The Slivers are a race of creatures in Magic: The Gathering. Renowned for their adaptability, fast breeding and hive-like social structure, they are a menace to deal with both in the fluff and crunch. Slivers have serpentine bodies approximately five meters long and wedge-like heads that aside from their mouths are featureless. A Sliver's tail is forked, where this fork begins differs depending on the individual species of Sliver and can be any length between the last 10% to two-thirds of its body. The bodies themselves are little more than sinew and chitin for the hard parts, combined with a powerful digestive tract to quickly devour anything they encounter, returning this mass to the Hive to strengthen it and grow new Slivers, much like the Tyranids.
The most notable feature of the Slivers is how they convey their abilities onto nearby Slivers. So when a Sliver with wings or an enhanced carapace joins a group that doesn't have these traits they will quickly grow these traits of their own. This means that even a small group of Slivers with a diverse number of traits can rapidly become a force to be reckoned with, each being a sum of the brood's abilities.
The obvious downside (and blessing, depending on who you ask) is that if you kill a Sliver those around it lose whatever trait it bestowed on its allies. So by eliminating specific Slivers within a brood the others become less and less dangerous with every death until they are easily overcome.
In-game, Slivers appear evenly in all colors, mostly granting abilities that fall within the various parts of the color pie. They have low casting costs (many are only 4 or less CMC) and the vast majority of them only require one colour, increasing their ability to be flexible.
Thus far, the Slivers appeared in four different blocks. The first three times they appeared spread out over the blocks, the fourth time they appeared in a Core set (pretty great because it makes them more accessible to new players.)
In the Tempest Cycle the Slivers appeared for the first time, spread over the first two blocks. In Tempest there were eleven Slivers: five common 1/1s with a CMC of 2 and five uncommon 2/2s with a CMC of 3, one for each color. Five of these Slivers have passive abilities, five have activated abilities that cost 2. The eleventh Sliver is Metallic Sliver, a 1/1 artifact creature for 1.
Stronghold had the other six Slivers in the cycle: five uncommon two-colored 2/2s for 2. The sixth is the Sliver Queen, one of three Legendary Slivers, and the honorary first five color creature. She can generate 1/1 Sliver tokens for 2, TLDR: she is a combo monstrosity.
Returning in Onslaught Cycle, there are sixteen Slivers. The first fifteen appear in Legions: five common 1/1s, five uncommon 2/2s and five rare 3/3s, one for each color. Some of the most powerful Slivers are in this batch; Shifting Sliver, Toxin Sliver and Ward Sliver are all but obligations for decks that can use them.
The sixteenth Sliver is in Scourge: and by far is the most terrifying sliver legendary of all time. Known as Sliver Overlord, it has the ability to Search your library for slivers, reveal them, and add them to your hand, and steals opposing slivers. Especially powerful when combined with Amoeboid Changeling.
The Time Spiral block contains by far the most Slivers. The first set, Time Spiral, contains 26 Slivers. There are two commons, one uncommon and one rare per color, a cycle of allied-color uncommons and an overpriced artifact creature who is 5 for a 3/3. Of the commons one set of them have abilities that call back to older cards and static abilities while the others do not.
The Slivers from Planar Chaos are... weird. Eleven Slivers this time around: five overcosted common monocolored Slivers with abilities outside of the Color Pie, five uncommon enemy-colored two-colored 2/2s and a White time-shifted Sliver that grants +1/+1 to your Slivers.
Future Sight introduced six more Slivers: five common Future Shifted cards with then-unseen abilities and the third rare Legendary Sliver: the Sliver Legion who buffs every Sliver on the battlefield by giving them +1/+1 for every Sliver on the battlefield.
A new breed of Slivers appeared on the plane of Shandalar. They have gone to a bipedal form with long head-tentacles, clawed arms with sometimes the old-school talons, legs with three joints and chitinous bodies. While the design itself is not bad, most people are pretty damn pissed off that they arent the classic beaked design. The reason for this is that there aren't any more variations Wizards can do on a one-appendaged beaked worm-like creature, because they've already done just about every possible variation. Also, they are SHANDALAR SLIVERS NOT DOMINARIA ONES THEY EVOLVED DIFFERENTLY DUE TO THE HIVELORD. Not a lot of new things are added to the table: most are reprints of previous Slivers, albeit with a different cost. Unlike previous iterations, M14 slivers grant their abilities only to slivers with the same controller as themselves, rather than to all Slivers. Another thing that upset a number of people is that the Slivers don't form a series of full sets across the colors: there are four Red and four Green Slivers, three White and one each for Blue and Black. And an artifact creature as well.
A cycle of uncommon Slivers was introduced in M15, and, as is tradition when Slivers are printed, they need a powerful 5 color legendary to lead them. That legendary was Sliver Hivelord, which gives your Slivers indestructible at the cost of it being only a 5/5 compared to each other Sliver legendary being a 7/7. This didn't break the Standard format and have Slivers run absolutely rampant which is what was supposed to happen due to control being so strong in that meta. Commander players however were in for a absolute ass raping of a magnitude not seen for quite some time due to Sliver Commanders even more auto includes! its no wonder people who hate the tribe claim "the deck builds itself" as for having less than 100 creatures in its total, its spoilt for powerful includes.
Slivers returned to Magic after being notably absent from the Dominaria set. They decided to stay with a more traditionally designed sliver this time, as the set was sort of designed as second Time Spiral. As a Modern only set, these slivers never got a chance to see Standard play, and even in Modern, they rarely see play. Slivers were the Red White draft build around of the set, with two signpost Red and White rare slivers. However, as per tradition, there was a cycle of slivers in all 5 colors and a big bad boss monster Sliver, known as the First Sliver. The First Sliver has Cascade, and gives all your other Slivers Cascade as well, allowing you to flood the board extremely quickly! As of this writing, the First Sliver is the most budget-friendly Sliver for EDH, costing only 5 dollars.
Slivers... where to even begin on this monster of a deck?
Alright, so first off, if you're building a Sliver deck, be prepared for people to hate you. A lot. Though they may not seem like much at first, usually being about 3 Mana or less and having fairly standard stats, the strength of the Slivers is in the whole, not the parts (EVERYTHING IS A LORD THAT IS USUALLY 3CMC OR LESS, OH GOD I CAN TASTE THE VALUE GIVE ME MORE WIZARDS SENPAI!). With enough optimization you will have a nigh unkillable board of gigantic unblockable creatures with a Staggering number of abilities. The more modern Slivers aren't quite as powerful, so you can build a very fair deck if you stay more recent, but the further you go back the more broken shit you can pull off.
As such be prepared to shell out some cash for a stronger Sliver deck. Not only are these cards older, they are also iconic and quite popular. If building the EDH/Commander version you're going to be paying a lot more for total optimization (but who makes a competitive EDH deck? You do, you filthy Sliver mage! The hive feeds on the tears of its victims).
When picking a sliver commander,
we recommend STRONGLY that you go with overlord. Who the fuck is "we", asshole? The Queen is the one you keep seeing in infinite-mana, infinite-sliver-token combos, and the Overlord's ability is a lot less impressive now that Homing is an option. Nonetheless, Overlord is one of the more useful ones thanks to HAVING A BUILT-IN SLIVER TUTOR, and stealing other slivers.
When building your deck, after deciding how far you're going to take them, set the slivers into 5 categories:
- Auto-includes (gemhide, muscle, sinew, manaweft, predatory, any of the 5-color legendary badasses)
- Not Mandatory But Still Pretty Fucking Scary (shit like harmonic Which is literally sliver equivalent of aura Shards; necrotic to make all your slivers into Vindicate; Dormant, which is basically the Yawmoth's Bargain of slivers; and Homing, which lets you tutor for any sliver, just like Overlord, but is much easier to get into play)
- The ones that can prevent your important slivers from getting nuked (Clot, Crystalline, Hibernation, Ward, Crypt, Frenetic, Diffusion, etc. but don't combine Crystalline with Crypt. Root also goes here if your opponent is playing with counterspells)
- Miscellaneous sac-utility and tap-utility slivers (Mnemonic, Mindwhip, Victual, Acidic, Darkheart, Telekinetic, Screeching, Basal, Hollowhead)
- The ones with neat combat abilities that aren't very useful against non-creature-based decks (winged, talon, shifting, hunter, vampiric, fungal, fury, bonescythe, sentinel, sidewinder, two-headed, venom, spinneret, spined, quilled, jesus christ there's a lot of these)
- The ones with random theoretically useful utilities that are just too expensive to put in what is basically a weenie deck (Psionic, Brood, Constricting, Dementia, Magma, Synapse, First Sliver's Chosen, Lymph, Thorncaster)
- The ones that do absolutely fuck-all for the board situation but help your opponent die very slightly faster (frenzy, leeching, heart, spiteful, virulent, lavabelly)
- The ones that do the exact same thing as another sliver, but worse in every way (examples: Reflex and Blur are shitty overpriced reprints of Heart; Synchronous is a shitty overpriced version of Sentinel; Essence is an overpriced Syphon; Toxin is an overpriced Venom; Armor and Barbed are strictly inferior to Spectral; Belligerent is an overpriced Two-Headed; Battle, Blade, Bonesplitter, Cleaving, Megantic, Might, and Watcher all wish they could be as good as Muscle/Sinew/Predatory; and by the way, if you're an old-school player who hasn't been paying attention to the new sets, you should throw out your Winged Slivers for Galeriders and your Talons for Striking Slivers.)
- The ones that are legitimately 100% fucking useless (shadow, plague, ghostflame, mistform)
- WTF (Dregscape, Enduring, Mesmeric, Quick, Bladeback, Scuttling, Sedge)
- The artifact slivers (Metallic, Venser's, Construct)
- The ones that combine several of the above, like how Groundshaker is just a shitty overpriced Battering, which itself was a shitty overpriced Horned, which was useless against creatureless decks AND did fuck-all for the board situation.
then get utility spells, the plan is simple: ramp into slivers and ramp into more slivers. get some removal, some powerful enchantments, some ramp spells, mana rocks etc and you have the beginning shell. (or you can just watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRQyBV263c )
when you're making a sliver deck built around combing out, your focus is going to usually be powering out either Sliver Overlord or some other game-ending combination, usually requiring a ton of mana (might i suggest involving sliver queen?) This is more viable in EDH but can be moderately effective in 60 card decks. Keep the same process in mind as the aggro plan: a solid focused core with supporting utility. In this case you'll also be looking for cards to keep your combo safe.
For those seeking an infinite combo, you're in luck: Sliver Queen, Ashnod's Altar, Heartstone. Well, that was the original combo. After Legions came out, you could also go Queen + Gemhide Sliver + Intruder Alarm (IA is a bit infamous for its use in token-creation combos. In fact, you could have just as easily done Queen + IA + mana elves or something equally retarded back in the day). Or you could cut out all the middlemen and just use Queen + Mana Echoes. Then Time Spiral gave us Basal Sliver, which was Ashnod's Altar on a stick.... a 10/10 flying trampling double-striking indestructible every-other-ability-you-can-think-of-because-it's-a-fucking-sliver stick. Now all we need is a Sliver that says "Activated abilities of Slivers cost 1 less to activate" and we can get rid of the heartstone too. But anyway, you can't walk more than two meters in any direction without accidentally stepping on something that can combine with Sliver Queen to shit out infinite sliver tokens and mana, so feel free to gain infinite life, deal infinite damage, whatever rocks your proverbial socks.