Sliver Swarm - Precon Primer

(Sliver Gravemother | Art by Chris Rahn)

Hello everyone! I’m Bert from the Scrap Trawlers, where we do EDH on a budget. Today we're taking a look at the Sliver Swarm precon from Commander Masters. Our face commander this time around is Sliver Gravemother, which makes our deck Sliver typal. As always, let’s go over how the deck plays, the strengths and weaknesses, and which new and reprinted cards are worth chasing. Let’s get into it!

A Mother’s Love

Let’s give our face commander, Sliver Gravemother, another glance, shall we? She's a five-mana, five-color commander, and her first line of text is that the “legend rule” doesn't apply to Slivers you control. This has some powerful synergies with Slivers as they have strong legendary creatures at their disposal.

The next line of text gives each Sliver in our graveyard Encore X, where X is its mana value. This enables some amazing recursion for our deck that already has a dynamic board presence.

Lastly, she has Encore herself, allowing you to get an additional use out of her rather than immediately sending her into the command zone. Silver Gravemother wants to be played a bit later in the game so that we can profit off of the Encore ability and give our Slivers even more effects from one another.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at the list.


Silver Swarm

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Commander (1)
Artifacts (7)
Creatures (43)
Sorceries (10)
Enchantments (1)
Instants (1)
Lands (37)

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With this list we have a good setup for a Slivers deck that has the power to swarm the board. Slivers in particular are a creature type that excels with multiple creatures on the board that provide a buff to all of the creatures.

Let’s go ahead and get specific in what our deck's strengths are!

Slithering Swarm

Having an astonishing 43 creatures in the deck, it’s safe to say that we are an aggro deck that aims to spread our creatures around the board so that we can overrun our opponents. The average mana value this time around is 3.13, which is really good out of the box.

So how do the vital parts of the deck fare? Well, let's go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room. The mana base leaves much to be desired. The amount of tap-lands (lands that enter the battlefield tapped) that we have really slows down what is supposed to be an aggressive and low-to-the-ground deck. On that same note, the deck does have a decent bit of ramp, but for a five-color deck, I want to see more. We have some of the typical green staples, such as Cultivate, Nature’s Lore, and Farseek, so that's a good start.

Next, we're missing a consistent form of card draw in the deck. Included is Vanquisher’s banner, which over the course of the game will draw us a vast amount of cards, but it’s the only recurring card draw that doesn't revolve around combat. Herald’s Horn does its best, but giving us card draw is only half of what we want this card to do for us. Some good board wipes are included that'll see our Slivers live and prosper. Harsh Mercy will be great unless our opponent is in a typal deck like we are. We also have Crippling Fear and Cleansing Nova, which are great options when it comes to board wipes. 

This is probably the first time in a while that I'm a bit disappointed with a precon out of the box. Once again I'm asking for a Kindred Discovery reprint in a typal deck that is aggressive and cares about specific creature types. The mana base needs a bit of an upgrade, even if that's just including a few more basics and fetches, such as Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds. I will go into more detail into what can be fixed in my Upgrade Guide so be on the lookout for that.

So what am I happy with? Well, the creature suite is solid and our number of board wipes is right. We just need a bit more help in the other departments to make the deck flow a bit more. Enough about the negatives though, let’s take a look at those sweet new Commander cards that were printed in this deck. 

New to the Swarm

We have ten new cards this time around, including Sliver Gravemother, so let’s go over all of them. 

The alternate commander is Rukarumel, Biologist, who allows you to create a typal deck for the type of your choice. They make it so that nontoken creatures you control and creature spells that you cast are the selected type, as well as all Slivers you control. I'm interested to see lists for this commander once everyone starts to brew.

Next we have Capricious Sliver, a four-mana Sliver that gives our Slivers the ability to impulse draw when they deal combat damage to a player. I'm a huge fan of this Sliver and the potential that it has. I mean, if you Encore it and get copies, it just provides a massive amount of card advantage. Next is another one of my favorite new cards, Lazotep Sliver. This card is a powerhouse by itself. Not only does it protect our board against wipes by making it so that we Amass whenever a Sliver dies, but it also gives Slivers we control Afflict 2 which disincentivizes our opponents from blocking.

Some additional cards that make this deck stand out have to be Hatchery Sliver, Regal Sliver, and Titan of Littjara. When it comes to Hatchery Sliver, Replicate is a powerful effect that lets us double up on buffs in the late game. It can come down early, but really shines during later turns where you actually have the mana to replicate your spells. I am a huge fan of the Monarch and Regal Sliver adding it to the game is just what I love to see. It also makes it easier to take the Monarch back, which is not always the case. Next we have our typal titan, Titan of Littjara, giving us a bit of card draw on entering the battlefield and attacks. I'm not a huge fan of this, but the amount of cards you can draw off of it in this deck is nothing to scoff at. 

Lastly we have Descendants’ Fury, For the Ancestors, and Taunting Sliver. Taunting Sliver is strong, as it gives us the ability to Goad our opponents' creatures and open them up from an attack from our buffed up Slivers. If I've learned one thing this year, it’s how powerful Goad can be when you have multiple instances of it. For the Ancestors is a fine card, but I would honestly just prefer that it be a card draw spell. It does have the added benefit of having Flashback which allows us to use it an additional time. [/el]Descendants’ Fury[/el] is a weird card as it has you give up your board presence for a chance to get something a bit more powerful. If we had a lower number of creatures and knew what we would get off of it, I think it would be a lot better, but with 43 creatures it’s a bit too random for me. 

Returned to the Horde

With the new cards also comes the return of some old ones. One I am sure that people are excited to see is Sliver Hivelord. It's a very powerful card, giving our Sliver creatures some protection in the form of indestructible.

Seeing Cloudshredder Sliver brings me joy as it's a powerful and efficient card giving our Slivers two notable abilities. I've already talked about the ramp package reprints Cultivate, Nature’s Lore, and Farseek, which are always welcome to show up in products such as this. Vanquisher’s Banner is also a great card to see included.

Overall, we could have used some more noteworthy reprints, but we definitely have a bunch of Slivers that were included that I haven’t mentioned. 

Final Thoughts

While it’s not my favorite deck, I like what the Sliver Swarm precon is trying to do. The deck has some synergies built in even though it's missing a bit of the gears that make the deck tick. Be sure to let me know what you think about the deck in the comments below. Come back next time so we can go over some upgrades for the deck. 

Make sure to check back for more precon guides from us Scrap Trawlers. The other Trawlers are coming up with the guides for the other decks, so be sure to check them out. You can also check out our budget content over on Twitch and YouTube and follow us on Twitter.

Scrap Trawlers is a Magic: The Gathering budget EDH streaming and video group, with gameplay, deck techs, chats, and more. Catch our videos at Andy, Lenny, and Bert.

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