Sliver Wars: The Tournament

By DarkRitual, with special guest LightSpecter

Last time we went deep into the world of slivers, exploring possible archetypes and some cool strategies ranging from weenie quad-color slivers to five mono-color sliver decks that we had duke it out to see which color would come out on top. So which deck was left standing after all the chaos? That’s what we are here to find out. (Note: If you weren't here for the beginning, you should check out the other article so you understand what’s going on.)

Round 1:

For the prelims I won’t go hardcore with the game analysis. I'm saving that for the second stage of this event. For this stage I'll concentrate more on the general strategy of each color. So let’s get this party started…

Match 1 - Stompy Slivers vs Reckless Slivers:

Red's keys to win:
Hunter Sliver - This guy is a handy removal option, allowing for great trades in combat. Who wouldn't want to trade Heart Sliver for Might Sliver in combat?
Keep creatures under control - If this deck manages to fall behind in tempo a recovery seems unlikely.

Green's keys to win :
Muscle Sliver and Might Sliver - Creature pump Slivers makes Green more able to deal with Red's creatures, giving it more options to block, making its own creatures harder to block and taking their creatures out of Red's burn range.
Gemhide Sliver is a must - Gemhide Sliver is your only way of avoiding the provoke ability of Hunter Sliver.

Game 1: Red gets Hunter Sliver out early, but Green neutralizes him with a Gemhide. Green then proceeds to draw three of his four Muscle Slivers and just goes to town on Red. Green 1-0

Game 2: Red went first and got 2 Hunter Slivers active. Then came Bonespitter Sliver and Blade Sliver. Every turn after that Green was behind. Red soon dropped Magma Sliver and finished Green off. Tied 1-1

Game 3: The game went back and forth until the final turn. Red had in play 2 Hunter Slivers (five total in the match), a Heart Sliver, a Blade Sliver and a Bonesplitter Sliver while Green had 2 Brood Slivers, a Gemhide Sliver, a Fungus Sliver, and a tapped sliver token. With Heart Sliver Red provoked Brood Sliver and Gemhide Sliver (remember, separate instances of provoke trigger separately). With Blade Sliver it provoked the other Brood Sliver and Fungus Sliver leaving Bonesplitter Sliver and the two Hunter Slivers to attack unblocked for 13 damage into the 14 life Green had. Green saved itself with Fog, which prompted a concession from Red as he was dead next turn. Green wins 2-1.

Match 2: Stompy Slivers Vs Righteous Slivers

White's keys to win:
Quilled Sliver - This card is very strong in this match, and it probably will be strong in most matches.
Plated Sliver - Toughness boosting slivers will keep White’s creatures alive and offer more combat options, especially when combined with Quilled Sliver.

Green's keys to win:
Ten turns - Green should try and win the game as fast as possible. Once you get past that tenth turn mark, White will probably gain the upper hand. If Green isn’t in control of the game by 10 turns, or near that point, it’s over.
Fast effects - Non-sliver spells generally play a small part in this tournament, but will play a key role in this match up. For the most part this means Giant Growth, since it will throw off the Quilled Sliver damage.

Pre-game shenanigans: LightSpecter, who happened to be piloting Righteous Slivers for this match, commented on how broken the White deck was, despite the banning of Ward Sliver. In the spirit of competition I chose Deadly Slivers as my deck to win. We'll see what happens.

Game 1: For most of the game Quilled Sliver was able to keep the game in favor of White. Green tried to fight back, but to no avail. White wins 1-0

Game 2: This game there was no first turn play for White, despite having 8 one drops. Green was able to capitalize by applying pressure to white. In a key play Green laid down 2 Giant Growths and killed off the entire white sliver army. Green never looked back after that. Green ties it up 1-1.

Game 3: The game went through its ups and downs, but in the White picked up the pace. The team of Essence Sliver, Pulmonic Sliver and Plated Sliver stuck around for the win. 2-1 White wins the match.

White looked as good as LightSpecter said it was, but Green got a win in, so it's not unbeatable.

Match 3: Righteous Sliver vs Sneaky Slivers

White's keys to win:
Essence Sliver and Quilled Sliver - These two guys will pretty much keep blue from being able to race with their evasion creatures.

Blue's keys to win:
Outlast White - Blue's strength in this match-up is card advantage and tempo tricks, like Telekenetic Sliver and Repel. Use those to disrupt White, and with a little luck Blue might be able to win a game.

To be honest, we unofficially chose Blue as the deck to lose, although that won’t change our play style. Even so, we won't be surprised if White wins the match with ease.

Game 1: White misses its first turn drop, but recovers by dropping three Quilled Slivers and an Essence Sliver, and going to work. Blue dips below 10 life and White peaks at 24 with Blue’s only defense being Telekenetic Sliver tapping down attackers. The game seemed over, but then amazingly White just stopped drawing threats. Blue drew a Synapse Sliver and with a Shadow Sliver already in play, proceeded to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament. Blue wins?! 1-0

Game 2: This time White came back with a vengeance. In the first 4 turns White was able to throw down six creatures, including three Sidewinders. This game was over fast. White wins 1-1

This is where we noticed something interesting. Up to this point in the tournament we had played 8 games, and in each game the deck that went first won. We didn't think there was anything behind it, but it was still interesting. Now we get to this last game. Blue goes first cause they lost. Would Blue win and keep the streak going, taking down the powerhouse White sliver deck? Or would white show them who was boss and break the streak?

Game 3: Blue plays Shadow Sliver turn three and the race was on. It was looking like Blue would win the race when White slowed things down with Quilled Sliver. It was 10 blue to 9 white. White had Watcher Sliver, Pulmonic, 2 Plateds, Quilled, Sidewinder, Talon. Blue had Screeching, Winged, Shadow, and 2 Telekenetics. At the beginning of Whites upkeep, he tapped down all but the 2 plateds. Then White topdecked... none other than To Arms! Ironically he had exactly enough damage to finish him off. White wins and breaks the "playing first" streak! 2-1

Match 4:Sneaky Slivers vs Deadly Slivers

Blue's keys to win:
Evasion - Black doesn't have any way of stopping evasion other than smother. Black's creatures are generally bigger, so evasion is the only way to effectively deal damage.
Tempo - Whether it's Telekenetic Sliver or cards like Repel, playing your tempo tricks at the right time will give you the edge against Black.

Black's keys to win:
Spectral Sliver - If Blue attempts to win with evasion Black will be forced to try to win by racing. Spectral Sliver greatly increases Black’s chances of winning the race because it grants that extra damage at the end.

No evasion - Black has no evasion, so you need to figure out ways to get rid of Blue's evasion, primarily Winged Sliver. With Shadow Sliver you can atl east race them. With Winged they can chump block with a 1/1 to prevent your Toxin Sliver from dealing damage.

Game 1: Blue played Winged Sliver early, which quickly got smothered. Next turn played Shadow Sliver and the race was on. A well timed repel helped blue win the race. 1-0 Blue

Game 2: Winged Sliver hits play on turn 2. But Black soon drops Spectral Sliver and Toxin Sliver and lays the beats on Blue. 1-1 Black

Game 3: Winged Sliver once again hits play on turn two. Six turns later Blue won the race and took the match. 2-1 Blue

Match 5: Deadly Slivers vs Reckless Slivers

Black's keys to win:
Crypt Sliver - Black doesn’t even need Toxin Sliver because most of Red’s creatures have only one toughness point, and Crypt Sliver neutralizes Hunter Sliver’s effect because it allows for Black’s slivers to tap in response to the provoke.
No evasion - Red's evasion comes in the form of Galvanic Arc's first strike effect. In the right place it can be a bane on you because you won't be able to damage their creature.

Red's keys to win:
Speed kills - Black is a tad slow, so a quick win would be the best way to beat Black. Don't let them get set up!

Game 1: Hunter Sliver and Bonesplitter Sliver hit play early and Black can't do anything about it. Red 1-0

Game 2: Crypt Sliver hits play on turn two, Toxin Sliver shows up two turns later. Finally the Deadly Duo (as I like to call them) see play! But alas, Galvanic Arc on Magma Sliver is too much for them. Red wins match 2-0

So its not looking good for my pick after the first two matches Black has. But don't worry. I'm only down 3 games, and these next two matches are looking to be in favor of Deadly Slivers.

After round 1:
1st 4-2 Righteous Slivers
2nd 3-2 Reckless Slivers
3rd 3-3 Reckless Slivers and Sneaky Slivers
5th 1-4 Deadly Slivers

Round Two:

Match 6: Stompy Slivers vs Deadly Slivers

Green's keys to win:
Overwhelm Black - Black doesn't have any offensive power early game, so if Green can get the jump on Black, he has a real good chance of winning.
Pray - You will have problems against Toxin Sliver or Crypt Sliver, but you will definitely have problems if both show up.

Black's keys to win:
Get out the "Deadly Duo"- Green has no evasion, get out the Duo and the game is pretty much over unless Green just has more creatures.
Combat tricks- Smother during combat is a nice trick. Unfortunately the only significant slivers you can hit are Horned and Muscle, but that might be enough.
Game 1: Green gets out a turn 2 Gemhide Sliver, then procedes to play 2 Muscle Slivers, a Horned Sliver and a Brood Sliver soon after. Black just couldn't compete. This marks Blacks 4th loss in a row. Green 1-0

Game 2: Turn two Crypt, Turn four Toxin, 'Nuff said. 1-1 Black

Game 3: Turn two Crypt, Turn four Toxin, Black comes back with a vengeance to beat Green. 2-1

Match 7: Sneaky Slivers vs Stompy Slivers

Blue's keys to win:
Winged Sliver - Winged Sliver comes out early enough and provides efficient enough evasion while still letting Blue block if neccesary.
Telekenetic Sliver - It's nice to be able to tap down a 3/3 with a 1/1 pretty much.

Green's keys to win:
Gemhide Sliver - Getting this guy out early will give green a huge tempo boost, enough to overpower Blue since they wont be able to do anything about it.
Bigger creatures - The bigger creatures should give you the means to win if it comes down to a race situation.

Game 1: Winged Sliver hits play early. Synapse hits play soon after, giving blue the power they need to win the game. Blue 1-0

Game 2: 4th turn Brood Sliver puts pressure on blue, a second Brood ends it for Blue. Green 1-1

Game 3: Shadow Sliver hits play on turn 3, meaning another race. Green wins it by throwing down a Might Sliver and laying down the beats and takes the match in 3 games.

Match 8: Reckless Slivers vs Sneaky Slivers

Red's keys to win:
+X/+0 boosts - Blue is going to have to win with evasion usually so the +X/+0 boost should help win the race.
Heart Sliver - Haste is great when you are in a race situation, 'nuff said.

Blue Keys to win:
Tempo and Card advantage - Blue will have to rely on tempo and card advantage tricks like Telekinetic Sliver and Repel.

Game 1: Red actually was stuck on two mana for most of the game but stuck it through thanks to Taste of Mayhem's power boost. Red 1-0

Game 2: Shadow Sliver made this a race game again. Red got the upper hand with Heart Sliver but got stuck on two lands again. Finally Red got another land and dropped Blade Sliver, but it was promptly Repelled and then Blue just kept tapping down Red's lands with a Telekinetic Sliver. 1-1 Blue wins.

Game 3: Red put the pressure on with two Blades and a Bonesplitter Sliver; Blue responded with Psionic Sliver and wiped the board. Then both decks went into topdeck mode. Red drew Heart Sliver and Bonesplitter Sliver, Blue ran into two copies of the only sliver in the deck that can’t block: Shadow Sliver. Red wins 2-1 and eliminates Blue from having a chance in Round Two.

Match 9:Righteous Slivers vs Reckless Slivers

Red's keys to win:
Keep on the pressure - White’s strength is in numbers; ergo White will be relatively weak if it only has a few slivers, so Hunter Sliver and Galvanic Arc should help to keep pressure on White.

White's keys to win:
Quilled Sliver - If White gets a Quilled Sliver with backup, the game is virtually over.
Essence Sliver - If you are in a corner against this deck, Essence Sliver will make it extremely hard to get that last amount of damage in. If Essence Sliver hits play against Red and you have roughly the same number of creatures, this game is over if they can't kill him.

Game 1: Quilled Sliver hit play and red couldn't deal with it. White 1-0

Game 2: Quilled Sliver and Talon Sliver hit play early. Red responded with Heart Sliver and Two Headed Sliver, killed the Quilled Sliver with Galvanic Arc, and proceeded to swing through White’s defenses and guaranteed itself a spot in Stage Two with a win. Red 1-1

Game 3: Two Headed Sliver applied pressure early, White struck back with a Quilled Sliver late game, then finished Red off with Warrior's Honor and Pulmonic Sliver. White 2-1

LightSpecter's pick won this match and guaranteed itself to be first seed in Stage 2. By winning game two, my pick to win guaranteed itself to be second seed in Stage Two. Who would be third seed? We only have one more match (White vs Black) and two more decks (Green and Black) with a chance to win. If my pick (Black) can go 2-0 against his pick, it will finish with a 5-5 record, tying with Green, and White will tie with Red both having a 6-5 record. We chose the tiebreaker as whatever deck won in their stage 1 match. So Black would win the tiebreak with Green, White would win the tiebreak with Red. But if White wins just one game, Black is eliminated in Green wins third seed. Did you get all that? Cause I'm not repeating anything.

Match 10: Deadly Sliver vs Righteous Slivers

Black's keys to win:
Crypt Sliver - This superstar will make it extra difficult for White to take down anything in combat, even with Quilled Sliver.
Card Advantage - In this match you have some card advantage tricks, Cry of Contrition being the main one. Smother isn't card advantage in itself, but played at the right time might generate some card advantage.

White's keys to win:
Evasion - Flanking, First Strike, Flying all will make Black's job harder.
Speed - A total of 18 creatures that cost 2 or less. Black only has 8.

Game 1: Black got out the 4th turn Deadly Duo for the third game in a row. But White responded Essence Sliver and Pulmonic Sliver and won the game, eliminating my pick from the tournament. Apparently I'm not good at picking decks to win, as my deck came in last place.

So after Round Two the Rankings are:

1st 7-3 Righteous Slivers
2nd 6-5 Reckless Slivers
3rd 6-6 Stompy Slivers
4th 5-7 Sneaky Slivers
5th 3-6 Deadly Sliver

Which puts Reckless Slivers and Stompy Slivers up against each other in the semifinal match, with the winner playing Righteous Slivers.

Semifinals: Reckless Slivers vs Stompy Slivers

Game 1: Red started off the game with Heart Sliver, bringing Green down to 19 with the first attack of the match. Green responds with a Gemhide, which shortly got sent to the grave due to Hunter Sliver hitting play with a Taste of Mayhem enchanted and Heart Sliver provoking it, Green goes to 16 with the attack. Green tried Horned Sliver, but that quickly saw its end next turn when Galvanic Arc destroyed it (enchanting Hunter Sliver). Next turn Recollect was played targeting Gemhide Sliver and Green passed the turn. Red kept on the beats with Two Headed Sliver with another Taste of Mayhem enchanting it. Green responds with fog, staying at 13, and next turn plays Brood Sliver. Swinging with Gemhide and making a token. Next turn Red kept on the pressure. Hunter Sliver hits play and Red swings with everything provoking Brood Sliver, but forgetting about Two-Headed Sliver's evasion, so Brood Sliver stays alive. Green goes to on the attack. Next turn Green plays Recollect targeting the Fog in the grave and swings with his three creatures, making three tokens and putting Red to 14. Green wasn't going down easy. On its turn, Red played Blade Sliver and swung with it and the Two Headed Sliver enchanted with Taste of Mayhem, provoking 4 of his sliver tokens, prompting Green to play his fog. Next turn Green played Fungus Sliver and attacked with Gemhide and the 4 tokens, the 3/1 first striking Hunter Sliver blocks the Gemhide and Red drops to 10 as green makes 4 more tokens. Then Magma Sliver hit play. This gave Red 5 attackers against 6 blockers and a Two Headed Sliver, the game was over in Reds favor. Red 1-0

Game 2: Green starts it off with Muscle and Gemhide Sliver and swings for 2 with Muscle Sliver, Red with Hunter and Blade Sliver. Hunter provokes Muscle sliver but he taps it for mana and gets hit for 2 plus the 1 mana burn, 18-17 Red. Next turn Might Sliver sees play with the help of Gemhide, Muscle Sliver swings for 4 bringing red to 14. Red plays a second Blade Sliver and a Taste for Mayhem on the Hunter, then provokes Might Sliver with it and swings with the other Blade and they trade as green goes to 13. Next turn Green throws down Brood Sliver and swings with Gemhide, it trades with a Blade Sliver leaving the other Blade Sliver to go up against Muscle and Brood Sliver. On Red's turn he plays Bonesplitter Sliver and swings for 5 with Blade, making it 8-14. Brood and Muscle swing next turn, Bonesplitter trades with Muscle and Red goes to 10. Green gets a token and plays Spinnerette Sliver. Red throws down two Two Headed Slivers and swings with the Blade putting him at 5. Green swings with everything, trades Spinnerette for a 2/1 Two Headed Sliver, bringing Red to 6 and getting 2 sliver tokens. With a 6-5 score and red losing the creature war, he goes for broke, playing Panic Attack targeting the two blockers and swinging for lethal damage, only to get fogged. Green wins the game next turn and ties the match up.

Game 3: Red starts it off fast with Heart Sliver. Green responds with Spinnerette Sliver. Blade Sliver hits play next turn and Red swings with both, Spinnerette trades with Heart Sliver. Next turn Green plays Muscle Sliver and passes the turn. On Red's turn he drops another Heart Sliver and a Hunter Sliver, swings with everything using Hunter Sliver to provoke Muscle Sliver and drops green to 11. Green plays Fungus Sliver on his turn. Red responds with Bonesplitter Sliver and swings with everything. Green is forced to block to save himself, so he kills Heart Sliver. Muscle Sliver hits play next turn, on Red's turn he fogs. Then on his next turn Recollects the fog to give himself one more turn. Muscle Sliver swings unblocked to bring Red to 18 (is this the beggining of a comeback?). Red swings next turn with 1 creature and Green plays his fog, then plays Magma Sliver. Green throws down a second Muscle Sliver and passes the turn. Reds attack gets fogged again, but Green runs out of ammo and loses the game and the match on the next attack. Red advances to the final round to play White.

Final Round: Reckless Slivers vs Righteous Slivers

With Red winning the match against Green, only two decks stood standing, who would win bragging rights on the other colors? The battle begins now...

Game 1: White started it off with Sidewinder Sliver and Quilled Sliver while Red started off with Hunter Sliver. White soon played another Quilled and attacked bringing Red's life total to 18. Red wasn't able to play answers as he threw down a pair of Two-Headed Slivers and another Hunter while white kept laying down more threats and swinging with 1 or 2 creatures every turn, keeping Red from blocking or attacking with Quilled. Finally Red had Heart Sliver, Blade Sliver and played a Magma and tried attacking with the Blade and the Magma to open the game up. White double blocked the Blade sliver and hit the Magma for 3 damage with Quilled. Red pumped Blade up so it would kill his two creatures that blocked, but no damage got through and the game was still 20-12. Next turn Pulmonic hit play and the game was over. After the game LightSpecter (piloting the White deck this match) showed a To Arms! stating the deck was so broken he was wondering if he could win without it.

Game 2: In a rare occasion, White missed his first turn drop having nothing to play. Red took advantage by playing a turn 2 Hunter Sliver. White topdecked a Plated and played it next turn. Turn 3 Red played Galvanic Arc on plated and swung for 1, white played Arrest on Hunter and passed the turn. Bonesplitter hit play next turn as white responded with Watcher Sliver. Next turn Red provoked the Watcher and they traded. Red then played a second Bonesplitter to which white responded with Plated Sliver. Next turn Plated Sliver got provoked, but they both died as White played a Warriors honor in his hand. Blade saw play later that turn to which white White responded with Quilled Sliver. Blade traded with Quilled next turn after White played another Warriors Honor. Red emptied his hand playing a pair of Two Headed Giants and Taste for Mayhem. White empties his hand with Plated and Sidewinder, evening the active creature count to 2-2. Magma hit the table with a bang, allowing one of Red's Two-Headeds to swing unblocked for 7 damage. White didn't topdeck a creature while Red topdecked another Magma as red won, taking it to game 3.

Game 3: LightSpecter starts the game off saying "Hope you got the God draw", drops Plated Sliver and says go. Next turn he drops a Talon Sliver and swings for 1. Heart Sliver hit play next turn and Red passed the turn. Quilled Sliver hits play and White swings to make the game 20-17. Third turn red plays Blade but doesn't attack. Fourth turn Essence Sliver hits play and continues the beatdown. Red needs to find an answer quick or this match is over. White swings to bring the total to 22-15. Fourth turn Red compounds its problems by not being able to hit their land drop on turn 4 so that he could play the Bonesplitter Sliver in his hand, but is still able to play Two Headed Sliver and a Taste for Mayhem, still not the answer he was looking for. White can't find land either, but is able to swing for 4 and play another Quilled Sliver. Fifth turn Red still can't find a land, but plays a Blade Sliver and passes the turn. On White's 6th turn he plays yet another Quilled and swings....

And the Winner is...

"Will they ever give up?" said Essence Sliver. The battle seemed to have gone on forever. The only slivers left standing were Red and White.

"On the count of 3, you and me are going in" said Essence Sliver, pointing at Plated, "Quilled, you cover us. Ready? 1, 2..."

"WAIT!" Sidewinder yelled from the watch tower, "Look, it's the little one! He's heading towards us!"

"No way! Red is reckless, but they aren't that reckless!" Essence replied as he looked outside. Blade Sliver was running toward the white base, the sword that he usually had drawn was replaced with a waving white flag.

"They are giving up! We have won!" Essence yelled to the rest of the White army as they cheered in rejoice.

Later that day they celebrated their victory at the white sliver capital.

"Today will be remembered as a great day for slivers all over the world as it marks the beginning of peace between all sliverkind!" Essence yelled out to the crowd.

"How long do you think we can keep up this peace?" A citizen asked.

"As long as it can, for one day, new slivers will come into the world. Slivers that might disrupt the balance between the colors yet again!"


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