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:


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.
[ 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.


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.

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