Epic Experiment - Sliver Zur
Good morning, EDHREC! I'm Bernardo Melibeu and this is The Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual cards, effectively changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We're making science here. When you're an Izzet mage, blowing things up in front of your own face is half the fun. If you haven't yet, you check out my previous article, where we turned our beloved Locust God into a mean stax machine.
In this article, we're going to look at Zur the Enchanter.
First we need to understand our commander, so let's take a look at its abilities:
Whenever Zur attacks, you may search your library for an enchantment card with converted manda cost 3 or less and put into the battlefield.
Zur has an wide array of possible enchantments that he can fetch. They can vary from removal, to card draw, and even to Auras.
With that in mind, let's go to Zur's EDHREC page and see how folks normally build him:
We can see that the average Zur list takes full advantage of his ability to grab what is needed at any point. Grasp of Fate and Detention Sphere are great removal spells, and Necropotence draws cards in a very balanced way (/sarcasm). Finally, there're cards like Curator's Ward and Shielded by Faith that protect Zur to make sure he can keep attacking.
We now know how the community sees Zur the Enchanter. So, let's see if we can build something unique!
*Slaps on the card* This bad boy is going to make your tribal dreams come true.
This card allows Zur to be a tribal deck. Which tribe are we going to choose? Zombies? Vampires? Soldiers?
Just gonna leave this right here...
That's right: Slivers! Why? Because they are a tribe of lords. Each one makes the others stronger, and by consequence our commander too. And what Zur offers to the tribe? Beside the aforementioned targets (Grasp of Fate, Necropotence, etc) he can grab a bunch of enchantments that can buff the team or even recur them.
Let's talk about the Sliver choices, since we aren't playing 5 colors, like the usual sliver list. We have less options, but that's not a problem if we choose wisely.
There are three main types of buffs we want ours Slivers to give us, and they are Evasion, Clock, or Utility. Each of our Slivers needs to offer one of this types of buffs.
Evasion is very important in this build because Slivers are usually very small sizes. To keep attacking with them, we need to be able to avoid blockers. Cards likeShifting Sliver, Shadow Sliver,Winged Sliver and Galerider Sliver do the job just fine. One detail that we should always remember is that when Zur attacks for the first time and grabs Arcane Adaptation he becomes a Sliver, which means that he also gets the Sliver effects right away.
The second type of buff is the Clock, which means making our team bigger to win the game in historic time rather than geologic. Enter Bonescythe Sliver, Frenzy Sliver, and Sinew Sliver. There are also two honorable mentions: Mirror Entity and Adaptive Automaton. This Clock section is where the lack of red and green hurts the most, since those colors provide the most buffs to our team, but between Zur's enchantment suite and other support cards from our deck, we can circumvent this.
The last section, Utility, is more generic. Utility comes in many forms, like drawing cards with Synapse Sliver, or protecting our army with Crystalline Sliver and Crypt Sliver. There are also many with useful abilities like Psionic Sliver, Quilled Sliver and Telekinetic Sliver.
Now let's build a enchantment suite for Zur to grab. As I mentioned before, obvious inclusions are Necropotence, Grasp of Fate and Curator's Ward, but how about Always Watching? It pumps the team and gives vigilance, which, because of our large number of tap abilities, is highly appreciated. Cover of Darkness can help the team get through and Phyrexian Reclamation let us grind through removal.
Aside from the enchantment package, we also have a few other pump effects that are more expensive. Door of Destinies can end the game very quickly if drawn early in the game (though it's a horrible as a top deck), Vanquisher's Banner draw us cards and make our team stronger, and True Conviction is a truly nasty Magic card. The Immortal Sun does everything we can hope for: it draws cards, it makes ours Slivers cheaper, and it pumps them! Finally, Akroma's Memorial makes our whole team into Akroma, Angel of Wrath.
Now, all we have to do is add some more creatures, ramp, removal and counterspell suite, and there we go! The Epic Experiment is concluded
"Now I have become Sliver, destroyer of games." - Zur, probably.
We're now a fully functional tribal deck. Though it may seem hard relying on the beatdown as a gameplan, we have many tools to survive board wipes and removal.
Note that while making Zur a Sliver is important, we don't have to rush it. Reading the table and knowing which card to fetch is a important skill that only comes after playing the deck. To make sure we don't slow down the game from all the tutoring and make things unbearable for our opponents, we need to understand each tutorable piece of our deck .
Since we're adding abilities on top of abilities, this deck plays really differently each time, specially in the early game. A good start for our opening hand will have some combination of, lands, mana rocks, and threats. Threat-light hands with fast mana can be fine if we are able to rush to Necropotence, but do draw cards with restraint, since we aren't comboing like other Zur decks. Creature-heavy openings are flexible and the right decision depends on our board. Have a lot of power but no evasion? Cover of Darkness. Many small creatures? Always Watching. A good mixture of damage and evasion? Arcane Adaptation to grant Zur all those buffs. The key part of this deck is that our commander allows us to adapt and stay relevant from the start to the ultra late game (where we probably won't have anything to fetch).
The mid game is when people start finding those pesky boardwipes, so we need to be careful to not overextend. We have many ways to draw extra cards and even ways to protect them (Curator's Ward for example), but we need to start looking to end the game; since we're probably the scariest threat on the table we'll be on the receiving end of many removal spells.
The late game is a bit tricky, because we either are really close to finish the game (if we haven't already) or we'll be really behind. The good news is that we can come back easily; Akroma's Memorial into Patriarch's Bidding is game-ender by that point. Mirror Entity + evasion can also get the job done as a mana sink. That's the great thing about this deck: we have so many noncreature threats that we'll almost always have something leftover to help us assemble a game-winning combination. If we don't, well, not all games are winnable... but we sure had a zany time!
This list is far from perfect, and there are many ways to adjust it to your meta, be it by adding different Slivers, like Ward Sliver and Diffusion Sliver, or by changing the enchantment suite, or maybe even by adding more counterspells (are there ever too many of those?).
That's it for this Epic Experiment! Please feel free to leave any suggestion in the comments section. As mentioned before, this list isn't set in stone and is highly experimental. Do you have any questions about the list? Which cards did you like? Which didn't you? Was the Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know!