Comparing and Contrasting the existing slivers
As Wizards of the Coast has shown, if a race is enjoyed enough by the Magic playing crowd, it may be resurrected from the dust it may have become. The Slivers, an asexual race of a single hive mind in the Tempest storyline were last heard of in the set of Stronghold, and theoretically last seen in Dominaria in the Apocalypse storyline, as Tempest's Rath overlaid itself onto Dominaria, bringing its denizens to the same world. Fast forward a bit, to the Cephalids and their Riptide project. While the Cephalids die out soon after this genetic re-engineering project get off the ground, Slivers then live again. Now as the storyline no longer interests me as much as the individual flavor of the cards, I don't know what is happening in the "Big Picture" of Onslaught. I think it involves little ceramic prisons that can walk, or something that gives rise to Morph. Really, I don't care, and this intro paragraph is finished.
One thing that is commonly heard from newbies to our hobby is what kind of deck they want to make. Now, while most Magic players would say "I want to make a R/G Ponza style deck utilizing Elvish mana accilleration and the Flailing mechanic from Mercadian Masques," a newbie will simply say "I wanna make a Sliver deck!"-- yet what does this entail? Slivers once were very streamlined, each with unique abilities and very little true duplication, with the exception of Muscle Sliver overlapping Barbed and Armor Sliver slightly, but without the multiple activations and simi-firebreathing/Holy Armor effects with the help of a Heart Stone. Those days have changed with the coming of Legeons, and to a strange reason, the not-in-the-ALL-choice-on-MOL Sliver Overlord in Scourge.
Slivers can roughly be divided into a few catagories: Slivers which make their brothers harder to kill, Slivers which increase the offense of their brethen, Slivers that flat-out-grant abilities, The Unique, and the Eunich. While some of the slivers that increase the power of their others also increase the defensive capabilities, I have chosen to list them in the "offense" portion due to the emphasis on agression in modern-day Magic.
The Run Down:
Tougher To Kill
This group breaks down into three separate groups: Protection from Kill, Regeneration, and Toughness Grants. Hybernation Sliver asks for an investment of two life to return a sliver. If any slivers had Comes-Into-Play abilities other than their standard "Everybody Gets Something" abilities, this might be a very worthy contender. However, they don't. Ward and Crystalline Sliver have similar effects, making your creatures untargettable by your opponent's removal. Crystalline Sliver is the epitome of this, with its two-casting cost and complete forbidding of targetting your creatures. Keep in mind this will shut down some of the Legeons creatures simply by coming into play. Ward Sliver on the other hand give protection from one of five colors when it comes into play, granting the forbidding of targetting by that same color, complete brick-wall limiting of damage with a threshold setting of zero, and difficulty in blocking with reguards to the chosen color. However, for these Pros and Cons affecting only a fifth of kill(though it is arguable that only three or four colors need to be chosen), you pay an additional three mana. Next up is Clot and Crypt sliver. This is one contest that seems to be able to go only one way, as two colorless mana (or one with Heartstone) for regeneration is not a bad deal. Tapping a creature seems counterproductive, as the ability both targets (making it difficult to use the Ward or the Crystalline with this particular guy) and requires a sliver without summoning sickness to be made effective. However, its effect does cost a total of zero mana. The ability to regenerate while tapped out may be one worth looking into, though I'll stick with the Clot sliver right now. The final two buggers in this catagory do not directly compete, as one grants a permanant bonus for a casting cost of one, and the other allows a pumping of the backend. Plated is a good first turn drop as a 1/2 on its own, and only requries a single mana-- one of two slivers with that special ability. Armor Sliver we will revisit with next catagory.
They Have The POWER:
The first two slivvies are fairly costed when they are simply played by themself. A 2/2 for two or a 3/2 for three are par for the course in green and red, respectivly. When the power bonus of one distributed to every other sliver, these become no-brainers for slipping in a deck. Next up we have a duo that I'm making a trio. Barbed sliver gives a pumpable +1 to power for every two mana spent (*ACH**heartsone**OOOO**!), while Crypt Sliver costs the same, switching a black for a red, with the bonus of Armor Sliver's +1 to the backside as well. While black's two-mana sliver in Legeons was overshadowed by another sliver, Black's three mana selection has taken out two Slivers with one by-product of a stoner, by appearances. Last up is a Hill Giant. A Hill Giant that targets, hurting Crystalline and Ward Sliver's feelings. A Hill Giant that can effectivly BZERK a sliver for no mana. That might just be worth using a couple of Hybernation slivers to get rid of those Insane or Crying Slivers for that last-ditch +slivers/+0. That might just fly. Speaking of flying...
Abilities For You
Flying? That's a Good 'un! First Strike? Sounds good to me. NU-Rampage? Let's blitz past those birdies in the sky. Haste? Hell Yea. Trample? Bang ON! Provoke. *looks sideways for a pair of MUSCLE slivers or Clots... Alright. Bring it on. Each of these guys are resonably priced, and make decent additions to your deck. All that's needed is a 2W "All Slivers Gain Banding" sliver. Hell, mabe "Bands with Slivers." Sadly, Wizards of the Coast refuse to use such a great ability, and only intend to Mock it into Oblivion. For that, they should be stoned with bricks. If I win the invitational... Banding will come back. Cross your fingers.
Now here is the next-to-last list that lists those listable as lacking competition. The first few can be taken in pairs, as they have different effects with similar applications. Both the Queen and King Sliver, Errm, Overlord Sliver, pardon me, are beef. The queen pumps out more kids to take over with, and the King makes sure that baby Crystalline Sliver cries some more by targetting. He'll also fetch his Queen if need be, or whatever ability you need at that time. Amazingly, they didn't make a Demonic (Scuse me, Dial Bolic with a hidden Cell Phone in the artwork) Sliver with this ability, and give the Overlord some kind of army-leading ability other than conscripting other slivers. Compared to his queen, he's a sucker. He doesn't even have an infinate combo with Ashnod's Alter and Heartstone. Next up is a mirror imagery with Mnemonic Sliver and Mindwhip Sliver. Both gives a card advantage of +1, while one goes with the flow and can be used as an instant to glean some card advantage, you can't deny your opponent cards when he tries to kick one of your guys during combat. Next is a sliver that almost seems to say "Slivers are Unblockable." Yae. The next pair of slivers shows us damage-triggered abilities on a pair of Tor Giants. Essense Sliver puts a Spirit Link on all of your creatues, and Toxin Sliver puts out Death Pits of Rath stench quite effectivly, and even more so if you introduce it to Talon Sliver. Next up we have sssLivers who thrive on personal contact, Synapse giving you some Card Advantage for beating on your opponent, and Brood giving you Board Advantage instead. Here ends the easily-identified pairs and begins the Misfits, of which we may accept and we may reject. Root Sliver hurts Counterspells, Acidic Sliver hurts Other Creatures, Quick and Victual have little effects that are either not required or duplicated by common support cards. Mistform sliver? I'd like to say to the last five a chorus from a live set by Dev-O in 1976 in the middle of the chorus of Jocko Homo: "We Accept You! We Accept You! One of us! One of Us! We Reject You! We Reject You! One of... What the hell? Who are you? Get off the stage, Mother #*@+#%!" I believe that sums up my feelings on those one-ofs. However, if you're not using Aluren, Quick might be alright, and if you like Bazarr of Wonders, you might go a little crazy for more Root slivers than usual.
I hear he's like DEV0. Love 'em or Leave 'em be. Wear Gaudy Colors or Avoid Display. Lay A Million Eggs Or Give Birth To One, So Shallt Your Species Survive. Be Like Your Ancestors Or Be Different. We Must Repeat. Are We Not Men?
Slivers are a creature type that rewards creativity in deckbuilding. There are, depeding on the support cards, at least three different ways to build a sliver deck, both in Combo form, Control form, and somewhat in Weenie form. Dig up some of their friends from Stronghold to partner up with, the Licids, and have some good old fun. I hear that Lure is quite fun this year, too. The old Duelist article paired up said race by casting cost and told their abilities.
Should I do that? If anyone wants said chart, I'll do it, but I didn't want to waste my time if everyone could simply download MTG:O and do a search for "Sliver" themself. The only caveat: Sliver King doesn't appear unless you go to the top 'All' command instead of the bottom.
What goes below here? Hmm... How about nothing? How about a Teaser? A Poll?
Naaa. I'll go for a question: Has anyone seen those fabled Orgg toys somewhere? If so, how much was it boxed? I've been trying to find one of those things for quite some time, and I'm pretty sure ReSarus did release the toys to small markets someplace, as Neutral Ground: Atlanta had the Hurloon figure on display... I'd really appriciate any information ya'll have. Email The Orgg at Hotmail dot Com. As a matter of fact, If I randomly got one of those in the mail, that'd be even better...