Release: Heroes Unite

Download for EDOPro

With all the villages implemented, Bionicle: Coming of the Toa is approaching completion, and this release gives those titular heroes a significant boost to their strategy as a team. However, there is still one more support wave for them I need to bring over from the ancient scriptures, so the theme guide explaining the whole picture in detail will have to wait a bit longer. Instead, here’s a slightly longer release post to briefly go over the new additions.

Sample Duel

New/Reworked Cards

Suva Kaita

Effect MonsterLevel 1 | LIGHT Rock | ATK 0 / DEF 0

While in your hand or GY, this card is also WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH-Attribute. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card, then target 1 Level 6 “Toa” monster in your GY; Special Summon that target. You can banish this card from your GY, then target 1 of your banished “Toa” monsters; you cannot Special Summon monsters from the Extra Deck for the rest of this turn, except “Toa” monsters, also Special Summon that target in Defense Position. You can only use each effect of “Suva Kaita” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)

As the sole new Main Deck monster, the Suva Kaita provides an additional way of summoning multiple Toa while having the same conveniently searchable statline as the regular old Suva. Also like the Suva, it’s treated as multiple Attributes in the hand for Toa Mata Tribute Summoning purposes, but why it does the same thing in the GY is at this point still a secret. The Suva Kaita’s on-field effect requires you to tribute it and only fetches the Level 6 (i.e., Main Deck) Toa, but being a Quick Effect means you can use it to set up a Toa Mata at exactly the right time for its effect to trigger during your opponent’s turn. The GY effect is slower and locks you into “Toa” Extra Deck monsters after using it, but in exchange it works on any banished Toa and actually nets you an additional monster on the field.

But wait, “Toa” Extra Deck monsters? Yes, that’s the other major contribution of this release, starting with three monsters depicting scenes of the Toa Mata uniting their elemental powers.

Magma

Toa Mata Combination – Magma

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 6 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 2900 / DEF 1200

2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters
You can detach 2 materials from this card; send 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF from your Deck to the GY, and if you do, you can halve the ATK/DEF of 1 monster your opponent controls. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card with no material, then target 2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters (1 FIRE and 1 EARTH monster) in your GY; Special Summon them, but they cannot attack this turn. You can only use 1 “Toa Mata Combination – Magma” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
Storm

Toa Mata Combination – Storm

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 6 | WIND Warrior | ATK 2200 / DEF 0

2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters
During the Main or Battle Phase (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; Special Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster from your Deck, but its ATK becomes 0 and it cannot be used as material for a Synchro, Xyz, or Link Summon, also banish it during the End Phase of the next turn. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card with no material, then target 2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters (1 WIND and 1 WATER monster) in your GY; Special Summon them, but they cannot attack this turn. You can only use 1 “Toa Mata Combination – Storm” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
Crystal

Toa Mata Combination – Crystal

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 6 | EARTH Warrior | ATK 2000 / DEF 2700

2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters
When a Spell/Trap Card or effect is activated (Quick Effect): You can detach 2 materials from this card; negate that effect, and if you do, banish that card. (Quick Effect): You can Tribute this card with no material, then target 2 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters (1 WATER and 1 EARTH monster) in your GY; Special Summon them, but they cannot attack this turn. You can only use 1 “Toa Mata Combination – Crystal” effect per turn, and only once that turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)

As momentary alliances rather than wholly new beings, all of these 2-material Xyz share a Quick Effect to split apart into two Toa Mata of the appropriate Attributes once they run out of materials, kind of a roundabout way of rewarding you for actually using the correct team members. As for what benefit summoning them brings:

  • Magma (Tahu + Onua) is simply big and can use up all its materials in a single volcanic burst that both launches a Rock into your GY (where both your Suvas can be useful) and optionally makes an opponent’s monster wilt under the heat. The ability to immediately detach 2 materials also means the tagout effect is already available on the opponent’s following turn.
  • Storm (Gali + Lewa) – the only one of these with a concrete basis in the story – serves as the ultimate way of setting up exactly the right Toa Mata in exactly the situation where its effect can be triggered, by summoning them directly from Deck as brief flashes of lightning. One fun thing you can do, for example, is bring out Kopaka in response to an effect that will remove another card you control, thereby letting you banish something in retaliation.
  • Crystal (Pohatu + Kopaka) rounds out the trio with a solid defensive option in the simple form of a Spell/Trap negate. I always feel a bit bad giving a card boring old negation rather than something more unique, but in this case the old version already had an effect to negate what targets it (now made redundant by the Kanohi Miru) and both Toa Mata and the Rank 6 Xyz pool at large are a bit lacking in ways to guard against blowout Spells and Traps, so I figured it was justified here. Needing to detach both materials for the cost is half a balancing measure and half a trick to ensure you can set up the tagout effect quickly.

At this point you may have noticed that, should one of these Toa Mata Combinations ever wind up banished, a Suva Kaita in the GY can bring it back, at which point it will be without material and thus able to turn itself into 2 Level 6 Toa Mata. And if you can just get a third from somewhere, that naturally opens the door to the most obvious choice for the archetype’s ultimate bosses: Toa Kaita.

Akamai (+ Aki)

Akamai, Toa Kaita of Valor

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 6 | FIRE Warrior | ATK 3000 / DEF 2000

3 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters
Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects during the Battle Phase. If this card battles an opponent’s monster, that monster has its effects negated until the end of the Damage Step. Once per turn, if this card destroys an opponent’s monster by battle: You can detach 1 material from this card; inflict damage to your opponent equal to the destroyed monster’s original ATK.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)

Great Kanohi Aki

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa Kaita” monster, it cannot be destroyed by battle, gains 1000 ATK, and can attack all monsters your opponent controls once each, also if it attacks a Defense Position monster, inflict piercing battle damage. Once per turn, if this card is equipped to a “Toa Mata” monster you control: You can Special Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster with the same Level from your hand, then, immediately after this effect resolves, Xyz Summon 1 “Toa” Xyz Monster using monsters you control, including that Special Summoned monster.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
Wairuha (+ Rua)

Wairuha, Toa Kaita of Wisdom

Xyz Effect MonsterRank 6 | WIND Warrior | ATK 2600 / DEF 2600

3 Level 6 “Toa Mata” monsters
Once per turn, when a card or effect is activated (Quick Effect): You can detach 1 material from this card; negate the activation. If a material(s) is detached from this card (except during the Damage Step): You can declare 1 card type (Monster, Spell, or Trap); your opponent reveals 1 random card in their hand and the top card of their Deck. Then, apply these effects, in sequence, based on the number of cards of the declared type revealed. You can only use this effect of “Wairuha, Toa Kaita of Wisdom” once per turn.
●1+: Draw 1 card.
●2: Banish 1 card your opponent controls or in their GY.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)

Great Kanohi Rua

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If the equipped monster is a “Toa Kaita” monster, it is unaffected by your opponent’s card effects, also your opponent must keep their hand revealed. Once per turn, if this card is equipped to a “Toa Mata” monster you control: You can Special Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster with the same Level from your hand, then, immediately after this effect resolves, Xyz Summon 1 “Toa” Xyz Monster using monsters you control, including that Special Summoned monster.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)

As acquiring the materials for these amalgamations of three Toa Mata is a feat that either requires using quite a few cards or having a bit of prior setup, they’re designed as outright win conditions for the deck, with the decision which one you summon dependent on the particular game state you find yourself in.

Akamai is an incredibly straightforward tool for ending games: It locks your opponent out of all activated effects as soon as you enter the Battle Phase, negates continuous effects (including battle protection) of anything it fights for good measure, and then inflicts burn damage after destroying a monster. While not quite an OTK on its own, the Toa Kaita of Valor does get rid of just about any monster under 3000 ATK with no fear of consequences and may finish off an already damaged opponent.

Wairuha is the more forward-thinking option in case you expect the duel to continue past the current turn, backing you up with the simple yet devastating power of a singular omninegate. This negation, notably, does not come with built-in destruction, and that’s because it is instead followed by a slightly more amusing aftermath. After a material is detached from Wairuha, including for the negation cost, you may choose a card type based on your understanding of your opponent’s hand and deck, and if you choose wisely, the rewards include both drawing a card and banishing from the opponent’s field or GY. This is a separate trigger effect for the simple reason that I didn’t want the negation to be dependent on the opponent having a hand or vulnerable to Ash Blossom. While not quite an unbreakable board on its own, the Toa Kaita of Wisdom still serves as an annoying piece of disruption with the potential to bring its controller great benefits.

And now that I’ve used the phrasing “not quite […] on its own” for both of them, it’s time to cover the final extra piece that changes this. Both of the Toa Kaita come with their unique Kanohi that grants only them the combined power (more or less) of three Equip Spells. Akamai’s Aki (Hau + Pakari + Kakama) upgrades it to a 4k attacker that inflicts piercing and hits all monsters while being indestructible by battle – usually enough for an OTK. And Wairuha’s Rua (Kaukau + Akaku + Miru) grants full protection from all effects while allowing you to see the opponent’s hand (giving you an advantage in the wisdom game) – making it the fabled omninegating Towers that basically only falls to Kaijus.

Both of these Kanohi also do something when equipped to the main deck Toa Mata, namely summoning another from the hand to immediately overlay (originally I just wanted the effect to be treating them as 2 materials for an Xyz Summon, but it turns out that doesn’t exist in the real game and is only supported in EDOPro if you use a hardcoded effect type, which I didn’t like). Another point they share in common is that both of their names also refer to characters in the Japanese version of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, but our scientists are still working on figuring out what that might mean.

Updates

Some tweaks have been made to a few cards other than the new additions as well. Least among them are tiny stat changes on Onua (DEF 2000 -> DEF 2100) and Pohatu (DEF 1650 -> DEF 1700), for an overall smoother DEF curve from Tahu’s 1500 to Kopaka’s 2500. Not even going to waste a card viewer block on this.


Next, a tributed Toa Mata summoned back to the field by Kini-Nui will now be banished when it leaves the field.

v3.18.5

The Great Temple, Kini-Nui

Field Spell

During your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) If a “Toa” monster(s) is Tributed for the Tribute Summon of a “Toa Mata” monster and sent to your GY: You can target 1 of those monsters; Special Summon it in Defense Position, but banish it when it leaves the field. During the End Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF from your Deck. You can only use each effect of “The Great Temple, Kini-Nui” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
v3.14.3

The Great Temple, Kini-Nui

Field Spell

During your Main Phase, you can Normal Summon 1 “Toa Mata” monster in addition to your Normal Summon/Set. (You can only gain this effect once per turn.) If a “Toa” monster(s) is Tributed for the Tribute Summon of a “Toa Mata” monster and sent to your GY: You can target 1 of those monsters; Special Summon it in Defense Position. During the End Phase: You can destroy this card, and if you do, Special Summon 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF from your Deck. You can only use each effect of “The Great Temple, Kini-Nui” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.14.3)

This means making Isolde with Kini-Nui is slightly worse (and provides you one less Kanohi search opportunity), but the archetypal Xyz Monsters conveniently bypass this change. It might also serve as another way to set up the Suva Kaita GY effect.


The Suva now requires a cost of 500 LP for each Kanohi change, similar to the built in swapping of the old Kanohi.

v3.18.5

Suva

Effect MonsterLevel 1 | LIGHT Rock | ATK 0 / DEF 0

While in your hand, and while face-up on the field if you control a “-Koro” Field Spell Card, this card is also WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH-Attribute. Once per Chain (Quick Effect): You can pay 500 LP, then target 1 “Toa” monster you control; equip 1 “Kanohi” Equip Spell from your hand or GY to that target, except a card that is in the GY because it was destroyed while face-up on the field and sent there this turn. If you control a “Toa” monster: You can Special Summon this card from your GY. You can only use this effect of “Suva” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
v3.14.3

Suva

Effect MonsterLevel 1 | LIGHT Rock | ATK 0 / DEF 0

While in your hand, and while face-up on the field if you control a “-Koro” Field Spell Card, this card is also WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH-Attribute. Once per Chain (Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up “Toa” monster you control; equip 1 “Kanohi” Equip Spell Card from your hand or GY to that target, except a card that is in the GY because it was destroyed while face-up on the field and sent there this turn. If you control a “Toa” monster: You can Special Summon this card from your GY. You can only use this effect of “Suva” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.14.3)

This came about because something about the whole dynamic of filling your GY with Kanohi and then freely accessing them via Suva while potentially triggering a search effect each time felt pretty unfair, and after spending a while warily staring at said search effects and their +1 nature in card advantage, I came to the conclusion that the problem is in the Suva being a completely free once-per-chain effect. Because getting a specific Level 6 monster that most of the time requires a Tribute Summon to hit the field honestly deserves to be a plus even if there’s a combo that allows doing it repeatedly, especially when each search does have a tangible cost of banishing a monster from the GY. Meanwhile, being able to just spam the Suva effect to cycle through Kanohi as much as you want not only almost makes it so that all of them are equipped at once, but also that as many of them as the present GY setup allows can and will trigger each turn. And don’t get me started on negating your own Suva with Wairuha just so you can use the detach effect while losing absolutely nothing. An LP cost may be the most insignificant of costs, but at least it disincentivizes and punishes spam that doesn’t lead to worthwhile benefits. I went with 500 LP rather than the classic 800 because I wanted cycling through a set of 6 Kanohi to cost less than half of the starting 8000, which I guess would also work if it was 600. Might still play around with the value a bit.


Turaga Nuju can now bounce not only one target at a time, but as many as you want if you just have the same number of monsters to flip face-down in exchange.

v3.18.5

Turaga Nuju

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [◀ ▶] | WATER Spellcaster | ATK 1100

2 monsters, including a WATER Warrior monster
If this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 face-up Spell/Trap you control; until the end of the next turn, while you control a WATER monster, that target cannot be destroyed by card effects (even if this card leaves the field). Once per turn: You can target any number of cards your opponent controls; change that many monsters you control to face-down Defense Position, and if you do, return the targeted cards to the hand.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
v3.16.6

Turaga Nuju

Link Effect MonsterLink-2 [◀ ▶] | WATER Spellcaster | ATK 1100

2 monsters, including a WATER Warrior monster
If this card is Special Summoned: You can target 1 face-up Spell/Trap you control; until the end of the next turn, while you control a WATER monster, that target cannot be destroyed by card effects (even if this card leaves the field). Once per turn: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; change 1 monster you control to face-down Defense Position, and if you do, return that target to the hand.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.16.6)

This helps Ko-Koro’s terrible going-second ability a bit, but more importantly plugs a gaping hole in the gameplan where it was really hard to keep your opponent locked down as intended if they ever managed to put out multiple monsters. Now, you just have to make sure they can’t exceed your field presence in a single turn while restricted by Ko-Koro and you should be good. Do watch out for the devil in the details of the new effect, though: While (according to the precedent I found) it will resolve even if not all the targets are on the field any more, you will still have to flip “that many” (the original targeted number) of your monsters, and if you can’t, you bounce nothing.


The Kanohi Akaku got a little overhaul motivated by some realizations I came to while designing for and testing Toa Mata decks. One, there’s no way anything as fancy and complicated as the original effect can even partially fit into the Rua’s text. And two, a Kanohi that needs to be on the field at a certain point to gain its effect and also permanently ceases to apply once no longer on the field sucks ass in a strategy that involves rapidly changing masks in response to the situation. Thus, the fancy complicated “hand sniping” effect was replaced by a continuous hand reveal just like the Rua (if it’s fair on Mind on Air then it shouldn’t be a problem on an archetype-restricted Equip Spell) plus a simpler hand sniping effect that just banishes for a turn.

v3.18.5

Great Kanohi Akaku

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Kopaka” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Akaku” once per turn. While equipped to a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster you control, this card gains these effects.
●Your opponent must keep their hand revealed.
●Once per turn, if your opponent adds a Spell/Trap(s) to their hand (except during the Damage Step): You can banish that Spell/Trap(s) until the End Phase.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.18.5)
v3.16.6

Great Kanohi Akaku

Equip Spell

If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. Once per turn, if this card is equipped to a “Toa” or “Makuta” monster you control and your opponent draws a card(s): You can activate this effect; your opponent reveals that card(s) (until your next End Phase). Spells/Traps revealed by this effect cannot be activated or Set while you control this face-up card. If this card is sent to the GY: You can banish 1 monster from your GY; add 1 “Toa Mata Kopaka” from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Great Kanohi Akaku” once per turn.

Bionicle: Coming of the Toa (v3.16.6)

And that concludes the information on the Version 3.18.5 release. We’re still only about halfway through the month, so maybe there’s enough time left to also implement a certain Chronicler … ?

Deck Idea(s): Things You Can Do With Toa Mata

At the time of this writing, the Toa Mata have yet to receive their Theme Guide, because even with all members of the team implemented, they’re still missing some support cards from old BCOT that have a major role in their playstyle. However, to modernize those missing cards, I do need to have a solid idea of what the updated Toa can do and what they need help with, so I have been experimenting with a few different builds using what we have so far. This is a brief account of those ideas and the rationale behind them.

The Kanohi Build

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=9539889

This one was included with the 3.17.4 release, and represents what is probably the most functional way to play “pure” Toa Mata at this point. The sole combo it revolves around requires a hand of any 2 different Toa Mata plus Kini-Nui (or Mata Nui to search it): Activate Kini-Nui, Normal Summon one Toa by Tributing the other one from your hand, trigger Kini-Nui to revive the Tributed monster, and use the two Toa to make Isolde, searching another Toa for the next turn. Then, you activate Isolde for 6 and watch your opponent quiver in fear at the sight of such a power move while you send all the Kanohi to the GY and Special Summon a Toa Mata from the Deck. The sent Kanohi let you add two more Toa of your choice by banishing the materials used for Isolde, the extra Normal Summon from Kini-Nui means you can get one of those out right away if you wish, and during the End Phase Kini-Nui can summon a Suva from the Deck by destroying itself, which will also bring a Mata Nui in your GY (if there is one) back to the field.

In summary, the turn 1 payoff consists of:

  • 2 Toa Mata with at least 2000 ATK, each providing a more or less potentially disruptive trigger effect during the opponent’s turn (such as monster effect negation, Spell/Trap destruction, bouncing monsters, or returning cards in the GY to the Deck)
  • A Suva that lets you access any of the 6 Kanohi in your GY to buff your Toa Mata with things like protection from either targeted or non-targeted effects, battle protection, or simply +1000 ATK.
  • Isolde (largely useless at this point, but still there)
  • 1 Toa Mata in your hand (searched by Isolde)
  • Optionally Mata-Nui, which gives your Normal Summoned Toa Mata +600 ATK/DEF
  • The 2 other cards that were initially in your hand

Going second, the deck has some convenient properties that may help it do its thing in the face of an established board. First of all, 18 of the 21 monsters it plays have 2000 or more ATK and don’t take any field setup to bring out, so sometimes you can just Normal Summon, immediately hit over a boss monster, and then safely do the combo in Main Phase 2. Also, if the monster you Normal Summon to trigger Kini-Nui is Gali, she will be able to negate one of the monsters on the opponent’s field to prevent interruption (but doesn’t do anything against handtraps, sadly). Lewa can also help clear the field because he’ll be able to bounce something when you summon your Suva (whether from Deck or GY).

If you don’t manage to pull off the combo, what you usually fall back on is still a boss-sized monster that may or may not have meaningful disruption and/or protection, which may just be enough to keep you in the game. And with the Kanohi constantly repleneshing Toa Mata in your hand plus Mata Nui being able to search Kini-Nui every turn, you should be able to try again easily.

Can a deck that puts up 2 disruptions at best, needs intensive micro-managing to achieve protection, and has almost no room to run staples be called good? Probably not. Does it do its thing impressively well for having no major plays beyond a (more or less) 3 card combo? Yes. I rate it “Isolde is a stupid card”/10.

Aristotlean Hybrids

The following decks are all based on the idea of combining the Toa Mata with other archetypes that also have their monsters spread across the Attributes WIND, WATER, FIRE, and EARTH. The idea is basically to perform the usual plays of such an archetype X, ideally get a Kanohi into the GY along the way for a search, and then use either a leftover Normal Summon or the extra one from Kini-Nui on a Toa, adding an extra miniboss or even a Rank 6 to the field. The matching Attributes are meant to help consistency by letting you use excess monsters from archetype X in your hand as Tributes for the Toa Mata, though in practice it certanly felt like hands such as Tahu plus anything except another FIRE monster were way more common than they should be.

C.C. Matoran

C.C. Matoran

Prank-Kids

Prank-Kids

Brave Token

Brave Token

Kaiju

Kaiju

Ghost Girls

Ghost Girls

The order in which the decks appear in the slideshow above is also an approximate ranking of their playability, ranging from actually kinda decent to complete garbage. The ratios in the Toa Mata portion differ between them because I threw them together at various points in time and never tested them deeply enough to figure out what’s best.

A quick summary of each of these ideas:

  • C.C. Matoran: The most lore-friendly of all builds, and quite competent due to both halves being Warrior archetypes. Normal Summoning Kopeke gives you easy Isolde access by searching either Taipu (at the cost of an attack lock) or Tamaru (at the cost of only putting 1 monster in the GY instead of 2), and Isolde can then dump 2 Kanohi to search up to 2 Toa Mata and Special Summon Hafu, who will in turn bring out an additional C.C. Matoran from hand or GY. That gives you the material for a Link-4, and if you have Kini-Nui, a Toa Mata or two to back it up as well.
  • Prank-Kids: The problem with Kanohi being the main searcher for Toa Mata is that you first need to put both the Kanohi and a monster into the GY. A Link-1 is quite possibly the easiest way to accomplish that, and Prank-Kids are an archetype notoriously capable of getting ridiculous value through a simple combo that starts by summoning their (now sadly limited) Link-1 monster. Better yet, the combo doesn’t care if the Prank-Kids stay in the GY beyond their activation as long as you ultimately end up with WIND+FIRE+WATER in your hand or field ready to fuse, so banishing them with a Kanohi along the way is pretty much a free Toa Mata. Only downside is that Prank-Kids usually take up the Normal Summon, but that’s what Kini-Nui is for.
  • Brave Token: The OCG’s recent hot meta thing, the Brave Token AKA Adventurer Token AKA Isekai Engine, also has the correct Attribute mix, and actually gets by with no Normal Summons needed. In fact, it actively discriminates against Normal Summoned monsters by making you unable to activate their effects the turn you use the engine, but since your Normal Summon is going to be a Toa Mata that generally reacts to something during your opponent’s turn, this restriction is quite stomachable. My impression of the deck is that it works, but the Toa Mata’s contributions of big stats, situational disruption, and Rank 6 access unfortunately feel a bit overshadowed by the insanely consistent omni-negate engine that is Brave Token.
  • Kaiju: The main idea behind this one, Attribute matching aside, is that Special Summoning a Kaiju to your opponent’s field triggers Lewa to bounce it back, which is obviously a pretty cool play. Sadly it doesn’t do much more than that plus plain old beatdown, and that’s not quite enough to win unless you get really lucky.
  • Ghost Girls: Stuffing leftover deck space with handtraps is a well-tested competitive strategy, so I figured I’d try doing that as well, using the ones that have the appropriate Attributes. Sadly those particular handtraps aren’t exactly impactful enough to totally prevent an opponent from bringing out anything a big beatstick can’t deal with, so it doesn’t quite see the same results here as it does in actual meta decks.

60 Card Monstrosities

Another archetype with all the right Attributes I tried out was Nemeses, however they are not featured in the previous section because I ran into a bit of a problem: Just like the Toa Mata don’t really do anything unless you can get out multiple and/or set up your GY with a Suva and several Kanohi, Nemeses don’t really do anything unless you get some monsters banished first. And since the main way to get monsters banished also relies on sending Kanohi to the GY, neither half of the deck is particularly capable of getting itself or the other started despite having good synergy once they’re running.

In trying to resolve this, I attempted stuffing a bunch of extra “spicy” techs into the deck, eventually blowing it up to a pile of 60 cards that somewhat reliably worked.

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=9557017

Aside from the obvious, the most significant addition here are probably PSY-Framegear Gamma + Driver, as a powerful handtrap that conveniently can also set up some banished monsters for Nemeses plays. Driver also happens to be Level 6, so you can use it to pay the cost of Celestial Observatory and feel like an absolute king. However, at the end of the day, these additions only bring a slight reduction in the amount of luck you need to actually set up the really good plays, so I took a second stab and tried to fill up the 60 cards by bringing in a third archetype instead.

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=9557112

C.C. Matoran proved quite competent at quickly dumping a few Kanohi to the GY when I previously tried them as the sole partner archetype for the Toa Mata, so I figured adding them might be a fine way to handle the observed issues with getting the deck to its initial velocity. And it does indeed seem like doing the good old C.C. Matoran play of letting Isolde send 2 Kanohi to the GY provides just enough setup for both the Toa Mata and the Nemeses portion to perform actual plays. Maybe it would even be possible to condense this triple mix down to 40 cards somehow, but I haven’t tried.

Single Attribute Soup

A common problem with the mixed-Attribute decks was getting Toa without any of the right Tributes, so to bypass that issue I also tried building a deck that only uses Toa of the same Attribute along with matching support. The candidates for that would be WATER (Gali and Kopaka) or EARTH (Onua and Pohatu), and I picked WATER because then I can also incorporate Kopeke for that sweet C.C. Matoran Isolde combo.

https://www.duelingbook.com/deck?id=9563264

The rest is just Frogs as a compact WATER package with a pretty good payoff, plus a single Ko-Koro to search with Mata Nui. Because I guess falling back to stall in cases where you don’t have anything else might at least keep you alive.

My verdict on this after a brief test run is that it can definitely do something more consistently than the decks that try to make multiple Attributes work, but what it does tends to be less impressive. For example, playing only 2 Toa gives you much less Rank 6 access via Kini-Nui, and even summoning one plus a Suva doesn’t do as much when the Kanohi selection is limited to Akaku and Kaukau. Also, I don’t really like it in concept, because the only reason there even are multiple Toa with the same Attribute is because ICE and STONE aren’t a thing in Yugioh.

Takeaways

The difference between a worthwhile experiment and a waste of time lies in whether or not you learn something in the process, so after trying all this, we face the big question: What does it tell us about Toa Mata and their future design requirements? I will end this on a quick summary of my observations, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments if you feel I missed something.

  • There need to be more ways to get at least two Toa on the field. Kini-Nui is nice and quite accessible now that Mata Nui exists, but even assuming you find it every game, it’s still a gigantic choke point and negating it might just end your turn on a single big monster with a moderately useful effect.
  • Continuing from that last point, a single Toa Mata should provide a bit more value than it currently does. I kinda made this harder for myself than it needs to be by deciding the standard archetype support effects (searching, revival, etc) should be supplied only by support cards (and eventually Extra Deck monsters) rather than the main monsters themselves, to represent the Toa starting out as scattered amnesiacs before gathering towards the climax of the ’01 story. We’ll see if I can get away with sticking to my guns there.
  • A mix of all the Toa plus another engine/archetype that covers the same Attributes isn’t as good as expected, probably because it gives you more wrong ways to combine Attributes than right ones. As far as Toa Mata Tribute fodder goes, other members of the team or the multi-Attribute (in the hand) Suva have proven to be far more reliable options.
  • Early in the duel, going into Isolde with two Toa Mata and dumping all your Kanohi seems way better than making any Rank 6, which always bothers me a bit. I’d like to design the archetypal Xyzs to provide more value than even that, but it’s hard to imagine a way to do that without getting ridiculous. Maybe the better solution would be introducing additional ways to set up Kanohi, since Isolde is only so crazy good while you haven’t done that yet.
  • Another problem with making a Rank 6 out of Toa is that it usually removes all the Toa on your field, which takes away their potentially disruptive effects, Suva access, and Kanohi benefits. Isolde at least can give you another Toa by dumping 6 Kanohi, so it’s less of an issue there. This honestly might be resolved just by the fact that the upcoming dedicated bosses will also have “Toa” names, but I already have some ideas how this point could be addressed even further.
  • The banishing cost I somewhat spontaneously added to the Kanohi searches so stuff like Isolde wouldn’t get out of hand too much comes with some interesting practical challenges. On the one hand, the fact that you need to get both the Equip Spell and a monster into the GY makes them too unreliable to really act as the archetypal search cards, not to mention they can only get one specific monster each. On the other hand, if you do get them going, and especially if you get a Toa Mata + Suva setup where potentially every Kanohi swap translates to a search, you end up accumulating a lot of banished monsters that don’t really have any use if you’re not playing specifically a Nemeses hybrid. Not sure yet if it makes sense to add support that takes advantage of the big banished pile, since it tends to only exist when you’re already popping off anyway.

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: 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.