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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 13 2020 12:48pm
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Ah yes, the good old Sliver Legion. They have been around since the old days of Magic and continue to show up through the years as Magic goes on in a variety of formats. All 5 colors of Magic have slivers, but today we will just be looking at the colors Green, White and Red. 

I am sure by now, that all of you are familiar with GW Slivers in the Pauper format. However for quite a while, I have seen many players adding the color red to make the deck more powerful, which leads to a really fun experience as well. 

The list I will be showing today, won a Pauper challenge on 7/4/2020, piloted by HunterBR. Hunter has played in quite a number of PCT tournaments and usually does well, they have plenty of league 5-0s and has done well in multiple Pauper Challenge tournaments. They have shown to be a very strong player and someone to fear in the Pauper format. It comes as no surprise to me that Hunter has won a challenge with Naya Slivers as they also have a 6 place finish with this archetype as well. Without anymore wait, let’s check out the list.

Sinew Sliver, Muscle Sliver and Predatory Sliver – Slivers would not be anywhere near playable if not for their Lord creatures. These are the bread and butter of the archetype. Protect them at all costs. 

Plated Sliver and Sidewinder Sliver – These creatures can act as lords as well. 

Although they don’t pump the power of your team, Sidewinder Sliver makes combat very hard for your opponent, thanks to flanking. While Plated Sliver pumping your creatures toughness can also help in combat and surviving damage based removal.  

Virulent Sliver – This one is in a league all its own because it gives your creatures poisonous, which can end the game super quickly. Remember that you only need to hit your opponent for 10 when it comes to poison and also remember that if you have multiple Virulent Slivers out on the battlefield, their abilities stack. So if you have 2 of them out and hit your opponent successfully, they get 2 poison counters instead.  

Gemhide Sliver – You don’t normally see this one in sliver decks, as it is not an aggressive creature. However, being in 3 colors as opposed to 2 and since the Sliver archetype does have a good amount of card draw, mana acceleration and/or color fixing can go a long way.  

Hunter Sliver, Heart Sliver and Bladeback Sliver – Here are the red creatures for the main deck. With Hunter Sliver, your creatures gain Provoke, which allows you to dictate combat a little bit and possibly get a free kill on a problem creature on the battlefield. Next up is Heart Sliver, which gives all of your creatures haste and I don’t think I need to go further into detail about how valuable that is. Finally up is Bladeback Sliver. A sweet creature from Modern Horizons, this Sliver makes it so that when you are Hellbent, all of your creatures are able to ping your opponent for 1 damage. This is extremely valuable because it means you can get through the final points of damage without actually having to attack. Unfortunately it does not allow you to ping creatures, but that is a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.  

Note: Remember that Virulent Sliver says the creature must deal combat damage to give poison counters. So pinging them with the ability that Bladeback Sliver gives them, does not combo.  

Winding Way and Lead the Stampede – These are your card advantage spells and they are quite good at what they do. Both spells allow you to draw multiple creatures in the same turn and reload quickly, allowing you to further the pressure and board position over your opponent. I would never build a Sliver deck without either of these cards.  

Benevolent Bodyguard – I like the idea of this one since he can sit on the board and attack, while also being a counter spell to removal at some point in the game. This creature isn’t a sliver, but it gets the job done when it needs to.  

The manabase is fairly straightforward I think. You have an equal amount of Forest and Plains. A new dual land in the form of Thriving Grove. 1 copy of Ash Barrens to help search for the 1 Mountain in the deck and then finally 1 copy of Cave of Temptation to both help with color fixing and to pump a creature later in the game. The good part is that it puts counters on a creature so it stays big.  

Building a manabase for the Sliver archetype is tricky because you don’t want a lot of come into play tapped lands. You want to be curving out and not being able to cast something because of your manabase can sometimes end up losing you the game right there and then. I think this manabase is fine, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be refined further.  

The Sideboard

1 Bladeback Sliver – An extra copy just in case you face some slower decks where the game might go long enough that getting through with combat damage will eventually not be an option.  

2 Hunter Sliver – Extra copies for aggro mirrors where your creatures are bigger than theirs.  

1 Bloodfire Dwarf – I believe that this is also for aggro mirrors where there will be a lot of 1 toughness creatures. I personally don’t like this card as it does not hit flying creatures and would rather see it be Electrickery. However I will admit I could easily be wrong and this card is great.  

1 Crimson Acolyte – Burn is a huge issue for this deck because they can play the control game, while also winning the game. Not to mention, cards like Martyr of Ashes can be a huge deal. This one helps with all of that and more.  

2 Lone Missionary – Again, Burn is an annoying problem.  

2 Obsidian Acolyte – Mono Black Control has had a recent resurgence and in general, decks such as UB Teachings, MBC and BW Pestilence can be a huge problem for Slivers. This is a big help with that.  

4 Prismatic Strands – Never leave him without this one if you can play it. It is one of the best cards of all time in Pauper.  

2 Standard Bearer – Good hate for Bogles, Stompy and the like. Just be weary of Gut Shot.  

Final thoughts and Conclusion

I have always been a fan of Slivers. There is just something about building a Sliver army and then turning everyone sideways to get in a ton of damage that leaves you oh so satisfied.  

While normally GW slivers is what you will see, it is no secret that GW slivers can easily be stopped by killing their lord creatures. Even with the new tools of cards like Lead the Stampede, it doesn’t help if your lords are always dead and your creatures can never actually compete in combat. Sliver players used to try and combat removal with cards like Vines of Vastwood and I have also seen Ranger's Guile, however they proved to not do as much as anyone wanted.  

Adding red to this archetype doesn’t exactly stop that. But what it does do is help make the deck be able to fight outside of the red zone. I am particularly talking about Bladeback Sliver. I really love the idea of this card, especially since with Slivers you want to dump your hand as quickly as possible and will end up being empty handed anyway.  

Hunter Sliver can also be a big help because when in combat, it can help distract combat away from specific creatures you don’t want dying and especially help with keeping lord creatures alive through combat. I also think Heart Sliver really helps the control matchups by giving your creatures haste, which helps speed your game up. A good strategy when playing aggro vs any control deck, is to identify the fastest route to victory because the less draw steps/turns you give your opponent, the better it will be for you.  

One Sliver I really like is Two-Headed Sliver. I like how complicated this creature can make combat for your opponent and sometimes it can help squeeze through the last few points of damage as well. However I don’t know if this card is necessary or really any good honestly.  

So do I think this archetype will grant you many wins in the leagues? Well, it did win a challenge, which does say a lot and Hunter is a very good player. With that said though, I always say that do remember you need luck, as well as skill to win a tournament. Although remember Hunter has put up results with this archetype before. I think there is merit to playing this archetype, however I will always say, results may vary with Slivers.  

Throughout the years, Slivers in my opinion is and will always be extremely hit or miss. Without the lord creatures, Sliver creatures end up being weak and not all that scary. Removal is a huge headache for them and you need to get lucky with the archetypes you face as you are not very good against control, but you can go bigger than your aggro opponents.  

While it is true you have the pro red and black acolytes in this lists sideboard to help, having to leave mana up can make you slower by not casting more creatures and you will also be reliant on having multiple white sources in play, which sometimes is a small issue.

In the end, I am always willing to be wrong and without trying to sound like a broken record, this particular list did win a challenge. That is never easy and definitely makes it deserve a look.  

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to Gatherling.com on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

I wish you all the best in your league/challenge endeavors. Thank you for reading and I will catch you next time!