Slivers are possibly the most hated tribe in all of magic. Even though it is arguable that Elves, Goblins, and possibly other tribes can build faster or more powerful decks people still focus their xenophobia on Slivers. Let’s find out why:
The Benefits of Slivers
- Call it the collective hive mind – slivers become more powerful the more of them there are. Slivers come together and provide powerful synergy and disruption by saying “all slivers have X”. Because you’ll have 4, 5, 6 or more slivers in play you will feel like you have a Odric, Lunarch Marshal type effect spamming tons of abilities across all of your creatures at all times.
- There are 4 Five color sliver commanders that give us access to building tempo, combo, midrange, or control style sliver decks. Because all the sliver commanders are five colors you can add any type of support cards that you please.
The Weaknesses of Slivers
- Xenophobia strikes in the opponents of slivers. People can sometimes over value the ability of slivers or premtivly target you because you play slivers and have no other reason for it.
- Cards that are effective versus small creatures (like Pyroclasm or Night of Souls’ Betrayal) can often be effective against slivers because most of them are 1/1s or 2/2s. Humility can also be a backbreaker.
Build with direction
There are an overwhelming number of slivers to choose from – you can’t include them all and you shouldn’t try to. While some slivers like Gemhide Sliver or Manaweft Sliver might feel like they can be included in any Sliver deck that is not true for the majority of slivers. Know your goals and know what you need to accomplish to win games. Focus on interactive slivers if you are building a midrange/control deck. The double strike, lords, and pump slivers are only helping aggro decks.
Sliver Creature Cards
A list of all Sliver cards can be found here.
Mana Production: Gemhide Sliver, Basal Sliver, and Manaweft Sliver can lead to really fast plays where you can use slivers to play more slivers. Utilizing these mana slivers alongside Quick Sliver or Heart Sliver can lead to very rapid board development without the use of mana rocks.
Slivers that Protect your Slivers: Crystalline Sliver, Diffusion Sliver, Hibernation Sliver, Sliver Hivelord, Crypt Sliver and Ward Sliver are probably the best way to protect your slivers. Beware that the shroud that Crystalline Sliver provides can sometimes be counter productive to the other targeted abilities your Slivers have.
Sliver Support Cards
Cryptic Gateway deserves its own section. Anyone who has played or built a sliver deck can attest to how being mana efficient is important when churning out slivers. Cryptic Gateway allows you to cheat slivers into play and get around counterspells – all at instant speed. Sneak Attack can be somewhat similar in use but you only get to use the sliver for a turn before it is sac’ed.
Aether Vial: Aether Vial lets us be super mana efficient while deploying threats and answers at instant speed.
Changelings: Cards like Mirror Entity and the other Changelings can serve as sliver substitutes but remember – they don’t add to the number of total abilities your slivers have as a group.
Clones: Clone, Sakashima the Impostor, Sakashima’s Student, Phyrexian Metamorph, Phantasmal Image, Evil Twin, Dack’s Duplicate all serve as loyal clone effects for slivers. If you can clone enter the battlefield effects you can double up on enter the battlefield triggers for future slivers that come into play. It helps that in a pinch you can copy some other powerful creature if necessary.
Rise of the Dark Realms is a devastating finisher in a sliver deck – being able to recur all the enter the battlefield triggers at once should win you the game. Patriarch’s Bidding and Living Death are other spells that can let you mass produce slivers from the grave.
Hive Stirrings can let you populate the field with sliver tokens.
Descendants’ Path can give you value over time if you run enough slivers to randomly flip them off the top of your deck each turn.
Cavern of Souls : Classic tribal land that lets us color fix as well as cast uncounterable slivers.
Sliver Hive : Makes slivers, provides adequate 5 color manafixing support.
Mutavault can be a sliver when you really need it to.
The Sliver Commanders
Sliver Hivelord can be good against Wrath of God style effects but there’s a caveat. They have to be ‘destroy’ effects or lethal damage – mass exile, bounce, -1/-1 counters, sac effects all get around Sliver Hivelord’s passive ability. Because there are so many ways to make indestructible feel like a inadequate ability I often question how good Hivelord is compared to the rest of the Sliver commanders. Hivelord is however good against midrange matchups where a lot of attacking/blocking takes place – indestructible is useful there.
Sliver Legion is the king of tempo oriented Sliver decks; if you are looking to curve out into massive damage this is the commander you want. It helps that Sliver Legion is a 7/7. With double strike, evasion, or just a few other slivers Legion can threaten commander damage very quickly.
Sliver Overlord gives you longevity and the ability to find specific answers and threats. The “Gain control of target Sliver” clause seems silly but there are playable sliver cards like Harmonic Sliver that exist in non-sliver decks and Mirror Entity and other Changelings. You can use Amoeboid Changeling to turn other creatures into slivers so you can steal them.
Sliver Queen is the commander you want when you want to splash for sliver flavor or if you want to abuse sliver enter the battlefield effects. Mana Echoes allows for easy creation of infinite 1/1 slivers. Basal Sliver and Ashnod’s Altar allow you to make an infinite loop of 1/1 slivers.
A lot of people use Sliver Queen in planeswalker decks, its probably a better choice than Child of Alara and the other five color commanders because Sliver Queen is good at producing chump blockers. Similar to Sliver Overlord Sliver Queen typically gets stronger as the game goes longer because her ability to make slivers scales. This ability to scale with combo options is desirable by many control deck builders.
What slivers do you enjoy? How do you build slivers?