|Season One Invitational||Did Not Place|
|Season Two Invitational||3rd place|
|Season Three Invitational||Did Not Place|
|Midseason Major||Did Not Place|
|Season Four Invitational||Top 8|
|Season Five Invitational||Did Not Attend|
|Season Six Invitational||Did Not Attend|
ETS Results: Two time Winner, once Finalist, once Top 4
Cory “SirRhino” Cerino (… get it? Cerino? Sir Rhino?) has been around Eternal since early in Closed Beta and has been working hard to build the community since the very beginning. He’s been playing in the competitive scene since the Scion’s League, the ETS’s predecessor, winning one of their season end events with Felnscar Midrange. It was a deck taking advantage of the original Champion of Cunning, alongside Scraptank (then named Autofurnace), with Feln Stranger to meet the deck’s influence requirements – leading to the long-running joke that Feln Stranger was a better card than Sandstorm Titan, going by tournament results. He was also one of the original streamers of Eternal and he even ran a short lived event series, the Brewer’s Brawl, where he would invite players to build decks under different restrictions every week.
Rhino is also known as a draft master, having posted a high finish on the draft ladder in almost every season. And if you listen to him, he’s the reason behind some of the early Closed Beta rarity nerfs, when Paladin Oathbook was changed from Uncommon to Rare and Elder’s Feather was changed from Common to Uncommon. Rhino drafted a triple Oathbook deck and beat Chapin twice in the same draft with it, sealing the card’s fate.
Rhino is best known in the ETS for being the original master of Feln Control. No matter how hostile the meta was for it, Rhino seemed to be able to pull off miracles with Feln Control. In his first appearance in an ETS weekly, he took second with an early build of Feln Contro, only losing in the end to the menace of the day – Party Hour. That event was a large part of my inspiration to play in the ETS and then to bring Feln Control to the Season 1 Invitational.
Season 2 especially was the season where it seemed like Feln could do no wrong in Rhino’s hands. Despite Feln packing Storm, the popular token decks of the time were a poor matchup for Feln, because if they could land an Obelisk, Storm loses efficacy and Feln could not keep up with the horde of pumped up small units. Rhino came prepared with Snowcrush Animist, a card previously thought to only be useful in fringe Reanimator strategies. It gave his deck a resilience to tokens and another way to wipe up aggro decks, if they could rebuild after Storm or spot removal. It took him to a win on December 10th. Once Rhino’s spot in the Invitational was secured, he explored Scream Reanimator and Unstable Feln to good results in the Swiss, but not securing Top 8 with either.
Season 2 was the revival of Armory and while it wasn’t the most popular deck of the Invitational, Rhino’s path through the Loser’s Bracket was a gauntlet of Armory decks, one of Feln’s worst matchups. Rhino, however, pulled out all the stops for that event. The deck he built was incredibly innovative at the time – the origins of modern Feln Control. Part of the problem with Feln Control was tailoring the win-cons to what you expected, where if you didn’t predict the meta accurately, you would have a deck unable to face the field. So, Rhino pulled the deck closer to midrange, bringing in 3 Champions of Cunning and putting a package of win-cons into his sideboard, along with Celestial Omen to proxy for them. At that point, Champion of Cunning was considered a card too nerfed to be played, after it was changed when the game went into Open Beta. But Rhino proved the card’s value, making an incredible run, against all the odds through the Loser’s Bracket of the event to eventually take third.
Then in the Midseason Major, Rhino decided to go back to his aggro-playing roots. Despite his affinity for Control in Eternal, he prefered to play Aggro in Magic. He came up with the first iteration of the Feln Aggro/Tempo. A deck somewhat imitating Delver style decks in Magic, but with Blood Beetle playing the role of the 1-drop you ride to victory. This iteration of the deck was a bit unpolished and Rhino had a poor run with the deck in the MSM, but he created a deck that would become one of the more popular decks on ladder and in the ETS for the next season, until Rapid Shot’s nerf.
This isn’t to say that Rhino can’t play decks that aren’t in Primal and Shadow colors – Season 4 was a break from tradition for him, where he pulled off a 9-0 run with Aggro Combrei, with a top 8 appearance in that season’s Invitational with a similar deck. In Rhino fashion, he built his decks to punch the expected meta, building his regular season deck to destroy Armory and his Invitational deck to beat Chalice, both times paying off. He claims to have a 90%+ winrate against Chalice in the ETS, but I haven’t actually ran those numbers.
However, in recent seasons, Rhino has taken time off the ETS to focus on casting and returning to college to finish his degree, stating that he doesn’t have the time to dedicate to real practice and tuning to be in top competitive stape. Will this be Rhino’s last hurrah? And will he go out with glory?
Written by rekenner