Release: Dumbed Down Edition

Introducing version … i.1.4??? … of the Bionicle YGOPro Expansion! I’m not sure how I feel about this being the first ever official release post on the new website, but well, here we go.

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Release summary

For this version, we take a little break from the grand tales of adventure taking place on the island of Mata Nui, told in the ancient days of 2001, and instead focus on the more recent reimagining of the story released in 2015. The original Bionicle was famously filled to the brim with fancy names and deepest lore, but for this short-lived G2 Lego decided all of that was way too complicated for a franchise aimed at kids, so they did their best to simplify the new version. In the words of fans less happy with this decision, they dumbed it down. And in a convenient coincidence, much the same words have been used to describe a certain new duel format Konami introduced for Yu-Gi-Oh a short while ago, which is why it seemed natural to combine the two. That’s right, fellas: It’s time to rush rush go rush.

The stars of the G2 story are the six Toa, though they were mainly marketed under the name “Master” in keeping with the simplification efforts. As archetypes are not (yet) a thing in Rush Duels, there’s no problem with using this term for the card names as well, but not having archetypes also raises the question of how our heroes’ effects can be made to work together like a proper team. My solution was to use Level 6 Warriors as a pseudo-archetype, since Rush Duels only have a few of those right now. With that as a general theme, the individual effects are then simply based off each Toa’s characteristics as described in bios and seen in the story.

Tahu is the leader, so he has the ability to boost everyone’s ATK. And he’s described as being both lucky and forgetful, so the whole thing is based on a gambling condition where forgetting what’s in your Deck can get you in trouble. Gali can be “as fierce as the raging ocean”, and since I figure battle Traps aren’t going to do much against the raging ocean, she’s able to block those. Onua doesn’t say much, but what he says is usually important – so his effect has the most difficult condition paired with a really powerful and versatile payoff. The condition itself involves controlling 2 or more Toa (more accurately, Level 6 Warriors) to go with Onua being the big unity advocate of the team. Pohatu is the fearless vanguard who leads the way into danger, but on the other hand he is afraid of doesn’t like the dark. These two traits mesh together surprisingly well into an effect that powers him up with piercing and an ATK boost to eradicate face-down (“dark”) cards. An unintended consequence is that he is the only Toa whose effect does not explicitly interact with other Level 6 Warriors, but that actually fits how he was portrayed as kind of a loner in G2 specifically. Kopaka didn’t slip, he just changed to Defense to recycle a monster from the GY. Due to infinite Normal Summons and global soft OPT, you can make an infinite loop if you use this on another Kopaka, but since it’s one with no net change it didn’t seem worth preventing with an extra clause. Lewa carelessly rushes into battle at the expense of his teammates, but in doing so finds solutions others would overlook. I imagine being able to simply attack directly while ignoring any strong monsters on the field is a decent solution to some situations the others might have trouble dealing with.

This is probably the right point to briefly mention two interesting aspects of Rush Duel card design that immediately stood out when implementing these six. One is the significantly lower stat threshold for each monster level – Tahu here at 1800 is seriously the highest a non-Legend Level 6 Effect Monster can go at this point. Tahu specifically had his ATK chosen so his own 700 boost would bring him to the 2500 ATK I gave his G1 counterpart, but the rest just ended up with general semi-appropriate values. The other thing is that Rush Duel cards are strictly limited to having a single effect, which almost automatically makes things stay very simple. Self-synergy as a concept is barely applicable here.

Anyway, on to the Spell and Trap.

First is Okoto as the Field Spell for the Toa (Level 6 Warriors). Rush Duel Field Spells pretty much just grant continuous buffs, so that’s what this one does too. Just a plain old stat boost that ramps up as you gather more of the team.

And finally, Skull Spider Ambush is kind of a standalone thing exploring a little design space niche I found interesting. Rush Duels do not (yet) have any handtraps, they have no Main Phase 2, and you draw to 5 cards every single turn. Therefore, discarding a card during the Battle Phase is actually mostly beneficial, but you also generally want to get everything out of your hand before battling so you draw more. So an extremely powerful battle Trap that the opponent can negate with a discard could be really good, or really useless. Which one do you think it is?

And that’s it for this release. I tried to keep the power level in line with the currently existing Rush Duel stuff, but I feel like it still ended up a bit ahead of the curve. Definitely had a lot of fun playing around with this alternate format for once, though. Hope you enjoyed it too, happy April Fools’ Day, and we’ll be back to Mata Nui for the next update (probably Po-Koro).

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