATK 0 / DEF 0
While in your hand or GY, this card is also WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH-Attribute. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 Level 6 “Toa” monster in your GY; Special Summon that target. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 of your banished “Toa” monsters; you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except “Toa” monsters, also Special Summon that target in Defense Position. You can only use each effect of “Suva Kaita” once per turn.
Situated at Kini-Nui, the Suva Kaita is a central shrine built not to store Kanohi, but as a gathering point and entrance into what lies beneath the island. It’s mostly symbolic really, but that doesn’t stop me from giving it effects to aid the Toa Mata in working together. Like the regular Suva, it counts as all the Attributes you need while in the hand (and also in the GY – more on that below), and comes with two effects for Special Summoning Toa. The one on the field is a Quick Effect and gets exactly a Level 6 from the GY, but requires the Suva Kaita to Tribute itself. The one in the GY gets back any banished Toa and costs you nothing except banishing the already spent Suva Kaita, but it’s instead restricted by only summoning in Defense Position and comes with an archetypal Extra Deck lock for the rest of the turn. Both of these can be used in the same turn, so with sufficient setup a single Suva Kaita can already get you a Rank 6.
The Great Temple, Kini-NuiField Spell
During your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) If a “Toa” monster(s) is Tributed for the Tribute Summon of a “Toa Mata” monster and sent to your GY: You can target 1 of those monsters; Special Summon it in Defense Position, but banish it when it leaves the field. During the End Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF from your Deck. You can only use each effect of “The Great Temple, Kini-Nui” once per turn.
Zooming out a bit, Kini-Nui is also an important piece of Toa Mata support. As the very location in which the full team finally came together after separate adventures in their respective regions, this is pretty much the Field Spell that does everything the Toa Mata monsters themselves don’t do to directly support each other as a functioning archetype. It grants an additional Normal Summon to make up for the lack of built-in Special Summons (though this part is more relevant to hybrid strategies that also want to play a non-Toa Normal Summon), turns Toa used as Tributes for Toa Mata (often from the hand!) into additional monsters on the field to again enable Rank 6 plays, and fetches either Suva or Suva Kaita from the Deck in the End Phase at the cost of itself.
Since I keep mentioning Rank 6 Xyzs every time an opportunity to put multiple Toa Mata on the field together comes up, I should probably start introducing the Extra Deck monsters that go with the archetype. First off, three mid-bosses representing the teamwork of pairs of Toa Mata.
Magma combines the powers of Tahu and Onua to call forth something like a volcanic eruption, detaching all materials in one huge burst to both launch a Rock (Hint: The Rock is one of the Suvas) into the GY and make an opponent’s monster’s stats shrink to half under the heat.
Storm is a collaboration of Gali and Lewa, as seen in canon, calling forth a fierce thunderstorm in which the bolts of lightning are replaced by Toa Mata coming out from the Deck during either player’s turn. As such brief flashes, they are robbed of their ATK, can mostly not be used as material for anything, and disappear at the end of the next turn, but their effects remain usable, so this is a great way to throw in a little surprise when your opponent is just about to do something that happens to meet a trigger condition.
Crystal features the iconic tag team of Pohatu and Kopaka, mixing the former’s Spell/Trap hate with the latter’s banishing into a banishing Spell/Trap negate. This is a type of effect missing from both the regular Toa Mata and the generic Rank 6 pool, so it seemed like a useful addition.
To properly link these combinations to their intended materials, they share a second effect where they can, once used up completely (but not on the same turn they used their other effect), tag out for a pair of Toa Mata with exactly the correct Attributes. Due to overlapping Attributes, you can slightly cheat by e.g. turning a Crystal into Gali and Onua, but close enough. In terms of gameplay, this is another way to get the right trigger effects to your field at convenient times and provides a clear long-term resource advantage to using the archetypal Xyz over generic stuff.
A cut above that are the big bosses, the canonical combination models: The Toa Kaita, who come with their own Kanohi as well.
While Summoning 2 Toa Mata at a time is relatively easy, getting the third one usually requires either multiple turns or a really good hand plus setup, so these are intended as legitimate win conditions for the deck.
Akamai is a certified unga bunga way to end a game. With 3000 ATK, locking your opponents effects in the Battle Phase, negating effects such as battle protection of whatever he is fighting, and burning after winning a battle, the Toa Kaita of Valor pretty much guarantees you at least 3000 damage all by himself. The Kanohi Aki further elevates this to solo OTK potential with 1000 more ATK, piercing damage, and being able to attack all the monsters.
Wairuha on the other hand is the more defensive option you go into if you expect the game to continue. I don’t think it needs to be said that an omninegate, even a non-destroying one, is a pretty strong effect, but in the hands of a wise player, the Toa Kaita of Wisdom grants even more power than that. As a second effect that triggers when a material is detached (and therefore immediately after using the negate), you get to play a little guessing game regarding your opponent’s hand and top of the Deck, and depending on how correct you are, win some crazy plusses. The Kanohi Rua enhances this package with effect immunity so you don’t have to waste the negate on protecting Wairuha, as well as revealing your opponent’s hand to give you an edge when guessing.
Since the two Kanohi that only work on Toa Kaita would be extremely dead draws most of the time, they have a secondary effect when equipped to a regular Toa to let you Xyz Summon with an additional material from your hand. This gives you another way to hit the necessary 3 with reasonable effort.
After introducing the characters, the stage, and the props with which they interact, all that’s missing from this grand show is the story itself. That part is told through a series of three Spells and Traps supporting the Toa Mata archetype.
Call of the Toa StonesSpell
Discard 1 card; roll a six-sided die and excavate cards from the top of your Deck equal to the result, and if you do, you can add up to 2 excavated “Toa Mata” monsters with different names to your hand, also shuffle the rest into the Deck. Then, apply this effect, based on the number of cards added to your hand this way. You can only activate 1 “Call of the Toa Stones” per turn.
●0: Set 1 “Coming of the Toa” directly from your Deck. It can be activated this turn.
●1: Add 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF from your Deck to your hand.
●2: Gain 2000 LP.
It all begins with the Call of the Toa Stones, a failsafe activated by the adventurer Takua to call the Toa lost at sea towards the island where they were meant to be. This is essentially the Toa Mata archetype’s standard issue search Spell, but I got carried away and made it way more complicated. Instead of simply adding a monster to the hand, you excavate equal to a die roll (resemblance to the “excavate 6” in Takua’s own effect very intentional), add 0-2 Toa Mata you find to your hand, shuffle the rest back, and then proceed in different ways depending on how many you actually added. This means the randomness just changes your plays and mostly can’t ruin them, and since you get to pick how many you add, higher rolls and more hits can only expand your options.
If you found 2 Toa Mata, your Call has succeeded, the Toa have arrived, you broke even on card advantage, and to celebrate all that you gain a bunch of LP. If you only found 1, you’re able to also grab a Suva or Suva Kaita to support that single Toa, offsetting the initial discard cost in a different way. And if you did not add any cards, you’ll have to live with the minus, but in exchange you can immediately continue the story in the proper way with the Coming of the Toa.
Coming of the ToaTrap
Target up to 3 monsters with different names in your GY; Special Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster from your Deck with the same Attribute as each target, but they cannot attack, also return them to the hand during the End Phase. Then, if all targets are in the GY because they were sent there this turn, you can place 1 “Quest for the Masks” from your Deck face-up in your Spell & Trap Zone. You cannot Special Summon monsters with 2000 or more ATK the turn you activate this card, except “Toa” monsters. You can only activate 1 “Coming of the Toa” per turn.
This one, as random Trap Cards in archetypes usually need to be, is kind of crazy. Best case scenario, it gives you three Toa Mata and a Continuous Spell on the field. Potentially during the first turn if you get it with Call and are also able to execute a combo that puts the necessary Attributes in the GY. Even with less perfect setup, you’ll still be able to Summon at least one monster from your Deck, and that tends to be pretty good.
There of course need to be downsides to balance this out, which are as follows:
- No attacking with the Summoned monsters.
- Everything goes back to the hand at the end of the turn.
- The Toa Mata need to be in your Deck.
- The only monsters with 2000 or more ATK you can Special Summon during the whole turn you activate this are Toa.
It’s the last two points especially that disqualify this card from being splashable to a degenerate level, since Toa Mata by themselves can be huge bricks in a deck that doesn’t also play their support and making a Wairuha turn 1 is a lot less good when it locks you out of pretty much all other boss monsters. Meanwhile, a dedicated Toa Mata strategy doesn’t have such an easy time setting up the GY for big Coming plays early in the game (hence the Suva Kaita’s ability to substitute for any Attribute), so this mostly acts as another way of throwing whichever Toa Mata your opponent is about to trigger onto the field.
And finally, what the Toa embark on after their Call and Coming is a Quest for the Masks.
Quest for the MasksContinuous Spell
When a “Toa” monster is Normal Summoned: You can equip 1 “Great Kanohi” or “Noble Kanohi” Equip Spell from your Deck to it. You can send any number of “Kanohi” Equip Spells from your hand to the GY; draw that many cards. You can only use this effect of “Quest for the Masks” once per turn. Once per turn, during the End Phase: You can target 1 of your banished monsters whose Level is less than or equal to the number of “Kanohi” Equip Spells with different names in your GY; Special Summon it, then destroy this card.
This is slightly more generic support for Toa and Kanohi in general, and particularly good in Toa Mata since it’s searchable. It equips Kanohi from the Deck on Normal Summon and trades Kanohi you bricked on for draws, but especially notable for the purpose of this guide is the End Phase effect to trade itself for a banished monster. This is meant to synergize with the Great Kanohi’s cost of banishing a monster to search their respective Toa Mata, but also has other uses like bringing back a Suva Kaita (only needs one Kanohi!) that used both its effects already.
A relatively pure way to play Toa Mata is by mixing them with Kanohi, in particular the “Great” subset of them. The basic win condition of this deck is establishing one or more Toa on the field together with a Suva, and filling the GY with as many Kanohi as possible. This gives you a boss monster that can be endowed with any necessary protection or offensive boost at will, while possibly also disrupting the opponent with its own effect depending on which Toa you picked.
One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is obviously Isolde, who turns any two Toa on the field into a full Kanohi setup plus a fresh Toa on the field. But you also have more thematic ways of gathering Kanohi via Quest for the Masks, Gift of the Shrine, and the Golden Kanohi, and by using those you keep your Toa on the field free to overlay into the archetypal Xyz Monsters, which are also capable of using Kanohi powers. The major weakness of this deck is the sheer amount of Kanohi it plays, making it very easy to find multiple in your opening hand instead of directly playable cards. When that happens, you better hope Quest for the Masks is also there to unbrick you.
Shout out to Skill Drain for being the only non-custom card in the Main Deck, it just makes too much sense when the strategy is beatsticks who gain their powers from Equip Spells.
If you want to be a bit more experimental, but still remain lore-friendly, you can consider an alliance of the Toa Mata with the Chronicler’s Company, AKA C.C. Matoran. Instead of stuffing the deck with all the Kanohi it can take, we just play a few particularly useful ones to enable Isolde combos, which the C.C. Matoran can execute easily while climbing into Link-4 boss monsters. Doing so will automatically give you access to some Toa by searching them with Kanohi or setting up Attributes for Coming of the Toa in the GY, and those can either become additional threats right away (if you have a spare Normal Summon via Kini-Nui or got Coming from Call) or serve as powerful followup on subsequent turns.
Due to these basically guaranteed searches, the deck plays only one of each Toa Mata, so Call of the Toa Stones will most frequently be used to Set a Coming of the Toa that can be activated during the same turn. For these situations, I:P Masquerena is especially handy because ending on her and Isolde means you don’t Special Summon any non-Toa monsters with 2000 or more ATK, can use Coming to ideally get a Toa Kaita on turn 1, and then link into an indestructible Avramax during your opponent’s turn.
And if you really want to make sure you don’t brick on any Kanohi, here’s a somewhat less immersive deck that gets away with playing zero of them. Instead, we use Prank-Kids as our main combo to make the usual Battle Butler and then use the plethora of Attributes in the GY for a big Summon with Coming of the Toa on the next turn. This is strictly a multi-turn setup even if you get the quick activation for Coming with Call of the Toa Stones, since Prank-Kids Dodo-Doodle-Doo (why are their names like this?) will usually be needed to complete the main combo and has just enough to ATK to clash with the restriction on Coming of the Toa.
The uneven ratios of Toa here, with 2 Tahu, 2 Lewa, and 1 of everyone else, are just to reduce the chances of not having an Attribute left in the Deck. This way, opening Tahu or Lewa still leaves you with a FIRE/WIND target for Coming of the Toa.
The tests shown here span multiple versions, so you can even see a few different iterations of the decks I came up with. The Toa Mata generally performed really well in tests against the AI, with some obvious bricking issues in the more Kanohi-heavy builds, and a hilariously large part of that seems to be how often they just happen to have the largest ATK stat on the field.
My feeling is that the high winrate is more due to the bots having trouble with stuff like that than the archetype being (too) strong, but there were a few interactions that occasionally felt just a little broken. It wasn’t enough to convince me I need to change something, but if you also happen to notice something like that, I’d be very grateful for a comment so I have more data to work with here. On that note, all other feedback is of course also very welcome.
The Toa Mata are an archetype centered around six strong, but somewhat unwieldy high-level Warrior monsters with varied effects that allow you to respond to different in-game events. Their individual flaws are compensated by their interactions with a wide range of external support, including masks, shrines, a temple, and a story told through Spells and Traps making it easy to get the team to your hand and field. Further power can be unlocked by using the Xyz bosses that represent them working together, finally culminating in their actual physical combined forms, the Toa Kaita.