Struggling to find a woman that will touch you on a voluntary basis? Do you have zero expectations in life in general? Well, why not start shuffling a deck of cards instead of yourself?! That’s right, Magic the Gathering 2014 now gives virgins a new hope of doing something more constructive with their life instead of leering at women in bus shelters.
Expanding on our previous post, here are better images for the Magic 2014 Ultra PRO playmats: • v1 UPR 86079 Archangel of Thune • v2 UPR 86080 Thorncaster Sliver • v3 UPR 86081 Scourge of Valkas • v4 UPR 86082 UNKOWN ART • v5 UPR 86083 Flames of the Firebrand
A new chapter in the Sliver story began in Magic 2014. As the returning mechanic, Slivers were weighted in a few colors (Red, Green, and White) with only a single Blue and Black Sliver appearing at Rare. In addition, their visual style was overhauled to add diversity to their art. They now had arms, legs, and faces, but kept the tentacle hair. Some even showed vestiges of the single claw, while they all now boasted a set of movable plates over a twisting musculature. On top of everything else, now we were seeing them on the plane of Shandalar, not Dominaria. Today I’ll be looking at these new, evolved Slivers.
Sentinel Sliver: Since these Slivers appeared in a core set, it was important that each one exemplify the mechanics of their color. While Synchronous Sliver granted vigilance before, it was the Blue member of a cycle of “colorshifted” creatures that had abilities they normally wouldn’t get. Sentinel Sliver filled the void of a White vigilance Sliver.
Hive Stirrings: White is also the color of having lots of creatures, especially tokens, so it was the perfect time to print a spell that made Sliver tokens. The baby Slivers in the art looked much more like the older Sliver cards, bearing a single claw and a blank, arrow-shaped head.
Striking Sliver: This card has one of the clearest references to the vestigial claw, with one whole arm of the animal still bearing the blade. It’s the first Red Sliver to grant first strike, despite the color being primary in it for almost as long as White. It’s also one of the only new one-drop Slivers, making it a crucial member of a deck’s mana curve.
Blur Sliver: Not every evolved Sliver got humanoid, with this one showcasing a quadrupedal stance. It’s undeveloped face and claw-like limbs show that it’s in this mid-level stage of evolution. I was super bummed that this card cost three mana, as the tribe was a little heavy at that slot in Magic 2014.
Predatory Sliver: Muscle Sliver is an iconic member of the tribe, so it pretty much got a functional reprint here. Notice, however, that all the Slivers are now only affecting your Slivers, not all Slivers. This was done for a number of reasons. One, it’s how many players assumed Slivers worked anyway. Two, it greatly reduced board complexity in the mirror match, which has always been a nightmare for Sliver decks. Three, all “lords” (creatures that grant bonuses to other creatures) had made this change already, and Slivers were just following suit.
Groundshaker Sliver: No card showcases the bony plates and tentacle muscles as well as this card. It also fixes the Horned Sliver problem of granting trample while also being a small creature. Even outside a Sliver deck, Groundshaker Sliver can pummel opponents.
Sliver Construct: The final common Sliver filled a very specific hole. Metallic Sliver was a vanilla 1/1 for one mana. Venser’s Sliver was a vanilla 3/3 for five. What was missing? A vanilla 2/2 for three. And here it is, right on schedule. It also makes reference to the Skep, which is the name given to the actual location of the Sliver nest on Shandalar.
Steelform Sliver: A toughness boost goes a long way in a set with little removal, so Steelform Sliver is at uncommon for power reasons. It’s probably the most humanoid Sliver as well, boasting fully developed limbs and head. The flavor text is an appropriate warning, however, that this is just an imitation of other animals and not a sign of sapient friendliness.
Battle Sliver: While Battle Sliver is also pretty humanoid, its four arms still show that Slivers are masters of adaptation. That’s also why it gives a +2/+0 bonus instead of just a +1/+0 bonus. It also makes it a 5/3 for five mana all by itself, which makes it useful in limited outside of a Sliver deck. That should be a noticeable trend.
Manaweft Sliver: Like Muscle Sliver, Gemhide Sliver became a staple card in Sliver decks. It provided the mana fixing necessary to make the decks work, and that’s why it basically got reprinted as Manaweft Sliver here. This is one of the more interesting pieces of Sliver art in the set, and I absolutely adore the color and texture of the cranial tentacles.
Bonescythe Sliver: The rare Slivers from Magic 2014 are among the most powerful ever printed. While Fury Sliver was printed at six mana because of how powerful double strike is, Bonescythe Sliver only costs four. It’s a vast improvement, and I can say from personal experience that this is a card that ends games. And I’m not sure why, but I think Trevor Claxton really likes drawing Sliver backs.
Galerider Sliver: As I said earlier, the only Blue and Black Slivers in the set were at rare. The tribe is classically equally in all colors, so a small bone was given to Sliver fans who wanted new Blue and Black ones. Galerider Sliver is the only other one-drop, but that makes it vastly superior to Winged Sliver.
Syphon Sliver: Essence Sliver has a triggered ability and was never printed with lifelink, so that was another evergreen mechanic that never found its way onto a Sliver. Well, now it has. Syphon Sliver is aggressively costed, dropping a turn before Essence Sliver. Two Syphon Slivers won’t gain you twice the life (a trick Essence Sliver can do), but the tempo advantage is well worth it over the Legions original..
Thorncaster Sliver: Trevor Claxton’s wonderful Manaweft Sliver texture is back, and this time we get a facefull of it. This is the machine gun Sliver, making every attack a flurry of damage. It can be used to take out blockers, deal extra damage to the defending player, or get some +1/+1 counters off of Fungus Sliver.
Megantic Sliver: The biggest of all the Slivers, this is a game-changer. We’ve had a few Slivers grant +1/+1 bonuses, and Might Sliver gave +2/+2, but this is a whole new ball game. A 6/6 for six mana is already pretty good, and boosting your whole Hive is just crazy amounts of crazy. Most boosting Slivers don’t make it into Commander, but this one certainly should if you have a Sliver deck.
Their appearance in Magic 2014 sparked more questions than answers. How did the Slivers get to Shandalar in the first place? Why are they evolving so fast? Why can’t they just be like the old Slivers? Where’s our WUBRG legendary Sliver? All fine questions, and most of them got answered in Magic 2015.
Join me next week, planeswalkers, when I dive into the final appearance of the Slivers.
Wizards of the Coast is kicking off an exciting contest today that gives Magic: The Gathering fans the chance to win a trip for two to the PAX event of their choice in 2014. Starting today and concluding at PAX Prime in August, the contest asks fans to “audition to become a Planeswalker” by submitting a photo of themselves characterizing a Planeswalker of their choice.
The grand prize winner will be selected by a team of judges at Wizards and will win a trip for two to the PAX event of their choice in 2014, including travel, hotel and event tickets. In addition, the grand prize winner will be awarded a pizza party for their favorite local Wizards Play Network (WPN) retail store.
A second place winner will be selected by popular vote. A pool of the top 10 entries will be chosen in early September and posted online for fans to vote on their favorite. The entry with the most votes will win a laptop and a copy of the recently released Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers video game.
Visit www.igniteyoursparkcontest.com for contest details and be sure to check out actress, gamer and new media geek, Felicia Day’s, video as Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar!
The illusion effect is one of the more common effects that can be seen on blue creatures. Whenever they become targeted, you have to sacrifice the creature. Normally this is on your own creatures, but Dismiss into Dreams gives it to all of your opponent’s creatures. This makes little things like Erratic Portal kill spells, and even better, it’ll deal with ‘online’ gods, as you’re forced to sacrifice them. An interesting card you can use is Lorthos, the Tidemaker, as you can target eight things, but then opt not to pay the 8 mana. They’re still targeted,and still get sacrificed. It’s a fun way to have blue be able to deal with creatures, and with the right cards it’s easy to keep the field clean, even with cards like Equilibrium to target thigns while you’re casting. That seven mana may be steep, but it’s that expensive for a reason.