TES Matchup Battles: Temur Rhinos

Temur Rhinos is a deck aimed at assembling a pair of [[Rhino Token]] from [[Crashing Footfalls]] by the first or second turn. [[Crashing Footfalls]] can’t be cast off suspend by that early, but instead is cast off of a cascade trigger from [[Shardless Agent]] and [[Violent Outburst]]. The only card that you can cascade into is [[Crashing Footfalls]] because there are no other cards less than three mana in the deck. Typically, a deck that only plays cards three mana and above wouldn’t be too playable in Legacy, but even the cards that cost more than three mana they aren’t actually paying three mana to cast them. Like [[Force of Will]], [[Force of Negation]], [[Endurance]], and [[Mystical Dispute]]. These cards allow Temur Rhinos to still interact and be disruptive while also still only being able to cascade into [[Crashing Footfalls]]. Temur Rhinos also plays four copies of [[Simian Spirit Guide]] and [[Elvish Spirit Guide]] to make this happen by turns one or two pretty consistently. Temur Rhinos is a newer deck to the Legacy metagame and is becoming quite popular, so we should be prepared for the matchup.

How does Temur Rhinos matchup against TES?

[[Force of Will|]]
[[Crashing Footfalls|]]
[[Shardless Agent|]]

[[Violent Outburst]], [[Shardless Agent]], [[Crashing Footfalls]] – These are the combo pieces. Now typically the cascade mechanic wouldn’t be considered a combo, but when there’s only one thing to cascade into we will call that a combo. Eight power on the first or second turn of the game backed up by free counterspells is definitely good enough for Legacy.

[[Force of Will]], [[Force of Negation]] – Like most blue decks in Legacy, they play a suite of eight free counterspells in [[Force of Will]] and [[Force of Negation]]. These are the perfect counterspells for Temur Rhinos because they can’t cascade into them.

[[Fire // Ice]] – This card is interesting and not something we see much in Legacy, and both halves are relevant in this matchup. Temur Rhinos being able to tap down one of our lands or a piece of artifact mana during our upkeep can definitely delay us from comboing for a turn. In this matchup, TES brings in four copies of [[Empty the Warrens]] because it’s great at racing and winning through the [[Crashing Footfalls]]. [[Fire // Ice]] can change that math though by being able to kill two [[Goblin Token]].

[[Force of Vigor]], [[Endurance]] – Temur Rhinos has a few good sideboard cards against TES. [[Force of Vigor]] is the main one as TES has become more artifact heavy. [[Beseech the Mirror]] replaced [[Wishclaw Talisman]], so at least a tutor can’t be destroyed by [[Force of Vigor]], but [[Beseech the Mirror]] still requires us to play many targets for [[Force of Vigor]]. [[Endurance]] used to only hit an unlucky [[Echo of Eons]], but now that we can lean into [[Gaea’s Will]] it makes [[Endurance]] much more of a real threat.

Deck Lists

The EPIC Storm

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Burning Wish]]
  • 4 [[Beseech the Mirror]]
  • 4 [[Brainstorm]]
  • 3 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 1 [[Ad Nauseam]]
  • 1 [[Gaea’s Will]]
  • 4 [[Thoughtseize]]
  • 4 [[Rite of Flame]]
  • 4 [[Dark Ritual]]
  • 4 [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]
  • 4 [[Lotus Petal]]
  • 4 [[Mox Opal]]
  • 4 [[Mishra’s Bauble]]
  • 4 [[Urza’s Bauble]]
  • 4 [[Bloodstained Mire]]
  • 1 [[Verdant Catacombs]]
  • 1 [[Underground Sea]]
  • 2 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 2 [[Badlands]]
  • 1 [[Swamp]]


  • 1 [[Echoing Truth]]
  • 1 [[Galvanic Relay]]
  • 2 [[Chain of Vapor]]
  • 1 [[Mind’s Desire]]
  • 1 [[Infernal Tutor]]
  • 1 [[Grapeshot]]
  • 4 [[Empty the Warrens]]
  • 1 [[Tendrils of Agony]]
  • 1 [[Echo of Eons]]
  • 1 [[Pulverize]]
  • 1 [[Peer into the Abyss]]

Temur Rhinos

Main Deck

  • 4 [[Brazen Borrower]]
  • 4 [[Elvish Spirit Guide]]
  • 1 [[Endurance]]
  • 4 [[Shardless Agent]]
  • 4 [[Simian Spirit Guide]]
  • 2 [[Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes]]
  • 3 [[Crashing Footfalls]]
  • 1 [[Dismember]]
  • 3 [[Force of Negation]]
  • 4 [[Violent Outburst]]
  • 4 [[Fire // Ice]]
  • 4 [[Force of Will]]
  • 4 [[Lórien Revealed]]
  • 1 [[Island]]
  • 1 [[Forest]]
  • 1 [[Mountain]]
  • 4 [[Misty Rainforest]]
  • 1 [[Otawara, Soaring City]]
  • 2 [[Scalding Tarn]]
  • 1 [[Taiga]]
  • 2 [[Tropical Island]]
  • 2 [[Volcanic Island]]
  • 3 [[Wooded Foothills]]


  • 2 [[Inevitable Betrayal]]
  • 2 [[Blood Moon]]
  • 1 [[Brotherhood’s End]]
  • 3 [[Endurance]]
  • 1 [[Energy Flux]]
  • 2 [[Hullbreacher]]
  • 2 [[Force of Vigor]]
  • 2 [[Fury]]

Ways to Win This Matchup

[[Rite of Flame|]]
[[Beseech the Mirror|]]
[[Mox Opal|]]

Our Game Plan

This matchup is pretty straightforward in how it plays out. Temur Rhinos is a rather linear deck that has the same play pattern every game. They’re going to keep a hand with a turn one or two [[Crashing Footfalls]] and at least one counterspell. By the third or fourth turn, there will most likely be a second [[Crashing Footfalls]] and a second counterspell. That’s what we will have to beat. Fortunately, that isn’t that difficult for TES to beat. Our deck lines up nicely against that combination because we have a faster win and can beat [[Force of Will]] when we plan against it. In this matchup, we are bringing in four copies of [[Empty the Warrens]], so those four plus the three main deck [[Galvanic Relay]] line up nicely against counterspells and [[Crashing Footfalls]]. Temur Rhinos can put a lot of power onto the board quickly, but it still takes them a few turns of attacking to actually win the game. We can use this to our advantage by not having to force attempting a combo as soon as we can. By taking our time, we get to play around counterspells better and generating higher storm counts for [[Galvanic Relay]] and [[Empty the Warrens]].




-4 [[Brainstorm]], +4 [[Empty the Warrens]]

A fairly easy sideboard plan here. [[Empty the Warrens]] is great in this matchup because it can line up well against [[Crashing Footfalls]], counterspells, and a quicker combo. Temur Rhinos plays very little to beat 12+ goblins and usually no wrath effects. This is the perfect recipe for winning this matchup. Temur Rhinos will be bringing in [[Force of Vigor]] and [[Endurance]]. Both of these can be a blowout if we play right into them, so it’s important to keep these in mind when sequencing plays. If we play around them, they are very beatable.


Game Play

I started the first game on the draw. I kept my seven-card hand that had two copies of [[Brainstorm]], one land, three rituals, and a [[Mox Opal]]. The game started off rather slow with the opponent not casting anything on their first two turns, and I didn’t cast anything on my first turn. For my second turn, I didn’t have a second land, so I cast the [[Brainstorm]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 1

I put back the [[Mox Opal]] and a [[Brainstorm]]. I figured my opponent may be able to cascade into [[Crashing Footfalls]] next turn and they probably have a [[Force of Will]], so I wanted to go for [[Galvanic Relay]] here. I only had access to one initial mana source so I couldn’t use both copies of [[Dark Ritual]], but I would have them for my next turn. I just cashed in both copies of [[Rite of Flame]] and cast [[Galvanic Relay]] for four.

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 2

My opponent missed their third land drop and just pass the turn back to me. On my upkeep they cast [[Fire // Ice]] on my [[Badlands]]. I could combo from here, but I wanted to bait out a counterspell here or see if I could draw some better cards, so I led with [[Brainstorm]]. It was immediately countered by [[Force of Will]]. This makes sense to counter if they think I wouldn’t be able to combo using the cards in exile off the [[Galvanic Relay]] without the [[Brainstorm]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 3

From here, I had an exact line to win. I played out my land and then cast both copies of [[Dark Ritual]] and [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. I then sacrificed the [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] for red and cast [[Rite of Flame]] from exile. I played the [[Mishra’s Bauble]] and then sacrificed it to [[Beseech the Mirror]] for another copy of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]]. This gave me 10 Storm and enough mana to cast the [[Tendrils of Agony]] from exile for enough to win the game.

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 4

I sidedboarded in the [[Empty the Warrens]] and began the second game on the draw. I had to mulligan down to five with plenty of mana and an [[Empty the Warrens]]. My opponent executed their game plan on turn one by cascading into [[Crashing Footfalls]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 5

I just had to hope to draw good enough cards to generate more storm for this [[Empty the Warrens]] in hand.

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 6

A few turns went by, and I didn’t draw much that would help. I could cast [[Empty the Warrens]], but not enough Storm to beat both copies of [[Rhino Token]]. My opponent then played a turn three [[Shardless Agent]] into another [[Crashing Footfalls]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 7

I took my next draw step and decided to move onto game three. I was back on the play. Once again, I had to mulligan down to five cards. At least this hand led to somewhere. I had a turn one [[Galvanic Relay]]. I exiled the perfect cards in order to [[Galvanic Relay]] again to get more card advantage through counterspells. My opponent also had a good turn one with cascading into [[Crashing Footfalls]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 8

My second turn was playing everything from exile and casting a [[Galvanic Relay]] for five. I couldn’t play the [[Tendrils of Agony]], so it would be exiled, and I would have to win with [[Empty the Warrens]] or [[Burning Wish]].

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 9

My opponent just attacked with their tokens and then passed the turn. At this point, I was able to play a [[Thoughtseize]] from exile and lots of mana to [[Beseech the Mirror]] for [[Gaea’s Will]]. I had lots of mana in my graveyard in both rituals and artifacts. I played them all out and then could [[Beseech the Mirror]] for [[Burning Wish]] for [[Tendrils of Agony]] to win the game.

Matchup Battles Temur Rhinos - Image 10

Temur Rhinos is an interesting deck that is really consistent at what it does and is powerful. That is a good recipe to be successful in Legacy. Fortunately for us, I think it’s pressure and disruption is just a little too weak against TES. We are a high favorite in this matchup, but I think if Temur Rhinos wanted to have a better Storm matchup it could easily play the cards to make that happen. TES is getting so many great new options and ways we can build our deck. I am sure the variation I tested this month will be tweaked or entirely different a few weeks from now. Trying out these new cards and new versions of TES is exciting and a great timer to be a storm player. I hope you enjoyed this article, can take some of the lessons learned, and apply them to your own playtesting.