Shower Thoughts: Five Budget Sliver Trainers

Benjamin Levin • August 24, 2023

Myrkul, Lord of Bones | Illustrated by Isis
The First Sliver | Illustrated by Svetlin Velinov
Sliver Legion | Illustrated by Ron Spears
Sliver Queen | Illustrated by Ron Spencer

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Shower Thoughts, the budget Commander series that proves that Magic isn't pay-to-win. In this week's article, we will explore the idea of using a non-Sliver commander to helm a Sliver typal deck. I got the idea while taking apart the Necron precon to build Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, and realized he would be a great Necron commander, despite him not being a Necron. This got me thinking about other typal themes that might be great with an off-type commander that players overlooked.

I wanted to start this series off with Slivers for several reasons. First, Slivers are generally five colors, which means there are plenty of Slivers in each color.  Second, the usual commanders for Slivers are either boring or too expensive. The The First Sliver is fun and powerful, but it can be hard to justify picking one up at the price of a nice dinner out or a new video game. And third, because Slivers are a parasitic creature type, you don't care which ones you're playing, just that you have a massive army. There is a downside to losing powerful staples by going from a five-color deck to two or three, but the commanders I've selected as the Sliver trainers will show you how powerful Slivers can be, even in two colors. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Hofri Ghostforge

At first glance, Hofri might seem like a Spirit typal commander, but that's where you're wrong, because Hofri turns creatures that die into Spirits, you can make him the commander of any number of typal decks; well, almost any. Thankfully, there are 46 Slivers in Boros colors, which is more than enough to build a dedicated Slivers deck. Hofri came to mind thanks to his ability to provide board wipe protection for our Slivers.

The biggest problem with many typal decks is they are creature-based, meaning board wipes tend to hard counter them. How many times have you seen decks like Elfball be promptly removed from the game because of Wrath of God or Toxic Deluge? Hofri takes this weakness to board wipes and turns it into a strength. If we can wipe the board with Hofri and a Sliver that provides haste, such as Cloudshredder Sliver or Heart Sliver, it will clear the way for our new spirit Sliver army to attack the biggest threat with ease. If you have the extra budget for it, you can also run a Sneak Attack style deck to cheat Slivers into play.

Myrkul, Lord of Bones

It's no surprise that Myrkul has quickly become the most-played Abzan commander: its ability lends itself to wacky combos and interactions. However, they made it onto this list because they provide outstanding board wipe and removal protection from the command zone, much like Hofri. I will admit that exiling Slivers might seem like a downside; however, there are times you just want the buff they provide. It doesn't matter that your Venom Sliver or Talon Sliver are enchantments or creatures, you just want their buffs. Myrkul's ability really shines with niche Slivers, such as Necrotic Sliver, Darkheart Sliver, and Victual Sliver allowing your other Slivers to avoid exile removal.

My favorite Sliver pair in this deck are Basal Sliver and Lazotep Sliver. Basal Sliver lets you sacrifice your Slivers for two black mana, and Lazotep Sliver gives you a Sliver Army token to sacrifice for a total of four black mana per nontoken Sliver. If you want to be cute, you could try adding Starfield of Nyx and Maskwood Nexus to turn each enchantment token into a Sliver again.

Surrak Dragonclaw

Next is Surrak Dragonclaw, which seems like a pretty obvious choice as a Sliver commander. He lets you cast Slivers without the fear of countermagic and gives your Slivers trample. Surrak might seem to be the most boring commander on this list, but remember he has flash. This means you can use him as either a combat trick or protection at instant speed. If a player tries to counter Galerider Sliver, just flash Surrak into play and problem solved, or turn your Slivers into a trampling threat.

Plus, Temur provides access to some of the best clone spells in Magic, such as Mythos of Illuna, Quasiduplicate, and Mirrorhall Mimic, allowing you to double up on your best Slivers. I'd also suggest you include Bramble Sovereign as a repeatable way to create Slivers. If you have the extra budget for it, you can also try Riku of Two Reflections in the 99 or as the commander; however, I often find Riku to be a bit clunky, so your mileage may vary. You should prioritize copying Megantic Sliver, Synapse Sliver, and Brood Sliver for the buff, draw, and tokens respectively.

Raffine, Scheming Seer

The few Raffine, Scheming Seer decks I've seen were good stuff piles playing the best cards in Esper. It is cool the first time, but it gets pretty stale the fourth or fifth time, so I wanted to give Raffine a new coat of paint but wasn't sure what to do. I find it difficult to build with generically powerful commanders like this because there are so many different build paths.

But then it hit me like a truck: Raffine would be an amazing Sliver commander thanks to his ability to draw cards and buff Slivers. Okay, I know his ability isn't actually card draw, more like card selection, but that isn't a bad thing. Esper is already great at reanimating creatures, so why not combine that with Slivers to make a completely unique deck? By using Raffine's ability, you can select the best Slivers for any given situation and discard the rest to reanimate at a later time.

I'd highly recommend cards with cipher, such as Writ of Return or Stolen Identity, to grow your Sliver army, and if you have the extra budget, you should add card draw enhancers, such as Teferi's Ageless Insight or Alhammarret's Archive, so Raffine's ability becomes actual card draw.

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer

Sliver decks tend to lean on their low mana cost and sheer numbers to win games quickly, and Rocco can improve this strategy by letting us get the exact Sliver we need to cause the most mayhem straight from our deck. We can tutor up Cloudshredder Sliver to get in with flying or Virulent Sliver for a surprise infect win.

On the other hand, you can build Rocco as a midrange Sliver commander instead of aggro by including more land ramp and being selective with your Slivers. My favorite Sliver to tutor up in this style of deck is Hatchery Sliver. It provides a great mana outlet for all the other Slivers and is pseudo card advantage. For example, if you replicate Lavabelly Sliver one or two times, you essentially double or triple spelled with only one card.

Make sure to include ways to bounce creatures to your hand so you can tutor with Rocco or replicate the same Sliver more than once. This strategy also has the added benefit of being resilient to board wipes because your Sliver army will mostly be tokens.

Honorable Mentions

There were several other commanders who I thought about including here, but didn't quite make the cut, so I decided to give them a little love here.

Marchesa, the Black Rose is an interesting choice thanks to her ability to buff Slivers and provide board wipe protection. Also, you don't normally see Slivers in just Grixis colors, so I thought it would be interesting.

The Mimeoplasm sounded like a cool idea, but I wasn't sure what to do with it. While it could become any Sliver in the graveyard, most Slivers top out at 5/5. This means you either need to include more non-Slivers or accept it will be a small Ooze.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a great aggro Sliver commander. She provides cheap recursion for most Slivers, given their generally low power. In Mardu there are 48 Slivers with power two or less, so tons of creatures too recur.

Inga and Esika were one of the last cuts to this list. I think they are great a Sliver commander. They provide card draw and ramp in the command zone, which is just what Slivers want, but that's all I have to say about them.

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary was the other Simic commander originally on my list. I cut him because of how much shuffling you'd have to do when playing this commander. But I think he would be really fun and powerful.

This has been another installment of Shower Thoughts; make sure to check out my YouTube channel, BathroomBrewsMTG, for weekly MTG content and the accompanying video. Also, make sure to check out my Patreon if you want to take your support further.

This has been Ben, from BathroomBrewsMTG, and remember, always wash your hands.

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG ( Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.