Pattern Recognition #59 - Slivers

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berryjon

8 March 2018

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Hello everyone! My name is berryjon, and I am TappedOut.net's resident Old Fogey and part time Smart Ass . I write this series, Pattern Recognition, as a means to entertain, educate and something else that starts with an E. Apparently, that's supposed to be ... checks dictionary ... enumerate. What the heck? Is my thesaurus broken or something?

Today, I talk about the single most degenerate tribe in the game. One that breaks formats, one that still sends shivers of fright - or bliss - down the backs of everyone who ever lived through the dark days of Stronghold, of Tempest, of Legions, of Time Spiral.

If you know the theme, well, brace yourself. If you don't, brace yourself.

It's Sliver time.

Slivers are a species of dubious ancestry, first found on the pseudo-plane of Rath by the crew of the Skyship Weatherlight . There, they attacked the ship and crew in the Furnace of Rath , set there as guards by Volrath to defend his Stronghold and the Legacy within. Hanna, Ship's Navigator was able to determine that the Slivers operated by sharing their unique abilities with those in a certain range. To defeat them, you had to isolate and destroy each individual Sliver away from the hive.

However, Karn, Silver Golem was able to approach the Sliver Queen and convince her to let the Weatherlight past. He argued that as part of the Legacy Weapon , he was going to recover the parts lost from him; that the Legacy was a part of him as the Slivers were a part of the Queen. He wanted to be whole just as she was, and this appeal to their similar nature was enough to let them pass.

When the Rathi Overlay began, and the Invasion started, the Stronghold was placed overtop an Urborg Volcano , without regard for the Slivers underneath. Most of them, including the Queen, were killed in the overlay and the remaining survivors were killed off by the Phyrexians and the Coalition as simple collateral damage.

About 100 years later, researchers from the Riptide Laboratory found the remains of these Slivers, and decided to restore this mysterious species. They used the Riptide Replicator to do so. However, these Slivers lacked the unifying command of a Queen, and things quickly ... escalated. The Slivers broke containment, thinking the clarion call of the Mirari was the call of the Queen. It was not, and the Slivers were just another problem for Kamahl, Pit Fighter to deal with.

However, when the conflux of events that resulted in the creation of Karona, False God occurred, the Slivers were present, and the force of creation turned the assembled individuals into the Sliver Overlord . This creation, the equal of the Queen, was able to call other Slivers to it, but could not control them.

With the defeat of Karona, it is unknown what happened to this individual, but what is known is that at the time of the Great Mending, Slivers had spread across Dominaria. They were of the kinds created by the Rathi experiments, and also as a result of the Temporal crashes happening across the plane. But without a grand hive, a unifying force, they were unable to collect and become more than just another wild species on the plane.

And with the return to Dominaria? Who knows. We may yet see Slivers again.

However, as a curiosity, somehow, Slivers came to the micro-plane of Shandalar. If this was due to some convergence with Dominaria, or through other machinations, a new breed emerged. These Slivers were less like the ones previously seen, and seem to have more individual initiative, and perhaps some larger goal.

But enough about that. What about the Slivers makes them such a generator of paranoia that old time players like me fear their return?

Well, when I said that Slivers were part of a greater whole, I wasn't talking narratively. You see, Slivers all (with the exception of Metallic Sliver , Venser's Sliver , Sliver Construct and the Legendaries) have an ability that reads "All Slivers (you control) have/gain"....

Each Sliver gains the abilities of all other Slivers in play.

You ... I see some of you don't quite understand what this means. Let me elaborate.

On turn 1, I play mana and cast Metallic Sliver . So far, so good. It's a 1/1 Artifact Creature - Sliver for .

On turn 2, I cast Galerider Sliver and Virulent Sliver . I now have THREE creatures that are 1/1's with Flying and Poisonous 1.

On turn 3? It's Heart Sliver and another Metallic Sliver . I now have FIVE Slivers that are all 1/1's with Flying, Haste and Poisonous 1.

Finally, on turn 4, I swing for the win, thanks to you having 10 poison counters after combat.

And that's no where near how degenerate Slivers can get. I didn't even break out the really horrible ones!

I've talked before a bit about Tribal mechanics, and how synergy works in part because creatures can share a type, and that type becomes incorporated into the idea of the creature type. I mean, I've thrown more than my fair share of Goblin Grenade s in my life, so I think I know what I'm talking about here. Even Elves, often considered the most powerful tribe, get in the game with Priest of Titania or Eladamri, Lord of Leaves .

But Slivers take Tribal Affinity, and the nature of the "Lord" (another subject covered previously), and ramp it up past 11, and all the way to "Oh yeah, this is bonkers".

Now, Wizards has tried to fix this. First, they inflated the costs of Slivers that provide the same ability. Compare Heart Sliver and Blur Sliver for example. But this didn't really work out, as when you have Manaweft Sliver and Gemhide Sliver in play, mana costs cease to be an issue for, well, anything.

The other fix, the one that sorta works better, and the one that Wizards will keep when moving forward should they ever print more Slivers, is to remove the symmetrical aspect to their ability. You see, before the M14 printing of Slivers, all Slivers affected all Slivers. However, the new breed of Slivers only affect other Slivers you control.

Can you imagine mirror matches between two Sliver decks? I don't have to, thank you. But in such a case, it simply comes down to whomever can get more Slivers out and win through sheet numbers, rather than any sort of strategy or cunning plan.

By removing the symmetrical boons of the Slivers, and flavouring it as two hives in competition, Wizards have successfully removed one of the problems from the Tribe.

One of the bigger issues with Slivers though, is that every Sliver interacts with every other Sliver ever printed. And every time a new Sliver is printed, it makes all the rest exponentially more powerful. This is less of an issue with other Tribes, as the growth isn't so outlandishly over the top, but is still something Wizards needs to keep an eye on in order to avoid having one style or type override everything else.

So, how to fight Slivers? Well, there are a couple of major ways to deal with them. Sorta. Let me cover them for you.

The first is to wipe them all out. When I ran my Anti-Sliver deck (yes, the archtype was bad enough to get a dedicated counter in my meta at the time), I included four Wrath of God as a start because if you can't take them out as they come out, you need to wipe every Sliver out in one go. And Wrath of God was my go-to card for that.

Second is to deal with them one at a time. Cards like Essence Scatter or Shock can keep important Slivers, or just any Slivers in general, off the Battlefield. But here's thing. This form of control deck is very reactive, and while I am certain that some people can pull it off, it's not for me.

I would not recommend trying for an Aggro approach, as Slivers are far better at it than most decks, colour fixing issues aside, you will tend to find yourself on the losing end of any combat as the survivors become stronger in the process.

Combo is a gamble, as you're hoping you can go off before the Slivers Overrun you, or they don't have something on their own to counter your combo.

Slivers are powerful, make no mistake. And in many ways, their power is also psychological in nature as we Old Fogey s reminisce about the bad old days and you newer players only have our memories to guide you. But like all powerful decks and archetypes, Slivers have weaknesses. They are creature decks from a time when creatures were weak (and that's an interesting thought - were Slivers intended to try and make creatures relevant again?), and their ability to bend a meta-game around them cannot be understated.

But they also have weaknesses. Other Sliver decks for starters, but that isn't so much as solving a problem as fighting fire with fire. Creatures are also the most easily removed permanent from the battlefield, unless of course, there is a Crystalline Sliver in play, making that a non-starter.

Or perhaps you can just go ahead and win. Slivers can do little to prevent damage to the player, or to the deck. Take those out, and the Slivers just become dead weight.

And remember, this is true of all decks. Nothing is perfect, no matter how powerful. There is always a way to beat them.

Join me next time when I talk about ... something. I haven't thought of a subject yet. Maybe Portal? Maybe not.

Until then, please consider donating to my Pattern Recognition Patreon. Yeah, I have a job, but more income is always better. I still have plans to do a audio Pattern Recognition at some point, or perhaps a Twitch stream, and you can bribe your way to the front of the line to have your questions, comments and observations answered!

This article is a follow-up to Pattern Recognition #58 - Red Deck Wins The next article in this series is Pattern Recognition #60 - Masters
And that's no where near how degenerate Slivers can get. I didn't even break out the really horrible ones!

No where should be nowhere

Also it says March 8 at the top. Is that when it's getting published?

Other than that it looks good. Is this the right way to review an article? This is my first time reviewing an article.

I like it though. Good article.

March 1, 2018 12:12 a.m. Edited.

Gleeock says... #2

They were always especially problematic for me as I don't usually run black primary.

That being said I hilariously shut slivers down in EDH twice now. Once playing Tainted AEther and again playing Lethal Vapors - some exceptions to the rule that often turns "win by committee" into a complete glass jaw strategy. Maybe a couple more enchantments of that nature would balance slivers in the future.

March 8, 2018 12:37 p.m.

berryjon says... #3

So then, what is your favourite Tribe to hate and to love?

March 8, 2018 12:57 p.m.

x12721 says... #4

My favorite tribe is still Slivers, with a close second being Eldrazi. Both from a mechanics and a flavor standpoint, I have always enjoyed them, even though my first introduction to them was in the 2014 Core Set. The way they all interact and share their abilities while each individual Sliver is still well within its part of the color pie is just... so fun. My least favorite, if I had to choose, would be Dinosaurs. I'm probably just tired of getting screwed by Carnage Tyrant though... what can I say? I play control.

March 8, 2018 1:40 p.m.

x12721 says... #5

Ooh, as an article, perhaps you could write about the history of Death and Taxes, and its recent Eldrazi adaption!

March 8, 2018 1:41 p.m.

Excellent read as always. I still hate elves more though. Slivers are definitely really strong, and border on degenerate quite often. But nothing will ever tear away my nightmares of Wirewood Pride. Nothing. Even Sliver Legion isn't as terrifying as Wirewood Pride to me.

I think the biggest, most terrible Sliver that I refuse to even include in my own Sliver decks due to shear degeneracy is Magma Sliver. Shit's dumb.

March 8, 2018 2:49 p.m.

Gleeock says... #7

Depends on the format. The multiple reliable modes of access to indirect & non-combat damage with slivers gives them the unique ability to simply outwait the opposition that so many agro creature strategies can't usually pull... But elves have their infinite mana with x spells ability as well.

For me the most degenerate slivers have been the indirect repeat abuse effect slivers the "sac a sliver do dmg" or Necrotic Sliver or Mindwhip Sliver or Mindlash Sliver ... Not many walls safe from that junk :)

March 8, 2018 3:29 p.m.

Lord_Khaine says... #8

Ah, Slivers... I'm really, really lucky in my encounters with them in my various playgroups.

I joined in Theros in my early days, and Gray Merchant of Asphodel was enough for me to drain life past the wall of slivers that would rise onto the board.

Then I ran artifact ramp decks that cranked out massive demons, and simply would beat the sliver player by having larger creatures out sooner. Sliver Queen, Sliver Overlord, etc. were beaten by mass sacrifice effects.

Finally, some really nasty sliver decks showed up, to the point where spamming board wipes and throwing out larger creatures wouldn't cut it: too many close calls. I hadn't lost to slivers yet, but only by luck. I moved on to land destruction: Smallpox, Death Cloud, Pox, etc., and used artifacts to keep my own mana base intact for casting cards like Torment of Hailfire and Torment of Scarabs afterwards. Sliver players weren't really used to land destruction on top of losing slivers (take that, Gemhide Sliver!), and the Sliver problem was quelled.

I await what cancer arrives in the next Dominaria set.

March 8, 2018 4:59 p.m.

xyr0s says... #9

I never really considered slivers to be a real threat (didn't play standard when they were something there). Since slivers, more than any other tribe, needs to get to a critical mass (you'd need something like 4 slivers with abilities to buff each other to have a game-ending threat), they are also easier to disrupt.

They do have a good thing in flexibility - you can find slivers with almost all imaginable keywords, but not so much consistency. BTW - are you sure that WotC made the "corrected" slivers to get rid of past mistakes? Pers'n'ly I think it might be to give slivers enough redundancy that you can play them, especially as a casual deck. Redundant haste and mana - that's the kinda stuff you want consistently from your deck, right? Then the actual wincondition-slivers can have more variance (and you can add Homing Sliver for more consistency or toolboxing in later turns of the game).

It's noticeable that slivers aren't really played in modern (there's 9 sliver decks on mtgtop8.com since the beginning of the format, and 640 merfolk decks). There were some attempts a couple of years back, but apparently the selection of slivers available in the format just doesn't have the same kind of power other tribes do. Modern has tribal decks like merfolk, elves, and humans - and 8-whack is a goblin-tribal deck in all but name. But slivers? No. Maybe slivers have weaknesses, compared to the other tribals? Perhaps it's the lack of focus in abilties, that makes them less powerful? They don't have the constant flood of mana that elves do, or the piles of cheap lords and evasion of merfolk. Whatever the reason, even with Aether Vial and Collected Company, slivers are either a sleeper-deck, waiting to be picked up and improved, or simply too weak for modern.

And since it is like that, we get to a kind of generational gap: Old guys trying to tell young guys that in their own youth, slivers were 5 meters tall each, your opponent would get mana for playing them, and when he did, you had to drink a spoonful of poison. But the oldies loved the game anyway, poison and all. Compare that to younger guys who look at slivers unimpressed, clutching a couple of Fatal Pushes for comfort, and holding a firm belief that it's a minor problem, that a general lack of knowlege made bigger, back in the days of their elders.

March 8, 2018 5:20 p.m.

xyr0s: See the thing is you're talking about Modern. Back in the heydays of Slivers there was no "Modern", and for that matter the vast majority of the crazy strong slivers aren't Modern legal. In EDH they seem to get hated off the board real fast, so today they're not much of a threat, but it's really not because newer cards render them inert, it's because the only formats the OG Slivers are legal in are dominated by insane Force of Will, Mox weilding insanity that can combo off as early as T1.

March 8, 2018 5:36 p.m.

Spirit_Logan says... #11

I don't think there'll be slivers. If wizards have actively tried to stop slivers before, why return them? And if they do return, Wizards will try to keep the slivers archetype slightly sub-par. Also, good article.

March 8, 2018 6:01 p.m.

berryjon says... #12

Slivers won't be in Dominaria. MaRo has been asked that question on Blogatog, and he pointed out that Slivers required too much support to justify putting them in a single set where they would dominate the entire set.

March 8, 2018 6:09 p.m.

Spirit_Logan: It seems MaRo confirmed no Slivers in Dominaria set.

He pretty specifically states at the bottom though that "This shouldnt be read as a sign that R&D isnt a fan of Slivers. We know how beloved they are and are committed to bring them back in the future, unfortunately not in the upcoming set." So honestly, we'll probably see them in another Core Set, since those are coming back.

Edit: Ninja'd by berryjon himself!

March 8, 2018 6:11 p.m. Edited.

Spirit_Logan says... #14

@berryjon I was not aware of that, thank you!

March 8, 2018 6:51 p.m.

xyr0s says... #15

@Tyrant-Thanatos define "vast majority", since there's 96 sliver creatures, of which 65 are modern-legal. Sure, Muscle Sliver had been nice, but there are already 2 +1/+1 slivers at 2 cmc in modern, as well as flying-sliver, both mana-slivers, tutor-sliver, and a bunch of other things slivering. What horrors is hiding in un-modern-legal slivers, which makes them the object of such fear?

I actually think that it's only if there were very little removal in the format, they would be intimidating. Other than that, they are a very fair tribe - none of the broken barf-your-cards-everywhere that elves can do, for example. A couple of slivers aren't threatening, just on their own (unless you're playing a game that has gone way too long, and it's some of the really big and many-colored slivers).

So actually, I think it's the card pool, that made slivers fade into just another tribe. Black has a colorshifted wrath of god, some very mana efficient spot removal (neither Doom Blade, Go for the Throat, Fatal Push, or Victim of Night were there during the time when slivers were good), and at least 2 discard spells that wreck any hope of early victory (Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek (both of these are also new). Red has not just 1, but 2 early game sweepers (Pyroclasm and Anger of the Gods). White doesn't just have sweepers, but also Ghost Quarter. Compared to the anti-cards back when slivers really scared everybody, this is a lot better (although there are similarities, like Ghostly Prison to Propaganda, it is so much easier to find good cards to fight tribals and creature heavy decks with now, especially without having to splash colors for it). So, yeah, I think it's newer cards that has outclassed the slivers, and that they are one of the less scary tribes.

March 9, 2018 7:58 a.m.

MWorl91 says... #16

My favorite tribe is the Eldrazi. Big dumb powerful creatures for the Timmy in me.

My least favorite tribe is probably Ninja simply due to the lack of support. Just so hard to build a good deck with such limited resources.

March 9, 2018 1:05 p.m.

"none of the broken barf-your-cards-everywhere that elves can do, for example" On this I actually agree haha.

But to be more specific, both Crypt Sliver and Crystalline Sliver are non-modern, and the Modern Slivers there are to take the place of these are Poultice Sliver and Opaline Sliver, which are pretty straightforwardly worse, and play a huge role in their susceptibility to removal. In fact I dare say that the removal that was around back in those days, Terror, was actually better against them than any of the removal you listed due to the anti-regeneration clause. But that still wasn't enough. Combined with the likes of Magma Sliver, Quick Sliver, Root Sliver, Shifting Sliver, Sliver Overlord, and Sliver Queen and I'd say I have a pretty succinct list of horrors hiding in un-modern-legal slivers, which makes them the object of such fear.

There is a distinct reason that if somebody walks into an EDH game and starts off by revealing a Sliver Queen as their commander, the game starts as Xv1 instead of the usual free-for-all. And that's in a format where they less reliably get the effects they want. Even if she's a "tier 2" commander, and a lot of things in EDH can snowball out of control, it's just what slivers do. They don't need specific combos, it just happens.

There's not much I can say about Inquisition/Thoughtseize effects. I fully acknowledge that the pool of cards has grown stronger, and these are a great example of that. But slivers always were extremely resilient, and I feel as though the lack of some of these key pieces severely hampers their viability in Modern. Moreso than just the strength of the card pool. Honestly just the fact that they're Tier 2 in EDH tells me there has to be more to it than card pool.

March 9, 2018 1:07 p.m.

I'd also like to touch on perspective here, xyr0s. Things were just different back then. You seem to be coming from the perspective of a competitive Modern player, which is fine. And you're correct to say that Slivers are just not a threat there, because they aren't.

Here's the thing though: back when Sliver Queen and the like hit the public, we didn't know what was coming. Stronghold was released March 2, 1998, a whole six months before Google was founded, September 4, 1998. We didn't have the Gatherer, we didn't have Google, most of us didn't know what "the internet" was. Few players even played "competitively" back then. What we currently know as "Kitchen Table" magic was, back then, known as.... Magic: the Gathering.

Now, I wasn't even playing the game that far back, and I know how terrifying Slivers can be at a "casual" level. I didn't start playing until 8th Edition, but even at that point, all of my friends who played the game still had all those cards from that time, and they were crazy. Half the cards they played, I could scarcely even believe existed. Land Tax? Sol Ring? what is this crap!?

And that's another thing, there's a lot more to old-school Slivers than the slivers themselves. Somehow, a decent selection of non-sliver cards made the slivers so much worse. Sol Ring, Urza's Incubator, and a ton of tribal support from Onslaught block only strengthened them further. Cryptic Gateway, Harsh Mercy, Aphetto Dredging, Patriarch's Bidding, Alpha Status, Mana Echoes. All of which, iirc, are not Modern.

And just to clarify, I don't mean to argue here, I just want to throw my perspective in. I get that Slivers aren't as threatening as they used to be to most players.

March 9, 2018 2:05 p.m.

rothgar13 says... #20

Ah, Slivers. The tribe that most easily allows you to distinguish casual players from competitive players.

March 11, 2018 12:57 a.m.

HorseFist says... #21

Tyrant-Thanatos has posted the best comment I've ever seen on this site!!! Well done, sir.

March 12, 2018 1:18 a.m.

HorseFist says... #22

Referencing most recent comment : ). Perspective Matters!

March 12, 2018 1:29 a.m.

xyr0s says... #23

I actually do know how mtg was back then, Tyrant-Thanatos. I played my first games when Revised was the core set, The Dark had sold out from the local store, and Fallen Empires had yet to be released. And played just as casual as everybody else, until Invasion or Odyssey, and then had a long break. No internet for decklists, just The Duelist.

But that doesn't change my opinion, really. I think slivers are vastly overrated, if anyone considers them the most powerful tribe with the most degenerate combo. But at the time where they showed up, they were about the only pure tribal deck that could have such a high degree of synergy, without having to find something outside the tribe. Humans, didn't even exist then. Elves could make mana, but had to find something outside the tribe to use it for (and the mana industry didn't really take off for them until Urzas saga and Priest of Titania, anyway) - the elf combo days were way out in the future. Goblins were a bit more like their current self, or... well... at least they had gotten Goblin Grenade. And then SLIVERS. Even as a casual deck, this tribe had scary levels of synergy, making it hard to tell what was the bomb creatures. And that's without even counting the 5 colored Sliver Queen. To casual-player eyes, it was completely broken, but that would often be accompanied by cries about how counterspells ruins the game, and how Wrath of God, Armageddon, and Winter Orb was broken pieces of cardboard trash, that no decent human being would ever touch except when carrying them to the incinerator (it's a caricature, but early on there seemed to be a lot of players who had all kinds of ideas about "fair" mtg, which had nothing to do with the rules of the game, and everything to do with their own taste).

The support cards that came later falls right into this. In general, you can expect to get to play your cards and have them in play a little longer in casual games than in competitive ones (general guideline - someone probably plays casual stax somewhere). An artifact costing 5 mana, and requiring multiple creatures in play to activate, is not gamewrecking in a bigger format, and only sometimes in standard. And it's not like the tribal support isn't there in modern - Aether Vial is solid for tribal decks, Descendants' Path isn't bad either, and Door of Destinies is a favourite for some. Of course you could also add support cards that are only legal in vintage - Sol Ring, Land Tax, and the like - but with that kind of support, horses, camels, crocodiles and ouphes could be killer-tribes.

In terms of power, killing an opponent on turn 4 with a combo that necessitates 5 different 1/1 creatures being in play, attacking, and not being blocked at the same time, might seem strong in casual-country, but doesn't really fly anywhere else. The other much-feared slivers, 5 colored monstrosities and what-nots, are much slower, and therefore also a lot easier to do something about. But in casual edh, they would under most circumstances get the time needed to set up a combo (I've only played against slivers a few times - always Sliver Overlord as commander, and some variation of combo, that ends in infinitely many, infinitely big slivers) - and it's being treated as a combo deck: slapped hard and mowed down, because it has a very real way to end an edh game out of nowhere.

A comment on the article: As far as I remember, it wasn't slivers that got "fixed" by making them non-symmetric. It was every tribe, simply to reduce complexity. Onslaught elves also count all elves in play, not just your own elves. Lorwyn/shadowmoor elves doesn't.As for a power-fix to slivers... how does it help printing more slivers that do the same, only with a slightly different body and casting cost? It helps in standard, where the old, "over-powered" sliver wouldn't be anyway, but for anyone else, it's a power-up for slivers, giving them more consistency (so now they have 2 different haste slivers, and if you want your slivers to be fast, you can almost rely on it now). So perhaps it was a matter of "slivers are a terribly overpowered tribe, if you want to beat them by playing creatures and attacking".

Actually, I'm not sure how much "fixing" slivers ever needed. I mean - Black Lotus was banned everywhere but in vintage, and Lotus Petal showed up instead. The original 5 moxen - pretty much the same: In Mirage we got the diamond cycle instead, afaik with an explanation that they were supposed to be a fixed version. But Sliver Overlord doesn't look like a fixed Sliver Queen - it's a completely other creature, doing other things, only sharing color and creature type. If slivers weren't designed wrong in the first place, maybe they have "been developed" rather than "being fixed"?

It also doesn't seem like slivers grow exponentially strong with every sliver printed. They might grow stronger... a bit... (and never weaker/more balanced). But when you add a card to your deck, you also remove a card from your deck (or end up with a very big deck). Was there ever anything sliver-related, that had to be banned (asking because I didn't play at all during the Onslaught or Time Spiral days) to stop slivers from overrunning standard?

As for slivers in modern: Crypt Sliver would be good, but not very. It makes regeneration into a tap-ability, and that means attacking, tapping for mana and so on becomes very risky. Modern is not a format for creature heavy decks to just sit there and not attack, so perhaps Crypt Sliver isn't all that strong. I think it's Sedge Sliver that is the best regenerating sliver in modern, and you could add Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to make sure you always have the right color mana and is able to attack without losing regeneration. Also, you can cut back on mana expense by playing Aether Vial, and as long as you have one of the mana slivers in play with Sedge Sliver, the combination is exactly the same as Crypt Sliver (tap sliver for black mana, spend black mana on regeneration). Crystalline Sliver would be a real upgrade though - Diffusion Sliver which seems like it should be the replacement is decent if you don't look too hard at it, but what is paying 2 extra mana for removal, compared to not being able to play removal at all?

March 12, 2018 9:25 a.m.

rothgar13 says... #24

Exactly. Let's not let nostalgia blind us to the fact that there indeed was a competitive scene in the mid-to-late 90s (obviously nowhere near what it is now, but people were trying), and Slivers were an occasional contributor at best. And now, almost anything you can accomplish with Slivers in any format is done better by another tribe.

March 12, 2018 10:10 a.m.

berryjon says... #25

You seem fixated on the Modern format. Slivers aren't a Modern deck. They're a historical deck archetype.

March 12, 2018 10:10 a.m.

xyr0s says... #26

Blurb on the article said "most powerful tribe". I'm actually just wondering exactly when, why and how. And yes, that's starting with modern, since its the format I know, and a format where tribal decks have been played a lot and been very succesful - slivers should feel right at home. There is a legacy sliver deck too - "meathooks". But it's not like it's played much (to put it mildly - 8 hits on mtggoldfish since 2010).

So if slivers is a powerful tribe, that can't keep up with the fast, linear decks in modern, or with fast combos and free counterspells of legacy, why are they powerful?

"Casual powerful" is somewhat of an elastic term, given that a casual deck can be a legacy deck with added P9 cards (no sh*t, I've met a few guys like that, although very few), or a themedeck straight out of the box and then modified with the contents of a couple of boosters.

"Historically powerful" would be a sensible term, if slivers had been a strong standard deck, and cards had been banned to keep it from trampling standard - like what happened to caw-blade (and caw-blade doesn't have a modern-format-equivalent, much like this theoretical sliver standard deck doesn't have).

So, I'm not seeing it, the powerfulness. The only reason for the tribes apparent strength, is that a bunch of players' first encounter with heavily synergistic tribal decks was in the shape of slivers, and that memory is common enough that there is a tacit agreement of "slivers are superstrong"... between players that for the most part long ago have learned how to build decks in their preferred format(s) that are perfectly capable of fighting any tribe, including slivers.

Today, like rothgar13 said, slivers are outclassed as tribe, for several reasons. My guess is that needing to play 5 colors and lacking good ETB-creatures are the main reasons for this power-drop. They aren't particularly powerful, but they're versatile and fair.

March 12, 2018 12:33 p.m.

shadow63 says... #27

Could you do an article about card quality vs card advantage

March 12, 2018 12:52 p.m.

Gleeock says... #28

Seems like a solid topic! I'm tired of seeing more draw for the sake of drawing without quality included.

March 12, 2018 1:13 p.m.

LVL_666 says... #29

xyr0s, well said. I can honestly say that i agree with your assessment of slivers being a versitle and fair tribe. Wizards has been quite hesitant to print more of them, treating slivers as something of a "sometimes food" while they go ahead and print creatures and tribes far more degenerate. That mentality i've never seemed to understand, but my best guess is that when Slivers were first printed they sent huge shockwaves through the game being seen as this terror/menace that needed to be stamped out. In my opinion, Slivers never really recaptured that spirit with their new printings past Legion. The inflated costs paired with disappointingly weak abilities (i'm looking at you, Constricting and Lymph Sliver!!!) were awful designs that did nothing to improve the tribe as a whole. There are more bad slivers that I could mention, but i'd rather change topic.

berryjon, I have some sad news to share with you: Slivers will not be appearing in the new dominaria set. Who said so? Mark Rosewater. Here are his super disappointing words:

"One of the challenges of designing Dominaria was there were so many possibilities of what to include (more expansions, for example,occurred in Dominaria than the rest of the Top 5 visited planes combined) and a limited amount of space available. Slivers were on the short list, but were problematic in that they require a significant commitment to space and doing so would have lessened how many other references we could make, so we made the tough decision to leave them out of Dominaria."

Source: Blogatog - Mark Rosewater on Slivers in upcoming Dominaria set

My good buddy Delta-117 told me of the sad news. He and I are both hoping that Slivers will be making an appearance in the upcoming core set. It seems like the best bet we'll get. But yeah, good article. I'm happy that someone is spreading the good word about slivers...even it's words of fear and mistrust.

March 12, 2018 6:06 p.m.

Yeah the most powerful Tribe in Magic is Eldrazi dominated modern #EldraziWinter. And its solid in Legacy and the tribe has even won in the most powerful format in Magic thats Vintage both in Taxes variants, Colorless with Power Nine and Colorless without Power Nine stuff. Like due to how powerful Eldrazi is it has 3 different Modern decks plus countless other playable Eldrazi Creatures being played in different Tron variants. And Eldrazi even have some of the strongest finishers in the 1.Emrakul the Aeons Torn 2.Ulamog, The Chaseless Hunger 3.Emrakul the Promised End 4.Ulamog, the Infinete Gyre 5.Both Kozileks honestly from top to bottom Eldrazi is just an insane creature type that gets into play fast with Eye of Ugin+Eldrazi Temple.

March 12, 2018 7:42 p.m.

berryjon says... #31

LVL_666: I see you didn't read the article. I said that Slivers weren't coming back in Dominaria, and Tyrant-Thanatos already provided that source. You're not hitting anything new there, and are quite late with that information.

Comedydragon84: Once again, not Modern, but Historical.

March 12, 2018 7:59 p.m.

LVL_666 says... #32

berryjon, apologies I should've read first!

March 12, 2018 8:19 p.m.

LVL_666 says... #33

Edit, I read the article. Didnt read the comments. There's a difference.

March 12, 2018 8:26 p.m.

xyr0s says... #34

Comedydragon84 points out that eldrazi perform well across several formats - legacy, vintage, and modern - even if their competitive infamy results from Eldrazi Winter in modern. Perhaps it's possible to make a sliver deck that could match this, for someone who really believes in slivers being a powerful tribe...

BTW - what do you mean with "historical"? That they've been there for long?

March 12, 2018 8:27 p.m.

shadow63 says... #35

I mean if I where to make competative slivers I'd try and mimic the 5c human deck

March 12, 2018 8:55 p.m.

ZXNFQT4 says... #36

Ah, glad to see Slivers come up. My friend and I made a deck a little while ago using Dormant Sliver, Manaweft Sliver, Firewake Sliver, and Intruder Alarm to make the jankiest of combo decks. Love it, and love the article.

March 13, 2018 5:22 a.m.

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