A Sliver of a Chance

Posted in Feature on August 16, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

While the original name for the Counter-Sliver deck in Legacy was Meathooks (due to what the old Slivers tended to look like), I figured that might be a bit obtuse to the average reader. Regardless, the idea behind the deck is the same, albeit with some powerful new additions. I found a cool list in an article by Caleb Durward, which updates the classic Counter-Sliver strategies with the printing of Magic 2014 .

Crystalline Sliver

Crystalline Sliver is the driving force behind this machine, as it's the Sliver that keeps the rest of your Slivers up and running. Targeted removal is prevalent in Legacy, and turning off the opponent's Swords to Plowshares, Abrupt Decays, Dismembers, and Lightning Bolts is crucial in making sure you hit a critical mass of Slivers. It isn't uncommon to want to hold back on playing any Slivers until your shields are up.

The bulk of the Slivers in the deck are not lacking bulk and display the biggest advantage this deck picked up from fourteen years of Magic sets: a neverending supply of muscles. The original Muscle Sliver is joined by Sinew and Predatory Slivers, along with Phantasmal Image for additional value. Galerider Sliver rounds out the crew by providing not only a one-drop, but evasion for the whole team, letting them dodge Tarmogoyfs and Moats alike.

As Paulo Vitor has said many times about Legacy, you either need to be the person winning turn two or the player with Force of Will, so that's where the "Counter" part of Counter-Sliver comes in. This deck has the obligatory four Force of Wills, along with six more soft counters, which combine well with the Wastelands in pressuring the opponent's mana.

Part of the reason this deck gets to use Wasteland and, much more importantly, Mutavault, is the friend of tribal aggro decks everywhere: Æther Vial. Being able to Vial in Slivers at instant speed makes this deck incredibly hard to play against, as a Vial on two threatens to make all Slivers gain shroud or +1/+1 at any time. It also lets you activate Mutavault and sacrifice Wasteland without concern, as well as leave up mana for Spell Pierce.

I'm not going to claim that other decks have not advanced in the last fourteen years, but fast, giant, shrouded, flying Slivers backed by free counters still might be able to get their hooks into Legacy.

Peter Tragos's Meathooks

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