The Bohrok swarms are the central focus of the BBTS expansion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of the cards relate to them. This article will only cover the actual Bohrok that make up the main body of the swarms, as well as their standalone support cards. There are some additional groups of support that will be covered separately, namely Bohrok Va, Krana, and the Bahrag.
With that said, let’s take a look at these colorful rolling pellets of doom and destruction.
The Bohrok come in six breeds, making six Level 4 monsters with varying stats but relatively similar effects. Most importantly, they all share the Flip Effect that allows them to Special Summon a Level 4 Bohrok with a different name directly from the Deck in face-down Defense Position. So waking (flipping) one immediately sets up the next, and if this chain continues uninterrupted for a bit, you will soon have woken them all.
Once face-up on the field, the Bohrok will begin their work to clean all that must be cleaned, or in other words everything on your opponent’s field. Each type has a different removal effect at the cost of shuffling itself back into the Deck (so it can later be called by other Bohrok and continue the onslaught of the seemingly limitless swarms), with the slightly less potent ones delaying the shuffling until the End Phase.
Among the powerful effects that require their cost instantly at activation, we have the Tahnok, known for their speed, who can target and destroy an opponent’s face-up monster as a quick effect. Out of all Bohrok removal effects, this has the least options for targets but the highest options for timing, and it’s the only one of the six that can be used for disruption on the opponent’s turn. The other end of this spectrum are the Lehvak, which can use their acid powers to destroy any card on the field without even targeting, but can only do so specifically during your Main Phase 1. Finally, the Kohrak tend to value their cleaning task over fighting those wo try to stand in their way, and therefore have the more impactful removal of banishing an opponent’s face-up card at the additional cost of not being able to attack that turn.
The other three breeds leave you with the rest of the turn to use them for some kind of cost or material to avoid returning to the Deck, but in exchange their removal effects are also a bit weaker and/or more conditional. Such as the Gahlok, whose ever-changing and unpredictable methods of attack are implemented as three possible effects with the choice depending on the top card of your opponent’s GY. A monster allows you the standard move of destroying an opponent’s card, a Spell lets you non-targetingly turn a monster into a 0 ATK vanilla to deal with well-protected obstacles the other breeds struggle with, and a Trap enables a strike entirely beyond the normal range of the swarms, banishing a card directly from the hand. As you may have noticed, the power level of these options is scaled to how often each type can be expected to be found on average. Also conditional, but less mind-bending, is the effect of the Pahrak, which simply destroys a card at the end of a Battle Phase in which it battled. Their iconic trait of stubbornly ignoring outside interference while pursuing a goal aids them here by granting them protection from effects while they are battling. The last remaining Bohrok breed are the Nuhvok, and their effect is to destroy a Spell/Trap on the field and temporarily render its zone unusable with the holes they dig in the process. Note that this only works on the main five Spell/Trap Zones, so no locking your opponent out of Field Spells for a turn with this (but you can still destroy one).
Beware the Swarm is the archetype’s all-purpose search card, which can also recover an additional monster from the GY if you use it to search a monster, at the cost of returning a card from the hand to the Deck. Since it requires different levels, it’s not actually relevant with just the monsters above, but becomes very valuable if you also consider the Bohrok Va.
The Field Spell Bohrok Nest helps Bohrok do their thing in various ways. Your face-down monsters are protected from forms of interaction that don’t flip them, to increase the chance of properly getting the engine started. You get to draw of the Bohrok’s shuffle costs to maintain card advantage. And should it be destroyed, the Bohrok swarms released by that foolish action will wreak havoc and destroy something else on the field.
For those last two effects, it’s worth noting that the draw effect specifically only triggers when a Bohrok card in a public location (so not face-down or in the hand) is placed into the Main or Extra Deck face-down (shuffling not strictly required), and that it is entirely possible to upgrade the Nuhvok’s Spell/Trap destruction into a general destruction if you’re willing to sacrifice the Nest.
Moving on, we have a support card that is beautifully simple yet somehow effective in what it does. Bohrok Confrontation is basically just an archetypal version of Rush Recklessly, but with the added “cost” of sending a Krana from the Deck to the GY. Now, if you check out the Krana article to see what some of them do in the GY the synergy becomes clear, but for this section I’ll just say that pumping Bohrok stats up comes in handy in a surprising amount of situations.
Bohrok Invasion is a Continuous Trap that rewards Bohrok for successful cleaning work with a stacking ATK boost, potentially allowing them to attack for game right away through your opponent’s cleared field. It also helps you recover from setbacks by bringing a Bohrok from the GY back to the field in the ideal face-down Defense Position, and when you’re under attack, you can abandon the invasion to focus on defense instead.
The Bohrok come with several memorable taglines that were very helpful in deciding the focus of their archetype. We have already seen “Beware the Swarm” as the name of the search Spell, but another catchy phrase has made it onto not one, but two cards that form a little mini-combo put together.
If You Wake One… begins the play by supplying an additional face-down Bohrok along with an iteration of the regular engine, so you then have two ready to be flipped rather than just one. After doing so, it goes to the GY in the End Phase, and at that point it will Set you another Bohrok Trap that is then ready to use once the turn changes. To continue the combo, you would use this to get …You Wake Them All. Then, on your turn, you flip the two face-down Bohrok, get two more, and then return one of your 2-3 face-up Bohrok to the hand with the Trap to once again flip 2 Bohrok and summon 2 more. There’s actually a risk of running out of space on the field before summoning all the monsters with this combo, but that can be avoided by using the Bohrok’s insta-shuffling removal effects or just putting them into some Extra Deck monster.
Speaking of Extra Deck monsters, we also have some of those. The Bohrok Kaita are implemented as Fusions, and in fact specifically have to be Fusions because that’s the only Extra Deck summoning mechanic which allows the use of face-down materials. Obviously kinda pretty damn important for a Flip archetype.
The two Bohrok Kaita, Za and Ja, are each made by fusing three specific breeds of Bohrok. When Fusion Summoned, both of them allow you to add 1 Krana from your Deck to the hand and 2 to the GY, with your opponent choosing which of the three you offer goes where. Again, Krana are the focus of their own article, but generally they’re nice to have in both hand and GY, so this is certainly beneficial. Both of them also have quick effects on the field that banish up to 3 Bohrok from the GY (so you basically use their materials, is the idea): Za can buff itself up and, if it gets big enough, even become unaffected by card effects for a turn, while Ja banishes multiple cards from your opponent’s GY.
The idea of Bohrok Kaita in the lore is that the swarms form them to combat problems they cannot overcome on their own, so this is kind of what I was also going for here. The archetype generally relies on removing things with effects, so Kaita Za is a big beater that can just run over bosses that don’t allow this. And all the removal they have focuses on the field, so Kaita Ja is the tool required to combat GY-focused decks.
Bohrok Swarm Fusion is the archetypal fusion spell, though it does not actually fuse in any special way. But it does take advantage of the Kaita’s banishing costs with its own GY effect that triggers when Bohrok cards are banished from the GY, shuffling them back into the Deck and drawing a card.
With the final card I want to discuss here, we take a look at what actually caused the Bohrok swarms to awaken before their time. And fittingly enough, the role this card plays in the archetype is the ability to start your engine without needing to wait out the usual Flip monster delay.
Premature Bohrok Beacon has the rather unimpressive effect of flipping your own face-down monster face-up, but being able to activate it from the hand as long as the game state is “premature” enough to not contain any face-up monsters makes it a tool Bohrok can use quite well. Since this is a Makuta-related card, it also has a GY effect that adds more utility, in this case being able to summon itself as a Level 4 DARK Machine (obviously sneaky Orcust support and not just a combination of Bohrok Type and Makuta Attribute) that can replace any of the Bohrok as Fusion Material.
Bohrok have a lot of strong points: The very convenient Level of 4 on all the main monsters, the ability to bring each other out from the Deck, easily accessible removal effects, a really good search Spell that finds them any of their cards and still potentially does more, and multiple nice draw effects to offset the resource loss of shuffling themselves into the Deck. All of this dragged down by the unfortunate yet vital fact that they are Flip monsters whose entire engine relies on their flip effects. Let’s face it, setting one monster and hoping everything goes well so you can snowball from there isn’t exactly an unbeatable strategy in this decade or the last.
But what they lack in speed, the swarms can hopefully make up in consistency and sheer fucking resilience. Assuming you do manage to get the engine going at some point – and with help like Nest and Beacon this is not an entirely impossible task – your opponents will find themselves faced with a constant assault on their field while your monsters just keep calling each other from and returning to the Deck for all eternity. Before long, you will be clearly ahead in resources, and victory shall be yours. Probably. I never tested this on anything newer than the old YGOPro Percy AI that still lived in blissful ignorance of Link Monsters, so it might just be completely unusable in the modern game anyway. But the strategy is sound on paper, at the very least.
A few different ideas for Bohrok decks can be found in the BBTS release.