Last updated on August 14, 2023

Leeching Sliver - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Leeching Sliver | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

They’re back, and they’re in every nook and cranny of your board and graveyard: we’re talking slivers. Sliver Swarm is a preconstructed Commander Masters deck dedicated to the glory of 5 color slivers, but it has a twist.

I’ve got your guide to some easy upgrades that take it to the next level. I want to make this list as powerful as possible while maintaining the overall theme and strategy behind the precon.

So let’s get to swarming!

Sliver Swarm Overview

Gemhide Sliver - Illustration by Alayna Danner

Gemhide Sliver | Illustration by Alayna Danner

Sliver Swarm is a 5-color sliver deck featuring the new Commander Masters commander Sliver Gravemother. This deck wants to build a massive board of slivers with effects that can stack in multiples to get the most out of the main commander’s encore ability. To make this gameplan come together, the deck’s going to need slivers in play, cheap slivers in the graveyard, and ways to keep both your hand and graveyard stocked with them.

One and 2-mana slivers in the graveyard give you three new sliver bodies when encored out, each capable of bolstering the entire team. Simple slivers like Muscle Sliver cost 2 to encore and put 15/15 worth of stats into play with just Gravemother on the table. When you start stacking more lords or enter the battlefield triggers on these, it gets out of control.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Sliver Swarm Commander Deck

Sliver Swarm has a lot of the foundation pieces I’d want to see in a sliver deck. It packs a great number of staple slivers that work to either keep Gravemother or make the team about as scary as you could ask for. It has a solid package of cheap effects to get extra mana early, with all-stars Gemhide Sliver and Manaweft Sliver turning the sliver army into Birds of Paradise

I think the deck could use some touch-ups that fit in four main categories: better slivers, getting slivers into the graveyard, protection, and lands. Each recommendation fits one or more of these categories. There are only a few ways to get slivers into the graveyard beyond watching them die, which makes Gravemother’s encore ability challenging to set up.

Magic The Gathering Commander Masters Commander Deck - Sliver Swarm (100-Card Deck, 2-Card Collector Booster Sample Pack + Accessories)
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Teferi’s Protection

Teferi's Protection

Suggested Cut: Sliver Hivelord

Decks that are going wide are prone to board wipes. Teferi's Protection keeps your creature investments on the table through wraths and rifts while saving you from giant target burn and drain effects.

Hivelord’s protection costs more, doesn’t scale with what Gravemother is doing, and doesn’t work against some of the most common board clears in the game, making it a 5-mana 5/5 most of the time.

Entomb and Buried Alive

Suggested Cuts: Harsh Mercy, Rukarumel, Biologist

Entomb and Buried Alive both tutor slivers to your graveyard to immediately encore out with Gravemother. Both effects with your commander out and 5 or 6 mana can put insane amounts of damage by setting up a Might Sliver or immediately answer a bunch of artifacts and/or enchantments with Harmonic Sliver as you need.

Harsh Mercy isn’t usually going to destroy the creatures you’d want it to anyway, and Rukarumel definitely wants to be commanding a different deck and has little to no synergies with this one.

Kindred Discovery

Kindred Discovery

Suggested Cut: Megantic Sliver

Kindred Discovery, paired with Gravemother’s encore, draws six cards: three when the slivers enter, and three when they attack. This deck needs a bit better card advantage, and this definitely helps.

Megantic Sliver’s only issue is its cost; Gravemother wants lots of cheap creatures to pay off its ability. Six mana isn’t cheap for what’s often overkill extra power.

Basal Sliver

Basal Sliver

Suggested Cut: Spiteful Sliver

Basal Sliver turns your encore effects into rituals. Take Galerider Sliver; when you encore it with a Basal Sliver out, you’re paying one mana to make three creatures you can immediately sacrifice to gain . The encore costs Gravemother provides your slivers is colorless; paired with the mana from Basal Sliver you can encore your entire graveyard into play with strategic sacrifices.

Spiteful Sliver doesn’t give you an ability you can readily use, making it a fairly ineffective sliver despite it scaling multiplicatively with Gravemother.

Homing Sliver

Homing Sliver

Suggested Cut: Syphon Sliver

Homing Sliver gives you a sliver-based way to get slivers from your hand into the bin to encore out while tutoring out the best slivers in your deck for the situation. Three mana is a bit much, but this deck really wants everything Homing provides.

Syphon Sliver is the first of many you’re looking to cut that doesn’t stack when encored, making it an easy option to cut. If a cut sliver moving forward fits this category, and I don’t talk about it, this is why.

Leeching Sliver

Leeching Sliver

Suggested Cut: Two-Headed Sliver

Leeching Sliver in multiples drains huge chunks of damage. For 2 mana with encore, you’re getting a 9-damage drain with no other attackers. Gross!

Mindlash Sliver

Mindlash Sliver

Suggested Cut: Blur Sliver

Mindlash Sliver may be a bit rude. You may want to bring it up in a pregame rule 0 conversation. You can play it, sac it to make everyone discard (which benefits you by setting up encore), then encore it and sacrifice it three more times to strip everyone’s hands away. 1-mana slivers are insane with Gravemother for their cheap encore, and Mindlash has a powerful effect this deck will happily use.

Haste is useful, but encore already provides you ample access to haste for your slivers, making Blur Sliver less appealing. Cloudshredder Sliver is a redundant effect that’s cheaper, gives haste, and gives flying, which I still think is worth it.

Dormant Sliver

Dormant Sliver

Suggested Cut: Venom Sliver

Dormant Sliver isn’t going to be attacking, but when it enters the battlefield it draws a card and makes each encore draw three cards. If you encore it, you draw three for just 4 mana, and it’ll be off the table at the end of the turn.

Thorncaster Sliver

Thorncaster Sliver

Suggested Cut: Shifting Sliver

Thorncaster Sliver plays like a more expensive version of Leeching Sliver, but it can hit creatures. Five mana may seem a bit steep for encore, but it basically gives your entire team an Inferno Titan attack trigger. Seems worth it to me!

Hunter Sliver

Hunter Sliver

Suggested Cut: Necrotic Sliver

Hunter Sliver, when paired with all the team-pumping slivers you’re running, makes all attacking slivers removal. Encored slivers are dying at end of turn anyway; trading them for valuable creatures is an amazing deal.

Necrotic Sliver is neat in that it turns cheap encore tokens into Vindicates; with the other costs you pay, though, I don’t regularly expect to want to do that, and Hunter adds a different form of interaction that synergizes with the rest of the game plan.

Muscle Sliver and Predatory Sliver

Suggested Cuts: Clot Sliver, Quick Sliver

Muscle Sliver and Predatory Sliver are redundant effects you want to stack on top of Sinew Sliver. With encore, they’re Collective Blessing for your slivers for 2 mana. Multiple encored at once put so much power on the table that somebody is going to get knocked out.

Faithless Looting and Frantic Search

Suggested Cuts: Crippling Fear and Decimate

Faithless Looting and Frantic Search are both as efficient looting effects as you can run. This deck wants ways to get its powerful encore 1- and 2-mana slivers into the graveyard. These both give card selection and set up big turns down the road.

Your slivers are the best interaction you have, and you’re adding extra ways to find the ones you need for the situation, making these two slow, conditional removal options unappealing.

The First Sliver

The First Sliver

Suggested Cut: Constricting Sliver

The First Sliver is the first of two legendary options to encore with Gravemother to use its “legend rule” ability. Five mana to give your slivers cascade is insane on its own. Multiples give each sliver cascade, cascade, cascade, which is nuts value.

Constricting Sliver is hard for me to cut, but 6 mana is so much for what’s often going to be temporary removal. I think this deck wants to be more aggressive and push multiple cheaper bodies into play instead to outnumber the enemies.

Mana Echoes

Mana Echoes

Suggested Cut: Pillar of Origins

Mana Echoes triggers whenever any creature of a type enters the battlefield. It doesn’t care if it’s a token or not, so with encore, you’re normally up mana. Echoes normally is restricted by its colorless mana generation; Gravemother gives you a place to put all that colorless.

Pillar of Origins only casts slivers, and while two mana ramp is valuable, I think it’s by far the worst mana accelerant in the deck.

Sliver Legion

Sliver Legion

Suggested Cut: Icon of Ancestry

Sliver Legion adds a silly amount of power to each sliver on its own. Encored, it pumps your team by triple however many other slivers you have. With just Gravemother and an encored Legion, you have four slivers in play, which means each gets +9/+9.

Icon of Ancestry isn’t a sliver and has an activated ability that’s too expensive for me to ever want to use. Easy cut!

Sundial of the Infinite

Sundial of the Infinite

Suggested Cut: Herald's Horn

Sundial of the Infinite can be timed to stifle the encore sacrifice trigger when it goes on the stack on your end step, leaving you with the sliver tokens until the next end step, and it costs just 3 mana to get out and use.

Herald's Horn doesn’t draw cards consistently, and the mana discount doesn’t justify its cost to me.

Mana Base Upgrades

Suggested Cuts: the slow fetch lands (Flood Plain, Grasslands), the 3-color tap lands (Frontier Bivouac, Jungle Shrine), the 2-color cycling lands (Irrigated Farmland, Sheltered Thicket), and Mossfire Valley

Adding in the shock land cycle (Temple Garden, Overgrown Tomb), the fast fetch lands cycle (Bloodstained Mire, Misty Rainforest), and the original dual lands cycle (Taiga, Badlands) all help ensure you’re getting untapped lands when you need them. The triomes (Xander's Lounge, Indatha Triome) also are fetchable and fix for three colors instead of just two, making them great additions for better fixing.

If you want counter-protection and rainbow fixing, Cavern of Souls is superb.

Sliver Hive provides a tool to fix for slivers and generate one in a pinch.

Cheaper fixing options are also reasonable routes to explore. Lots of the lands in this deck have land types already, making the check lands (Clifftop Retreat, Sunpetal Grove) reasonable affordable alternatives to the duals, fetches, and shocks. If you want to make any of these changes, I’d make sure not to cut duals with the forest land type for the ramp package.

Commanding Conclusion

Mana Echoes - Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Mana Echoes | Illustration by Christopher Moeller

Since the printing of Sliver Legion, every sliver Commander deck is just too spooky. A couple of humble 1/1s or 2/2s can suddenly be 12/12 double-striking trampling shroud creatures that Aura Shards when they enter the battlefield.

This precon is a great place to start on your archenemy slivers journey. Gravemother brings a fresh take to the archetype by empowering some less-played slivers and asking deck brewers to work beyond “Play Coat of Arms” to achieve victory.

Thanks for checking out this Precon Upgrade Guide! What upgrades would you make? Let us know on Discord or in the comments below.

Now, get out there and get slivering!

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  • Avatar
    Thomas JIBAUT August 9, 2023 1:16 am

    Thanks for this post! Sundial of the Infinite is a cool add but you won’t be able to keep all the tokens indefinitely because you’ll have to sacrifice them on the beginning of the next end step. The next end step will be one of your opponents end step. As you can’t activate this artifact’s ability in any turn other than yours, you won’t be able to keep those tokens indefinitely.

    • Jake Henderson
      Jake Henderson August 10, 2023 7:22 am

      Thanks for reading! I agree with your assessment and have corrected the post accordingly. Have a good one!

  • Avatar
    Sliver August 13, 2023 10:49 pm

    “Dormant Sliver isn’t going to be attacking, but when it enters the battlefield it draws a card and makes each encore draw three cards. If you encore it, you draw nine for just 4 mana, and it’ll be off the table at the end of the turn.”

    If you encore Dormant Sliver wouldn’t you just draw three not nine?

    • Jake Henderson
      Jake Henderson August 14, 2023 1:21 pm

      Yes, you’re right, and I’ve corrected that mistake for the original author. Thanks for reading!

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