"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 Deciever Exarch , untap Birthing Pod
2. sacrifice Deceiver Exarch, 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 or having Kiki-jiki in the graveyard 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. Searching for Renegade Rallier and getting something like an Animate Dead into play can also be a game ending move with the pod.

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 an infinite loop on the board. While breakfast hulk will go for self milling, my deck either assembles the Kiki-jiki combo or kills with direct damage.

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

However, I cut the shapeshifter and Abolisher because this works only when Hulk dies without using Flash (Flash would be above Hulk in the graveyard). Apart form that line of play, the two cards were too hard to cast or didn't do as much as desired. My usual line of play will be this:

  1. get Body Double and Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer
  2. hold priority and sacrifice Body Double, which is Protean Hulk
  3. get Karmic Guide and the other 1 mana sac outlet
  4. reanimate Hulk with Karmic guide, sac Hulk and find Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista

Step 3 is just in case someone tries to remove the sac outlet in response to step 2. After Mikaeus has been searched, the Karmic Guide and Body Double can be used to recover all creature cards in the graveyard if needed. 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. My 5 colour approach has the benefit of being able to recover faster from one time disruption and it can play around certain permanent hate pieces easier. The turn 2 kills with Flash happen surprisingly often but the gameplan focuses on turn 3/4 kills with hatebears being used as disruption instead of counter magic.

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 and Carpet of Flowers 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 - I have that one Stifle and might consider Trickbind as well. 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. I also don't risk everything by milling myself like BUG Sidisi or breakfast hulk does. Anafenza, the Foremost is the most annoying card I've faced so far, but that's only if she's the commander - no one plays her in my meta though, so I'm fine with StoP and Abrupt Decay. I might add her in my own deck should I face more graveyard based decks than mono U.
  • 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.

06.11.17: After testing the deck both in multiplayer and 1vs1 I have to change some cards especially for multiplayer. I will probably make another decklist to display my decklist for 1vs1 tournament play (not mtgo/duel commander!). Volrath's Shapeshifter, while being useful in some situations, often doesn't do enough. The combo protection with Grand Abolisher only works when Hulk dies without using Flash and if that is allowed to happen, the opponents probably won't have any responses anyway. Therefore I have removed these two cards in favour of more disruption: Aven Mindcensor and Phyrexian Revoker. Mindcensor hurts a lot of decks but in my case it's also a meta choice because I frequently play against Arcum Dagsson. Another of my main opponents is Teferi, so the revoker does a good job there as well. Having some hatebears in the CMC 2 and 3 slot is great because it's fodder for starting the birthing pod combo. Nissa, Steward of Elements will stay for 1vs1 but is replaced in the multiplayer list by Manifold Insights. Search for Azcanta  Flip is also something for the 1vs1 list and will be replaced by Stifle (most graveyard hate is activated or triggered).



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.

ChaosHazard says... #18

Just so you're aware, Volrath's Shapeshifterdoesn't work in your Hulk line, as once Flash is done resolving, Hulk is underneath Flash in your graveyard

Deck looks good otherwise!

October 25, 2017 2:12 p.m.

Winterblast says... #19

ChaosHazard I know, but if the hulk dies in any other way I can get shapeshifter. Do you think this is not enough reason to play it? Shapeshifter can also copy ETB effects if the top cards in the graveyard, or it can be used to discard hulk when a sac outlet is on the board

October 25, 2017 2:23 p.m.

Wurmlover says... #20

throw in Pact of Negation and Diabolic Intent to add another layer of protection to the combo. sac hulk to intent, fetch pact, and then combo.

October 29, 2017 11:05 a.m.

Winterblast says... #21

Wurmlover Diabolic intent is already on my want list. I'm going to cut fauna shaman for it (usually too slow).

At the last FNM I went 2nd among 18 players and afterwards I have reconsidered some card choices because I was often not too happy to see certain cards. I'll definitely get a baby jace, search for azcanta is worth a try and I'll remove gaea's cradle. It also has to be noted that I won 2 of 3 games with the kiki-jiki combo and not with flash. One game was won with commander beatdown.

As for pact...the problem is usually getting the hulk to die, then getting no response to his trigger. If I can fetch once, it's already hard to interact properly, so counterspells would mostly be needed to protect the plan BEFORE hulk dies and the trigger resolves. Not much space left for a reliable number of counters though.

October 29, 2017 11:25 a.m.

Winterblast says... #22

ChaosHazard and Wurmlover, I've considered your input again and found that some changes were needed in order to separate the multiplayer from the 1vs1 build. It's probably only around 5 cards difference but in multiplayer I need to have cut some long-term plans like Nissa and Search for Azcanta in favor of early card advantage and disruption.

November 6, 2017 6:18 a.m.

HobbyGamer007 says... #23

Why do you play Spellskite over Grand Abolisher in your Protean Hulk combo loop? Wouldn't the latter be way better?

November 6, 2017 8:13 a.m.

Winterblast says... #24

HobbyGamer007 I cut it altogether because it is only protection when Hulk dies from something like necromancy, apprentice necromancer or anything that leaves hulk as the topmost card in the graveyard. The fastest way however is Flash and it's the way I usually try to go for first.

Spellskite is moved to my 1vs1 build, while the multiplayer list will use phyrexian revoker and aven mindcensor instead (see changelog at the bottom of deck description). The occasional protection after hulk has been allowed to die wasn't worth 2 slots.

November 6, 2017 8:27 a.m.

mtg_shit_post says... #25

this deck is awesome I copied it and tried to fidget with it but no matter what i did it was always way to costly so i could never really build this but still sweet deck

November 12, 2017 7:50 p.m.

mtg_shit_post says... #26

is so funny how outrageously expensive land are I mean this deck is a perfect example of this 4400 dollar deck 2400 dollars islands i mean seriously

November 12, 2017 8:07 p.m.

Winterblast says... #27

mtg_shit_post it's not really possible to save on the manabase in a 5c deck. Luckily the lands were not always so expensive and I bought most of my duals around 10 years ago. If you want to buy them today I suggest you watch out for ignored auctions on ebay or buy them from Europe. The prices on TCG are ridiculously high, you should be able to get all duals for around 1000 Euro if it doesn't have to be all near mint

November 13, 2017 4:02 a.m.

mtg_shit_post says... #28

thanks Winterblast I will do i have a few that I have gotten into my possession but i have made this same kind of deck with only a few lands I have and it did very well but i just sucks that whenever I build an EDH deck I actually want to get in paper I cant build it without spending all that time and money just for lands but that is why I like queen Marchesa so much because if you take out the three swords its super cheap and with a little tweaking can be decently competitive

November 13, 2017 1:54 p.m.

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76% Casual

24% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 3 months
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.31
Tokens 1/1 Sliver, Dack, Jace
Folders Reference, Pod decks, Interesting Commander Decks, Inspirace, Excellent Primer, possible future commanders, EDH, Copycats, Other Peoples Decks, ideckas
Top rank #14 on 2017-10-16
Views 4717

Revision 10 See all

2 weeks ago)

-1 Search for Azcanta  Flip main
+1 Phyrexian Revoker main
-1 Volrath's Shapeshifter main
+1 Manifold Insights main
+1 Stifle main
-1 Nissa, Steward of Elements main
-1 Grand Abolisher main
+1 Aven Mindcensor main