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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Feb 22 2021 1:00pm

In the Pauper format, we are used to the Slivers archetype being either Selesnya or Selesnya with a little splash for red. However, I want to talk about adding blue to the archetype.

If you aren’t familiar with Slivers, the Sliver archetype is usually an aggressive beat down deck with 12 lord creatures (a lord creature for example is Muscle Sliver). Eventually you will build up a massive board, make all of your creatures extremely big and turn them sideways. While very simple, it is also very effective.

However, with that being said, historically Slivers do not fight removal well and killing off the lord creatures of the deck is quite easy. Without the lord creatures, your other slivers are very small and have trouble winning the game on their own.

I found a list that from the 5-0 dump posted on 1/20/2021 and it was piloted by a very good Pauper player, HunterBR. In the list we are going to look at, instead of having white or red, they instead pair green with the color blue for counter spells, draw spells and some good blue Slivers. Let’s dive right in!

Muscle Sliver and Predatory Sliver – These are your most important Slivers. The Sliver lords pump your creatures, making them bigger and they give you the fuel you need to turn your creatures sideways.

Virulent Sliver – Not exactly what I would call a Sliver lord, but Virulent Sliver is extremely powerful. Remember that you only need to deal 10 poison, which helps you win the game faster. The best part about this Sliver is if you have more than 1 out, each of them gives your Slivers multiple instances of Poisonous, which means with 2 of them out, each Sliver will hit for 2 poison counters and so on.

Quick Sliver – A great way to beat counter decks is by casting spells on the end of your opponents turn to not only bait counter magic, but also to tap your opponent out so that you can cast your important spells on your turn. Another great thing about giving your creatures Flash is that you can play your Sliver lords at instant speed and turn them into combat tricks.

Gemhide Sliver – Ramp can be great in a Sliver deck, especially this version because you want to leave open mana for counter magic. Getting to dump all the Slivers out of your hand quickly is a great way to overwhelm your opponent.

Winged Sliver and Shadow Sliver – Here are your blue Slivers. They are your win condition and do their job well. With Shadow Sliver your creatures will become unblockable because Shadow just isn’t popular in the Pauper format. Winged Sliver gives your Slivers flying, making them attack or block in the air, which is relevant against any archetype.

Metallic Sliver – Not the best Sliver around, but it is extremely easy to cast and gives you another 1 drop to curve out with.

Brainstorm and Preordain – Card advantage is always a good thing. Instead of playing cards like Lead the Stampede, you get cards that actually draw other cards. This way you can Brainstorm into a counter spell or a bounce spell, as well as draw into more threats. Preordain of course is great because it pushes bad cards to the bottom of the deck.

Memory Lapse – You don’t see this one often in the Pauper format, but it is very good here. Being able to not only stop your opponents spell, but make them draw it again, effectively casting a Time Walk, can sometimes just win you the game alone over the course of a turn or 2.

Prohibit – Casting actual Counterspell can be hard for this archetype and Prohibit is the next best thing.

Echoing Truth and Snap – Having some ways to clear the the way for your creatures to attack is always a good thing. Echoing Truth is great because it can remove multiple threats or clear the board of tokens. While Snap is great because since you untap 2 lands, you can save a creature from removal and then cast it again, as well as bouncing a creature from your opponents side and then casting more creatures in the same turn, putting a good amount of pressure on your opponent. It also has good synergy with Quick Sliver giving your creatures Flash.
Distant Melody – If you play Elves, this one should be familiar to you. At 4 mana it costs a lot, but it can draw you a good number of cards. 1 copy should be all you need, as playing more could end up in drawing multiples of them and clogging up your hand. Remember that Slivers is an aggro deck, any turn where you fall behind could mean game over, so you need to be able to curve out and not stumble with dead cards in hand.

The manabase

The manabase isn’t too special as it is very straightforward. You have 3 copies of Ash Barrens, 1 copy of Terramorphic Expanse and a copy of Thornwood Falls for a dual land. These are more than enough to help fix your mana. The rest are just basic lands because you want to curve out quickly. Having too many come into play tapped lands will slow you down too much and we can’t have that.

I personally like a 4th copy of Ash Barrens over the 1 copy of Expanse, but that might not be good because if you end up with 2 Ash Barrens in your opening hand, it will slow you down, as where Expanse being an imminent search is a little bit faster.

The Sideboard

1 Echoing Truth – In case you need some more tricks, this one is a pretty good trick to have. Against any token strategy or against other aggro decks, you can end up getting multiple targets for the price of one card.

2 Annul – This isn’t the best answer to Affinity or Bogles, but it does help and it is a flexible counter spell that can be used against different archetypes.

4 Blue Elemental Blast – Red decks can be tough for anyone, especially Burn. This is here to help fix that.

4 Faerie Macabre – This is uncountable graveyard removal. Normally you would see a card like Relic of Progenitus, however in this archetype, you want to be spending your mana on other things and against most graveyard strategies, you usually want to hit 1 or 2 specific things anyway. While it is true that you can draw an extra card from Relic, I value not having to use 1 mana to do it and with Faerie Macabre being able to choose what I want to be removed.

2 Moment's Peace – Sometimes against a deck like Stompy or Heroic, you only need a turn or 2 to build up your board to be bigger than your opponents, but you might not have the time. You can also bait your opponent into attacking with too many creatures and then use Moment's Peace, possibly allowing you to win the game on the back swing.

2 Weather the Storm – Burn can be a very tough matchup. This is a huge help towards that match.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Slivers hasn’t really changed much over the years. Usually it is a Green and White aggro deck that tries to beat down quickly. You might splash red for creatures such as (Hunted Sliver) and Heart Sliver. You might splash a little blue for Shadow Sliver and Winged Sliver. Nothing to special.

However, in this list, you play counter spells and bounce spells, as well as Quick Sliver. This leads to a different way of playing a Sliver archetype. Instead of playing an aggro strategy and going all in, you now have access to playing as a tempo deck. Think of it as playing UG Flash from a previous Standard format.

With the counter magic in this deck, you now have another way of playing the Sliver archetype. Instead of dumping your hand and hoping your opponent does not have a removal spell or going through the motions of a Stonehorn Dignitary lock, now you have bounce spells, counter spells and Quick Sliver to play a tempo or control game, while having decently sized creatures in play to beat down with. Consider that with Quick Sliver in play, you almost never have to cast a spell on your own turn. Personally I love that idea.

Do I think you should play this deck? I am unsure if I would risk it in the challenges at the time of writing this since it is a different take on the usual Slivers build. I would definitely say yes to playing it in the leagues though. HunterBR is a great player and knows a thing or 2 about the Sliver archetype in Pauper, so it doesn’t surprise me they got a 5-0 with this list and I really think they are onto something.

I really like this list and would start without changing a thing. Once you get a feel for the deck and see what other archetypes you are facing, you can adjust the numbers and sideboard slots accordingly. Let me know in the comments how the deck has done for you and what changes you would make.

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Thank you so much for reading. I will see you next time!