Published on 07/07/2014

Are You Smarter Than a Sliver?

or, Sliver Me Timbers!

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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

The triumphant return of Slivers! Again! For a few months until Khans of Tarkir comes out, Standard will have more Slivers than ever since the dim old days of Morningtide (that was old? I feel so old now). It's also been a while since we've had a good quiz article, so it's time for quiz all about Slivers.

Our astute long-time readers may recall that I wrote an article all about Slivers once. Yes, you may correctly infer that I like Slivers. They're just so cute and cuddly. Some questions here will overlap that article to see if you remember things from a year ago.

Next week's article will be our first dip into the world of Magic 2015, so go ahead and start sending in your questions about the new core set. Or anything else you have questions about. Even Slivers. You can email us at or by clicking on Moko up there, or send a short question to @CranialTweet on Twitter.

Q: Which Slivers aren't redundant when I get four of them out?

A: The answers are...

A: Muscle Sliver
B: Blur Sliver
C: Gemhide Sliver
D: Thorncaster Sliver
E: Metallic Sliver

The Slivers that Sliver the best with twins are...
A and D

We can clear up three categories right away: If everything's getting an activated ability, it's redundant in multiples because you can activate the one ability multiple times, or you can't pay the cost twice no matter how many times it has that ability. If everything's getting a triggered ability, they will always trigger separately (whether their resolution does anything noteworthy is simpler logic). And if the Sliver is vanilla, all it does in multiples is dance.

Gaining static abilities is where it's interesting. Here, you need to check whether the ability is adding something (like power), or granting a permission where you only need a yes/no answer (like haste, flying, first strike). The full rules, linked under More Resources in the sidebar to the left, handily note this for keyword abilities in their ability definition.

Q: I attack with Lymph Sliver, and Xenagos flashes in Dictate of the Twin Gods. How many 2/2 Satyrs does he need to block with to kill my Sliver?

A: The answer is...

A: One
B: Two
C: Three
D: Four
E: Five
F: Just pick a number. This isn't really a multiple choice question.
G: Okay, it is multiple choice. The choices are the set of positive integers.
H: If you want to choose "zero" as your answer, knock yourself out.
I: "Zero" is incorrect, though.

The answer is positively...
Two Lil Satyrs

When multiple replacement effects complete, like Dictate of the Twin Gods and the absorb keyword, the controller of the affected object gets to order them. The affected object is your Sliver, not the Satyr, so you get to order the effects. For each of the two, you may choose to prevent 1 damage, and then double it to 2.

You could choose to double and then prevent 1 and allow one Satyr to kill your Sliver, but unless your opponent knows that you don't know how to replacement effect, he needs to block with two to ensure death.

Q: I attack with Synchronous Sliver, Thorncaster Sliver, and Basal Sliver, then sacrifice Synchronous Sliver to help pay Propaganda's cost to attack. What happens?

A: The answer, comrade, is...

A: The Slivers are tapped. You have three triggers.
B: The Slivers are tapped. You have two triggers.
C: The Slivers are untapped. You have three triggers.
D: The Slivers are untapped. You have two triggers.
E: You can't do that.
F: The world explodes. Nice job breaking it.

Our propaganda tells us that the answer is
D, standing Slivers trigger twice.

First you choose what to attack with: three Slivers. You submit this set of attackers and tap them - except you don't tap them because they have vigilance. After that, you need to pay the Propaganda cost to complete your declaration of attacks. Basal Sliver's ability is most certainly a mana ability, so it can be activated now to pay some of that.

Once that's done, you've finished declaring attackers. Anything that triggers on the declaration of attackers does so now. Two Slivers are declared as attackers and have triggers, so each's ability triggers, and the dead Sliver's too busy being dead to trigger anything.

Q: Two Essence Slivers and two Syphon Slivers attack. How much life do I gain?

A: The answer is...

A: Step one: Remember that Essence Sliver is 3/3 and Syphon Sliver is 2/2.
B: Step two: Remember that there are two of each Sliver.
C: Step three: ???
D: Step four: Profit!
E: Step five: "???" in step three is another positive integer.
F: Step six: Or 0.
G: Step seven: 0 is still not the answer.

Your sick gains are...
30 life, whoa!

If you remember way back up in question 1, triggers always trigger independently. Lifelink isn't a trigger, though. So you'll have 10 damage dealt, which results in 10 life gained right away from lifelink. Each Essence Sliver triggers once for each Sliver, resulting in a gross pile of eight triggers on the stack; four give you 3 life as they resolve, and four give you 2, for a total of 20 more life. Grand total life gained: 30.

Q: Vesuvan Shapeshifter enters the battlefield as a copy of Ward Sliver and I choose red for it. Later, I turn it face down so I can copy something cooler, but that dies so end up copying Ward Sliver again. What happens?

A: The answer is...

A: You choose a new color for your Vesuvan War Sliver. It grants protection from that color.
B: You choose a new color for your Vesuvan War Sliver. It grants protection from that color and protection from red.
C: Vesuvan War Sliver grants protection from red.
D: Vesuvan War Sliver grants no protection.
E: You typo "Vesuvan Ward Sliver" as "Vesuvan War Sliver" in all four answers and decide that's a pretty awesome card name.

D, no protection for you!

Turning Vesuvan Shapeshifter face up isn't causing it to enter the battlefield - it's already there - so you won't get to choose a new color. The two abilities it has are linked: one's a replacement effect to pick a color, and one uses that choice to grant protection. Since they're linked, they only care about each other, not any other abilities with the exact same text. When Vesuvan Shapeshifter stops being a copy of Ward Sliver, it loses the abilities. Gaining a new pair of abilities from being a shiny new copy of Ward Sliver has those linked, but no choice was made for the first ability this time, so the second ability fails to do anything.

Q: I Mindslavered my Sliver-playing opponent, and he just so happens to have a Hibernation Sliver I can make him cast. He's at 10 life and his other Slivers are all dead. Can I make him pay all of his life after he casts it?

A: The sleepy answer is...

A: No, after you make him activate it once, the Sliver is gone.
B: No, you can't make him pay 2 life once he's at 2.
C: Yes, you can make him pay 2 life once he's at 2.
D: No, Hibernation Sliver doesn't have the ability.
E: Who cares, just make your opponent concede.

Gleemax says...
C, pay it all

You can activate an ability and respond to that ability, so it's fine to activate the ability over and over and over. Hibernation Sliver is a Sliver, so it does have the ability to be activated repeatedly. While the rules prevent you from making a payment with life you don't have, they do not prevent you from bankrupting your life total with poor choices - or malicious choices made for you!

Q: I control Quick Sliver, Conspiracy, and have Dryad Arbor in hand. When can I play the Arbor?

A: The answers are...

A: During your upkeep.
B: During your main phase while the stack is empty and you have priority.
C: During your main phase while the stack is not empty and you have priority.
D: During your opponent's main phase while the stack is empty and you have priority.
E: During your main phase while your opponent is paying for his Mudhole.
F: In between turns.
G: In between games.
H: On the ride home after the game.

The Flash says...
A, B, and C!

The rules include very few rules stating "you can't do this." In general, the rules say what you may do, and you can't do anything that you don't have permission to do. When it comes to lands, you run right into two: you can't play a land if you don't have a land play remaining, and - relevantly to this question - you can't play a land if it's not your turn.

Other than that, flash allows you to play the land any time that you have priority. That includes your upkeep, in response to a spell, and yes, even during your main phase with an empty stack when you can normally play a land. No one has priority in the middle of casting a spell, so that option is right out.

No point in time exists between turns. No, just no.

Q: I cast Turn to Frog targeting my opponent's Galerider Sliver and Ovinize targeting her Blur Sliver, leaving her Metallic Sliver alone. Then she casts Striking Sliver after those resolve resolves. What has what abilities?

A: Yes, a new style of quiz-article answer! You have nine possible choices: A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, etc. Select all that are true.

A: Galerider Sliver has
B: Blur Sliver has
C: Striking Sliver has
D: Metallic Sliver has

1: flying.
2: haste.
3: first strike.

The box of answers is...
B3, C3, D3

Dependency, woo! Since Turn to Frog and Ovinize remove abilities, they must be applied before an effect that is lost from losing abilities. None of the Slivers can possibly have flying or haste. Then Striking Sliver's effect applies last, and the three Slivers that are still Slivers (and not Frogs) gain that ability. Ovinize's effect doesn't loop back to re-remove abilities.

Q: What changes on Sliversmith if I use Artificial Evolution to replace "Sliver" with "Rabbit"?

A: The answers are...

A: Its name is Rabbitsmith.
B: The tokens it creates have the type Rabbit.
C: The tokens it creates are named Rabbit.
D: The tokens it creates are named Metallic Rabbit.
E: Its ability creates up to fourteen tokens instead of one, but takes about one month to resolve.

Rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit...
just B

Text-changing effects only replace text that is used in the correct context. The "Sliver" in the card's name and in the name of the card generated are not being used as a creature type, so they're unaffected. The ability's defined subtype for the token changes, though, so now you get Rabbits. The specified name overrides the default token-name rule, leaving then named Metallic Sliver.

Q: We both control Sliver Queen, Ashnod's Altar, Heartstone, and Acidic Sliver. I start to make infinite Slivers to shoot my opponent to death on my turn, and in response he does the same - what now?

A: The infinite answer is...

A: You lose because you started the loop.
B: You lose because it's your turn.
C: Your opponent loses because you started the loop.
D: Your opponent loses because it's your turn.
E: The infinite loop stops and no one loses.
F: The infinite loop continues until the game's a draw.
G: Everyone else smacks the both of you over the head with a salmon.

The answer that is the answer that is the answer that is the answer that is the answer that is the answer that is the answer that is the answer is...
B, your turn, you lose

A loop that requires player action, like spitting out little baby Slivers, to continue isn't infinite. It's just arbitrarily large - a distinction that is realistically only relevant in the context of "what happens now?" The arbitrary loop must eventually end, so who has to blink first? That'll be the player whose turn it is: that player must make a different choice, which in this case means not continuing the loop. It doesn't matter who started the loop.

Option G is also likely, but salmon wouldn't be my piscine weapon of choice.

Q: Spined Sliver and Sedge Sliver attack and each gets blocked by two 2/2 Satyrs. He sacrifices a Satyr blocking Spined Sliver and tries to kill Sedge Sliver, so I regenerate it. How big are my Slivers (and I do control a Swamp, so they start off as 3/3)?

A: The answer is...

A: Spined Sliver is 4/4. Sedge Sliver is 3/3.
B: Spined Sliver is 5/5. Sedge Sliver is 3/3.
C: Spined Sliver is 4/4. Sedge Sliver is 5/5.
D: Spined Sliver is 5/5. Sedge Sliver is 5/5.
E: Spined Sliver is cat. Sedge Sliver is dog.

The sticky answer is...
A, 4/4 and 3/3

Looks like Xenagos's Satyrs survived Lymph Sliver to appear in another question.

Abilities that count something to use that number do so only while resolving. As the triggers resolve, Spined Sliver is blocked by one creature, and Sedge Sliver isn't blocked by any - it's removed from combat due to regenerating.

Q: Twilight's Call returns Flayer of the Hatebound and two Dormant Slivers to the battlefield under my control. How many triggers do I end up with?

A: The answer is...

A: Flayer of the Hatebound triggers X times.
B: One Dormant Sliver triggers Y times.
C: The second Dormant Sliver triggers Z times.
D: Your answer is AX-BY-CZ.
E: X, Y, and Z are positive integers.
F: Or 0.
G: Everyone loves 0.
H: Even though 0 is still not correct. It's a lovable nothing.

The pointy pokey answer is...

All three creatures enter the battlefield simultaneously, and then you check for triggers. Flayer sees three creatures that just moved from graveyard to battlefield, and each Sliver has two instances of the triggered ability that trigger independently. You don't even have any choices: all seven triggers will trigger.

Q: My Korean Winged Sliver has a printed mana cost of . How does that work in a tournament?

A: The answer is...

A: Pay .
B: Pay .
C: You can't play with foreign cards.
D: You can't play with misprints.
E: You can't play blue in Legacy.

나에게 답을 알려주기...
A, Oracle text wins

Always use the Oracle text for cards, not what's printed on them. The Oracle text for Winged Sliver includes the fact that it costs two mana, not three, to cast. Foreign cards are entirely legal in tournaments, and blue is still playable in Legacy despite some opinions.

The misprint issue is where it gets interesting. The Head Judge can disallow misprints that cause confusion, but that isn't very likely in this case. The simple fact of being a misprint won't disqualify it from being played.

The real question is: Why aren't you playing Galerider Sliver instead?

It's time to emerge from the happy hive and get ready for M15. Join us next week for that, and then we'll be back with an entirely normal article two weeks from now. Unless Callum goes crazy and gives us a non-standard article. We'll seeeee. Maybe in one of those articles, zero will actually be the correct answer.

Until next time, stay out of Garruk's way!

- Eli Shiffrin

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.

On Hibernation Sliver, you can only kill your opponent outright if they have an even life total, correct? If odd, you'll end up in a state where they have 1 life, and you can't then have them pay 2.
#1 • Date: 2014-07-09 • Time: 23:16:26 •
#2 • Date: 2014-07-10 • Time: 11:21:11 •

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