Designer’s Quip: Rahi Beasts

Another one of these, this time focused on the great number of mostly land-dwelling, mostly mammal-like Rahi that fit into the Beast Type.

See also:

Current Members

BCOR and BBTS already introduced 10 Beast Rahi, all but 2 being EARTH-Attribute and the others WATER. They can further be divided into 4 Level 3 Pendulums with a GY/banish focus, 2 Level 4 Pendulums with a gimmick of granting effects when used as Synchro material, 2 Synchros at Levels 6 and 8, and a pair of Level 7 Normal Pendulums. So, in that order …

Level 3

Ussal, Crab Rahi

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

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

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The general theme of the Level 3 Rahi is that they play through the GY despite being Pendulum Monsters, and the Ussal both participates in and enhances that playstyle. Its Pendulum Effect lets you Pendulum Summon Rahi out of the GY, if sent to the GY it revives any low-level EARTH monster (important for some combos involving Onu-Matoran, who of course make significant use of Ussal steeds), and if banished revives a Level 3 Rahi. Being a crab, it would technically make more sense to have this be Aqua like other crabs, but that just doesn’t seem right to me.

Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | WATER Beast | ATK 1200 / DEF 1400

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
“Rahi” monsters you control gain 700 DEF. If a “Rahi” monster(s) you control would be destroyed, you can destroy this card instead.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If you do not control “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi”, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand or GY) by changing 1 Level 4 or lower “Rahi” monster you control to Defense Position. If Summoned this way, banish this card when it leaves the field. If this card is banished: You can return 1 of your banished “Rahi” monsters to your GY, except “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi”. You can only use this effect of “Hapaka, Shepherd Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Beware the Swarm (v3.15.5)

The only piece of legacy support from BBTS here, the Hapaka does its shepherd duty through various defense-related effects. It is also the only one of the current Level 3 Pendulums to not have a proper GY effect, but a summoning condition from hand or GY, and when banished it puts another banished Rahi back in the GY (which unfortunately wouldn’t trigger the “sent to GY” effects).

Mahi, Goat Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 700 / DEF 1500

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
(Quick Effect): You can send 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck to the GY, then destroy this card. You can only use this effect of “Mahi, Goat Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can add 1 Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monster from your Deck to your hand. If this card is banished: You can add 1 of your banished Level 3 or lower “Rahi” monsters that was not banished this turn to your hand. You can only use 1 “Mahi, Goat Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Mahi is absolutely central to the Level 3 GY strategy, since it helps toss your Pendulums over from the Extra Deck, searches the various Level 3s when sent itself, and recycles the used ones when banished. Restricting this one to Beasts would probably really kill the old Level-based grouping.

Brakas, Monkey Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 3 | Scale 2/2 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1200 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 2
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, if you draw a card(s), except during your Draw Phase: You can banish that card(s); draw 1 more card.
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[ Monster Effect ]
If this card is sent to the GY: You can place 1 “Rahi” card in your Deck on top of your Deck. If this card is banished: You can draw 1 card. You can only use 1 “Brakas, Monkey Rahi” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Brakas, meanwhile, is more of an afterthought with effects that revolve around drawing cards. It’s actually an outdated reference to the old version of Matau that also drew cards, because for some reason Matau’s staff is named “Kau Kau” after the sound Brakas make.

My first overarching observation on these cards is that they include some really important tools for the current Level 3 Pendulum lineup that’s all about GY and banishing – Mahi goes without saying, Hapaka is an easy extender, and the Ussal provides multiple forms of revival in one card. Brakas exists, I guess. However, that playstyle cannot actually be realized to its full potential with only Beast Rahi: The cards you’re supposed to use for banishing are the Level 2 Rahi handtraps (which also require banishing a Rahi from GY), and none of those are present in this Type. So if the old strategy is to be kept alive, which I’d kind of like because Level 3 + GY is a match made in heaven and keeps getting support, any change to these cards restricting them to a dedicated Beast Rahi deck is going to be a bit difficult.

Level 4

Fusa, Kangaroo Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1600 / DEF 1300

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
If a card in your Pendulum Zone is destroyed: You can place 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck in your Pendulum Zone. You can only use this effect of “Fusa, Kangaroo Rahi” once per turn. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●Your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated during the Battle Phase.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Fusa, like all the current Level 4 Pendulums, Special Summons itself from the Pendulum Zone to an empty field and grants an effect – in this case a Battle Phase effect lock – to any Synchro using it as material. It also replaces another destroyed Pendulum Scale with a Rahi from the Extra Deck, which is part of a little destruction-based subtheme that never really went anywhere.

Vako, Rhino Rahi

Pendulum Effect MonsterLevel 4 | Scale 5/5 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1900 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 5
[ Pendulum Effect ]
Once per turn, if a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: You can add 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your GY to your hand. If you control no monsters: You can Special Summon this card from your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Monster Effect ]
A Synchro Monster that was Summoned using this card as Synchro Material gains this effect.
●If this card attacks or is attacked: Draw 1 card and reveal it, then if it was a “Rahi” monster, you can discard it, and if you do, this card gains ATK equal to half the discarded monster’s ATK until the end of this turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

The Vako, meanwhile, is very battle-focused, with a recycling Pendulum Effect that triggers when a Rahi wins battle and a Synchro-granted effect to draw and boost ATK when battling.

Unlike the Level 3s, I’d have absolutely no qualm redesigning these to suit a more xenophobic Beast strategy. Both of their effects strongly suggest such a Deck would be focused on primitive beatdown, which does sound quite thematically fitting as well.

Synchros

Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 8 | EARTH Beast | ATK 3000 / DEF 2500

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
At the start of the Battle Phase: You can destroy all face-up or all face-down Spell/Trap Cards on the field, then this card gains 500 ATK for each of your cards destroyed this way, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Mata Nui Cow, Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | EARTH Beast | ATK 1800 / DEF 2400

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned: You can destroy Spell/Trap Cards on the field, up to the number of “Rahi” monsters you control. If this card is sent from the field to the GY: Add 1 Level 4 or lower “Rahi” monster from your GY to your hand.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

I put these two up together because they both, without any dedicated planning I remember, provide the same service that definitely helps do unga bunga stuff unhindered: Spell/Trap removal. The big Kuma-Nui more or less destroys them all while boosting its own ATK if any of your own cards get hit, and the smaller Mata Nui Cow selectively destroys a few with the extra benefit of giving you a Rahi back to hand later. The Cow’s effects are actually referencing the old effects of Pohatu and Gali (whose parts it is built from), so in the latest version it actually would have to do Spell/Trap destruction and monster negation instead …

Normal Pendulums

Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 3/3 | EARTH Beast | ATK 2600 / DEF 2300

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. While you control exactly 1 “Rahi” monster (and no other face-up monsters), that monster gains 1000 ATK and cannot be destroyed by card effects.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Surprisingly, the Kane-Ra Bull is not a herd animal. Unlike some beasts, it does not require others of its kind for protection.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Muaka, Tiger Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 8/8 | WATER Beast | ATK 2800 / DEF 1900

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. If a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: Gain LP equal to the destroyed monster’s original ATK.
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[ Flavor Text ]
This Rahi relies primarily on its claws when hunting. Sinking them into its prey, it forces the unfortunate victim to the ground and then finishes the job with its teeth. The Muaka will then carry its kill off to a nearby lair.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

These two are currently the most targeted Beast Rahi support available, in the sense that their standard Pendulum Effects require being paired up with another Level 7 Beast (i.e., each other). Their unique effects, again, suggest beatdown. The Kane-Ra significantly buffs a Rahi as long as you control no other monsters, which is a rather specific requirement that could certainly be built around if it stays, and the Muaka rewards you for destroying monsters by battle with LP heals, which … could stand to be more useful, honestly.

Potential Members

Before even looking at the data, there’s a few things I’m specifically interested in based on the existing cards we looked at so far: Candidates for Level 2 handtraps, more Rahi with combat-related traits, and some Beasts that aren’t EARTH.

Actually setting the filter reveals a whopping 27 lines with Beast appearing anywhere in the Type suggestions. Sadly only 2 are Level 2, but there’s always some flexibility with Levels, so no reason to lose hope just yet. More promising is that only 11 of them have EARTH as the only possible Attribute, so the remaining 16 can provide much-needed variety across all the others.

We won’t know about how well they lend themselves to beatdown without looking at the individual creatures, so let’s get right into it. Once again keeping in mind that Level estimates are far from an exact science, it’s probably still not bad to proceed in order of approximate size.

Level 4 and below

The smallest Beasts on record are actually closely related: Lava Rats and Stone Rats, estimated at Level 2 and thus a perfect fit for those missing handtrap Rahi, should we keep that concept. Lava Rats (which appear in Tales of the Masks, possibly earning them a slot in the current expansion BPEV) have the unique ability to set themselves on fire and emerge unharmed, while Stone Rats will just chew through everything up to and including solid rocksbrother – both of these could probably be translated into useful quick effects that maybe even interact with battle somehow.

Slightly larger rodents at Level 3 are the Kinloka, a Kanoka-slinging Stone Rat on steroids, and the Ice Vermin, pack hunters capable of producing Rhotuka. It’s very interesting that both of them happen to feature the launcher gimmick of their respective years, because I have plans on how to integrate those into effects: Kanoka work by manipulating counters to perform actions based on the various powers found in the disks, while Rhotuka reflect the unique abilities each being can imbue into generic energy wheels by having appropriate effects on the monsters themselves that chain to the activation of some basic Rhotuka Spell. So these two Rahi would do something along those lines, already making them quite different from the Level 3s we’ve had so far.

Also at Level 3, we have the Archives Mole, a creature known for excellent cooperation, the Rock Ussal variant, and the Colony Drones that work as slaves under the Visorak. The Drones are part of the Visorak ecosystem contained in the DARK Insect typing, but as unwitting slaves and obvious non-Insects, they are instead LIGHT Beasts (or maybe Beast-Warriors, given the humanoid shape) – most likely we can disregard them for a Beast Rahi deck since they more or less have a home over there. The Rock Ussal is said to be more aggressive than the regular Ussal, so that’s convenient for the intended beatdown playstyle, though the same can’t be said for the peaceful and passive Moles. Maybe those should rather take on an utility role like the regular Ussal.

For the final Level 3 and the first Level 4, we have the VNOG all-stars Gafna and Burnak. I confidently noted these down as Pendulums because how can they not be when they form an iconic pair, and the other interesting aspect is that they each come in a wide array of elemental varieties. There’s two ways I could go about this: Either make several Gafna and Burnak cards that constitute a deck of their own, or make just one each for the regular Beast pool and give them some kind of Attribute manipulation gimmick. I’m strongly leaning towards the latter because there’s no way making 10+ cards for palette swaps of webgame enemies is going to be worth it.

The Crystal Climber is an interesting case because one of its notable traits, namely that it feeds on Ice Bats, suggests an out-of-Type interaction with those. Not really a problem, since I don’t want to make these sub-archetypes too xenophobic anyway (it should be more “Beast Rahi work significantly better when played with other Beast Rahi” than “you cannot play Beast Rahi with non-Beast Rahi”), and that kind of thing would probably only be a subtle interaction.

The Kavinika is a plain and simple wolf Rahi, so that shouldn’t be hard to fit into an aggressive strategy, and the energy-tracking Energy Hounds are one of the easiest imaginable excuses to make a searcher for … something. Finally, the Shallows Cat is a smaller relative of the Muaka that should obviously be played alongside its large Normal Pendulum counterpart.

Level 5 and 6

This range houses Rahi that seem just a little too massive or powerful to play among the low-level fodder, but also aren’t quite up there at boss status. For example, the Archives Beast as a large transforming ambush predator and the Kraawa as a pacifistic creature that absorbs energy and grows in size would fit in here, but both of those might be more at home in the DARK Rahi theme.

From the Rahi Beasts encyclopedia, possible additions to this section of the lineup include

  • the Blade Burrowers, who dig tunnels in a familiar pattern that could even justify linking them to some end-of-story stuff in gameplay. Potentially even higher-level since they’re stated to be very powerful, even if it’s not really evident in their known abilities or story appearances.
    • the Fader Bulls, who teleport away from danger (not always with beneficial results) and so would probably get some kind of temporary self-banishing quick effect. Could be WIND-Attribute as well, since it vanishes “into thin air”.
    • the Rock Raptors, aggressive and territorial creatures who hunt with rockslides. Based on their name, they could also be Dinosaur- or Rock-Type (the latter of which could be used to group them with Spiny Stone Apes, who share their habitat). Curiously, the combiner representing this Rahi has a Rhotuka launcher, but no Rhotuka power is mentioned anywhere.

With regards to the good old beatdown strategy, the most solid idea I’m getting out of these is that the Fader Bull could sneak its way into attacking twice if it can banish itself and come back in the span of a single Battle Phase, which sounds pretty fun to pull off. Also, getting it off the field temporarily could turn the Kane-Ra buff on if exactly one other monster is left behind.

On Voya Nui, there’s the Lava Ape, best known for blocking that one bridge at the start of VNOG, and the carnivorous Mud Crawlers, not really known at all because they were just described briefly. Both of those could be pretty much anything, I guess, and at the very least the big unga bunga gorilla falls perfectly in line with what is planned so far.

Level 7 and 8

For the large Beasts, we have the Ash Bears, who indeed have no notable traits outside being big, but hey, one of them was in Mask of Light. That particular specimen named Graalok was closely associated with Lewa, which might justify a WIND Attribute to break up the EARTH monotony, but it’s kind of a stretch.

A very interesting one is the Kikanalo, a large herd Rahi with an unusually well documented place in its ecosystem. That implies, on the one hand, a subtle out-of-Type interaction with the Catapult Scorpions, who leave the Kikanalo alone because they help them get food, and on the other a perfectly fine in-Type interaction with the Kane-Ra, who form joint herds with them. Never mind the fact that the card design on Kane-Ra is entirely based on it NOT being a herd animal. Maybe I’ll have to go a little less hard on that idea to accomodate this little contradiction in the lore.

The previously mentioned Spiny Stone Apes actually play into this ecosystem as well, since they act as protectors for the Rock Raptors who prey on both Kikanalo and Kane-Ra. By the name, this one could also be a Rock monster, but all the possible interactions with the other Beasts of Metru Nui are a pretty good argument against that.

Speaking of things that could be Rocks, the Rock Lion could be a FIRE monster for either Type due to its white-hot mane … wait, did Bionicle invent Leonite 15 years in advance? Well, anyway, assuming the other rocky names remain as Beasts, this one probably will too, in which case it’s another decent boss monster to have.

The Arthaka Bulls are legendary Rahi who seemingly can’t decide if they’d rather be a centaur or a minotaur, and since they are known for their intelligence, they could be the part of the boss monster lineup that enables some trickery in addition to the usual beatdown. The wiki also (without a source) says something about an Arthaka Bull possibly guarding the Blade Burrower map under Metru Nui, so that suggests synergy in another direction.

And finally, we close this section with another legend, the Key to Nongu Keetongu. This wise biomechanical Sasquatch could totally be a Beast following the precedent set by Danger! Bigfoot!, and with his main quality being healing powers he also represents a more defensive departure from the core strategy. However, with a Rhotuka that can fire back the force of what he blocks, it’s not hard to see how that defense could be put in service of further offense.

Level 12

At the apex of beastly creatures stands none other than the largest land Rahi ever seen on Metru Nui, the posterchild of the book so aptly titled “Rahi Beasts”: The Tahtorak.

Any Synchro archetype should have a giant boss to bring out in a hype way by climbing up to a super high Level, and the kaiju-sized Tahtorak is easily the most suited to fill this role for the Beast Rahi. So with that we already have the initial parameters that it’s a Synchro Monster, somewhere in the 10-12 range (I’d go with 12 because the comparatively tiny Manas are already at 10), and probably an Accel Synchro requiring Synchro monsters as its materials. If it’s Level 12, precedent suggests it should even require 2 non-Tuner Synchros, but that precedent consists entirely of a few specific boss monsters from 5D’s, so maybe we can just ignore it. These days, there’s even plenty Level 12 Synchros that work with regular materials, so that’s always a possibility too. And probably way smarter if we end up keeping the gimmick for the Level 4 Pendulum Monsters as granting effects to Synchros made with them.

Doing that kind of climb consistently, of course, requires significant combo potential, so that has to be kept in mind with all the smaller Beasts. Furthermore, the Tahtorak appears in the story before the Visorak, so it would presumably be released in the same set as the Toa Metru and predate all the support from Rahi Beasts (which would either come out with the Visorak, or in a separate expansion pack if it’s too much), which means the combo already needs to be in place by that point. With 18 Beasts on the spreadsheet up to and including the Metru Nui set BCOL, that should be doable.

So what does it do once it comes out? Well, this thing boasts mainly brute strength and a thick hide, so after going through all the combo what we end up with is once again good old unga bunga beatdown. The Tahtorak’s abilities are that it’s big, has some significant form of protection, and can probably do something like attack multiple times or blow up stuff on the field. Just apply enough of these ingredients to make it a legitimate win condition, and the strategy all comes together.

Conclusions

Since this is the first of the Type-based posts, I’d like to start with a general thought on this method of dividing up Rahi that I hadn’t considered before doing such a detailed analysis. That is, I now doubt a very strict split into Types is going to work for the low-level Rahi – with basic utility effects like the Mahi’s, that would mean either not letting some Types have access to it, or making a version for every single Type. Neither sounds like a very good idea, so going forward we should probably operate under the assumption that different Rahi decks are going to feature some shared lineup of generic utility Rahi, and then go for the Type specialization with the rest of their Main Deck and especially the bosses in the Extra Deck. If possible and thematically fitting enough, we could even make it so these generic Rahi come from otherwise rare Types, so they’re “equally out of place” in all the major strategies.

Another thing to keep in mind is the linear nature of time, as a consequence of which some Rahi will be released significantly earlier than others depending on which part of the story they come from. For the Beast-Types in particular, that means you won’t actually have access to the final win condition (Tahtorak) until BCOL, and the biggest bosses before that are just Muaka, Kane-Ra, Kuma-Nui, and Ash Bears. So there’s a bit of a balancing act in making sure the cards that set up those also work for the stuff released later, ideally while still achieving some degree of playability as long as the sub-archetype is still in an incomplete state. At the same time, a significant number of these cards come after the Tahtorak, so even at the time of BCOL, there should still be some spots left open to be filled with later support. All in all, going to be a bit tricky to figure out.

The next thing that struck my eye is that there are a few more tightly knit groups to be found even within the Type. For example, looking at the Metru Nui rodents (Lava Rat, Stone Rat, Kinloka, Ice Vermin), there’s a few notable connections centered on the Stone Rats in particular: Lava Rats have almost the same name, Kinloka are explicitly similar to them, and Ice Vermin fought them for territory after the Great Cataclysm (this also involved Kavinika, if we look beyond rodents). So something like a “rat engine” using intentional synergies between all of those could legitimately end up happening.

The other major group is the ecosystem of Kikanalo, Kane-Ra, Rock Raptors, and Spiny Stone Apes. I think the most interesting thing is that all of these are somewhat large, so if we were to go the route of Accel Synchro Tahtorak, these might very well be the combo-focused Synchro Monsters that bring it out. Well, except for the Kane-Ra, which is already a Normal Pendulum whose conditional buff is probably also going to be a significant design factor over here.

Finally, there’s some stray pairs such as Blade Burrowers and the Arthaka Bull that guards their tunnels, or Voya Nui’s Gafna and Burnak, but I’m not too sure what to do with those yet.

In any case, the overall strategy Beast Rahi will gravitate towards as more become available is building up into individual large boss monsters – of which there is no shortage at Level 7 and above – ultimately culminating in the giant Tahtorak and winning the game quickly through beatdown. Everything else should just help you do that more consistently or provide you with outs to various methods your opponent could be using to keep you from doing that.

Designer’s Quip: Rahi in the DARK

As the first part of a series investigating different ways to group the many, many Rahi that appear in Bionicle lore, we look at those that could be given the DARK Attribute – signifying either an especially close connection to their Makuta creators or some other aspect of their nature that makes them best described as a creature of darkness.

See also:

Current Members

At the time of this writing, exactly one DARK Rahi has been implemented – the Manas, monster crabs most notable for acting as the guardians of Makuta’s lair in the 2001 story.

Manas, Monstrous Crab Rahi

Effect MonsterLevel 10 | DARK Aqua | ATK 3200 / DEF 2600

Cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn, if a Spell/Trap Card is activated: This card gains 800 ATK until the end of this turn. During your Standby Phase: Return this Special Summoned card to your hand.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

This card is functionally the boss of the Normal Pendulum series of Rahi based on the large sets from that year, though it may seem a little underwhelming, being just a big beatstick with solid protection. Now the fact that it already belongs to a fairly well-established group that I would also like to keep intact speaks against the Manas playing a role in a deck built around DARK Rahi, but maybe it’s possible to set things up so that it fits in both.

Potential Members

A superficial evaluation of the unimplemented Rahi that have DARK among their potential Attributes shows that Insect is easily the most common Type, occuring no less than 13 times – half of the 26 lines in the filter. The remainder is spread quite thinly across a great variety of Types: Aqua, Beast, Beast-Warrior, Dinosaur, Dragon, Fish, Reptile, Rock, Winged Beast, and Zombie.

In terms of Levels, 11 of these Rahi are suggested to be Level 4 or lower, another 11 range from Level 5 to 7, and the last 4 are major bosses at Levels 11 and 12. 8-10 are vacant, but as mentioned in the initial overview, these Level estimates shouldn’t be taken too exactly.

DARK Insects

So what’s the deal with those exactly? One of the most standout names on this list are the Visorak, a subset of Rahi who are sure to get a theme entirely to themselves as the main antagonists of the 2005 storyline. While my primary plan for them so far has been to do the usual thing with color-coded villain squads and spread them across the FIRE/WATER/EARTH/WIND Attributes, I noted down the secondary option of making them all DARK because a) their specific powers aren’t really all that elemental and b) they literally serve the Brotherhood of Makuta, an organizations of beings that are all about darkness.

A further argument in support of the DARK Insect Visorak plan is the significant amount of cards adjacent to the horde that could also be fit into that typing. Not only the Venom Flyers who support them in the air, the Gate Guardians who … guard their gates …, and their ultimate weapon Zivon, but also their relatives, the Silver Chute Spiders, and their nocturnal predators, the Metru Mantis. Almost the entire Visorak ecosystem is included within the category of DARK Insect, which would allow for some nice thematic interactions via support cards addressing that category rather than specifically the Visorak archetype. Also, Inzektor synergy sounds cool.

That just leaves a handful of potential DARK Insect Rahi that have nothing to do with Visorak. For examples, the Archives Beast really only fits into DARK as a non-elemental predator that strikes from the shadows, and could be an Insect to go with its powers of mimicry (common among insects). The “Worms” that appear in exactly one maybe-canon fan story meant to explain why there are Bohrok in the Maze of Shadows game (I’m probably not actually implementing those, but who knows) and the Subterranean Worm are victims of a recurring classification issue – by Yugioh precedent, regular old worms would be assigned the Insect Type, but it doesn’t seem very fitting for the various worm Rahi. So while these two examples could be DARK Insects, I’d probably rather go with alternate options, making the Bohrok-controlling Worms Zombies (to match the Krana) and the subterranean one a Reptile (because it really resembles the Duel Terminal alien “Worms” more than the worms we have in reality). A more convincing random Insect is the Niazesk, which I would make DARK since it’s a venomous pest on a special mission assigned by the Makuta.

Two more DARK Insect candidates can be found on Voya Nui: The Fenrakk Spawn have a few reasons for being DARK – they fit in with the Visorak as fellow spiders, they are described as “monstrous” just like the Manas, and the mutated Fenrakk ridden by Vezon would be nice to have as DARK to suit its status as part of the year’s final boss and to provide convenient setup for the Kardas Dragon (more on that below). The Protodax retains its Insect status from the microscopic Protodites, but could be DARK to signify its “monstrous” nature and hostile demeanor. Having too many DARK Ignika guardians could feel a bit redundant, though, so I’m not too sure about that one. The Spine Slug could be an Insect just like the various worms, but I’m leaning more towards Aqua or Reptile with that one.

To summarize, DARK Insect Rahi is a group that will most likely mainly consist of the Visorak and related Rahi, with some potential bits of legacy support in later years. The various worms and the Archive Beast make it possible that some members show up even earlier, but don’t count on it.

Rahi Nui and the Normal Pendulums

I’m trademarking that band name, by the way.

This section right here is probably the one with the most immediate significance out of all the Rahi planning, because its centerpiece, the Rahi Nui, will get its first release in the BPEV expansions at some point in 2023. This giant beast is described as a mashup of Tarakava, Kane-Ra, Muaka, Nui-Jaga, and Nui-Rama – those Rahi that came out as large sets in 2001 and were adapted as Normal Pendulums in BCOR. There could not be a more obvious successor to the previously shown Manas as the boss monster of that group.

Before rambling on, here’s a quick primer on what’s up with these Normal Pendulum Rahi.

Insect

Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 5 | Scale 3/3 | WIND Insect | ATK 1800 / DEF 1700

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 5 Insect “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. You can target 1 “Rahi” monster you control; Special Summon 1 “Rahi” monster with the same Type and a lower or equal Level from your Deck, but it cannot attack this turn. You can only use this effect of “Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi” once per turn.
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[ Flavor Text ]
A harsh buzz fills the air…a rustle of wings…a dark shape flying out of the sun…the warning signs of a Nui-Rama attack.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Nui-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 5 | Scale 8/8 | EARTH Insect | ATK 2300 / DEF 700

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 5 Insect “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn: You can add 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster in your Extra Deck to your hand, then destroy 1 card in your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Nui-Jaga commonly hunt in packs, which helps to make up for the fact that they are not very fast. One of the creatures will drive prey forward, usually into a canyon, where others wait to strike. Once the target is surrounded, the Nui-Jaga will call to each other. Their cries have been compared to the sound of glass breaking.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Nui-Kopen, Wasp Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 6 | WIND Insect | ATK 2100 / DEF 2000

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; excavate cards from the top of your Deck until you excavate a “Rahi” monster, then, if that monster’s ATK is higher than the target’s, send all excavated cards to the GY and take control of the target until the End Phase. Otherwise, Special Summon that monster and shuffle the remaining cards into the Deck.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)
Reptile

Tarakava, Lizard Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 6 | Scale 3/3 | WATER Reptile | ATK 2600 / DEF 1200

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 6 Reptile “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. When an opponent’s monster declares a direct attack: You can destroy this card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 face-up “Rahi” Pendulum Monster from your Extra Deck.
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[ Flavor Text ]
The first thing to remember about Tarakava is that even if you can’t see them, they are always there.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Sand Tarakava, Lizard Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 6 | Scale 8/8 | EARTH Reptile | ATK 2300 / DEF 1800

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 6 Reptile “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 “Rahi” Pendulum Monster you control; place that target in your Pendulum Zone.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Sand Tarakava are slightly smaller than their Tarakava relatives. Their hunting method is to hide under the sand and wait for unsuspecting prey to come near.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Tarakava-Nui, Lizard King Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 7 | WATER Reptile | ATK 2900 / DEF 0

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
You can target 1 monster your opponent controls; this card loses 1000 ATK, and if it does, shuffle that target into the Deck. You can only Special Summon “Tarakava-Nui, Lizard King Rahi(s)” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)
Beast

Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 3/3 | EARTH Beast | ATK 2600 / DEF 2300

Pendulum Scale = 3
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, your opponent’s cards and effects cannot be activated in response to the Pendulum Summon of a “Rahi” monster. While you control exactly 1 “Rahi” monster (and no other face-up monsters), that monster gains 1000 ATK and cannot be destroyed by card effects.
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[ Flavor Text ]
Surprisingly, the Kane-Ra Bull is not a herd animal. Unlike some beasts, it does not require others of its kind for protection.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Muaka, Tiger Rahi

Normal Pendulum MonsterLevel 7 | Scale 8/8 | WATER Beast | ATK 2800 / DEF 1900

Pendulum Scale = 8
[ Pendulum Effect ]
While you have a Level 7 Beast “Rahi” Pendulum Monster Card in your other Pendulum Zone, cards in your Pendulum Zones cannot be destroyed by your opponent’s card effects. If a “Rahi” monster you control destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: Gain LP equal to the destroyed monster’s original ATK.
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[ Flavor Text ]
This Rahi relies primarily on its claws when hunting. Sinking them into its prey, it forces the unfortunate victim to the ground and then finishes the job with its teeth. The Muaka will then carry its kill off to a nearby lair.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi

Synchro Effect MonsterLevel 8 | EARTH Beast | ATK 3000 / DEF 2500

1 “Rahi” Tuner + 1+ non-Tuner monsters
At the start of the Battle Phase: You can destroy all face-up or all face-down Spell/Trap Cards on the field, then this card gains 500 ATK for each of your cards destroyed this way, until the end of this turn. You can only use this effect of “Kuma-Nui, Rat Rahi” once per turn.

Bionicle: Challenge of the Rahi (v3.15.5)

These are actually one of the main reasons I started thinking about splitting Rahi into Type-based groups, because that’s already how they work – each of Insect, Reptile, and Beast has a pair of 3/8 Normal Pendulum Scales with the same Level, and a Synchro monster (based on related combiners) that is one Level higher. Beyond this basic structure, they also all share Pendulum Effects that make it so your scales can’t be destroyed and your Pendulum Summons can’t be stopped if you pair them up correctly. Finally, the DARK Manas was meant to top off this package as the large man™ you make by Tributing all your Pendulum Summoned fodder.

The Rahi Nui will also be DARK (kind of a no-brainer when it literally lives in the Place of Shadow), but instead of a large main deck monster it’s going to be the first (and maybe only) Rahi Fusion, as is only fitting for this kind of Frankenstein combination. Without giving away too much of my already fairly specific plans for its effect, I will say that it’s going to 1) interact with both Rahi Normal Monsters and DARK Rahi to simplify its summoning, 2) take on the Types (and maybe Attributes?) of whatever Rahi are used as its material, and 3) provide a way to cheat out matching Synchros. Point 2 is why I have its Type noted as Dinosaur rather than something that fits its canon components – would be a waste to overlap with those, after all. I guess something like Fiend would work even better since it appears nowhere else in the spreadsheet, but I kind of want to keep that one reserved for the Makuta themselves.

With regards to point 1, it’s worth taking another look at the possibly Insect-Type Subterranean Worm, because that one is also planned for BPEV and in fact originates from the exact same novel. If DARK Rahi help bring out the Rahi Nui more easily, it probably would be good to have more than just the Manas, so putting one into the Extra Deck as a Synchro would really boost accessibility. In that case, the Rahi Nui synergy should also be kept in mind for the choice of its Type, though at this point in time I’m not sure of how that impacts it.

There’s also a second Rahi Nui card representing its more powerful original form planned, but that one isn’t until the Metru Nui story, so it’s going to be a while before it comes up.

And the Rest

The remaining Rahi which I noted with the DARK Attribute for one reason or another don’t have all that much to do with each other, so let’s just go over them in order real quick:

  • Kardas was created from a mutated specimen of the Fenrakk Spawn we already saw in the DARK Insect section, so if that is DARK, so is this. Intuitively it makes more sense to have it be FIRE, what with being born in a pool of lava, but there’s already a large Dragon Rahi with a much stronger claim to that Attribute: the Kanohi Dragon. Besides, DARK Dragon is a conveniently well-supported typing on the Yugioh side of things, and some of those also look quite fiery.
  • Krahka is a shapeshifter and therefore pretty hard to classify, but for its Attribute I’d either pick EARTH because it lives underground or DARK because shapeshifting is a “dark magic” kind of power. Similarly, assigning a Type to something that can take various forms is hard, and I just went with Psychic for its supernatural abilites. Having such an unusual Type might be convenient for Rahi Nui reasons … except it won’t help you with the “cheating Rahi out from the Extra Deck” part because no other Rahi has it. Hmmm.
  • Nivawk qualifies for the DARK Attribute by virtue of closeness to Makuta, being pretty much a personal pet. And Winged Beast is actually a Type missing from the Normal Pendulums that the Rahi Nui could put to good use.
  • The Kraawa acts like a black hole with its limitless energy absorption, and so into DARK it goes. Beast is also a decent Type to have represented.
  • The Dark Hunter Minion could technically be a Rahi, though I’m probably not going to go that route. If I did, though, he’d fill the niche of a DARK Beast-Warrior, which is again a Type not really common among Rahi.
  • The Archives Beast was already mentioned as a potential Insect for its mimicry, but could also be a Beast for … you get one guess. However, that’s a bit redundant with the Kraawa, and it’s not like there’s going to be a critical mass of DARK Beasts either way.
  • Energy Hounds could be either LIGHT or DARK since their main ability is “tracking energy”, but I’m leaning more towards LIGHT.
  • The Makuta Fish would be DARK for no deeper reason than it’s name (which is itself kind of a problem because it would be part of the Makuta archetype), but if implemented this way, that would also check off the Fish Type. And since it first appears in Tales of the Masks, it could actually come out together with the Rahi Nui in BPEV.
  • The Spine Slug, a parasite that feeds on the rage of Skakdi, can only be DARK on account of its ability, but as a Slug it’s in a similar ambigouous place as worms when it comes to Type. Aqua and Insect both work, but I almost think Reptile might be the best choice because my current plans make the Piraka (and therefore all Skakdi) Reptiles as well.
  • The Mountain of Xia is a giga-scale Rahi that would be a giant boss monster of the unique DARK Rock typing. Unless I go real fancy and make it a Field Spell …
  • Cliff Screecher and Necrofinch are two DARK Winged Beasts with wonderfully edgy death-related traits, the former being a lich in mythology and a sadistic bastard in reality and the latter somehow continuing to sing after death. Both of these would be good additions as small Rahi with interesting abilities.
  • The Night Creeper is a one-off mention of a nocturnal Rahi that could fill the role of a mid-sized DARK Reptile, if needed.
  • A hybrid of a Rahi and a Shadow Matoran that would be a DARK Beast-Warrior in place of Minion.

What becomes clear from all these examples is that DARK Rahi don’t really take off until Metru Nui, but from there on there’s consistent opportunities for support – mostly Insects, but also others. What they’re missing is a dedicated boss monster, since the Zivon is more for Visorak specifically and The Mountain would be strange (but not technically impossible) to have in such a central role. Maybe the ease of Rahi Nui access is enough to make up for that, especially considering the stronger original form that isn’t directly reflected in the spreadsheet …

Designer’s Quip: The Shapes and Sizes of Rahi

So, uh, Rahi. There’s a lot of them. I tried putting just the ones from Mata Nui into an archetype back in BCOR, and even after the sheer amount of cards forced me to spread them over several design concepts you can mix and match, it ended up as a bit of a mess. My current plan to (eventually) improve on this involves introducing a clearer division based on Types and maybe Attributes, which would enable more focused deckbuilding and support.

Rahi were pretty much present throughout the entire story taking place in and around the Matoran Universe, so there will frequently be new ones for many expansions to come. That means I need to be careful to not design myself into a corner, especially if the overhaul is going to put the cards into more specific niches. Hence the point of this post: Taking a look at all the Rahi on record and determining which Monster Card properties they should get!

… It may be a bit silly to refer to this one as a “quip”.

The Raw Data

Based on the Rahi page on BS01, I have put together a spreadsheet outlining how I imagine all these critters would work as cards.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1rbmHNEC0MVAyZotXg8HlXebirKiDcIXudsqRERQYHpM/edit?usp=sharing

The Raw sheet lists them in descending order of relevance (ranging from those that got mainline sets or were central to the story all the way down to those Greg Farshtey made up on the spot to describe some noise), while the Stats sheet counts the prevalence of a few different categories.

Since Types and Attributes are often not entirely clear-cut, I’ve left myself the freedom of picking up to three choices per Rahi for these properties, ranked in order of preference.

Observations

Let’s begin by making some broad statements based on aggregate statistics. Of the 166 Rahi considered, 44 have already been implemented in expansions up to and including BBTS. Since anything with a relevance of 2 or below is somewhat unlikely to ever be implemented, we can stick with the 127 above that treshold and say we’re about a third of the way through (though some already implemented Rahi are from the lower relevance levels). Looking at these numbers, a fully realized Rahi archetype would easily be one of the largest in the game, which just reinforces that it’s probably a good idea to split it up a bit.

But how to split it? A look towards the Attribute and Type distributions provides some hints. With regards to the former, we can see that most Rahi are EARTH or WATER, a significantly lower number are FIRE or WIND, and even fewer LIGHT or DARK. However, DARK has an especially large difference between the count of Rahi that could be DARK and the count of Rahi that I would preferrably make DARK – meaning it’s often considered as an alternate option. Given the Rahi’s status as creations of the DARK Makuta, I somewhat like the idea of giving that Attribute a special role in the archetype and have them form their own distinct type of deck together.

For everything else though, my preferred method of organization would be by Types. In a nice parallel to EARTH and WATER, two of the most prevalent Types are Beast and Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent (they already share so much support, might as well count them together), along with Insect. Reptile and Winged Beast are smaller, but still major groups, and then everything else just contains a few outliers each.

Another division that’s already in use to some extent is the one by Levels, but in the making of this list it became apparent that assigning Rahi a Level based on their size is a pretty approximate affair, and really just about any Level 4 could also convincingly be Level 3, for example. So it might be better to leave the exact decision up to gameplay considerations.

That gives us a few specific groups of Rahi to examine in detail. When I started writing this, the plan was to go over them all right away, but out of consideration for what is left of my and my readers’ sanity, I have now decided to split them up into separate posts.

The links can be found here once they’re done:

  • DARK Rahi
  • Beast Rahi
  • Aqua/Fish/Sea Serpent Rahi
  • Insect Rahi
  • Reptile Rahi
  • Winged Beast Rahi
  • Type Leftovers
  • Ambush Predators

Designer’s Quip: Rahi, Rahi Everywhere

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but the Rahi archetype from BCOR is in a bit of a weird spot design-wise, since I never really got it into a state I’m totally happy with. It’s therefore pretty high on the list of things that might need an overhaul in the future. But until that happens, they’re pretty much a hodgepodge of not entirely thought-out themes and mechanics, and right now I’d like to point out something interesting that emerged from that without much planning on my part.

Pictured above are examples of the three most commonplace variations Rahi come in: Level 4 Pendulum Monsters who can Special Summon themselves from the Pendulum Zone and give effects when used as Synchro Material, Level 3 Pendulum Monsters with effects that trigger when going to the GY or getting banished, and Level 2 Tuners with handtrap effects that require banishing themselves plus a Rahi in the GY. The bottom line here is: Their gameplan involves them appearing in and moving between just about every location the game has (except non-Pendulum S/T Zones).

Why do I feel the need to highlight this? Because, if you think about it, it matches up perfectly with the way all the various non-civilized creatures known as “Rahi” inhabit every nook and cranny of the Matoran Universe. So I’m seriously considering keeping it around as a central point when the eventual redesign happens, even though Pendulum Monsters and GY effects in particular sounds like a somewhat moronic combination. With a bit of streamlining and proper balance considerations, I imagine this gimmick could be a lot of fun.

Theme Guide: Rahi (BBTS)

The Bohrok invasion also introduced some new Rahi into the story, because the designers came up with a bunch of combiners and had nothing better to do with them. This means the Rahi archetype experiences a bit of growth in this expansion.

For the Level 4 group (Remember: Special Summon themselves from the Pendulum Zone, grant effects when used as Synchro Material), there are two new additions.

The Waikiru is a creature with two sides in multiple ways: Slow on land but quick in the water, and docile at rest but aggressive when threatened. It changes much like monsters change their battle positions, so that’s the theme for this Rahi’s effects. A Synchro monster summoned with it gains a position-changing Quick Effect, and in the Pendulum Zone it grants appropriate buffs to your monsters when their battle position changes.

The Ghekula, natural enemy of the Bog Snake, is entirely built to be a counter to that exact Rahi from BCOR (which had effect damage as its gimmick), granting a Synchro Monster the ability to effectively redirect effect damage you take to your opponent. And if you don’t want to wait for your opponent to damage you, the Pendulum Effect provides a good source of damage as well.

A battle between Ghekula and Bog Snake, captured in the wild (little known fact: swamps have wooden floors)

The Level 3s with the banish/GY triggers get 3 new members.

The Infernavika is a small bird that protects itself from predators by hiding among streams of lava, and thus has a Pendulum Effect that can cause battles to take place in an environment hostile to all but FIRE monsters. The attribute theming continues with its effect when sent to the GY, which complements the Daikau, Ussal, and Kewa from BCOR by reviving a FIRE monster, and when banished, it can deftly escape to the Extra Deck while banishing the top card of your Deck in its place.

Serving as a steed to Matoran in the battle against the Bohrok swarms, the Keras helps out your small monsters with both its Pendulum Effect (aiding them in battle for an ATK boost) and its GY effect (carrying them across difficult terrain to protect against effects). The remaining effect that triggers when banished is anti-Bohrok rather than pro-Matoran, but still derives from the same idea.

Perhaps the most notable addition is the Hapaka, a Rahi used to safeguard flocks of other Rahi. Accordingly, its Pendulum Effect boosts the DEF of Rahi and prevents their destruction, but the more interesting part is the GY effect, or lack thereof. Instead, it has a Special Summoning procedure from hand or GY by “guarding” another small Rahi. And when banished, including as a result of its own summoning condition, it will return “stray” (banished) Rahi to the “herd” (GY).

Finally, there are two new Level 2 Tuners, both of them coincidentally birds.

The Pokawi disorient enemies by moving quickly in great numbers, so its effect weakens your opponent’s monsters in proportion to how many Rahi you have gathered up in the banished “zone”. Mata Nui Fishing Birds have a habit of swooping in to annoy larger predators and then escaping again, which I translated into a “swoopy” (if that makes sense) temporary banishment effect that includes an extra reward if used against large monsters.

Conclusion

These new cards mostly focus on fitting the available tidbits of lore on these Rahi into the established frameworks of the archetype from BCOR, so while they do introduce some new gimmicks and options, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any real change in terms of the overall playstyle. The possible exception is the Hapaka, which actually does break with the framework a bit and introduces an entirely new way to get a Level 3 Rahi on the field. But given the myriad of unpredictable deckbuilding options Rahi have in their current wonky state of design, it probably isn’t even feasible for me to conduct enough tests to confidently confirm or deny this assessment.

Anyway, the BBTS release includes not only a sample deck featuring all of the new Rahi, but also decks built entirely around the Waikiru’s and Ghekula’s respective gimmicks. They also require cards from BCOR, so be sure to use the complete version linked above rather than just the standalone BBTS expansion.

Theme Guide: Rahi (BCOR)

The Rahi that live on Mata Nui form a huge archetype consisting of several subthemes, each of which follows a different common design idea. Since archetypal support cards work for all of them, they can be combined in a variety of ways, though not all of them necessarily make sense or function. I think the most straightforward way to do this would be to look at each of the subthemes separately, so here we go.

Big Rahi (Normal Pendulums)

The Rahi mainly featured in the 2001 storyline were the larger types, sold as sets in pairs – mostly just two of the same species, but also the combination of Muaka & Kane-Ra. Based on this idea, these Rahi are Normal Pendulum Monsters with the gimmick that the scales (one 3 and one 8, to comfortably cover all their levels) are meant to match in terms of Type. The Reptile Tarakava is paired with the Reptile Sand Tarakava, the Beast Kane-Ra with the Beast Muaka, and the Insect Nui-Jaga with the Insect Nui-Rama. When this is the case, the shared effects split between the two sides of each pair make it so that your Pendulum Scales become indestructible and your Pendulum Summons cannot be responded to, basically setting the whole mechanic to easy mode.

In addition, each of them has a unique second Pendulum Effect, probably best to explain this with a little table:

Name
Type
Scale
Effect
Explanation
Tarakava, Lizard Rahi
Reptile
3
Self-destruct to summon Rahi Pendulum from ED on direct attack
Tarakava are known for surprise attacks, in this case launched from the Pendulum Zone/ED
Kane-Ra, Bull Rahi
Beast
3
If only face-up monster you control is a Rahi, it gets +1000 ATK and effect protection
Kane-Ra are not herd animals, so solitary Rahi get buffs
Nui-Jaga, Scorpion Rahi
Insect
8
Add Rahi Pendulum from ED to hand, then destroy card in Pendulum Zone
No particular lore relation intended, could be Nui-Jaga calling each other?
Muaka, Tiger Rahi
Beast
8
Gain LP when Rahi destroys opponent’s monster by battle
Opponent’s monsters get eaten by your Rahi
Nui-Rama, Fly Rahi
Insect
3
Summon Rahi with same type as and lower or equal level than a Rahi you control from Deck
Nui-Rama form large swarms, this helps you do the same
Sand Tarakava, Lizard Rahi
Reptile
8
Place Rahi you control in Pendulum Zone (Quick Effect)
No particular lore relation intended, but complements Tarakava’s effect

So, you have set up the paired scales of your choice and Pendulum Summoned a bunch of monsters in one turn, now what do you do with them? The Rahi archetype offers two answers that fit in this section.

You could just use them as tributes to summon the Manas, a big beefy boss with protection from targeting and effect destruction that can also power itself up further with heat (where heat means Spells and Traps). Or, if you want something more creative, you could add to the mix the Fikou, a little Level 1 Rahi that can banish itself from the GY and reduce a Rahi’s Level by 1 to Special Summon another Fikou from the Deck. Since it also happens to be a Tuner, this opens the path to some more big Rahi that live as Synchro Monsters in the Extra Deck.

Basically, these are the combiners made from the Level 5 and above Rahi shown before, with a Mukau Mata Nui Cow snuck in because I guess it’s a combiner as well. All of them require a Rahi Tuner, and, the obvious bovine exception aside, are one level higher than their corresponding main deck monster. So that + Fikou makes the respective combiner. Since there aren’t really any major common features beyond that, I’ll have to briefly explain their designs one by one.

Tarakava-Nui, the king of the punchy lizards, punches things so hard they go back into the Deck. Rather than a regular once per turn restriction, each use is paid with 1000 of its 2900 ATK, so theoretically there’s nothing stopping you from buffing it a whole bunch and getting rid of the entire field that way. Might not be okay that that’s allowed. Well, at least there’s a clause preventing you from summoning multiple in a turn to make abuse a bit harder.

Kuma-Nui, the Muaka & Kane-Ra combiner that obviously represents a rat, can blow up Spells and Traps on the field at the start of the Battle Phase and buff itself if it hit any of yours. The choice between face-up and face-down cards grants you a limited way to control what exactly is affected, so you can selectively use it either for the ATK boost or to clear out backrow.

The Gukko-Kahu, a very important Rahi for the Matoran society and an alternate model of the Nui-Jaga set, couldn’t be screaming any louder to use it as an intermediary step in Synchro climbing. It straight up gives a draw when it enters the field and a search when it leaves.

The Mukau Mata Nui Cow is a Rahi that is not built from other Rahi, but from two Toa, namely the Gali and Pohatu sets. Therefore, its effects (which use the same triggers as the Gukko-Kahu) are modeled after the original versions of those Toa: One destroys Spells and Traps, the other recycles monsters in the GY.

The Nui-Kopen, alternate Nui-Rama model, played a significant role in the 2001 storyline’s most prominent example of mind control via infected masks, so it has an effect that lets you take control of an opponent’s monster. The excavation stuff to go along with that really doesn’t have any deep reason, just thought it would be fun when I made this. I wasn’t wrong.

Finally, the Mana-Ko is the biggest Rahi so far, outdoing even the Manas (its base model) with a Level of 11 and 3500 base ATK. On the effect side, it’s immune to control changes (Order of Mata Nui mental shielding, says the LORE), halves your opponent’s monsters’ ATK during their Battle Phase to make destruction by battle unlikely, and has a different third effect depending on its materials. If there was just one non-Tuner, it floats into that monster, which will usually be a Manas. If there were multiple, it instead gains the same protection as the Manas. Since this is the final big boss, it has the special condition of requiring Rahi for both the Tuner and non-Tuner materials.

Level 4 Rahi (Effect Pendulums / Synchro Fodder)

Moving on to less gargantuan beasts, we have a category mainly composed of models from the Master Builder Set (which was technically from 2002, but contained a lot of Rahi that already appeared in 2001 material). Their shared features are exactly two:

  • They can be Special Summoned from the Pendulum Zone if you control no monsters.
  • Using them as Synchro Material grants the summoned monster additional effects.

Beyond that, they can be divided more or less loosely into three distinct subgroups. The first is what I sometimes call the “negation Rahi”.

All of these grant the Synchros summoned with them a nearly identical effect, which allows negating activations of a certain card type by shuffling Rahi Pendulums from the Extra Deck back into the Deck. This is also not once per turn, so it can get really oppressive depending on how loaded up on ammo you are. Their unique Pendulum Effects are designed to work as a little engine that helps set all of this up, so this trio of Rahi actually serves as a pretty good centerpiece for a deck.

As the second group we have “destruction Rahi”, which are connected through their Pendulum Effects that all trigger when another card in the Pendulum Zone is destroyed.

This potentially serves as a counterplay to an opponent’s attempt to destroy Pendulum Scales (though hitting the monster with the destruction trigger would avoid this, so you can’t really expect it to happen), but more importantly has synergy with some other Rahi that blow themselves up with their Pendulum Effects. We have already seen the Tarakava, and a few others will follow in the Level 3 section.

The Pendulum Effects can be quickly summarized by saying that the Fusa replaces the destroyed scale, the Husi gets you a Special Summon from it, and the Makika destroys an opponent’s card in retaliation. The monster effects on the other hand are a bit more diverse.

The Fusa makes it so the Synchro Monster that used it as material shuts down all your opponent’s effects during the Battle Phase.

The Husi, similar to its Pendulum Effect, makes the Synchro float into reviving a lower Level Rahi monster.

And the Makika also continues its original theme of retaliation by allowing a Synchro Monster to strike back in a rather painful way against any monster that destroys it by battle.

With these two sub-sub-themes done, it’s about time to admit I lied a little when I said there were three groups. It’s actually more like two groups plus the rest that doesn’t fit into either of them. Each of these leftover Rahi instead just kind of synergizes with itself.

The Takea can double a Rahi’s battle damage from the Pendulum Zone, and a Synchro Monster summoned with it can Special Summon additional Rahi from the Deck in proportion to the battle damage it inflicts.

The Bog Snake makes Synchros gradually damage your opponent as they play, and in the Pendulum Zone lets you have a free draw per turn if your opponent takes effect damage.

The Vako gives Synchro Monsters a chance to increase their ATK when they battle, or alternatively just draw you a card. The Pendulum Effect lets you have the best of both worlds from this effect because you can immediately recover a Rahi from the GY if your Rahi destroys an opponent’s monster by battle.

Finally, there is a Synchro specifically designed to go with these cards.

The Dikapi, a combiner of Pohatu and Onewa, has exactly the right level to be made with a Level 4 Rahi plus the Fikou. Once on the field, it can then change itself to any lower level and reuse the Rahi Pendulum Monster sent to the Extra Deck this way for another Synchro Summon. So Level 4 Rahi + Fikou makes any Synchro from Level 5 to 9, which then gains whatever effect the Level 4 grants.

Level 3 Rahi (Effect Pendulums / GY and banish shenanigans)

One step further down on the Level ladder, we find another type of Rahi. These are characterized by having two monster effects that trigger when sent to the GY and banished, respectively, plus one Pendulum Effect following no particular pattern. Their Pendulum Scales are all 2, so when paired with the Level 4 Rahi who all have a Scale of 5, it becomes possible to summon exactly the Rahi from this section and the previous one.

There is one additional pattern that can be found in some of these monsters, namely that the GY trigger effect consists of Special Summoning another Level 4 or lower monster of the same Attribute from the GY. This obviously has some really broad synergy with the non-custom card pool, so chances are they’re completely broken in the hands of someone making even a little effort to abuse them. Anyway, let’s look at what else they do.

Name
Attribute
Pendulum Effect
Banish Effect
Ussal, Crab Rahi
EARTH
Allow Pendulum Summoning Rahi from GY
Special Summon Level 3 or lower Rahi from GY
Kewa, Vulture Rahi
WIND
Search a WIND monster, destroy self during End Phase
Add Rahi card from GY to hand
Daikau, Floral Rahi
WATER
Send Rahi Pendulum from Deck to GY to reduce ATK of opponent’s monsters
Discard Rahi to destroy monster with <=2000 ATK

Other Level 3 Rahi provide a variety of effects to support the archetype, and mostly its Level 3 or lower subset.

The Mahi‘s Pendulum Effect provides the solution to the glaring inherent problem Pendulum Monsters with GY effects have: They go from the field to the Extra Deck rather than to the GY. This effect allows you to send a Rahi where you actually need it to be and then destroys the Mahi itself, potentially triggering the effect of the other Scale. Its own GY trigger is a simple search for Level 3 or lower Rahi monsters (notably, even itself – not sure anymore how intentional that was), and its banish trigger brings a Rahi banished in a previous turn back to your hand.

The Moa can switch its Pendulum Scale to another Rahi monster’s by banishing that monster directly from the Deck, which of course has the very valuable alternate use of just immediately triggering any banish effect you might want. When sent to the GY, it puts any Rahi card back into the Deck, and when banished it Special Summons a Level 3 or lower Rahi from the hand.

The Brakas has overall much less archetypal effects and is another of those cards that mainly has synergy between its own different effects. When sent to the GY, it places any Rahi card from the Deck on top of the Deck. When banished, it lets you draw a card. And in the Pendulum Scale, it gives you the option to banish that card (which may very well be a Rahi with a banish trigger) to immediately draw one more.

For this group as well, there are some Synchro Monsters that go with it. Both of them are based on official models that also came out in 2001, but don’t have any actual relation to the sets that were sold in stores.

Kirikori-Nui is itself a Level 3 Rahi, meaning it can be made just by putting any of the main deck monsters from this section on the field while having a live Fikou in the GY. And it is also a valid target for any of the many effects specifying Level 3 or lower Rahi, like the Ussal or Mahi. With its own effects, it can send a Rahi directly from the Deck to the GY to reach a more respectable ATK value, or non-targetingly get rid of another card by temporarily banishing itself.

The Ranama offers a similar form of removal, but instead temporarily banishes both itself and the other card. However, this does target, so which is more effective mostly depends on the situation.

Level 2 Rahi (Tuners / Handtraps)

With all these Pendulum Monsters and Synchro Monsters, it’s starting to look like the Fikou is a bit overloaded as the sole main deck Tuner of the archetype. And that’s why there are also others.

These Level 2 Rahi all have powerful handtrap-like effects that require you to banish themselves from the hand or field and an additional Rahi from the GY, so combining them with the Level 3 Rahi is key to using them to their fullest potential.

The Hoto banishes a Spell or Trap from the field, the Ruki destroys a monster, the Shore Turtle changes all battle positions on the field in response to an attack (I’ve had a lot of fun with this one), the Lightning Bug negates a face-up monster’s effects, and the Cliff Bug makes a monster unaffected by a certain card type depending on what your opponent is trying to do.

A particularly fruitful strategy is combining these little guys with the Mahi from the Level 3 section, which searches them when it goes to the GY and can recycle a monster banished in a previous turn when it gets banished as cost. With multiple of them, you can set up a nice stable loop.

Rahi Spells/Traps

In addition to the plentiful monster lineup, there are also some spells and traps belonging to or supporting the Rahi archetype. Keeping with the theme of Pendulum Monsters with GY effects and to establish a connection with Makuta, all the Spells also have secondary effects that can be activated by banishing from the GY.

The cards that are formally part of the Rahi archetype depict various key events in the struggles between the Matoran of Mata Nui and the Rahi controlled by Makuta.

Devastation of the Rahi is based on the battle that became the origin of the charred forest, and with its main effect essentially provides that kind of brutal mutual (brutual?) destruction between your Rahi and whatever the opponent is playing. The GY effect further makes use of any Rahi that may have ended up there to banish something from the field.

Siege of the Rahi takes its inspiration from the Tarakava attack on Ga-Koro, using the pressure of a big Rahi on the field to make small monsters your opponent summons take refuge in the face-down Defense Position, rendering them mostly useless. However, the Siege ends as soon as you do not have said big Rahi anymore, so the GY effect simply helps you protect them.

Infection of the Rahi, the only Trap bearing the Rahi name, covers the devious scheme of a certain Po-Koro merchant collaborating with Makuta. Rather than simply beating down their enemies, your Rahi will now be used to infect them, which lets you take control of them at the end of the turn. This only lasts as long as the card remains intact, but it deals some damage when it leaves just to be petty.

Rahi Swarm is about the Nui-Rama swarms attacking Le-Koro, and similar to the concept of the Nui-Rama’s own effect, it searches Rahi with matching types – so you can complete the properly paired scales of the big Rahi in one shot. In the GY, the word “swarm” is taken literally in a different sense, and it just helps you swarm the field.

Rahi Hive Showdown, the card version of the iconic battle between Onua and an infected Lewa, takes control of one high-ATK monster your opponent controls if they have multiple, pitting the two heroes against each other. In the GY, it can steal a small monster from your opponent during their Main Phase, which is obviously quite annoying. Yeah, despite being a Rahi card in name, this doesn’t really interact with the Rahi archetype at all, other than being searchable and stuff.

The opposite is true for the following three cards, which support Rahi without having them in their name.

The Island’s Dark Tyrant represents Makuta’s ability to control not only the Rahi, but the very land itself. Which he barely ever used, but whatever. The main thing this card does with both its regular activation and banish-from-GY effects is Special Summoning a Token that also counts as a Rahi, which can then be used as Synchro fodder. And with an active Field Spell, it can be activated from the hand.

Encounter in the Drifts is a Counter Trap that responds to an opponent’s Summon by having a Rahi suddenly pop out. So suddenly, in fact, that there is not even a way to respond to the Summon. Technically the restriction of only being able to Summon Rahi of lower or equal levels than the opponent’s monster contradicts the depicted scene of a Muaka (Level 7) surprising Matoro (Level 2), but this way is pretty fun anyway.

The Ussalry Arrives works more or less like Super Rejuvenation, giving you a number of draws in the End Phase equal to how many Rahi you banished for their own effects this turn. Meanwhile, in the GY, it can just recycle itself and some banished Rahi card into the Deck in order to draw yet another card. You can always count on the Ussalry as reliable backup.

Conclusion

There are a lot of Rahi. There are, in fact, way too many Rahi to really say there is one specific way of playing them. Depending on how you mix and match the different Level ranges and themes, you could

  • go full caveman beatdown with Kane-Ra, Muaka, Kuma-Nui, Takea, Vako, etc.
  • use the Hikaki/Kofo-Jaga/Taku negation trio to make arbitrary Synchro Monsters into game-controlling bosses.
  • use cards like Siege, Showdown, or the Level 2 Tuners to constantly interfere with your opponent’s attempts to play.
  • do any combination of the above.
  • probably follow some other (possibly broken) strategy I didn’t even consider.

The broadest statement I can make is that whatever you play, you’re probably going to get a lot of mileage out of filling up the GY, which is kind of a funny property for a Pendulum archetype to have. If (when?) I eventually update these designs, I definitely want to keep that aspect, and I’ll probably focus more on establishing concrete sub-strategies for the archetype (perhaps divided by Type?) so it becomes easier to balance in a controlled way. This seems especially important considering new Rahi will be added for many, many expansions (hell, Rahi Beasts didn’t come out until 2005), and I’ll have to find a way to design them so they fit neatly into the archetype’s card pool. That’s going to be a challenge, a Challenge of the Rahi you could say. Ha.

Various sample decks are included with the BCOR release in the deck folder.