Paupers and Kings, Ep. 8: Sliver Hive

slivers playing poker

Hi everyone, and welcome to the eighth episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget. Today we’re talking about the tribiest of all the Magic tribes: Slivers!

Slivers in Pauper

So our hive in Pauper is all about Sliver Lords. Get enough Muscle, Predatory, and Sinew Slivers and your opponent’s hard-won [c]Gurmag Angler[/c] will look like a small fish that needs to be thrown back. Virulent Sliver is another favorite, while most of the other slivers contribute to combat damage in one way or another.

Here’s our list from TheBaartol.

[d title=”Slivers by TheBaartol (Pauper)”]
2 Blossoming Sands
10 Plains
10 Forest

4 Muscle Sliver
2 Quick Sliver
4 Plated Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
4 Sidewinder Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
2 Spinneret Sliver
3 Talon Sliver
4 Virulent Sliver

4 Commune with Nature
3 Journey to Nowhere

2 Spinneret Sliver
2 Gleeful Sabotage
4 Obsidian Acolyte
3 Standard Bearer
4 Circle of Protection: Red

All the interesting slivers are above common rarity. What we get in Pauper are a lot of slivers that change power and toughness, one way or another. Flanking makes it so that blocking a sliver lord with a bunch of 1/1s doesn’t work at all (surprisingly important) and first strike, reach, and even flash are all relevant abilities against some big decks in the current meta.

[c]Commune with Nature[/c] helps us find the right sliver at the right time, while Journey helps us clear out threats like Angler, Crusher, or Marauders on the opponent’s side. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about Pauper slivers; just get big and beat face.

Like all creature decks in Pauper, the slivers hive suffers from a lack of reach. If your opponent keeps your board clear and gets you into top deck mode, you need to rip some good cards (lord after lord after lord) or things will probably go badly for you. There is no card draw (commune replaces itself, but doesn’t provide card advantage) and no tricks (aside from being able to flash in a lord or other sliver to change combat math). You draw 7 to start, 1 per turn, and you had better make sure that’s enough.

Slivers in Modern

Slivers in Modern is slightly more multi-faceted than in Pauper, though we lose some impact because MoDo is damn weird. Sliver-cycling, for instance, appears to be broken on MtGO, so even though it would be a very handy effect, we don’t get it.

What we do get are some lords, some evasion, some ramp, regeneration, and even a little indestructible.

[d title=”Slivers by Bava (Modern)”]
4 Jund Panorama
3 Forest
2 Swamp
4 Sliver Hive
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Ancient Ziggurat

4 Galerider Sliver
2 Virulent Sliver
1 Striking Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
4 Sinew Sliver
4 Manaweft Sliver
1 Darkheart Sliver
4 Sedge Sliver
4 Necrotic Sliver
1 Sliver Hivelord
2 Firewake Sliver

4 Lead the Stampede
4 Æther Vial

3 Harmonic Sliver
3 Diffusion Sliver
2 Essence Sliver
1 Syphon Sliver
3 Frenetic Sliver
2 Virulent Sliver
1 Darkheart Sliver [/d]

As our only non-creature spells, Lead the Stampede and Aether Vial do WORK getting your slivers out in a way that is difficult for opponents to deal with. Harmonic Sliver out of the board can deal with nasty enchantments on the other side of the board (e.g. Splinter Twin and Jeskai Ascendancy), especially if you get to flash it in with a vial. The entire sideboard is composed of various slivers to help make sure we don’t mess up our Lead the Stampede numbers, which prefer a large majority of creatures for best impact.

Our mana base is handy for casting Slivers, but crummy for activating abilities (like Regenerate off our Sedge Slivers); some of them can’t even help cast Lead, so we definitely have some trade-offs for the easy creature mana.

If you’re really on a budget, trade out the [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] for some more basic lands, and the [c]Aether Vial[/c]s can become a Chord of Calling or some card draw or even more Slivers. There are a bunch of fun Slivers we’re not even using in this list that could make it into the Main, so you’ve definitely got options. Other than those cards, the deck is really inexpensive and surprisingly competitive. Let’s check out some games.

Slivers on the Play

Get big, beat face. There are some variations, but this is our general theme. Check it out.


Mess with the best, hive like the rest.

Next week on Paupers and Kings

Next week we ramp things up (literally) and talk about hyper-mana in both formats. As always, if you have recommendations for Modern / Pauper lists that cross formats, let me know in the comments.

Until next time, may all your hives be harmonic.