With the release of M15 and Sliver Hivelord, one of the most feared tribes in EDH has a shiny new toy, so you’re sure to be seeing more of these little guys. Or big guys. With the ability to combo off or quickly become a massive horde, slivers are an imposing force, but they are not unstoppable. In this post I’ll guide you through building and playing a sliver deck as well as how you can exterminate these pests before they take over the Multiverse.
As with any EDH deck, the first step is choosing your commander. I’ll be focusing on Sliver Overlord for this article, but the OG Sliver Queen herself is a good option if you want to combo out with Intruder Alarm or Mana Echoes for infinite mana and slivers. My playstyle leans more towards big stompy than glass cannon though, and the Overlord gives you fast access to anything your deck can do.
Crystalline Sliver is your best sliver buddy, and will usually be the first one searched up with your Overlord to protect the rest of your hive. Gemhide Sliver and Manaweft Slivers fix your mana, while Blur Sliver and Heart Sliver give your team haste so you can use that mana (and other tap abilities) right away. Winged Sliver, Galerider Sliver and Shifting Sliver should be called in for an evasive assist when you’re ready to alpha strike, or when you need to start attacking with the Overlord to put down a troublesome opponent. Pulmonic Sliver not only grants flying but also provides protection from sweepers. Harmonic Sliver, Necrotic Sliver, Acidic Sliver, and Cautery Sliver can take out problem permanents and players in a pinch. Sliver Legion is an excellent finisher; bring it into play when you’ve already got a large horde and the game should be over.
Other than that, go nuts. There are tons of slivers and while you should play a large number of them just as sliver bodies, you can tailor your selections to your play style. Fateseal your enemies, tap down their boards, gain ridiculous amounts of life, or win with poison counters; your range of options is wide. You can also throw some Changelings in to get your sliver buffs; Amoeboid Changeling is a classic enabler for an Overlord deck, allowing your general to steal opponent’s best creatures.
Sliver Support Cards
Slivers generally get along so well that they don’t need much help, but tribal enablers like Coat of Arms and Door Of Destinies can find homes. Although if things go well you’ll be spending all your mana tutoring and playing slivers instead, so these slots may be better used for removal spells or mana fixing.
The great thing about playing five colours is you can take your pick from the most powerful spells in the game. Few decks can play Abrupt Decay and Supreme Verdict, but sliver players laugh in the face of colour restriction. Grab your favourite spot removal, counterspells and sweepers. The traditional wrath for sliver decks was All is Dust which combined well with Ghostflame Sliver for a one sided wrath, but with the Hivelord incoming, all wraths get a lot better.
The not-so-great thing about playing five colours is your mana base is either going to be ridiculously expensive or somewhat inefficient. Play the best duals you can afford, fix with things like Chromatic Lantern and Prismatic Omen, and hope to draw a mana sliver early. If you can afford shocklands or even original duals, cards that search up basic land types like Gem of Becoming, Krosan Verge, and Skyshroud Claim become a lot better. If you’re stuck playing Guildgates and other duals that come into play tapped, look for cards that search up any land like Expedition Map or Tempt With Discovery, and consider an Amulet of Vigor to remove the downside from these lands.
Playing the deck
Playing a Sliver Overlord deck is actually pretty simple due to the raw power and versatility the big dude offers. Assemble your five colours of mana as quickly as you can to cast him, preferably with some sort of protection or uncounterability. Read the board state and figure out what you need to dig out first. Often it will be Crystalline Sliver right off the bat just to protect your team, although Sliver Hivelord might supplant it. Take out any enchantments or artifacts that might cause you pain with Harmonic Sliver, then start pumping out as many slivers as possible and attack as needed until you’re ready to tutor up some evasion and the Sliver Legion to alpha strike for lethal. As a consistent, linear strategy with a whole deck full of tools to deal with sticky situations, it’s a hard deck to beat.
How to Beat It
But it can be beat! Do not sit across from a Sliver Overlord player and admit defeat to yourself before the game even begins. Linear strategies can be disrupted, and that’s just what you need to do. Hopefully the other players at the table will recognize the threat posed and turn their efforts towards defeating the Hive as well.
If you can get in early damage do so. The Slivers are coming for you anyway, and if you declare it enemy number one early on other players may follow your lead. Many late-game answers to slivers involve board wipes, so you’ll want to have a head start on damage when it comes time to reassemble board position.
Assembling five colours of mana early isn’t always easy, and this is one of your first powerful chances to disrupt the sliver player. If there’s no sign of Crucible of Worlds or a mana sliver, don’t be afraid to Strip Mine or Ghost Quarter away a land if it’s your opponent’s only source of one or even two colours. A sliver player isn’t likely to run too many basics either, so if your deck can handle it and you don’t mind irritating the rest of the table, things like Ruination or Blood Moon can shut them down as well.
If they cast their general, countering or killing it immediately is wise. Their next move is likely to be grabbing Crystalline Sliver. Your spot removal is about to be useless, so use it early. If you’re playing blue, have enough mana, and a window, you can use a clone to copy the Overlord then steal it. Be sure to sacrifice the clone to the legendary rule, and you’ve deprived them of their general and can start stealing their army as well!
If they’ve landed the Overlord and Crystalline Sliver, you’ve got some work to do. Hope they don’t pull out a Hibernation Sliver to save them from sweeper effects, and wrath away. It remains to be seen where the Hivelord will fit into the tutor order. If he’s in play you’ll have to get tricksier. Mass exile spells like Final Judgement and Perilous Vault should do it, but make sure you’ve got enough mana to play and activate the Vault right away before Harmonic Sliver can take it out. Tuck spells like Terminus can work to slow a Sliver player down, but won’t have lasting effects if the Overlord is not in play or they’ve been sandbagging a Homing Sliver to get it back.
By applying pressure to the sliver player early and often, keeping them off all colours of mana if possible, timing your removal and sweeper spells well, working with the other players and getting a little lucky, you should be able beat the sliver horde back for good.
If you have Sliver tech, either to help build them or beat them, please chime in below.
Thanks for reading!