Video Daily Digest: Slivers On The Shores Of Ixalan

Unclaimed Territory didn’t just open up possibilities for Human tribal in Modern! Slivers have started appearing in Top 8s again, and Ross Merriam is intrigued…

With the rise of Humans, Unclaimed Territory has staked its (un)claim as a critical piece in the five-color tribal manabase. There are now enough five-color lands to fully support these decks and bring their consistency to the level needed to compete in the metagame.

The remaining question is then whether or not Humans is the only tribe with a powerful enough suite of creatures to leverage this manabase. No tribe is more closely associated with heavy synergy and spanning all five colors than Slivers, so that seems to be a natural first tribe to explore. As an added benefit, you get to play Sliver Hive over Ancient Ziggurat, a significant upgrade.

Slivers have shown up before in Modern, most notably in this feature match where Adam Bowman scored an upset over SCG Tour mainstay Chris Andersen on his way to a Top 8 in Cincinnati. That deck utilized Collected Company in addition to Aether Vial and had the capability of ramping into big plays with Manaweft Sliver.

Today’s Slivers deck is much more interested in raw aggression and maximizing both the Anthem effects of Predatory Sliver and Sinew Sliver and the effectiveness of Aether Vial. The curve is heavily concentrated on one- and two-mana creatures, with the lone exception being the two copies of Blur Sliver. This gives the deck the potential for some explosive starts with a Turn 1 Aether Vial leading to five creatures on the battlefield on Turn 3 in the ideal scenario.

The list does sacrifice individual power level, but the power of Slivers come from how each one helps the rest, so getting onto the battlefield quickly has value. All the keyword abilities compound, leading to an army that is near-invincible. In particular, I think Striking Sliver is a great card in the deck, since first strike plays so well with all the Anthems, flanking, and of course deathtouch. The deck doesn’t have four copies because multiples aren’t good, but the first one is going to lock up a lot of games.

The sideboard gives you the ability to go bigger with some more powerful effects, and I like the singleton Homing Sliver as an across-the-board extra copy of each bullet, but don’t be afraid to stay lean and beat down. The age of Humans has passed, and I for one welcome our new Sliver overlords.