"Oh, you're playing slivers?"

Yeah, sort'll see!
And with that dialogue you already know the game is won before it has started. But let's have a look at how the deck works when the opponents are well prepared instead of expecting a mildly amusing tribal aggro matchup. Of course, Sliver Queen means playing combo, but what kind of combo should it be? With the unbanning of Protean Hulk I decided to build around this classic and put it into a 5 colour shell.

With the inclusion of red, I get access to Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, one of the most versatile combo enablers. There are a lot of creatures that can untap Kiki-Jiki for an infinite amount of creatures (and that combo is one possible win option in the deck)but I have only included those compatible with a birthing pod sequence that can be produced out of nothing and results in a kill within one turn.
Birthing Pod needs to be in play, then follow these steps:
1. sacrifice any creature with cmc 2, search for Pestermite, untap Birthing Pod
2. sacrifice Pestermite, search for Felidar Guardian, blink Birthing Pod
3. sacrifice Felidar Guardian, search for Karmic Guide, reanimate Felidar Guardian and.. blink Birthing Pod
4. sacrifice Felidar Guardian, search for Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
5. tap Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to copy Karmic Guide, reanimate Felidar Guardian and blink Kiki-Jiki

starting with a random cmc 2 creature, this sequence requires 4 mana and 8 life to work. starting with a cmc 3 or 4 creature reduces the cost and the searching processes. Anyway, the creatures in the deck enable multiple pod uses in one turn to eventually find the kill combo. Karmic Guide can be replaced by Body Double or Reveillark and it still works.

The Undisruptable Hulk

Now let's have a look at the Protean Hulk pieces and the possible ways of assembling a kill combo once the hulk dies. There are numerous ways of getting Protean Hulk into play and letting it die again, the easiest method is of course Flash. Unless there is an obvious way to get the Kiki-Jiki combo directly into play (such as Buried Alive on Kiki-Jiki, Pestermite and Karmic Guide with a reanimation spell afterwards) getting the hulk to die is what the deck aims at. Letting the hulk die will result in a sequence that ends with a protected infinite loop on the board.

The best protected way to go after hulk dies is this:
1. get Volrath's Shapeshifter, Carrion Feeder (or Viscera Seer) and Spellskite
2. hold priority and sacrifice Volrath's Shapeshifter, which is Protean Hulk
3. get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista

Step 3 depends mostly on the current board and which cards are in the library, hand and graveyard. Another possible step 3 is to get Body Double and the other one of Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer, in case someone managed to kill Spellskite and the first one mana sac outlet in response to the shapeshifter sacrifice. From there I can either get Mikaeus/Ballista or Karmic Guide or Reveillark for multiple hulk uses and further searching processes, which produce either the Kiki-Jiki or Mikaeus Combo. All parts involved in the hulk combo can be assembled manually as well and the redundancy of the most important effects guarantee that there is always a way to play around lost or unavailable combo parts.

threats that need to be dealt with

Playing a 5 colour combo deck comes with a huge lot of flexibility and reliability but also has it's weaknesses. There are certain cards that stop the deck from going off:

  • Cursed Totem: obvious. prevents the most important abilities needed for a kill, not necessarily prevents the Combos from being assembled though
  • Torpor Orb: prevents the Birthing Pod sequence, doesn't help against a dying hulk and Mikaeus/Ballista
  • Blood Moon/Magus of the Moon: taking away much of the coloured mana hurts a lot but the deck is still somehow playable in the current build
  • Ruination/Back to Basics: disabling the lands completely hurts more than making them red, only solution is getting Gaddock Teeg and removal for back to Basics. Playing around it is possible with mana dorks though.
  • Rest in Peace/other graveyard hate: Timing is everything, permanent based gy hate definitely needs removal and instant exiling can set the deck back several turns or cost the game if too much important cards are lost. Still doesn't warrant playing cards that get back cards from exile, because they do nothing for the deck itself and I don't absolutely need a certain card for a win.
  • Humility: just go fuck yourself and I flip the table if I don't have Nature's Claim, no one besides me plays that card anyway here around!

Most of the problematic pieces are artifacts/enchantments. For that reason I play some removal that are implemented on creatures (not only with ETB effects because these might not work sometimes) and Nature's Claim/Abrupt Decay. Creatures can also be removed with both spells (Swords, path) and creatures (Walking Ballista, Triskelion, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite). Vizier of the Menagerie makes me play around Blood Moon effects and Gaddock Teeg proactively prevents a lot of nasty shit from happening. Having a few hatebears available made the deck enjoyable to play for me in the past because it can quickly switch between explosive combo kill and a grinding toolbox game. As a backup and sometimes as a bait there is also the easy combo with Mana Echoes and the commander.


After a lot of testing I finally made the decision to cut some of the hatebears (for example Aven Mindcensor or Notion Thief) and replace them with cards that actively help the strategy. With this deck I want to be the threat, not the one who prevents other people's combos. Gaddock Teeg still ruins several plans and everything else is there to find and protect my own win options. Grand Abolisher has replaced Vexing Shusher because while it can be countered, it's better against decks that have no counters but other methods of interaction.

Making the deck faster also required cutting Sensei's Divining Top. While it's a good card with so many fetchlands and tutors, the mana to manipulate the top cards is too often needed for more important stuff. Therefore I rather use the draw and top manipulation engines that don't require any further costs after being cast: Mirri's Guile, Sylvan Library, Nissa, Steward of Elements and Dark Confidant are so much faster and less mana intensive. The late game, in which divining top really shines, won't be reached that often with this deck.

I've been able to acquire a Bazaar of Baghdad , so I have put in Crop Rotation and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in the deck as well. Discarding reanimation targets is really important, because in some cases there is no way to go around one specific card, if it's stuck on the hand.

The Birthing Pod combo has now more options when I'm not able to kill within one turn. Flametongue Kavu now replaces Notion Thief in the alternative cmc 4 slot because fetchable creature removal is often necessary (mostly to get rid of hatebears that stop my combos or fuck up my manabase like Magus of the Moon). I have recursion in the cmc 2 and 3 slots with Snapcaster Mage and Eternal Witness but I'm also testing Renegade Rallier instead of witness because it's probably better in the early game and it brings the cards directly into play (also Animate Dead or fetchlands)

Having a mana sink in the command zone and a deck with lots of reanimation plans makes me consider the use of the Worldgorger Dragon combo. Exhume could be replaced with Dance of the Dead and Mana Echoes with the dragon. Mana Echoes is a great combo piece with the commander but since I don't play Academy Rector anymore (it was in the deck in the very beginning when I played Aluren instead of Hulk) there's no way to get it into play directly and that means it's a 9 mana combo that has to be cast as it is. The dragon is riskier but it's also easier to pull off and does the same with Sliver Queen - produce an infinite mass of tokens. Having lands that can produce all colours (one Command Tower or duals that together contain every colour) also means I would be able to cast Sliver Queen with the combo.

In the last playtests with the current build I've been able to kill consistently (in games with 2, 3 and 4 players) between turns 2 and 4, often with backup plan and/or interaction. I'm really satisfied with the deck now but as written above, there's still room for discussion.


Lorderos23 says... #1

Can you explain the reason forNissa, Steward of Elements? I am a bit confused on this card. Is it mainly for the scry 2? Then maybe get lucky with a dude. I feel like there maybe a better slot here, but you designed this particular version, so before I bash the card I am trying to understand the selection

August 26, 2017 9:06 a.m.

Winterblast says... #2

Lorderos23 yes exactly it is mostly for free manipulation of the draw, like Mirri's Guile and Sylvan Library and to bypass counterspells. I have often been more happy to see nissa than for example Sensei's Divining Top because she does her job without further costs and can surprise with an uncounterable creature (or additional land drop), especially after a tutor that puts a card on top. If I draw her later in the game a high value for X can be quite hard to deal with, never a dead draw.

August 26, 2017 10:08 a.m.

Lorderos23 says... #3

I can dig it. I forgot she just dumps the dude onto the field. Fairly sweet tech, I like it.

August 26, 2017 10:24 a.m.

Wurmlover says... #4

why don't you run Grand Abolisher instead of Spellskite, since its the same cmc and is much better protection.

August 27, 2017 9:24 a.m.

Winterblast says... #5

Wurmlover it's there because it can protect my stuff during ALL turns (which was the main purpose in almost all games in which I had spellskite) and because I can pull off the hulk combo in an opponent's turn as well...and it's easier to cast if it's outside the hulk combo. Double white isn't easy to get for a 2 drop. Another bonus is that it has the potential to interact with targeted stuff that opponents want to cast on their own creatures and artifacts, for example to steal a Power Artifact or something like that.

I might exchange Vexing Shusher with grand abolisher though...but then, if Abolisher doesn't even resolve, the shusher is better again.

August 27, 2017 10:51 a.m.

Wurmlover says... #6

That's an interesting point. I'll have to keep that in mind when building my own.

August 28, 2017 6:35 a.m.

Winterblast says... #7

Wurmlover maybe that's because i don't play it as an all in combo but rather try to get it through with protection and backup and have some hatebears and interaction available.

August 28, 2017 6:51 a.m.

Wurmlover says... #8

ah I see. My build would probably be balls-to-the-walls combo, considering there is only one pact of negation in my whole meta.

August 28, 2017 10:50 a.m.

Wurmlover says... #9

what would you say would be a budget version of this deck (like cuts/replacements)? I'm looking for a base to build off of, and then upgrade over time.

August 29, 2017 6:04 p.m.

Winterblast says... #10

Exchange the duals with lands that produce all colours for some drawback. You will be paying far more life and some of these lands have stupid restrictions but it's most likely still playable. Chromatic Lantern and Vizier of the Menagerie can help you over missing expensive lands as well. The creatures aren't what makes the deck expensive anyway so you won't gain anything from cutting and replacing key cards. Fewer tutors is also no option because you want to find your stuff reliably.

August 30, 2017 2:10 a.m.

dalton345 says... #11

Have you ever been hit with a Containment Priest while trying to combo off? Do you find you have enough creature removal to deal with such a disruption? Sweet deck, definite +1!

September 14, 2017 3:44 p.m.

Winterblast says... #12

dalton345 I don't think anyone here plays that one because it either would disrupt their own deck or they don't play white. I do have some removal though, also walking ballista can be cast from the hand to shoot hatebears like that or magus of the moon. If I knew someone played containment priest I'd try to get elesh norn rather than going all in with a combo.

September 14, 2017 5:20 p.m.

Athraithe says... #13

I believe mana echoes is a better plan than worldgorger, and im not sure how prevalent flametongue kavu is. Why not just run a low-cost kill spell instead?

October 9, 2017 3:26 p.m.

Winterblast says... #14

Athraithe I would say the main reason is the ability to tutor for them. I've had several situations in which I had the ability to get every creature I'd like, for example with survival or pod, and all I needed was a creature removal. Having a creature available to shoot hatebears would have helped quite often so I use the kavu now. Before, I had path to exile in addition to StoP, but it felt like a dead draw too often and when I needed it, it wasn't possible to find it.

As for mana echoes, it fulfills the same function as any infinite mana combo but I have to cast it and sliver queen without any tricks. It's not fetchable directly into play and sliver queen isn't either. Dragon combo is riskier but it's also just one card and that one is fetchable...the combo would pay for sliver queen and the tokens. In tournament play a draw can be forced as well (even though that's not the plan, lol). I'm testing both variants but I currently lean more towards the dragon.

October 9, 2017 3:48 p.m.

MoGoose831 says... #15

This looks crazy! I'll have to give it a more in-depth look when I'm not at work. In the mean time here's a +1!

October 9, 2017 4:27 p.m.

SpecialPerson says... #16

Mana Echoes goes infininte with sliver queen

October 14, 2017 2:17 p.m.

Winterblast says... #17

SpecialPerson had it in the deck, have a look at the update as for why I have currently removed it (it will most likely stay removed)

October 14, 2017 2:33 p.m.

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76% Casual

24% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 2 months
Last updated 4 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.36
Tokens 1/1 Sliver, Dack
Folders Reference, Pod decks, Interesting Commander Decks
Top rank #14 on 2017-10-16
Views 2739

Revision 7 (1 week ago)

-1 ReveillarkFR main
+1 Dance of the Dead main
-1 Exhume main
+1 Worldgorger Dragon main
+1 Body Double main
-1 Body Double main
+1 ReveillarkFR main
+1 Renegade Rallier main
-1 Mana Echoes main
-1 Eternal Witness main
-1 Karmic Guide main
+1 Karmic Guide main
-2 Crop Rotation maybe
-1 Flametongue Kavu maybe
-1 Defense of the Heart maybe
-1 Bazaar of Baghdad maybe
-1 Reveillark maybe
-1 Grand Abolisher maybe
-1 Kess, Dissident Mage maybe
+1 Exhume maybe
and 27 other change(s)

See all