20070127

slivers

Visually I am coming to realize that my biggest influence when it comes to designing monsters (and I do enjoy designing monsters) is Wayne Barlowe's Expedition. That kind of slick, spiny, eyeless aesthetic always crops up in what I do and I last read that book so long ago it wasn't until a couple years back that I realized it.

Slivers clearly owe much of their design heritage to Expedition as well. They captivated me too as a kid, a unique-looking monster in Magic with a unique and conceptually cool ability. And thus ends the section of interest to those who don't play magic.

I AM BORED, WILL REVIEW ALL SLIVERS, IF ONLY BRIEFLY


Tempest
(The introduction to slivers brought the most basic of sliver cycles, with basic abilities at basic costs. And also Metallic Sliver, a probable four-of in any sliver deck that can run it.)

Armor Sliver:
Probably the worst of the Tempest slivers. Interestingly abstract art.

Barbed Sliver: The opposite of Armor Sliver, featuring some of my favorite sliver art, almost tribal in its abstraction.

Clot Sliver: No other regeneration sliver is really better.

Heart Sliver: Man, this guy has a big head.

Horned Sliver: It always looks to me like he has legs. Giving slivers trample isn't very useful unless you can get them pretty large. That was kind of tough to do when all you had to do it with was Muscle Sliver.

Metallic Sliver: Sometimes L.A. Williams' art is kind of crappy and '80s-looking, sometimes it's nicely slick. This is one of those slick times. This is a 1-mana artifact creature that can get up to a 17/17 with virtually every ability in Magic, making it like the keyword ability version of Mistform Ultimus.

Mindwhip Sliver: I confuse this guy's head for an arm a lot. "Play this ability only as a sorcery" is a non-intuitive clause.

Mnemonic Sliver: Having your brains exposed can't be good, evolutionarily speaking. While random discard is nice, the fact that the card-drawing sliver can be used at instant speed is so much nicer for combat.

Muscle Sliver: The best sliver, hands-down. It basically obsoleted Grizzly Bears. Also, Richard-Kane Ferguson painted the most off-model sliver I've ever seen. It has two arms, eyes, and a mouth with teeth. Slivers have none of those things.

Talon Sliver: This is the most colorful sliver of all time. Primary colors mean first strike!

Winged Sliver: See, now this is straight up Wayne Barlowe time. Also, the second best Tempest sliver.


Stronghold (Bringing gold slivers into the mix.)

Acidic Sliver: This is an extremely good sliver, since it'll basically just win games if you have enough slivers and enough mana.

Crystalline Sliver: One of the more un-fun slivers to play against. Another nice piece of L.A. Williams art.

Hibernation Sliver: That ability sure does cost a lot of life compared to how often you'd want to use it. I guess this is the Numai Outcast of the sliver world. Also, Scott Kirschner draws a mean sliver.

Sliver Queen: You really can't disagree with how awesome the Sliver Queen is. She's easily the best WUBRG-costed card ever. Once, I wanted to buy her from a card store as a single, but they were sold out. Instead, I bought a pack of Stronghold, and I somehow managed to get her as my rare. I was ecstatic. And then I somehow managed to put her in my pocket and bend the corner. She's been getting progressively more ragged and blatantly marked ever since.

Spined Sliver: This is not a very useful ability. They really should have reprinted Muscle Sliver or Metallic Sliver in Time Spiral. Don't you want to make sliver decks competitive, R&D?

Victual Sliver: OK, now this seems more like Giger than Barlowe. That's one juicy sliver.


Legions (Slivers went on a hiatus, making their way to Dominaria through the planar overlay but laying low until the Riptide Project started experimenting on them, as foreshadowed in the art for Riptide Replicator. And then they came back and started ruining the shit of everybody on the plane.)

Blade Sliver: Strictly better than Balduvian Barbarians! You bastards! But not a good substitute for Muscle Sliver, because it's just slightly too expensive by comparison.

Brood Sliver: A very good swarm-your-way-to-victory card, because it just grows exponentially.

Crypt Sliver: Basically worse than Clot Sliver. Also kind of resembles an overripe plum.

Essence Sliver: Lifegain isn't very good, but this guy's a large, aggressively-costed sliver. So it's okay.

Hunter Sliver: Hunter Sliver will fuck your shit up. You want to start something?

Magma Sliver: This seems like kind of a strange ability. Keeping slivers out of combat to use combat-related abilities is just so weird to me.

Mistform Sliver: Now your slivers can piggyback on other people's tribal decks! But how often do you really want to do that?

Plated Sliver: Nice cost-to-power ratio. A good substitute for Metallic, a good compliment to Muscle.

Quick Sliver: The coolest ability that you never really want to pay for.

Root Sliver: I would play this guy if you guys actually bothered to use counters.

Shifting Sliver: This is a very unfair, "I win"-type sliver. That's why I don't play with it.

Spectral Sliver: Apparently biological hive-mind functions continue to work in the afterlife. This could have interesting metaphysical implications.

Synapse Sliver: Not quite as good as Brood Sliver. Cooler art, though.

Toxin Sliver: When your slivers deal damage in combat, they should be doing enough to kill most things anyway. This ability is almost never relevant.

Ward Sliver: OK, now THIS is the most un-fun sliver. Untargetability and unblockability are very hard to deal with for most casual players.


Scourge
(Has only one sliver, but it's a big one.)

Sliver Overlord: Why not Sliver King? I do like that he's a Mutant, though. He pretty much wins the mirror match for sliver decks. And he's the good centerpiece for a suite of Emperor sliver decks.


Time Spiral (Returning to Dominaria means returning to find slivers overrunning everything. Please note that all the rare slivers are sliver-ized versions of old creatures, and many of the others are references as well.)

Basal Sliver: The ability is rarely useful in a sliver deck, but it's nice to see Drew Tucker artwork again.

Bonesplitter Sliver: Such a nice ability. A little expensive, but oh well.

Dementia Sliver: Kind of a bad ability for such a hefty cost, but at least your opponent won't have a hand anymore after a few turns.

Firewake Sliver: I've been trying to build a Standard sliver deck around this guy. It hasn't been working too well because they didn't fucking reprint Muscle or Metallic Sliver.

Fungus Sliver: Oh, hey, Fungusaur, what's up? Still not a very good card? Okay!

Fury Sliver: How do you get around with a claw that big? The mana cost is very prohibitive, but the ability is very good.

Gemhide Sliver: Definitely a very provocative card for sliver decks. Also appears to be very fat.

Ghostflame Sliver: For some reason I liked Ghostly Flame back when I got it in my first pack of Magic cards ever. I was also like 9 years old, and a Goddamn idiot.

Harmonic Sliver: The best 3-mana 1/1 sliver you'll ever use.

Hivestone: Technically not a sliver, and mostly useful against sliver decks anyway. But still a great concept, and could lead to interesting combos.

Might Sliver: Beefy and fun, but just not half as good as Muscle Sliver.

Mindlash Sliver: It's cheap, but is it good? Only if you're playing with Madness.

Opaline Sliver: The fixed version of Crystalline Sliver. Still not too bad.

Plague Sliver: You never want to play him in a sliver deck, but outside of that, he's great. Also the best anti-sliver card ever. Take that, infinite number of sliver tokens.

Psionic Sliver: This guy has some serious potential. Better than Acidic Sliver, if you can get it to work right. Kind of expensive, but whatevs.

Pulmonic Sliver: Kind of an expensive way to give your slivers flying.

Quilled Sliver: For gameplay comments, see Magma Sliver. For art comments, see Gemhide Sliver.

Screeching Sliver: Not a very useful ability. Get with it, 1-cost slivers! Why can't you be more like Plated Sliver?

Sedge Sliver: I love everything on this card.

Shadow Sliver: Not as good as Shifting Sliver, actually, but still just about as swingy.

Sidewinder Sliver: Now this is a good 1-drop sliver.

Spinneret Sliver: Web sliver? At least it's aggresively-costed.

Telekinetic Sliver: Along with Psionic Sliver, has the most deckbuilding potential.

Two-Headed Sliver: Actually not bad, since it makes your slivers unblockable 50% of the time.

Vampiric Sliver: Kind of worse than Toxin Sliver, and that's saying a lot.

Venser's Sliver: I know Metallic Sliver. Metallic Sliver is a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Metallic Sliver.

Watcher's Sliver: This card works well with Psionic Sliver. Also, the art is like Hibernation Sliver, only shitty.


Planar Chaos (Has slivers with off-color abilities. Also a cycle of enemy-color gold slivers, to match Time Spiral's allied ones.)

Battering Sliver: Ooh, it's so big. A nicer trample sliver than Horned Sliver, because it can trample all by itself.

Cautery Sliver: Not as good as Acidic Sliver.

Darkheart Sliver: Pretty much better than Victual Sliver.

Dormant Sliver: Another cute anti-sliver sliver. Although this might have a place in the Telekinetic/Psionic deck.

Frenetic Sliver: Cute ability. Luca Zontini's sliver art is really, really ugly. Please note also that this sliver is the same color scheme as Talon Sliver.

Necrotic Sliver: Vindicate sliver? OH FUCK YES.

Poultice Sliver: Really lovely, almost floral art. Worse than Crypt Sliver, which is in turn worse than Clot Sliver.

Reflex Sliver: Haste is only good in weenie decks when you don't have to wait until turn four to use it.

Sinew Sliver: Making another Muscle Sliver is just as good as reprinting it, I guess.

Spitting Sliver: Very expensive compared to the usefulness of its ability. Is he shooting lasers from his eyes while flying? That's... interesting.

Synchronous Sliver: Like Spitting Sliver, expensive for what it does. Although slivers have never gotten vigilance before.

Holy fuck that takes up a lot of space.

5 comments:

Nat said...

"Sliver" totally doesn't look like a real word anymore.

Anonymous said...

I discovered what slivers are yesterday. They are fun.

Megan said...

Slivers kinds repulse me...this coming from the person with a unicorn/cat deck.

That guy's art is super neat-o.

Megan said...

*kinda

Megan said...

One more thing:

Why do some of the white cards from Planar Chaos have really hideous color schemes?