This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Community Contribution

Slivers. Meathooks. Tiny worms of compressed evil and doom or beautiful, natural expressions of the creativity of the wild? It all depends on your outlook, and frankly, which side of the Sliver deck you happen to be sitting on. Building this type of deck isn’t for everyone – Slivers aren’t the most powerful of themes out there. They can be somewhat easily disrupted and can crumple like paper to repeated wrath effects. That said, Slivers and the fast-paced, all-in, ultraviolent, smash-your-face-in style it takes to run the deck can provide you with hours of entertainment and a vastly different game experience from other decks.

There are generally three Slivers used as Generals for EDH, and two different archetypes. Sliver Legion, Sliver Overlord, and Sliver Queen are the three Legendary Slivers and are almost always used to captain Sliver decks. Any one of the three can be used to create either a beatdown, aggro-style Sliver deck, or a card advantage driven combo deck. Legion and Overlord tend to lend themselves more to the straight-up beats than the combo due to their abilities (Coat of Arms for Slivers and searching for Slivers, respectively) pumping Slivers a little more directly rather than finding combo pieces. Sliver Queen, on the other hand, with her “Pay 2 colorless mana and put a 1/1 colorless Sliver token into play” ability, is definitely a combo piece waiting to happen and is overwhelmingly used as the general leading a combo deck to merciless victory.

Aggro decks follow a somewhat similar template and enjoy the same strengths while suffering from the same weaknesses. They typically have a heavy creature density and get most of their wins from combat damage. Their strengths lie in the fact that each Sliver is like a little mini-combo, adding incremental value to the group and becoming pieces of a puzzle that builds and builds until it comprises a mountain of powerful abilities. Artifacts or enchantments giving you a headache? No big, just play Harmonic Sliver. Want to make sure your opponents draw nothing but basic lands? Mesmeric Sliver is your boy. Feel like creating a huge horde of tokens? Brood Sliver lets you swing out for the sweet, sweet beats and still have blockers for your opponents’ ineffectual and pathetic slaps of retaliation. The flexibility and ability to adapt to your opponents’ moves on the fly is a huge advantage for this type of Sliver deck.

If Slivers’ strengths are their creatures, their weaknesses are almost the same thing. Repeated wraths make Slivers cry, especially repeated wraths followed by concentrated graveyard hate in the form of a Bojuka Bog or exiling creature cards to block recursion. It’s also easy to vomit your hand onto the field and find yourself completely out of gas. Be wary of jumping out to a powerful position early in the game if you don’t have good card draw to protect you from the X-on-1 the game just devolved into and keep your card advantage up.

Sliver Overlord and Sliver Legion both have upsides and downsides themselves for aggro decks. Sliver Overlord is card advantage on a stick. He lets you pull the answer for whatever ails you straight out of the deck for three colorless mana. The downside is that that’s the only thing he brings to the table. He won’t pump your mans or even be that effective in the Red Zone himself. He engenders an enabler style of play instead of doing the dirty work himself. Sliver Legion, on the other hand, is all about slapping suckas to the ground and taking their lunch money. All he brings to the playground is a bicycle chain and a pocketful of pain. His text box might as well say “Windmill slam this card onto the table, turn all your shit sideways, and laugh maniacally.” With Slivers’ ability to multiply out of nowhere, through cards like Brood Sliver or Sliver Queen, casting this guy after blockers are declared with the help of Quick Sliver (gives Slivers flash) can be a blowout. However, he does nothing to help you if you’re stalled or want something besides a scary beatstick.

Sliver combo finds its strength not in the combat power of Slivers but in their interactions with each other and especially with enablers like Sliver Queen and (the Holy of Holies) Mana Echoes. Mana Echoes says that for every creature that enters play, add 1 colorless mana to your pool for each creature you control that shares a creature type with it. The combo with Queen is obvious: She shits out infinite Slivers. Add Heart Sliver or Reflex Sliver for haste and kill everybody, or Mnemonic Sliver to sacrifice them and draw a bunch of cards for other combo pieces, or Necrotic Sliver to sacrifice them and nuke everyone else’s permanents – and that combo is the proverbial training wheels for the deck. You could combine Ashnod’s Altar with the Queen, and add in either Warstorm Surge or Vicious Shadows or any other way to profit from creatures entering or leaving the battlefield. My personal favorite combo in my own Sliver Queen deck (see the decklist below) involves Aluren and Cloudstone Curio to play two Slivers infinitely and follow it up with Tendrils of Agony. Opponents often do not see this angle coming, and it gives the deck another weapon that can be harder to disrupt than the Sliver Queen/Mana Echoes combo. Cards like Primordial Sage or Glimpse of Nature allow you to draw cards from the Aluren/Cloudstone Curio interaction – or even just hard-casting them – to dig deeper into your deck for another piece. There are a lot of fun interactions possible with this type of deck, and even more open up if you choose not to restrict yourself to mostly Slivers.

Sliver Legion
Sidewinder Sliver
Virulent Sliver
Amoeboid Changeling
Clot Sliver
Crypt Sliver
Crystalline Sliver
Gemhide Sliver
Heart Sliver
Hibernation Sliver
Muscle Sliver
Quick Sliver
Sinew Sliver
Spinneret Sliver
Two-Headed Sliver
Winged Sliver
Frenetic Sliver
Harmonic Sliver
Homing Sliver
Mirror Entity
Necrotic Sliver
Opaline Sliver
Sedge Sliver
Spectral Sliver
Bonesplitter Sliver
Essence Sliver
Fungus Sliver
Mesmeric Sliver
Shifting Sliver
Telekinetic Sliver
Toxin Sliver
Brood Sliver
Might Sliver
Pulmonic Sliver
Sliver Legion
Sliver Overlord
Synapse Sliver
Synchronous Sliver
Ward Sliver
Fury Sliver

AEther Vial
Path to Exile
Phyrexian Reclamation
Sensei’s Divining Top
Swords to Plowshares
Armillary Sphere
Steely Resolve
Darksteel Ingot
Genesis Wave
Phyrexian Arena
Rhystic Study
Distant Melody
Door of Destinies
Rite of Replication
Skyshroud Claim
Slate of Ancestry
Coat of Arms
Eldrazi Monument
Hibernation’s End
Living Death
Patriarch’s Bidding
Tunnel Vision
Wild Pair

Arid Mesa
Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool
Clifftop Retreat
Command Tower
Exotic Orchard
Flooded Strand
2 x Forest
Ghost Quarter
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Hinterland Harbor
3 x Island
Karplusan Forest
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
1 x Mountain
Mystic Gate
Overgrown Tomb
1 x Plains
Sacred Foundry
Scalding Tarn
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Strip Mine
2 x Swamp
Temple Garden
Temple of the False God
Verdant Catacombs
Watery Grave
Woodland Cemetery

This is the decklist for my Sliver Legion deck. This is not for the weak of heart – there are no non-Sliver creatures in this deck. It sticks to the Sliver theme to the nines. There are definitely some Slivers I am more happy to see in my hand than others, all-stars if you will. These Slivers will wreck your opponents all by themselves, and if you put them together, it is like the Superfriends of Doom.

Toxin Sliver is such a boss it is not even funny. Giving your Slivers death-touch you can not regenerate through finally vindicates the existence of some of the cheaper Slivers like Sidewinder or Spinneret that do not bring much to the table themselves. Now Slivers that are in the deck to up your total Sliver count for Legion, give you cheap +1/+1 counters on Door of Destinies, or just serve as fodder for chump blockers or sac targets for Eldrazi Monument are taking your opponents’ best creatures to the grave with them. It is a wonderful feeling to flash in Toxin Sliver with Quick Sliver, block your opponents’ big swing with a bunch of Sliver tokens, and watch his face drop. Toxin Sliver protects you and provides a great rattlesnake ability.

Crystalline Sliver gives your creatures shroud and is a popular tutor target right off the bat for the Overlord. Protecting your stuff from your opponents’ greedy eyes is very important, but keep in mind that it shuts down things like Crypt Sliver’s regeneration ability because it targets. It is still a powerful effect, shutting down the simple answer of enemies burning spot removal to kill the Legion and deflate your massive horde when you swing out.

Gemhide Sliver and Heart Sliver get billed together because for the purposes of this deck, they serve much the same function – ramp. Gemhide turns all your Slivers into Birds of Paradise, and suddenly you start to drop creatures faster than your enemies can handle them. Every turn becomes a Cultivate or Kodama’s Reach and better yet, it’s mana fixing on the fly. Heart Sliver gets in on the action by giving your stuff haste, so now you roll from one creature spell straight into the next without stopping for pansy shit like summoning sickness. However, be careful that you do not vomit your hand onto the field without some sort of draw engine like Slate of Ancestry or Distant Melody to refill your grip. Otherwise you have overextended and opened yourself up to a wrath effect, leaving you with no creatures, no hand, and your thumb firmly shoved up your own ass.

Brood Sliver is another value engine that lets you start pulling ahead of your opponents. Every time a Sliver deals combat damage to a player, its controller puts a 1/1 Sliver token into play. Even a couple of Slivers plus this bad boy can get out of hand very quickly, exploding into a logarithmic expansion that can also trigger ETB abilities on some of your other Slivers like Harmonic or Mesmeric, giving you disenchants or fateseals respectively for free. This also bumps up your Sliver count for the Legion or Coat of Arms, and gives you free sac targets for Eldrazi Monument or Necrotic Sliver. Most importantly, this Sliver lets you turn all your mans sideways and break some shit while still being comfortable and secure in the knowledge that you will have untapped blockers.

Sliver Queen
Virulent Sliver
Crystalline Sliver
Darkheart Sliver
Heart Sliver
Winged Sliver
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Necrotic Sliver
Essence Sliver
Glen Elendra Archmage
Oracle of Mul Daya
Brood Sliver
Sliver Queen
Synapse Sliver
Primordial Sage
Rune-Scarred Demon

Slaughter Pact
Land Tax
Mystical Tutor
Path to Exile
Sol Ring
Soul Snare
Swords to Plowshares
Training Grounds
Vampiric Tutor
Worldly Tutor
Altar of Dementia
Comet Storm
Demonic Tutor
Prismatic Omen
Sylvan Library
Ashnod’s Altar
Aura Shards
Cloudstone Curio
Kodama’s Reach
Rhystic Study
Rites of Flourishing
Yawgmoth’s Will
Collective Restraint
Mana Echoes
Tendrils of Agony
Dream Halls
Perilous Forays
Promise of Power
Mana Reflection
Mind Unbound
Mind’s Desire
Null Profusion
Warstorm Surge
Biomantic Mastery
Titanic Ultimatum
Praetor’s Counsel

Arid Mesa
City of Brass
4 x Forest
Fungal Reaches
Graypelt Refuge
Highland Weald
5 x Island
Kazandu Refuge
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
5 x Mountain
3 x Plains
Reliquary Tower
Rootbound Crag
Scalding Tarn
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Steam Vents
6 x Swamp
Verdant Catacombs
Watery Grave

This deck is a strong combo deck with a side of beatdown. There are several combos in it ranging from infinite mana and infinite dudes to infinite direct damage. The key is to protect yourself with cards like Collective Restraint and Propaganda while sculpting your hand and manipulating your library to perfection. Then, you drop something like Dream Halls and either play whatever combo you happen to have or play something else like Yawgmoth’s Will to dig into your deck with card draw or tutors. No matter what combo you pursue, this deck’s worst nightmare is Krosan Grip. The Split-Second means it’s uncounterable and you cannot respond to it. It shuts down every combo in the deck since they all rely on artifacts or enchantments. If you manage to put a combo together and it gets K-Gripped, take solace in the fact that you baited one of them out and start in on Plan B.

The first two cards go together nicely – Dream Halls and Yawgmoth’s Will. The two of these plus a fat ‘yard full of things like Promise of Power or Demonic Tutor or even some of your combo pieces can equal a game-ending turn. These are two very powerful combo enablers.

The next cards are the most simple and basic combos in the deck. Sliver Queen is a central piece and they mostly revolve around abusing her ability to shit out 1/1 Slivers. Mana Echoes gives you infinite Slivers since each Sliver entering play gives you an exponentially larger amount of mana each time. This can work out one of two ways. If Heart Sliver is in play, they are hasty and can swing into people. However, players with Propaganda type effects are more or less immune to this and a well-timed Fog can ruin your day. The second option is direct damage. Warstorm Surge or Vicious Shadows (with a sac outlet) can be enough to end everyone, or you could use all that colorless mana to fuel a huge Comet Storm. The combo can go either way and as such proves to be very resilient.

The second strong combo theme in the deck utilizes Aluren and Cloudstone Curio. Aluren takes advantage of the fact that most of the creatures in the deck (Slivers or not) are under three mana, allowing you to play them for free and bounce another creature to hand with the Curio. This leads to infinite spells played, letting you dig through your deck with Primordial Sage for another combo piece. Warstorm Surge, Mind’s Desire, or Tendrils of Agony are all winning spells here. Mind’s Desire and Tendrils of Agony take advantage of your high Storm Count and either play your entire deck out (in which case you either hit Tendrils of Agony or another combo that kills everyone) or burns the table for lethal direct damage. This is a bit more difficult to assemble than some of the other combos in the deck but it is also a second game plan to switch to in case the first one gets disrupted.

There you have it – two perspectives on Slivers that allow for freedom of expression and customization. Some people, like me, prefer to stick to the theme as much as possible when building a Sliver deck, including nothing but Slivers (except for combo, when some utility dudes become necessary). Others throw in other forms of tribal pumping and that is perfectly fine. Either way, Slivers can prove to be a surprising force to be reckoned with in any playgroup.

~ Ruston
Panzerbjorn155mm on Twitter

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