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?


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?


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.

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