Over a month ago I discussed a build of [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] that I ran in Legacy for the better part of a year. I ran it to a 4-1 start at an SCG Legacy Open before running out of steam—between variance and a very rude player that caused me some tilt, my streak fell off a bit. I mention this because the SCG Worcester Legacy Open is less than a month away now and I plan to “Slide” into the competition with a full set of [casthaven]Siege Rhino[/casthaven], some [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven] and additional ramp to get there naturally without relying solely on [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] for value.

I had considered a build of Nic Fit for this deck, but I don’t want to go too deep in deck thinning since the card advantage digs deep already. Without further ado, here is Sliding Rhinos!

Sliding Rhinos

Lands (26)
Barren Moor
Secluded Steppe
Tranquil Thicket
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath

Creatures (15)
Eternal Witness
Noble Hierarch
Restoration Angel
Siege Rhino

Spells (20)
Abrupt Decay
Astral Slide
Life from the Loam
Liliana of the Veil
Mox Diamond
Swords to Plowshares
Sideboard (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Gaddock Teeg
Renewed Faith
Surgical Extraction

The part of this build that excited me the most is the fact that I do not rely only on [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] to get value anymore now that I am running three [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven]s. In my experience with Death and Taxes running [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven] gives me  an even better match up against Miracles, Delver variants, and Shardless BUG. [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven] provides a threat that tends to go over the top of [casthaven]Counterbalance[/casthaven], is out of the range of [casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven], can enter the battlefield at instant speed and has four toughness allowing it to survive a [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven] or combat with a [casthaven]Delver of Secrets[/casthaven].  In addition, Eldrazi becomes even more manageable with all the value that I am running, plus out of the board I have plenty of ways to keep aggression and combo down under the hooves of my Rhinos.


In this build I have the full set of [casthaven]Noble Hierarch[/casthaven] for mana fixing as well as ramp. Naturally I don’t need blue, but they still provide me with the green and white that I regularly use when cycling [casthaven]Secluded Steppe[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Tranquil Thicket[/casthaven]. It also provides exalted triggers which can turn combat in my favor in order to quickly turn the aggression on a possible turn two [casthaven]Siege Rhino[/casthaven].

The set of [casthaven]Eternal Witness[/casthaven] is just complete value to buy back the spells and creatures that I need to keep an opponent down and then close out a game. As discussed in the previous article alongside [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] we can buy back cards over and over again for value.

From the last article I went from two [casthaven]Siege Rhino[/casthaven] with a third in the board that I could [casthaven]Living Wish[/casthaven] for, to a full four in the main. Every trigger upon entering is a six point life swing, the fact that Rhino has trample we also lets us slide out a blocker while still dealing the combat damage with Rhino.

Three [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven] tops off our creature package to give us additional value from Witness and Rhino without the need for Slide. It also provides a reasonable clock with evasion if we need to close a game quickly in the air. In Legacy, short of cheating an [casthaven]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Griselbrand[/casthaven] into play [casthaven]Restoration Angel[/casthaven] is one of the best flying creatures and rules the sky.


[casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven] as a three-of for the fact that it is uncounterable and handles most problem permanents we may come across.

[casthaven]Swords to Plowshares[/casthaven] as an answer for creatures, of course aside from hexproof, protection and shroud as it does need to target what it handles. But Swords is cheap and efficient at what it does.

[casthaven]Liliana of the Veil[/casthaven] can be a one time non-targeted removal spell (i’m looking at you [casthaven]True-Name Nemesis[/casthaven]) and over time becomes a redundant removal spell.  


[casthaven]Liliana of the Veil[/casthaven] not only provides us with removal as mentioned, but she can control the pace of a game over time by restricting what players can hold in hand, answering creatures and potentially devastating an opponents board. She is powerful and her discard ability is mitigated by the fact that we are running [casthaven]Life from the Loam[/casthaven].


Three [casthaven]Choke[/casthaven]—In playing [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] originally I found that Miracles could be a very long and difficult match up. [casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven] is on overload, [casthaven]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/casthaven] is difficult to answer and they have graveyard hate which removes some of the value that we can get. Between the changes I’ve made to the main and [casthaven]Choke[/casthaven] in the sideboard I am hoping to remedy this problem.

Three [casthaven]Duress[/casthaven]—Here strickly for combo matchups to supplement [casthaven]Liliana of the Veil[/casthaven] to break up a combo. Alongside Canonist and Teeg we can likely keep them from being able to cast a win condition in general.

Two [casthaven]Ethersworn Canonist[/casthaven]—One of the more popular and established hate bears against combo. Restricting a combo deck’s ability to cast multiple non artifact spells can stop any combo deck from being able to kill you, Sneak and Show aside.

Two [casthaven]Gaddock Teeg[/casthaven]—One thing that most combo decks have in common is their need to resolve a spell that cost either four or more mana, or have X in its mana cost and this Kithkin Advisor is the right bear for the job. He is also shuts down [casthaven]Terminus[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/casthaven] out of Miracles.

Three [casthaven]Renewed Faith[/casthaven]—Another issue that I realized with the deck was Burn. Here we have a quick gain two life and draw through cycling for two mana, or we have a quick gain six life for three mana. With [casthaven]Eternal Witness[/casthaven] we can chain this over and over again to really pad our life total against aggression from the likes of Burn and lately the Eldrazi menace.

Two [casthaven]Surgical Extraction[/casthaven]—Another anti combo piece as well as hate against graveyard based decks like Lands. Combined with [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven]/Loam package we could potentially recycle this several times to completely remove all mana sources from an opponent’s deck.

Initial Thoughts

I realize that I have what may be referred to as “an unhealthy relationship” with [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] (<3). I have gotten many compliments on my ability with the deck from many people no matter where I take it. I just really enjoy the nostalgia as well as the puzzle that [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] provides me. There is a lot of sequencing required when running this deck, many of the lines of play result in nearly no noticeable change in the board state and for these reasons the deck needs to be played at a high pace to avoid concerns of being called for slow play.

One of the initial reasons that I walked away from [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] was the very difficult match up against Miracles. They can get as much card advantage and value out of their deck as I can get from [casthaven]Astral Slide[/casthaven] and my creatures, but they have the graveyard hate necessary to shut down our engines and Jace which can be difficult to answer when the game plan is a 2/1 creature with no form of evasion. After such a long hiatus from the deck with countless brews in different color combinations, I have come to this list which I believe has a great match up against Miracles and hopefully I can take the format by force in July. I am very much looking forward to grinding out value against my opponents and then burying them in a rock slide.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges in the comments. 🙂

Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas.

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