In chronicling the struggle between Matoran and Bohrok, the BBTS expansion obviously also needs to show some stuff on the Matoran side. That mainly means their famous anti-Bohrok invention, but let’s first look at some new cards unrelated to that.
Kotu, serving as the left hand of Turaga Nokama and a Rahi Tender, gets her only real notable bit of screentime in this part of the story, so I took the opportunity to include her. She has the skills to calm aggressive beasts, lowering their ATK, and on Normal Summon can return a monster to the hand in such a way that it’s mainly beneficial in the specific case where your opponent stole one of yours (or you’re just playing Kaijus).
The Chronicler’s Courage depicts Chronicler Takua’s heroic last stand against the swarms invading Ga-Koro, which really just stalled them for that brief moment before the Toa defated the Bahrag. Accordingly, this card simply stalls against battle by bringing out small Warriors to guard against attacks and granting them some protection. Hey, it could potentially buy you a turn.
And now for the main event.
In the village of Onu-Koro lives Nuparu, a Matoran with a passion for machinery. Though this sometimes leads him to neglecting other work such as digging (or attacking, to explain one of the card’s effects already), his time to shine comes when he is trapped in a cave after the Gahlok invade Onu-Koro. There, he and his fellow Matoran discover anEmpty Bohrok Shell, the mechanical hull of one of the attackers that has lost its Krana. Nuparu begins tinkering, and soon the machine is remodeled into a new weapon that would shift the power balance between Matoran and Bohrok: The Boxor.
Playing these cards, you too can recreate this grand tale. The Empty Bohrok Shell places itself directly into your GY in order to search any EARTH Matoran, which includes of course Nuparu, but also the Boxor due to its full name. Then, with Nuparu on the field and a Boxor in your hand, you can activate Nuparu’s effect, banish the Shell from the GY, bring out the Boxor, and use its Union ability to equip to a Matoran of your choice. And now you are ready to overcome any Bohrok in battle and even halt the march of the swarms by denying them their monster effects that would call more of them from the Deck. As a bonus, banishing the Shell can unleash some vestiges of the Bohrok’s destructive power (though not during the same turn you used it for searching), and if the Boxor-equipped Matoran is not Nuparu himself, Nuparu can grant that 2000 ATK beater a second attack at the low cost of not attacking with his own measly 600 (though not during the turn he summoned the Boxor).
These cards still predate the dedicated Koro playstyle just like the ones in BCOR, but in this case that doesn’t matter as much because at least the Boxor series forms its own little combo independent from other strategies. Adding them to a Matoran deck of any kind will significantly increase its power in the Battle Phase, which is a pretty good niche to cover for an archetype of Level 2 monsters with (almost) only three-digit ATK values.
The BBTS release includes a sample Boxor deck, which uses Matoran from BCOR (also included in the link) together with the new cards.
The Bohrok invasion also introduced some new Rahi into the story, because the designers came up with a bunch of combiners and had nothing better to do with them. This means the Rahi archetype experiences a bit of growth in this expansion.
For the Level 4 group (Remember: Special Summon themselves from the Pendulum Zone, grant effects when used as Synchro Material), there are two new additions.
The Waikiru is a creature with two sides in multiple ways: Slow on land but quick in the water, and docile at rest but aggressive when threatened. It changes much like monsters change their battle positions, so that’s the theme for this Rahi’s effects. A Synchro monster summoned with it gains a position-changing Quick Effect, and in the Pendulum Zone it grants appropriate buffs to your monsters when their battle position changes.
The Ghekula, natural enemy of the Bog Snake, is entirely built to be a counter to that exact Rahi from BCOR (which had effect damage as its gimmick), granting a Synchro Monster the ability to effectively redirect effect damage you take to your opponent. And if you don’t want to wait for your opponent to damage you, the Pendulum Effect provides a good source of damage as well.
The Level 3s with the banish/GY triggers get 3 new members.
The Infernavika is a small bird that protects itself from predators by hiding among streams of lava, and thus has a Pendulum Effect that can cause battles to take place in an environment hostile to all but FIRE monsters. The attribute theming continues with its effect when sent to the GY, which complements the Daikau, Ussal, and Kewa from BCOR by reviving a FIRE monster, and when banished, it can deftly escape to the Extra Deck while banishing the top card of your Deck in its place.
Serving as a steed to Matoran in the battle against the Bohrok swarms, the Keras helps out your small monsters with both its Pendulum Effect (aiding them in battle for an ATK boost) and its GY effect (carrying them across difficult terrain to protect against effects). The remaining effect that triggers when banished is anti-Bohrok rather than pro-Matoran, but still derives from the same idea.
Perhaps the most notable addition is the Hapaka, a Rahi used to safeguard flocks of other Rahi. Accordingly, its Pendulum Effect boosts the DEF of Rahi and prevents their destruction, but the more interesting part is the GY effect, or lack thereof. Instead, it has a Special Summoning procedure from hand or GY by “guarding” another small Rahi. And when banished, including as a result of its own summoning condition, it will return “stray” (banished) Rahi to the “herd” (GY).
Finally, there are two new Level 2 Tuners, both of them coincidentally birds.
The Pokawi disorient enemies by moving quickly in great numbers, so its effect weakens your opponent’s monsters in proportion to how many Rahi you have gathered up in the banished “zone”. Mata Nui Fishing Birds have a habit of swooping in to annoy larger predators and then escaping again, which I translated into a “swoopy” (if that makes sense) temporary banishment effect that includes an extra reward if used against large monsters.
These new cards mostly focus on fitting the available tidbits of lore on these Rahi into the established frameworks of the archetype from BCOR, so while they do introduce some new gimmicks and options, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any real change in terms of the overall playstyle. The possible exception is the Hapaka, which actually does break with the framework a bit and introduces an entirely new way to get a Level 3 Rahi on the field. But given the myriad of unpredictable deckbuilding options Rahi have in their current wonky state of design, it probably isn’t even feasible for me to conduct enough tests to confidently confirm or deny this assessment.
Anyway, the BBTS release includes not only a sample deck featuring all of the new Rahi, but also decks built entirely around the Waikiru’s and Ghekula’s respective gimmicks. They also require cards from BCOR, so be sure to use the complete version linked above rather than just the standalone BBTS expansion.
At the top of the Bohrok swarms stand the Bahrag, ancient twin queens utterly dedicated to carrying out their one and only mission. As the final bosses of the 2002 storyline, it is only appropriate that they are also the ultimate boss monsters of the Bohrok archetype.
Since I like to make pairs into Pendulum Monsters, that’s what they are, and also Synchros to complement the Fusion Bohrok Kaita and the Xyz [REDACTED]. Their Pendulum Effects attempt to alter the way Bohrok function in order to let them take better advantage of Pendulum Summons: Cahdok lets you put a Bohrok into face-down Defense Position when it’s Summoned face-up, with added protection to make sure you’ll get to the Flip effect. Gahdok replicates the recursion ability of Pendulum Monsters by returning a Bohrok that gets sent from the field to the GY to your hand.
In the Monster Zone, their shared gimmick is that they gain and grant each other protection if you control the other Bahrag anywhere on the field (including as a Pendulum Scale!), with Cahdok protecting from effects and Gahdok protecting from battle. Both of them also place themselves in the Pendulum Zone if they are face-up during your Standby Phase – their shadowy presence behind the Bohrok swarms cannot be easily eliminated, and if you successfully summon them once you will have access to them for the rest of the Duel.
Finally, each queen has the ability to Special Summon certain members of the swarm (the Level 2 Bohrok Va for Cahdok, the Level 4 Bohrok for Gahdok) from the GY if it is the only face-up monster you control. This has a lot of situational utility since there are no restrictions on attacks or effects for the Summoned monster, but the main intent actually is simply to help assemble the materials for the other Bahrag (usually you need 1 Bohrok Va + 2 Bohrok).
A potentially simpler, if temporary, way to get to the Bahrag is Queens’ Illusion, a Trap Card based on, well, the queens’ ability to generate illusions. By shuffling the materials from hand, field, or GY into the Deck, it places an “illusory” Bahrag in the Pendulum Zone and imposes attack restrictions based on its stats. The illusion ends after a turn, but while it is active you can freely use the Pendulum Effect and potentially enable another Bahrag’s protection with the added name.
And once you do get the Bahrag out, is there anything you can do other than sitting on them and throwing Bohrok at your opponent? Well yes, there’s a card specificall to ensure that all shall be …
Representing the final goal of the Bahrag and their Bohrok swarms, As It Was in the Before-Time is the ultimate payoff to assembling the pair. By activating this Quick-Play Spell and returning both of the Bahrag (either as monsters or as Pendulum Scales) to the Extra Deck, you can send everything on the field except the swarms themselves to the GY, completing the great mission of cleaning it all. Somehow I feel like that sounded more impressive before Konami made Zeus, but whatever. To make the card not completely useless outside the absolute best case scenario, it can also be used as a draw spell at the cost of destroying a number of Bahrag cards equal to how much you want to draw (again, these can be monsters or just Pendulum Scales). With the Bahrag automatically returning from the Extra Deck each Standby Phase, this is usually a pretty good trade.
Sucessfully setting up the Bahrag provides significant lasting benefits to a Bohrok strategy, and on top of that they simply serve as nice big boss monsters to go into. This makes them into a package that can be included both as just an additional option and as the main win condition.
The BBTS release provides examples of the former approach in any of the multiple Bohrok decks, and of the latter in the Bahrag deck specifically.
The eight types of Krana are sentient, organic beings that provide the guiding intelligence as well as a set of special powers to the Bohrok swarms, so the BBTS expansion implements them as monsters that allow Bohrok access to some effects that are generally a bit more clever than what the archetype otherwise does. Each Krana essentially has two effects: One that activates in the hand and is different for each monster while following one of two templates, and another that can only be one of two options, each of which is shared by half the Krana.
Let’s just use those second effects to segment the Krana in the following explanation and cover the rest as we go.
Based off the idea that Bohrok are really just robot suits piloted by the Krana inside them, these monsters have the ability to return themselves from the field to the hand to get any of the Level 4 Bohrok directly from the Deck. This is not something you want to rely on unless you need to since it only works during your Main Phase 1 and then ends the turn, but having the option at least avoids total bricks when playing a lot of Krana.
Regarding the first effect, the Krana Yo and Krana Ca follow the template of equipping themselves to a Level 4 or higher Bohrok from the hand in order to grant some continuous benefit. The Yo, holding the power to let its Bohrok dig through most substances, allows the equipped monster to attack directly. The Ca with its shielding powers protects all of your Bohrok from battle, but only once per turn for each.
Krana Xa and Krana Ja feature the alternative effect template, which means you can activate them by sending them directly from the hand to the GY at a certain timing. With the Xa, which are mainly in charge of formulating the more complex strategies of the plans, you can counteract negations or other responses to your Bohrok effects. It can be activated in any chain that has a Bohrok monster’s effect anywhere but as the last link and will negate the effects of all non-Bohrok cards on the field that appear in this chain. This lasts all the way to the end of the turn, so you might be able to disable something vital using this if you can just bait an activation out of it first. Another mass effect negation option is provided by the Krana Ja, which gives the swarms advance warning of known threats and thus renders everything that is visible on your opponent’s field useless during the following turn. This effect can be activated at any time as long as you control a face-up Bohrok, so you’d probably want to use it during the End Phase for maximum effect.
The other group of Krana are those that can banish themselves from the GY to steal a monster destroyed by a Bohrok from your opponent’s GY, controlling their enemies to make them part of the swarm. The monsters are Special Summoned in face-down Defense Position for thematic reasons and there’s a restriction on it that effectively prevents you from doing it more than once per turn, but even with that it’s obviously a damn strong move.
The equipping Krana among these are the Krana Za and Krana Su. The squad leader-type Za allow Bohrok to communicate and coordinate telepathically, which in this case is used to protect the equipped monster via strategic retreats of your other monsters (including face-down ones) while also keeping up the card supply. The Su is the caveman among the Krana, merely granting a stat boost, but that is very versatile in its simplicity, especially considering the equipping is a Quick Effect.
The pure hand effects here belong to Krana Vu and Krana Bo. The Vu makes Bohrok capable of flight, so it can be used to dodge targeting effects and even goes as far as negating and destroying the card in question to really make your opponents think twice about targeting your Bohrok with anything. The Bo can be triggered in response to your Bohrok cleaning up any card with their removal effects, using its night vision capabilites to track down further copies of the same card hiding in the darkness of your opponent’s hand and get rid of them for good.
On the topic of Krana that can steal your opponent’s monsters, we should take another look at Bohrok Confrontation, which was already covered in the main Bohrok article. What it does is send a Krana from your Deck to the GY to boost a Bohrok’s ATK/DEF, and knowing what we do about Krana now, the idea is obviously to have a Bohrok run over a monster in battle and then immediately steal it with the Krana.
There are other cards that further expand on the idea of Krana mind control. The following four monsters, for which I like to use the umbrella term “Servants of the Swarm”, represent the unwilling victims of this power.
Bohrok Servant is the generic standin for arbitrary beings under the control of a Krana. Its purpose is basically to make immediate use of the face-down monsters you get from the stealing effect, by contact fusing them (remember, that works when face-down) with a Krana from pretty much anywhere, banishing both and giving you a monster that at least copies the stats of whatever you stole.
The remaining Servants of the Swarm are a bit more specific, each of them being based on one particular inhabitant of Le-Koro that was possessed by a Krana during the takeover of that village. They generally work by sending a Krana from the Deck to the GY to neutralize an opponent’s monster and set up a situation where you can easily steal it, though the way in which they do so differs greatly.
Matoran of the Swarm counters Xyz Monsters by attaching to them as a material, which locks their effects and makes their ATK/DEF become 0 during battle with a Bohrok. It can also attach itself from the GY to your Xyz Monsters that are flipped face-up, obviously so a stolen Xyz can actually have material.
Turaga of the Swarm interferes with Synchro Summons in a particularly funny way, inserting itself on the opponent’s field in place of a Tuner and immediately forcing a Synchro Summon. When used as material, it gives you control of the Summoned monster for a turn and permanently makes it so its ATK/DEF become 0 when battling a Bohrok. This approach comes from the fact that Turaga were originally Tuners, so now that the BCOT remake is changing them to Link Monsters this card might be due for a redesign sooner or later as well.
Toa of the Swarm is the simplest of these, since it just Tributes over an opponent’s high-level monster and then surrenders itself willingly by making its ATK/DEF 0 when battling a Bohrok. The Level restriction was already iffy to begin with and is even more so when considering the prevalence of Link Monsters, so I might eventually tweak that to something like “2000 or more ATK”.
Finally ,we have a funny little card that simultaneously supports and counters Bohrok/Krana decks. Krana Pit lets you protect a card from destruction each turn by banishing a Krana monster from the GY instead, but since this works on both GYs you can just as well use it if your opponent is the one playing Krana. Similarly, it allows recovering a banished monster when there are 2 or more Krana banished, without specifying whose Krana they must be.
Krana add quite a few sophisticated effects to the Bohrok toolbox, giving you interesting options to interact with your opponent beyond just razing their field to the ground. The ability to steal a destroyed monster makes the Bohrok’s effects and attacks a bit more threatening than they already were, and with the Servants of the Swarm can itself be made into a central strategic element of your deck.
A selection of Krana can be found sprinkled throughout the sample Bohrok decks in the BBTS release, while the Servants of the Swarm usually appear as Side Deck options.
The Bohrok Va are the secondary monsters of the Bohrok archetype, lending different kinds of support to the primary Level 4 Flip Monsters. They themselves all come in the form of Level 2 Tuners with the ability to Special Summon themselves from the hand if you control their respective breed of Bohrok, making them the main means of access to the archetype’s own Synchro bosses, the Bahrag.
In addition to the shared traits above, all Bohrok Va have a helpful effect on the field and another one that activates during the End Phase of the turn in which they were sent from the field to the GY. The former is different for each monster, the latter divides them into two distinct flavours.
One of those are the Bohrok Va that use the End Phase to return a banished Krana to your hand, where it can lend its powers to the swarms once again.
The Tahnok Va, speedy and reckless, can pump its Level to 4 or 6 by banishing a Bohrok from among the top 3 cards of your Deck, but this might backfire if you fail to find one there. Should you succeed, though, you will instantly be able to pull out a nice and big Synchro in most cases, so it’s worth the risk. The Pahrak Va, known to be slow unless they have a reason to move quickly, will stack the top of your deck with a Bohrok card from the GY, which is an effect that goes from slow to fast depending on whether or not you have some way to draw a card. The noisy Lehvak Va drown out not only other sounds, but also your opponent’s Spells/Traps, though only with the backup of another Bohrok and at the cost of tributing itself. Would be a bit unfair otherwise.
The other flavour of Bohrok Va are those which grant you a draw in exchange for shuffling Bohrok from the GY into the Deck during the End Phase, which is a particularly valuable ability when things aren’t going too well for your strategy.
The Gahlok Va move slowly, yet steadily, and will attempt to add an extra Bohrok card from the top of your Deck to your hand once per turn. The Nuhvok Va take a more straightforward approach and just dig into the Deck at the appropriate cost of losing a card from your hand. Finally, the Kohrak Va are masters of evading attacks through camouflage, which lets them help you avoid battle. Not an amazing effect in the face of, you know, the entire concept of removal effects, but occasionally it does something.
With these monsters and the main Level 4 Bohrok in mind, the true power of the already good search spell Beware the Swarm becomes apparent. By adding either a Bohrok or Bohrok Va whose matching counterpart is in the GY, you instantly become able to place both of those monsters on the field. Assuming your hand is in a good enough state to not have to shuffle either of them back and you still have your Normal Summon, of course.
Like the larger Bohrok, the Bohrok Va also have the ability to form Kaita. These combiner models never played any role in the story at all, so I just went the route of giving them extra useful ways to support the archetype. And I’ll leave going over the dedicated fusion spell to the main Bohrok article, because most of the time you’d probably just Instant Fusion these guys out anyway.
Just like the regular Bohrok Va, both of the Kaita are Level 2 Tuners (their Level remains the same when combining simply because it’s more convenient for Synchro math this way), but being just a Spell Card away in any arbitrary deck means they need the restriction of only performing Synchro Summons with other Bohrok. Both also share the ability to replace themselves with another Bohrok Fusion (including the big ones) during the Standby Phase, but only if they were properly Fusion Summoned themselves, and Instant Fusion’s little clause doesn’t help here because in that case they won’t even live to the Standby Phase.
Their other effects activate during the End Phase of the turn they went from the field to the GY, be it because they were used as Synchro Material, tributed by their own effects, or otherwise destroyed. In the case of Bohrok Va Kaita Ja, this allows you to add any part of the swarms, Bohrok or Krana, from the Deck to your hand. Bohrok Va Kaita Za on the other hand Special Summons any Bohrok monster, regardless of Level, from the GY in face-down Defense Position.
Bohrok Va supplement the basic Bohrok strategy by aiding the circulation of resources and simplifying access to more powerful boss monsters. Since they require specific Bohrok names on the field to work to their full potential, they are best when used together with a smaller subset of the six breeds, which seems like the most reasonable way to play Bohrok anyway.
Examples of incorporating Bohrok Va like this can be found in any of the Bohrok decks of the BBTS release.
The Bohrok swarms are the central focus of the BBTS expansion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of the cards relate to them. This article will only cover the actual Bohrok that make up the main body of the swarms, as well as their standalone support cards. There are some additional groups of support that will be covered separately, namely Bohrok Va, Krana, and the Bahrag.
With that said, let’s take a look at these colorful rolling pellets of doom and destruction.
The Bohrok come in six breeds, making six Level 4 monsters with varying stats but relatively similar effects. Most importantly, they all share the Flip Effect that allows them to Special Summon a Level 4 Bohrok with a different name directly from the Deck in face-down Defense Position. So waking (flipping) one immediately sets up the next, and if this chain continues uninterrupted for a bit, you will soon have woken them all.
Once face-up on the field, the Bohrok will begin their work to clean all that must be cleaned, or in other words everything on your opponent’s field. Each type has a different removal effect at the cost of shuffling itself back into the Deck (so it can later be called by other Bohrok and continue the onslaught of the seemingly limitless swarms), with the slightly less potent ones delaying the shuffling until the End Phase.
Among the powerful effects that require their cost instantly at activation, we have the Tahnok, known for their speed, who can target and destroy an opponent’s face-up monster as a quick effect. Out of all Bohrok removal effects, this has the least options for targets but the highest options for timing, and it’s the only one of the six that can be used for disruption on the opponent’s turn. The other end of this spectrum are the Lehvak, which can use their acid powers to destroy any card on the field without even targeting, but can only do so specifically during your Main Phase 1. Finally, the Kohrak tend to value their cleaning task over fighting those wo try to stand in their way, and therefore have the more impactful removal of banishing an opponent’s face-up card at the additional cost of not being able to attack that turn.
The other three breeds leave you with the rest of the turn to use them for some kind of cost or material to avoid returning to the Deck, but in exchange their removal effects are also a bit weaker and/or more conditional. Such as the Gahlok, whose ever-changing and unpredictable methods of attack are implemented as three possible effects with the choice depending on the top card of your opponent’s GY. A monster allows you the standard move of destroying an opponent’s card, a Spell lets you non-targetingly turn a monster into a 0 ATK vanilla to deal with well-protected obstacles the other breeds struggle with, and a Trap enables a strike entirely beyond the normal range of the swarms, banishing a card directly from the hand. As you may have noticed, the power level of these options is scaled to how often each type can be expected to be found on average. Also conditional, but less mind-bending, is the effect of the Pahrak, which simply destroys a card at the end of a Battle Phase in which it battled. Their iconic trait of stubbornly ignoring outside interference while pursuing a goal aids them here by granting them protection from effects while they are battling. The last remaining Bohrok breed are the Nuhvok, and their effect is to destroy a Spell/Trap on the field and temporarily render its zone unusable with the holes they dig in the process. Note that this only works on the main five Spell/Trap Zones, so no locking your opponent out of Field Spells for a turn with this (but you can still destroy one).
Beware the Swarm is the archetype’s all-purpose search card, which can also recover an additional monster from the GY if you use it to search a monster, at the cost of returning a card from the hand to the Deck. Since it requires different levels, it’s not actually relevant with just the monsters above, but becomes very valuable if you also consider the Bohrok Va.
The Field Spell Bohrok Nest helps Bohrok do their thing in various ways. Your face-down monsters are protected from forms of interaction that don’t flip them, to increase the chance of properly getting the engine started. You get to draw of the Bohrok’s shuffle costs to maintain card advantage. And should it be destroyed, the Bohrok swarms released by that foolish action will wreak havoc and destroy something else on the field.
For those last two effects, it’s worth noting that the draw effect specifically only triggers when a Bohrok card in a public location (so not face-down or in the hand) is placed into the Main or Extra Deck face-down (shuffling not strictly required), and that it is entirely possible to upgrade the Nuhvok’s Spell/Trap destruction into a general destruction if you’re willing to sacrifice the Nest.
Moving on, we have a support card that is beautifully simple yet somehow effective in what it does. Bohrok Confrontation is basically just an archetypal version of Rush Recklessly, but with the added “cost” of sending a Krana from the Deck to the GY. Now, if you check out the Krana article to see what some of them do in the GY the synergy becomes clear, but for this section I’ll just say that pumping Bohrok stats up comes in handy in a surprising amount of situations.
Bohrok Invasion is a Continuous Trap that rewards Bohrok for successful cleaning work with a stacking ATK boost, potentially allowing them to attack for game right away through your opponent’s cleared field. It also helps you recover from setbacks by bringing a Bohrok from the GY back to the field in the ideal face-down Defense Position, and when you’re under attack, you can abandon the invasion to focus on defense instead.
The Bohrok come with several memorable taglines that were very helpful in deciding the focus of their archetype. We have already seen “Beware the Swarm” as the name of the search Spell, but another catchy phrase has made it onto not one, but two cards that form a little mini-combo put together.
If You Wake One… begins the play by supplying an additional face-down Bohrok along with an iteration of the regular engine, so you then have two ready to be flipped rather than just one. After doing so, it goes to the GY in the End Phase, and at that point it will Set you another Bohrok Trap that is then ready to use once the turn changes. To continue the combo, you would use this to get …You Wake Them All. Then, on your turn, you flip the two face-down Bohrok, get two more, and then return one of your 2-3 face-up Bohrok to the hand with the Trap to once again flip 2 Bohrok and summon 2 more. There’s actually a risk of running out of space on the field before summoning all the monsters with this combo, but that can be avoided by using the Bohrok’s insta-shuffling removal effects or just putting them into some Extra Deck monster.
Speaking of Extra Deck monsters, we also have some of those. The Bohrok Kaita are implemented as Fusions, and in fact specifically have to be Fusions because that’s the only Extra Deck summoning mechanic which allows the use of face-down materials. Obviously kinda pretty damn important for a Flip archetype.
The two Bohrok Kaita, Za and Ja, are each made by fusing three specific breeds of Bohrok. When Fusion Summoned, both of them allow you to add 1 Krana from your Deck to the hand and 2 to the GY, with your opponent choosing which of the three you offer goes where. Again, Krana are the focus of their own article, but generally they’re nice to have in both hand and GY, so this is certainly beneficial. Both of them also have quick effects on the field that banish up to 3 Bohrok from the GY (so you basically use their materials, is the idea): Za can buff itself up and, if it gets big enough, even become unaffected by card effects for a turn, while Ja banishes multiple cards from your opponent’s GY.
The idea of Bohrok Kaita in the lore is that the swarms form them to combat problems they cannot overcome on their own, so this is kind of what I was also going for here. The archetype generally relies on removing things with effects, so Kaita Za is a big beater that can just run over bosses that don’t allow this. And all the removal they have focuses on the field, so Kaita Ja is the tool required to combat GY-focused decks.
Bohrok Swarm Fusion is the archetypal fusion spell, though it does not actually fuse in any special way. But it does take advantage of the Kaita’s banishing costs with its own GY effect that triggers when Bohrok cards are banished from the GY, shuffling them back into the Deck and drawing a card.
With the final card I want to discuss here, we take a look at what actually caused the Bohrok swarms to awaken before their time. And fittingly enough, the role this card plays in the archetype is the ability to start your engine without needing to wait out the usual Flip monster delay.
Premature Bohrok Beacon has the rather unimpressive effect of flipping your own face-down monster face-up, but being able to activate it from the hand as long as the game state is “premature” enough to not contain any face-up monsters makes it a tool Bohrok can use quite well. Since this is a Makuta-related card, it also has a GY effect that adds more utility, in this case being able to summon itself as a Level 4 DARK Machine (obviously sneaky Orcust support and not just a combination of Bohrok Type and Makuta Attribute) that can replace any of the Bohrok as Fusion Material.
Bohrok have a lot of strong points: The very convenient Level of 4 on all the main monsters, the ability to bring each other out from the Deck, easily accessible removal effects, a really good search Spell that finds them any of their cards and still potentially does more, and multiple nice draw effects to offset the resource loss of shuffling themselves into the Deck. All of this dragged down by the unfortunate yet vital fact that they are Flip monsters whose entire engine relies on their flip effects. Let’s face it, setting one monster and hoping everything goes well so you can snowball from there isn’t exactly an unbeatable strategy in this decade or the last.
But what they lack in speed, the swarms can hopefully make up in consistency and sheer fucking resilience. Assuming you do manage to get the engine going at some point – and with help like Nest and Beacon this is not an entirely impossible task – your opponents will find themselves faced with a constant assault on their field while your monsters just keep calling each other from and returning to the Deck for all eternity. Before long, you will be clearly ahead in resources, and victory shall be yours. Probably. I never tested this on anything newer than the old YGOPro Percy AI that still lived in blissful ignorance of Link Monsters, so it might just be completely unusable in the modern game anyway. But the strategy is sound on paper, at the very least.
A few different ideas for Bohrok decks can be found in the BBTS release.
An expansion about Mata Nui’s Rahi must of course also include the evil mastermind controlling them from the shadows. Makuta are sure to become a large archetype of their own when I get to the parts where the Brotherhood becomes relevant, if not sooner, but for now there’s just a small selection of cards representing the one and only Makuta who that name used to mean back in the day.
For starters, we have the Infected Kanohi symbolizing Makuta. It’s an Equip Spell Card just like regular Kanohi, but rather than granting positive effects it just destroys any Kanohi equipped in parallel and then attempts to take control of the opponent’s monster it is equipped to. “Attempts” because they can struggle against it by losing a card every turn, and one more every time that monster dares attack you.
But that is only the prelude to the actual Makuta cards, of which there are three in this set.
“I am Nothing“, declares the dark lord before the final battle commences, and thus is the name of the Ritual Spell used to Summon this particular form of Makuta. Besides the standard condition of Tributing monsters from hand or field, you can also pay the cost by putting a Kanohi from the field or either GY back into the Deck – which could be your opponent’s actually beneficial Kanohi, or simply your own Infected model. Moreover, you can also banish the Ritual Spell from the GY for another Ritual Summon from that same location, at a slightly higher cost. Spells and Traps with GY effects, especially Ritual Spells, are a theme I decided on pretty early for the Makuta archetype, so expect more of that in future expansions. It just feels properly villainous to me.
The Makuta is then implemented as the Ritual Monster to match the Spell, with a tiny Level of 2 since he is taking the form of a diminished Matoran here. His on-summon effect lets him take out Special Summoned monsters with high Level or Rank, which sure is a lot less useful in an age of Link Summoning than it used to be when I made it. Still, it works on the intended targets (the Toa Kaita), so as far as the lore is concerned everything’s fine. Makuta’s second effect allows him to leave the stage and return to the position of the evil power pulling the strings behind the Rahi invasion, where the size of the Rahi he can bring out is dependent on your GY setup to go with the general GY-based nature of Makuta.
Completing the trio is Mangaia, Lair of Makuta. This Field Spell lays the groundwork for Makuta’s big entrance with a search on activation and with an effect that simultaneously sets up the GY and makes your opponent’s monsters into suitable targets for the incoming mass bounce. It even goes as far as preventing any negations against Makuta, for there is no stopping him within his own domain. Finally, this card of course has a GY effect, in this case simply adding itself back to the hand forcibly by destroying a Spell/Trap on the field.
Fun fact to close this out: The Island’s Dark Tyrant is more of a Rahi support card than a Makuta support card, but the Type and Level of the Tokens it Summons are actually based on the Ritual Monster seen above – hence the name “Rahi Overlord Token”. The matching Level means you can simply Tribute a single one of these Tokens for Makuta’s Ritual Summon, so I guess there is some incidental synergy.
At this point, Makuta is not yet an archetype and instead just a single small engine that helps out GY-centric Rahi builds with a powerful, but situational removal effect and immediate access to almost every monster in the deck. An example of the cards being incorporated that way can be found in the 60 Card Graverahi decklist from the BCOR release.
BCOR expands the Matoran archetype beyond the special case of the Chronicler’s Company, with the addition of six iconic villagers of different occupations and a few support cards.
Leading the charge is the mightiest scion of Ta-Koro, Jaller his name*. The captain of the guard, in accordance with his occupation, helps you assemble a fighting force with an extra Normal Summon and prepares them for battle against your opponent’s monsters with a potentially really big ATK boost.
* Or Jala at this point, actually. I originally wanted to only use the final version of any changed names for consistency across expansions, but later decided there wasn’t really any point to that. Jala, Maku, etc also technically are canon due to Naming Day, so it makes more sense to keep them in. Since BCOR is from before that change of plans, it still uses the final names.
Another source of significant benefits for groups of Matoran is Hewkii (Huki), Koli Champion of Po-Koro. His abilities can be summarized as taking the attention of his opponent’s monsters off his fellow Matoran, persevering through difficult battles as long as he has others to protect, and potentially pulling off an unexpected victory agains particularly powerful enemies. Very champion-like, though in hindsight I feel the last effect shouldn’t really work when attacking.
With Rahi being the central focus of the BCOR expansion, it only seems correct to also examine the more peaceful side of the Rahi/Matoran relationship from the perspective of the Matoran. That brings us to the following two villagers, whose occupations both utilize tamed Rahi.
Onepu summons out an “Ussal” (here broadly represented by Beasts or Winged-Beasts in general) from the Deck and “rides” it, increasing his power in battle. This is a Special Summon from Deck covering the Level 4 or lower range of two entire Types without any restrictions such as negated effects, so basically the only reason I could have possibly thought this was remotely ok was because I didn’t for a single second consider how to break it. If you have read the Rahi guide, you might note that Ussals are indeed Beast, but the addition of Winged-Beast to this effect is a bit puzzling. The explanation is that I wanted the two Rahi-related Matoran from this set to build upon each other’s effects, so I made sure to have both of their effects use both relevant types.
Hence, Kongu has the ability to pilot whatever Onepu has summoned by turning it into an equip card for himself. Riding his glorious flying (yes the Beasts fly too shut up) steed, he will then pass over enemy lines to attack directly, and while he’s at it take out some of the more vulnerable monsters. Furthermore, even if he’s taken out, his steed will still be there to fight for you.
Hahli is designed to quite literally assist her fellow Matoran, letting herself be Special Summoned if you control them and protecting them from effect destruction. On top of that, she can search Matoran once per turn. Not even hard once per turn. And the Special Summon can be repeated as much as you want, too. Definitely another case where the card’s existence proves I don’t think things through very well.
Matoro the Matoran, whose name holds the same energy as Hubert the Human, is a straightforward revival option, and he brings back not one, but two Matoran. In exchange, it only works during the turn he was Normal Summoned and requires him to sacrifice himself. So basically ;_;7
The fact that he’s a Tuner comes from his job as Nuju’s translator, based on the original version of the Turaga being Tuners as well.
In addition to these six monsters, BCOR enriches the Matoran archetype with a small lineup of supporting Spell Cards.
Probably the most important is the Vuata Maca Tree, the natural power source utilized by the villages of Mata Nui. Being a feature of the location, the tree requires a Field Spell to support its continued existence, though a one-time use is fine anyway. Its effect utilizes the highly entertaining excavation mechanic to either Special Summon Matoran (and their other forms) from hand/GY or add one that you happen to find.
Perhaps a bit less central to Matoran society on Mata Nui, but still a lot more present in official material are Lightstones, which are the focus of our final pair of cards.
The Lightstone itself has various effects related to illumination, first and foremost making both players reveal their hands for a turn. If you activate this while your hand is bigger than your opponent’s, you unfortunately reveal more information than you get, but to make up for that difference, additional effects of the Lightstone begin to apply. In total, it can potentially let you see and reorder the top of the opponent’s Deck, see all their Set cards, and explode into some burn damage on the next draw (which you can set up with the reordering), so there’s definitely an argument to be made that the extra information revealed on your part is worth it.
Cavern of Light, being the location where Lightstones are mined, provides easy access to them, as you would expect. It also establishes the actual connection to the Matoran archetype by replenishing used-up Lightstones as long as you have the required miners or simply creatures of the EARTH to dig them up.
BCOR introduces various Matoran support cards that provide aid in playing a deck composed of Matoran, Turaga, and Toa from across Mata Nui, but in doing so produces a few honestly quite broken effects. Also, this concept was already kind of used for the Chronicler’s Company in BCOT and was a lot more appopriate there than on other Matoran that actually stay in their own villages most of the time. An update of the expansion would probably involve rethinking them as support for their respective Koro strategies introduced in the redesign of BCOT, though some of them (like Jaller) already kind of fit in.
In their current state, the overarching theme of the Matoran shown here could be considered providing passive field-wide buffs that turn these small monsters into a formidable fighting force when Summoned en masse. With the Rahi-taming Matoran and the Lightstone cards, there are also some more gimmicky ideas here that I’m quite fond of, even though they may need some balancing fixes.
The Rahi that live on Mata Nui form a huge archetype consisting of several subthemes, each of which follows a different common design idea. Since archetypal support cards work for all of them, they can be combined in a variety of ways, though not all of them necessarily make sense or function. I think the most straightforward way to do this would be to look at each of the subthemes separately, so here we go.
Big Rahi (Normal Pendulums)
The Rahi mainly featured in the 2001 storyline were the larger types, sold as sets in pairs – mostly just two of the same species, but also the combination of Muaka & Kane-Ra. Based on this idea, these Rahi are Normal Pendulum Monsters with the gimmick that the scales (one 3 and one 8, to comfortably cover all their levels) are meant to match in terms of Type. The Reptile Tarakava is paired with the Reptile Sand Tarakava, the Beast Kane-Ra with the Beast Muaka, and the Insect Nui-Jaga with the Insect Nui-Rama. When this is the case, the shared effects split between the two sides of each pair make it so that your Pendulum Scales become indestructible and your Pendulum Summons cannot be responded to, basically setting the whole mechanic to easy mode.
In addition, each of them has a unique second Pendulum Effect, probably best to explain this with a little table:
Tarakava, Lizard Rahi
Self-destruct to summon Rahi Pendulum from ED on direct attack
Tarakava are known for surprise attacks, in this case launched from the Pendulum Zone/ED
Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi
If only face-up monster you control is a Rahi, it gets +1000 ATK and effect protection
Kane-Ra are not herd animals, so solitary Rahi get buffs
Nui-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi
Add Rahi Pendulum from ED to hand, then destroy card in Pendulum Zone
No particular lore relation intended, could be Nui-Jaga calling each other?
Muaka, Tiger Rahi
Gain LP when Rahi destroys opponent’s monster by battle
Opponent’s monsters get eaten by your Rahi
Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi
Summon Rahi with same type as and lower or equal level than a Rahi you control from Deck
Nui-Rama form large swarms, this helps you do the same
Sand Tarakava, Lizard Rahi
Place Rahi you control in Pendulum Zone (Quick Effect)
No particular lore relation intended, but complements Tarakava’s effect
So, you have set up the paired scales of your choice and Pendulum Summoned a bunch of monsters in one turn, now what do you do with them? The Rahi archetype offers two answers that fit in this section.
You could just use them as tributes to summon the Manas, a big beefy boss with protection from targeting and effect destruction that can also power itself up further with heat (where heat means Spells and Traps). Or, if you want something more creative, you could add to the mix the Fikou, a little Level 1 Rahi that can banish itself from the GY and reduce a Rahi’s Level by 1 to Special Summon another Fikou from the Deck. Since it also happens to be a Tuner, this opens the path to some more big Rahi that live as Synchro Monsters in the Extra Deck.
Basically, these are the combiners made from the Level 5 and above Rahi shown before, with a Mukau Mata Nui Cow snuck in because I guess it’s a combiner as well. All of them require a Rahi Tuner, and, the obvious bovine exception aside, are one level higher than their corresponding main deck monster. So that + Fikou makes the respective combiner. Since there aren’t really any major common features beyond that, I’ll have to briefly explain their designs one by one.
Tarakava-Nui, the king of the punchy lizards, punches things so hard they go back into the Deck. Rather than a regular once per turn restriction, each use is paid with 1000 of its 2900 ATK, so theoretically there’s nothing stopping you from buffing it a whole bunch and getting rid of the entire field that way. Might not be okay that that’s allowed. Well, at least there’s a clause preventing you from summoning multiple in a turn to make abuse a bit harder.
Kuma-Nui, the Muaka & Kane-Ra combiner that obviously represents a rat, can blow up Spells and Traps on the field at the start of the Battle Phase and buff itself if it hit any of yours. The choice between face-up and face-down cards grants you a limited way to control what exactly is affected, so you can selectively use it either for the ATK boost or to clear out backrow.
The Gukko-Kahu, a very important Rahi for the Matoran society and an alternate model of the Nui-Jaga set, couldn’t be screaming any louder to use it as an intermediary step in Synchro climbing. It straight up gives a draw when it enters the field and a search when it leaves.
The Mukau Mata Nui Cow is a Rahi that is not built from other Rahi, but from two Toa, namely the Gali and Pohatu sets. Therefore, its effects (which use the same triggers as the Gukko-Kahu) are modeled after the original versions of those Toa: One destroys Spells and Traps, the other recycles monsters in the GY.
The Nui-Kopen, alternate Nui-Rama model, played a significant role in the 2001 storyline’s most prominent example of mind control via infected masks, so it has an effect that lets you take control of an opponent’s monster. The excavation stuff to go along with that really doesn’t have any deep reason, just thought it would be fun when I made this. I wasn’t wrong.
Finally, the Mana-Ko is the biggest Rahi so far, outdoing even the Manas (its base model) with a Level of 11 and 3500 base ATK. On the effect side, it’s immune to control changes (Order of Mata Nui mental shielding, says the LORE), halves your opponent’s monsters’ ATK during their Battle Phase to make destruction by battle unlikely, and has a different third effect depending on its materials. If there was just one non-Tuner, it floats into that monster, which will usually be a Manas. If there were multiple, it instead gains the same protection as the Manas. Since this is the final big boss, it has the special condition of requiring Rahi for both the Tuner and non-Tuner materials.
Level 4 Rahi (Effect Pendulums / Synchro Fodder)
Moving on to less gargantuan beasts, we have a category mainly composed of models from the Master Builder Set (which was technically from 2002, but contained a lot of Rahi that already appeared in 2001 material). Their shared features are exactly two:
They can be Special Summoned from the Pendulum Zone if you control no monsters.
Using them as Synchro Material grants the summoned monster additional effects.
Beyond that, they can be divided more or less loosely into three distinct subgroups. The first is what I sometimes call the “negation Rahi”.
All of these grant the Synchros summoned with them a nearly identical effect, which allows negating activations of a certain card type by shuffling Rahi Pendulums from the Extra Deck back into the Deck. This is also not once per turn, so it can get really oppressive depending on how loaded up on ammo you are. Their unique Pendulum Effects are designed to work as a little engine that helps set all of this up, so this trio of Rahi actually serves as a pretty good centerpiece for a deck.
As the second group we have “destruction Rahi”, which are connected through their Pendulum Effects that all trigger when another card in the Pendulum Zone is destroyed.
This potentially serves as a counterplay to an opponent’s attempt to destroy Pendulum Scales (though hitting the monster with the destruction trigger would avoid this, so you can’t really expect it to happen), but more importantly has synergy with some other Rahi that blow themselves up with their Pendulum Effects. We have already seen the Tarakava, and a few others will follow in the Level 3 section.
The Pendulum Effects can be quickly summarized by saying that the Fusa replaces the destroyed scale, the Husi gets you a Special Summon from it, and the Makika destroys an opponent’s card in retaliation. The monster effects on the other hand are a bit more diverse.
The Fusa makes it so the Synchro Monster that used it as material shuts down all your opponent’s effects during the Battle Phase.
The Husi, similar to its Pendulum Effect, makes the Synchro float into reviving a lower Level Rahi monster.
And the Makika also continues its original theme of retaliation by allowing a Synchro Monster to strike back in a rather painful way against any monster that destroys it by battle.
With these two sub-sub-themes done, it’s about time to admit I lied a little when I said there were three groups. It’s actually more like two groups plus the rest that doesn’t fit into either of them. Each of these leftover Rahi instead just kind of synergizes with itself.
The Takea can double a Rahi’s battle damage from the Pendulum Zone, and a Synchro Monster summoned with it can Special Summon additional Rahi from the Deck in proportion to the battle damage it inflicts.
The Bog Snake makes Synchros gradually damage your opponent as they play, and in the Pendulum Zone lets you have a free draw per turn if your opponent takes effect damage.
The Vako gives Synchro Monsters a chance to increase their ATK when they battle, or alternatively just draw you a card. The Pendulum Effect lets you have the best of both worlds from this effect because you can immediately recover a Rahi from the GY if your Rahi destroys an opponent’s monster by battle.
Finally, there is a Synchro specifically designed to go with these cards.
The Dikapi, a combiner of Pohatu and Onewa, has exactly the right level to be made with a Level 4 Rahi plus the Fikou. Once on the field, it can then change itself to any lower level and reuse the Rahi Pendulum Monster sent to the Extra Deck this way for another Synchro Summon. So Level 4 Rahi + Fikou makes any Synchro from Level 5 to 9, which then gains whatever effect the Level 4 grants.
Level 3 Rahi (Effect Pendulums / GY and banish shenanigans)
One step further down on the Level ladder, we find another type of Rahi. These are characterized by having two monster effects that trigger when sent to the GY and banished, respectively, plus one Pendulum Effect following no particular pattern. Their Pendulum Scales are all 2, so when paired with the Level 4 Rahi who all have a Scale of 5, it becomes possible to summon exactly the Rahi from this section and the previous one.
There is one additional pattern that can be found in some of these monsters, namely that the GY trigger effect consists of Special Summoning another Level 4 or lower monster of the same Attribute from the GY. This obviously has some really broad synergy with the non-custom card pool, so chances are they’re completely broken in the hands of someone making even a little effort to abuse them. Anyway, let’s look at what else they do.
Ussal, Crab Rahi
Allow Pendulum Summoning Rahi from GY
Special Summon Level 3 or lower Rahi from GY
Kewa, Vulture Rahi
Search a WIND monster, destroy self during End Phase
Add Rahi card from GY to hand
Daikau, Floral Rahi
Send Rahi Pendulum from Deck to GY to reduce ATK of opponent’s monsters
Discard Rahi to destroy monster with <=2000 ATK
Other Level 3 Rahi provide a variety of effects to support the archetype, and mostly its Level 3 or lower subset.
The Mahi‘s Pendulum Effect provides the solution to the glaring inherent problem Pendulum Monsters with GY effects have: They go from the field to the Extra Deck rather than to the GY. This effect allows you to send a Rahi where you actually need it to be and then destroys the Mahi itself, potentially triggering the effect of the other Scale. Its own GY trigger is a simple search for Level 3 or lower Rahi monsters (notably, even itself – not sure anymore how intentional that was), and its banish trigger brings a Rahi banished in a previous turn back to your hand.
The Moa can switch its Pendulum Scale to another Rahi monster’s by banishing that monster directly from the Deck, which of course has the very valuable alternate use of just immediately triggering any banish effect you might want. When sent to the GY, it puts any Rahi card back into the Deck, and when banished it Special Summons a Level 3 or lower Rahi from the hand.
The Brakas has overall much less archetypal effects and is another of those cards that mainly has synergy between its own different effects. When sent to the GY, it places any Rahi card from the Deck on top of the Deck. When banished, it lets you draw a card. And in the Pendulum Scale, it gives you the option to banish that card (which may very well be a Rahi with a banish trigger) to immediately draw one more.
For this group as well, there are some Synchro Monsters that go with it. Both of them are based on official models that also came out in 2001, but don’t have any actual relation to the sets that were sold in stores.
Kirikori-Nui is itself a Level 3 Rahi, meaning it can be made just by putting any of the main deck monsters from this section on the field while having a live Fikou in the GY. And it is also a valid target for any of the many effects specifying Level 3 or lower Rahi, like the Ussal or Mahi. With its own effects, it can send a Rahi directly from the Deck to the GY to reach a more respectable ATK value, or non-targetingly get rid of another card by temporarily banishing itself.
The Ranama offers a similar form of removal, but instead temporarily banishes both itself and the other card. However, this does target, so which is more effective mostly depends on the situation.
Level 2 Rahi (Tuners / Handtraps)
With all these Pendulum Monsters and Synchro Monsters, it’s starting to look like the Fikou is a bit overloaded as the sole main deck Tuner of the archetype. And that’s why there are also others.
These Level 2 Rahi all have powerful handtrap-like effects that require you to banish themselves from the hand or field and an additional Rahi from the GY, so combining them with the Level 3 Rahi is key to using them to their fullest potential.
The Hoto banishes a Spell or Trap from the field, the Ruki destroys a monster, the Shore Turtle changes all battle positions on the field in response to an attack (I’ve had a lot of fun with this one), the Lightning Bug negates a face-up monster’s effects, and the Cliff Bug makes a monster unaffected by a certain card type depending on what your opponent is trying to do.
A particularly fruitful strategy is combining these little guys with the Mahi from the Level 3 section, which searches them when it goes to the GY and can recycle a monster banished in a previous turn when it gets banished as cost. With multiple of them, you can set up a nice stable loop.
In addition to the plentiful monster lineup, there are also some spells and traps belonging to or supporting the Rahi archetype. Keeping with the theme of Pendulum Monsters with GY effects and to establish a connection with Makuta, all the Spells also have secondary effects that can be activated by banishing from the GY.
The cards that are formally part of the Rahi archetype depict various key events in the struggles between the Matoran of Mata Nui and the Rahi controlled by Makuta.
Devastation of the Rahi is based on the battle that became the origin of the charred forest, and with its main effect essentially provides that kind of brutal mutual (brutual?) destruction between your Rahi and whatever the opponent is playing. The GY effect further makes use of any Rahi that may have ended up there to banish something from the field.
Siege of the Rahi takes its inspiration from the Tarakava attack on Ga-Koro, using the pressure of a big Rahi on the field to make small monsters your opponent summons take refuge in the face-down Defense Position, rendering them mostly useless. However, the Siege ends as soon as you do not have said big Rahi anymore, so the GY effect simply helps you protect them.
Infection of the Rahi, the only Trap bearing the Rahi name, covers the devious scheme of a certain Po-Koro merchant collaborating with Makuta. Rather than simply beating down their enemies, your Rahi will now be used to infect them, which lets you take control of them at the end of the turn. This only lasts as long as the card remains intact, but it deals some damage when it leaves just to be petty.
Rahi Swarm is about the Nui-Rama swarms attacking Le-Koro, and similar to the concept of the Nui-Rama’s own effect, it searches Rahi with matching types – so you can complete the properly paired scales of the big Rahi in one shot. In the GY, the word “swarm” is taken literally in a different sense, and it just helps you swarm the field.
Rahi Hive Showdown, the card version of the iconic battle between Onua and an infected Lewa, takes control of one high-ATK monster your opponent controls if they have multiple, pitting the two heroes against each other. In the GY, it can steal a small monster from your opponent during their Main Phase, which is obviously quite annoying. Yeah, despite being a Rahi card in name, this doesn’t really interact with the Rahi archetype at all, other than being searchable and stuff.
The opposite is true for the following three cards, which support Rahi without having them in their name.
The Island’s Dark Tyrant represents Makuta’s ability to control not only the Rahi, but the very land itself. Which he barely ever used, but whatever. The main thing this card does with both its regular activation and banish-from-GY effects is Special Summoning a Token that also counts as a Rahi, which can then be used as Synchro fodder. And with an active Field Spell, it can be activated from the hand.
Encounter in the Drifts is a Counter Trap that responds to an opponent’s Summon by having a Rahi suddenly pop out. So suddenly, in fact, that there is not even a way to respond to the Summon. Technically the restriction of only being able to Summon Rahi of lower or equal levels than the opponent’s monster contradicts the depicted scene of a Muaka (Level 7) surprising Matoro (Level 2), but this way is pretty fun anyway.
The Ussalry Arrives works more or less like Super Rejuvenation, giving you a number of draws in the End Phase equal to how many Rahi you banished for their own effects this turn. Meanwhile, in the GY, it can just recycle itself and some banished Rahi card into the Deck in order to draw yet another card. You can always count on the Ussalry as reliable backup.
There are a lot of Rahi. There are, in fact, way too many Rahi to really say there is one specific way of playing them. Depending on how you mix and match the different Level ranges and themes, you could
go full caveman beatdown with Kane-Ra, Muaka, Kuma-Nui, Takea, Vako, etc.
use the Hikaki/Kofo-Jaga/Taku negation trio to make arbitrary Synchro Monsters into game-controlling bosses.
use cards like Siege, Showdown, or the Level 2 Tuners to constantly interfere with your opponent’s attempts to play.
do any combination of the above.
probably follow some other (possibly broken) strategy I didn’t even consider.
The broadest statement I can make is that whatever you play, you’re probably going to get a lot of mileage out of filling up the GY, which is kind of a funny property for a Pendulum archetype to have. If (when?) I eventually update these designs, I definitely want to keep that aspect, and I’ll probably focus more on establishing concrete sub-strategies for the archetype (perhaps divided by Type?) so it becomes easier to balance in a controlled way. This seems especially important considering new Rahi will be added for many, many expansions (hell, Rahi Beasts didn’t come out until 2005), and I’ll have to find a way to design them so they fit neatly into the archetype’s card pool. That’s going to be a challenge, a Challenge of the Rahi you could say. Ha.
Various sample decks are included with the BCOR release in the deck folder.
In the underground caverns of Onu-Koro, hard work is rewarded with great wealth, at least according to the Principle of Prosperity. For the effects of the Field Spell, I interpreted “hard work” as “putting monsters in the GY”, which is usually a pretty decent indication you’re doing things, and “wealth” as the resources of both LP and cards. So the first effect trades the proof of your work, the monsters in the GY, for wealth in the form of LP, and the second directly trades that amassed wealth for cards.
There are several extra balancing factors to the draw effect, given that it can potentially draw up to 3. First, it only works when you have higher LP, so you have to do some healing and/or damage before using it. Second, you need to send an EARTH monster from your hand or field to the GY, mainly to downgrade the level of advantage you get and to make the effect a bit more conditional, but also as setup for LP regeneration. Third, if you pay so much that you are now behind in LP, you lose an equal number of cards to what you drew, which technically works out to a -1 but is still fairly good since you can freely put anything from your hand into the GY. Fourth, it locks you into only summoning EARTH monsters for the whole turn, just to be extra sure it doesn’t get randomly abused. A proper Onu-Koro deck is mostly okay with this restriction anyway.
It follows that, as an Onu-Koro player, you want to establish a stable loop of putting EARTH monsters in the GY while building your board, shuffling them back to gain LP, and potentially drawing additional cards to further strengthen your position. Now we’ll take a look at how other cards contribute towards that goal.
Whenua essentially acts as an overseer of the “work” you perform, providing small rewards in real time for every EARTH monster you put into the GY. On summon, he also helps you solve your current problems by learning from the mistakes of the past, or in non-lore terms, searches a low-level EARTH Warrior that isn’t in your GY yet. Of course, putting stuff back with Onu-Koro expands your search range here.
The Kanohi Ruru, Mask of Night Vision, doesn’t really have a main focus that synergizes with the Onu-Koro deck much – it just reveals Set cards, because that’s the mechanic that historically fits night vision best (for the record, hand reveals would be mind reading). It does also inflict some damage as a bonus, which could at least help achieve the necessary LP difference to use Onu-Koro to its full potential.
The search effect on Whenua is of course meant to fetch Onu-Matoran, and as the only one implemented so far, the choice will probably fall on Taipu a lot of the time.
Always eager to come to the aid of his friends, the stronkest of Matoran will jump from your hand to the field in just about any situation, but by being a bit clumsy about it he’ll mostly lock you out of attacking for the turn. Don’t ask me how he does that.
On his way out, the helpfulness continues, with a generous stat boost given to whichever friend remains around. Due to the largely irrelevant nature of stats, the greatest use for this is actually chain blocking.
A potential hole in our whole strategy of continuously shuffling monsters from the GY back to heal and draw is that we will eventually run out of Spells and Traps, as those are not recycled. It may not matter a lot of the time, but still, to our rescue comes the wise Toa of Earth.
Indeed, Onua gives us the ability to return any card from the GY to the Deck, assuming the trigger of a monster being sent from hand or Deck to GY applies. And beyond simple recycling, he comes with the benefits of working on both GYs, being able to place the card either on top or bottom of the Deck, and healing you if you return a monster with lower ATK than him. This means he can put your own Spells/Traps just a draw away, place something dead on top of the opponent’s Deck, take something they just sent to the GY away before it can be used, or simply be used for LP regeneration to enable Onu-Koro.
The Kanohi Pakari, Great Mask of Strength, also plays into these LP games. The bonus ATK on Onua makes it so you stand to gain more LP from his effect, and a high-ATK piercer is a pretty reliable way to damage your opponent and help establish the desired LP difference.
Best of Test
The greatest strength of Onu-Koro decks is the ability to replenish resources, both cards and LP, over and over again. Even if you can’t kill your opponent quickly, you can probably survive long enough to outlast them if things go reasonably well, though most of the time there isn’t a need to drag things out too much. Here‘s a sample Gouki-based decklist to get you started, slightly more updated versions are included with each BCOT release.