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)

Onu-Koro, Village of Earth

Field Spell

You can target up to 5 EARTH monsters in your GY; shuffle them into the Deck, then gain 600 LP for each card shuffled into the Main Deck this way. If your LP are higher than your opponent’s: You can send 1 EARTH monster from your hand or field to the GY, then pay LP in multiples of 1000 (max. 3000); draw 1 card for every 1000 LP paid, then, if your LP are lower than your opponent’s, send that many cards from your hand to the GY. You cannot Normal or Special Summon monsters the turn you activate this effect, except EARTH monsters. You can only use each effect of “Onu-Koro, Village of Earth” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

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.

Turaga Whenua

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [▼ ▶] | EARTH Spellcaster | ATK 1450

2 monsters, including an EARTH Warrior monster
Each time an EARTH monster(s) is sent from your hand or field to the GY, gain 400 LP for each. If this card is Link Summoned: You can pay 1000 LP; add 1 Level 4 or lower EARTH Warrior monster from your Deck to your hand, with a different name from the cards in your GY. You can only use this effect of “Turaga Whenua” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Noble Kanohi Ruru

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. You can only use each of the following effects of “Noble Kanohi Ruru” once per turn.
●While this card is equipped to a “Turaga”, “Toa”, or “Makuta” monster: You can target 1 Set card your opponent controls; reveal it. If it is a Spell/Trap, inflict 500 damage to your opponent. If it is a monster with less ATK than the equipped monster, inflict damage to your opponent equal to the difference.
●If this card is in your GY: You can Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 “Turaga Whenua” in your GY; Special Summon it and equip it with this card.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

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 for that we have a few options.

C.C. Matoran Taipu

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 1000 / DEF 500

You can Special Summon this card (from your hand), but you cannot declare an attack for the rest of this turn, except with “C.C. Matoran” monsters. You can only Special Summon “C.C. Matoran Taipu” once per turn this way. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can target 1 monster you control with less than 2000 ATK; it gains 1000 ATK/DEF until the end of the next turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Matoran Tender Midak

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 500 / DEF 500

If you control a “Matoran” monster, except “Matoran Tender Midak”: You can send this card from your hand to the GY; send 1 EARTH monster from your Deck to the GY, and if you do, gain 400 LP. If this card in your GY would be returned to the Deck by a card effect, you can add it to your hand instead. You can only use each effect of “Matoran Tender Midak” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Matoran Racer Onepu

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 700 / DEF 500

When this card is Normal Summoned: You can target 1 of your banished EARTH monsters; place it on the bottom of the Deck, then you can reveal any number of “Matoran” monsters in your hand, and if you do, gain 500 LP for each. During your Main Phase: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Beast “Rahi” monster from your hand or GY, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use each effect of “Matoran Racer Onepu” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.20.4)

Taipu is most importantly a free Special Summon from the hand, assuming it is either turn 1 or Main Phase 2 – otherwise there’s an attack restriction that can trip you up sometimes, fitting for a somewhat clumsy Matoran who is always eager to help. Aside from these attributes, Taipu is also notable for his unusual physical strength, reflected in his unusually high ATK stat which matches the stat boost he gives another small monster when sent from field to GY. You can also use that for chain blocking.

Midak, the eccentric Onu-Matoran who likes sunlight and spends his time in a hut full of Ussals on the surface, is the first half of a little engine that takes advantage of the deck’s built in resource cycling. His role is sending an EARTH monster from your Deck to the GY (yes, can be anything, hence the restriction to needing a Matoran on the field) for setup and some immediate LP gain, and later returning directly to your hand when he would be shuffled back by Onu-Koro, because the Deck is too dark for his tastes.

The second half of the combo is Onepu, the proud champion of the Ussal races. Having such a defining relationship with the crab Rahi, he actually interacts directly with it by Summoning it (or any other low-level Beast Rahi) from the GY. On Normal Summon, he can put a banished EARTH monster (such as an Ussal used in a previous iteration) back into your Deck and be rewarded with LP gain proportional to the size of his audience in your hand. So what exactly is the combo I’m talking about here? Well, the one missing key point is that the Ussal, a Level 4 EARTH Beast member of the Rahi archetype, can bring back another Level 4 or lower EARTH Beast monster from the GY when sent there.

Ussal, Crab Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1000 / DEF 1000

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn: You can reduce the Pendulum Scale of the card in your other Pendulum Zone by 1 until the End Phase; this turn, while this card is in your Pendulum Zone, you can also Pendulum Summon “Rahi” Pendulum Monsters from your GY, but monsters Summoned this way are destroyed during the End Phase.
—————————————-
[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower EARTH monster from your GY, except this card. If this card is banished: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your GY. You can only use 1 “Ussal, Crab Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

What you do is this: Put Onepu on the field, activate Midak in your hand to send himself and an Ussal from the Deck to the GY, the Ussal triggers to bring back Midak, and with Onepu bringing back the Ussal you now have 3 monsters on the field. Do whatever combos you so desire from here, and once you’re done use Onu-Koro to shuffle back a bunch of EARTH monsters, including Midak who will instead come to your hand. Then on a subsequent turn you just need to find Onepu again, and due to him putting back the banished Ussal on Normal Summon everything is ready to go for another round.

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.

Toa Mata Onua

Effect MonsterLevel 6 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 2100 / DEF 2100

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute an EARTH or “Toa Mata” monster in your hand, except “Toa Mata Onua”, instead of a monster you control. Once per turn, if a monster(s) is sent from the hand or Deck to the GY: You can target 1 card in either GY; place it on the top or bottom of the Deck, and if it was a monster whose original ATK in the GY was lower than this card’s current ATK, gain LP equal to the difference.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Great Kanohi Pakari

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster, it gains 1000 ATK, also if it attacks a Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Onua” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Pakari” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

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.

Sample Deck

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=6583242

Our goal is to do “work” – putting monsters from hand or field into the GY – as quickly as possible to get our LP and card advantage engine fueled, so this is basically a Link spam deck. In addition to our core engine of Taipu/Onepu/Midak/Ussal, the stars of this deck are the Goukis, which allow us to just keep throwing monsters onto the field while also refilling the hand with their own floating effects, supplementing the draws we get from Onu-Koro later in the game. Visiting the village are the Chronicler Takua and Po-Koro‘s Hafu, which together form yet another way to get out a total of up to three monsters off one card (though banishing the one Hafu summons is a little detrimental to our resource loop).

The ultimate payoffs going first are usually some combination of Knightmare Gryphon, Apollousa, and Tri-Gate Wizard, while going second the big power play is obviously Accesscode. Grandsoil is both a main deck boss and a combo piece that is very easy to use in this strategy, since you can easily control the number of EARTH monsters in your GY.

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.

Theme Guide: Ga-Koro (BCOT)

Ga-Koro, Village of Water

Field Spell

During your opponent’s turn, if all monsters in your GY are WATER (min. 1), your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to the activation of your WATER monster effects as Chain Link 2 or higher. You can banish 1 monster from your GY; Special Summon 1 WATER monster from your hand in Defense Position, but its effects are negated and it becomes the same Type as the banished monster’s, also you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except WATER monsters. You can only use this effect of “Ga-Koro, Village of Water” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

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, which was originally a trick to make up for the lack of WATER Warriors in the game, but is now mostly just another point of purity flavour after I added more Ga-Matoran.

The reason we need specifically WATER Warriors is, of course, the village’s Turaga, Nokama.

Turaga Nokama

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [▲ ↙] | WATER Spellcaster | ATK 1200

2 monsters, including a WATER Warrior monster
Cannot be destroyed by battle while it points to a monster. (Quick Effect): You can banish 1 card from your GY, then discard 1 card; until the end of this turn, this card and monsters it points to are unaffected by the effects of cards with a different card type (Monster, Spell, and/or Trap) than the card banished to activate this effect, except this card’s. During your opponent’s End Phase, if this card points to a monster (Quick Effect): You can target 1 of your WATER monsters that is banished or in your GY; add it to your hand. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Nokama” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Noble Kanohi Rau

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. Once per turn, if the equipped monster is a “Turaga”, “Toa”, or “Makuta” monster, the first activated effect that targets it becomes “You can move 1 monster in the Main Monster Zone to another Main Monster Zone on its controller’s field, then your opponent can move 1 monster in the Main Monster Zone to another Main Monster Zone on its controller’s field”. If this card is in your GY: You can Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 “Turaga Nokama” in your GY; Special Summon it and equip it with this card. You can only use this effect of “Noble Kanohi Rau” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

In accordance with the particular type of “protection” offered by Ga-Koro, this WATER monster comes with a Quick Effect that you will often want to use on your opponent’s turn: The ability to make Nokama and everything she points to immune to 2 of the 3 card types in the game for the rest of the turn. A funny thing to note is that this immunity, instead of the usual “except its own” clause, makes an exception only for Nokama’s own effects, so you can do stuff 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 relevant 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 monsters she points to, with herself being indestructible in battle as long as one of those zones is filled (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.

What’s this? You want more Quick Effects? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because this floating village is populated by more than just its elder.

Matoran Astrologer Nixie

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 400 / DEF 500

When a monster effect is activated while you control a WATER monster and this card is in your hand (Quick Effect): You can draw 1 card and show it, then if it is a monster, Special Summon this card, and if you do, its Level becomes the shown monster’s Level. Otherwise, discard this card. If this card is sent from the hand or field to the GY, and you have no Spells/Traps in your GY: You can send 1 Spell/Trap from your Deck to the GY. You can only use each effect of “Matoran Astrologer Nixie” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Matoran Assistant Hahli

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 400 / DEF 700

Other “Matoran” monsters you control cannot be destroyed by card effects. You can only use each of the following effects of “Matoran Assistant Hahli” once per turn. During the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can inflict 400 damage to your opponent. If a WATER “Matoran” monster(s), except “Matoran Assistant Hahli”, is sent to your GY, while this card is in your GY (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon this card, but banish it during the End Phase.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.20.4)

C.C. Matoran Maku

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 500 / DEF 200

When your opponent activates a card or effect on the field (Quick Effect): You can Special Summon this card from your hand or GY to your zone in that card’s column, and if you do, change 1 face-up monster on the field to Defense Position. (Quick Effect): You can target 1 other face-up card you control; for the rest of this Chain, or until the end of this turn if it is a “Matoran” monster, it is unaffected by card effects, except its own. You can only use each effect of “C.C. Matoran Maku” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Matoran Tender Kotu

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 300 / DEF 800

During the Main or Battle Phase (Quick Effect): You can make the monster(s) your opponent currently controls with the highest ATK lose 800 ATK, until the end of this turn. If this card is sent from the hand or field to the GY: You can target 1 monster on the field; its owner draws 1 card, and if they do, return that target to the hand. You can only use each effect of “Matoran Tender Kotu” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.20.4)

There’s the astrologer Nixie, who can draw you a card and (with some luck) Special Summon herself from the hand in response to any monster effect activated while you control a WATER monster. If you do draw a monster from this effect and thus get Nixie on the field, the included Level modulation combined with her Tuner status could also be helpful in making a big Synchro Monster to pair up with Nokama. If you’re not as lucky with your draw and end up having to discard Nixie, she can potentially still help set up Nokama for granting protection from monsters by putting a Spell/Trap in the GY to banish – but only if you didn’t already have one. This will also trigger when used as material for Nokama or a Synchro or even when discarded for Nokama’s cost, so that particular piece of setup is quite accessible.

Hahli, at this point in time a mere assistant flax maker, does nothing flashy by herself, but provides valuable assistance to her fellow Matoran in various ways. There’s obviously the destruction protection, but the small Quick Effect burn is also not to be underestimated – not because of the damage it deals, but because it gives you +1 chain length and thus a chance to activate more impactful Quick Effects in the range where Ga-Koro shields them from interference, not to mention giving Nixie an opportunity to activate from the hand. The GY effect serves a similar purpose, as it will trigger together with another Ga-Matoran’s floating effect and thus let you either chain block or build the chain the way you want it for Ga-Koro.

Maku even gives us not one, but two quick effects. On the field, you can make a card unaffected by other effects for a single 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 hand or GY, she summons herself when your opponent activates an effect in a free column, which is also inherently at Chain Link 2 or higher.

Finally, Kotu’s Quick Effect lets her calm your opponent’s most ferocious beast with an ATK reduction, a reference to her job of tending to even large Rahi like Tarakava after they leave Makuta’s control. She also comes with a disruptive floating effect (once again, set up so it triggers when discarded for Nokama’s cost) that works best when used on something of yours controlled by your opponent, but may otherwise still be worth it if you can hit a choke point.

And with that, all that’s left is the resident heroine and Main Deck boss, Gali.

Toa Mata Gali

Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WATER Warrior | ATK 2300 / DEF 1800

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute a WATER or “Toa Mata” monster in your hand, except “Toa Mata Gali”, instead of a monster you control. Once per turn, when the turn player’s opponent activates a monster effect, except “Toa Mata Gali” (Quick Effect): You can target 1 other face-up monster on the field; negate its effects, and if you do, this card gains 400 ATK.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Great Kanohi Kaukau

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster, it is unaffected by your opponent’s card effects, unless they target it. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Gali” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Kaukau” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

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. a Ga-Matoran)
  • 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, offers an additional layer of protection from non-targeting effects, leaving you free to save your Nokama for something else. Though really it’s just a joke about Torrential Tribute if I’m quite honest.

Sample Deck

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=10264388

Being a WATER-based strategy that discards for cost as one of its key plays, it seemed natural to use Atlanteans, and Mermails along with them. Using (restricted versions of) standard issue combos I will not cover in detail here, you can put out big monsters like Abyssmegalo + Mizuchi, Moulinglacia, or any of the high-Level Synchros in your Extra Deck to serve as the target of Nokama’s protection. Possibly the best you can get is Chengying, because Nokama banishing for cost lets you trigger his effect whenever you damn feel like it and just get rid of two of your opponent’s cards.

To make Nokama herself, we just need to find one of our many Ga-Matoran at any point throughout the combo, which is made easy by Nixie being a Level 2 Tuner, well within the range of what good ol’ Halqifibrax can fetch. Even his effect during the opponent’s turn would be pretty good to put a fresh monster into Nokama’s zone when needed, if not for the fact that the two of them tend to compete for the Extra Monster Zone and thus rarely coexist on the field. Finally, Marincess Coral Anemone comes up a fair bit because she not only extends your combos, but also brings back Nokama in just the right spot to make her live, though not necessarily in the strongest possible configuration.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ga-Koro (v3.12.10)

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, Kotu, 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.

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.

Ta-Koro, Village of Fire

Field Spell

While all face-up monsters you control are FIRE (min. 2), face-up monsters you control cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. If your FIRE monster battles an opponent’s monster with higher original ATK, before damage calculation: You can discard 1 card; your monster gains ATK equal to the highest original ATK on the field, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Ta-Koro, Village of Fire” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

This principle also guides the design of the Field Spell representing the village, as well as the strategy surrounding it. First you have a protection effect on the condition that you control multiple FIRE monsters (and no others) – a reference to both the solid walls surrounding Ta-Koro and the idea that protecting one’s allies is a notable way to show courage. But most defining for the playstyle is the second effect, which allows your FIRE monsters to always win in battle if they are courageously facing a monster with higher ATK. Higher original ATK, that is.

That last part, as you might imagine, is the one you’re meant to “abuse” in order to win the game. Essentially, a Ta-Koro deck is focused around boosting the ATK of your own monsters and/or reducing that of the opponent’s monsters before you charge into battle and inflict massive damage. Ideally you want 8000 or more, but if you don’t get there, the walls of Ta-Koro might just let you survive a turn so you can finish the job.

The first precondition to making all this work is of course getting Attack Position monsters to both sides of the field, as your damage potential will be considerably limited if you are only attacking directly. Luckily, this basic setup can be guaranteed by the village’s leader, Turaga Vakama.

Turaga Vakama

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [◀ ▼] | FIRE Spellcaster | ATK 1400

2 monsters, including a FIRE Warrior monster
During your Main Phase: You can activate this effect; each player reveals the top card of their Deck, and if a player revealed a FIRE Warrior monster, they Special Summon that monster. Otherwise, they Special Summon 1 “Vision Token” (Warrior/FIRE/Level 3/ATK 1500/DEF 0) in Attack Position, but it cannot be Tributed or used as material for a Synchro or Link Summon. If a monster is destroyed by battle: Draw 1 card. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Vakama” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Noble Kanohi Huna

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Turaga”, “Toa”, or “Makuta” monster, your opponent’s monsters cannot target it for attacks while you control another monster. If this card is in your GY: You can Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 “Turaga Vakama” in your GY; Special Summon it and equip it with this card. You can only use this effect of “Noble Kanohi Huna” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Known to experience visions of the future, Vakama comes with an activated effect to peek at the future that is the top card of each player’s Deck, and depending on what is found there, will cause that player to Special Summon a monster to your field. If a FIRE Warrior, which is of course the Attribute and Type of Ta-Koro’s inhabitants, is found, it will come to the field with no strings attached, able to attack, use its effects, or be material to your heart’s content. Anything else will instead be replaced by an Attack Position Token that is pretty much stuck on the field until someone destroys it. Bottom line is that no matter how this effect resolves, it will end with an additional monster on each side of the field, which is exactly what this strategy wants. Even better is the fact that your opponent’s will, in all likelihood, be the Attack Position Token with an ATK stat that is just a little bigger than Vakama’s own and thus enables the boost from Ta-Koro.

The secondary effect simply rewards you for sticking to the battle-focused gameplan with a free draw, which is of course convenient to offset the discard cost of Ta-Koro. It also combos with Vakama’s Mask of Concealment, the Kanohi Huna, which forces the opponent to get over your other monsters first if they want to attack him, thus giving you the opportunity to get another draw before he’s destroyed. And on your next turn, as is generally the case with the Turaga’s Noble Kanohi, you can just Tribute something (though sadly not a Vision Token) to bring the Huna and its wearer right back to the field.

We’ve covered how to get the monsters needed for battle, but to get some really good damage going and deal with potential impediments to our rather simplistic win condition, it’s going to need some more help. This is where the Ta-Matoran come in, making up both the majority of the village’s population and of our Main Deck monster lineup.

Matoran Guard Captain Jala

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 800 / DEF 500

While your opponent controls a face-up monster, Level 4 or lower FIRE Warrior monsters you control gain 400 ATK for each “Matoran” monster you control. During your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon 1 “Matoran” or FIRE “Toa” monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn) You can only control 1 face-up “Matoran Guard Captain Jala”.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.20.4)

C.C. Matoran Kapura

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 600 / DEF 200

If a “C.C. Matoran” monster you control attacks, your opponent cannot activate cards or effects until the end of the Damage Step. At the start of your Battle Phase: You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 face-up monster you control that was not Summoned this turn; it can make up to 2 attacks on monsters during this Battle Phase. You can only use this effect of “C.C. Matoran Kapura” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Matoran Legend Lhii

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 0 / DEF 0

During the Damage Step, when your FIRE monster battles an opponent’s monster (Quick Effect): You can send this card from your hand to the GY; until the end of this turn, that opponent’s monster loses 500 ATK/DEF, also its effects are negated. If your FIRE Warrior monster destroys an opponent’s monster by battle, while this card is in your GY: You can Special Summon this card, and if you do, it gains ATK equal to that destroyed monster’s original ATK, until the end of this turn. You can only use 1 “Matoran Legend Lhii” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Jala, as the captain of the Ta-Koro Guard, leads your Matoran (and other low-level FIRE Warriors, including Vakama’s Vision Token!) into battle and boosts their ATK as long as there is actually an enemy force to take on. He also helps you gather your fighters on the field in the first place by allowing an extra Normal Summon of a Matoran or specifically a FIRE Toa (more on that below).

Kapura is a mysterious character mostly known for his skill in traveling quickly by moving slowly, and as a member of The Chronicler’s Company. His first effect is direct support for that group, but also applies to himself in a Ta-Koro deck, making it so your opponent literally gets Kapura’d and cannot react in time to respond whenever he attacks – and with backup such as your Field Spell, this is extremely dangerous despite the low ATK stat. The second effect implements his signature combination of slow and fast, speeding up your damage output with a double attack on the rather slow condition that a monster has to survive a whole turn first. Makes for a good backup plan in case you can’t immediately OTK or are forced to go first.

Lhii the Surfer is a legendary Ta-Matoran who never truly existed and was merely made up by Vakama in memory of Toa Lhikan, which is why his stats are both 0 and he doesn’t actually do anything on the field. However, he makes significant contributions in the Battle Phase by either weakening an opponent’s monster from the hand – allowing you to clear pesky obstacles such as battle protection – or joining the battle himself by rising from the GY with the ATK of an opponent’s monster you just destroyed (but still an original ATK of 0, conveniently). Granted, I’m not sure how that last one makes sense given the fact that he isn’t real, but it certainly is useful to take out that last bit of LP. And of course, you can’t do both in one turn because the discard cost of the hand effect would mean the GY effect could immediately trigger from the same battle, which would be silly.

And if an enemy is too great to defeat even with all the tools the deck has access to in battle? If there are perhaps multiple humongous monsters blocking your way and the single Ta-Koro boost is not enough to get rid of them all? Well in that case, we need a hero.

Toa Mata Tahu

Effect MonsterLevel 6 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 2500 / DEF 1500

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute a FIRE or “Toa Mata” monster in your hand, except “Toa Mata Tahu”, instead of a monster you control. Once per turn, if a monster battles, after damage calculation: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; its ATK becomes 0, also if it is destroyed by battle this turn, your opponent takes damage equal to its original ATK.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Great Kanohi Hau

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card becomes equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster, it cannot be destroyed by battle, also you take no battle damage from battles involving it. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Tahu” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Hau” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.21.6)

Tahu is possibly the greatest OTK enabler Ta-Koro has when faced with a large number of monsters. After a battle has occurred (no matter who battled, or who won), he can reduce the ATK of a monster that remains on the field to 0 and make it so that monster’s destruction in battle will burn your opponent for its original ATK this turn. Or in other words, he sets monsters on fire so they can’t fight properly and die in a big explosion when you hit them. And the Kanohi Hau, Mask of Shielding, offers simple battle protection that lets you trigger Tahu’s effect with zero risk.

Sample Deck

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=10262211

Since the Battle Phase is our main win condition and there’s not that much you can do to set up a first-turn board while sticking to FIRE monsters, the deck is generally built to go second. That means we use both handtraps such as Ash Blossom (conveniently matches the Attribute!) and Infinite Impermanence to hopefully stop the opponent from setting up anything we can’t deal with, and cards like Lightning Storm, Harpie’s Feather Duster, and the Kaiju package in the Side Deck to expand the range of what we can deal with. There’s also an argument to be made that you could focus on going first with more diverse Attributes in the Extra Deck (since you aren’t locked or anything) and take advantage of Ta-Koro’s protection and Kapura-granted double attacks, but I haven’t tried that yet, so …

The line you basically want to go for, after using the going second staples to bring your opponent’s field as close as possible to the ideal of “multiple Attack Position monsters that don’t do anything”, is pretty simple: Put as many FIRE Warriors on the field as you can (with some combination of Jala’s extra Normal Summon, Takua getting Kapura from the Deck, and the free Special Summons offered by Red Layer/Sublimation Knight/Renaud), make Isolde and/or Vakama in order to get even more FIRE Warriors on the field, go into whatever Links and Synchros maximize your damage output in the present gamestate, and ideally activate Ta-Koro, bring out Tahu, and get Lhii into your GY. If you manage to do all of these, it’s usually an OTK, if you just do some it’s still a good bit of damage. I:P Masquerena and Avramax are a good combination to have available in case you do find yourself with the need to survive another turn.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ta-Koro (v3.12.10)

Conclusion

Ta-Koro is a straightforward beatdown deck with OTK potential, whose special thematic feature is that you generally want to courageously hit over monsters (the bigger the better) in order to benefit from the Field Spell’s ATK boost and trigger other effects that significantly increase your damage output. This is helped by Vakama putting a Token on your opponent’s field while also increasing the number of attackers you have available, and if you can’t finish the job in one turn, there’s still at least built-in destruction protection for your FIRE monsters.