Normally I’m not a huge fan of combo in EDH. This has kept me away from using Sliver Queen as a Commander, but I think I’ve got it at a level I’m happy with.
The Core Combo
The base combo takes four cards: mana-based token creation, the ability for creatures to tap for mana, blanket haste, and doubling the production of tokens. This will and creates infinite tapped tokens. A fifth card can produce a variety of other effects (more on this below).
Before you read further understand that I made some restrictions on myself. I wanted the deck to have a minimum four cards. This makes the combo harder to get and gives plenty of opportunity for disruption. Ashnod’s Altar and Bitter Ordeal are also missing. They just enable things too quickly.
There is also only one tutor. I could fill my deck with tutors to make this easier to pull off, but I just don’t want to. I have included a Recruiter of the Guard to find some of the pieces, but it can also find other cards and I like that. No other non-land tutors were included.
There are some other cards, namely Doubling Season, that I just don’t own. Christmas is around the corner and I’d rather buy things for family than Magic cards for myself.
Mana-Based Token Production
Sliver Queen is what the deck is built around. She’s an old school legend and a member of royalty. Ghave, Guru of Spores can fill in if the Queen is inaccessible, but I think requires a little more considering the deck’s contents.
Tapping Creatures For Mana
Gemhide Sliver and Citanul Hierophants are the options in my deck. I could add Manaweft Sliver and/or Cryptolith Rite, but I don’t own them yet. Hivestone turns Ghave and his friends into slivers to let the Gemhide enable the combo through fungi, and it gives some additional protection which is discussed below.
Since Sliver Queen costs two generic for a sliver, we’ll need Parallel Lives or Primal Vigor to make it so that she has twins with each activation. Heartstone also works, but doesn’t work if you need to use Ghave.
Essence Warden or Suture Priest will provide infinite life. Purphoros, God of the Forge or Goblin Bombardment kill the table. Altar of the Brood mills everyone out and, depending on the table, can set your draw if a shuffle trigger eldrazi are included. To accomplish this you mill yourself until the desired card and the eldrazi are the only two cards left in your library with the eldrazi being the last card in your deck. Draw what you want and mill the eldrazi to refill your library. The problem with this is that you technically need to wait for randomization to line up your way.
Protecting the Combo
With a four piece combo we’ll want some protection. Sliver Hivelord and Lightning Greaves are my go to here. I particularly like the art on Hivelord and Greaves can work as a blanket haste piece at sorcery speed. Temur Charm will be the sole counterspell in the deck. More counterspells would make sense, but hitting them off a cascade is annoying enough we’re going to omit them here. Mystic Confluence would be better, but Lorthos is using it. Conqueror’s Flail protects our turn from shenanigans and turns Sliver Queen into a two-hit commander kill.
What If It Doesn’t Come Together?
The combo is going to be pretty easy to disrupt unless it all comes down on one turn. Most games this will likely play like a standard token deck so we’ll need to find ways to maximize the slivers. Iroas, Raging River, and Sidar Kondo all provide the tokens with evasion. Meanwhile Overwhelming Stampede is my overrun effect of choice. Dragon Throne of Tarkir was highly recommended by Austin from Gen Con so we’ll give it a shot. I’ve been impressed with Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury so she’ll be in for now.
Without tutoring we’re going to need to really dig to find combo pieces. Rhystic Study can draw a bunches of cards with the upside of having a low colored mana requirement. Edric, Spymaster of Trest can turn tokens into cards along with providing incentive to attack someone other than the Queen. The fact that Recruiter can get it is an additional bonus. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser operates similarly to Edric, but the cards come off my opponents’ decks. Queen Marchesa is additional royalty in the deck and the monarch can let us draw an extra card or two. Leovold, Emissary to Trest might land in here to help protect combo pieces and prevent opponents from drawing too may cards. We’ll see when the final list shakes together. Sarkhan Unbroken‘s +1 both draws a card and fixes mana so the dragon mage we’ll find a slot.
I’ll keep tweaking this deck and focusing on the areas above, ramp, and a few random fun cards. Let me know what you think about pay offs for the combo or ways to back it up within the deck’s restrictions. To me this is fair combo, what do you think?
Until next time, happy brewing
– Cowboy Kyle