Release: The Chronicler’s Company

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As previously hinted, here’s another update to close out 2021. The previous batch of new cards brought together the Toa Mata that had been coming out one by one into a single strategy, and now it’s time to repeat that for the other archetype I have been dripfeeding across the village releases: The Chronicler’s Company, or C.C. Matoran for short.

For a detailed description of how this new strategy plays, refer to their Theme Guide. Or check out Turaga Nui Turbo for a somewhat less reasonable way to use them in conjunction with some other new cards from this release.

Meanwhile, let’s proceed to individual design notes over here.

New/Reworked Cards

Matoran Chronicler Takua

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | LIGHT Warrior | ATK 350 / DEF 350

If this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can take 1 of your “C.C. Matoran” monsters from your Deck, GY, or that is banished and place it on top of your Deck, and if you do, this card’s Attribute becomes that monster’s original Attribute. You can discard 1 card; excavate the top 6 cards of your Deck, and if you do, you can Special Summon 1 excavated “C.C. Matoran” monster, also you can add 1 excavated “The Chronicler’s Company” to your hand, also shuffle the rest into your Deck. You can only use this effect of “Matoran Chronicler Takua” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)

First and foremost, let’s talk about Takua, the hidden protagonist of the Mata Nui saga and the Chronicler who gathers the Company. True to his role, his effects allow him to “set his sights” on one of his comrades (matching their Attribute in the process, as a reference to his Av-Matoran color changing abilities) and then “travel” through the six villages to pick them up.

This sounded good on paper, but after testing, I’m starting to feel like I messed up here a little. Since Takua will stack one of the very targets he excavates for on top of your Deck every time you Summon him, the excavation is completely meaningless and the effect may as well just be to Special Summon a C.C. Matoran from any location except the hand at the cost of a discard. The reason he does this is because I wanted him to give 1-card access to the Turaga in each Koro deck (instead of having to come up with six different cards to do that), and since you only run one of the C.C. Matoran in each of those, blind excavation wouldn’t have had a sufficient hit rate. To add back a bit of the gambling excitement, I included a secondary payoff where you get to add the archetypal Trap should you come across it, but in the end that still means there are zero surprises in the Summoning part, and having the chance to offset the discard cost like that may even be a bit too convenient.

The better solution is probably to simply have the stacking happen only on Normal Summon, which I may do in a future update after doing some proper testing with Takua in the Koro decks. An unfortunate detail is that the Attribute change and stacking on Special Summon are integral to one of my favorite parts in the Turaga Nui Turbo combo, but I’m willing to sacrifice that since it’s just a gimmicky side strategy. However, I remain not entirely convinced this is the correct fix, so I’d very much appreciate hearing some outside opinions.


3.19.4

The Chronicler’s Company

Continuous Trap

You can only control 1 “The Chronicler’s Company”. This card gains these effects based on the number of “C.C. Matoran” monsters you control.
●1+: Once per turn: You can Special Summon 1 “C.C. Matoran” monster from your hand or GY with a different name from the monsters you control.
●3+: Once per turn: You can target 2 “C.C. Matoran” monsters you control and 1 card your opponent controls; return them to the hand.
●6: You can send this face-up card to the GY; shuffle all cards on the field into the Deck, except “C.C. Matoran” cards. Neither player can activate cards or effects in response to this effect’s activation.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)
1.0.0

The Chronicler’s Company

Continuous Trap

You must control this many face-up “C.C. Matoran” monsters to activate and resolve the following effects:
●1+: Once per turn: You can Special Summon 1 “C.C. Matoran” monster from your hand, Deck or Graveyard.
●2+: Once per turn: “C.C. Matoran” monsters you control cannot be destroyed by card effects.
●3+: If a “C.C Matoran” monster(s) you control is sent to the Graveyard: Draw 1 card.
●4+: Once per turn: You can target 1 “C.C. Matoran” monster you control and 1 card your opponent controls; return both targets to the hand.
●5: You can send this card to the Graveyard; destroy all cards on the field, except “C.C. Matoran” cards. You can only activate this effect of “The Chronicler’s Company” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v1.0.0)

Since I mentioned the archetypal Trap up there, I guess I should go over it as well, though there isn’t really much to say. Like its original from back in the day, The Chronicler’s Company accumulates helpful effects as you gather more members of its namesake, but they have been slimmed down to the most significant ones and tweaked a bit. The 1+ tier no longer includes a free Summon from the Deck (since that tends to be a bit broken) and only lets you get those members you don’t have already, the previous 4+ tier is now at 3+ and downgraded to a 2-for-1 trade (it’s still disruption either way), and the previous 5 tier got moved to the more appropriate 6 (thanks, Extra Monster Zone!) and buffed a whole lot because if you ever get there you’ve pretty much won and might as well get to do it in a flashy way.


Diminished Matoran Kaita

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 2 | LIGHT Warrior | ATK 1200 / DEF 1500

3 Level 2 “Matoran” monsters
Cannot be destroyed by battle while it has material. If this card is Xyz Summoned: You can detach up to 3 materials with different Attributes from this card, then apply the following effect(s) depending on their Attributes, in sequence. You can only use this effect of “Diminished Matoran Kaita” once per turn.
•WIND: Add 1 Level 2 “Matoran” monster from your Deck to your hand.
•WATER: This face-up card cannot be destroyed by card effects. •FIRE: This card gains 1200 ATK.
•EARTH: Draw 1 card. •LIGHT/DARK: Special Summon 1 Level 2 “Matoran” monster from your hand or GY.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)

The Diminished Matoran Kaita went through a few design iterations which all focused on the concept of getting different effects based on the Attributes of its materials, and the one I ended up liking best was immediately detaching the Attributes whose effects you want when its Summoned. This means it’s best when summoned with Matoran of different elements, as it should be (disregarding the lack of STONE and ICE Attributes), and you may run into the interesting dynamic of having to choose between detaching the third material for the effect or keeping it for the battle protection.

The effects themselves are mostly just meant to align with the respective village’s playstyle while remaining generically useful, but it’s a bit concerning that a triple detach of WIND + EARTH + LIGHT/DARK works out to a +1 even factoring in the 3 materials that need to go into the Kaita. May still have to tweak at least one of these effects so it doesn’t give immediate advantage.


3.19.4

Circle of Legends, Amaja-Nui

Link Effect MonsterLink-3 [↙ ▼ ▶] | LIGHT Spellcaster | ATK 1900

2+ monsters, including a “Turaga” monster
This card’s Attribute is also treated as the original Attributes of all “Turaga” Link Monsters you control or in your GY. You can only use each of the following effects of “Circle of Legends, Amaja-Nui” once per turn. If this card is Link Summoned: You can send 1 “Turaga” monster from your Deck or Extra Deck to the GY. You can target 1 of your Level 4 or lower “Matoran” monsters with the same Attribute as this card that is banished or in your GY; Special Summon it to your zone this card points to.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)
1.0.0

Circle of Legends, Amaja-Nui

Field Spell

You can target 1 “Turaga” Tuner monster you control; until the End Phase, it is treated as a non-tuner monster. You can target 1 “Turaga” monster you control; increase or decrease its Level by 1. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon 1 “Turaga” monster from your Graveyard. When this face-up card is desroyed by your opponent’s card effect and sent to the Graveyard: Target 1 “Turaga” Tuner monster and 1 non-Tuner monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon them. Immediately after this effect resolves, Synchro Summon 1 monster using only those targets . You can only use each effect of “Circle of Legends, Amaja-Nui” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v1.0.0)

The Turaga get a collective updgraded form in Amaja-Nui, which, curiously enough, used to be a Field Spell in the original version. And that makes sense since it is a location, but in order to avoid adding another name to Mata Nui’s search targets and to give the Turaga an easy Link climbing route (which I often felt was missing when testing the villages), this time I chose to focus on Amaja-Nui’s nature as a gathering of Turaga instead. For some reason group shots are within the design space of Link (and Fusion?) Monsters, so this makes it an entirely valid choice for a Link-3.

The two main effects are pretty simple – take on the Attribute of any Turaga you have around (as it’s the gathering of exactly those) and call previously used Matoran of that Attribute back to the field (since the Turaga have authority over them), which should be decently useful to any of the villages. For the sake of Turaga Nui Turbo specifically, it can also send a Turaga from your Main or Extra Deck to the GY when Link Summoned, which could be either the big boss itself or just an additional name and/or Attribute.


Diminished Matoran Nui

Effect MonsterLevel 6 | LIGHT Warrior | ATK 2100 / DEF 1500

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned by its own effect. You can discard this card; reveal 3 Level 2 “Matoran” monsters with different Attributes from your Deck, your opponent randomly picks 1 for you to add to your hand, and you send the rest to the GY. You can shuffle 6 Level 2 “Matoran” monsters with different names from your GY into the Deck, then target 1 monster your opponent controls; Special Summon this card from the GY, and if you do, destroy that target. You can only use each effect of “Diminished Matoran Nui” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)

Turaga Nui

Effect MonsterLevel 9 | LIGHT Spellcaster | ATK 2000 / DEF 3000

Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned by its own effect. You can send this card from your hand and 1 “Noble Kanohi” Equip Spell from your Deck to the GY; reveal 1 “Turaga” Link monster in your Extra Deck, and if you do, Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower Warrior monster with the same Attribute from your hand. When your opponent activates a card or effect while there are 6 or more “Turaga” Link Monsters with different names in your GY (Quick Effect): You can Special Summon this card from the GY, and if you do, negate the effects of all face-up cards your opponent currently controls. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Nui” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)

The Diminished Matoran Nui and Turaga Nui both are powerful entities formed by combining 6 individuals, and they both reflect this through the same design principles. They provide an effect in the hand that trades them for resources which help their respective components, and an effect in the GY that summons them with great impact once you have gathered all six of those components.

Setting up 6 Level 2 Matoran in the GY is fairly easy, so the payoff there is “only” destroying a single monster and getting a decently big body on the field, and it returns the individual Matoran to the Deck so you can’t repeat it right away. On the other hand, getting 6 Turaga Link Monsters in the GY is a fool’s errand that takes something stupid like Turaga Nui Turbo to accomplish within reasonable time, so the Turaga Nui actually lets you keep that setup and just negates your opponent’s entire field when you do manage to Summon it.

Updates

Time was a bit short since I squeezed this into what was left of the month, so I ended up only implementing one of the changes to existing cards I contemplated here and there. That one is Kopeke, who now has a drawback when searching non-WATER monsters.

3.19.4

C.C. Matoran Kopeke

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 300 / DEF 600

If this card is Normal Summoned or flipped face-up: You can add 1 Level 2 Warrior monster from your Deck or GY to your hand, except “C.C. Matoran Kopeke”, then, if it is not a WATER monster, place 1 card from your hand on top of your Deck. You can only use this effect of “C.C. Matoran Kopeke” once per turn. If another “C.C. Matoran” monster you control would be destroyed, you can change this card to face-down Defense Position instead.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.19.4)
3.16.6

C.C. Matoran Kopeke

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WATER Warrior | ATK 300 / DEF 600

If this card is Normal Summoned or flipped face-up: You can take 1 Level 2 Warrior monster from your Deck or GY, except “C.C. Matoran Kopeke”, and either add it to your hand or place it on top of your Deck. You can only use this effect of “C.C. Matoran Kopeke” once per turn. If another “C.C. Matoran” monster you control would be destroyed, you can change this card to face-down Defense Position instead.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.16.6)

This replaces the previous weird option to put the card you search on top of your Deck instead of adding it to your hand, which I can now reveal was meant to synergize with Takua’s excavation effect, since Kopeke is himself a future Chronicler. Just kind of unfortunate that Kopeke takes up the Normal Summon, getting Takua with something like Isolde ends up shuffling the Deck, and even using the Matoran Kaita to Special Summon him from hand or GY requires him as the LIGHT/DARK material to begin with, but eh, there are theoretically possible scenarios where it could work.

Anyway, there are two reasons I really like this change from a design standpoint: One, the idea behind Kopeke being the searcher is that he “shapes the hand” as a skilled ice crafter, and that really fits now that he can also remove unneeded elements from it. Two, his shy personality that was already reflected in his protection effect flipping him face-down is further highlighted by the fact that he becomes less effective when interacting with strangers from outside his village. But due to the limited Attributes available, it turns out he’s still completely fine with the ladies from Ga-Koro. What a chad.

Theme Guide: Le-Koro (BCOT)

In accordance with the frankly inexplicable ordering of Bionicle’s six main elements I mentally insist on, Le-Koro is the final village to receive its updated strategy. As usual, the guiding principle is that of the village itself, and in this case that means “Faith”.

Le-Koro, Village of Air

Field Spell

Your opponent’s monsters cannot target WIND monsters you control for attacks, except the WIND monster you control with the highest ATK (either, if tied). When you Normal or Special Summon a monster(s) that has a Level: You can target 1 of those monsters; negate its effects (if any) and make its ATK 0, and if you do, add 1 WIND Warrior monster with a different name and an equal or lower Level from your Deck to your hand, also you cannot Special Summon for the rest of this turn, except WIND monsters. You can only use this effect of “Le-Koro, Village of Air” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

Now what does Faith mean here and how does it align with the effects listed above? Well, according to the BS01 page, “Faith is trusting your allies, and trusting that all will end well” – a definition whose actual origin I cannot verify because I never got past that annoying loadscreen bug in MNOG2 myself. Regardless, it’s what I went with, and so we have one effect to allow weaker WIND monsters safe existence on the field by trusting in their more powerful allies, and another to search a WIND Warrior by disabling a monster on summon, in the faithful belief that this newly arrived ally will cause all to end well. The first of these comes up occasionally (especially against AIs who have no idea how to deal with it), while the second forms an essential enabler for like half your plays.

If you have ever filtered the card pool to WIND Warriors specifically (first question: why?), you may now be wondering “what the heck are you even supposed to search with this?”. The obvious answer is “Le-Matoran”, which is the cue to introduce the resident C.C. Matoran as the preferred search target.

C.C. Matoran Tamaru

Effect MonsterLevel 2 | WIND Warrior | ATK 400 / DEF 400

If you control a Warrior monster with 1000 or less ATK: You can discard 1 card; Special Summon this card from your hand or GY, but place it on the bottom of the Deck when it leaves the field. During your Main Phase: You can activate this effect; your “C.C. Matoran” monsters can attack directly this turn, also return this card to the hand. You can only use each effect of “C.C. Matoran Tamaru” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

The mathematically inclined among you may notice that the range of 1000 or less also includes the number 0, which conveniently is the exact ATK value any monster will have after being used to trigger Le-Koro’s search. So Summoning any Warrior under Le-Koro gives you a Tamaru ready to summon himself (which is free from the hand – “from your hand or GY” means he can be used to fulfill his own discard requirement, just like e.g. Machina Fortress). As the bottom-dwelling type of Le-Matoran who is not particularly fond of heights, he will return to the bottom of the Deck after being summoned this way, but Le-Koro can just add him back at the next opportunity anyway. The second effect is more for use with other C.C. Matoran and references his contribution in clearing a path for the company on the road to Kini-Nui. This includes a self-bounce that is a bit oddly phrased with “also” so that the whole effect works even if Tamaru is marked for returning to the Deck.

Rewinding that a bit, I did just establish that searching Tamaru with Le-Koro after Summoning a Warrior gives you Tamaru on the field, and with 2 Warriors on the field we of course make Isolde because that card is cra- wait, what do you mean Le-Koro locks you to WIND? Well, well, good thing we have a Turaga to go into instead.

Turaga Matau

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [↙ ▶] | WIND Spellcaster | ATK 1400

2 monsters, including a WIND Warrior monster
During your Main Phase: You can Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower WIND monster from your hand in Attack Position, but its ATK becomes 0. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: You can target 1 other WIND monster in your GY; during the Standby Phase of your next turn, add that target to your hand, then, if your opponent controls more monsters than you do, draw 1 card. You can only use each effect of “Turaga Matau” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

Noble Kanohi Mahiki

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. Once per turn, if the equipped monster is a “Turaga”, “Toa”, or “Makuta” monster and you control no other monsters: You can Special Summon 1 “Illusion Token” (Spellcaster/WIND/Level 3/ATK 0/DEF 0), but destroy it when this card leaves the field. If this card is in your GY: You can Tribute 1 monster, then target 1 “Turaga Matau” in your GY; Special Summon it and equip it with this card. You can only use this effect of “Noble Kanohi Mahiki” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

Matau has a reputation as a jokester, with hilarious jokes such as “summoning a monster in Attack Position but with 0 ATK”. Funny how that just so happens to be a good way of making use of your Le-Koro searches in case they don’t have the ability to Special Summon themselves. Arguably more important, however, is his second effect, representing his other side as a reliable leader in times of crisis: Delayed recycling that comes with a draw if you’re behind.

This is perhaps the single effect that most clearly shows what I’d like Le-Koro as a strategy to be about. While Onu-Koro ensures your ability to recover and make comebacks by refilling your resources in proportion to the work you performed with them, Le-Koro more so aims to achieve the same by giving you access to resources when you need them and allowing you to get the most out of just a few cards.

That second point, and the focus on recovery in general, make the Kanohi Mahiki’s ability to revive Matau a bit more relevant here than it was for the other villages. In particular, there’s a combo where you, starting from an empty field with Matau and Mahiki in GY, just need to Summon any monster, tribute it to get back Matau, summon a Token with the Mahiki, summon a WIND monster with Matau, and you have all the materials for a Link-4 (though one of them being a Token somewhat limits your options). If Matau gave you something back during the Standby Phase, you already have one of the two monsters required for this. If you have Le-Koro, the initial Summon can also be used to ensure you have something to Special Summon with Matau’s effect. If Tamaru is in your GY, you just need a WIND monster and any card, rather than two monsters. Everything has its part to play.

But what about the valiant hero of Le-Koro, the Toa of Air? Well, he doesn’t quite contribute this directly, but can still make for a nice bonus if you have him around.

Toa Mata Lewa

Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WIND Warrior | ATK 2200 / DEF 1900

To Tribute Summon this card face-up, you can Tribute 1 WIND or “Toa Mata” monster in your hand, except “Toa Mata Lewa”. Once per turn, if a monster(s) is Special Summoned from the hand, Main Deck, or GY while you control this card: You can target 1 monster on the field; return it to the hand, then, if it was a monster you controlled while on the field, you can return 1 additional monster on the field to the hand.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

Great Kanohi Miru

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster, negate any effect activated by your opponent that targeted it. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Lewa” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Miru” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.17.4)

With air being the final element in my list, Lewa is also the last member of the Toa Mata to receive his overhaul, so his design is tailored more towards filling gaps in their strategy than towards helping out Le-Koro (partially also because I’ve noticed the Toa have rather limited usefulness in their village’s strategy anyway). Since the Toa Code has made me avoid monster removal so far, that was a pretty obvious gap, and I think bouncing them to the hand – a mechanic already associated with the WIND Attribute anyway – is gentle enough to not count as killing. It can even be non-targeting with the extra investment of also bouncing one of your own monsters, which is a design I’m fairly proud of. As for how this fits into Le-Koro, well, the trigger is Special Summons from just about anywhere other than the Extra Deck, which should be happening a lot with all the revival and re-setup going on. As I said, a nice bonus while you’re doing that.

Finally, the Kanohi Miru protects against targeting effects (“floating” out of their reach), and does it in such a way that equipping it mid-chain (e.g. with a Suva) still stops previously activated effects. No particular relevance to Le-Koro’s strategy here, but cool to have in those occasional instances when you do set up Lewa.

Sample Deck

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=9363457

Since Le-Koro already locks you to WIND, I figured we might as well go for some Speedroids to easily access that Attribute’s Synchro pool, which is probably the most decently equipped Extra Deck toolbox it has to offer. They also happen to be pretty fun, and if I was above playing with toys as a grown man, we wouldn’t be here.

The glaring weakness of the Speedroids is that they aren’t Warriors, and thus neither searchable by Le-Koro, nor qualified as material for Matau, nor able fulfill the conditions for Tamaru to Special Summon himself. The unfortunate reality is that WIND Warriors are almost as poorly represented as WATER Warriors, and after some digging the best I could find to fill this role was Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki combined with the Six Samurai Tuners Fuma and Genba to summon with his effect and help with Synchro plays (Genba is not WIND, but I wanted a Level 2 so I can get Tamaru from Le-Koro and go off from there, which isn’t possible with Fuma). Shien’s Smoke Signal is a searcher for all these monsters that isn’t even once per turn, making them quite consistently accessible. Other than that, Hornet Drones gives us another potential low-ATK Warrior for Tamaru and Ghost Mourner is a bad Effect Veiler with a good Attribute.

The custom cards are in here more or less as you’d expect, but it may seem weird that the titular Le-Koro only appears twice. This is because Mata Nui effectively serves as additional copies, and having multiple copies of a Koro in hand actually seems to negatively impact playability (I suspect this is the exact reason it has increasingly become a convention in the real game to have Field Spells act as archetype searchers). So I did the math and found that 5-6 ways to get your Field Spell in a 40 card deck is the range where there’s a good balance between the chance to open one and the chance to open multiple, which is the number I’m playing if you also count the Terraforming. The other notable unusual choice here is playing two copies of the Mahiki, because as previously stated, its revival effect is actually relevant to this strategy, and making a Token isn’t bad either. However, the reliance on making Matau means it’s more nice-to-have than essential, so two is the highest I’m willing to go.

The Extra Deck consists of Matau, some generic WIND Links (there really aren’t many, sadly), Isolde for when we aren’t locked and want to set up Kanohi for basically free, Unchained Abomination as a Link-4 that can easily be made from a Mahiki-revived Matau, Totem Bird as a Spell/Trap negate that is often accessible through both Kageki and the Speedroids, and WIND Synchros for just about every Level.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Le-Koro

This strategy’s performance in testing was initially quite poor, but eventually improved to more average levels after a lot of fiddling in the deck editor without needing that many signficiant design changes. I think the main problem was just in making this mashup of a subcritical mass of Speedroids sprinkled with just a few Six Samurai monsters work without the two halves tripping each other up, and I’m sure it could be done much better than I have it at this point (e.g. even one Den-Den Daiko Duke would probably help the recovery focus a lot). Also, firing the Le-Koro search at the wrong point so it either negates an important effect or locks you into WIND too early can screw everything up in an instant, and as the supremely intelligent individual I am it took some practice before I finally learned to not do that.

Conclusion

The aim of Le-Koro as a strategy is to make comebacks and rebuild somewhat decent boards from a bare minimum of resources in your hand and field. This is facilitated by a village that will give you access to more or less any of its villagers if you manage to summon anything, a Turaga who will give you back a crucial resource just in time to start rebuilding, and a Matoran who lets you easily make the important jump from one monster on the field to two. A notable omission so far that would really go with the idea well is monsters that generate value from the GY (Tamaru technically does, but due to the way his effect works he’s rarely in the GY to begin with), so that indicates a fairly obvious design direction for future Le-Matoran.

Theme Guide: Ko-Koro (BCOT)

When I set out to make Ko-Koro, there were already a few specific goals I was aiming for with the design: It should reflect the principle of Peace that MNOG2 assigned to the village, the playstyle it facilitates should be clearly distinct from the other Koros, and it should especially be incompatible with the Ga-Koro strategy with which it shares the focus on the WATER Attribute. Given these requirements, the following part of the quote at the top of the BS01 “Peace” article stood out to me:

On Mount Ihu, nothing grows and nothing changes. The mountain is perfectly at Peace.

In other words, “Peace” as a concept is (semi-)canonically equated to a lack of change, and in card game terms that comes out to a type of strategy that is as unique as it is controversial – stall. By preventing your opponent from making progress towards victory, you buy yourself the time to achieve some win condition that would normally be too slow to work. And this inherent slowness gives us a nice big point of distinction from Ga-Koro, which is all about quick effects and playing on both your and your opponent’s turn.

With that settled as the direction I wanted to go in, I sketched up the Ko-Koro field spell with three effects that limit your opponent on the condition that you also limit yourself in a similar way (much like a peace treaty), all under the shared condition that your monsters are all WATER to establish that Attribute focus. While the basic outline of this idea survived testing pretty much unchanged, the details of the effects underwent a lot of changes, so let’s just look at them point by point:

  • If you did not attack during your last turn, your opponent’s monsters cannot attack on the turn they are Summoned. This effect started life as a total attack lock with the same condition and I honestly think that might have been fine in a realistic environment, but apparently the EDOPro AI is completely unable to deal with this type of restriction and it leads to the overly long stall games everybody hates, so I had to tone it down a bit. If the strategy works as intended, this honestly barely makes a difference, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit.
  • If you did not banish/destroy any of your opponent’s cards since your last Standby Phase, your monsters get targeting and destruction protection. This one is super significant since the blanket protection makes it very hard for your opponent to break through even otherwise unimpressive opening boards, enabling you to build on them in consecutive turns until you reach something actually game-winning. On the other hand, the condition attached to it requires you to opt out of the vast majority of removal, massively influencing deckbuilding and the design of other cards related to Ko-Koro. Initially, the restrictions were even harsher as you were not allowed to make your opponent’s cards leave the field with your effects in any way whatsoever, but after one particularly atrocious test duel I realized this just forces you into situations where you cannot possibly clear the way to deal damage and are stuck passing back and forth for like 40 turns. Speaking of damage, I briefly had an extra stipulation that did not allow you to deal effect damage if you wanted this protection (because burn of all things as a win condition for an ice deck is kinda stupid), but then I remembered Wave-Motion Cannon exists and enables burn wins without ever needing to deal damage while you are stalling. So I gave up on that restriction – I will be judging you if you play Ko-Koro Burn, but you are free to do so.
  • During turns in which you did not activate any monster effects, your opponent is pretty much under Lose 1 Turn (sans position changing). The main purpose of this one is to prevent most decks from comboing into big bosses that just win them the game even under Ko-Koro’s restrictions, while also ruining any possible Ga-Koro synergy with its condition. It actually didn’t change much from its very first draft, unlike the other two. I honestly think “no monster effects for you” is generally a cool drawback on a big floodgate, as it pretty much prevents it from being used in tandem with an oppressive board of negating and disrupting Extra Deck monsters.

Overall, the payoffs for these effects make it so that your opponent has a very hard time doing anything to your monsters unless they get an extra turn of setup, while the restrictions greatly limit your ways to counteract that setup. The game you play under Ko-Koro essentially consists of using your limited options to keep your opponent off anything that could break them out of this stall situation, while gradually building momentum turn by turn until you reach a point where you are ahead far enough to safely break the peace and go on the offensive.

But if we want to avoid destruction, banishment, and battle, how are we actually supposed to get the opponent’s monsters off the field before they stop being affected by Ko-Koro? Some existing cards can do that of course, but the answer that exists natively within this village’s support is Turaga Nuju.

Being concerned with the future as he is, the first thing Nuju will do upon entering the field is protect a face-up Spell/Trap from destruction for a short while, and he himself doesn’t need to stay around for this – you just need any WATER monster. Now, the idea here is obviously to target Ko-Koro, hopefully leading to a situation where your opponent cannot get rid of your monsters because of the Field Spell, but also cannot get rid of the Field Spell before dealing with your monsters. Other applications are quite limited, and while this one important use case is kinda enough, I am strongly considering also allowing face-down targets for just a bit of extra utility.

But the main point of the card lies in the second effect, representing the most notable trait of the Turaga of Ko-Koro: He communicates almost exclusively in bird language. And thus, he has a removal effect that is tailored for the strategy and designed in the “language” of birds, specifically those of the frosty variety, by which I mean exactly Penguins. By flipping one of your monsters face-down, he returns a card your opponent controls to the hand, resetting any progress made towards escaping the Ko-Koro lock. Get it, because there are Penguins in the game that bounce stuff when they flip, haha

Meanwhile, the Kanohi Matatu is a non-targeting “telekinetic” battle position changer, and one neat way to use it is to flip the monster you used for Nuju’s effect back up and trigger some effect that way. Yes, the mental focus required for that on the noble version means you don’t get to attack with the equipped monster the same turn, but being able to reuse a Penguin Soldier seems well worth that.

If bouncy birds are not your speed, maybe I can interest you in Kopeke, the resident Chronicler’s Company member and designated WATER Warrior material for the Turaga. When Normal Summoned or flipped, he gets another Level 2 Warrior from Deck or GY, so using this effect repeatedly helps gather the resources you need for the winning push. You’re also able to place the monster you get on the top of the Deck or flip Kopeke face-down to save another C.C. Matoran from destruction, but neither really matters in the context of Ko-Koro.

By the way, the original idea for the first effect in this new version was adding a Level 2 Warrior to the hand and then placing a card from the hand on the top of the deck, “shaping” the hand as a reference to delicate ice carving. But as I found out after making the script, adding a card from the Deck causes an automatic shuffle after the effect resolves, which then removes the card from the top again (and it needs to be there for an interaction I have not yet revealed). Later I also noticed that there are already cards in the game that do similar things and so it is very much an established fact that you’d just shuffle right after searching in this case, but at that point I had already redesigned the effect to avoid any weird issues – first with a discard to keep it neutral since Level 2 Warriors is a pretty generic pool, then I took that out as well because it turns out the pool actually doesn’t have much good stuff anyway.

Finally, Kopaka is one of the major ways you can actively put pressure on your opponent amidst this stall-focused playstyle, and that is despite him technically being a mostly defensive card. The key point is that he can, to a degree, let you ignore Ko-Koro’s restriction on attacking, as he will change himself to defense at the end of the Battle Phase and proceed to redirect any attacks from your opponent’s side into his hefty 2500 DEF butt (incidentally, this marks the first actual stat change I’ve made in the BCOT overhaul – 2000/2150 was just a bit underwhelming). He also kind of indirectly protects your other cards (such as Ko-Koro itself) from removal effects by punishing any harm to those on his side with a non-targeting banish – this would turn off Ko-Koro’s protection and negation effects, but in the case where that’s the card that got removed, it doesn’t matter, right?

Protecting Ko-Koro is also the intent of the Kanohi Akaku, which uses its power of X-Ray vision to peek behind cards your opponent draws, keeping Spells and Traps pinned in the hand by its user’s icy gaze for a turn. Since Spells in particular represent the most common form of generic S/T removal next to Extra Deck monsters that are neutered by Ko-Koro itself, this potentially takes those threats to your attempted lockdown out of the equation. That said, in testing the few times I managed to set the Akaku up it never ended up mattering at all, so I might still need to refine this idea a bit in upcoming versions.

Sample Deck

Ko-Koro forces you to forgo monster-based disruption if you want to use it as a proper floodgate, so in order to not get completely wrecked every time an opponent does manage to play through the village’s passive restrictions (or we just don’t draw it), the logical move seemed to be using lots of Traps to fill this hole. And when WATER and Traps are in the requirements, the answer probably lies in Paleozoics with a decent helping of Frogs.

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=8852285

Starting from the boring parts, we have the classic Frog engine of Dupe Frog, Ronintoadin, and Swap Frog plus Paleozoics Canadia and Olenoides to get lots of Aqua Level 2s. Why only two Olenoides in the Main Deck and no Dinomischus? Because we don’t want to destroy or banish anything if we can help it, but also can’t justify skipping out on Spell/Trap removal entirely. Finally, Penguin Soldier is also a Level 2 Aqua, but mainly in here for the previously described synergy with Nuju because that’s just so funny.

But if we want to make Nuju, we’re going to need WATER Warriors, which here mainly means Kopeke, with one copy each of Taipu and Maku included as search targets. Yes, Taipu is not WATER, but having him in here means Kopeke always makes Nuju – Normal Summon Kopeke, add Taipu to hand, Special Summon Taipu, and there are your materials. The downside of essentially not being able to attack that turn conveniently doesn’t matter too much in a Ko-Koro deck.

On the custom side, the last part of the monster lineup are Kopaka (of course) and a Suva as free Tribute fodder that helps access Kanohi. On the non-custom side, I also included the very recently released King of the Sky Prison because that thing is just crazy in anything backrow heavy. The only reason I didn’t run 3 is that it’s the wrong Attribute.

The Spells are merely Ko-Koro itself, the Kanohi, and basic consistency stuff, so not much to say there. For non-Paleo Traps, I included Ice Dragon’s Prison as nontargeting removal (clashes with Ko-Koro, but sometimes you can’t avoid that – at least it’s an ice card) and Infinite Impermanence as just about the only major handtrap we can use without disabling the floodgate.

The Extra Deck is a mix of Links and Rank 2 Xyzs, most importantly Nuju and Toadally Awesome. Another inclusion to deal with untargetable stuff is Sky Cavalry Centaurea, and amusingly enough, using that sets you up perfectly for Zeus. Of course, neither of those are WATER, so once you do that you’re at least temporarily abandoning the usual Ko-Koro strategy. But hey, gotta have a Plan Z.

Funny things in the side deck include Gameciel and Sphere Mode Ra for going second, Demise of the Land and Metaverse to hit your opponent with the Ko-Koro floodgate as a surprise, Evenly Matched and Macro Cosmos because even though their effects make cards get banished it doesn’t count as cards being banished by your effects (’tis a very silly game), and Ice Barrier as another nontargeting removal option (also an ice card!).

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ko-Koro

This deck performed quite interestingly in testing. Not only did it have the highest winrate out of everything I’ve put through the structured test circuit so far (mostly because the AI is unable to play under Ko-Koro), its good and bad matchups were also quite different from usual. In particular, this was the only deck so far that won its match against the Dragoon AI (by simply never letting the boy come out), and also the only deck that lost the match against the Chain Burn AI (turns out going slow and protecting your field is a bad strategy against heaps of effect damage, and Ojama Tokens screw me over to a hilarious degree).

Conclusion

The central strategy of Ko-Koro is restricting yourself in order to slow down your opponent as well, and then using the fact that you’re better adapted to playing under these limitations to gradully approach a game-winning position. This is a very unusual playstyle with a lot of weaknesses, such as Ko-Koro doing almost nothing against already established boards, but between the additional support offered by powerful Traps and the AI’s sheer inability to counteract what you’re doing, it worked so well in testing that I kind of had a hard time justifying any buffs. As a result, the cards this time may be a bit undertuned if you wanted to use them against a human opponent with brain cells and all that, but that may not matter much when the main use case for EDOPro custom cards is just the AI.

As a final note, despite my doubts about the powerlevel, I must say I’m very happy with some other aspects of the design, in particular how “icy” it ended up being:

  • It accomodates some ice-related cards like the Penguins, Ice Dragon’s Prison, and Ice Barrier really well.
  • The strategy of going first and preventing battle stands in perfect contrast to Ta-Koro, were you want to go second and battle as much as possible.
  • The crucial need to accurately judge when you can start pushing for victory and turn off Ko-Koro without screwing yourself mirrors the Ko-Matoran’s focus on knowledge and foresight.
  • The deck melts against burn like an ice cube in the sun.

Theme Guide: Po-Koro (BCOT)

Among the villages on Mata Nui, I’d say Po-Koro is pretty high up there in terms of memorable traits. There’s the sculptures made by the resident carvers, the busy trading going on at the bazaar, the entire sport of Koli, and of course that little plague it suffered under in MNOG. For my particular depiction of the Village of Stone, I chose to focus on the first two of these: Trading and carving. (Koli is something I plan to study in more detail when it transforms into Kolhii later down the line, since it gets much more focus in the story then, and the plague is a topic for BCOR.)

Let’s begin dissecting from the second effect, since that will usually be the first you use. This one represents carving, and what it does is, like most Koro stuff, mainly inspired by the corresponding MNOG2 principle. In Po-Koro’s case, that means “Creation”. My first association with this in game terms has alway been the various Extra Deck summons (literally putting your monsters together to CREATE a new one), but upon further reflection I realized that there is one mechanic that creates stuff more literally than any other, and that is Tokens – those straight up don’t exist in any form until an effect says they do. So by combining those two ideas, I ended up with an effect that summons Tokens whenever you Special Summon from the Extra Deck.

“But isn’t that basically just Linkross for every summoning method?”, you might ask, and you wouldn’t be exactly wrong. However, there are some extra hoops to jump through here that hopefully fix the glaring balance issues with the concept. Most trivially, this card is in the Main and not the Extra Deck, so it’s already less consistently accessible by default. Then there are also two points that prevent using it too generically: You need to banish an EARTH Warrior (the “sculptor”) from the GY as cost, and you only get Tokens (the “sculptures”) up to the number of EARTH materials (the “raw materials”) in the summon. Note especially the banishing, which is meant to directly discourage mixing the Po-Koro strategy with Onu-Koro (where the resource loop relies on not getting your monsters banished). They both revolve around the EARTH attribute since Stone doesn’t exist separately in Yugioh, so I made sure to strongly distinguish them by playstyles instead. The final restriction meant to prevent Linkross-tier combos even in those decks that can make Po-Koro work is that whichever summoning method you use to trigger it becomes entirely locked for the rest of the turn (as opposed to just restricting how the Tokens are used). So the moment you make your Tokens, you need to be ready to pivot to something else. In MNOG2 terms, this sensitive issue of timing matches up quite well to the Kolhii skill of Strategy that is derived from Creation. I was quite cautious making this effect since it’s so close to a recently banned card, and initially it was even more restricted, but test runs suggest the current level of power should be fine without causing any notable problems. As usual, feel free to prove me wrong.

The secondary effect (which is listed first because that seems to be the convention for continuous vs activated effects) allows you to save your monsters from destruction by “trading” fancy Rocks, as they do on the Po-Koro bazaar. This is possibly not the best trade since you have to go as far as banishing a monster to protect another, but the Tokens made by the other effect are conveniently Rocks and in their case banishing is no different from destroying, so the idea is to mainly use those. One pesky detail I only noticed after implementing the effect is that it does not protect from full boardwipes because you can’t banish a card already marked for destruction as replacement, but it’s still fairly handy regardless.

If you compare to the other Koro field spells, you might notice that this one is much less xenophobic: You need to play EARTH monsters, including at least one EARTH Warrior, to make it work, but it doesn’t punish you for playing anything else. This is because, in the name of creation and creativity, I wanted to leave it possible to put whatever you want into the Extra Deck, as long as you’re using at least two different summoning methods.

Those were some long-ass design notes, but to summarize and boil the strategy down to its essence: The idea of a Po-Koro deck is simply to spam as much as possible from the Extra Deck, building a board while combining at least two different summoning methods, and any Tokens left at the end of that can act as additional protection.

As usual, the village itself is only part of the equation here, so on to the rest. For example, what could you summon from the Extra Deck to make especially good use of Po-Koro’s effect?

Turaga Onewa is meant to be one answer to this question. On having an EARTH monster summoned next to his arrow, he will immediately bring back a banished EARTH Warrior, which transforms the cost to summon Tokens into one more monster on the field. Of course, the summoning restriction means you can’t use all this field presence to just continue Link Summoning, so you’ll need to make sure you have a Tuner or something to really benefit here. One thing I considered doing for a bit was letting Onewa turn the monster he brings back into a Tuner, but what bothered me there was that it would potentially allow you to just use the same Gouki-based deck I had for Onu-Koro and still reliably fulfill the requirement of two Extra Deck summoning methods. Kind of runs counter to the separation I’m trying to achieve, although it would technically be a distinct strategy even if it uses the same cards as its vehicle.

Since you can’t always expect to draw Po-Koro and do the setup that way, Onewa’s first effect provides another way to banish stuff, and comes with a lore gimmick to its math representing his famous ability to resolve disputes fairly. On top of the perfectly neutral action of putting a monster from the GY back into the hand and banishing a card from the hand, it gives a draw to only the player who is currently behind in advantage, so it works out to +1 if that’s you and -1 if it’s your opponent (and neutral in every other case). Fair.

The Kanohi Komau has mind control as its power, and with the original version back in 2014, I was quick to make the obvious association and write an effect that takes control of an opponent’s monster. In hindsight, that’s a bit above the intended powerlevel of Noble Kanohi, so the redesign instead turns it into a passive effect of using mind control to “stun” the weakest enemy (in terms of ATK, because unfortunately there isn’t a willpower stat that could be used for perfect accuracy). This fits well with the Huna and Rau as an effect that just inconveniences the opponent a bit and forces them to play around it, and for Po-Koro’s particular strategy of building a board with Extra Deck monsters, it makes a reasonable addition to the usual negates and disruptions you want to set up. Tributing a Sculpture Token to revive Onewa together with the Komau is something that happened semi-frequently during testing.

One noteworthy aspect of the way Onewa brings back banished monsters is that they are free to use their effects, so we can gain further advantage by using targets with beneficial effects on Special Summon. This is the niche our first Po-Matoran plays into.

Both of Hafu’s effects are essentially retained from his original incarnation, with a bit of adjustment. Being the master carver, he’s fully meant to facilitate more Extra Deck summoning and brings back another Level 2 Warrior (could be another Matoran, or a generic Tuner like Junk Anchor to enable Synchros) when Special Summoned. His other ability is crafting “Hafu originals” in his own likeness, meaning whatever uses him as material inherits his name. This mainly has applications in a dedicated “C.C. Matoran” strategy, where members of the archetype get a range of neat benefits. Here, it’s really just a cute gimmick that barely comes up.

I did consider a few additional tweaks for the Special Summon effect during testing, such as making it trigger on Normal Summon as well or expanding its target range to Level 4 or lower Warriors, but since the deck I ended up building seems to be able to utilize him just fine as is, it appears no such buffs are necessary.

If you’re familiar with the structure of these Koro strategies, you already know that the last piece of the puzzle is the village’s Toa, but in the case of such an Extra Deck focused theme, a Main Deck boss is a bit of an odd fit. Still, I feel like I managed to give him an effect that provides a fair level of utility.

What Pohatu brings to the table is Spell/Trap removal, and to match Po-Koro, he does it whenever monsters are Special Summoned from the Extra Deck. Furthermore, since we don’t want him to be useless after you have already built your board, he has a secondary trigger off the effect activations of Extra Deck monsters. Do note, however, that this is a trigger effect and not a quick effect, meaning it will activate on a separate chain only after the triggering effect has resolved.

The mental image behind this S/T destruction is destroying stuff by kicking a rock at it, and so it’s fitting to have a bonus effect if you actually happen to have a Rock monster (e.g. a Sculpture Token or a Suva). I went with the ricochet idea here, which means you get an additional (non-targeting) S/T destruction in that case. Seeing how the law of creative heroic thinking permits using the environment to harm enemies indirectly, letting the second destruction affect monsters as well may be a viable option, though in that case it would probably be fair to also destroy your Rock monster as a downside.

Finally, the Kanohi Kakama, Great Mask of Speed, lets the equipped monster move fast enough to attack everything in a single Battle Phase, essentially letting you use Pohatu to clear out all the monsters after using his effect to clear up to 2 backrow. This is a scenario that occured exactly 0 times during the test circuit, but hey, theoretically it sounds useful.

Sample Deck

I couldn’t think of any existing EARTH Warrior archetype that focuses mainly on Extra Deck spam while also adhering to the rule of using 2+ summoning methods, so I had to get a bit more creative than usual to fill the holes left by the not yet created Po-Matoran. Therefore, I’m including a section to explain the deck I built to test Po-Koro this time. As with everything else, feedback and criticism on this part is absolutely welcome.

The route I took to fulfill the 2 summoning method requirement was Link + Synchro, since they’re much easier to pull off than Fusion and immediately put banishable monsters into the GY unlike Xyz. In order to get access to the necessary Tuners, I picked Junk monsters as the EARTH Warrior core: Forward as a free Special Summon to start making Onewa, Anchor as a Tuner that also happens to be a Level 2 Warrior for Hafu, Converter as another Level 2 Warrior who does both searching and setup for Synchron (who is unfortunately not EARTH, but still good), and Servant as a free Special Summon whenever I have any of the others out. For the actual Matoran, we have just one Hafu (he only triggers on Special Summon, so having him in the hand isn’t the greatest) and three Taipu because free Special Summon going first. The latter isn’t a Po-Matoran, but since the Chronicler’s Company are meant to work together, I figured there was no way to avoid synergy through the shared attribute in this case. Thanks to Taipu’s presence, Hafu’s name change actually matters occasionally, by still letting you attack with some of your monsters from the Extra Deck after you summoned Taipu. The remaining EARTH Warriors are one Super Agent as an unreliable Special Summon and potential Spell/Trap remover, and Pohatu as your main Spell/Trap remover, Kakama search target, and Suva enabler.

The second major group of monsters, providing a fitting distinction between Earth and Stone, are Rocks. We have Adamancipator Researcher as a Tuner whose Special Summon from the hand is enabled by Po-Koro’s Tokens, Nemeses Keystone as another Special Summon that can trigger Onewa while recycling other banished stuff and to banish for Po-Koro’s protection so it comes back to hand at the end of the turn, and Nibiru to initiate extinction events. The Suva is also technically a Rock, and its purpose is of course being Tributed for Pohatu and then coming back every turn, which can actually trigger Onewa if you have Po-Koro up because the Suva counts as all non-DARK Attributes in that case.

The Spells can be quickly summarized as Kanohi, searchers, and ways to Special Summon to Onewa’s zone (most interestingly Word Legacy Succession, which does exactly that). And of course, we have the Dragoon package I put in to celebrate the complete freedom of Extra Deck choices and then proceeded to regret immensely because it’s so powerful and easy to make that it ends up distracting from the actual point of the Deck. Which is why I ended up intentionally siding it out for the rest of the match every time I won a duel during testing, even when I didn’t actually use it.

The Extra Deck could probably be filled a million different ways, but what I settled on after trying a lot of variations is:

  • Double Onewa to get free monsters.
  • Isolde to trigger the Kakama’s search and to get Hafu or Junk Anchor (either as followup to Onewa or as an alternative if you don’t have the setup to trigger him).
  • Halquifibrax because it has just as much synergy with Po-Koro as it did with Linkross.
  • Desert Locusts to summon via Halq for a discard while potentially triggering Onewa.
  • Linkuriboh because it can be made with a single Sculpture Token.
  • Avramax as a big dude you can make e.g. with Onewa and Isolde.
  • Herald of the Arc Light as an easy banishing floodgate and negate.
  • Jiujiu as an indestructible removal tool.
  • Marcher and Integrator so you can get to Jiujiu from Researcher and two Sculpture Tokens while drawing in the process.
  • Dragite as a negate and removal tool.
  • Quandax to make Dragite while getting a WATER into the GY so the negate is turned on.
  • Verte Anaconda plus Dragoon in case you mess up the actual combo but feel like winning anyway.

Finally, the side deck is just a pile of EARTH staples and cards that are really good in some situations, plus a few options to fill the Extra Deck slots left open when removing the Dragoon stuff (Accesscode and Apollousa as alternate bosses, Reprodocus and Geonator Transverser as alternate Links you can make with random monsters).

To see all this in action, continue right on.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Po-Koro

Conclusion

Po-Koro decks encourage Special Summoning from the Extra Deck and excel at providing a bunch of material to do so. However, lacking dedicated boss monsters of its own and having some tricky requirements and restrictions on the Field Spell, the success of the strategy is very much dependent on what other cards you combine it with, perhaps more so than any of the other villages. Also, the need to have cards to both make Onewa in the Extra Monster Zone and trigger him with an additional Special Summon can be quite the hurdle to consistency.

Theme Guide: Matoran (Boxor) (BBTS)

In chronicling the struggle between Matoran and Bohrok, the BBTS expansion obviously also needs to show some stuff on the Matoran side. That mainly means their famous anti-Bohrok invention, but let’s first look at some new cards unrelated to that.

Kotu, serving as the left hand of Turaga Nokama and a Rahi Tender, gets her only real notable bit of screentime in this part of the story, so I took the opportunity to include her. She has the skills to calm aggressive beasts, lowering their ATK, and on Normal Summon can return a monster to the hand in such a way that it’s mainly beneficial in the specific case where your opponent stole one of yours (or you’re just playing Kaijus).

The Chronicler’s Courage depicts Chronicler Takua’s heroic last stand against the swarms invading Ga-Koro, which really just stalled them for that brief moment before the Toa defated the Bahrag. Accordingly, this card simply stalls against battle by bringing out small Warriors to guard against attacks and granting them some protection. Hey, it could potentially buy you a turn.

And now for the main event.

In the village of Onu-Koro lives Nuparu, a Matoran with a passion for machinery. Though this sometimes leads him to neglecting other work such as digging (or attacking, to explain one of the card’s effects already), his time to shine comes when he is trapped in a cave after the Gahlok invade Onu-Koro. There, he and his fellow Matoran discover an Empty Bohrok Shell, the mechanical hull of one of the attackers that has lost its Krana. Nuparu begins tinkering, and soon the machine is remodeled into a new weapon that would shift the power balance between Matoran and Bohrok: The Boxor.

Playing these cards, you too can recreate this grand tale. The Empty Bohrok Shell places itself directly into your GY in order to search any EARTH Matoran, which includes of course Nuparu, but also the Boxor due to its full name. Then, with Nuparu on the field and a Boxor in your hand, you can activate Nuparu’s effect, banish the Shell from the GY, bring out the Boxor, and use its Union ability to equip to a Matoran of your choice. And now you are ready to overcome any Bohrok in battle and even halt the march of the swarms by denying them their monster effects that would call more of them from the Deck. As a bonus, banishing the Shell can unleash some vestiges of the Bohrok’s destructive power (though not during the same turn you used it for searching), and if the Boxor-equipped Matoran is not Nuparu himself, Nuparu can grant that 2000 ATK beater a second attack at the low cost of not attacking with his own measly 600 (though not during the turn he summoned the Boxor).

Demo

Sample duel ft. Bohrok AI from development version (some cards outdated)

Conclusion

These cards still predate the dedicated Koro playstyle just like the ones in BCOR, but in this case that doesn’t matter as much because at least the Boxor series forms its own little combo independent from other strategies. Adding them to a Matoran deck of any kind will significantly increase its power in the Battle Phase, which is a pretty good niche to cover for an archetype of Level 2 monsters with (almost) only three-digit ATK values.

The BBTS release includes a sample Boxor deck, which uses Matoran from BCOR (also included in the link) together with the new cards.

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: Onu-Koro (BCOT)

In the underground caverns of Onu-Koro, hard work is rewarded with great wealth, at least according to the Principle of Prosperity. For the effects of the Field Spell, I interpreted “hard work” as “putting monsters in the GY”, which is usually a pretty decent indication you’re doing things, and “wealth” as the resources of both LP and cards. So the first effect trades the proof of your work, the monsters in the GY, for wealth in the form of LP, and the second directly trades that amassed wealth for cards.

There are several extra balancing factors to the draw effect, given that it can potentially draw up to 3. First, it only works when you have higher LP, so you have to do some healing and/or damage before using it. Second, you need to send an EARTH monster from your hand or field to the GY, mainly to downgrade the level of advantage you get and to make the effect a bit more conditional, but also as setup for LP regeneration. Third, if you pay so much that you are now behind in LP, you lose an equal number of cards to what you drew, which technically works out to a -1 but is still fairly good since you can freely put anything from your hand into the GY. Fourth, it locks you into only summoning EARTH monsters for the whole turn, just to be extra sure it doesn’t get randomly abused. A proper Onu-Koro deck is mostly okay with this restriction anyway.

It follows that, as an Onu-Koro player, you want to establish a stable loop of putting EARTH monsters in the GY while building your board, shuffling them back to gain LP, and potentially drawing additional cards to further strengthen your position. Now we’ll take a look at how other cards contribute towards that goal.

Whenua essentially acts as an overseer of the “work” you perform, providing small rewards in real time for every EARTH monster you put into the GY. On summon, he also helps you solve your current problems by learning from the mistakes of the past, or in non-lore terms, searches a low-level EARTH Warrior that isn’t in your GY yet. Of course, putting stuff back with Onu-Koro expands your search range here.

The Kanohi Ruru, Mask of Night Vision, doesn’t really have a main focus that synergizes with the Onu-Koro deck much – it just reveals Set cards, because that’s the mechanic that historically fits night vision best (for the record, hand reveals would be mind reading). It does also inflict some damage as a bonus, which could at least help achieve the necessary LP difference to use Onu-Koro to its full potential.

The search effect on Whenua is of course meant to fetch Onu-Matoran, and as the only one implemented so far, the choice will probably fall on Taipu a lot of the time.

Always eager to come to the aid of his friends, the stronkest of Matoran will jump from your hand to the field in just about any situation, but by being a bit clumsy about it he’ll mostly lock you out of attacking for the turn. Don’t ask me how he does that.

On his way out, the helpfulness continues, with a generous stat boost given to whichever friend remains around. Due to the largely irrelevant nature of stats, the greatest use for this is actually chain blocking.

A potential hole in our whole strategy of continuously shuffling monsters from the GY back to heal and draw is that we will eventually run out of Spells and Traps, as those are not recycled. It may not matter a lot of the time, but still, to our rescue comes the wise Toa of Earth.

Indeed, Onua gives us the ability to return any card from the GY to the Deck, assuming the trigger of a monster being sent from hand or Deck to GY applies. And beyond simple recycling, he comes with the benefits of working on both GYs, being able to place the card either on top or bottom of the Deck, and healing you if you return a monster with lower ATK than him. This means he can put your own Spells/Traps just a draw away, place something dead on top of the opponent’s Deck, take something they just sent to the GY away before it can be used, or simply be used for LP regeneration to enable Onu-Koro.

The Kanohi Pakari, Great Mask of Strength, also plays into these LP games. The bonus ATK on Onua makes it so you stand to gain more LP from his effect, and a high-ATK piercer is a pretty reliable way to damage your opponent and help establish the desired LP difference.

Best of Test

Best of Test: Onu-Koro

Conclusion

The greatest strength of Onu-Koro decks is the ability to replenish resources, both cards and LP, over and over again. Even if you can’t kill your opponent quickly, you can probably survive long enough to outlast them if things go reasonably well, though most of the time there isn’t a need to drag things out too much. Here‘s a sample Gouki-based decklist to get you started, slightly more updated versions are included with each BCOT release.

Theme Guide: Ga-Koro (BCOT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ga-Koro

Conclusion

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

Theme Guide: Ta-Koro (BCOT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words: We need a hero.

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

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

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

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

C.C. Matoran Kapura

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

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

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

Best of Test

Best of Test: Ta-Koro

Conclusion

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