Commander Masters is here, and with the set, 4 precon decks have arrived. Today, we'll discuss the Fractius typal deck: Sliver Swarm.
As all typal decks, it is entirely focused on Fractius, the famous "mutant ants" in Magic's universe. It is not the first time they have released a 5-color typal deck; The Ur-Dragon pioneered that, and now we have Sliver Gravemother for the Fractius.
Getting to Know the Deck
It is a deck with a very simple goal: cast the highest number of Fractius possible and win through combat damage or effects which deal direct damage to the opponents. Fractius already has a certain reputation in Commander, with commanders such as Sliver Legion, The First Sliver and even the older ones, such as Sliver Queen or Sliver Overlord. Here, we'll use Sliver Gravemother as a commander.
It is a very direct type of creature: each gives its ability to all the others, making them an army of creatures with the same abilities, be them power or resistance buffs, or activated, triggered and other types of abilities.
Sliver Swarm List
The list counts on alternative commanders, such as Rukarumel, Biologist and Sliver Hivelord. There are many new Fractius, such as Lazotep Sliver, Regal Sliver, Taunting Sliver, Hatchery Sliver and many other new cards.
Upgrade and its Reasons
Again, the mana base for 5-color decks can be a bit complex. But today, exclusively for this list, I decided to be polemic and put in something different and considerably accessible for 5-color Commander players of today: the gate mana base.
After all, if all lands are going to come in tapped 100% of the time, why not use the Gond Gate mechanic and gate tutors and specific lands?
I decided to completely change the deck's land base, as nowadays the gate base is quite accessible and easy to hit on its curve. So, everything above was removed. The total number of lands also went from 37 to 35.
Rukarumel, Biologist was also removed because it has a different goal and needs a deck built around that, being better as a commander in another deck. Decimate, Windfall, Cleansing Nova and Crippling Fear also gave way to other cards.
The Fractius chosen to come out of the deck were Might Sliver, Hollowhead Sliver, Constricting Sliver, Bonesplitter Sliver, Clot Sliver, Firewake Sliver and Blade Sliver. They were chosen as they are the "least essential" to our deck idea.
As said previously, we'll use here almost all gates available. In this list, I opted to leave out Maze's End, and that will be up to the criteria of those who really want to use this base as a win condition option.
The gate mana base is built around Gond Gate, which makes gates come in untapped. It's important to stress that, in case Gond Gate is on board, it makes them come untapped even if some effect says they would come tapped, due to the replacement effect.
But it is also important to say that, if Gond Gate comes in at the same time another gate does due to some searching effect, both will come in tapped: which means, the effect of gates coming in untapped only works if Gond Gate is already on board.
The gate mana base is made of the 10 Ravnica guild gates, Gond Gate, the 5 color choice gates from Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate itself, and some other utility lands, such as Gateway Plaza, Plaza of Harmony and Heap Gate.
Besides Tolaria West, we count with some land tutors, such as Crop Rotation, Expedition Map, Sylvan Scrying and Hour of Promise, which can search any land. In this case, while piloting the deck, as games go on, you can feel the rhythm and see which land is necessary at that particular moment, but most times the focus will be looking for Gond Gate, so the game flows quicker.
Besides these tutors, we also have gate-specific lands: Navigation Orb, Open the Gates, Circuitous Route and Explore the Underdark, which also opens up Initiative's Undercity Dungeon, getting 2 gates and a basic land this way.
It is a good number of ramp cards that replace the ones which were taken out. Of course, you can end up with a tad slower deck, but you can say that it is a step backwards for two (or more) forward, depending on the initial hand and on how the game goes down.
The only quite expensive Fractius here is The First Sliver. To make up for that, he provides the gas the deck needs to have more and more Fractius on board, after all, typal decks are about that.
Muscle Sliver and Leeching Sliver are here to put even more pressure on your opponents. Homing Sliver has an interesting interaction with the commander: besides offering a tutor for 3 mana in Slivercycling's ability, the discarded Fractius can be the target of Encore.
Here we have two global destructions to compensate for the departure of Cleansing Nova and Crippling Fear. We also have Kindred Dominance, which is an almost obligatory removal for any typal deck, and Blasphemous Act, which has the potential of clearing the board for one red mana. Not to mention its interaction with Spiteful Sliver, which can kill one or more opponents depending on the number of Fractius you have on board.
To also resolve possible problems with mana curve, we added Chromatic Lantern and Elven Chorus - which basically adds Realmwalker with Manaweft Sliver or Gemhide Sliver. And, last, but not least, we have Kindred Discovery for card draw.
Upgraded Sliver Swarm Decklist
Here we have our new list: an upgraded Sliver Swarm, with a gate mana base. Here, really, many things were altered, but for a greater cause with a more consistent mana base for a 5-color deck, and also with good upgrades focused on typal decks.
Alternative List with Rukarumel, Biologist
As mentioned previously, Rukarumel, Biologist has a better performance as commander in a deck with another game plan. Here, I built a list with the same land base, but with a typal deck of Shapeshifters.
This deck counts with a few funny interactions, such as Rukarumel, Biologist and Intruder Alarm's combo, allowing you to finish the game with Cloudshredder Sliver, Lavabelly Sliver, Reaper King or Dragon Tempest.
It was quite hard to look at this deck and think about how to enhance it, considering how linear Fractius are. But the challenge was accepted, and on top I ended up swapping many cards in the deck. I believe that fixing the mana curve, so it isn't as frustrating, and instead fun to pilot a 5-color deck, is the goal here, and I hope to have achieved it.
Did you like the list? Do you prefer Sliver Gravemother or Rukarumel, Biologist? Do you prefer another type of creature? Comment down below!