I’ve been playing Temur Rhinos in Modern for the last month and it still feels like the strongest option despite The One Ring shaking up the format in a big way. Today I’m going to share my sideboard plans for some of the many popular decks in Modern. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker has been instrumental in allowing me to sidestep the popular cascade hate.
Let’s begin with my current Temur Rhinos decklist:
I still subscribe to the Zoomer philosophy of maindecking Mystical Dispute.
The idea is that even in the non-blue matchups you begin by cascading and then hold up the counter to close the game. The floor is surprisingly high. Most of the top tier decks play blue, too.
The One Ring is being shoved into every conceivable archetype, but I don’t like it in Temur Rhinos. Cascade plays best in a tempo shell while The One Ring slows down the game. The Ring also plays well when you’re able to control the board after untapping, but Rhinos doesn’t play well from behind.
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker provides additional threats that sidestep cascade hate. The powerful enchantment can team up with Blood Moon and Endurance to provide enough optionality in the three-drop slot to become indifferent to Chalice of the Void and Engineered Explosives.
Let’s get to why you’re all here: sideboarding!
4 COLOR OMNATH
OUT —> IN
+2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker +1 Subtlety +1 Fury
-2 Dead/Gone -2 Murktide Regent
This is a battle of attrition. Delighted Halfling changes the dynamic as you must respect the mana dork or face an uncounterable Teferi.
Blood Moon is a trap as a Forest can cast Delighted Halfling and Plains enables Leyline Binding.
OUT —> IN
+1 Fury +1 Subtlety +4 Endurance +2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
-4 Force of Negation -4 Mystical Dispute
Scam is a favorable matchup. The games lost by Rhinos can involve an uncontested Ragavan so prioritize elementals and Dead/Gone to interact. Dauthi Voidwalker casting Crashing Footfalls is another way to lose a big advantage so I frequently hold Fire/Ice to kill creatures. Scamming a Grief can’t beat your powerful topdecks, but Fury can take out two rhinos and leave behind a 4/4 with double-strike.
Orcish Bowmasters aren’t particularly effective against Rhinos, but be aware of the new flash threat.
The counters are an easy sell to board out because Endurance can be pitch cast to effectively counter a scam.
FIVE COLOR CREATIVITY
OUT —> IN
+3 Blood Moon +2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
-1 Murktide Regent -2 Fury -2 Dead/Gone
Creativity is a close matchup. Pilot skill is a key decider as both decks are filled with interaction and game-ending threats. It takes some judgment to know when to strike.
The name of the game is to cast Violent Outburst on turn three and slam a Blood Moon after board. Beware of the sideboard Plains that can cast Leyline Binding for four mana. Fable can create treasure and creatures to Creativity with only red mana.
Beware of Veil of Summer as it not only stops Force of Negation and Mystical Dispute, but also counters an Ice on their land. Fire can kill a Goblin Shaman token or two Dwarves. If my Ice resolves I can be fairly sure Veil is not in hand; this can be valuable information.
Mystical Dispute can counter Teferi, Change the Equation, and Spell Pierce, but misses Veil of Summer, Reprieve, and Hallowed Moonlight. Force of Negation is powerful in the mid game as you can resolve rhinos and not die to Creativity the following turn.
Murktide Regent is less powerful because you won’t always have double-blue with an early Blood Moon on the battlefield.
Fury and Dead/Gone both have applications in the matchup. I want to bounce an Archon of Cruelty, but need to respect Wrenn and Teferi. There are times you can let Wrenn resolve and Fury it rather than blow your Force of Negation early.
I suspect Creativity will become significantly less popular as Four-Color Omnath piles play a powerhouse 4-drop without wasting slots on Archon and Dwarven Mine.
OUT —> IN
+1 Fury +1 Subtlety +4 Force of Vigor +2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
-4 Mystical Dispute -4 Force of Negation
A close matchup as both decks are looking to execute their game plan early. Giving a creature +10+10 on turn two is more powerful than a pair of 4/4s, but Temur’s interaction is better.
Fury and Force of Vigor are key interaction spells to pull ahead, but Surge of Salvation needs to be respected.
Drannith Magistrate and Hallowed Moonlight are popular sideboard cards to stop the rhinos. A blue splash also means nimble counters and potentially Lavinia which dies to Dead/Gone.
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker gets the nod over blue counters as they provide extra cards to pitch to Fury. If the game slows down copying a Fury can end things quickly. Between Fury and Force of Vigor you can find yourself low on resources and Fable is another army in a can.
The green pitch cards in the sideboard means considering holding onto Crashing Footfalls instead of suspending. This is a judgment call as waiting four turns for a pair of 4/4s can be good enough with an interactive hand.
OUT —> IN
+2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker +2 Endurance
-4 Force of Negation
A popular deck and I happen to like the matchup.
Watch out for an early Ragavan. A ⅗ Ledger Shredder can also cause headaches which makes bouncing relevant.
There are some hands from Murktide that are extremely reactive and you can drag out the game to play around soft permission such as Spell Pierce and Flusterstorm. This is a judgment call that can pay off handsomely.
Force of Negation is the weakest card, but each spell has an application in the matchup.
Mystical Dispute is the strongest card in the matchup and a reason I like to face Murktide. It counters Ledger Shredder, Murktide Regent, Expressive Iteration, and Counterspell.
OUT —> IN
+2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
It’s possible to play around an opposing Fire/Ice by not breaking a fetch on the first two turns. Some games are lopsided in the mirror so don’t keep a weak opening hand.
While it may seem easy to dismiss the matchup as being about luck, there’s a lot of play to a majority of games. There are games no amount of practice can win, but this is not the norm.
Plenty of resources trade off and Mystical Dispute/Force of Negation need to be considered at every turn. Dead/Gone and Fury aren’t great ways to stop opposing Rhinos, but can also serve as role players.
OUT —> IN
+4 Endurance +1 Subtlety +2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
-4 Dead/Gone -3 Fury
This is a tough matchup as their cascade spell will undo yours. Endurance shores up the post board games. Subtlety can counter their Subtlety to force through an Endurance or pitch to Force of Negation.
Blood Moon is a trap because Living End simply fetches a Forest and Violent Outburst is online. Too risky for me, but it can win games. Generous Ent means they can prioritize finding Island with early fetch lands.
Living End saw a quick surge in popularity because it does’t need The One Ring and picked up powerful land cyclers. As graveyard decks get stronger they have a harder time fighting through the hate. I don’t expect Living End to remain popular enough to warrant shelving Rhinos.
OUT —> IN
+1 Fury +1 Subtlety +2 Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
-2 Mystical Dispute -2 Force of Negation
This is a favorable matchup. The rhinos hit hard early and you can trample over their small blockers. Fury can clean up early sacrifice fodder for Yawgmoth.
Mystical Dispute is surprisingly powerful as it counters Yawgmoth and Grist.
Force of Negation can counter Chord of Calling and Eldritch Evolution in game one, but also hits Necromentia and Thoughtseize after sideboard.
Endurance is low impact as you need the proper timing to prevent Young Wolf and Strangleroot Geist from returning to the battlefield. It’s a trap.
That’s all I have for today. Temur Rhinos is a great choice for any Modern event- especially if you don’t want to get The One Ring. It has fewer decisions than most decks. The sideboard options are among the best in the format. The strategy doesn’t get juked by Blood Moon or any other hateful permanents as Fable can help you diversify the threats.