Bant Slivers Testing: Video

bant slivers diffusion

Last month I brewed up a Bant Slivers list; this month I put it through the initial trials in the Magic Online tournament practice room to see if it’s good enough for dailies and to see what changes need to be made.

The list is the same as before except with an initial sideboard draft — it ain’t pretty, but it ain’t terrible either.


Bant Slivers by Sean Ridgeley

Creatures (28)
Galerider Sliver
Diffusion Sliver
Phantasmal Image
Sidewinder Sliver
Sinew Sliver
Predatory Sliver
Adaptive Automaton

Instants (8)
Path to Exile
Vapor Snag

Artifacts (4)
Aether Vial

Lands (20)
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Breeding Pool
Temple Garden
Hallowed Fountain
Sliver Hive
Seachrome Coast
Sideboard (15)
Relic of Progenitus
Harm’s Way
Spell Pierce
Kataki, War’s Wage
Rest in Peace
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Harmonic Sliver
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See what happened below.

Lessons Learned

Some things to take away from this:

  • Slivers is maybe not the place for Thalia. Against the decks we bring her in for, she’ll hurt them more than us, but the damage can still be significant. This could just be a playstyle preference (I’m heavily biased against anti-synergy).
  • Diffusion Sliver underperformed. I still stand by it, but it’s not the bomb I expected. The inherent problem with it is it’s for decks with lots of removal, but decks with lots of removal make the game drag out, which makes her worse. It also suffers the same way Mana Leak suffers: it’s pretty useless late game. It probably fares much better against Abzan than Delver, though.
  • We should maybe run 21 or even 22 land. We should probably run a Forest, too (partly for enemy Paths and partly because we need more green sources).

The basic message is this: Slivers is not viable in Modern. We can make tweaks, we can add Manaweft Sliver and try Lead the Stampede and maybe Bonescythe Sliver and different disruption, but even with all that, I’m confident the archetype just isn’t the powerhouse it needs to be to compete. But, as I say in the video, it’s fine for casual play. You could bring it to Friday Night Magic too, but in a formidable meta, you’re likely to lose too often for it to be fun (if you’re one of those weirdos that doesn’t need to win ever to have fun, then obviously, you should have at it).

Slivers works decently in Legacy because a quick clock with a variety of answers backed up with free counterspells is always good, but we don’t have that in Modern, and unlike with Merfolk, we don’t have a solid, versatile package to work with. We’re not that far off, but even small advantages can make a huge difference in this format, and they certainly do with this archetype.

So, we tried. Not all of these experiments will work out, but that shouldn’t stop us from giving them a shot. Until next time!

Sean is a Magic Online grinder that’s been playing Modern since 2012. His background comprises a combined 10 years of journalism study and practice. You can find him on Twitter @regalforce.

6 thoughts on “Bant Slivers Testing: Video

  1. I think that not having access to crystaline sliver is too be a of loss for modern slivers to ever take off. Diffusion sliver doesnt even come close to the power level of crystaline. I think the biggest issue the deck has is that it doesn’t do anything that zoo can’t do better, and zoo is in a bad spot in the meta right now. Zoo has access to 3/3’s on turn 1, where slivers will be at best attacking for 2 on turn 2. Both are extremely weak to wrath effects ( though I think slivers is softer to it, seeing as it needs a critical mass of creatures, where as zoo can just drop a beater and ride that out until the wrath player deals with it), but slivers lacks the reach that zoo has in the form of bolts/helix. It’s definitely a cute pet deck, but I dont know how much time I would sink into tuning it into a “competitive” list. Thats said; I think you’re pretty damn close to getting it to as competitive as it could be, although I am really confused by the lack of Cavern of Souls and Collected Company

    1. I agree about Crystalline. Basically we make a poor aggro deck, and lack the tools to be a good tempo deck.

      The Merfolk comparison is better but yeah, it’s not better than any aggro or tempo deck.

      Caverns should probably be in there, yeah. Company isn’t good here because of weak flips.

      I’d sink in two articles worth of time into determining whether or not a deck is viable, as I’ve done.

  2. If you just build the deck to be +1+1 lords of a tribe its inevitably going to be inconsistent+bad merfolk. Adaptive automaton in particular makes me shudder – this card should not be played in modern ever :/

    If you’re going slivers you need something different/better than what merfolk does. I think there are enough slivers that something else is possible. Tom Ross posted some combo slivers options last year

    Creatures (36)

    4 Dormant Sliver
    4 Firewake Sliver
    4 Frenetic Sliver
    4 Galerider Sliver
    4 Gemhide Sliver
    4 Manaweft Sliver
    4 Predatory Sliver
    4 Striking Sliver
    4 Virulent Sliver
    Lands (20)

    1 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Mountain
    2 Breeding Pool
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Misty Rainforest
    4 Scalding Tarn
    1 Steam Vents
    1 Stomping Ground
    1 Pendelhaven
    Spells (4)

    4 Summoner’s Pact

    Other deck:

    Creatures (34)

    4 Dormant Sliver
    4 Firewake Sliver
    4 Frenetic Sliver
    4 Galerider Sliver
    4 Gemhide Sliver
    1 Harmonic Sliver
    4 Manaweft Sliver
    1 Predatory Sliver
    4 Striking Sliver
    4 Virulent Sliver
    Lands (20)

    1 Forest
    1 Island
    1 Breeding Pool
    4 Cavern of Souls
    1 Hallowed Fountain
    4 Misty Rainforest
    1 Mutavault
    1 Scalding Tarn
    4 Sliver Hive
    1 Steam Vents
    1 Stomping Ground
    Spells (6)

    4 Summoner’s Pact
    2 To Arms!

    4 Diffusion Sliver
    3 Harmonic Sliver
    3 Predatory Sliver
    4 Blood Moon
    1 Sliver Hivelord

  3. That was a rough batch of games for sure, though I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from that last match. I think you might do a bit better with some more versatile mana fixing, though. I went all-in on Sliver Hive and Cavern of Souls when testing my own version of your deck (4 of each instead of fetches), and I don’t remember running into the color-screw issues you occasionally encountered. Bonescythe Sliver also seems to be the natural thing to try as a finisher, since the deck seems to be lacking that T4-5 knockout punch that puts more established aggro decks over the top. We can also tweak the sideboard a bit – maybe we can take a page out of Stompy’s book and run pump spells to make up for the relative lack of Lords?

  4. Out of curiosity, why did you leave in path AND vapor snag? For electromancer? surely a creature is better than a dead removal spell? Im referring of course to the second match vs Storm. Also I wouldve f6ed and made him combo game one, you definately can cast twenty spells and not find your grapeshot and if nothing else can kill his clock…. I guess you are just testing so that’s really not necessary as nothing is on the line

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