Uncommanders: Sliver's Strength

Alejandro Fuentes • August 15, 2023

A Sliver of Hope

Welcome to Uncommanders, where we make decks with one severe restriction: common cards only. In Pauper Edh, decks are made with the cards you skip over in packs, but I'm here to demonstrate just how powerful some of those cards can be. Today, I wanted to reinvent a deck that's been getting on my nerves: every Sliver deck ever. They all play the same cards, and if Sliver Overlord's in the command zone, they play the same game every time. So let's try something fresh, shall we? 

Slivers Creatures You Control Follow the Leader

Firstly, we need an uncommon commander. There's at least one Sliver for every color pair, so we can pick whichever we like, although we can't go past two colors. So what are we looking for? We're looking for a set of Slivers that pairs well with the commander for their color combo. Selesnya is full of keyword effects, like vigilance and reach, which don't do much for Harmonic Sliver. Dimir is also pretty disparate, with everything from Slivers that want to sacrifice themselves to Slivers that regenerate. None of that works well with Hibernation Sliver, who wants to rescue its mates from the brink of death. Necrotic Sliver is definitely the best option, as it's in the perfect colors for sacrifice and recursion. You could make a deck that easily keeps your opponents down. But that's not very fun, is it? The whole point of this is to create a more fun, exciting version of the Slivers deck, and for that reason, I'm playing Firewake Sliver as my commander. It lends itself nicely to a simple gameplan while still being able to pull some unexpected tricks. In addition, it can support a minor graveyard strategy, which is essential to have given our relatively small number of Slivers. 

So what Slivers are we playing? All of the ones that we can fit in the deck. There are only two that we're excluding: Horned Sliver, because it adds six dollars to our deck cost, and Venser's Sliver, because a five-mana 3/3 is terrible no matter what. However, the Slivers that we are playing are nothing but good fun. Bonesplitter and Cleaving Sliver will often double our damage output, and with Striking Sliver, we'll never have to accept bad trades. Homing Sliver is a far fairer version of Sliver Overlord that lends itself nicely to the recursion theme we're going to get going. Virulent Sliver getting flashed in with Quick Sliver will end games out of nowhere. Of course, 21 Slivers aren't quite enough, so Masked Vandal and its changeling buddies are easy inclusions. We can go wide with ease, and when the time comes, a few activations of Firewake Sliver's ability will take us to victory.

Back from the Grave

Let's look at that recursion subtheme, shall we? While Revive the Shire doesn't seem like that great of a card, and while it pales in comparison to the shenanigans that Reanimate enables, recursion is an inherently powerful strategy no matter how you do it. Two-Headed Sliver eats an Assassin's Trophy? It's right back in our hand with Wildwood Rebirth, ready to be played again. Virulent Sliver gets struck by a bolt? Revive gives it a second chance. And when we don't need to react, the spells can be used to enable our commander. There's some extra utility to the spells as well, as Grapple with the Past fixes our land drops and Evolution Charm provides evasion. 

To top the deck off, I've packed it with combat tricks that mimic our commander's ability, allowing us to get in for extra damage when our opponent least suspects it. Vines of Vastwood, Temur Battle Rage, and Blades of Velis Vel all make the cut, but my favorite has to be Might of the Masses. This card constantly overperforms, often buffing by ten points; the perfect finisher. From there, we just throw in Llanowar Elves and its various copies, plus Cultivate, Rampant Growth, etc. Some basic protection in Tamiyo's Safekeeping, some card draw in the form of Cathartic Reunion variants, and we're good to go. How does it play?

Testing:

Alright, so there are a few things worth nothing here. Right now, we only have 34 creatures in the deck, and six of them aren't even Slivers. For a creature deck with only one goal, I prefer to have over 40. Unfortunately, we're pretty maxed out with the Slivers we play, unless we dip way too far into the draft chaff. Instead, let's ramp up our card advantage. Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve work great, but Mulch and its friends are even better. The majority of them allow us to get the creatures that we want into our hand, and leftovers will enable us to go even deeper into the graveyard theme. Cards with flashback, like Ancient Grudge, are basically free card draw when we mill them, and Delirium is surprisingly easy to get, so Unholy Heat becomes a premium removal spell, which the deck also needs. With that, let's see how it runs. 

https://www.archidekt.com/decks/5*145669

It's like it's been freshly oiled. Every deck that uses its graveyard needs to have this card draw package. Satyr Wayfinder feels like Ancestral Recall, and we're running seven effective copies of the card in the deck. It's like a deck full of cantrips, where the size is effectively reduced, allowing for consistency and adaptability. Our gameplan is even more effective now, as we're flooded with Slivers and recursion. The deck is almost impossible to halt completely, as no matter what you remove, a threat always manages to reappear. As far as making a Sliver deck that's entertaining and unique, I think I've succeeded. While the game tends to play out similarly due to a high amount of redundancy, the frequent combat tricks make it a thrill to pilot. And while it may be weaker than Sliver Overlord (and the new Virulent Sliver + Hatchery Sliver Combo), it can still swarm and adapt the way Slivers were meant to.

Have you ever rethought a deck? Let me know below!



Alejandro Fuentes's a nerd from Austin Texas who likes building the most unreasonable decks possible, then optimizing them till they're actually good. In his free time, he's either trying to fit complex time signatures into death metal epics, or writing fantasy novels.