The masks of power known as Kanohi play a central role in the story of Bionicle from start to finish, so obviously they also get a fair amount of representation in this humble card game adaptation. With Equip Spells, Yugioh provides a pretty obvious niche for placing inanimate objects that grant their wearer additional powers, but making Equip Spells remotely worth playing in this day and age always takes a bit of creativity. Let’s take a look at what I came up with for the Kanohi featured in BCOT.
The first thing to notice here are some common elements to all these effects. They begin with a continuous effect ensuring one can only wear a single Kanohi at a time, by simply blowing up the moment a second one becomes equipped – this allows for the important mask-swapping mechanic, unlike a simple restriction preventing the equipping of additional Kanohi.
Then there are one or more effects that are only active when equipped to monsters from certain archetypes, in the case of Great Kanohi usually Toa or Makuta. These correspond to the actual abilities granted by the mask, and having them limited this way both simplifies design by not having to worry about random synergies and matches the lore, where Kanohi were indeed only usable by certain races with sufficient willpower.
Finally, they have an effect that triggers when sent to the GY. Unlike the previous two components which are meant to be universal to all Kanohi, this one is unique to the six Great Kanohi worn by the Toa Mata, though it does represent a more general design philosophy that Kanohi cards should do something beyond granting power when equipped. GY effects are particularly nice for this role due to Isolde exactly making it piss easy to mill Equip Spells while doing a combo, and even without that particular broken card, gathering a stockpile of Kanohi in the GY was already an intentional part of their strategy when I came up with the original version in ancient times before Link Monsters. Anyway, for these six Great Kanohi in particular, their secondary effect is simply that they can search the matching Toa by banishing a monster from the GY when they are sent there, which helps maintain hand advantage and incentivizes running the correct pairs.
Last but not least, to quickly summarize the on-field effects and what Kanohi powers they represent:
- Great Kanohi Hau, Mask of Shielding – Lets the wearer generate a protective force field, in this case guarding only against battle destruction and damage (because the shield probably won’t be up outside battle, I guess).
- Great Kanohi Kaukau, Mask of Water Breathing – Lets the wearer breathe water. To get a useful effect, I generalized this to protection from adverse environmental conditions, meaning immunity to all non-targeting effects.
- Great Kanohi Pakari, Mask of Strength – Increases the wearer’s physical strength. This is simply and straightforwardly implemented as an ATK increase, plus the ability to inflict piercing damage because they become strong enough to punch straight through walls.
- Great Kanohi Kakama, Mask of Speed – Lets the wearer move at great speed. Great enough to attack all of the opponent’s monsters in a single Battle Phase, in fact.
- Great Kanohi Akaku, Mask of X-Ray Vision – Allows the wearer to see through solid objects. Here, it sees through the opponent’s hand, and to provide a more active component, can snipe a freshly added Spell/Trap out of it for a turn.
- Great Kanohi Miru, Mask of Levitation – Allows the wearer to float in the air, outside the range of targeting effects from which it grants protection. The specific method of negating the effect entirely is for compatibility with Kanohi-swapping Quick Effects (see Support section below).
When the Toa Mata combine into Toa Kaita, so do their masks, forming two even more powerful Great Kanohi.
Great Kanohi AkiEquip 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.
Great Kanohi RuaEquip 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.
The Aki combines the powers of Hau, Pakari, and Kakama, while the Rua does the same for Kaukau, Akaku, and Miru – in both cases with some omissions, because there’s no way the full effects would ever have fit on the cards. However, these insanely powerful abilities are only available to the Toa Kaita, and a sole Toa Mata equipped with one of these cards will instead merely receive some assistance in forming such a combination. Still pretty useful.
And finally, the ultimate “boss” of the Great Kanohi is that which lies beyond the Quest for the Masks, accessible only to a Toa who has gathered all of the six individual masks: The Golden Kanohi.
Great Golden KanohiEquip Spell
If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. While this card is equipped to a “Toa” monster: You can banish 6 “Great Kanohi” Equip Spells with different names from your GY, and if you do, replace this effect with those banished cards’ original effects. If this card is sent to the GY: You can send 1 “Kanohi” Equip Spell from your Deck to the GY; add this card to your hand, then place 1 card from your hand on the bottom of the Deck. You can only use this effect of “Great Golden Kanohi” once per turn.
By banishing exactly 6 Great Kanohi gathered in your GY, it gains their powers as long as it remains on the field. A rather reckless all-in move since it permanently removes the masks you copy and loses to Spell/Trap removal, but certainly satisfying when it works out. The first hurdle is obviously setting up the GY, which the Golden Kanohi itself helps with: Send it to the GY and it will mill you another Kanohi and return to your hand or Deck, continuing to wait for its time to be activated.
This one is technically not a Great Kanohi by name just so nobody can be funny and copy a Golden Kanohi with a second Golden Kanohi.
The Noble Kanohi worn by Turaga follow the same general structure, but predictably also grant their special powers to said Turaga. In exchange, the abilities themselves have lower impact and/or stricter conditions and drawbacks. As their secondary effect, these Kanohi do not search their matching Turaga, but instead act as a revival Spell from the GY by tributing a monster you control, which is useful for rebuilding a broken board or just Link climbing. They also conveniently equip themselves when reviving a Turaga this way.
The powers of the Noble Kanohi included in this expansion are:
- Noble Kanohi Huna, Mask of Concealment – Hides the wearer from the opponent’s attacks, but only while there are other monsters to hide amongst.
- Noble Kanohi Rau, Mask of Translation – “Translates” the text of an effect targeting the wearer into a different effect that geometrically “translates” monsters along the Main Monster Zones. It’s basically a convoluted negate based on a stupid pun.
- Noble Kanohi Ruru, Mask of Night Vision – Illuminates a face-down card and inflicts damage if it’s a Spell/Trap or a monster smaller than the equipped one.
- Noble Kanohi Komau, Mask of Mind Control – Mentally influences your opponent’s weakest monster(s) into being unable to activate its effects, but only if your opponent actually controls multiple monsters. As indicated by “monster(s)”, this can theoretically affect all opponent’s monsters at once if they have the same ATK.
- Noble Kanohi Matatu, Mask of Telekinesis – Telekinetically (and non-targetingly) changes the battle position of a monster, but the focus required means the wearer does’t get to attack that turn.
- Noble Kanohi Mahiki, Mask of Illusions – Generates an illusory Token that stays as long as the mask is active, but doing so requires the wearer to be alone on your field.
That’s it for the masks of power themselves, but there are some other cards that interact with them as well.
SuvaEffect 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.
The Suva is the Kanohi-storing shrine that supports the Toa Mata by allowing them to switch between the masks they have collected at will, and in relation to Kanohi that is indeed exactly what this card does as well. With the additional limitations of a small LP cost and not being able to re-equip a Kanohi destroyed the same turn, you can equip any Kanohi in your hand or GY to any Toa you control (not just Mata!), which will conveniently cause any already equipped Kanohi to self-destruct, effectively accomplishing the swap.
Gift of the ShrineQuick-Play Spell
Target 1 face-up monster you control, then activate 1 of these effects;
●Equip 1 “Kanohi” Equip Spell from your hand or GY to that target.
●Banish 1 Level 1 Rock monster with 0 ATK/DEF you control or in your GY, and if you do, equip 1 “Noble Kanohi” or “Great Kanohi” Equip Spell from your Deck to that target.
Gift of the Shrine is just that effect on a Quick-Play Spell, giving you another option in case the Suva itself becomes unavailable. By banishing a Suva (or a monster with an identical statline – as of this writing, the real game has none), you can also use an alternate effect that equips a Kanohi directly from the Deck instead. This part is explicitly limited to Noble and Great Kanohi, just to make sure it’s not quite so easy to acquire the yet-to-be-implemented Legendary Kanohi. Another difference from the Suva’s effect is that the target of this Spell doesn’t need to be a Toa, so you can use it with Turaga or even just equip a Kanohi from your Deck to a monster that can’t use it only to get it into circulation.
Quest for the MasksContinuous Spell
When a “Toa” monster is Normal Summoned: You can equip 1 “Great Kanohi” or “Noble Kanohi” Equip Spell from your Deck to it. You can send any number of “Kanohi” Equip Spells from your hand to the GY; draw that many cards. You can only use this effect of “Quest for the Masks” once per turn. Once per turn, during the End Phase: You can target 1 of your banished monsters whose Level is less than or equal to the number of “Kanohi” Equip Spells with different names in your GY; Special Summon it, then destroy this card.
Quest for the Masks simulates the Toa Mata’s search for their respective set of Great and Noble Kanohi after arriving on Mata Nui. The first stage of this is that any Normal Summoned Toa (not just Toa Mata – I figure this card might be useful for future teams and their Kanohi as well) immediately gets to equip a Great/Noble Kanohi of your choice from the Deck, finding that mask and permanently adding it to your Suva-accessible collection. Second, if you happen to find any Kanohi by drawing them, you can throw them into the GY to further progress the quest and draw the same number of fresh cards that are probably more useful in your hand. And finally, once you have gathered a sufficient amount of Kanohi, you can declare the Quest for the Masks completed at the end of the turn, recover a banished monster as a reward, and destroy the Continuous Spell. You specifically get to bring back monsters with a Level up to the number of different Kanohi you have, which fits nicely because a complete set of 6 will exactly get you a Toa and if you somehow gather both Greats and Nobles for a total of 12, your options include literally any leveled monster in the game.
Copper Kanohi of VictoryEquip Spell
If another “Kanohi” card is equipped to the equipped monster, destroy this card. At the start of the Damage Step, if a “Matoran”, “Turaga”, or “Toa” monster equipped with this card battles an opponent’s monster: You can destroy both this card and that opponent’s monster. When a monster declares an attack while this card is in your GY: You can equip this card to the monster you control with the highest ATK, but banish it when it leaves the field. You can only use this effect of “Copper Kanohi of Victory” once per turn.
The Copper Kanohi of Victory is not so much a support card as it is a honorary member of the archetype, being a mask that neither contains special powers nor is actually meant to be worn like one. Given that second point, it might be unfitting for it to even have the usual self-destruct when another Kanohi shows up, but if it didn’t it would still cause the previous Kanohi to blow up, and I figured having different mechanics depending on the order in which masks are equipped would just be weird.
Anyway, what this trophy mask actually does is simply granting “victory” in battle to the entire Matoran evolution line, by destroying itself along with the opponent’s monster. Like the actual Kanohi, it also offers a secondary effect in the GY, and this one acts as a kind of battle trap, equipping to the current “champion” among your monsters on attack declaration.