Release: Kalifornication

Watch out for those psychic spies from China who try to … awaken the queens and Clean it All?

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Welcome to the final release of 2023, and the best named one to date (your mileage may vary). In addition to a series of test footage videos uploaded along the way, you can watch the latest additions as part of a (p)review video I put together to welcome the new year. It’s pretty long and contains a bunch of other stuff as well, but please do take a look if you have a few minutes to spare – it took a fair bit of time and effort to get this one out of my head into reality.

And from here, on to the design notes.

New Cards

Bohrok Kalifornication

Continuous Trap

If your opponent controls a face-up card, you can activate this card the turn it was Set, by banishing 2 “Bahrag” monsters with different names from your Extra Deck. During the Main Phase: You can send 1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” card from your hand or face-up field to the GY, then target up to 2 “Bohrok” monsters in your GY; Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” Xyz Monster from your Extra Deck, and if you do, attach the targeted monster(s) to it as material, but return it to the Extra Deck during your opponent’s End Phase. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Kalifornication” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

Much like the previous release, this one is also themed around a Trap Card that helps the evolved forms make an appearance. For the Bohrok-Kal, it’s the Continuous Trap Bohrok Kalifornication (“Kalifornication, noun: The process of transforming a Bohrok into a Bohrok-Kal”; it’s right there in the latest version of The Dictionary, maybe they haven’t shipped it in your area yet?).

In theory, it lets you bypass the regular procedure and get an Xyz Monster every turn, though with an expiration date attached. In practice, there are two preconditions: You need an archetypal card to send as cost (including Kalifornication itself, making this the easier condition), and at least one “Bohrok” monster in the GY before paying the cost – which can be surprisingly tricky because Bohrok love going back to the Deck so much. This second condition is partially based on the idea that the Kal are released after the regular swarms have been defeated, as is the fast-track activation condition for going second that banishes Bahrag to set up a situation where they can later be awakened again. Also you can use it to dodge Imperm going first, so that’s funny.


Krana Ca-Kal, Seeker

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [↙] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. Once per turn: You can target 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster this card points to; Special Summon from your Extra Deck 1 “Bohrok” Xyz Monster using that target as material. (This is treated as an Xyz Summon.) A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains these effects depending on the number of your “Bahrag” Monster Cards with different names that are banished or on the field.
●1+: Cannot be destroyed by battle.
●2+: Once per turn: You can draw 1 card, then discard 1 card.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

I’ll get straight to the point and reveal that the aforementioned situation where the Bahrag are banished (perhaps due to a Toa Seal ?) is not just lore fluff, but actually serves a gameplay purpose. Some Krana-Kal only show their powers in the presence of sealed Bahrag, such as the Ca-Kal that serves to contact and locate them. If one of the queens has been found, the Seeker on their track can no longer be defeated through simple battle (in reference to the base Krana Ca ), and once in contact with both, it will be able to help you dig into your Deck for resources needed to complete the mission.

Krana Xa-Kal, Liberator

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [▼] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. Once per turn: You can target 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster this card points to; Special Summon from your Extra Deck 1 “Bohrok” Xyz Monster using that target as material. (This is treated as an Xyz Summon.) A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●If this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can place up to 2 of your banished “Bahrag” Pendulum Monsters in your Pendulum Zone(s), then you can add 1 “As It Was in the Before-Time” from your Deck or GY to your hand.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

To do that, the Krana Xa-Kal must make contact with the frozen queens, making it the win condition of this particular gimmick. “Contact” is here defined as battle damage, and the “awakening” consists of placing them in the Pendulum Zones (because that works even if Kalifornication banished them directly from the Extra Deck). And to get some immediate benefit, you get to add a little Quick-Play from BBTS that, assuming you properly placed both Bahrag, either draws 2 cards or sends the entire non-Bohrok field to the GY.

As It Was in the Before-Time

Quick-Play Spell

Activate 1 of these effects;
●Target any number of “Bahrag” cards you control; destroy them, then draw 1 card for each card destroyed.
●Shuffle 2 “Bahrag” cards you control with different names into the Extra Deck; send all cards on the field to the GY, except “Bohrok” and “Krana” cards.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Both of these Krana-Kal have the Xyz shortcut effect previously seen on the Vu-Kal , because that is in my opinion the strongest of the Krana-Kal utility effects and so balances the granted effects not working without a Bahrag setup. The other two types of utility effects get a new card each, too.

Krana Yo-Kal, Excavator

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [↖] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. If an opponent’s monster this card points to battles a “Bohrok” monster, that opponent’s monster’s ATK/DEF become 0 during the Damage Step only. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●This card can attack directly, also if it attacks, your opponent cannot activate cards or effects until the end of the Damage Step.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

The Yo-Kal is the brainwashing type, which I consider the weakest because it never helps you combo. Accordingly, as material it gives a very powerful effect that lets an attacking Bohrok-Kal tunnel straight past any monsters or responses your opponent may have. If you ever get to a point where you have two Krana-Kal attached (the lore weeps), this can make for an easy way to trigger the Xa-Kal, but more realistically it’s just solid help in getting in possibly lethal damage.

Krana Bo-Kal, Visionary

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [▶] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster from your hand or GY in face-up or face-down Defense Position, but shuffle it into the Deck if it leaves the field. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●Once per turn: You can look at all Set cards your opponent controls, also look at as many random cards in their hand as possible, up to the number of “Bohrok” monsters you control.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

Finally, the Bo-Kal represents the third type previously seen only on the Ja-Kal , trading itself for a Defense Position Bohrok. This is the “mid-tier” effect that has no single massive payoff but broad utility, from flexing a face-up setup into a face-down one to recycling a Bohrok’s removal effect, or just simply getting extra material. When attached itself, it just does its Night Vision and X-Ray combination thingy to look at face-down cards and hand alike. The latter is limited by how many Bohrok are in attendance since hand knowledge is so powerful, but I’ve worded it in a slightly novel way so it automatically looks at the maximum number possible without needing two confirmation prompts on the way. You’re welcome.

Another general thing to say about Krana-Kal is that their Link-1 nature provides a fairly reliable way to set up a Kalifornication summon, since Krana on the field can be used to pay the cost as well. So any Bohrok turning into any Krana-Kal and going to the GY immediately fulfills the preconditions.


Finally, the stars of the show, the remaining three Bohrok-Kal.

Bohrok Pahrak-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | EARTH Machine | ATK 2400 / DEF 1900

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. At the start of the Damage Step, if this card battles: You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 monster your opponent controls; banish all cards they control in its column. Then, if this effect banished exactly 1 card, inflict 1200 damage to your opponent. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Pahrak-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

Pahrak-Kal, wielder of plasma, takes until battle to fire its effect, but once it does, there goes an entire column, banished to smithereens. And if that column didn’t have much in it? Then we have enough plasma left to burn the opponent’s LP as well. Advantages on the side are that it only costs one material despite potential multi-removal (because the timing is so inconvenient) and it all happens in the Damage Step, so a wide variety of effects that may stop it simply cannot be chained at that point. None at all, in fact, if you have a Yo-Kal attached – Pahrak-Kal is on that card art for a reason.

Bohrok Kohrak-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | WATER Machine | ATK 2300 / DEF 2000

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. During the Main Phase (Quick Effect): You can detach 2 materials from this card; change all other monsters on the field to Defense Position, also negate their effects until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Kohrak-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

Kohrak-Kal, certified noise machine, gives you another way to disrupt on the opponent’s turn, by unleashing a blast of sound that forces all other monsters to abandon their effects and go to defense. All monsters including your own, however, so it’s not exactly a team player. This card is actually at its strongest when you manage to make it alone against an established board that has exhausted its relevant disruptions, because then you can detach 2 to shut everything else down, attack over or into something (Defense Position means Kohrak-Kal survives no matter what), and then attach a Krana before stacking up into a Zeus that clears the field. Puts you in a pretty good position as long as you have some kind of followup.

As a brief experiment, I also took the once per turn away from this effect entirely in an intermediate version; the idea being that, should you ever stack up enough materials, being able to negate even through a response seems like a nice ability to have. This was reverted not because it turned out to be broken, but because it never actually came up within the archetype – the only fringe line that ever gets you 4 materials involves Bohrok Counterattack , which already takes care of responses by itself. So the only ones to possibly benefit would have been unrelated Rank-Up strategies or something like that, and I didn’t want to specifically support those.

Bohrok Lehvak-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | WIND Machine | ATK 1900 / DEF 2400

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. (Quick Effect): You can target 1 other card you control or in either GY; attach it to this card as material. If this card has 5 or more materials: You can detach all of this card’s materials, and if you do, destroy up to that many cards your opponent controls, then you can attach 1 of those destroyed cards to this card as material. You can only use each effect of “Bohrok Lehvak-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)🎉

And finally, Lehvak-Kal … breaks the pattern. Yes, the effect to attach a Krana is here replaced by a more generic vacuum-sucking Quick Effect that works on anything on your field, or in either GY. That can be wielded as disruption against cards that like to be in the GY (and if detached, you don’t even need to put them back), to save your other monsters from targeting effects, or simply to flexibly get something like a Su-Kal in response to a destruction effect. In exchange for such a wide range of applications, the effect that actually does something to the field – the massive vacuum blast blowing away all that stands in its path – is firmly locked behind a minimum of 5 materials. That means in absence of external help, a Lehvak-Kal needs to survive a full turn cycle to actually start destroying cards, but once it does, you get to immediately start the process again by attaching one of those destroyed cards (possibly keeping something like Waking the Dragon from triggering, too).

Updated

Two simple updates on the Bohrok side.

Bohrok-Kal Strategy

Continuous Spell

When this card is activated: You can Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” monster from your hand. If a “Bohrok” monster(s) is Special Summoned to your field (except during the Damage Step): You can activate 1 of these effects, or, if you control a “Bohrok” Xyz Monster, you can activate both, in sequence;
●Target 1 other Spell/Trap on the field; destroy it.
●Add 1 “Bohrok” Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand, except “Bohrok-Kal Strategy”.
You can only use this effect of “Bohrok-Kal Strategy” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.5.6)

Bohrok-Kal Strategy previously was intentionally designed so you could only activate 1 copy per turn, but use the effects of as many as you want once you have them. The addition of an additional good search target that also lets you Xyz Summon on the opponent’s turn made it quite apparent that this has potential to get horrendously out of hand, so now it’s a regular old HOPT. The flipside is that the activation limit has been lifted, so you can get multiple Bohrok out of (your) hand in a turn instead. Solves some specific bricks that can theoretically happen.

Bohrok Gahlok

Flip Effect MonsterLevel 4 | WATER Machine | ATK 1700 / DEF 1600

FLIP: Special Summon 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster from your Deck in face-down Defense Position, except “Bohrok Gahlok”.
Once per turn: You can activate the following effect, based on the type of card on top of your opponent’s GY. During the End Phase of the turn you activated this effect, shuffle this face-up card into the Deck.
●Monster: Target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy that target.
●Spell: Negate the effects of 1 face-up monster your opponent controls, until the end of this turn.
●Trap: Banish 1 random card from your opponent’s hand, until the End Phase.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v4.5.6)

The base Gahlok has been a thorn in my eye since I made the first Bohrok-Kal deck and realized the Bohrok with delayed shuffling cost on their effects are really convenient because you can use them as material after firing them. Their weaker removal effects generally balanced this out, except for the Gahlok: Its drawback should be that it only gets to destroy when a monster is on top of the opponent’s GY and does other things otherwise, but those “other things” were so overtuned that it was generally the best Bohrok effect in almost any situation. Now the Spell option only negates a monster’s effects but doesn’t take away its ATK (we have Krana for that anyway), and the Trap option doesn’t permanently handrip (with actual handtraps in the game, it was possible to do this turn 1 and its a soft once per turn, so obviously a big no-no).

I believe with these changes, all the Bohrok are finally properly balanced for their respective type of cost. Even in the material-hungry Kal builds, something like a Lehvak now feels like a justifiable inclusion for the reliable removal it offers, which is about where I want to be.

And for my closing words, I will note that the roadmap for the coming year has been released – mostly covering the same things as the new video (but in much less detail and special effects, seriously, watch it).

Release: Bohrok-Kal Strike

After the Toa, it is now the Bohrok Swarms’ turn to undergo their (non-)Protodermic Evolution. Presenting the first wave of Bohrok-Kal, plus some related support cards.

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New Cards

As a reminder, the Bohrok were introduced in BBTS as an archetype of Flip monsters with massive potential for swarming and removal, mainly shackled by the fact that there’s inherently a turn of delay in starting a Flip-based engine. The Kal extension tries to cover for this weakness by providing an alternative gameplan to establish turn 1 disruption or deal with established boards turn 2, by means of Rank 4 Bohrok-Kal and Link-1 Krana-Kal.

But before we get into the additions to those Extra Deck groups, here are some new Main Deck cards to help as well.

Bohrok-Kal Strategy

Continuous Spell

When this card is activated: You can Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” monster from your hand. Once per turn, if a “Bohrok” monster(s) is Special Summoned to your field (except during the Damage Step): You can activate 1 of these effects, or, if you control a “Bohrok” Xyz Monster, you can activate both, in sequence;
●Target 1 other Spell/Trap on the field; destroy it.
●Add 1 “Bohrok” Spell/Trap from your Deck to your hand, except “Bohrok-Kal Strategy”.
You can only activate 1 “Bohrok-Kal Strategy” per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

Bohrok-Kal Strategy is perhaps the key piece for consistent combos on your first turn, bringing out a Bohrok from hand when first activated and then immediately triggering off that Summon to either destroy a Spell/Trap or search an archetypal one – or both if you have a Bohrok-Kal out. The first of these options is purely lore, referencing the Kal’s theft of the Nuva Symbols (which are here Continuous Spells with negative effects when destroyed), while the latter is purely utility, letting you find essential Bohrok support cards without spending too much deck space that they really need for monsters.

One of the best search targets is the newly added Counter Trap, Bohrok Counterattack (yes, the new Battlin’ Boxer card can technically search this too).

Bohrok Counterattack

Counter Trap

When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect, while you control a “Bohrok” monster or only face-down monsters (min. 1): Send 1 “Krana” monster from your Deck or Extra Deck to the GY; negate the activation, and if you do, you can attach that card to 1 “Bohrok” Xyz Monster you control as material.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

This one represents the most straightforward form of the turn 1 disruption I’m trying to add – just a classic omni-negate that can be used both to protect your dormant Bohrok waiting to flip and to back up the swarms in action. Note that it does not destroy what it negates, so unless you have a Bohrok-Kal to attach to, this will let your opponent keep their monsters and continuous cards. Would be a bit too good otherwise, given its fairly low requirements and lack of HOPT.


Now for the stars of the show: Two more Bohrok-Kal join Gahlok-Kal to complete half of the team already.

Bohrok Tahnok-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | FIRE Machine | ATK 2100 / DEF 2200

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; it cannot attack or activate its effects this turn, also you can detach 1 more material from this card, and if you do, destroy all monsters your opponent controls with less than 2000 ATK. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Tahnok-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

Tahnok-Kal, just like its base form, offers monster destruction as a Quick Effect, but looking at official media makes it quite clear that its electric powers were actually not really used for destructive purposes as much as to stun its enemies. At the same time, I can’t in good conscience make the Lightning Bohrok-Kal not have some kind of built-in Raigeki, so here’s the compromise I ended up with: Detach 1 to stun a target monster for the turn, and then on resolution, you can detach another to blow up all of your opponent’s monsters below the 2000 ATK “Toa threshold”. This is also an extra balancing factor on this very powerful effect for a Rank 4, since it means removing it from the field before it resolves will stop the destruction.

Bohrok Nuhvok-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | EARTH Machine | ATK 2000 / DEF 2300

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. You can detach 2 or more materials from this card, then choose that many Main Monster Zones and/or Spell & Trap Zones on the field; return as many cards in those zones to the hand as possible, also those unused zones cannot be used until your next Standby Phase. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Nuhvok-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

Nuhvok-Kal, in contrast, is slow, but armed with Gravity powers that are hard to resist and cover a wide range. I thought through a few concepts for this, but the one that won out is just a mass bounce (“floating” cards up off the field) limited only by material count that also locks zones in reference to base Nuhvok (“crushing” the land with supergravity). I kind of wanted to have something with flipping face-down in there as well, but couldn’t quite make it worthwile on a “slow” ignition effect. Fun Fact: This one can be really rude against Pendulum decks in particular.

Test footage of these two new bosses can be found in the below demo videos I posted earlier this month.

Thunderbolt and Lightning
Gravitation

The Krana-Kal have also been brought up to half-completion, but in their case that means 3 rather than 2 new ones, for a total of 4 (out of 8).

Krana Vu-Kal, Transporter

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [↘] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. Once per turn: You can target 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster this card points to; Special Summon from your Extra Deck 1 “Bohrok” Xyz Monster using that target as material. (This is treated as an Xyz Summon.) A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can banish this card until the End Phase, and if you do, you can add 1 “Bohrok” card from your GY to your hand.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

The Vu-Kal grants flight like its base version, but also enhanced speed, so rather than “dodge” things with targeting protection, it more literally lets its Bohrok-Kal dodge instantly off the field, optionally recycling a card in the process to live up to its name of “Transporter”. As a downwards-pointing Krana-Kal, its utility effect provides a way to Xyz Summon with only a single Level 4 Bohrok, which can then attach the Link Monster as its second material. This card is part of my current preferred turn 1 play, where I use it to make a Tahnok-Kal that can, on the opponent’s turn, activate the banish effect in chain before its own Quick Effect, letting you detach both materials to blow up the field while still getting a card back with the effect granted by the Vu-Kal.

Krana Su-Kal, Demolisher

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [▲] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. If an opponent’s monster this card points to battles a “Bohrok” monster, that opponent’s monster’s ATK/DEF become 0 during the Damage Step only. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●This card gains 800 ATK/DEF and cannot be destroyed by card effects.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

The upwards-pointing Krana-Kal, such as the Su-Kal, bring back a possibly familiar effect previously seen on the Servants of the Swarm, some technically-not-Bohrok (and thus kind of unplayable) cards from BBTS. A monster they point to will be brainwashed into voluntarily surrendering to the Bohrok in battle, setting its stats to 0 so it can easily be hit over. All of this is continuous, so it can out a gargantuan range of threats, assuming you can safely get it and a Bohrok to the Battle Phase. The actual power granted to a Bohrok-Kal using this Krana-Kal is as simple as it gets: Super strength (+800 ATK/DEF) and resistance to heat and cold (effect destruction protection).

Krana Za-Kal, Overseer

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [↗] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. If an opponent’s monster this card points to battles a “Bohrok” monster, that opponent’s monster’s ATK/DEF become 0 during the Damage Step only. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated that would destroy a “Bohrok” card(s) you control (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

The Za-Kal has the same on-field utility effect and grants the power of telepathy, which turns Bohrok-Kal into budget Stardust Dragons. Sounds strange, but the background to that is that the original Krana Za allowed you to protect a Bohrok from destruction by shuffling back another monster, to represent the squad coordination it enables. Now plain old protection would have been redundant when the Su-Kal does that and more, so instead it shuts down destructive effects against all your Bohrok by detaching (and thereby shuffling back) an Xyz Material. This is a little less convenient than it sounds because it requires the effect to be one that would destroy a card from the archetype, so you won’t be able to chain it to anything that could theoretically be resolved in such a way that it only destroys unrelated cards (e.g. the average DPE activation).

Updated

The updates this time are simple, just refining the first drafts of the Bohrok support a bit now that I’ve worked my way deeper into it.

4.0.4

Bohrok Gahlok-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | WATER Machine | ATK 2200 / DEF 2100

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. At the start of the Battle Phase: You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster on the field; that target cannot attack until the end of the next turn, also you can equip 1 other monster on the field to it. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Gahlok-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.0.4)
4.3.3

Bohrok Gahlok-Kal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 4 | WATER Machine | ATK 2200 / DEF 2100

2 Level 4 “Bohrok” monsters
Place materials detached from this card on the bottom of the Deck, instead of sending them to the GY. Once per turn: You can attach 1 “Krana” monster from your hand, field, or GY to this card as material. At the start of the Battle Phase: You can detach 1 material from this card, then target 1 face-up monster on the field; that target cannot attack until the end of your turn, also you can equip 1 monster adjacent to it or in its column to it. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Gahlok-Kal” once per turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

As I said the moment it was first released, it’s just thematically super neat to have the range of Gahlok-Kal‘s “magnetism” limited to adjacent zones or the same column, so I ended up doing just that. And sure enough, it made zero difference in testing, partially because AI doesn’t understand how to play around things and partially because I can always just put a monster in the column myself. Oh yeah, and the attack restriction now always lasts until your End Phase only, so you can’t block an opponent’s monster by targeting it on your turn. This way it’s more of a downside to targeting something on your own field than additional benefit for an already powerful removal effect.

4.0.4

Krana Ja-Kal, Tracker

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [◀] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster from your hand or GY, but shuffle it into the Deck if it leaves the field. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●Once per turn: You can detach 1 material from this card, then declare 1 card name; your opponent cannot activate cards, or the effects of cards, with that original name, until the end of their turn.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.0.4)
4.3.3

Krana Ja-Kal, Tracker

Link Effect MonsterLink-1 [◀] | DARK Zombie | ATK 0

1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” monster
Cannot be used as Link Material. You can Tribute this card; Special Summon 1 Level 4 “Bohrok” monster from your hand or GY in face-up or face-down Defense Position, but shuffle it into the Deck if it leaves the field. A “Bohrok” Xyz Monster that has this card as material gains this effect.
●Once per turn: You can declare 1 card name; until the end of your opponent’s turn, “Bohrok” cards and Set cards you control are unaffected by the effects of cards with that original name.

Bionicle: Protodermic Evolution (v4.3.3)

For the Ja-Kal, both effects got some significant changes. First, the tag-out was buffed to also allow Special Summoning in face-down Defense Position, so you can use it as a way to prepare the Flip engine without needing to commit an actual Set action to it. This is, for example, relevant when using Bohrok-Kal Strategy, since activating it, Special Summoning a Bohrok, searching a Spell/Trap, and then using Ja-Kal to put that Bohrok face-down leaves you in a significantly better spot than just setting the monster right away.

The effect to block a card by declaring its name did always feel a bit too oppressive, so I ended up nerfing that part by bringing it more in line with the original Krana Ja and just granting your Bohrok (and face-down) cards immunity to the declared name instead. In exchange, it’s now free, so you can keep the materials attached for more important purposes.


A deck update, rather than a card update, was forced from me by Konami’s ruthless (but honestly deserved) banning of Spright Elf, thus rendering the last version’s Toa Nuva deck illegal. Due to the strict collective HOPT on all the Kanohi Nuva, conducting a Fusion Summon on the opponent’s turn is kind of super important if you want to use your resources optimally, so I needed something that could replace Elf’s role in setting that up. A card that can bring back Energized Protodermis Chamber as a Quick Effect, while also being consistently accessible through the basic Isolde combo. And I can proudly report that I have found it.

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=12178919

In fact, it wasn’t very far from the Elf-shaped hole in the decklist at all: Within the same archetype, there’s Spright Double Cross, a Trap with multiple effects including GY revival, searchable by Spright Jet and therefore via Gigantic Spright, which can be made in the standard combo line after the first Toa Nuva by overlaying Isolde with a leftover C.C. Matoran (we play Hafu now to ensure the latter is available). Gigantic Summons Jet and Jet adds Double Cross, and if you further link those two into I:P Masquerena, you even get an additional way to interact for your trouble.

Now of course, with Hafu, Jet and Double Cross, that means three extra bricks we need to run, and after all is said and done this only works once, unlike Elf’s infinite revival forever and ever. The deck’s definitely worse now that it has lost one of its central pieces, but I’m also kind of glad it happened because it reminded me that it probably isn’t a good idea to make all the recursion dependent on some external card. That’s why the next update will contain, in addition to the remaining Toa Nuva, a card that provides this functionality in-archetype. Probably. More or less. We’ll see how it turns out.

Designer’s Quip: The Thin Line Between Victory and Defeat

Notice the similarity between these cards? That’s right, both are Quick-Play Spells that let you activate one of two effects if you control a specific category of monsters. Even more, in both cases the first effect has lower requirements and provides some simple utility, while the second needs more setup but deals a potentially game-ending blow.

This is, of course, no coincidence. As It Was in the Before-Time shows the scenario in which the Bohrok swarms successfully eliminate everything else that dwells on the surface, and The End of the Swarm shows the scenario of their defeat that eventually came to pass in the 2002 storyline. They are victory and defeat, so they naturally form a pair – though which one is which obviously depends on what deck you are playing.

No, I am still not going to explain what’s going on with the Level 8+ monsters and Continuous Spells. Try to figure it out on your own if you really want to know already, or just wait patiently 😉

Designer’s Quip: The Unintended Jahnok Combo

Splashability is when a card or group of cards can be used outside their own deck/archetype to achieve benefits in combination with entirely unrelated cards. Taking this into account when making custom cards adds a lot of depth and therefore fun to the process while also achieving more balanced results, but for a long time I didn’t really do that. So once in a while I have the funny experience of looking back at older designs and realizing they do something generically useful I wasn’t actually going for. Here’s one such example.

Bohrok Tahnok can shuffle itself into the Deck to destroy a face-up monster, and this is a Quick Effect. Already seems quite useful, but between having to return to the Deck, the limitation of the targets to only face-up monsters, the fact that it targets at all, and the lack of a built-in way to easily bring it out, it probably wouldn’t be that good to just splash it into random stuff.

In comes the second card of this package, the Krana Ja. By discarding it from your hand while you control a Bohrok, you can scout ahead and render everything that is already visible on your opponent’s field ineffective during the following turn, and like many other Krana it can return from the field to your hand during Main Phase 1 to bring out a Bohrok from the Deck at the cost of immediately ending the turn.

The bottom line is that by just getting a Krana Ja on the field somehow in your Main Phase 1 (e.g. with One for One or simply a spare Normal Summon), you can easily out any single monster that can have its effects negated. Return the Ja to your hand to Special Summon a Tahnok from your Deck, activate the Ja from your hand during the immediately ensuing End Phase (since you do have a Bohrok now), then in the following turn activate the Tahnok’s Quick Effect to target and destroy whatever you like. At this point all protection and/or negation on your opponent’s field will be negated by the Ja, so you don’t have to worry about that stuff at all.

Now, this does ultimately cost you your Battle Phase and only takes care of a single monster, so it probably isn’t really that impactful in the grand scheme of things. But I found it pretty funny that these two cards on their own could pull this off even though neither of their designs was in any way geared towards it. The Tahnok just has a Quick Effect because it’s fast, and the Krana Ja does what it does because it’s literally a Scout.

Theme Guide: Bahrag (BBTS)

At the top of the Bohrok swarms stand the Bahrag, ancient twin queens utterly dedicated to carrying out their one and only mission. As the final bosses of the 2002 storyline, it is only appropriate that they are also the ultimate boss monsters of the Bohrok archetype.

Since I like to make pairs into Pendulum Monsters, that’s what they are, and also Synchros to complement the Fusion Bohrok Kaita and the Xyz [REDACTED]. Their Pendulum Effects attempt to alter the way Bohrok function in order to let them take better advantage of Pendulum Summons: Cahdok lets you put a Bohrok into face-down Defense Position when it’s Summoned face-up, with added protection to make sure you’ll get to the Flip effect. Gahdok replicates the recursion ability of Pendulum Monsters by returning a Bohrok that gets sent from the field to the GY to your hand.

In the Monster Zone, their shared gimmick is that they gain and grant each other protection if you control the other Bahrag anywhere on the field (including as a Pendulum Scale!), with Cahdok protecting from effects and Gahdok protecting from battle. Both of them also place themselves in the Pendulum Zone if they are face-up during your Standby Phase – their shadowy presence behind the Bohrok swarms cannot be easily eliminated, and if you successfully summon them once you will have access to them for the rest of the Duel.

Finally, each queen has the ability to Special Summon certain members of the swarm (the Level 2 Bohrok Va for Cahdok, the Level 4 Bohrok for Gahdok) from the GY if it is the only face-up monster you control. This has a lot of situational utility since there are no restrictions on attacks or effects for the Summoned monster, but the main intent actually is simply to help assemble the materials for the other Bahrag (usually you need 1 Bohrok Va + 2 Bohrok).

A potentially simpler, if temporary, way to get to the Bahrag is Queens’ Illusion, a Trap Card based on, well, the queens’ ability to generate illusions. By shuffling the materials from hand, field, or GY into the Deck, it places an “illusory” Bahrag in the Pendulum Zone and imposes attack restrictions based on its stats. The illusion ends after a turn, but while it is active you can freely use the Pendulum Effect and potentially enable another Bahrag’s protection with the added name.

And once you do get the Bahrag out, is there anything you can do other than sitting on them and throwing Bohrok at your opponent? Well yes, there’s a card specificall to ensure that all shall be …

Representing the final goal of the Bahrag and their Bohrok swarms, As It Was in the Before-Time is the ultimate payoff to assembling the pair. By activating this Quick-Play Spell and returning both of the Bahrag (either as monsters or as Pendulum Scales) to the Extra Deck, you can send everything on the field except the swarms themselves to the GY, completing the great mission of cleaning it all. Somehow I feel like that sounded more impressive before Konami made Zeus, but whatever. To make the card not completely useless outside the absolute best case scenario, it can also be used as a draw spell at the cost of destroying a number of Bahrag cards equal to how much you want to draw (again, these can be monsters or just Pendulum Scales). With the Bahrag automatically returning from the Extra Deck each Standby Phase, this is usually a pretty good trade.

Conclusion

Sucessfully setting up the Bahrag provides significant lasting benefits to a Bohrok strategy, and on top of that they simply serve as nice big boss monsters to go into. This makes them into a package that can be included both as just an additional option and as the main win condition.

The BBTS release provides examples of the former approach in any of the multiple Bohrok decks, and of the latter in the Bahrag deck specifically.

Theme Guide: Krana (BBTS)

The eight types of Krana are sentient, organic beings that provide the guiding intelligence as well as a set of special powers to the Bohrok swarms, so the BBTS expansion implements them as monsters that allow Bohrok access to some effects that are generally a bit more clever than what the archetype otherwise does. Each Krana essentially has two effects: One that activates in the hand and is different for each monster while following one of two templates, and another that can only be one of two options, each of which is shared by half the Krana.

Let’s just use those second effects to segment the Krana in the following explanation and cover the rest as we go.

Based off the idea that Bohrok are really just robot suits piloted by the Krana inside them, these monsters have the ability to return themselves from the field to the hand to get any of the Level 4 Bohrok directly from the Deck. This is not something you want to rely on unless you need to since it only works during your Main Phase 1 and then ends the turn, but having the option at least avoids total bricks when playing a lot of Krana.

Regarding the first effect, the Krana Yo and Krana Ca follow the template of equipping themselves to a Level 4 or higher Bohrok from the hand in order to grant some continuous benefit. The Yo, holding the power to let its Bohrok dig through most substances, allows the equipped monster to attack directly. The Ca with its shielding powers protects all of your Bohrok from battle, but only once per turn for each.

Krana Xa and Krana Ja feature the alternative effect template, which means you can activate them by sending them directly from the hand to the GY at a certain timing. With the Xa, which are mainly in charge of formulating the more complex strategies of the plans, you can counteract negations or other responses to your Bohrok effects. It can be activated in any chain that has a Bohrok monster’s effect anywhere but as the last link and will negate the effects of all non-Bohrok cards on the field that appear in this chain. This lasts all the way to the end of the turn, so you might be able to disable something vital using this if you can just bait an activation out of it first. Another mass effect negation option is provided by the Krana Ja, which gives the swarms advance warning of known threats and thus renders everything that is visible on your opponent’s field useless during the following turn. This effect can be activated at any time as long as you control a face-up Bohrok, so you’d probably want to use it during the End Phase for maximum effect.

The other group of Krana are those that can banish themselves from the GY to steal a monster destroyed by a Bohrok from your opponent’s GY, controlling their enemies to make them part of the swarm. The monsters are Special Summoned in face-down Defense Position for thematic reasons and there’s a restriction on it that effectively prevents you from doing it more than once per turn, but even with that it’s obviously a damn strong move.

The equipping Krana among these are the Krana Za and Krana Su. The squad leader-type Za allow Bohrok to communicate and coordinate telepathically, which in this case is used to protect the equipped monster via strategic retreats of your other monsters (including face-down ones) while also keeping up the card supply. The Su is the caveman among the Krana, merely granting a stat boost, but that is very versatile in its simplicity, especially considering the equipping is a Quick Effect.

The pure hand effects here belong to Krana Vu and Krana Bo. The Vu makes Bohrok capable of flight, so it can be used to dodge targeting effects and even goes as far as negating and destroying the card in question to really make your opponents think twice about targeting your Bohrok with anything. The Bo can be triggered in response to your Bohrok cleaning up any card with their removal effects, using its night vision capabilites to track down further copies of the same card hiding in the darkness of your opponent’s hand and get rid of them for good.

On the topic of Krana that can steal your opponent’s monsters, we should take another look at Bohrok Confrontation, which was already covered in the main Bohrok article. What it does is send a Krana from your Deck to the GY to boost a Bohrok’s ATK/DEF, and knowing what we do about Krana now, the idea is obviously to have a Bohrok run over a monster in battle and then immediately steal it with the Krana.

There are other cards that further expand on the idea of Krana mind control. The following four monsters, for which I like to use the umbrella term “Servants of the Swarm”, represent the unwilling victims of this power.

Bohrok Servant is the generic standin for arbitrary beings under the control of a Krana. Its purpose is basically to make immediate use of the face-down monsters you get from the stealing effect, by contact fusing them (remember, that works when face-down) with a Krana from pretty much anywhere, banishing both and giving you a monster that at least copies the stats of whatever you stole.

The remaining Servants of the Swarm are a bit more specific, each of them being based on one particular inhabitant of Le-Koro that was possessed by a Krana during the takeover of that village. They generally work by sending a Krana from the Deck to the GY to neutralize an opponent’s monster and set up a situation where you can easily steal it, though the way in which they do so differs greatly.

Matoran of the Swarm counters Xyz Monsters by attaching to them as a material, which locks their effects and makes their ATK/DEF become 0 during battle with a Bohrok. It can also attach itself from the GY to your Xyz Monsters that are flipped face-up, obviously so a stolen Xyz can actually have material.

Turaga of the Swarm interferes with Synchro Summons in a particularly funny way, inserting itself on the opponent’s field in place of a Tuner and immediately forcing a Synchro Summon. When used as material, it gives you control of the Summoned monster for a turn and permanently makes it so its ATK/DEF become 0 when battling a Bohrok. This approach comes from the fact that Turaga were originally Tuners, so now that the BCOT remake is changing them to Link Monsters this card might be due for a redesign sooner or later as well.

Toa of the Swarm is the simplest of these, since it just Tributes over an opponent’s high-level monster and then surrenders itself willingly by making its ATK/DEF 0 when battling a Bohrok. The Level restriction was already iffy to begin with and is even more so when considering the prevalence of Link Monsters, so I might eventually tweak that to something like “2000 or more ATK”.

Finally ,we have a funny little card that simultaneously supports and counters Bohrok/Krana decks. Krana Pit lets you protect a card from destruction each turn by banishing a Krana monster from the GY instead, but since this works on both GYs you can just as well use it if your opponent is the one playing Krana. Similarly, it allows recovering a banished monster when there are 2 or more Krana banished, without specifying whose Krana they must be.

Conclusion

Krana add quite a few sophisticated effects to the Bohrok toolbox, giving you interesting options to interact with your opponent beyond just razing their field to the ground. The ability to steal a destroyed monster makes the Bohrok’s effects and attacks a bit more threatening than they already were, and with the Servants of the Swarm can itself be made into a central strategic element of your deck.

A selection of Krana can be found sprinkled throughout the sample Bohrok decks in the BBTS release, while the Servants of the Swarm usually appear as Side Deck options.

Theme Guide: Bohrok Va (BBTS)

The Bohrok Va are the secondary monsters of the Bohrok archetype, lending different kinds of support to the primary Level 4 Flip Monsters. They themselves all come in the form of Level 2 Tuners with the ability to Special Summon themselves from the hand if you control their respective breed of Bohrok, making them the main means of access to the archetype’s own Synchro bosses, the Bahrag.

In addition to the shared traits above, all Bohrok Va have a helpful effect on the field and another one that activates during the End Phase of the turn in which they were sent from the field to the GY. The former is different for each monster, the latter divides them into two distinct flavours.

One of those are the Bohrok Va that use the End Phase to return a banished Krana to your hand, where it can lend its powers to the swarms once again.

Tahnok Va

Bohrok Tahnok Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | FIRE Machine | ATK 800 / DEF 900

If you control “Bohrok Tahnok”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Tahnok Va” once per turn this way. Once per turn: You can excavate the top 3 cards of your Deck, and if you do, banish 1 of them, and if it was a “Bohrok” monster, increase this card’s Level by the Level of the banished monster, until the end of this turn. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Add 1 of your banished “Krana” monsters to your hand.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Tahnok Va, speedy and reckless, can pump its Level to 4 or 6 by banishing a Bohrok from among the top 3 cards of your Deck, but this might backfire if you fail to find one there. Should you succeed, though, you will instantly be able to pull out a nice and big Synchro in most cases, so it’s worth the risk.

Pahrak Va

Bohrok Pahrak Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Machine | ATK 600 / DEF 1100

If you control “Bohrok Pahrak”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Pahrak Va” once per turn this way. Once per turn: You can place 1 “Bohrok” card from your GY on the top of the Deck. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Add 1 of your banished “Krana” monsters to your hand.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Pahrak Va, known to be slow unless they have a reason to move quickly, will stack the top of your deck with a Bohrok card from the GY, which is an effect that goes from slow to fast depending on whether or not you have some way to draw a card.

Lehvak V

Bohrok Lehvak Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WIND Machine | ATK 1100 / DEF 600

If you control “Bohrok Lehvak”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Lehvak Va” once per turn this way. When your opponent activates a Spell/Trap Card while you control another “Bohrok” monster (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Lehvak Va” once per turn. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Add 1 of your banished “Krana” monsters to your hand.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The noisy Lehvak Va drown out not only other sounds, but also your opponent’s Spells/Traps, though only with the backup of another Bohrok and at the cost of tributing itself. Would be a bit unfair otherwise.

The other flavour of Bohrok Va are those which grant you a draw in exchange for shuffling Bohrok from the GY into the Deck during the End Phase, which is a particularly valuable ability when things aren’t going too well for your strategy.

Gahlok V

Bohrok Gahlok Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Machine | ATK 900 / DEF 800

If you control”Bohrok Gahlok”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Gahlok Va” once per turn this way. During your Main Phase: You can excavate the top card of your Deck, and if it is a “Bohrok” card, add it to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Gahlok Va” once per turn. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Shuffle 2 “Bohrok” monsters, except “Bohrok Gahlok Va”, from your GY into the Deck, then draw 1 card.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Gahlok Va move slowly, yet steadily, and will attempt to add an extra Bohrok card from the top of your Deck to your hand once per turn.

Nuhvok Va

Bohrok Nuhvok Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | EARTH Machine | ATK 700 / DEF 1000

If you control “Bohrok Nuhvok”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Nuhvok Va” once per turn this way. You can send 1 card from your hand to the GY; draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Nuhvok Va” once per turn. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Shuffle 2 “Bohrok” monsters, except “Bohrok Nuhvok Va”, from your GY into the Deck, then draw 1 card.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The Nuhvok Va take a more straightforward approach and just dig into the Deck at the appropriate cost of losing a card from your hand.

Kohrak Va

Bohrok Kohrak Va

Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Machine | ATK 1000 / DEF 700

If you control “Bohrok Kohrak”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). You can only Special Summon “Bohrok Kohrak Va” once per turn this way. When an opponent’s monster declares an attack: You can Tribute this card; negate the attack, then end the Battle Phase. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: Shuffle 2 “Bohrok” monsters, except “Bohrok Kohrak Va”, from your GY into the Deck, then draw 1 card.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Finally, the Kohrak Va are masters of evading attacks through camouflage, which lets them help you avoid battle. Not an amazing effect in the face of, you know, the entire concept of removal effects, but occasionally it does something.

With these monsters and the main Level 4 Bohrok in mind, the true power of the already good search spell Beware the Swarm becomes apparent. By adding either a Bohrok or Bohrok Va whose matching counterpart is in the GY, you instantly become able to place both of those monsters on the field. Assuming your hand is in a good enough state to not have to shuffle either of them back and you still have your Normal Summon, of course.

Like the larger Bohrok, the Bohrok Va also have the ability to form Kaita. These combiner models never played any role in the story at all, so I just went the route of giving them extra useful ways to support the archetype. And I’ll leave going over the dedicated fusion spell to the main Bohrok article, because most of the time you’d probably just Instant Fusion these guys out anyway.

Bohrok Va Kaita Ja

Fusion Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | LIGHT Machine | ATK 1000 / DEF 1500

“Bohrok Gahlok Va” + “Bohrok Kohrak Va” + “Bohrok Lehvak Va”
If this card is used as Synchro Material, all other Synchro Materials must be “Bohrok” monsters. During the Standby Phase: You can Tribute this Fusion Summoned card; Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: You can add 1 “Bohrok” or “Krana” card from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Va Kaita Ja” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Bohrok Va Kaita Za

Fusion Tuner Effect MonsterLevel 2 | LIGHT Machine | ATK 1000 / DEF 1500

“Bohrok Tahnok Va” + “Bohrok Nuhvok Va” + “Bohrok Pahrak Va”
If this card is used as Synchro Material, all other Synchro Materials must be “Bohrok” monsters. During the Standby Phase: You can Tribute this Fusion Summoned card; Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck. During the End Phase, if this card is in the GY because it was sent there from the field this turn: You can Special Summon 1 “Bohrok” monster from your GY in face-down Defense Position, except “Bohrok Va Kaita Za”. You can only use this effect of “Bohrok Va Kaita Za” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

Just like the regular Bohrok Va, both of the Kaita are Level 2 Tuners (their Level remains the same when combining simply because it’s more convenient for Synchro math this way), but being just a Spell Card away in any arbitrary deck means they need the restriction of only performing Synchro Summons with other Bohrok. Both also share the ability to replace themselves with another Bohrok Fusion (including the big ones) during the Standby Phase, but only if they were properly Fusion Summoned themselves, and Instant Fusion’s little clause doesn’t help here because in that case they won’t even live to the Standby Phase.

Their other effects activate during the End Phase of the turn they went from the field to the GY, be it because they were used as Synchro Material, tributed by their own effects, or otherwise destroyed. In the case of Bohrok Va Kaita Ja, this allows you to add any part of the swarms, Bohrok or Krana, from the Deck to your hand. Bohrok Va Kaita Za on the other hand Special Summons any Bohrok monster, regardless of Level, from the GY in face-down Defense Position.

Conclusion

Bohrok Va supplement the basic Bohrok strategy by aiding the circulation of resources and simplifying access to more powerful boss monsters. Since they require specific Bohrok names on the field to work to their full potential, they are best when used together with a smaller subset of the six breeds, which seems like the most reasonable way to play Bohrok anyway.

Examples of incorporating Bohrok Va like this can be found in any of the Bohrok decks of the BBTS release.

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.