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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Slivers are back! That’s right, the release of the 2014 Core Set brought with it a new batch of our favorite hive-minded creatures! This new group of our favorite hive-minded creatures had a mixed reception from those of us that love and collect slivers. While some, like me, were happy just to get new slivers, many people didn’t like the changes to the mechanics of the new slivers. Others still were more disappointed in the change to the appearance of the slivers.

Slivers have evolved, or they have been created on a new plane. Whatever the case may be, the new slivers still have features common among all slivers. Yes, the new batch are verging on humanoid, but if you really look at the art, you notice that each of them has features indicative of their ability. The Bonescythe Sliver for example has evolved great talons, much bigger than the other Slivers. Most of the new slivers stand upright, but the Blur Sliver is shaped more like a cheetah than a human. I personally have no problem with how the new slivers look and actually kind of like them, despite the fairly obvious resemblance to the Predator. What really matters is how these new slivers work. Originally the slivers affected all slivers on the board. This meant that if you went up against the mirror match, then your slivers would buff each other up which could crazy pretty fast. For us Commander players, this really means one thing… If an opponent has a changeling, then we have to worry about affecting it. Otherwise, we are pretty safe. This isn’t an issue with the new slivers because their mechanics have been change to only affect the slivers under the same controller. While this may or may not be a fail in terms of flavor, it is certainly a bonus when compared to the original slivers.

I wasted no time in re-completing my sliver collection, and of course, this means that I had to update my Animar, Soul of Elements deck which largely focuses on slivers of course! Doing so meant comparing new to old and in some cases, cutting one for the other. First and foremost, I didn’t have to worry about white or black slivers, as Animar is only blue, green, and red. First up on the comparison is the sole blue sliver from M14, the Galerider Sliver. The original Galerider Sliver was called the Winged Sliver. In comparing them, I think that anyone would have made the choice to use the new Galerider in place of the Winged Sliver. Not only does it only give my slivers flying, denying that Taurean Mauler the block, it is also one mana cheaper. Things get a little more complicated when you start comparing the green and red slivers however. Essentially, I compared the slivers that provided the same effect, such as the Heart Sliver and the Blur Sliver. Each gives slivers haste, but the Blur Sliver only affects my slivers. The Blur Sliver is also a 2/2 compared to the Heart Sliver at 1/1, but the Heart is one mana cheaper. In weighing the two against each other, I felt that the cheaper cost of the Heart Sliver overcame the drawback of affecting all slivers, and decided to keep the old one in the deck. I basically did this for each of the slivers that shared an effect between the old and the new, and in the end I had a combination of old and new. Some slivers didn’t need to be compared to their old counterparts. Essentially these are the ones who’s abilities stack, typically in the “All Sliver creatures get +1/+1” variety. With two new anthem slivers in green and the Battle Sliver in red, it was very easy to make the decision to add them to the deck, removing non-comparable slivers and keeping the anthem/buff old slivers as well. I believe that if I get every anthem sliver into play then all of my slivers will get a total of about +10/+7! This just leaves the slivers with abilities that do not directly correlate to an original sliver. There is only one sliver that this applies to, the Thorncaster Sliver. Every other new sliver has an older counterpart. The Thorncaster Sliver lets you ping opponents and their creatures when a sliver attacks, and is an effect that I definitely wanted in the deck! In the end I had to jump a little bit into my non-sliver creatures and even my other spells to find the room for all the additional anthem slivers and the Thorncaster. I mean, Fog Bank is good, but in the end just didn’t do much when what I really wanted to be doing was attacking with slivers. Mass Polymorph also never really pulled its weight. In fact, I believe that I was mostly disappointed every time I drew it, so it was a good card to cut. Finally I made one last trade. I took out Coat of Arms and replaced it with Door of Destinies. I know, it’s been around since Morningtide, but I wasn’t playing then, so I didn’t know it even existed until it was spoiled for M14! (I really liked the Morningtide promotional version over the M14 art though, so I got that version instead. It looks like it could be a Hobbit hole!!!)  The door may be a bit slower in ramping up the anthem effect, but it is one mana cheaper and also benefits from only affecting my creatures (aka slivers) whereas the Coat of Arms affected everything on the board if there was more than one of a particular creature type. That means I had to be very careful with it when I went up against an opponent with some form of tribal deck.

Below is the most recent deck list. So far, just in testing mind you, the deck seems to be better than it was before. It is a little more consistent, and all the slivers abilities work off of each other very well. I’m very happy with how the deck is working right now, but we shall see come next game night!

Creatures:35

1 Animar, Soul of Elements

1 Galerider Sliver
1 Striking Sliver
1 Heart Sliver
1 Hunter Sliver
1 Manaweft Sliver
1 Muscle Sliver
1 Predatory Sliver
1 Quick Sliver
1 Spinneret Sliver
1 Winged Sliver
1 Adaptive Automaton
1 Blade Sliver
1 Fungus Sliver
1 Magma Sliver
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Root Sliver
1 Shifting Sliver
1 Telekinetic Sliver
1 Battle Sliver
1 Brood Sliver
1 Might Sliver
1 Psionic Sliver
1 Riku of Two Reflections
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Synapse Sliver
1 Synchronous Sliver
1 Thorncaster Sliver
1 Urabrask the Hidden
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Fury Sliver
1 Megantic Sliver
1 Groundshaker Sliver
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Artifacts:7
1 AEther Vial
1 Runed Stalactite
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Hivestone
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Door of Destinies
1 Akroma’s Memorial

Sorceries:8
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Regrowth
1 Cultivate
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Explosive Vegetation
1 Reap and Sow
1 Praetor’s Counsel
1 Primal Surge

Instants:6
1 Berserk
1 Comet Storm
1 Counterspell
1 Beast Within
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Krosan Grip

Enchantments:5
1 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Lurking Predators
1 Mana Reflection
1 Wild Pair

Planeswalkers:1
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

Lands:38
1 Command Tower
9 Forest
1 Gruul Turf
8 Island
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Mountain
1 Mutavault
1 Raging Ravine
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Simic Guildgate
1 Taiga
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove

Today I have two solid plays, both of which center around one card… Platinum Angel! This stately angel makes it so that you can’t lose the game, nor can your opponents win the game, and it is this ability that really made these plays possible.

Life Switching FTW: Our first solid play actually happened several weeks ago at a game night involving David, Eric, and myself. I can’t recall what anybody was playing, but Eric pulled of a spectacular win. First he plays Platinum Angel, then neglects to block, going into negative life. Finally, he casts and activates Soul Conduit, switching his negative life total with David’s positive life total for the win!

Keeping Me Alive FTW: The second solid play was more recent, just last week actually. In a one-on-one game between Eric playing Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, and me playing Melek, Izzet Paragon. My deck took some time to get going but eventually started doing some crazy things, as it is supposed to do. Eric had me down to nine life when I cast Platinum Angel. He took me down to negative life, but didn’t have an answer for the Angel. Shortly after I draw out my library, so the angel is pulling double duty, keeping me alive from lack of life and from lack of cards. Luckily I have a pretty interesting interaction on the board, and it kicks off with a Time Stretch for a couple of extra turns. Then I drop a Magistrate’s Scepter, and then Ral Zarek. Ral lets me activate the “add a counter” ability from the scepter twice per turn, and the extra turns off of that coupled with the ultimate ability on Ral means that Eric never gets another turn. But I still have to win the game. I have only one win-con left, and that is Chance Encounter. I also had a Krark’s Thumb on the board to help with the coin flips, but only one card on board or in hand that would let me flip a coin… Ral Zarek and his ultimate ability. After I think two or three activations of Ral Zarek, I hit the tenth counter on Chance Encounter and pulled out  the win with negative life and no cards in my deck.