Dear readers and friends of M:tG and especially fans of the fantastic EDH / Commander format!!
I played my first EDH / Commander (I shall say “EDH” in the following for convenience’s sake!) tournament last Saturday and it was big fun. I finished second… well second out of four, but still the four of us had a great time and enjoyed it a ton. The winner was a worker at the magic shop so the grand price, one of those awesome EDH preconstructed decks Wizards (of the Coast) started releasing not too long ago, stayed with the shop. Or said shop worker took it home with him. I do not know and neither do I care. So I played my pimped-to-the-max (well almost, I skipped Mana Drain for fairness’s sake) WUG Sharuum Sphinx Hegemon Artifacts deck I posted about previously (read all about it here) and lost just once – to the guy all others lost to as well.
As it happened I had brought along my old Slivers EDH deck as well, which was in a pretty half-assed state then, and jokingly told the guys I would play Slivers in the tournament. Well damnit I should have done it for real and maybe I would have been the one taking that EDH deck home with me, as, after the official tournament we played a few games just for fun, me with Slivers of course and MAN it rocked…hard! And that even in a semi-competitive state. The guys said the tourney was a bit boring cause 3 out of 4 played “Esper”, white/black/blue that is, and the fourth guy played “Dimir” which is just blue and black. Well, next time, on the next EDH tournament in June (EDH tournaments are held on a monthly basis at my local magic shop), I am SO playing 5-color Slivers!! And you wanna know why? Well, if you do, just read on:
First off , I must say that Slivers got one of the most awesome and powerful Commander you could ever imagine – at least in my humble opinion.
Feast your eyes on Sliver Overlord:
Sliver Overlord is simply perfect as a Commander, and I say so for several reasons:
Firstly, he is one of the very rare type of Commanders that have a built-in search engine (others that come to mind are awesome as well such as Zur the Enchanter who fetches 3 casting cost or lower Enchantments and Scion of the Ur-Dragon which conveniently drops dragons into your graveyard for later reanimation etc), which is tremendously useful in a format/deck where all your cards are one-ofs. In the case of Sliver Overlord, who fetches you any Sliver for just 3 colorless mana, this is doubly awesome and useful, because of the inherent game mechanics connected to the Sliver creature type. If you are not familiar with Slivers at all: Each Sliver has a particular ability he will share with all other Slivers on the battlefield. For instance, Muscle Sliver would say “All Slivers get +1/+1” which would include Muscle Sliver himself as well as all other Slivers in play, as stated on the card. So as Sliver Overlord obviously is a Sliver himself as well, you can search for just the one Sliver you need most at any given point, play it and Overlord will gain its shared abilities. Prime targets for this would be Ward Sliver, which gives all Slivers protection from the color of your choice, potentially making Overlord unblockable whilst protecting him to some degree from any targeted effects, or Shifting Sliver, which makes Overlord practically unblockable (Slivers can only be blocked by Slivers so this will spell trouble for your opponent unless they play Slivers themselvess or got Shapeshifters with the Changeling ability), which leads to the next reason why Sliver Overlord rocks so hard:
Secondly, look at Sliver Overlord’s stats. Yes, 7 Power and 7 Toughness. In EDH this is very vital and powerful indeed, as the opponent loses automatically if they are deatl the 21st point of damage by your commander (so called “Command Damage”) even if your opponent has a zillion life or whatnot. So basically all you need to do is to attack unblocked thrice with Sliver Overlord and it will be game over for your opponent. With things like the Haste-granting Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots as well as stuff that makes Overlord unblockable, like the aforementioned Shifting Slivers, or even, under most circumstances Ward Sliver and much more, it is more than realistic to pull off such a “Command Damage Victory” with the Overlord. The latter will be constant target of removal of all kinds, and while the aforementioned Greaves and Boots alleviate the situation to some degree, you have to be prepared to cast your Overlord over and Over again from your command zone. In one game that I won by means of command damage, I cast my Overlord for 13 mana for the last and final time in the end, as he had died 4 times before he was able to get through that last point of Command Damage needed for the win!
Thirdly and finally, Sliver Overlord has a secondary ability which can be “abused” to the max as well, as I intend to do with the deck I am going to show you shortly: Again for 3 colorless mana you can take permanent control over any Sliver in play. Let me tell you right away that there is many a way to turn any Creature into a Sliver for as long as it needs to be for me to nick it!
OK enough about the pure EDH-awesomeness of Sliver Overlord as your commander (I should have added a fourth point saying with an all colors color identitiy you can run ANY card in your deck, but I think that is too obvious to actually elaborate on it at great length).
So after our “just-for-fun” games of EDH in which my Sliver deck fared exceedingly well (Harmonic Sliver was especially mean, as he lets you detroy an artifact or enchantment when it or any other Sliver comes into play – and my opponents’ decks relied largely on artifacts and/or enchantments which I blasted away one after the other – oh what great fun!) even in a not really optimized state, I decided to A) run it in the next EDH tourney in about 4 weeks time from now and to B) fine-tune, pimp up and optimize it to the max so as to increase the odds of Slivers acutally winning me such a precious price as a Commander Preconstructed Deck next time in the tournament!!
So here, and I have tormented you with my lenghty ramblings long enough, my “Supreme Sliver Max-Out” decklist, which of course always offers room for improvement – but I think it is the best I could come up with with my pool of available cards or cards I know about (I have to admit that I am not too familiar with all the newer cards that came after Alara and Zendikar, so I might be missing some vital cards from the relatively newer sets).
So let us have a look at the deck:
Supreme Sliver Max-Out (Commander Format):
Commander: Sliver Overlord
Noble Hierarch G
Gemhide Sliver 1G
Clot Sliver 1B
Hearth Slive 1R
Hibernation Sliver UB
Winged Sliver 1U
Joiner Adept 1G
Amoeboid Changeling 1U
Horned Sliver 2G
Spectral Sliver 2B
Frenetic Sliver 1RU
Harmonic Sliver 1WG
Necrotic Sliver 1WB
Aven Mindcensor 2W
Bonescythe Sliver 3W
Shifting Sliver 3U
Root Sliver 3G
Essence Sliver 3W
Etched Oracle 4
Solemn Simulacrum 4
Ward Sliver 4W
Brood Sliver 4G
Synapse Sliver 4U
Bringer of the Black Dawn 7BB
Swords to Plowshares W
Path to Exile W
Enlightened Tutor W
Shields of Velis Vel W
Nameless Inversion 1B
Blades of Velis Vel 1R
Steelshaper’s Gift W
Demonic Tutor 1B
Diabolic Intent 1B
Rampant Growth 1G
Maelstrom Pluse 1BG
Channel the Suns 3G
All Sun’s Dawn 4G
Training Grounds U
Sterlin Grove GW
Steel of the Godhead 2 U/W
Oblivion Ring 2W
Sol Ring 1
Mana Vault 1
Lightning Greaves 2
Swiftfoot Boots 2
Darksteel Ingot 3
Coalition Relic 3
Fist of Suns 3
Coat of Arms 5
5 x Forest
2 x Swamp
2 x Island
2 x Plains
1 x Mountain
City of Brass
Temple of the False God
About the deck:
Instead of torturing you with my comments on every single of the 99 cards in the deck, I will break down my thoughts on the deck in several sections where I will mention certian noteworthy cards, although almost each and every card in this deck would be noteworthy to some degree. Fair warning: As, alas, my writing time is not unlimited, I will not provide any card images or link to such. If you are not familiar with any card(s) I will be mentioning, I highly recommend you visit this site and look it/them up yourself! Thank you for your understanding! One note: In wise forethought I had purchased the awesome, bling-bling all foil Sliver Premium Deck which included a modern layout version of Sliver Overlord, in foil as well of course. In hindsight, a good move!
The Sliver Arsenal:
Among the more important Slivers are the following:
- Gemhide Sliver turns all your Slivers into Birds of Paradise, letting them tap to produce one mana of any color. That can be tremendously useful for generating lots of mana fast.
- Clot Sliver makes your Slivers regenerate for just 2 colorless mana which can be useful to save your Overlord’s slivery hide
- Hibernation Sliver is an emergency button that makes Slivers return to your hand at the mere cost of paying 2 life. Just in case you want to save Overlord’s hide in yet another way.
- Winged Sliver makes your Slivers into Flyers which can be useful to get through Command Damage for instance though Shifting Sliver is the better option, albeit at double the cost of Winged Sliver.
- Harmonic Sliver is THE silver bullet against anything artifact or enchantment, as he himself and all Slivers coming after him will destroy an artifact or enchantment, which can be devastating to certain types of decks.
- Necrotic Sliver turns your every Sliver into a 3 colorless mana Vindicate! Pretty awesome to get rid of ANY troublesome permanent.
- Frenetic Sliver gives your Overlord and Sliver Minions a 50/50 chance of surviving pretty much anything as it lets you flip a coin and if you win the Flip, the Sliver will be removed from play and returned at end of turn. Otherwise you’d have to sack him, but still, statistically, one out of two times you might save your Overlord etc from destruction or mischief of all sorts.
- Shifting Sliver makes your Overlord (and all other Slivers) practically unblockable, which is awesome for pushing through lethal Command Damage unhindered.
- Essence Sliver may buy you some time as it gives all your Slivers Lifelink.
- Root Sliver is your weapon of choice when facing countermagic, as it cannot be countered and makes all Slivers uncounterable (if that is even a word in the English language).
- Ward Sliver can protect Overlord AND make him unblockable at the same time as it grants protection against the color of your choice to all Slivers.
The Support Creatures:
Besides the actual Slivers I am running some non-Sliver Creatures for additional support and added awesomeness. Noble Hierarch can give you some mana diversity and boost Overlord’s stats slightly, provided he is attacking alone. Amoeboid Changeling is simply amazing as he counts as a Sliver as well, hence being granted all the Sliver “Special Effects” but even more importantly, he can turn any opponent Creature into a Sliver, so you can conveniently overtake them for good via Overlord’s secondary ability. Imagecrafter has the same power by the way. Furthermore I insist on running Etched Oracle since it is basically a 4/4 for 4 mana that can draw you 3 cards for just 1. If Skullclamp is attached to it while you pull this off you will get a total of 5 cards! And Aven Mindcensor is simply evil in tutor-heavy EDH! Also, while I hate playing him, Bringer of the Black Dawn, who can be cast for just 5 (different) mana will let you pick and choose your every card you’d draw via his inbuilt Vampiric Tutor, at the negligible cost of 2 Life. I hate playing him cause he makes my brains hurt constantly having to think what card to pick plus the neverending tutoring involves too much shuffling, which makes my fingers hurt…
The Overlord Protection:
The deck offers plenty of ways to protect your Sliver Overlord from dying, so you’d not have to go through the trouble of spending more and more mana to cast him again and again from the command zone. Besides the protective Slivers I mentioned above, there are of course the diabolic duo of equipments: Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. Each has their pros and cons, while I think I prefer the old-school Greaves over the more recent Boots. Both give their bearer haste, which is nice for Sliver Overlord beatdown, and protection from targeted Spells or Abilities – Greaves in the form of Shroud and Boots in the form of Hexproof. While you can equip the Greaves for free, which can lead to very early, hasty attacks of Overlord, Boots cost 1 to Equip. So both have their merit.
Besides these two equipments, which you can and should fetch with Steelshapers Gift and Enlightened Tutor etc (an investment well worth it) I have some more obscure ways to protect Overlord from any harm, such as the little known Aura (Creature Enchantment) Vanishing which, at the cost of 1 blue mana, gives its bearer an even less known and long forgotten power – the power of just “Phasing out” at the cost of UU. If I am not mistaken, a Creature that phases out leaves play with all Enchantments and Equipments attached and re-enters play with said cards still on them. If that would be the case, this card would really rock as an awesome way to save your Overlord from any and all harm. Plus you have plenty of ways to tutor for Vanishing, like Enlightened Tutor or Sterlin Grove.
The Overlord Power-Ups:
There’s lots of ways to directly or indirectly power-up your Overlord, with the most potent one being Steel of the Godhead in my opinion. This Aura gives Sliver Overlord a +2/+2 boost, grants him Lifelink AND, and this is the best part, makes him unblockable. A good choice to fetch with Sterlin Grove or Enlightened Tutor etc. Indirect Overlord power-ups would be Heartstone and the highly superior Training Grounds. The former is an artifact that reduces the costs of all activated abilities of creatures by 1, the latter being an enchantment which reduces these costs by 2 even and both say the costs cannot go below 1 mana. In any case this is great support for Overlords primary or also secondary ability as you’d be able to fetch a sliver for just 1 or overtake a sliver for a mere 1 mana as well with Training Grounds in play. Furthermore, many of your other Slivers would benefit from these cards as well as they too have activated abilities that require you to spend colorless mana.
The Cheap Removal:
This deck is big when it comes to cheap and efficient removal, starting with 3 kickass removal cards for just one mana: The classic Swords to Plowshares, the more recent Path to Exile as well as the particularly awesome Condemn, which can take out an attacking opponent Commander for good more or less – by putting them on the bottom of the opponent’s library. The deck features lots of quality 3-casting-cost removal like Putrefy, Mortify or Maelstrom Pulse as well as the silver bullet against pretty much anything that is a permanent: Oblivion Ring. Sadly, I could not afford to go straight for Vindicate…
Any good EDH deck features a considerable number of tutors, spells which let you search your library for specific other spells. Not counting the Fetchlands, which tutor for basic lands or the old-school, original dual lands, and not counting the standard land fetchers like Rampant Growth, Harrow or Solemn Simulacrum, the deck features a total of 6 tutors, from the instant speed enchantment or artifact searching Enlightened Tutor, over the classic and mighty Demonic Tutor which gives you access to ANY 1 card you’d need most at any given point at the mere cost of 1B up to the badass Bringer of the Black Dawn which lets you search your library for a card and put it on top of it during your upkeep, so you will draw it right away during your next draw phase – at the expendable cost of 2 life.
There’s lots and lots of malicious mischievery going on in this deck, the most common one being overtaking your opponent’s creatures or even their Commander. Not temporarily but permanently through Sliver Overlords mischievous secondary ability. All you have to do is make some opponent creatures into Slivers. Imagecrafter can do it, Amoeboid Changeling can do it and so can Shields of Velis Vel, Flames of Velis Vel and the particularly pernicious Nameless Inversion. The latter is thrice useful as you can use it to give Sliver Overlord +3 Power for a turn, or you can kill off any 3 toughness or less creature instantly by giving it -3 Toughness or you can turn any creature into a creature with Changeling, thus making it all creature types, including Slivers, thus making it a target ready to be ovetaken by Overlord!
Furthermore the deck features a very obscure but combotastic card which I tried to (ab-) use in many a casual deck before: Fist of Suns. This 3 mana artifact just says you can cast any Spell for WUBRG instead of its actual casting cost. Why this is of relevance in this deck? Well as I interpret it, it would allow you to cast your Commander from Command Zone at this very cost of 5 mana of all different colors any time, no matter how often he has died before, and I am pretty sure it would work that way! Well that would be quite neat and spell trouble for any opponent as you’d always just need WUBRG (5 mana) to cast and re-cast, and re-cast your 7/7 Sliver Overlord Commander over and over again, ad nauseam. Correct me if I am wrong in my assumption!
One more card to mention here is Coat of Arms. Well, I know it isnt one of the most creative card choices in a tribal deck like this, but hell, it would make all your Slivers soooo huge so I just had to include this one. Plus it came in shiny premium foil in the ominous Slivers Premium Deck I mentioned before.
The Mana Base:
The mana base in this deck is pretty solid, despite the fact that I need all 5 colors in order to get this engine running as intended, get out Sliver Overlord asap to be more specific. When it comes to lands, I am running 38, 12 basic lands, 5 of them forests and ample amounts of lands that produce various kinds of mana. Among them the full set of tripple lands from the Alara block, the must-have Command Tower, as well as City of Brass and Ancient Ziggurat, which all produce any kind of mana (with Ziggurats producing mana of any color that you can only spend on casting creatures). Also I really pimped up the land-base of this by including one of all of the original, the good dual lands I happen to own, five of them in total (Underground Sea, Volcanic Island, Tundra, Tropical Island and Plateau), well supported by an assortment of both the old Onslaught and the newer Zendikar Fetchlands – a total of 7 Fetchlands, which will also fetch the original duals in case you did not know it yet.
Besides the actual diversity of lands, the deck has many ways to find you just the kind of mana you’ll need at any point with cards like Rampant Growth or Harrow, which conveniently put into play basic lands as well as the particularly awesome Farseek, which also lets you fetch your duals.
Gemhide Sliver and Joiner Adept will prevent and/or solve any mana-screw problems you may encounter, the latter letting all your lands produce any kind of mana.
I also added massive mana ramp in the form of Sol Ring and Mana Vault for colorless and Darksteel Ingot and Coalition Relic for mana of any color. The former two are best used on paying for Overlord’s activated abilities and for the extra mana you have to spend if you have to re-cast Overlord from your command zone.
There are also three “mana filter cards” in the deck that let you convert more or less generic mana in the WUBRG you’d need to cast Sliver Overlord conveniently. These are the land Crystal Quarry, the artifact Kaleidostone and the awesome sorcery Channel the Suns. With Sol Ring or Mana Vault you can pull this off turn two, as Channel the Suns costs 3G and produces WUBRG, so second turn Sliver Overlord would be a possibility, albeit a very unlikely one. The optimal play would be a turn 1 Sol Ring followed up with Lightning Greaves powered out by the Ring and a second turn Channel the Suns which would give you a Sliver Overlord that could start dishing out Command Damage big time, hasted and shrouded by Greaves, on turn 2. But those are just highly improbable opening plays, not impossible, but HIGHLY unlikely to ever actually happen!
Well dear reader, that wraps up my “maxed-out” Slivers EDH Deck.
I hope you had a good read and found my ideas and quite lenghty elaborations to be at least of some interest to you. Please do keep in mind that I do not assume that the deck showcased above is by any means final or even perfect, for such a thing as perfection does not exist in my opinion (well except in the realm of mathematics I guess…) so I could be missing out on some cards that might be a perfect fit for the deck, as, and I noted it before, I suffer from a lack of card knowledge when it comes to anything that came after Zendikar. If you, dear reader, are wiser in the ways of the newer sets than I am and have some card suggestions for me, please do me a favor and post them or your thoughts in general in a comment below. That’d be much appreciated!
So I conclude this again far too long article by wishing you all
P.S.: In harsh contrast to my many “prismatic” (5-color) EDH decks, and I have built quite a few so far, I will try to go for a mono colored deck for a change and a challenge, mono-blue to be more precise, featuring a card as Commander that has tempted me long enough:
Overtaking the enemy commander anyone? Well this begs for a follow-up article, which will probably turn out equally lengthy, as everyone of my blog posts seems to be in the end! Empress Galina “Overtaker” EDH Deck coming your way soon! Be prepared for awesomeness!!