Theme Guide: Bohrok (BBTS)

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.

Conclusion

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.

Theme Guide: Makuta (BCOR)

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.

Conclusion

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.

Theme Guide: Matoran (BCOR)

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.

Conclusion

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.

A sample Matoran deck can be found in the BCOR release.

Theme Guide: Rahi (BCOR)

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:

Name
Type
Scale
Effect
Explanation
Tarakava, Lizard Rahi
Reptile
3
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
Beast
3
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
Insect
8
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
Beast
8
Gain LP when Rahi destroys opponent’s monster by battle
Opponent’s monsters get eaten by your Rahi
Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi
Insect
3
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
Reptile
8
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.

Name
Attribute
Pendulum Effect
Banish Effect
Ussal, Crab Rahi
EARTH
Allow Pendulum Summoning Rahi from GY
Special Summon Level 3 or lower Rahi from GY
Kewa, Vulture Rahi
WIND
Search a WIND monster, destroy self during End Phase
Add Rahi card from GY to hand
Daikau, Floral Rahi
WATER
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.

Rahi Spells/Traps

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.

Conclusion

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.

Theme Guide: Onu-Koro (BCOT)

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

Best of Test: Onu-Koro

Conclusion

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.

Theme Guide: Ga-Koro (BCOT)

Ga-Koro is a beautiful village of leaf huts swimming on the waters of Naho Bay. According to Mata Nui Online Game 2, the central Principle of the Ga-Matoran is Purity, from which they derive Speed. How these concepts translate to card game mechanics was, at least to me, not entirely obvious at first glance, so let’s go over the design in detail.

Effect #1 preserves the purity of your plays by not letting your opponent corrupt them with any dirty responses, as long as your GY is filled purely with WATER monsters. To make this reasonably balanced, it has an additional restriction of only working on effects activated during the opponent’s turn as Chain Link 2 or higher – which usually means quick effects. Because speed, geddit? Incidentally, quick effects that can be used during the opponent’s turn are somewhat common among existing WATER monsters (e.g. Abyssalacia, Crocodragon, the entire Crystron archetype), so that provides ample deck building options.

Effect #2 grants speed in the form of tempo, specifically an extra summon of a WATER monster at the cost of banishing any monster from the GY (which conveniently helps with the setup for Effect #1). The purity aspect here is that it locks you into only summoning WATER monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of the turn, as is appropriate with this kind of effect. Also, the type of the summoned monster is changed to match the banished one, as a little trick to remedy the relative lack of good WATER Warriors that can currently be used as substitute for not yet created Ga-Matoran.

So, the big takeaway from Effect #1 in particular is that a Ga-Koro deck should want to play mainly on the opponent’s turn and in response to other effects, since doing so renders them virtually unstoppable. Let’s take a look at how the villagers approach this simple idea.

Maku immediately gives us not one, but two quick effects. In the hand, you can discard her at any time to make a card unaffected by all other effects for the duration of that chain only, which is obviously something that only makes sense as Chain Link 2 or higher and therefore works perfectly for Ga-Koro’s protection. As a little special clause, fellow Matoran get to remain unaffected for an entire turn – imagine it as them being taught to swim, as opposed to just being briefly held above the water like everything else. In the GY, she summons herself when your opponent activates an effect in a free column, which is also inherently at Chain Link 2 or higher.

Continuing the quick effects, Turaga Nokama brings another way to make monsters unaffected, but with more tricky mechanics. Most significant is that rather than a free choice of targets, it’s always herself and the monsters she points to – so up to three monsters, though you lose some flexibility. Also, rather than the usual “except its own” clause, the exception is here made for Nokama’s own effects, so you can do fun things like making an opponent’s monster unaffected by its own protection or stat boosts. This way, you can potentially get some benefit out of the arrow pointing to the opponent’s field. Finally, for synergy with both Ga-Koro’s purity concept and the general inclination of WATER monsters towards being discarded for cost, this effect comes at the price of banishing a card from the GY and discarding one. The banished card determines which card type is not included in the granted protection (to keep things a bit more fair and to leave yourself with ways to deal with an opponent’s monster in the linked zone), while the discard allows triggering effects like Atlantean Heavy Infantry at any time.

Nokama’s other effects further play into this theme of protecting the linked monsters, with herself being indestructible in battle as long as she points to something (because being unaffected by stuff doesn’t help much if you’re a 1200 ATK monster that can easily be run over) and replenishing the fodder you need for the main effect as a reward if you manage to keep the monster(s) she’s pointing to alive until your opponent’s End Phase. Note that the latter is a quick effect rather than a trigger effect like it would usually be, so you can potentially chain it to something and take advantage of Ga-Koro.

The Kanohi Rau, Mask of Translation, adds a further level of complication by “translating” one targeting effect per turn into a “translation” along the Main Monster Zones. Not only does this functionally negate whatever the original effect meant to accomplish, but it also provides an opportunity to set up a monster placement that is convenient for Nokama.

Now, what does the Toa of Water bring to the aid of her village? You guessed it, another quick effect. This one can be chained to any monster effects activated by the turn player’s opponent (for Ga-Koro’s purposes, this particularly means your effects during the opponent’s turn), negates a face-up monster, and gives Gali an ATK boost that can potentially stack to infinity with enough patience. So we basically have three main uses:

  • Bonus disruption during the opponent’s turn whenever you already have a monster effect that can activate (e.g. Maku)
  • Shutting down your opponent’s monster-based disruption on the field during your turn
  • Stacking ATK boosts to get over big monsters in battle (something Ga-Koro otherwise struggles with)

Meanwhile, the Kanohi Kaukau, Mask of Water Breathing, provides some extra pressure on the opponent to use monster effects rather than Spells/Traps so Gali can be triggered during your turn as well. Though really it’s just a joke about Torrential Tribute if I’m quite honest.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ga-Koro

Conclusion

Decks centered around Ga-Koro focus mainly on quick effects chained to the opponent’s own plays on their turn. By utilizing Nokama’s solid protection in tandem with disruptive effects like Gali, Maku, and even Atlanteans, you can establish a successful control strategy to keep your cards on the board while interfering with the opponent enough to keep victory within reach. Here‘s a sample decklist to get you started (though there are lots of options for entirely different builds), slightly more updated versions are included with each BCOT release.

Theme Guide: Ta-Koro (BCOT)

Amidst the lava flowing from the Mangai volcano lies the fortified village of Ta-Koro, home to the steadfast Ta-Matoran who live according to the Principle of Courage. These facts are reflected in the design of the field spell, which grants protection to those who live within its walls (obviously only FIRE monsters – if there’s others around you probably aren’t in Ta-Koro) and gives strength to those who show the courage to face stronger opponents in battle. And this directly leads us to the basic points of the strategy the Ta-Koro theme is meant to follow:

  • Build a board of only FIRE monsters
  • Battle your opponent’s established board to inflict lots of damage
  • Hide behind the walls protecting you from easy boardwipes if you can’t OTK, so you get the chance to continue the beatdown in another turn

Being a battle focused deck, you of course want to go second, which means you will likely have to contend with negations and floodgates and all that. The nice thing about having this ATK boosting effect on a Field Spell is that, in theory, you only have to deal with any potential Spell negates (using the various going second staples we thankfully have nowadays), plop down any FIRE monster of your choice, activate Ta-Koro, and you are ready to run over just about any monster that can be destroyed by battle – no monster effects needed. We can of course imagine any number of scenarios in which this is not possible, but it has at the very least proven to be a highly convenient option in the EDOPro AI testbed.

Ta-Koro by itself provides a clear strategy we should be going for, but the tools it gives us to achieve that are somewhat situational. In order to ram your monsters into your opponent’s for big damage, you first need to get to a point where both players do in fact have monsters on the field. A reasonably easy condition, but nonetheless one which the Field Spell does not at all help us achieve. Therefore, it is time to look at some of the other cards that go into a Ta-Koro deck.

Like the other Turaga, Vakama is a Link Monster requiring at least one Warrior monster of the right attribute (here FIRE) as material, which means you can use Ta-Matoran, Toa of Fire, or any other FIRE Warrior serving as standin for them (cough Infernoble cough). So the Ta-Koro deck clearly has easy access to him, but what does he contribute?

Well, his first effect, based on the visions of the future he saw in the story, reveals the top card of each Deck, and then the players automatically Special Summon either the revealed monster if it is a FIRE Warrior, or a clunky Attack Position Token with 1500 ATK otherwise. The idea is that, unlike you, the opponent isn’t likely to run any FIRE Warriors, so in the desirable case, you get some useful monster while your opponent only gets the Token. And suddenly, we have set up the exact type of situation that enables Ta-Koro. Which, by the way, can be searched with the help of this effect as well because the opponent is forced to Special Summon and thereby provides the activation trigger for Demise of the Land.

The second effect rewards the battle-focused playstyle Ta-Koro is going for by letting you draw from other monsters’ destruction by battle. This effectively means Ta-Koro’s ATK boost effect replenishes its own cost immediately (unless some kind of battle protection is at play), making for another nice bit of synergy. This effect is also where Vakama’s Mask of Concealment, the Noble Kanohi Huna comes into play: By making it so he cannot be attacked while you control another monster, the opponent is forced into giving you that draw before destroying Vakama himself by battle.

Okay, so we can now get a few monsters on board, make sure our opponent has something we can attack into, and use Ta-Koro’s effect to ensure a successful Battle Phase where we can deal a fair amount of damage. Even if it’s not enough to win right there, the fact that we have multiple monsters (and presumably obey the FIRE restriction) means the Field Spell grants some protection so we may have another chance to finish the job. But “may” is an unreliable word, and in a game like Yugioh, a single layer of blanket destruction protection can easily be broken even by an opponent at a disadvantage. So perhaps it would be better if we could somehow increase the damage output to the point of OTK after all. If we can make certain generic bosses like Powercode Talker, that is already possible, but there really should be some built-in method as well. Still, we cannot exactly expect the small Matoran and Turaga of the village to start hitting like a truck just because it’s convenient.

In other words: We need a hero.

Tahu, as indicated in the long lead-up, serves as your big damage source that bridges the gap between beatdown and OTK. Since you either need to save your Normal Summon for him (though a Ta-Koro deck should at least have plenty of monsters he can Tribute from the hand thanks to his special condition) or coincidentally get him from Vakama’s effect, he’s probably not going to be around in every single board you make, but when he’s there you’re looking at quite the big additional hit in the Battle Phase. Tahu’s effect triggers after damage calculation – regardless of which or whose monster battled – to make a monster’s ATK to 0 and set it on fire so it burns the opponent when destroyed by battle in this turn.

Imagine, for example, this scenario: You control Ta-Koro, Vakama, and Tahu. Your opponent controls a 1500 ATK Vision Token generated by Vakama, as well as some attack position monster with 2800 (original) ATK. Now you can just attack over the Vision Token with Tahu (= 1000 damage), trigger his effect to make the bigger monster’s ATK 0, and attack into that monster with Vakama. Since Ta-Koro compares the original ATK of the battling monsters, you can now trigger its effect before damage calculation to make Vakama gain 2800 for a total of 4200 ATK. Not only does your opponent take that to the face (= 4200 damage), but also the burn from Tahu’s effect (= 2800 damage). We add up 1000 + 4200 + 2800, and surprise, there’s the magic 8000. Meanwhile, without Tahu’s effect, we are limited to 1000 damage from attacking over the Vision Token plus 1400 from boosting Vakama to get over the big monster – still 5600 short of lethal.

Bit of an idealistic setup, of course, but with the help of generic staples and various other FIRE monsters you might just be able to force the game into that kind of state, or alternatively just add some extra attackers to make up the difference in less perfect scenarios.

Adding the Kanohi Hau, Mask of Shielding, to the mix also allows you to attack some big monster with Tahu, safely trigger his effect, and then have one of your small guys finish that monster off for massive burn damage, which is a nice option to have.

C.C. Matoran Kapura

And as the final piece of Ta-Koro support in BCOT, the (real) Ta-Matoran of the Chronicler’s Company brings two more battle-related effects to the table.

The first one is perhaps of more interest in the dedicated Chronicler’s Company deck, but here it still lets the opponent get Kapura’d by Kapura himself attacking before they get a chance to react, which can be pretty good when the Ta-Koro ATK boost is added.

The second effect is my take on something that is simultaneously slow and fast: If you manage to have a monster stick around for a full turn, Kapura can give it an extra attack for potentially a whole lot of additional damage. This is especially potent in combination with Tahu, who could then trigger both halves of his effect all on his own, giving you that much more flexibility in how you use him.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ta-Koro

Conclusion

A Ta-Koro deck’s aim is to go second and utilize its various built-in tools as well as convenient cards from the general pool to hit through the opponent’s monsters for massive damage. Here‘s a sample decklist to get you started, slightly more updated versions are included with each BCOT release.