The Toa Nuva receive their first proper wave of two times three (plus one) cards, and the archetype’s general concept begins to take a more refined form.
I’ll be honest, I totally forgot about the Energized Protodermis guide until I saw it mentioned just now in the previous release post, so that’s gonna take a while longer. What I do have ready is a little introduction to what I believe is currently the most effective way to play Toa Nuva. Worth checking out if you’re planning to try the deck yourself.
If you’d just like to see what’s changed in this update, simply continue below.
The protagonists of the release are the Toa Nuva of Water and Air, Gali and Lewa. I went with these two because their effects as Toa Mata were the ones that worked best for interacting on the opponent’s turn, so adding them to the Nuva roster – where the effects are the same but much more freely usable – would immediately provide some reliable end board options. This panned out as expected, and I can proudly report that pure Toa Nuva decks are now playable in the sense that they consistently put up at least one relevant disruption.
If you make Gali Nuva, you get a targeting monster negate usable whenever you want, though it lacks the stacking ATK boost of her Mata form to make up for the added flexibility. If you make Lewa Nuva, you get a targeting bounce that can be made non-targeting if you’re willing to get rid of one of your own monsters as well, which is exactly what he already did as a Toa Mata (if the trigger condition was met).
You might notice that Lewa is Main Phase only, while Gali has no such limitation. This reflects a newly introduced general rule for adapting Mata Trigger Effects to Nuva Quick Effects: If all the features of the effect are essentially retained, it will be limited to the Main Phase, but cutting out some bonus such as Gali’s ATK gain allows me to lift that restriction. And save some words, which is neat.
Of course, both of the Toa Nuva also have the archetypal ability to search a “Nuva” Spell/Trap when Fusion Summoned, with which we segue straight into Nuva Symbols.
Like all Nuva Symbols, Flowing Harmony and Soaring Vitality can go straight back to the Deck to find you a missing fusion material for their respective Toa Nuva, they have on-field effects granting benefits to all the Nuva (but synergyzing especially well with the correct one), and, if removed from the field, activate a mandatory effect of negation and punishment contrasting the benefit.
Gali’s Nuva Symbol of Flowing Harmony protects the Toa Nuva from outside interference by negating and destroying any response to their effects (once per turn, of course). Continuously negating and destroying, which means it works even against things that can’t be responded to otherwise, and even if you were to set up the symbol at Quick Effect speed after your opponent already activated their response. You know, hypothetically. If there was some way to do that. The matching punishment you suffer if the card is destroyed is simply that you cannot activate monster effects in response to the negation of your Toa Nuva, so you miss out on that last chance to fire its effects.
Lewa’s Nuva Symbol of Soaring Vitality acts as an outsourced floating effect, bringing back a Level 8 or lower monster from the GY if a Toa Nuva leaves the field by card effect. Incidentally, Toa Nuva happen to be Level 8, so in some cases you can just revive the exact same monster immediately. Or a Toa Mata. Or an Energized Protodermis Chamber to make a new Toa Nuva. It also triggers off your own card effects, so if Lewa Nuva has to bounce himself to get some non-targeting removal, here’s your replacement. However, if the Symbol itself instead leaves the field, you’ll be locked out of Special Summons for the rest of the turn.
Our other search targets, the Kanohi Nuva, got a significant design overhaul, so let’s talk about those.
Gone are the cumbersome bullet point effects, and instead the ability granted when equipped is now listed just like it was on the original Great Kanohi, but limited to Toa Nuva.
The major changes lie in the GY effects, however. They still generally do the same thing as the Kanohi Nuva seen in previous versions: Banish a monster from the GY, get a Nuva Symbol from Deck. But now the former secondary bullet point effect to temporarily buff or protect your whole field has been merged into this, under the condition that you must control a Toa Nuva (since sharing the power requires having someone who can use it in the first place).
The first part of this shared effect has proven extremely valuable in making all the different components of a full Toa Nuva deck work together smoothly, in more than one way. It boosts consistency by letting you get Toa Mata/Energized Protodermis searches off Isolde or even just by linking off an equipped monster, it offsets the discard included in the Toa’s on-summon effects since you can just discard a Kanohi Nuva to get a Nuva Symbol for free, and it provides you with a way to set up Nuva Symbols on the opponent’s turn as well. But it is also a +1, and when what you’re getting isn’t always just a Level 6 monster in your hand (as it was with the Mata Kanohi), that gets a little out of hand with this many cards able to do it. Adding the shared buffs to these effects obviously doesn’t make them any tamer, either. So how to keep this under control without throwing out all the fantastic utility it offers?
The answer came to me in a literal fever dream: One must simply be limited to only using a single Kanohi Nuva per turn, and then neither the plusses nor the buffs can accumulate to an unreasonable degree! In practice, I achieve this by requiring you to not have previously activated any “Kanohi” effects in the GY the same turn, which means the first one you use locks you out of all the others. It’s a bit of a weird approach and I couldn’t find a clear ruling on how it would work with multiple simultaneous triggers (I imagine you’d still only get one, and coded it as such), but it’s nicely compact in wording and has the added benefit(?) of making it so you can’t chainblock the ashable Mata Kanohi with the non-ashable Nuva Kanohi. Also, notice how we can completely forgo individual HOPT clauses now, because the restriction also keeps other copies of the same card from activating.
And that just leaves one thing to cover, and ideally it should be covered in Nuva Symbols.
Nuva CubeContinuous Trap
While you control a “Nuva” Continuous Spell, your opponent cannot target this card with card effects. Once per turn: You can target up to 6 “Nuva” Continuous Spells with different names on your field and/or in any GY(s); shuffle them into the Deck, then you can apply any of these effect(s), in sequence, based on the number shuffled.
●1+: Place 1 “Nuva” Continuous Spell from your Deck face-up in your Spell & Trap Zone.
●3+: Negate the effects of 1 other face-up Spell/Trap on the field until the end of this turn.
●6: Special Summon up to 2 of your banished monsters.
The Nuva Cube is the first Toa Nuva search target that doesn’t belong to a series of six and also the first Trap (we have officially outpaced Nekroz). In the story, its role was limited to being the spot where the Bohrok-Kal have to put the stolen Nuva Symbols to undo the seal on the Bahrag, and after that arc it was never seen or heard from again. Seriously, even when the Bahrag later are actually unsealed, the Toa Nuva seemingly do it by just combining their powers without the use of the cube. It’s all a bit strange.
In gameplay, meanwhile, I think I’ve found a decent use for it as insurance against removal targeting your vulnerable Nuva Symbols. First of all, while surrounded by “Nuva” Continuous Spells (i.e. the Symbols), it is safely out of reach of your opponent’s effects. And at Quick Effect speed, because that’s how Traps work, you can shuffle different Nuva Symbols from your field or either GY into the Deck and then proceed to resolve various effects depending on how many Symbols you “placed on the Cube” this way. You’re always given the option to get a single replacement Symbol from your Deck, so even if you’re not dodging removal, you can use this to swap into what you need at a given moment (now where have we heard this before?). If you’ve gathered at least 3 symbols, it also negates another face-up Spell/Trap until the end of the turn, which could even be the Harpie’s Feather Duster your opponent activated to get rid of all your Nuva Symbols. And if you manage all 6 (currently impossible, as only 4 have been created), you get to “unseal the Bahrag”. Which, in more generically useful terms, means you can Special Summon up to 2 of your banished monsters.
This last effect and its lore association is the reason you can shuffle from either GY, by the way. Because then a Bohrok-Kal deck could, if facing a Toa Nuva deck, follow the canon by removing Nuva Symbol after Nuva Symbol, and finally fulfill the mission as planned by returning them all from the opponent’s GY to the Deck in order to Special Summon a pair of banished Bahrag. In this hypothetical lore-accurate duel, those were previously banished by the effect of Toa Seal, of course.
Updates to the structure of Kanohi Nuva means the old ones are adjusted to match, of course.
Aside from the generic updates to merge the field buffs into the GY effect and the collective OPT, the Pakari Nuva also now gives an extra 100 ATK with its field buff, for a total of 600. This incredibly relevant change serves to mirror the stat boost Normal Summoned Toa Mata get from the Mata Nui Field Spell, and also makes it so the 400 extra on each stat the Nuva have compared to their old forms get rounded up to a nice 1000 while affected by a shared Pakari.
Compared to his Mata form, Tahu Nuva is missing the burn part of the effect and can also only target Attack Position monsters, but he does instead boost his own ATK for a turn and is able to target your own monsters as well. I’ve come to the conclusion that this overall comes out to an effect that lacks features from its original incarnation (mainly that it no longer lets you deal big damage through a defense position wall), and so by the current design philosophy, it should not be limited to the Main Phase. Which means we are now free to Tahu Nuva during the Damage Step, which is kind of nice. I also ended up not including a restriction that prevents draining your own monsters after they already attacked, because
- the biggest risk is that you can OTK against an empty field if you manage to put out another monster with >2500 ATK, and that sounds kind of reasonable.
- the drain to 0 ATK is permanent, so in cases where you don’t OTK being left with a powerless Attack Position monster is a drawback.
- Tahu getting overly “heated” to the detriment of his own allies is actually fairly lore-friendly at this stage of his character.
Still not 100% sure if it was really the right call to lift the Main Phase restriction, but so far it hasn’t felt broken or anything.
Energized Protodermis Flow got ever so slightly buffed by also letting you rip something from your opponent’s Extra Deck if sent to the GY by ways other than card effect, which means you can just use it as Link material or something now. The condition of needing to be Fusion Summoned remains, though, so no Dogmatika shenanigans still.
Last but not least, Jala got the effect update that’s been listed in Pending Changes for a bit. Instead of an awkwardly targeted continuous extra Normal Summon, you now just get an effect-induced Normal Summon when he attacks (during the Damage Step, nicely safe from interaction), with which you can bring out any Warrior. Maybe a fellow Matoran to boost his own ATK just in time, maybe Tahu Mata to aid an ongoing OTK, or maybe something generic I haven’t found yet. I have tested this a grand total of once and actually beat the Swordsoul AI with Ta-Koro, so I shall firmly conclude that this version of the effect works great and I was justified in thinking myself genius when I came up with it. No further questions.