Sliver Decks. There is no gray area in EDH for Slivers, you either like them or you don’t. Can you think of a tribe that is more hated or loved at the kitchen table? Whether you are a new player or a veteran of the game I am sure that you have encountered or built a deck around MTG’s infamous hive.
I am assuming that you are here today because you are interested in building a Sliver EDH Deck or looking for ideas and help for your current build. Of course, you may be here just to tell me that the Sliver Overlord is the only logical sliver commander and anyone running the Queen outside of a combo deck is at the far end of the silly scale. Challenge accepted.
Today I will introduce you to a Sliver Queen deck that has several ways to take control and win a game. This will be a five color deck that leans heavy on Simic Blue/Green for card draw and mana ramp/fixing. We will also lean heavy on the tokens produced by Sliver Queen to trigger ETB effects, sacrifice effects and swarm our opponents. Of course, we can also resort to the win condition she is notorious for, combo.
Here is my Sliver Queen EDH Decklist. Take a look and then continue reading the primer on how to play slivers with the Queen at the helm.
Sliver Queen EDH Deck: Checkmate
Again, why Sliver Queen?
- Just about every Sliver Thread on Reddit, MTGSalvation and the like will tell you that (outside of combo) you should be running Sliver Overlord as the Commander of your Sliver Deck. I like a challenge, so this is one of the main reasons I have decided NOT to have the Overlord.
- In my meta, there is an amazing amount of clone and steal effects. Having the Overlord stolen will not lead to good times. However, we still have Bribery to worry about. :/
- There is a conception that Slivers run out of gas. I would tend to agree with this. I would also venture a guess that most players will make the dreaded mistake of overextending. With the Queen on the board, we can simply revolve our game plan around her and the ability to generate tokens. We can then save some of our “game-shifting” slivers until the time is right to shift the momentum to our favor.
- Slivers entering the battlefield, being sacrificed for effects, or being produced in large numbers will be one of our strategies with the Queen at the Helm. With her ability to pop out slivers at an alarming rate we will have no shortage of slivers to move forth with our plan. Sure, the Overlord could go and get the Queen and then we could continue our plan, but if she is destroyed or exiled, we lose our main chess piece. The Queen must be available to us in our Command Zone. Making her the Commander ensures that she is always there when we need her.
- Finally there is nostalgia. I began my Magic career during the Tempest block and played quite a few slivers in my day. Sliver Queen has always been one of my favorite cards and the fact that she is now commanding my Sliver EDH Deck is gratifying.
Sliver EDH Chess Pieces
In chess the Queen is your most important and powerful piece on the board. She can move in any direction and lock down your opponent within a few turns. Naturally, Sliver Queen will play an equal role of power and finesse in our Sliver EDH Deck.
We will make Sliver Overlord the King of our Sliver Deck. When he is on the field we can go nuts getting our other hive members from our library into our hand. However, his weakness (as described) above is his ability to be stolen or cloned and fall into the wrong hands. Like in chess, we will move our King into place only after our other pieces are in a solid position to protect him.
Our two Bishops couldn’t be anymore different.
Sliver Hivelord provides a strong defensive armor to all of the hive members in the form of Indestructibility. With the Hivelord on the battlefield our slivers become fearless in combat and in the face of wrath effects.
The unique ability of the knight’s two-one movement coupled with the fact that they can move through or over other chess pieces reminds me of evasion in Magic. With that being said, our aggro goal in this deck can be accomplished by our “Knights” providing evasion. Shifting Sliver makes the entire hive unblockable, while Pulmonic Sliver puts the tribe in the air. Archetype of Imagination has proven to be clutch as it clears the skies of any possible blockers. Finally there is Sun Quan, Lord of Wu, who turns our army into the cavalry (horsemanship) so they cannot be blocked.
In the game of chess, the Rook (also known as a Castle) has the special ability to switch places with the King when he is in trouble. In my Sliver EDH deck, I have included a handful of slivers that kind-of accomplish the same task. Hibernation Sliver allows us to safely return any sliver (including the Queen) to our hand for a mere 2 life. Crypt Sliver slings his tap to regenerate target sliver ability among the troops. Mentioned again is Pulmonic Sliver who’s second ability gives us the opportunity to put non-token slivers on the top of our library rather than let them die and wind up in the graveyard.
Protection also comes in the form of Shroud and Hexproof. Crystalline Sliver protects all slivers (alien and predator mutations) with shroud. A dash of redundancy comes into play with our castle, Asceticism, providing hexproof and some regeneration resources.
Easy enough, the pawns simply help us achieve our goal. Cards like Manaweft Sliver, Gemhide Sliver, Wood Elves, and Sakura-Tribe Elder all help fix and ramp our mana base. Other pawns include our slivers that sacrifice themselves for the cause. Necrotic Sliver, for example, can take out a troublesome permanent or be utilized as a game ender if the queen is online with infinite mana.
Winning a game of Sliver Queen Chess
Sliver Queen Combo
Ah, here’s the Sliver Queen EDH stereotype you know and love, combo! Easy enough. Let’s generate infinite mana and create an unstoppable army of slivers! We can do this a few ways:
With our infinite slivers, obviously, we can plan an alpha strike of epic proportions to finish the games. Or, lethal doses of shocks if Purphoros, God of the Forge is overseeing the action.
Control and Lock Down
Not entirely a win condition, but could be more of a win by “submission” with Using Telekenetic Sliver or Constricting Sliver in conjunction with sliver tokens. Aura Shards is also a great control card with the amount of tokens we can pop into play. The Shards beats out Harmonic Sliver due to the may vs must destroy ability.
The Queen’s 7 power makes her a 3 hit thump in the head for a win via 21 commander damage. Plus we have ways of making her unblockable.
You’ve seen him in Prosh, You’ve seen him in Krenko, you’ve seen him lead his own army of tokens! Now witness the power of the god of the forge as he sends multiple shocks around the table with every sliver token that comes into play. Purphy also assists in an infinite token combo loop.
Poison – Infect
Triumph of the Hordes plus some evasion can finish off the entire table in one swing.
We have already discussed infinite sliver tokens, infect, making our creatures unblockable and the Popeye effect of Sliver Legion. Note Coat of Arms is here too and you can see several ways to win in the arena of aggro. I have also included a Craterhoof Behemoth. I have heard that it has the possibility of ending games. With a bunch of unblockable sliver tokens, yep that is a possibility. Mirror Entity can fill a similar role to the Behemoth in the aggro win. Giving all of our Slivers an equal power and toughness until end of turn. Having a Mirari’s Wake and Mirror Entity in play with sliver tokens can provide a hefty sucker punch to an unexpecting opponent. The final aggro piece, and in its trial phase, is Cathar’s Crusade. I’ve seen this work for token decks in the past, and I’m hoping for similar results to create beefy sliver tokens.
Hive Support and Strategy
The rest of this Sliver deck relies heavy on a Simic flavored shell. In a nutshell, here is our game plan.
Mana Fix and Ramp: In addition to the Oracle of Mul Daya and Wood Elves mentioned earlier, we will also need to concentrate on green mana ramp (and fixing) spells like Skyshroud Claim to ramp and fix mana. Getting the right dual lands into play early game is essential in our 5 color sliver deck. Of course, I couldn’t help but include a few mana rocks like Chromantic Lantern and Darksteel Ingot, as they just seem to be made for five color decks.
Draw Cards: Sylvan Library and Rhytic Study are prime targets to help get the card draw flowing. We also have Prime Speaker Zegana, Mnemonic Sliver and Dormant Sliver as our creature based draw. Dormant Sliver is an interesting one. At first glance, this sliver looks terrible for the deck as it pacifies all slivers by giving them defender. The key is to use Dormant Sliver to build up card advantage and then, when we are ready, sacrifice it using one of our other sliver abilities such as Mindwhip Sliver or Basal Sliver. I have also recently added Shamanic Revelation with hopes of extra drawing goodness.
I don’t need to tell the seasoned Commander player how over-powered Prophet of Kruphix can be. Odds are you have either abused or been abused by her mystic broken-ness. But can I say that flashing in the Queen and spitting out tokens every turn is oober-fantastic. Needless to say, Prophet is a top target for the tutors in this deck. Redundancy and almost as good is Seedborn Muse. Prophet and Seedborn help mass produce sliver tokens and will put a rather large target on our head. UPDATE: Prophet is banned. 🙁
Tutor: It goes without saying that tutors are a delicacy in Commander/EDH. Included in this Sliver Queen deck are an assortment of library searchers that either help us get a key card Demonic Tutor, find instant speed shenanigans Chord of Calling, get a control piece Idyllic Tutor, or end the game Tooth and Nail.
So there you have it folks. A sliver deck with a bacon splatter of ideas for aggro, control and combo in a nice neat stack. You may ask the questions… There are a lot of non-sliver elements in this deck, can this still be called a sliver deck? Absolutely. Even with the hodgepodge of other ideas, I still manage to run 21 slivers (including the Queen) and have the ability to shoot out several hundred sliver tokens. Where are all of the other slivers? As you can see, I went with an overall game plan of enters the battlefield type effects with my slivers, so combat oriented cards like Muscle Sliver, are not within this particular hive.
It has to be noted that the Sliver Queen lacks countermagic, protection and board wipes, so we will need to concentrate on our own game plan and use a dose of politics to help with removal and protecting our interests.
I have had some degree of success with my Sliver Queen build so far (hence the article), but I am continually looking for ways to improve. Therefore, I will revisit this article a few times for updates and changes. Be sure to bookmark this link and check back! Feel free to ask questions or comment below and thank you for reading!
On to the next!