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.


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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

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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.


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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.


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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

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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.


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.

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