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.


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.


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.

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