For those who play locally with me, they’ll know I love Rhinar. Besides being my first hero, his innate ability to never be out of any game is an awesome trait that greatly appeals to me. Similarly though, Rhinar can just easily lose games out of nowhere, being a hero that is within the only class without any relevant on-hit effects for the opponent to respect. Additionally, Rhinar’s innate ability to Intimidate makes him an incredible solution to against other slower midrange/control builds but equally weak against opponents who don’t want to block.
In this latter case, intimidate may as well be nonexistent, and the extra costs you pay to play out cards that allow it to function (draw-discard, discard as an additional cost, etc.) will put you at a card disadvantage versus pure aggro builds. However, the key to all of this is that Rhinar is an extremely flexible hero, able to present extremely varying game styles depending on his opponent, and then finally finishing each game off with huge intimidate sequences. Although those who have played the big green Brute for quite some time will be familiar with them, many of those who are entering the from Classic Battles onwards might not be as familiar with Rhinar’s different archetypes. Let’s break down exactly what these would look like and how you can use them to your advantage in different matchups.
Strap in for a Wild Ride with aggro Rhinar. This build utilizes Claws to maximize on Rhinar’s explosive ability, as well as powerhouse cards like Wild Ride, Pulping, Swing Big and Bloodrush Bellow. In this sort of build, you’re looking to simply beat the opponent to the endgame before they can kill you. Since many cards in this build usually don’t block, you’ll have trouble against decks that are presenting a lot of hand disruption and hit effects. Although go-again in Brute is an incredible mix with intimidate to push through damage, the cost to playing many of our cards with go-again means they either won’t block, or they will require three cards to simply enable their play (Breakneck Battery, Swing Fist, Think Later). However, the damage rate on these cards paired with intimidate is quite good, and if you can get even a slight life lead or get your opponent to start blocking even a little (slowing down their offense), chances are likely you’ll be able to finish off the game later.
In a pure Cheetah build, Bloodrush Bellow is the centerpiece of the deck. While not necessary to win, seeing at least two of your three Bloodrushes in the game is key to consistently keeping up with some of the faster decks in the format (Dorinthea, Briar, Lightning Lexi). Since Bloodrush is key, so are the support cards surrounding it. Savage Feast, Swing Big and Wild Ride/Pulping are all great choices to be in arsenal when you Bloodrush, since it’ll all but guarantee you can hit for 18 damage or more on each of those turns. If you can possibly pull off a larger 20 to 26 damage Bloodrush turn, then you’re really in the money and will most likely be able to seal the game in the next one to three subsequent turns after.
However, Cheetah Rhinar struggles with many things as well. Since most of the non-blocking cards are red pitch, drawing two together is by no means impossible, and should it happen at the time when you need to be blocking, then you might just get put in a position that you can’t come back from. Again, since Rhinar has real on-hit effects outside of Command and Conquer, you many times must pay the iron price for tempo with your own life total. If you’re forced to do this simply because you can’t block that turn, that means you’ll be likely forced to block later when you’re ready to explode offensively. Similarly, your deck isn’t all gas either. Not drawing Bloodrush at the right time or in the right quantities, lacking the appropriate resource cards.
This is likely the most “Rhinar-eseque” of all the builds here, being extremely flexible in its attacking options whatever its hand size is. In fact, the current card pool for Rhinar is quite strong in support of this build. Rather, the previous meta is what made this deck so difficult to play.
In a sense, midrange Rhinar is trying to play one or two-card hands into the opponent and is happy blocking up whenever possible. Once in a while, they’ll also throw in Pummels over cards like Swing Big and Command and Conquer to further force the opponent to play with smaller hands as well. Since Club is a such a strong weapon with a one-card hand, this is the standard for this build, however, cards like Swing Big, Rolling Thunder, Command and Conquer, Smash Instinct (Red) and Barraging Beatdown are all other solid options within this deck. Cards like Sand Sketched Plan and Bloodrush Bellow highlight your offensive options, and although your high ceiling offensive isn’t innately there, the power of Scabskin Leathers + Gambler’s Gloves is right at your doorstep to allow for those to come alive. One other notable card in this build alongside your Legendary Boots is Tome of Fyendal, which provides solid life gain options and explosive power for when you do hit the dual action points.
In terms of the weaknesses of this build, it comes from a lack of an ability to race decks. The deck isn’t too far behind but rolling Scabskins is crucial to getting the win with this build. As a result, Gambler’s is a must here, as are cards like Command and Conquer and Pummel to help slow down the opponent while you find your more explosive hands. Similarly, there are a few decks that are also more efficient than you; Bravo, Showstopper has an equally powerful weapon and can avoid your blocks, and Dorinthea Axes can simply rip into you with her raw efficiency.
Welcome to the club that loves the club! Control Rhinar is going to be chock full of defense reactions and really leverages his ability to block with so many three-block cards simultaneously. For decks leaning aggro/midrange, this version can eat them alive as it blocks so well while simultaneously swinging for four damage every turn with the club. However, the offensive output of this deck is quite low, and you need to be setting up huge intimidate turns to really make sure that Rhinar can win the game as well. On the other hand, if you know that your opponent may simply run out of cards offensively or run out of powerhouse cards to deal you damage, blocking up entirely and setting up your second cycle is a solid option. For those who enjoy playing a reactive game style and putting up a defensive wall, this build is for you.
The main lacking point of this build is the offensive output in longer games against other midrange builds and simply a middling suite of equipment and options from Rhinar. Although Reckless Swing is a good game ender, it is by no means an efficient reaction. The other main defensive option in this deck is Bone Head Barrier, which is unreliable and poor on rate unless you roll a five or six really. Similarly, Rhinar doesn’t have a great swat of defensive equipment like a Bravo or Oldhim. Although his suite his good, his control game plan ultimately suffers from these lack of defensive tools, and Guardians simply play this game style much better than he does.
Flexibility in game style is an asset. It makes sideboarding against you difficult and allows players to play the game style which best suits them. Rhinar in particular can choose which style he wants to play, or have access to mix of these style in his sideboard so he can play them in response to each matchup. The ability to do this makes him an incredibly interesting hero with a deep learning curve as you master all three styles and game patterns. Good luck to those just starting on their journey with Rhinar and if you have any more questions about his card pool or gameplay, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @a_dedanwala.