The Magic Show #38 — Combo Slivers and Future Sightings
Hello everybody, I'm your host Evan Erwin. We've got another action-packed show, so let's get to it.
Bennie Smith this week called out Jeroen Remie for selling his cards and jumping into the online world. He said that you would always always regret it and, inevitably, come running back to cardboard.
And I've got one thing to say to that, buddy: It's nice to have friends with big collections.
Second, going online is not only much, much cheaper, it's available 24/7, it's easier to build and catalog decks, and…
… Well, it crashes all to hell every few hours or so right now, but they're working on that. Version 3 is supposed to turn water to wine, so we're all holding our breath over here. Speaking of, where is that early beta feedback? Feel free to reply in the forums with your experiences, if you're not tied down by NDA or something.
Now I'm super excited about 3.0 because, as I said earlier, it's supposed to make Little Jimmy walk again, destroy the Death Star and make that blind guy over there see. That may not all happen, but two outta three ain't bad. If it could just run for six hours on a release day without crashing, now that would inspire religious fervor.
The Flores Minute
Man, it must be good to be Flores. The number one personality in Magic the Gathering had not one, but two full articles lampooning him last Friday. And you know what they say about imitation…
I guess it's safe to say that there is no ego bigger and more inflated than Flores'. And I certainly can't knock him. After all, he's given me so much material over the past few months, and I even got a few namedrops along the way.
The funniest to me is William Spaniel keeping tabs on Flores' unnecessarily capitalized words. Can you imagine someone keeping tabs on my bad pronunciation? I can, and it's scary as hell.
You know, I get a lot of crap for my Predictions article. While I was wrong on a few things, I was right on many things others look over. Such as Greater Gargadon becoming an important card in the metagame and Psychatog ending the season as a Tier 1 deck in Extended.
This time, I think I stumbled on to the best combo deck in Time Spiral block. And believe it or not, it features lots of Slivers.
You see, last Friday Patrick Chapin showed me how badass Wild Pair could be. While Nick Eisel was busy working on the R/G version, Patrick's G/U/w version was the hot stuff. Basically, if I untapped with Wild Pair I would win. I would go get Whitemane Lion with Mystical Teachings, play the Lion, get Mystic Snake, counter your spell, and then have a counterspell for 1W for virtually the rest of the game. Even if I searched out all of the Mystic Snakes I'd still be able to bounce one with Lion and replay it. That should give me more than enough turns to win… right?
Unfortunately, not quite. I didn't always get those turns I needed to win. Sometimes I needed to win that turn and no bouncing shenanigans via Riftwing Cloudskate would help. Let's also not forget about our favorite new mechanic, Split Second, and how it completely hoses stuff like relying on Whitemane Lion to get you through a game. Did I mention what a beating Extirpate was? That Orson Wells guy beat the piss outta me when he Extirpated my Wild Pairs after running into a Cancel.
Then I played a very interesting deck online. It featured Wild Pair and Slivers. And not just any Slivers, the number one most ridiculous Sliver ever printed, the sliver we've all been waiting for: Dormant Sliver.
Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, do not doubt me when I say this: this guy is straight-up nuts in Time Spiral Block. He provides card advantage like nothing (and I mean nothing) in the environment. Period. You're playing Teferi control? Good luck countering all of my slivers, because if I power out Dormant before you can counter him, every creature in my deck apart from Wall of Roots is a cantrip.
The beauty of this combo deck is this: Wild Pair gives you an incredible amount of board advantage. Dormant Sliver gives you an incredible amount of card advantage. Basal and Gemhide Sliver gives you mana advantage, and Reflex Sliver gives you mana advantage in conjunction with Gemhide Sliver.
All of these things come together in the following decklist:
- 4 Basal Sliver
- 1 Darkheart Sliver
- 4 Dormant Sliver
- 4 Gemhide Sliver
- 1 Might Sliver
- 3 Reflex Sliver
- 1 Sedge Sliver
- 3 Telekinetic Sliver
- 4 Wall of Roots
Now as of right now this list is in constant development. I've come to realize a few things about this deck:
First, Reflex Sliver is incredibly important. The combo can only go off if you have this guy in play. Only with his ability plus a Gemhide Sliver can you create enough mana to play enough Slivers to go off. Now you can use Basal Sliver to play more, but that only lasts for so long. After you fetch Dormant Sliver, get Reflex Sliver next.
Second, this deck works so well because Dormant Sliver stacks. Two of them in play mean you draw two cards per Sliver put into play. That's four cards by playing one from your hand and the other fetched from your library. That's pretty insane right off the bat, but when you get the ability to sacrifice them for mana, ten slivers is twenty mana, and one Red mana beyond that is Disintegrate For The Win.
Third, the deck also has the aggro option to it. If you don't have quite enough to kill them with Disintegrate but have them dead with guys on the board, sacrifice your Dormant Slivers via Darkheart Sliver or Basal Sliver and swing in. Remember, for Wild Pair search purposes, the one-of Might Sliver is searchable by any 2/2. And again, with Wild Pair, always put a counter on Wall of Roots with the Wild Pair trigger on the stack so you ensure you get a 2/2.
The one-of Sedge Sliver is also for the aggro option, but take care as you do not want a Swamp in play when you have Wild Pair and Sedge Sliver out. This makes your Slivers 3/3s and gives you no valid search targets. Might Sliver and Wild Pair on the board provides you the same painful scenario. Usually you're going to win by bashing face when you're featuring Sedge Sliver and Might Sliver on the board.
Lastly this is not only an incredibly explosive deck, it is a budget deck to boot. Right now Wild Pair is on an incredible climb in price, so get yours soon. Gemstone Mines are the high end rare of the deck, with Wall of Roots behind it as the hottest uncommon imaginable right now. Overall I think the majority of this deck is available for, at most, $30-$40 depending on your cardboard-or-digital persuasion.
All right, we've finally got some good info on Future Sight, so let's see if we can get this in order.
First, we know the title of the second expansion, Morningtide. I'm telling you people, the Chimney Imp expansion is coming. Nevertheless, this title tells us more than you think. The name of the first novel for the Lorwyn block is called “Dusk.” The second expansion is called Morningtide. See a trend here?
It appears that there will be a definite Night / Day theme woven into the set, and if you were to go on card titles alone, the next two expansions after Morningtide are going to be named Day of Destiny and Nightcreep, both real winners from their respective blocks (heh).
In other, bigger news, we finally got some cards to talk about!
First is the cycle of Spellshapers, beginning with Llanowar Mentor. This means that Dredge is going Tier 1 the instant Future Sight is Legal, as well as Reanimator, because Llanowar Mentor gives you a scarily efficient Turn 3 Dread Return. Turn 1 Mentor via Overgrown Tomb, Turn 2 Elf discarding Akroma via another Overgrown Tomb, Turn 3 Dread Return targeting Akroma. They kill the Akroma somehow? Discard another fatty making another elf and Flashback the Dread Return. Eek.
But this isn't the real noteworthy card. That belongs to Imperiosaur. Have you seen this thing? Take a look. Just brilliant isn't it? I absolutely love the new card frames. This will allow you to easily see the mana cost of cards as you fan them in your hand, and I hope this one day becomes the standard template.
Something I find incredibly interesting about this “Futureshifting” they're doing with cards like Imperiosaur. Basically this is the ultimate “cover your ass” maneuver. If we hate it, they say it was from an “alternate future.” If we love it, they just go with it. Man, I wish I had safeguards like that in the show. “Here's a sample of next week's show, enjoy!” And if you hate it, I'll just do something different. Brilliant, isn't it?
Lastly, I'll go ahead and say it: Summoner's Pact is absolutely 100% broken in Vintage. And I don't even play that format. It makes you wonder if Wizards made that card just to mess with Stephen Menendian's head. And it surely has to. This spell simply says, “Add one to my storm count and go get target Elvish or Simian Spirit Guide. Yay for combo!” [Green guy only…? – Craig]
I can hear the poor screams of Vintage players even now.
We're going to end this week with some bad news. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine and the show committed suicide. Zack “Shiny” Davis shot himself on March 26th. He was 17 years old. And it reminded me that we, as gamers, sometimes let our emotions overwhelm us.
A little over a year ago there was, what I considered, one of the best articles StarCityGames has ever had the privilege to publish, and that was an article called Gamers and Depression by Noah Weil. It was published on December 28th, 2005, a hair away from being eligible for my Top 10 of 2006 article, which it would've placed quite highly.
Reading it today is a bit painful, as you could imagine. But I highly suggest it for every viewer of the Magic Show. For all sorts of reasons.
In Zack's obituary, it lists him as being a Level 1 DCI Judge. Isn't that cool? It was, sadly, one of his only measured accomplishments. Zack was graduating this year, and had recently split a Top 2 in a JSS, giving him a $500 scholarship amongst whatever else his top tier grades were pulling.
As my friends and I sat in the restaurant after the funeral, we talked about Zack, about what he really loved.
His favorite card? Gifts Ungiven. No question. There is no boy who ever loved 5-Color Gifts as much as Zack Davis did. Every tournament it was legal, he would play it.
His nickname, Shiny? He loved foils. He had a huge binder, I mean the 100+ pages 6” binder, full of foils. But I had my own nickname for him: Slags. You see, in a JSS tournament back in the days of Affinity and Tooth and Nail, Zack was playing the latter. He got paired up with some random kid playing Mono-Green Aggro, and not a highly tuned version at that. The kid then proceeded to ramp up to a Plated Slagwurm in game 3, and then beat Zack to death with it. Zack was, of course, minus the necessary Tooth and Nail he needed to win and could draw nothing to save him.
At the gravesite, before they lowered him in the ground, someone put a Gifts Ungiven on his casket. I thought it was fitting.
Until next week, this is Evan Erwin, tapping the cards so you don't have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
dubya dubya dubya dot misterorange dot com
eerwin +at+ gmail +dot+ com
Written while listening to the Decemberists
Dedicated to Zack