Published on 07/22/2013

The Wonderful Thing about Slivers

Is that Slivers Are Wonderful Things

Cranial Translation
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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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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 first WUBRG creature.
She has my heart. <3
Many years ago, in a state far, far away, little Eli was a very casual Magic player. Then this new set called Tempest came out, and he found a Muscle Sliver! It gets better in multiples! It helps outs its friends! Whoa, deck synergy! The days of "deck of all my good green stuff" were at an end, and the era of sensible decks had begun. Then Sliver Queen added fuel to the fire and there was no turning back.

Now, sixteen years later, Slivers have returned three times, and little Eli... is still really short, but other than that, is pretty deep in the game. All thanks to Slivers.

So, to honor my debt to these skittering little guys, this article features nothing but questions about Slivers. More or less.

Got more questions, with or without Slivers? Toss em over to or send a tweet to @CranialTweet and we'll get you an answer - and your question might even appear in a future article! If the Slivers don't eat it first.

Q: I heard that all Slivers are receiving errata to work like the new ones. Where can I see this?

A: You won't be able to see that anywhere, since it simply isn't true. Slivers from Tempest, Onslaught, and Time Spiral blocks have received no errata and continue to work like they always did, handing out candy to all the Slivers, not just your side.

When in doubt, you can see current errata at, where it's known as "Oracle text."

Q: If I enchant one Sliver with Indestructibility, does that make all my Slivers indestructible?

A: While Slivers are flavorfully sharing everything they know with their buddies, that's not how they mechanically work. Slivers grant other Slivers the abilities that they say they do, and nothing more.

Q: How can I tell if a Sliver will be awesome or worthless in multiples?

A: First, determine what kind of ability you have:

If it contains a colon ( : ) separating a cost () from an effect ("Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."), then you have an activated ability (and a Manaweft Sliver). This is generally redundant in multiples. You can activate one ability as many times as you can pay the cost, and if the cost is , you can only activate one of its abilities with that cost before paying it again is impossible.

If it contains the words "when," "whenever," or "at," you have a triggered ability. This is generally good to have many of, since meeting the trigger condition causes all instances of the ability to trigger! Attacking with three Thorncaster Slivers results in 9 damage just from their little spikeshot party.

Beyond that, it gets murky. Obviously two Might Slivers are good; two Winged Slivers are not particularly useful since flying is redundant. Two Ward Slivers are cool if you named different colors, otherwise they're also just redundant. You'll need to look at each card individually here until you learn which abilities are and aren't redundant in multiples, a skill that will be useful for other cards as well.

Q: If Steelform Sliver and Battle Sliver are both blocked by 3/3 creatures with first strike, will Battle Sliver die before it gets to deal its 5 regular damage?

A: It will. Both players get priority after first-strike combat damage is dealt, before normal damage is dealt. As part of getting priority, state-based actions get checked and stuff with lethal damage dies a messy death. With Battle Sliver dead, it won't deal any damage in the normal combat damage step.

Pew pew pew!
Q: When Damnation kills Pulmonic Sliver and Crystalline Sliver, do they both go to my library?

A: If you want, they do. Both die simultaneously, and immediately before dying, you check for replacement effects to apply. Pulmonic Sliver's effect is still around since nothing has actually died yet, and you can choose to apply it on each Sliver, and then process the mass Slivery death by putting both on top in either order.

Q: If I copy Oblivion Ring's enters-the-battlefield trigger with Strionic Resonator, can I exile Gemhide Sliver and Manaweft Sliver and have one exiled forever?

A: You can exile both, but not forever. If an ability refers to "the exiled card" and something (ie Strionic Tuning Fork, the only card that'll do it) causes there to be two exiled cards, that ability refers to both exiled cards. If it's performing an action on them, like returning them to the battlefield, it'll perform that action on both of em.

Q: What if I instead copy Oblivion Ring's return trigger after my Sinew Sliver's exiled with it?

A: Then the copy of the trigger returns one/both Slivers... and the original trigger makes a sad face and does nothing. The exiled card/s is/are no longer there, so there's nothing for it to do. It goes home feeling like its life has no meaning, and then it ceases to exist like any other ability that's off the stack. At least it stopped being so emo.

Q: I had Predatory Sliver and Wild Pair out on the battlefield and cast Battle Sliver, and the only creature I was able to grab was Groundshaker Sliver. Is that right?

A: That's right. When Battle Sliver enters the battlefield, Wild Pair's ability triggers, and when that trigger resolves, it checks the power and tougness of the creature: 6/4. That's a total of 10, so you can find a creature with total power and toughness of 10. Groundshaker Sliver in your library isn't affected by his friends on the battlefield, so he's the only one you can find.

Q: Groundshaker Sliver attacks into a Human token, and my opponent at 8 life also controls Thraben Doomsayer. Does his token die?

A: That'll depend on how you assign damage. You can assign 1 to the token and 4 to your opponent; then he loses 4 life, the Doomsayer's ability switches on, and state-based actions see a 3/3 with 1 damage, which is fine and dandy. Or you can assign 3 damage to the token, 2 to your opponent, and then the 1/1 token with 3 damage on it explodes while your opponent's at 6 and his hour is not fateful. The choice is yours!

Q: Does double strike from Bonescythe Sliver interact with Thorncaster Sliver's ability?

A: Double strike has things deal combat damage twice in one combat phase; it doesn't have them attack twice. Thorncaster's trigger will still only trigger once for each Sliver, and still only deal 1 damage each time.

Q: I cast Sliver Construct into a Possibility Storm and turn over Darksteel Citadel. What do I do now?

A: You can't cast a land, so you may not cast it. You take the Citadel, the Construct, and anything else you exiled, randomize them a bit, and put them all on the bottom of your library. Carry on!

Q: Can a colorless Sliver token block a black creature with intimidate?

A: Sadly, that won't work. A colorless Sliver is not an artifact simply because it's colorless, and intimidate cares about color or artifactiness, not colorlessness.

Q: When I animate Mutavault, does it become an Artifact Sliver?

A: It won't - artifact is a card type, not a creature type. Mutavault turns into a colorless Sliver Jellyfish Assassin, not an artifact.

Q: Can a Sentinel Sliver attack even if Claustrophobia is keeping it tapped since it has vigilance?

A: While attacking doesn't cause a creature with vigilance to become tapped, vigilance doesn't affect the requirements for attacking... namely, that it be an untapped creature. Your Sliver's taking a dirt nap and will not be getting into combat right now.

Not quicker than state-based actions.
Q: Two Predatory Slivers are blocked by a 3/3 and a 2/2. Does everything die?

A: They'll all die. After combat damage is dealt, state-based actions are performed, and the 3/3, the 2/2, and the Predatory Sliver blocked by the 3/3 all die for having 3 damage on them. The other Predatory Sliver is a 3/3 with 2 damage on it, so it does a little dance and goes "yay!" and survives. But then state-based actions are performed again, and now it's a 2/2 with 2 damage so it goes "oh boo" and dies.

Q: What if we're in the same situation, with two Predatory Slivers blocked by a 3/3 and a 2/2, but that 2/2 is a Banisher Priest banishing a third Predatory Sliver?

A: Now, immediately after the first state-based action check, the banished Predatory Sliver comes back because the "until" duration of Banisher Priest has expired. It sees the Predatory Sliver with 2 damage on it going "yay!" and runs up, gives it a high-five, and goes "woo!" The two of them start a little party before the second round of state-based actions, and this time, there's a 3/3 Sliver with 2 damage on it, so no SBAs are performed, and the game carries on.

Q: I control Sanguine Bond and Crypt Sliver and cast Magister Sphinx, setting my life total from 5 to 10. Will that kill my opponent who's at 3?

A: Any time you set your life total to a number, you do that by gaining or losing as much life as you need. You gained 5 life, so Sanguine Bond triggers and you'll make your opponent lose 5 life. Your Crypt Sliver can go over to the last guy's game and join in the party with the Predatory Slivers; they've got cake.

Q: Syphon Sliver hits my opponent, who has a Rain of Gore. Do I gain life or lose life?

A: You'll gain your life. Combat damage isn't a spell or ability, nor does it have a controller. Rain of Gore won't pay attention to it.

Q: Will Door of Destinies get counters from Hive Stirrings?

A: As Slivertastic as Hive Stirrings is, it isn't a Sliver spell. Your Door will remain counterless.

Q: I drafted eight Blur Slivers! Can I play them all?

A: You certainly can! In a Limited format, be it sealed or draft, you can play with any and every card you get. The four-of rule doesn't apply.

Q: I don't really want to sideboard anything out, I just want to side four Megantic Slivers in. Can I do that? This one's a Standard match.

A: Many people forget that M14 introduced a couple of sideboard changes that make this entirely legal. One change: You don't have to sideboard one-for-one anymore. Side in four, out zero; side in fifteen, out zero.

The other change is that your sideboard no longer needs to be exactly fifteen or zero cards. It can be any number less than fifteen and greater than or equal to zero (sorry, no negative sideboards yet).

Throughout the match, as long as your deck remains at least sixty cards and your sideboard remains no greater than fifteen cards, you're fine. You can start at 75-0 and go to 60-15 if you want, or go the other way around.

Q: I cast Muscle Sliver and forgot that Dormant Sliver had died last turn, so I told my opponent "Draw for Sliver?" and he nodded. Then I drew and we realized. What's the penalty?

A: The penalty for Drawing Extra Cards is a Game Loss, since drawing an extra card is a pretty huge advantage - but your opponent said you should draw it! With the new M14 policy change, this means that this is not, in fact, Drawing Extra Cards, and is instead just a Game Rules Violation, the penalty for which is only a Warning. This is because your opponent being made aware of what's going on negates the advantage of cards in your hand that he didn't know about. If he let you draw incorrectly, then it's equally his fault for not paying attention to the game and realizing that you shouldn't have a card. The standard caveats apply of "if you do this intentionally, you are Cheating and doomy doom doom."

The Slivers are sleeping soundly now, so it's time to sign off for this week. Join us next week as we get pounded with more M14-rules-changes questions, see its impact on Standard, and probably have more fun with Slivers.

Until next time, may what you love bring you unexpected joy.

- 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.

Quick clarification to the Lifelink / Rain of Gore question.

If Humility was on the table the Syphon Sliver would lose Lifelink due to Humility removing all of it\'s abilities (including Lifelink), which would result in no life gained on damage...

Rain of Gore doesn\'t see Lifelink as what is gaining the life?

I\'m guessing Rain of Gore WOULD see Armadillo Cloak, wouldn\'t it?
#1 • Date: 2013-07-23 • Time: 07:46:12 •

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