RUG Slivers

rug slivers

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We recently had our little influx of new slivers come into the Standard fold in Magic 2015. While they are all pretty awesome, some are a little more synergetic with others. The 3 standouts are: Sliver Hivelord, Diffusion Sliver and Venom Sliver. I had been joking for most of the RTR/Theros Standard format that I wanted to build a RUG Slivers deck because I adored the interaction between Thorncaster Sliver and Bow of Nylea. Now this is much more possible with Venom Sliver. You can even the deathtouch goodness when you’re playing defense with Striking Sliver.

The reason for not going all out 5 color or Naya are rather obvious. Black was the most superfulous color before, only providing Lifelink (something a deck that is mostly going to be the aggro doesn’t really want/need). The latest addition it provided in Leeching Sliver just seemed worse than Thorncaster Sliver (yes, yes it cost less mana).

 

RUG Slivers

Standard Format

Creatures: 32

3 Blur Sliver
Diffusion Sliver
4 Galerider Sliver
4 Manaweft Sliver
4 Predatory Sliver
1 Sliver Hivelord
4 Striking Sliver
4 Thorncaster Sliver
4 Venom Sliver

 

Instants: 3

3 Chord of Calling

Artifacts: 1

1 Obelisk of Urd

 





Lands: 24


4 Breeding Pool
4 Mana Confluence
4 Mutavault
4 Sliver Hive
4 Steam Vents
4 Stomping Ground

Sideboard
1 Back to Nature

1 Chord of Calling
2 Domri Rade
2 Flames of the Firebrand
2 Negate
1 Pithing Needle
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
2 Reclamation Sage
2 Syphon Sliver
1 Sliver Hivelord

The White contingent of Slivers seems so deep at first, but upon closer examination is not that mana-efficient and doesn’t really give you good overall value. Bonescythe Sliver is all awesome and stuff when you’re laying down the early beats before your opponent can react, but he’s oftentimes a glorified Striking Sliver (especially when deathtouch is involved). Constricting Sliver is all “OMG! I want infinite!” until you realize that 6 mana is way to much for what is essentially a Banisher Priest. Also, how many slivers would you be holding back at that point so you can use them to exile their stuff? We aren’t exactly drawing a bunch here.

Sentinel Sliver is ok-costed, but aside from allowing us to attack and also use mana when Manaweft Sliver is in play … Meh!

Steelform Sliver is just not what we want to be paying mana for, nor wasting a slot in our decks. 4 Predatory Sliver is A) cheaper and B) overall better.

Then there’s Sliver Construct …

sliver conI can’t believe I almost forgot about it

Another reason for giving Slivers a try is that the mana is as perfect for it as it’s going to get. With 8 Standard legal sets and all the Return to Ravnica duals in circulation, it’s hard to argue. We even have 2 ‘rainbow lands’ at our disposal: Mana Confluence and Sliver Hive. Everything we are casting in this deck is a Sliver (save 4 cards in the main deck). Because of this detail, we can even hard cast a Sliver Hivelord without  even the aid of Manaweft Sliver or tutoring it up with Chord of Calling.

chord of  callingWelcome back!

Ah yes! the glue that holds the deck together. It does exactly what this deck needs when it needs it.

Need some first strike to get your deathtouch slivers killing larger attackers?  Done

Want to clear the way by deathtouch pinging would-be blockers out of the way? Done

Need to protect one of your slivers from targeted removal, sort of ? Done

Hell, do you need to do something about that ‘lucky’ Supreme Verdict your opponent just topdecked? Done

The thing that makes Chord of Calling so good in this deck isn’t that we are infinite comboing our opponents like the Kiki-Pod Modern decks. It’s that it instantly affects ALL our other slivers and doubles as a trick up our sleeve. I’ve often found myself just ‘Chording’ for a Galerider Sliver to get my team of slivers through enemy lines in order to win the game.

galerider sliverQuite the efficient flyer

The sideboard is very much catered to just more Chord of Calling targets as well as a few cards that can sometimes shore up weaknesses, such as all our stuff getting repeatedly Banishing Light‘ed and Detention Sphere‘d. Syphon Sliver even makes a small appearance in there, just in case you end up needing that extra little life cushion.

Another thing about the sideboard is that we really have to assume that we’ll mostly have 1 color at any time, so no random off-color spells or spells that cost 2 of the same color unless they are Slivers (Chord of Calling for similar reasons). No Boros Charms, Detention Spheres, Banishing Lights, etc. We pretty much have some Negates to protect our horde from mass removal (Supreme Verdict notwithstanding). The sideboard will probably flesh out more as the metagame becomes clearer later on.

bonescytheReally a shame I can’t play this awesome looking promo sliver guy 

San Diego Comic Con MTG Previews

Here we have some Commander and Duel deck goodies:

 

speed vs

 

Looks like one of the guys from Kahns of Tarkir preview art

teferi pw

One of Magic’s oldest planeswalkers

tef2

Fall COMMANDER SET – releasing November 7th, 2014

gisa

Gisa from Innistrad block, whom we knew only via flavor text

The new hologram makes all these cars look so darn sexy, eh?

Izzet Nykthos

izzet nykthos

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While the Monogreen Nykthos deck posted a few weeks earlier is pretty neat, the majority of Nykthos-powered decks are still Standard. Usually they are monoblack, monoblue, monored and even monogreen (sorry, White). Izzet is not really a devotion-based combination as it’s usually more noncreature spell-heavy.  Sometimes those Blue/Red mages like to get their hands dirty by actually attacking …

 

Izzet Nykthos

Standard Format

Creatures: 27

Ash Zealot
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Fanatic of Mogis
4 Frostburn Weird
2 Keranos, God of Storms
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Stormbreath Dragon

Instants: 4

2 Cyclonic Rift
2 Turn/Burn

Artifacts: 2

2 Hammer of Purphoros

Planeswalkers: 2

2 Ral Zarek

 





Lands: 25


1 Mana Confluence
12 Mountain
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Steam Vents
4 Temple of Epiphany

Sideboard

2 Aetherize
2 Dictate of the Twin Gods
1 Electrickery
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Harness by Force
4 Mizzium Mortars
2 Negate
2 Turn/Burn

The majority of the damage comes from red’s resident Gray Merchant of Asphodel > Fanatic of Mogis

fan of mogisEach opponent ? Look out two-headed dragon format ! 

We all know the usual red suspects as far as devotion goes, but amazingly enough we get some nice options from the blue ‘splash’. First off, we get a nice little removal spell called Turn/Burn. It pretty much zaps everything that would be a problem, creature-wise. (Master of Waves, Fiendslayer Paladin, Desecration Demon,etc.) Things that are too big too burn or otherwise untargetable by anything red (of course in the later case we are only using the Turn part of the spell). When you aren’t doing that, you can also get some interesting two-for-ones against various other decks as well.

turnClearly did not see enough competitive play

Here’s another Blue bonus splash:

cyclonic riftShould clearly be banned in Commander

Cyclonic Rift‘s praises have been sung far and wide, so I’ll just abstain from reiterating. It’s usually one of the first cards we cut against a lot of matchups though. We can now focus on one of the main reasons, we are going Izzet. You’ve probably already figured it out by the article banner pic. It’s our super underplayed and super overhyped since Dragon’s Maze release planeswalker … Ral Zarek

ral zarekHe used to be 50$. Hard to believe, huh?

It’s fairly obvious what Ral here does for us: he untaps Nykthos ( a feat usually only matched by Voyaging Satyr in Standard monogreen devotion decks). I’ll let you imagine the insane early plays this entails (casting and monstrous-ing a Stormbreath Dragon). His other abilities come in very hand as well. Well, other applications of the first ability plus the -2 bolt one. You get to untap a mana and tap down their would-be blocker so you can get in there with your aggro dudes (Stormbreath Dragon, Boros Reckoner,etc). He becomes increasingly good versus the non-Hero’s Downfall control decks because of that as well (and of course the fact that he can bolt their planeswalkers).

On a side note, it really sucks that he needs to untap ‘another permanent’ otherwise he would have given the inspire mechanic some kind of life (which we can only hope the Convoke mechanic will do when M15 is released).

The deck is really all about explosiveness in the early game. Yes, Yes, Supreme Verdict can ruin our day but that’s not going to stop us from trying to get in there, is it? You need to keep your Burning-Tree Emissary for when it matters instead of just casting them and using the 2 mana for a random ‘Burn’ on some creature or something. Of course, if you have Hammer of Purphoros out, that’s a different story. We are an aggro deck after all, just that we have a mid-to-late game versus control decks. Purphoros and his Hammer go a long way (unfortunately some of them are playing Planar Cleansing nowadays). That’s where Keranos gets his time to shine as well.

One more week ’til Magic 2015

No idea where this deck is headed post M15. It doesn’t seem to have received any kind of support really, but if you like to try the decks that are a little off the beaten path, go ahead. Give it a try. Seriously, it’s actually much better than it looks. We promise.

 

ral banner