• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

Slivers, Magic's Borg - Stephen Rogers (11/25/2012)

I don’t know about anyone else but since I started playing Magic, especially in a casual format, I’ve encountered a lot of cards printed long before I began playing. Since I started in Rise of the Eldrazi there are quite a lot of those unknown cards, but when I encounter them I start learning everything about them I can. Their story, their place in the set they originated in, and in the case of creatures, the way they fit into their mana alignment and how they tend to function. No tribe has fascinated me, or most Magic players for that matter, quite like slivers. Slivers were first introduced to us in Tempest block and returned during Onslaught
Onslaught
OnslaughtSet: Exodus
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
C
Number:
92
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Whenever you successfully cast a creature spell, tap target creature.
and once more in Time Spiral
Time Spiral
Time SpiralSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
103
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Remove Time Spiral from the game. Each player shuffles his or her graveyard and hand into his or her library, then draws seven cards. You untap up to six lands.
. To retain my own sanity (and yours) I’ll just stick to the Tempest slivers for now.

For those two of you who have no idea what a Sliver is, they’re a race of large snake like beings whose only required discerning features are a head of some kind, and one or two sinewy arms tipped with a long talon. While most Magic player know a sliver on sight most could not identify what form of fauna they are. The most common theory is that they’re a hyper evolved macro insect, though another theory claims that they’re in the same family as dinosaurs - reptile like animals but with a warm blooded circulatory system. There is a third theory, which I subscribe to, which is that they’re both, they’re described and depicted as being vertebrates, removing them from the running as macro insects, but at the same time their societal structure suggests some level of insectile origin as well.

Even the origin story we get for them isn’t complete. All we know for certain is that Slivers are a native species of the plane of Rath, though it's never explained whether they evolved naturally to their current state or were directed by Volrath
Volrath
VolrathSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
8
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
+2
Toughness:
-3
Text:
Whenever any of your creatures is put into your graveyard from play, you may put that creature on top of your library.
. We know for sure that Volrath
Volrath
VolrathSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
8
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Power:
+2
Toughness:
-3
Text:
Whenever any of your creatures is put into your graveyard from play, you may put that creature on top of your library.
did some level of genetic manipulation, but I personally suspect his role in their evolution was severely played up since one of his greatest achievements was an artificial sliver that could provide no benefit to the hive itself.

Unlike slivers that we as planeswalkers encountered later, the slivers of Rath are about as close to natural as these thing get. Rathi slivers are characterized by more decorative head plates, usually a chitinous plate whose design is somewhat reminiscent of the sliver’s personal mana alignment; the green Muscle Sliver
Muscle Sliver
Muscle SliverSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sliver
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Kane Ferguson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
All Slivers get +1/+1.
almost appeared to have a toothed face on its head, while the red Heart Sliver
Heart Sliver
Heart SliverSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sliver
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
All Slivers are unaffected by summoning sickness.
has a tall thin crest almost resembling fire on its head. Also all Rathi slivers with visible lower bodies were seen to have two separate tails splitting apart about two-thirds of the way down the body. These tails are used to support a sliver’s body while hanging or resting, not for movement as slivers are all capable of some kind of rudimentary flight.

Last and certainly not least, Rathi slivers were smarter than any slivers we saw later. See, slivers operate on a hive mind mentality, what some scientists believe is the next logical step in insectoid evolution, moving beyond their current use of pheromones. In the sliver version of a hive mind, a traditional sliver has no sentient intelligence and merely operates on bestial instinct. However, the slivers of Rath have a queen. The Sliver Queen
Sliver Queen
Sliver QueenSet: Stronghold
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Legend
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Sliver Queen counts as a Sliver.2: Put a Sliver token into play. Treat this token as a 1/1 colorless creature.
functions as a sentient intelligent mind controlling the whole swarm. Every sliver while a whole separate living being is just another arm to her, something she loves, can feel through, and can not imagine life without. At the same time every sliver is more than willing to give its life for the hive and does everything in its power to aid the hive. In fact slivers have actually taken the idea of a hive mind one step further.

This evolution is in fact the thing that makes slivers such great creatures. Slivers share more than just senses across their hive mind, if they did they would be nothing but reptilian Kithkin. Instead Slivers have evolved to share abilities based on proximity as well. As with hive insects today, every sliver has a specific job to fulfill. But unlike modern insects, these jobs are more varied and in general, more violent or defensive in nature. Take the Acidic Sliver
Acidic Sliver
Acidic SliverSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sliver
Rarity:
U
Number:
138
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Each Sliver gains 2, Sacrifice this creature: This creature deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
. Technically it is a sliver who has been bred to excavate tunnels for the hive, but when the hive confronts a new enemy these miners become suicide bombers. Also unlike insects, an Acidic Sliver
Acidic Sliver
Acidic SliverSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Sliver
Rarity:
U
Number:
138
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Each Sliver gains 2, Sacrifice this creature: This creature deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
shares its evolutions with others slivers within a certain proximity. This makes slivers the most adaptable creatures in Magic.

Now to speculate a bit (as I hope the creative team did when designing most races, especially one this interesting). I would wager that slivers have evolved to be comprised almost entirely of stem cells, basic sliver cells that are not assigned and are simply waiting to be activated. I’d guess that slivers are constantly releasing one of two biological substances, the first of which would be unique pheromones that trigger some sliver stem cells to convert into the cells needed to duplicate the specialization of a newly introduced sliver. I personally think that from a scientific perspective it would be more likely that slivers are constantly releasing Prions, proteins designed to enact a specific pattern on specific cells. Pheromones would be innately limiting because slivers’ bodies would have to be able to read and interpret every pheromone for it to affect them. This would make the creation of new sliver breeds incredibly unhelpful, as they would be unable to share their new developments with older slivers. A Prion however would only need to be adjusted for the standard sliver genome and could activate the necessary stem cells from there.

I hope you’ve learned a bit about a tribe you didn’t know much about or learned to think about them from a different angle today. Maybe I’ll be able to go more in depth with other less well known races. See y’all around.


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles