A PLANESWALKER'S GUIDE TO ALL THINGS SLIVER OVERLORD
"Death couldn't contain the slivers. What made us think we could?"
—Riptide Project researcher
Slivers: a living example of will over substance, by Venser of Urborg the Sojourner, archaeologist, artificer, and planeswalker
"Much has been said of the eusocial, predatory creatures colloquially dubbed 'slivers' since the disaster that befell Otaria. It is commonly agreed between the scholars that escaped the obliteration of Tolaria that the sliver collective was originally found by the crew of the legendary Weatherlight skyship in the artificial plane known as Rath. While it is beyond the scope of this treatise to shed extensive light on Rath, it should be noted that the plane had been used by the nefarious servants of Yawgmoth to collect specimens and all manner of horrors from planes both known and unknown--a fact that effectively obscures their original home plane until new realities are discovered.
"What accounts remain of Gerrard's and Sisay's crews reveal that the slivers had been used by the then-appointed ruler of the plane, Volrath, as a defense against intrusion into his stronghold, and they all were the offspring of a single gigantic specimen simply known as the Sliver Queen. (Similarities with ants and bees are immediately notable.) Sparse logs of exchanges between a sentient silver golem and this Queen indicate that it was sentient as well; if that is the case with other breeds of this species, it has not yet been made known to us.
"At the time of Rath's great overlay onto Dominaria, the stronghold beneath which the Sliver Queen and her brood nested materialized within an Urborg volcano; its caldera being reignited by Coalition forces and Yawgmoth's manifestation over Urborg itself exterminated the whole of the sliver species. Cephalid Empress Llawan led an effort, now commonly known as the Riptide Project, to bring back from extinction the many lifeforms that were effectively annihilated during the Phyrexian War; its catastrophic results are described in detail elsewhere.
"The more recent development of the species warrants attention, however: after being contested by the late planeswalkers Freyalise and Windgrace and my old nemesis, Oleg il-Dal the Weaver King, the sliver collective has once again been free to multiply, but while its numbers have swelled it has not done so to the point of overwhelming the continental landmass of Dominaria as it did with the island realm of Otaria. Why this has not happened is probably a matter of speculation for many a mage and sage, though some point at particular swarms behaving in an uncannily organized and regimented manner more proper of a self-aware community--if this were to be true, then the collective mind of the slivers either is on the threshold of sentience or has already achieved that state."
First things first... to the Caesar render the things that are Caesar's:
Insightful comments: cmetc1999
Tons of cool ideas: irpotential (make sure you check his decklist here)
This is very much a work still in progress. Even if I someday can say it's more or less as complete a resource as I would wish it to be, I still believe it'll be subject to frequent changes and updates.
Why would I want to play slivers?
"Details about encounters with the sliver collective can be abundantly gleaned from accounts describing the ravaging of Otaria, and while varying in quality and substance, they all point at the incredible adaptability of their species; no countermeasure ever devised would serve to hold slivers at bay for any significant period of time. A paramount example of this was the fate of the college of wizards that governed the Riptide Project--when it became evident that containment efforts were no longer effective and the only solution to the outbreak was the extermination of the specimens, the hive mind had already evolved resistance to their spellcasting."
If someone asked me that, I'd say: because I've loved them from day 1. Hey, I even went as far as building an impossibly convoluted deck by the time of the Tempest/Urza's Saga cycles for a Nationals qualifier that replaced the then-nonexistent Gemhide Sliver with the then-existent Citanul Hierophants and relied on Aluren and Recycle to win...
*AHEM* But I digress. (Sorry. I kind of do that.) First, I'm sure you would love the Xenomorph-ish feel of slivers. (I know I did when I started playing Magic.) And slivers are cool. No one argues with that.
"How would Volrath sustain the sliver hive underneath his stronghold has been pondered upon by several scholars I have met in my travels. One of them was kind enough to provide references to an arcane item called a 'hivestone', which was probably used by the late evincar in clusters to keep the creatures at bay, but that does not explain how the slivers procured enough sustenance to survive--especially not when considering recent accounts on the current state of the Otarian landmass, stripped down to the bedrock of every living thing other than slivers tunneling and scuttling about. Perhaps the only quality that matches the magnitude of their adaptability is their unimaginable voraciousness."
And yep, there's got to be a catch. More than one. Sadly.
You need to have a very large wallet and not care about spending a load on them. Building a slivers deck on budget is simply not possible. The mana base alone is ridiculously expensive: all 10 fetches, all 10 duals, all 10 shocklands, and 5-7 other lands of your choice... which are usually ridiculously expensive too.
You should not mind playing as de facto Archenemy. The moment you land your third sliver (heck, sometimes just your second, or ever your first!) everyone else on the table will start glancing at you nervously. Board wipes will be tutored, spot removals targeted and cast. Make no mistake, slivers are cool because slivers are scary. Sounds cheesy, right? It may be, but darn if it isn't true.
Collectively, slivers are fragile. Looking for big fatties? Go play wurms or dragons. Most slivers are puny 1/1s or 2/2s. You have few heavy hitters, and they scare everyone into spending their removal at the drop of a hat. If you hope to win, you have to make your slivers work with one another. Look for synergies, experiment, see what works out for you.
And why Overlord and, say, not the Queen?
I said before that slivers are versatile, and the Overlord is the most flexible of the Unholy Trinity. Sliver Legion may be better for aggro, and Sliver Queen is frighteningly deadly as a combo enabler, but builds featuring these as commanders will be woefully reliant on tutors or plain topdecking to get what they need.
The Overlord, on the other hand, may be slower, but suffers from no such weakness.
Not much to discuss about the first ability, really. Pay 3, fetch a sliver card from your deck. (Note that this may include the changeling tribal nonpermanent cards!) Everyone gets to see it. Sounds like a drawback, but if played smart you can turn it to your advantage. Example: fetch Harmonic Sliver and the opposition will be wary of fielding much in the manner of artifacts.
The second ability gets interesting. For a paltry 3, you permanently gain control of something with the sliver subtype. Note that shroud and color protection do interfere with this ability, so to profit from it you have to lower your shields. Flash-casting your slivers can cover this flank. And even if it doesn't, hey, no risk, no glory!
Finally, it's HUGE. 3 unblocked attacks from him, and a player packs up and watches the game from the sidelines. Given a few slivers in play, the Overlord can one-shot anyone. Synergy FTW!
So, Overlord is a toolbox. But what tools does it need?
If you're a maniacal masochist obsessed with detail as I am, you may want to go and dig into the next immediate post the third post of this thread, where I've detailed both an extensive discussion on each sliver there is and on cards any sliver player worth his salt would like to consider. Also, the changelogs will be posted there, mostly for the aggro build since it's the one I'm working on the most right now.
If you've got more common sense and straightforwardness than what I got, then simply read on!
Suppose you convinced me. Now how do I play this?
Gref's contribution is the perfect way to sketch out an answer to this question:
More often than not a combo deck is loaded with tutors, card draw, mass and spot removal, and counter back up.
*Sliver Overlord can be played as an alternative general for combo. This is much slower as opposed to playing Queen, but allows you to assemble your combo pieces.
Aggro is straightforward and simple. Sliver Legion shines here. As each sliver hits the field they get juiced up a bit. This effectively increases the potential threat value on every sliver. Aggro lists are certain to see the highest concentration of slivers compared to Combo or Voltron lists. Clones and Changelings should also find a few spots in the deck.
Tutors, ard draw, spot removal, and counter backup also belong.
*Sliver Overlord can be played here and again, assemble your swarm. Slower for sure, but much more methodical. Relies less on the top deck.
^Sliver Queen can be played here to pump out a token or two every turn and eventually overrun your opponent.
Voltron builds are great for putting your opponent on the spot. Sliver Overlord when resolved, puts your opponent on a three turn clock. If that wasn't enough, you can tutor up protection, evasion, and buffing to try and speed things up.
Tutors, top deck manipulators, counter backup, mass and spot removal, and light card draw will see play here.
*Sliver Legion can be used here. Usually accompanied by slivers providing out right evasion, Legion gets big enough to swing through for game in a couple of turns.
That being said, time to start elaborating on our decklists!
I began playing slivers in EDH with a deck using an aggro approach, but power escalation in our pod forced an evolution towards a different strategy. That need birthed this decklist. Be ye warned: when properly built and played, it's a cold-hearted merciless uncaring bitch to play against.
But since you kept reading I'll assume you don't care about that insignificant detail, so combo it is. And that is why, even if our general is the Overlord, having the Queen will never hurt. Her Ladyship is a fearsome combo machine, who will almost always mean game for you if you play her while you have both Gemhide Sliver and Heart Sliver -or their M14 equivalents- over the table.
Basal Sliver is another way to achieve the same result. Bonus points for being an all-sliver combination
Mana Echoes will mean infinite colorless mana. Plus: you don't even need those two exact slivers on the table; any two will do.
Having infinite slivers does not necessarily win you the match, however! Something as paltry as a Fog can mean your swarm is rendered powerless, only to be obliterated the next turn by a board wipe. Since we can't let that happen, we have to pack one or more of the following:
Of tutors and other ways of rearranging your spellbook
Gref just said: combo strategies are powerful, but fragile. And they have plenty of weaknesses, not the least of which being that you, uh, need to have all the pieces for it to work. And that means: tutors!
At the very least, you should ship Demonic Tutor or its cheaper counterpart, Diabolic Tutor; both will fetch you a single card which you need not revealing, no questions asked.
If it seems overkill in your book, ditch any one other than the Top. (Or the Top itself if you're on 1v1 French.)
Countermagic: the fine art of ruining someone else's plan
And because you have to both protect your plays and disrupt those of your opponents, I ended up packing a lot of countermagic. Note that learning what to counter and what to let slide is quite the challenge; the more you know about the decks and overarching strategies of your adversaries, the more likely you'll make the right choice. (But that's a topic for another whole thread. I myself would welcome tips on the matter.)
Instead of the good old Counterspell, we're fielding Voidslime. You'll never be short of green mana. And countering abilities can be crucial.
Rewind is one of the most blatantly overpowered counterspells ever made.
A reactive strategy -which is, at least in part, what we are pursuing here- has several problems, one of them being that you have to have more mana available than your opponents--if you hope to have enough resources to both make your play and counteract moves by your adversaries, that is. And you fix this issue by having lots of ramp, mana fixers and mana doublers:
Crucible of Worlds has a killer synergy with your fetchlands. Having it in play and keeping it in play ensures you get land drops every turn.
And, out of the many ramp spells available, three stand out in my book No, make it two now.
Hunting Wilds fetches you two forest cards that come into play tapped. For a further 3G, they become creatures. I myself never resorted to this ability, but it may come in handy if you're desperate for defense.
Skyshroud Claim also fetches you two forest cards, but it puts lands into play untapped, and thus potentially costs only 2
You also *have* to have more hands in card than anyone else. How are you going to profit from that huge mana base you've just built?
Phyrexian Arena is an excellent first choice. 1 card for 1 life--like a miniature Yawgmoth's Bargain, but that one is banned to hell and back, so we settle for this one. I've noted decks packing blue love to steal this.
Rhystic Study is a no-brainer. Whether they choose to pay or not, your opponents lose.
This is the whole logic behind packing Dormant Sliver. Make sure you have a sac outlet available if you want to win via combat damage, however.
More minions and thralls to bolster your ranks
Now, things are starting to shape up a bit, but we're woefully short on our sliver count. So the following terrors join the few we have:
So far, we've listed necessary (or useful) pieces and the means to defeat attempts at depriving us of them, but sometimes... well, alright, very often you'll find that the balance of power in the table has dangerously shifted towards another player, and unless the player in question is stopped in his tracks he or she will swamp you. That's why we must pack the Magic equivalent to weapons of mass destruction--board wipes.
Cyclonic Rift has supplanted Austere Command for the time being... until it gets banned, that is. Instant-speed bouncing of EVERY NONLAND PERMANENT THAT IS NOT YOURS. It doesn't get much more overkill than this.
Catastrophe is my third and last pick. Having slivers that can both turn your whole swarm into mana rocks and that can naturalize as an ETB effect means that annihilating everyone's land base can mean victory.
And since we're on the WMD topic, we should discuss one of their most glaring weaknesses: collateral damage. You see, massively destructive weapons will kill your enemy, your neighbors, your pets, their pets, innocent bystanders, endangered species, any elephants or parrots in the vicinity, and you. In short, they are about wholesale, indiscriminate destruction. And sometimes that's not just unnecessary, that's inconvenient, not to mention downright suicidal; so, these are our scalpels, razor-sharp instruments of removal.
Bant Charm--any one effect results in a single card out of play.
Hull Breach. Blow up, dispel, OR blow up AND dispel. I can't think of many removal pieces more flexible than this one.
Vindicate--once again, this one needs no explanation.
Back from the grave: overcoming extinction
But it's not always your enemy that gets nuked. Sometimes you're out of counterspells. Or, worse still, you've overreached yourself and are fighting a war against the whole table, and you've exhausted your resources. The result is the same: your whole swarm ends up dead. These cards are meant to help us bring our slivers back into the game, but be warned: both require careful use. It's frighteningly easy to fall into the trap of desperately wanting to get rid of something, only to reanimate another beastie that's even worse.
Odds and bits: hard to label them, hard not to love them
And now, some shenanigans that add to the efficiency of your swarm. You may think these are optional, but trust me, you want to have them in play. It bears noting: they WILL draw fire. Protect them well, or play them when the opposition has exhausted their resources (read: tapped out) and cannot respond.
Training Grounds makes your slivers less demanding, which greatly boosts your Overlord's tutoring capabilities, and potentially turns them into terrifying lockdown machines. I mean, 1 + saccing a sliver to blow up something?
War spares not the brave but the cowardly. - Anacreon
Last, but definitely not least, lands! Given the color identity of your deck, it should not surprise anybody that this is, by far, the most painfully expensive part to build. Especially when considering the starting point:
All 10 duals
All 10 shocklands
All 10 fetchlands
7 misc utility lands
Since the usefulness of duals, shocklands and fetchlands is immediately evident, we're obviously going to focus on the 'utility' lands.
Gaea's Cradle. Given our small creature count, it would stand to reason that the mind-boggling potential of this land is not fully exploited here. Experience says this argument to be plain wrong. Especially when the Queen is in play. <evil grin>
Maze of Ith or Mystifying Maze. Both have a very useful defensive ability, and very different drawbacks. The first one adds no mana, and the second one has a high activation cost (and can potentially backfire on you if the attacking creature has any ETB effect).
Note that I listed more than 7 lands. I run them all and made room for them leaving a few fetches and shocklands out. Which ones get the ax in your build is something for you to consider.
Now that we've made our picks, the fun part--the PLAN!
While it is a generalisation, the main aim in warfare is to organise situations where you can bring overwhelming force to bear and curbstomp your enemy. If you aim to fight fair, you are doing it wrong.
- Exemplifying a curbstomp battle in real life on TVTropes.org
Combo decks like this one depend on a straightforward strategy--put together your combo pieces and protect them as you do that. And your possible winning combos are:
Once you get any one of these combos rolling, it's a mere matter of fetching Necrotic Sliver and blowing up everything in sight.
Note the Queen always being a required piece. This should be enough to realize how big a mistake it is to play her without at least one layer of defense to screen her--be it countermagic, shroud, whatever. However, sometimes she WILL get exiled, despite your best efforts, forcing you to switch to plan B--which amounts to simply playing as many slivers as you can, putting the Legion into play, and assimilating/butchering your enemies one at a time. You can either achieve this the old way, or by raising them all at once via Living Death or Patriarch's Bidding.
I mentioned it already, but it bears repeating--slivers scare people, perhaps to ridiculous extremes IMO. I mean, with beasts like the Eldrazi around, there should be much more threatening things to worry about, right? In theory, yes. But in practice, whenever you play a sliver, everyone will put an abrupt stop to whatever they were doing or thinking about, check what you just cast, reassess what your budding swarm can do, and react accordingly. I've had it happen to me every single time. It almost merits a rule: the opposition won't overlook what slivers can do.
From Rath with love: making your worst fears come true
So, you can't surprise them. That sucks to no end. You can turn this problem on its head by playing into your opponents' fears, though. Hold on to your counterspells and defensive slivers and taunt your enemies into reacting when you can profit from it. Quick Sliver can be one hell of a bait, especially when you have Crystalline Sliver or Root Sliver in hand. When they get used to the idea that targeting your stuff is a waste of good cards, they'll feel far less inclined to do so. Hell, you may even get to slip through a few plays uncontested out of fear of retaliation if you pull it off.
Mindless instruments of death and despair
Another plan is to abuse your removal. Necrotic Sliver and Harmonic Sliver can mean you pack 20+ permanent removal cards. Save your countermagic for threats to your graveyard -you want Living Death to mean game- if the environment is heavy on it, and feel free to spam away if it is not. (Save your tucking effects for commanders, though.) Given our shortage of fatties and our relatively small creature count, you may want to sac slivers on preemptive strikes or, failing that, all-out defense. It would be nice not to reach this stage, though.
Answer 1: Field and protect a mana doubler long enough to get the resources needed to fetch and play all required slivers in the same turn. Mana Reflection is your absolute best friend here, because it makes your little terrors yield twice when Gemhide Sliver is in play. Of course, it's got a target painted over itself the size of a skyscraper, and a fear factor equivalent to an Ebola outbreak, so it's no easy task. Your only defense, short of packing stuff like Privileged Position, is sculpting your hand with as much countermagic as humanly possible.
Answer 2: Bomb everyone else back to the Stone Age first. There are multiple ways to achieve this, but any single one constitutes a case of borderline douchebaggery, and your pod will hate you. Nevertheless, the build packs what's required to achieve the objective: either pair Catastrophe with Gemhide Sliver, or All is Dust with Ghostflame Sliver. The first one will leave everyone with not even a penny on their pockets while you have (hopefully) 4+ slivers to toy with. The second one is more of a reset button that will spare your swarm.
Answer 3: Play kingmaker, or cop. (Or both.) That means turning your slivers into suicide bombs via Necrotic Sliver and liberally abusing them, or using Unnatural Selection and Amoeboid Changeling to turn a creature an opponent controls into a sliver for your mutual advantage (i.e., give shroud to something you want to remain in play, or confer haste to a critter that can potentially knock someone other than you out of play).
What even slivers fear
What's coming up next is a list of some things you may have thought about already; namely, cards that threaten this deck, and are thus primary targets for counterspelling or removal:
Blood Moon and its creature equivalent absolutely rape this deck. Trying to incorporate basic lands to mitigate their impact only resulted in wrecking the mana base, so these two are something to live with you'll definitely not want to live with.
Iona, Shield of Emeria wrecks you if your commander is not in play, whichever color its owner chooses, but if he picks black (removal), blue (countermagic) or white (more removal) you're well and truly screwed. All is Dust can still save you, providing it is not countered.
Stranglehold will hurt everyone across the board, but will hurt you more than most. It negates your commander's potential as a toolbox, your tutors, and your ramp spells and effects. You should only let this one live as long as it stops someone other than you from winning outright.
An average hand, to be honest. Quite abundant in mana, though lacking in early-game accelerators. One great drawing engine and a potential combo piece, but no ways to protect them. High Market is a dead weight that would be much more useful late in game.
Better, but not impressive. That Arena is tempting--it could give quite an interesting advantage early ingame, providing you draw means to defend it. The slivers are very useful too and will allow you to blow up two threats. And that fetchland can get you blue mana for the countermagic you will inevitably need.
At first glance, this one looks like a godsend. In addition to the obvious benefits of the Lantern, the Top, a fetchland and the Crucible make for land drops and for reshuffling your library -and its first three cards- every turn. The danger here is that such a brutal start will quickly alienate the whole pod against you.
The Swarmlord's Guide to Sliver Supremacy: leading your species to victory
Since handling a kickass hand can be quite delicate in multiplayer EDH -misusing it usually means you get curbstomped early on-, I'm going to assume you draw something similar to the last example. The key word here is restraint: unless your opponents have very bad starts, getting a turn 5 or turn 6 victory versus three other players is very, very hard to achieve. You may attain a few of these on the first few matches you play with this deck if you do it right, but smart adversaries learn fast.
So, of that dream hand, you play Command Tower, cast your Sol Ring, and then pass. You got everything you need at the moment. Study everyone else's first turn carefully - you'll most likely see other Rings, a Top, or more exotic stuff like Burgeoning.
If someone did outdo you, you can think of fielding the Crucible right now; if not, go ahead with the Top. Play the Tundra -- you may or may not have drawn countermagic this turn, but you want the opposition on their toes.
Things start picking up the pace; stuff like Phyrexian Arena will surely hit the table. You are now aiming for a mana doubler, or, failing that, any of your combo pieces (Mana Echoes comes to mind). Be wary of playing critical slivers now. Surely someone else will start racking up threat by ramping up in preparation for big stuff coming up next turn; that will surely trigger a boardwipe or something in the same vein and you don't want your combo pieces on the graveyard. An ideal play now is a Maze of Ith or, even better, the Academy Rector if you get it.
Expect the first heavy hitter entering the battlefield now, or, failing that, the next turn. You probably have more than enough life to take hits at the moment, so by all means, let them take on you -- unless, for example, someone reanimates an Artisan of Kozilek or another scary beast. Doing that essentially equals proclaiming confidence in your chances, and that's an ego to be taken down a peg via counterspell or removal. Watch the reactions across the board, and consider the overall aggro level everyone has attained before deciding to act. Letting it through and hoping someone else gets hit is a risky ploy, though; if the ballsy player also turns out to be a canny bastard he can see through your plays and preemptively deal you a blow that's hard to recover from at this point.
If the threat is not as bad and you still have the Crucible, this is a good time to field it, and profit from the fetchland in hand. Abuse the Top for all it's worth.
Turn 5 and onwards: the mid-game
You're now on a stalling strategy, until you get your combo pieces, which is arguably your weakest phase. You have plenty of counterspells and removal to see you through while you hunt for them. Identifying targets for them is key. Unless someone turns out to be determined to kill you, don't fear taking hits. You're relatively safe until you're brought down to <20 life; at that point, you should make it unmistakably clear that no more dicking around will be allowed. Reduce every other critter to dust if you can, that's what Ghostflame Sliver is here for. If you're feeling really, really lucky, and get all the required cards and slivers, you can use Catastrophe to wreck mana bases; note that doing so puts you on a 5-turn clock on average because when (and if) everyone recovers they'll go straight for your throat.
When to bring the Swarmlord to bear
Your commander is a very 7/7-ish creature. That makes him an imposing and deadly wall if you have need of one, but avoid playing it defensively if you can -- your primary concern should be fetching as many combo pieces with it as possible, and if it gets tucked you'll be in for a world of hurt. If you're not desperate for defense, use tutors to fetch Training Grounds and/or Mana Reflection and play them before summoning the Overlord.
Going in for the kill: late game
You know you can do this when you have drawn a mana doubler and you can cast it and defend it for a turn. This, of course, means you have as much countermagic and removal available as you can hold in your hands.
If you do play Mana Reflection with a few slivers (including your commander) on the board and it survives for an entire turn, you're poised for the strike. Ideally those 'few slivers' would be Crystalline Sliver and Root Sliver to minimize exposure to countermeasures.
Worst case scenario, you need a whopping 29 mana, plus commander tax if it got killed, to cast everything on the same turn, broken down as follows:
WUBRG for the Overlord, plus 2 for each time it died
WUBRG for the Queen
2B for Basal
1G for Gemhide
1R for Heart
3 for each time you use your commander to fetch one of them
If Training Grounds is available, you save 8 -- which still leaves us with the daunting task of gathering at least 21 mana. To squeeze the most out of your worker slivers, you should play Heart or Gemhide first, then Queen, then Basal. If they all get through, you have at least 2 left on your pool, and there's no thing that stops you from using creature abilities, then you've entered a degenerate loop of infinite mana:
Use the 2 to create a Sliver token with the Queen
Tap the token for a single mana of any color
Sacrifice it for BB
Rinse and repeat until you got enough mana to fetch Sliver Legion and create enough tokens to one-shot everyone left
And thus, it's game over. The Swarm conquers!
This looks all well and good... but have you actually *PLAYED* any of this?!
Arright... where do I start... I suppose it begins when I open a Stronghold pack from among the first batch of boosters I bought, and I get a Crystalline Sliver. Whooooooa... Did I just read "Slivers cannot be targeted by spells or abilities"?
I guess I got enthralled by the Swarm back then in '99. I built that idiotic combo T2 deck and piloted it to an 8th place on a Nationals qualifier, and that was my last experience with Standard play for almost a decade. That Slivers had been rotated out was a bummer. (I was asked during the M13 prerelease about that same T2 deck. The irony.)
Fast forward to 2010, when I first learn about EDH. My brother asks me to pick something up for him at a retailer's. I go to the place... and, almost as if baiting me, the Premium Deck Slivers was the centerpiece of the merchandise on sale. I was almost giddy with delight. Snatch, race back home, and see what can I piece together using that and whatever stuff I had around to jump into the fledgling pod with my bro and pals. I can positively say the development of the deck started right there.
First idea was an aggro-ish approach, as in, cram as many slivers in as you can and wait for magic to happen. Alas, not the best of ideas. I mean, when you had to go up against powerhouses like Sisay, Mayael and Augustine, it just... would not work. That was the first decklist I posted in this thread, but, silly me, consistently replaced it without keeping a decent changelog. It would have been wonderful.
Then I go and stumble upon irpotential's decklist. It made me open my eyes wide. I went on to polish my own version of that build for almost a year, but I always found it too fragile and vulnerable to disruption. The final metamorphosis came when I decided to thin the enchantment count and go for counters. However much I hated them. I always thought I was a red player at heart... but given my change in philosophy I cannot be so sure now. A friend of mine once said that however much I hate blue, I play a lot like blue. Stinging.
And so, here we stand. I've been tweaking this build for a long while now. The local EDH scene is not that big, there's gotta be 20 steady players around here, tops, so it's no surprise that the deck has earned some degree of notoriety (as in, 'oh no, not the slivers again...'). A lot of polishing was done on the Cockatrice scene; sometimes I can be found over there, with this exact same nickname... What, you never heard of Cockatrice? Google it right away. I used to do that until the spooky wizards living by the coast shut it down.
In my experience running Queen combo, there are two options available to a savvy player in a tough meta. Your first option, and the one you're probably trying, is to ramp and get your combo gears turning in the first turns of the game. However, a promptly timed Pithing Needle will ruin you. If you're going for this strategy, I've found that free/cheap counterspells can save the day. Force of Will, Pact of Negation, Silence, Orim's Chant, or similar alternatives will prevent a blowout on your combo turn. I also recommend only casting Queen on the turn you intend to win. Depending on your setup, you should be able to cast her, tap one colorless mana, and win. If your opponent responds with a killspell or some other removal, just tap another colorless to continue your chain. This route is heavily dependent on ramp, so I recommend picking up Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, and Grim Monolith. Their drawbacks are negligible when you intend for the game to be over when people are still casting ramp spells.
Alternatively, you can play the game very slowly. You could borrow a 5C control or stax shell to pilot during the early/mid game, then in the late game, once your opponents have run out of gas and you've guaranteed you have a clear line of sight, you can initiate your combo. It's important in this strategy that you don't cast your commander until you're ready to win and that you never cast her without some form of protection, usually with countermagic. I built both of these archetypes earlier this year and experimented with both and I found that while my win/loss was better with a proxied-to-hell fast combo deck, games were more fun and interactive with a stax shell and a combo finish. If you're willing to brave casting the Queen in a stax list, she can make Smokestack a crippling game-winner by generating enough tokens to compensate. You can also run fewer tutors and only high-quality combo pieces if you go the control route because you can afford to wait until the late game to go off.
Once the whole primer is complete, I plan to entirely rewrite it to give it the flavor of a book authored by an in-game legend--Venser of Urborg.
After my primary decklist -combo- is completely polished, I would like to do some brainstorming to create viable lists for aggro and Voltron strategies.
Unlike the control-combo approach, this one is far less of a cutthroat build, favoring tactics that appeal more to Johnny and Timmy players. Which is alright. Competitive formats are awash with Spikes and their antics already.
That does not mean the Tyranid--err, this incarnation of the Swarm is inoffensive. On the contrary, it can be scarily efficient, and has a lot of staying power once it has picked up the pace, on top of several plans for you to pursue.
Given that you want to win by by hack-slash-carve-stabbity-chopchop tactics, you are going to need to put as many slivers on the field as quickly as possible -but not as *early* as possible!-, and they have to be big, mean and scary. Cue Sliver Legion. This is your centerpiece for combat damage strategies. Watch your opponents despair as every child of the Hive that joins the fray makes the whole swarm meaner!
Note the extremely low count of nonpermanent spells. There is a reason for that. That reason is called Primal Surge. Unleashing it potentially means LOTS of pain for everyone else. Especially when Purphoros, God of the Forge is in play. 2 damage for everyone else each time a creature of yours joins the fray can get very ugly, VERY fast.
There still is a combo built into the list, but it's a very convoluted one. Sliver Queen + Basal Sliver + Gemhide Sliver + Heart Sliver equals infinite colored mana. Limitless resources equals fielding your whole swarm. Flooding the battlefield with slivers equals assimilating the opposition. They *may* not be seeing it coming - the first time. That being the reason for saving this strategy for late game.
Groundwork: thrall labors and acquired resources
As previously noted, slivers are resource hogs. Having a toolbox commander that can tutor up anything you need has its price. And you need to fetch things to do your work; given a few lucky draws and plays you could put the Overlord on the battlefield as soon as on turn 4, at the cost of scaring the beejezus out of everyone else. Either your budding swarm ends up dead, or you have to pay a lot of life early on if you managed to play Hibernation Sliver.
So that is why you refrain from playing your slivers early on. The early turns are the province of thralls, mana rocks and shenanigans that boost your economy.
Academy Rector probably should hold the title of Chief Thrall. The array of enchantments available for him to turn into (more on this below) is simply staggering. He can bring the wrath of Purphoros on the heads of your enemies, multiply the yield of your lands via Mana Reflection, seek the aid of Karametra if your resources are low, or change the most fundamental of game rules in your favor by means of Omniscience.
Burnished Hart is a newcomer being tested for actual usefulness. Colorless, chumpblocker, fetches two basics when sacrificed. Overall cost is still a bit on the uncomfortable side.
Chromatic Lantern turns all your lands into Command Towers. Mind you, the more useful it is, the more tempting it becomes to blow it up - namely, it's a very juicy target when you would otherwise be mana screwed.
Coalition Relic: potentially, two mana of different colors on the same main phase. One of the best mana rocks, ever - and also one that usually stays under the radar, since most of the time there is juicier stuff around for whacking.
Crucible of Worlds. Multiplies the value of fetchlands -a very useful kind of card already- and their deck-thinning potential. This one does get whacked often, though.
Darksteel Ingot - critical for a number of reasons, not the least of which being a target for Harmonic Sliver effects that would usually blow up something else. A mana fixer that never goes away. (Seriously, who would waste targeted removal to exile *this*?!)
Expedition Map has a fundamental advantage over most other ramp effects: it gets you any one land. And, as we will see, there are plenty of targets for it, no matter how late in game you are.
Speaking of Karametra, God of Harvests: listing her as a thrall is bound to incense her worshipers. The means by which a species as alien to religion as slivers would secure her aid are lost on me, but the end results of her auspices are not. Each creature spell you cast fetches you either a forest or a plains. Read again: each one.
Mana Reflection and Omniscience I list together because they have the same purpose: multiplying the yield of available resources. A word of advice: unless the opposition is unusually weak -or just plain dumb-, they will not have a long life once they land, so you have to get the absolute most out of either.
Oracle of Mul Daya. The benefits of playing an extra land per turn should be self-explanatory. (In case they are not: two land drops per turn means having more mana to feed your Swarm. And the Queen's children are always hungry.)
Sakura-Tribe Elder. They 'become a part of the forest after death.' Actually, they may 'become a part of' any other basic land you need, not simply a forest.
Solemn Simulacrum. Puts a basic land straight onto the battlefield when joining the fray. Turns into a card when dying. A most useful bodyguard.
Listing Sword of Feast and Famine here may seem strange at first glance - until you realize how much of a boost it is to have your entire land base available for use twice per turn. And relieving your opponent of cards is almost never a bad thing, Anger and the like nothwithstanding. Gets silly with silvers having double strike and flash.
Yavimaya Elder. On death, may turn into two basic lands and a card. Cue two fewer colors to worry about, on top of increased chances of drawing useful spells on each turn. No master could ask for a more faithful defender.
What could I possibly say about Survival of the Fittest that has not been said already? The centerpiece of the most amazing aggro-combo T2 deck ever IMHO, it will serve us wonderfully well here to search for thralls beyond the reach of your commander, or for a sliver you need right now for cheap - including the Overlord itself if it gets tucked.
Training Grounds. Foes who overlook the usefulness of something that cuts your ability costs do so at their peril.
Unnatural Selection can help your Overlord to assimilate your enemies' minions into the Swarm - but it's also a wonderful political tool. There are lots of situations when you would profit from an enemy creature having the sliver subtype, especially when an opponent attacks another. Examples: give double strike to an attacker to finish off someone else, or lifelink to a defender you want to remain on the game for just a little longer.
Once Primal Surge is cast, you want to get the most bang out of your buck - possibly enough bang to bury the opposition under a living tide of screeching talons or to burn them to ashes via Purphoros. Awesome, awesome plan - with an equally GLARING weakness. Packing as few nonpermanents as possible means a very limited suite of answers to threats:
First on this list is Acidic Slime, a virtual Swiss Army knife that can tackle many threats - and to top it off it also is an intimidating defender.
Detention Sphere serves two purposes: flattening token swarms and targeted removal.
Use Necrotic Sliver to give your swarm suicide bomb capabilities. Having this on the board means setting 3 mana aside to sac it in case someone kills it; if Training Grounds and a manasliver are on the field as well, this horror can make boardwipes very costly - by allowing you to simply tap a sliver for 1 mana and then sacrifice it to destroy a permanent.
Catastrophe is either an emergency reset button, or a potential victory enabler. When your whole swarm can act like manarocks, sacrificing your entire land base to destroy your opponents' is tempting. Just make sure you win shortly afterwards. Nuking a mana base "just because" or to pointlessly extend the game will not make you any friends.
Being an instant, Cyclonic Rift allows for very interesting gimmicks - especially if those precede your turn.
In a pinch -meaning you have no better alternative-, Living Death can act as a sweeper, but since it can potentially raise something even worse from the grave than the creature(s) that warrant using it that way, its usefulness on that role is limited.
Other valued agents
These thralls are mentioned separately because they fulfill niches other than straight-on ramp or resource acquisition.
Amoeboid Changeling works pretty much like Unnatural Selection. Unlike it, you can only use it once per turn, but being a creature with the sliver subtype means it gets all of their abilities.
The Prophet of Kruphix is insanely good. The enemy is bound to know this, too, so unless you really, really need it, try having her on the field only when you have a way to shield her from removal (via Crystalline Sliver or Sliver Hivelord) or to bounce her to hand (Hibernation Sliver). Mind you, either way requires having either Amoeboid Changeling or Unnatural Selection on the board. Okay, it seems we servants of the Swarm were not the only ones to notice just how much the Prophet was packing. We still have a similar, if less broken, alternative in the form of the Seedborn Muse, and the same considerations apply to her.
Earlier on, I mentioned Purphoros, God of the Forge and His Divine Talent For Violence. There are many creatures on this build. Enough said.
Bonescythe Sliver: force multiplier. Having double strike allows for many hilarious plays. Example: think you have it along with Quick Sliver for flash and Heart Sliver for haste, and one of those has a Sword of Feast and Famine equipped. That creature attacks, it is not blocked, opponent discards once, you untap your lands once - and now you flash in, say, Magma Sliver, and suddenly those 3 or 4 points of damage turn into two or three times that much. Now figure what happens if your commander is the one doing the attacking. Three guesses, the first two don't count.
Psionic Sliver: source of direct damage. Given afewcomplimentary slivers, it can also turn its fellows into life-draining leeches while surviving or outright ignoring the backlash.
Quick Sliver: simply fundamental. Having flash enables many plays.
Root Sliver: renders countermagic useless. When applied to slivers, at least.
Sentinel Sliver: 2 mana in exchange for granting your whole swarm the ability to attack and defend is laughably cheap. Even more important given the many slivers around with abilities requiring them to be tapped.
Shifting Sliver: the ultimate evasion-giving sliver. Barring the occasional changeling or a mirror match, it makes your swarm unstoppable.
Sliver Queen: paired with Purphoros, Her Ladyship can spell doom for your opponents later in game simply by means of having this Hephaistos expy hit each of them for 2 damage for every sliver that joins the fray.
Telekinetic Sliver: do not restrict yourself to tapping creatures that would kill you or capable of blocking your minions. Consider a combat phase where the defending player needs to block or perish... what could happen if one or more of his/her minions suddenly had a fit?
Where slivers tread
This list boasts a relatively simpler land base than its combo-control counterpart: 2 of each basic land cards, with the exception of a Mountain, of which we pack only one; all 10 dual lands; 8 fetches; and the following 'special' lands:
Cabal Coffers needs Urborg to work properly, which is more of a hindrance than what it looks like, but the results are undeniable.
Given that this is a (mostly) tribal deck, Cavern of Souls works wonders here. Counterproofing and mana fixing for your swarm!
The fastest and most common method is the use of vanguard organisms (...) Genestealers in particular will seek to infiltrate communities and create cults, not only to signal the target is ripe for consumption but to weaken its defenses against the Hive Fleet's arrival.
- Tyranid process of planetary assimilation, early stages
On this particular case, the cultists are our thralls, of which we have more than a dozen. Like their tabletop relatives, our sliver swarm will use them to acquire resources - which translates into using them and their devices to ramp ahead.
I cannot attest that the following is a perfect opening hand, but it has everything needed to jump-start your battle plan:
It may seem obvious, but note that if you have fetchlands on play side to side with a Chromatic Lantern then you need not actually using it to search for lands - even less so with an initial hand such as this. Still, doing so anyway on the basis of thinning your deck is a good idea... and the Lantern gets blasted more often the earlier in game you are.
You can either play the land you just drew or the Plains you had in hand, it makes no difference. Now you can use that Mirri's Guile. Hold on to your slivers. Playing them now will only get them killed, and they are both important. Canny players will know it. Leave
mana open for turning that Yavimaya Elder into goodies should someone attack you.
Suppose your Elder survived the previous turn. Draw the Arena, put the land atop your library. Play your last land.
Ideally you would want to play Phyrexian Arena to grab more cards early on, but you are one black mana short. You can now either put the Chromatic Lantern into the battlefield, or sac the Yavimaya Elder to search for a Swamp and another basic land. What to do now hinges on how hostile the table is so far; usually you begin seeing fatties now, so having the Elder around for chump-blocking is attractive - but barring someone trolling the early game you have life to spare now.
I would go ahead with playing the Lantern so I can field the Arena right now, and let the Elder live to fight -and die- another day.
It is not always wise to trigger Mirri's Guile before Phyrexian Arena. If only one card among the three atop your library is useful, then you can draw that card now with the Arena, and then trigger the Guile and see if the fourth card was any good.
But now, we only know the topmost card. Kept track? Eternal Witness is entirely useless now, there is nothing on the graveyard worth recurring. So we trigger Mirri's Guile first anyway:
Now this changes things somewhat. Mana Reflection is exactly as awesome as it sounds - a fact that makes it an irresistible target. And while we are not exactly on the early game anymore, it is quite likely an enemy will have a means to dispel it before you can make significant use of it.
You now can play the Reflection, and have the means to retrieve it should it gets killed atop your library - so before your next turn, you should sac Yavimaya Elder for the Witness and more ramp (in this case, a Mountain and a Swamp). Putting this mighty enchantment in play will immediately draw the attention of the board your way, so you have to tread carefully now.
Seems like bad luck - we have enough lands in play and in hand, we need more tactical options instead. The sliver is, however, a godsend. You have two critters in hand you can discard for something else with the same subtype. And what we are about to do this turn certainly warrants tucking.
Grab the Tundra and the sliver. Play the dual you just drew. You now have a lot of mana: 6 lands, any of which can give you two mana of any one color you wish -courtesy of Chromatic Lantern, itself worth 2 colored mana too-, plus a Sol Ring that taps for 4 colorless mana. You want to leave that last one in reserve.
Tap 5 lands for 10 mana, cast your commander. It may get tucked. If that happens, do not recover it just yet, unless Mana Reflection gets dispelled, which is very likely now, too; on that case, tap out, use one of the 5 remaining colored mana, and play Homing Sliver so you can pay 3 mana, discard Heart Sliver -you have another haste-giving critter, but no other Amoeboid Changeling-, and retrieve it - but not during your turn. Doing it now will further scare the rest of the table into allying against you.
Worst case scenario, the Reflection is killed too - now that you do recover in your own turn using the remaining mana. The Lantern could also get hit, but at this point you got enough colored lands to care little. A good opponent probably will use that removal somewhere else on the table, but a dumb one who still is scared of you may not.
Keep an eye on your life total, for you surely will take hits now.
Recently I added a link on the useful cards section to an article discussing the merits of ramp, the etiquette of land destruction -long story short: if you do it, you'd better do it for the win, not just 'because' or for the lulz- and this notable excerpt:
Quote from Raging Levine »
In Commander, the first person to do something nuts has the responsibility to protect it, and if you can be the second person to do something nuts, then you can probably win because resources are exhausted.
It dawned on me tonight, while cooling down after a grueling Algebra final, that I built the counter-combo list trying to avoid the need for defending my nutty plays. Still, something did fail, given the number of occasions on which I found myself facing the combined might of the rest of the table. Probably the failure was all mine.
But that deck is still tooled for accomplishing that goal alright. This is an advantage an aggro build has not. As you command a horde of critters, you have to claw the opposition to death bit by bit, and stay alive through the whole ordeal. So, either you stonewall behind a defense and chip away at their life total while avoiding the worst of the fighting, or you go proactive and use your swarm as suicide bombs. Playing lots of slivers and going on the rampage is not a good idea, really -- doing that will see your swarm folding to boardwipes and the like faster than you can say Rout. (Unless you can kill everyone wicked fast, but even then it won't be as fast as with a combo.)
And since there's a lot of slivers here I'm going to explore the idea of playing cop. I envision needing Harmonic Sliver, Necrotic Sliver and Volrath's Stronghold to achieve that. Possibly Eternal Witness or Pulmonic Sliver as well. In this case, you always must leave enough mana open for sacrificing at least one sliver. People will feel a lot less inclined to mess you up if you can retaliate by destroying something critical. (That's Mutual Assured Destruction in a nutshell.)
So how do you win? You still attack whenever the opportunity to do some harm without leaving you too exposed presents itself. But now Patriarch's Bidding and Living Death become a lot more important. They're not simply countermeasures against boardwipes (read more on this below), but your winning cards! When you cast either, it should look as if the manure is indeed about to collide with the rotary oscillator. (Bojuka Bog becomes exponentially more dangerous, too...) So instead of drawing the unwanted attention of your pod, your goal is to play kingmaker while the opposition does crazy stuff -- and so expends their energy while you preserve your most powerful cards for your own power play.
The greatest strength of the glass fiend is also its main weakness. On rendering all point defense countermeasures useless, it forces opponents to nuke you. Our little sloth demon lets us keep other minions for a mere 2 life, which you can quickly recoup. Having the right slivers to complement it means that the enemy will waste their WMDs on foes that simply refuse to die:
For years, having lifelink on my slivers was a desirable trait, but not a critical one. Very recently I learned why this should be so. Considering a midgame scenario where you have around 9-10 mana to spend, if you bounce those minions to your hand, most if not all can return to the fray the following turn. Nothing new here. But you would be surprised to see how quickly you may have to spend life again to preserve them, especially if there's no Patriarch's Bidding in hand or if playing it is not a good idea. Long story short: you want your terrors to latch their hungry claws onto your foes and drain them of their every drop of blood. More life = more life to spend = ability to keep bouncing back your minions = they dodge the bullets and return to plague the enemy again and again... I had one particular game when the opposition nuked the table three turns in a row, trying to get rid of my swarm and failing.
Now, why flash or haste and not both? Well, you may very easily have fewer than those 9 mana to spend, and you want flash to make the most out of any resources remaining untapped before your turn. And you want haste to have your slivers recharging your juice the moment they hit the field.
To add insult to injury, if you have insane amounts of mana to spend you may even get Psionic Sliver to play havoc if you can protect them from the backlash, either by bringing Sliver Hivelord or the Sliver Legion to bear. Think of the havoc: tapping a sliver on this context would net you a whopping 5 life without losing it!
There are exactly 96 creatures printed with the sliver subtype... which means there's, at least in theory, 96 slivers to choose from. One of them will be your commander, so we're down to 95. Seems like a lot, right?
At first glance, you'd think, "whoa, so many things a body can do with so many of them!" It would be awesome if we could just dump them all into a deck and fill the remaining spots with lands. (Actually, we can, but we'd get mana starved to begin with.)
So we're forced to pick. Some are better for aggro, others for combo, a few work in Voltron decks, and a few are universally useful. But, as pointed previously, you have to experiment, and what works for someone can be useless to someone else. Hence the breakdown below:
Hidden within the clicking, chittering swarm is a unique mind, still young, but growing more aware as time passes.
- Huge bomb
- Ridiculously powerful passive buff (think Coat of Arms on a sliver)
- Can be a pain to cast
- Extremely--nah, absolutely-frigging-has-to-go value target
One of the most feared creature cards ever. You would fear it, too, if this frothing mountain of claws and muscle came into play and turned even your lowly 1/1 token into another frothing mountain of claws and muscle. And of course, it's on the same--nope, scratch that, it's leagues over Crystalline Sliver when it comes to how badly everyone wants it dead.
- Can be a pain to cast
- Outrageously high value target
Veteran players will go "oh, crap" when Her Lady of the Chittering Swarm hits the table--and rightly so, because she should only see play when you have the rest of the combo pieces into place and a response for anyone daring to counterspell or fry her.
- Can turn a lonely blocker into a lifesaving wall
- Extremely mana intensive
One of several red-headed stepchildren of the swarm. Seriously, 2 for just +0/+1? Even if you had mana to spare, you would be better off casting something to deal with an assault. Or, failing that, simply using the least valuable of your slivers as a chump blocker, unless it's a trampling attacker and you can't afford to take the hit. All in all, there are MUCH better choices. If you really, really, REALLY must have defense buffs, go for slivers that give passive bonuses instead.
- Absorb effectively negates Pestilence-like effects
- Makes all your slivers a bit tougher
- Expensive to cast
An odd sliver if there's one, and not particularly useful in my humble opinion. It's essentially an overgrown Plated Sliver that can render the swarm invulnerable to Pestilence. But, 5 mana to cast? Really?
- Regeneration in a color that usually does not have it
- Expensive ability
Hands-down, the worst regenerator sliver. Not only you got to pay, you have to tap it. It's like the worst of Clot and Crypt mashed together. I'd only pick it if I couldn't live without regen and I didn't have black slivers... but totally worthless otherwise.
- Good evasion
- Limited proofing against board wipe
- Putting cards atop your library delays you
- Very expensive to cast
Very used to mitigate the worst effects of something wrecking your whole swarm. (You'd better get used to it, it will happen a lot.) If there's a lot of graveyard hate then this is your second best hope of keeping your slivers in the game. Being costly to hardcast is a big minus here.
- Limited usefulness in EDH given how many fatties are tossed around
If you've been allowed to rack up on the sliver count, this will allow you to snipe combatants at your leisure. Could prove interesting if you got Hunter Sliver on the table. But its usefulness hinges on just how many slivers you got...
This one was a clear attempt at creating something more balanced than Crystalline Sliver. 5 mana for a 2/2 that nullifies a color. Not bad. Now put them both together in the table at the same time and not even Earthquakes and the like can kill them.
I've said it enough times already to bore you: slivers are fragile. Well, this addresses that: +0/+2 across the board. Still, unless Doran is in play, just being able to take it usually is not enough to kill off an opponent. Maybe that's why I've never seen it fit to stick one into my builds.
- Great for token decks and tactics
- Solid P/T
- Can be used to tremendous effect with Sliver Legion
- High priority target
Now this is a strange sliver if there's one. Personally, I have only profited from its ability once or twice. But its potential is undeniable. Still, you have to keep your tokens in the game long enough for it to profit, and, tokens or not, they're still slivers. And contribute to the 3+ Godzilla Threshold.
"The land is weary. Even Skyshroud is depleted. We must find another source of mana—one that is growing despite our withering world."
- Great combo enabler
- Turns all your slivers into mana sources
- Extremely high value target
- Very weak
Now, what's not to love about this one? Well, it's very fragile, and it's more efficient at pulling aggro than a Taunting Elf. But, turning every sliver into Birds of Paradise... Whatever your strategy, this one is a must. Just make sure you have a lightning rod around.
The air was filled with the cracks and snaps of flesh hardening as the new sliver joined the battle.
- Strong passive buff
- Very cheap to play
- High value target
An aggro build's bread-and-butter. One of the best cost/effective slivers for boosting the stats of your swarm. When stacked with other passive buffers, it can quickly turn a lot of unsuspecting weenies into a lot of pain.
Am I the only one who thinks this dude looks a lot like a Xenomorph?
The most expensive of all hasty slivers to put into the battlefield, and not a very tough one either. Its single redeeming grace is that you just require a single G to play it. If you need haste, go with Heart Sliver instead.
Few things are as satisfying as flash-casting this one in response to a counterspell. Its usefulness will be limited, however, if there are no blue decks in the table. Me, I like to think that preparedness makes a body powerful. ^.^
- Cheap for its power
- Great defensive ability
2 mana for a 2/2 that gives your entire swarm reach? Sounds awesome... BUT! If you're into aggro, you'll rarely find yourself using your critters on the defense. (Unless you have vigilance.) And if you go either combo or Voltron, there are much better cards that badly need this slot.
You think infect is cheap? This one may not be as sexy, right, but you need exactly the same amount of poison counters to knock someone off the game both in Modern and in EDH--yes, only 10 counters. That turns this one from being "meh" to being "oh god oh god keep that thing away from me". Not to mention it's an awesome first turn drop.
- Solid P/T
- Allows for overruning the opposition
- Very high cost
One of the main drawbacks of playing slivers in EDH is that they're simply too weak; most are 1/1 or 2/2. This one can survive being bolted, and with a few other slivers in play it becomes exponentially more dangerous. But it's not cheap.
- Buff useful only when having large numbers of slivers
- No toughness bonus
See, this is what I meant when I was talking about getting slivers with passive buffs. This one is very useful when you're into zerging strategies. The more slivers in table, the merrier it gets, but a word of caution is due: chances of a boardwipe skyrocket after you land your third sliver. And the lack of toughness bonus leaves you more vulnerable to an Earthquake or somethingasawful.
- Turns your attacking slivers into dedicated creature removal
- Requires significant synergy with other slivers to be efficient
- Very weak
If you happen to have buffed your slivers with passive bonuses and cool abilities such as double strike, no critter that isn't shrouded or hexproofed will be safe. Not the best to have if you need to keep your creature count low, though.
- Nice P/T
- Can quickly turn a single sliver into a living flamethrower
- Depends on number of slivers in play to be effective
- Does not work with Crystalline Sliver in play
The ability looks incredibly deadly on paper... until you realize that you have to leave your slivers in the open to profit from its ability. If you have Quick Sliver in play, it's no big deal, but in EDH that's too large an 'if'. It can pay off big time if you're swinging for a Voltron victory.
By itself, it sounds... just nice. Just factor in a few others and it becomes frightening--but you can't just include everyone, right? It would be dead awesome if it could block another creature, too... but as it stands, there's better stuff to pick.
- Ashnod's Altar on a sliver
- Great combo enabler
- Reasonably costed
- High value target
This one has attained infamy in my pod as part of a degenerate combo, if a lengthy one... you just need the queen, and a fewothers. After you've pulled off the combo once or twice, it will become a prime candidate for targeted removal.
- Low cost
- Effect does not target (read: smooth interaction with Crystalline Sliver)
- Costly ability
- Very weak
Even if there's a ton of removal effects on EDH that treat regeneration like it isn't there, there's another ton of similar stuff that does not. Still, this is not the best choice to get regen effects.
Ditched out that argument after DanzBorin noted that Crypt Sliver does require a target being assigned, and thus does not like shroud effects. This one has no such issue, which makes it considerably more useful.
Another regenerative sliver, this one is very useful at that, since you need no mana to activate the ability, and that makes for awesome chump blockers. If you're going to toss in regen into your mix, this is the second-best choice.
- Amazingly efficient mass discard
- Cheaper than usual sac outlet
- Effective boardwiping deterrent
- Very cheap to play
- Ability hurts you too
- Ability costs you a sliver
- Not as useful in 1v1 situations
How come I've overlooked this one? If you manage to sneak this one through late in game, you can deprive your opponents of spells while at the same time you set up a Living Death effect. (And if you have enough mana available, it can discourage opponents of boardwiping you.) Criminal with Synapse Sliver on the table.
A sliver shares everything with its hive--even its afflictions.
You really considering this one? Are you serious? Even if you could offset that massive penalty with Essence Sliver on board, it will only make your opponents even more determined to blow your lifelink-giving critter away. Avoid it like -you guessed it- the plague.
- Best pumping effect makes for good offense or defense as needed
- Very mana intensive
In my opinion, all pumping slivers are a waste of a slot best filled with another of the other 87 slivers available. (Well, make it 74, counting off your commander.) This one is the least worthless of them all, though, and gets to become actually interesting to have in play when you have a Heartstone or something alike on the board. Even then, I would only resort to that if that meant killing a player, or failing that, if I didn't have anything better to play on my hand.
- Nice P/T
- Provides an extra edge in both offense and defense
- Expensive to cast
Weighing in at 5 mana, this is a bit expensive for what it does. It being a relatively tough sliver should even the odds a bit, but if I was willing to include such an expensive critter, I'd go for double strike instead. If you want first strike too, there are cheaper picks around.
- Solid P/T
- Good power/cost ratio
- Great fear factor
- High value target
It's not deathtouch, but it's almost there. I've always wanted to have this one and Hunter Sliver in play... and, perhaps, something that gives it first strike, too. Damn, it gets too convoluted to be practical so fast... Besides, it's almost an automatic target for any kind of spot removal around. Nobody likes deathtouch (*groan* yes, I know, it's not 100% deathtouch), and fewer people still like a whole swarm of slivers with poison-coated talons. Worse than the Zerg or the Great Devourer.
- Solid P/T
- Good power/cost ratio
- Each kill fattens up your slivers
- Ability requires a kill, rather than just allocating damage as in most vampires
- High value target
Nobody likes to have a sliver in play that can mean potentially making every sliver bigger. Even if that ability sounds more awesome than what it actually is. When you got lots of slivers around, it's nice to have, but there are better ones around that are as nice or more in that context.
- Helps to keep an eye on opponents and to potentially deprive them of major resources
- A bit overcosted
This little critter essentially does a watered-down version of JTMS' first ability: you can't use it to peek at your own library. Still, if you like control-ish strategies, you may find use for it. (Personally, I've always considered it just an odd shenanigan.)
- Can add a creature type to benefit from mechanics affecting other creature types
- Very specific ability
I'm positively sure there's a ton of uses for this sliver, but you'd have to either put two creature types in your deck or build it with teamplay in mind (2HG, for example). Neither is particularly appealing in my book.
- Cheap direct damage
- Potential winning condition
- Costs you a sliver unless you've racked up buffs
- Very expensive to cast
You could use this one instead of Acidic Sliver or Cautery Sliver to kill everyone off with your infinite combo, but it's way more expensive than either. Big advantage over the other two is that you'll need no mana to activate its ability.
- Can work wonders in a milling strategy
- Foils most tutor effects
- Low cost
- Limited usefulness in multiplayer EDH
You'll positively like this one if: A) you're into milling and B) you can mass a horde of tokens to get the most of its ability. I can picture it being very useful in 1v1, but its worth drops quickly when you have to deal with more than one library.
- Expensive to cast
- High target value
- Wrecks your defense
Good one, but tricky to use. Only field this if you don't really care about getting hit in combat. (I picture this can mostly happen in: A) 1v1, B) if you somehow managed to keep your Essence Sliver alive, or C) if evading allows you to kill everyone.) I don't really see this one enduring for long if played without any form of defense like shroud or protection -- nobody likes slivers that can swing through defenses like they aren't there.
- Expensive to cast
- Very high target value
All the good of Shadow Sliver, without the huge drawback of leaving you out in the cold. Mind you, if that sliver can get some people nervous, this one will scare opponents s***less. Play it under a protectiveumbrella if you can, or if you have some way of giving it some defense in a hurry.
This is one I've always been trying to find where to stick in my builds, even if everyone will literally want it extinct. It being expensive to cast is what I find uncomfortable, even if it's totally justified.
Highly useful both on offense and defense, and highly threatening because of that. I don't like that rather large casting cost, that being one of the facts that keeps it out of my deck. That my deck is a combo deck requiring specific slivers (and just them) does not help either.
This is what you hope to play when you have had enough of getting board-wiped and controlled and want to play a bit of prison yourself. You're going to need anything that nets you sliver tokens for that, though--think Sliversmith, Hivestone, and, of course, her Lady of the Chittering Swarm. (For added hatred, stick in a Seedborn Muse somewhere.) Still, sounds like something overly complicated and a bit fragile to pull off...
- Makes your swarm vulnerable to Hurricane effects
The way to go if you want flying slivers (and have carefully considered all the pros and cons of having your whole swarm grow wings) in my opinion. If it's defense you care about, go with Spinneret Sliver instead.
- Can end the game if there's enough mana available (again read: infinite combo)
- Can serve as a direct damage/removal source in a pinch
- Can buy you that one turn you need by keeping you or more important slivers alive
- Low cost
- Low damage/protection potential
- Usefulness depends on the situation
Another usual winning condition for combo builds. Something of a Swiss Army Sliver; very useful to have in the right situation.
Bred as living shields, these slivers have proven unruly--they know they cannot be caught.
- One of the most awesome defenses ever
- Low cost
- Extremely high priority target
Whatever your strategy, build or plan, you have to have this. If there's something better than making your whole swarm immune to any targeted effect thrown its way, I don't know what it is. (Wait--hexproof would be better, but that would be beyond overkill.) Still, it won't protect your swarm from board wipes; on the contrary, it makes it even more vulnerable to them, since everyone will be frantically digging/hoping for that.
- May save your life in a pinch
- Low cost
- Sac outlet
- Ability costs you a sliver
Weird color combination for me to think: "MEDIC!" (But now, there's Planar Chaos for you.) Not as threatening as having outright lifelink on your slivers, but not the most useful ability to have either.
- Can help keeping the hands of your opponents empty
- Ability is less useful the more cards your opponents have in their hands
- Too many conditions for the ability to actually have any effect
- Usefulness highly dependent on other cards and on game phase
- High cost
This one I'd play late in game when the table is locked in stalemate and everyone had few cards in hand. And if I had a way of looking at my opponents' hands. And if I had lots of slivers... something unlikely given the Godzilla Threshold. In sum: I don't like it.
- Not cheap
- Turns all your slivers into walls
- High value target
Very useful if you're into turtling and combo. Cast your slivers into the table, sculpt your hand, load up on responses... until the fateful moment arrives; then, sac it, swarm up and go to town. Smart players will want it out of play quickly.
A sliver with haste that you can sac for a quick buff? Sounds awesome, but it's balanced out by being barely sturdier than a twig and its rather high and tricky cost. In the end, one of the best haste-giving slivers there is.
This is what you hope to topdeck when you can't bring the big bad beast into play and someone just dropped a disk. It would be nice to have anindestructibleartifact on the table for its effect to ground out when there are no suitable targets... other than your own artifacts or enchantments, that is.
Though Volrath is long dead, the slivers have become everything he wanted them to be: mindless instruments of destruction and despair.
- Vindicate on a sliver
- Potential winning condition
- Expensive ability costing both a sliver and a lot of mana
What you need when you positively have to blow up something. Shroud and hexproof will still stop you, but Ghostflame Sliver can help you bypass protection effects. If you're going to cast him, make sure you leave at least enough mana to use its ability once--that will both prolong its table life and allow you to blow something up in the case someone makes the mistake of killing it.
- Awesome offense and defense
- Potential winning condition
- High value target
- Moderately expensive to cast
Her Ladyship smiles on this one, however dissimilar to Her kin it may be. Slightly weaker than the vintage version, but much, much leaner. Sneaking this fellow through in combat via Quick Sliver is finally viable. *evil grin*
Galerider Sliver (U, 1/1) - Score: 9/10
Masters of adaptation, galeriders serve multiple purposes useful to the hive. When they're not patrolling their territories, their majestic wings serve to circulate cool air through the vast hive chambers.
The only redeeming quality for this beast is exactly that -- it's a beast. Otherwise, why trample when you can choose to just ignore defenses? Not to mention playing this is going to leave you starved for mana.
Manaweft Sliver (1G, 1/1) - Score: 9/10
"I see in their interconnectedness a strange embodiment of the natural order."
—Dionus, elvish archdruid
- Very expensive to cast
- High value target
For a slight increase in cost, a decent buff upgrade. Unless it would net you a quick victory, I'd cast this late in game -- playing this with nothing to screen it and when short on mana is a total waste against -even marginally- smart opposition.
A friend of mine commented that since Essence Sliver's ability is not a keyword but a triggered ability, and the recently spoiled Syphon Sliver's IS a keyword -and thus a static ability-, if both of them were in play you would gain 2 life for each damage dealt.
702.14a Lifelink is a static ability.
702.14b Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source's controller, or its owner if it has no controller, to gain that much life (in addition to any other results that damage causes). See rule 119.3.
702.14c If a permanent leaves the battlefield before an effect causes it to deal damage, its last known information is used to determine whether it had lifelink.
702.14d The lifelink rules function no matter what zone an object with lifelink deals damage from.
702.14e Multiple instances of lifelink on the same object are redundant.
I'm delving on the triggered abilities section of the comprehensive rules but so far what he said seems correct...
He is correct. Lifelink stacks with the old wording.
Thorncaster Sliver (4R, 2/2) - Score: 8/10
A total newcomer, bringing an unique -and deadly- skill to the Swarm! Here, I'll let Tanion do the talking:
Two-headed Sliver on steroids. Shame that it also got fatter, too. I'm not really impressed. Even though this is a form of evasion that requires creative blocking, it's not going to stop a determined defender.
Essentially, it turns your slivers into Banishing Light. While its cost is high, its not strictly the worse. Issue is that in 5 colors, we have ways to remove stuff. Its a pass, but I could see a more controlly version playing it.
Well, removal is like haste and mana and firepower, the more the merrier. And this ability stacks: you somehow clone this, and bam, you get two banished baddies for the price of a one. If only it wasn't sooo costly...
This is another piece that probably will see a lot of competitive play; imposing a tax on spells targeting your swarm is a wonderful deterrent to have early on, but as the game progresses and resources become available it's not as effective. But EDH-wise, considering that you won't have more than one copy around -clone effects notwithstanding- and that it's a rare game when all players are starved for mana... 1v1-wise, it may be more useful, but I'm not impressed.
My first reaction upon seeing this was, 'aggro players are going to have a fit over this.' I'm getting the feeling a Modern archetype is slowly shaping up, and it could be realized if the rest of the M15 crop is equally good, but I don't see what could be the value of this fellow on the multiplayer EDH scene. Now, on a 1v1 scenario, on the other hand...
"This is the source, the line unbroken since the calamity that brought such monsters to our shores."
- Hastric, Thunian scout
If there is something that the Swarm folds to, that something consists of cataclysmic spells that strip the board clean of life. No more. Now effects similar to Merciless Eviction and Terminus will be the ones to fear, but those are much fewer...
At long last, the Swarm has produced a strain capable of mortally poisoning anything! While it's barely sturdier than a twig, the possibilities it opens up are endless. Coupled with Psionic Sliver or Thorncaster Sliver, you can snipe targets at your entire leisure. Having Quilled Sliver around means you can get rid of pesky attackers or defenders that neglect their defenses - or you can turn a battle between two opponents on its head! And that's just two things that came to mind at the drop of a hat, a canny player can concoct such horrors by making creative use of this fellow...
Useful non-sliver cards
Having agreed on the fact that you're not going to fill all nonland spots on your list with slivers if you want to have fun with everyone's favorite Alien/Zerg/'Nid expies -something that usually translates into getting terrified looks from your opponents-, you'll need things other than slivers. And for a swarm of insectoid horrors, they're picky.
This dubious label is meant for those cards that either help you put more slivers on the table or make what is already a scarily powerful horde of frothing beasts even scarier.
I admit, I did not read all 25 pages of this thread, but I wanted to offer up Call to the Kindred as it proved to be very valuable in a tribal deck, specifically for Slivers. It beat out Magus of the Moon without even breaking a sweat.
These are spells only spoken of in whispers, mighty weavings that evoke fear and anxiety in those who hear about them, for they are that powerful--they literally wipe the board clean of one or more types of permanents.
The potential of this piece is monstrous. To name just one thing: coupled with stuff like Amoeboid Changeling or Unnatural Selection, you could use it to punch through almost any defense. And don't get me started on the control-y shenanigans it enables.
Normally I'm against equipping slivers because shroud and gear don't get along together, but having your Queen don these is as killer as having Training Grounds active. However, unlike the Grounds, its effects apply, of course, only to the equipped creature. Your call.
Play this, name something that got tucked on the bottom of your library, cast Patriarch's Bidding, GG. An obscenely powerful piece of tech, courtesy of a friend I met on the Buenos Aires GP.
Some builds can ditch this altogether, but in some other cases you simply won't be able to set your scheme in motion (reference to Archenemy is entirely coincidental/intentional) if you don't have the ability of telling your enemies to stick their spells elsewhere.
A poor man's Top, this trinket may be--but a very useful one nonetheless. Sure, just two cards instead of three, and you have to tap the Ball to activate it, but you can send them to the bottom of your library if you don't like them.
Once I would have said that in a multiplayer environment there are plenty of other, juicier targets for spot removal, but recent experience has told me that's not the case anymore, so use it for all it's worth while you have it on the table.
While it looks awesome on paper, the Rack is useful the more cards you have in hand, something that tends to be rare late in-game, and activating its ability is painfully costly in the first few turns of the game, when mana is better spent on ramping, removal, or counterspelling. Still, it's undeniably useful, even more so if you run Pulmonic Sliver or, again, have the Crucible in play and fetchlands in hand or in your graveyard.
I really can't picture a sliver using its single claw to spin this thing around. (Actually, I find it easier to imagine the little terror wrapped around it, then quickly uncoiling a la Sentinel in Matrix.) But, um, in any case--there's simply no limit to how useful this thing can be, especially when combined with fetchlands and the like. And if you happen to have Crucible of Worlds in play too, you just got yourself an engine for both shuffling and thinning. ANY slivers deck, regardless of strategy, will profit from having a Top.
Ridiculously useful for combo/control. Sure, it likes having lots of mana to spend, but if you manage to ramp on ahead and play your mana rocks you'll find yourself using it time and time again the turn before your untap phase.
While this should probably warrant sections of their own on each primer -and probably they will get featured there in the future-, the basics are essentially similar -- and can be reduced to a simple, inescapable truth: building a manabase for a 5-colored deck is painful.
The dream lands
If you got the cash for them, you want to aim for one of each dual, shockland and fetchland ever printed. There are exactly 10 of each.
Duals are the oldest of the lot, having been featured on Alpha, Beta, Unlimited and Revised.
Fetchlands were featured on Onslaught and Zendikar.
Shocklands are a staple of Ravnica, and as such they made a huge comeback recently.
Now, why want those? Well, duals and shocklands have basic land types (but of course they're NOT basic, duh), meaning you can tutor them via fetchlands and spells like Farseek and Skyshroud Claim. And doing so via fetches thins your deck, increasing the chance you topdeck useful stuff.
(Again: these *ARE* expensive. Not to mention if you want to pimp out your deck and go for as many foils as you can. I would if I had the money...)
Note that not only you don't have to ship all 30 (you'll want to leave a few out to make room for interesting auxiliary lands, a choice of which I'll describe later), but doing so is not the best of ideas.
These take one mana and turn it into a combination of two colored mana. Great mana fixers, in particular those featured on Shadowmoor and Eventide.
Tap one of these for colorless mana, or for one of two colors of mana AND take 1 damage. Horizon Canopy and Murmuring Bosk I featured because the first has interesting mechanics, and the other one because it counts as a forest -- which means you can dig for it via fetches and ramp magic. One of the best lands for EDH, ever.
Probably some of the cheapest alternatives around. They enter play tapped, which is going to slow you down some, but while you try to get the juicier stuff they will do the job. Most ramp gimmicks won't be able to dig for these, though.
The Alara shard lands in particular are very, very good!
Like taplands, but better: fulfill a condition and they come into play untapped. They come in several different flavors -- one checks whether you got 2 or fewer other lands, and the other looks for a basic land type among your lands in play.
The newest kids on the block, courtesy of Theros. These are taplands with a decent bonus... at first glance, having a look at your library is never a bad thing, especially if you're counting on a topdeck to save you. (If you got to that point, it's bad news.) But that comes with all the drawbacks of a standard tapland (enters the battlefield tapped, few ramp gimmicks can fetch it).
These will slow you down a lot, but the tradeoff is nice: a land that taps for two mana of different colors instead of one. The ones featured on the first Ravnica cycle do not need you return an untapped land to your hand, and so are much better. Do keep in mind, however, that they are juicy targets for Frenzied Tilling and Strip Mine.
Fetchlands that look for not two, but three land types. That's the good news. The bad -- you can only get basic lands, and they enter the battlefield tapped. You can still tap one of these for colorless mana in a fix, though.
More cheap fetch lands
Further alternatives to the ultra-expensive ones from Onslaught and Zendikar. They all have their drawbacks -- the Mirage ones come into play tapped, and Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse search for basic lands only, putting them into play tapped.
Featured on Planeshift, lairs tap for your choice of three different colors, requiring you to return another land that is not a Lair to your hand. Note that the returned land need not be tapped, you can still use it before playing one of these.
Hands down, Command Tower is the absolute best of the lot, given the nature of EDH -- you can always tap it for one mana of any color in your commander's color identity, which means it's always useful! Other than that, no land card that gives you mana of any color without drawbacks or preconditions has been yet printed. (Let's hope it never is.)
This is a one-size-fits-all, catch-all term for lands you don't ship merely for mana. You want these because they allow for insane stuff to happen, or are a ramp spell in land's clothing, or let you get stuff back from your graveyard, or shield you from countermagic... in short, they do stuff.
If there's one thing I've learned from my experience as a thrall to the Swarm is that slivers are hungry. Ravenously hungry. So, anything that helps you keep them sated enough for them to tear your opponents to pieces will help.
If you run all 5 colors, rest assured: mana can and will be an inexhaustible source of headaches. While this can be partially mitigated by a good (read: ridiculously expensive) mana base, sometimes you need an extra "oomph."
It feels so awesome to have. I know, I have one. But I can't bring myself to use it. If you're mana screwed in the early stages of the game and you draw this, a smart player would go out of his way to nuke it--and so make sure you stay mana screwed.
While I still fear this one's got an aggro factor worse than a tank's, being on the wrong end of a Blood Moon several times in a row made me wish I had it with me. Nothing like hard-earned experience to change a body's mindset on something.
Unless someone decides to exile it, it's never going away. And it serves a critical role as an outlet for Harmonic Sliver effects in case there are no targets other than your own stuff in the table. A must!
3 mana of any one color. Costs 5 mana to cast. Juiiiiiiiicy target. Useful, yes, but IMHO odds are someone is blowing it up or stealing it before you get the chance to use it a second time. Include it at your own peril.
One of the most hated rocks ever. Costs 1, yields 2. Sounds awesome, because it's awesome. Never mind the giant target painted behind it.
DITCH THIS IMMEDIATELY IF YOU'RE GOING TO PLAY 1V1 FRENCH! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
An amazing backup plan is to ship one or more of these cards as a way to recover quickly from board sweeps. Or worse, fill your mortuary with stiffs outright and bring them back from the grave all at once. Mind you, if you expect to pull this one off, at the very least you'll need countermagic to protect your play and/or graveyard removal stuff to make sure you're the only one reanimating bodies.
Those powerful beings bring their own bag of tricks to spice up your gameplay, but at a price. In my own humble experience, playing one is a surefire way of drawing unwanted attentions, so if you're going to call upon the help of any, you will need ways to defend them.
In all truth, with the exception of Garruk Relentless, all the incarnations of everyone's (?) favorite green walker are of use to the Swarm. This one in particular would be better than the rest simply because of economy issues. Think of the fun to be had with Cabal Coffers or Gaea's Cradle in play!
Slang for spells that net you a larger manabase by filling your hand with land cards or putting them into play outright. Be careful here -- the player with the most resources is always looked upon warily by the rest of the pod.
What you use when you have to blow something up, and that thing only. Well, maybe you have to destroy something else too, but you can only have so many cards in your hands... um, well, you, er, get the idea.
Maybe there *are* more combos you can try without having the Queen; the moment I learn of one I'm writing it down here.
Aggro-oriented decks will not miss Her Ladyship nearly as much; you may be interested in playing kingmaker or cop. As I've mentioned elsewhere, now that there are duplicate slivers for many critical things, you can think of fielding Necrotic Sliver to turn everything else into suicide bombs. Also think how you can steer the table using Amoeboid Changeling and Unnatural Selection to give sliver abilities to an opponent's creature -as opposed to simply using them to set up a theft via Overlord-; if that backfires, Telekinetic Sliver could help... providing your slivers don't have shroud yet.
Nice resources + links
This small section is devoted to listing everything sliver-flavored I come across that I find noteworthy:
I plan on posting here all future changes to the decklists, plus whatever I can piece together of how the whole build evolved since its original inception. I've given up on that last line... too many blanks I can't fill, but I'm leaving this as a reminder: never overwrite lists.
I'm not totally convinced of these changes, but I just couldn't let go of the idea of sneaking Brood Sliver through during the combat phase and using the tokens to raise hell... and Mindlash Sliver is a wonderful boardwipe deterrent. After all, I don't think this deck will consistently play out with lots of cards in hand, and even if it does, it can be used to set up a Living Death. Oh, and that's one less combo card.
Sword of Feast and Famine is on the maybeboard... if only I can get over my reluctance to use artifacts with creatures that (most assuredly will) get shroud and if I can make room for it.
im really trying to break down an overlord list similar to miscalcul8drisks momir vig primer. this guy has the deck down to the t. i want a sliver list in that vain. a sliver list that competitive and hated.
a majority of lists on mtg seem to aggro too hard. to me that is unviable as you only need to get through with overlord (or queen) three times to win the game. less if you stick a fury sliver.
with a general that tutors the slivers should be about 25 max. everything else is up for grabs.
mana fixing is extremely important as you want to hit your general turn 5 if you can safely.
draw is the next big thing imo. you tutor slivers everything else is left up to chance unless you fix your chances.
i guess i should also state my deck is trying to find a competitive balance between single and multiplayer.
the rest is what non sliver creatures/cards do you want.
here is my list as it stands. the most recent changes happened today and more are to come in the near future.
Shifting Sliver - I imagine I would search for the things that make my slivers big and nasty before this. And once that happens, it doesn't matter much if they can block when you have lifelink, trample, and they are huge to boot, let em block
Talon Sliver - I think that your stuff properly boosted will outclass most fatties, and first strike isn't strictly necessary.
Fury Sliver - Win more card /shrug. Could be a cool trick, but I think the slivers already basically have the ability to tap and "win target game" by the time you tutor this card or the one above.
Winged Sliver - Already have Pulmonic, which is strictly better in multiplayer imo, don't really need the speed of earlier cast.
Of course, maybe these guys are just a tool box for ya. Understandable, good to have them if you don't have other cards you want in the deck. I, personally, would rather create 2 tokens with queen, rather than pay 3 to search and 2 to cast a 2CC sliver. Then for bigger guys that cost 6 to cast 3 to search, you could make 4 tokens. With legion out it is a better benefit that way
However, if you do consider it, here are some cards I think that would be good to add:
Synchronous Sliver - I would value vigilance over double strike or first strike. Creatures that can attack and block are more versatile. You have Seedborn Muse, but he isn't a sliver so he wont be as hard to kill as he won't have shroud and board sweep evasion. Muse is also a huge target.
thanks for the insight, i definitely have a few things to consider.
fury sliver is for sure, a cheap trick. if overlord isn't blocked twice its game. it can help me attain victory in the face of defeat. at the end of the day though he can be cut. synchronous will likely take this spot.
shifting sliver allows slivers to block, so horned sliver will probably be on the cut.
pulmonic definitely does flying better.
not sure how i feel about muscle and sinew, they add beef.
back to this later, gotta work.
edit: as far as cards i need. lands are the biggest. 10 revised duals will run about 600 dollars and 4 more onslaught fetches. i do plan on getting these in the near future. my piggy banks is getting full.
then its just a few more tutors and tweaking and this deck should be broken in half.
the 15 other lands right now are all m10/11 duals and some scars duels. a couple vivid lands, bojuka bog, and a pain land here and there.
edit: since both generals are 5 color, i suggest playing overlord a bit with a streamlined list of slivers and see how you like it.
i was thinking about doing this with queen. for me, i would run even less slivers with queen. i would only want the ones that add mana and let me combo off and cram the deck with as many tutors as i could.
Don't give me the credit, most of the work was yours If you like Absorb, you'll love Undermine...
What would you like first, the insult or the injury?
I've ran the Queen as my general for months and, odd as it may seem, she worked better on my original decklist than the Overlord. I'm gonna print some decent proxies for the new deck, try it out, and tell you the results.
EDIT: Oh yeah, Aura Shards was definitely in. Good point, there. Originally I tossed in the Harmonic to combo with Enchanted Evening, then forgot to put it on the list... whoops. Gonna work on it.
Something I said early may have mislead you, my list will more then likely never drop below 19 actual slivers. My offhand queen deck comment may have brought this about. Slivers are definitely the core of my deck.
Anyways, I have some explaining to do regardless about some cards I suggested.
Farseek - this would replace expedition map is it essentialy does the same thing and then some.
Eternal Witness - its arguable what is better considering the 1GG cost, but it can be bounced under the right conditions and offer multiple recursions.
Mutavault - this card just looks good on paper. it's cost ($) really puts me off though as it doesn't do much for the deck. if i did put one in, I would cut bojuka bog.
Gemstone Mine - in a perfect deck with 20 duals and 10 fetch, this falls into the 5 other lands. personal preference is the deciding factor here.
Academy Rector / Trinket Mage - if you find yourself with a few slivers or any other card that seems to be a dead draw or not having enough impact, these are two cards I would put in. I think they speak for themselves though.
Phyrexian Arena - considering your thoughts on Aluren, this seems like a suitable replacement.
Conspiracy - not necessary at all, but bestowing the benefits of your slivers on everything else you control is a perk.
ill post some more thoughts in a bit as this is becoming an essay ( not that i mind)
anything specific you are trying to use/abuse with it?
i think we should collaborate on a master list with no budget in mind. i foresee some bumps in the road coming up with one list using two minds, but i think it would be most beneficial for those looking to play Overlord EDH.
i work nights so expect my posts to be delayed and late in the evening, unless i have a day off.