Best Horse Betting Strategy For Beginners As Well As Pros

I Read It So You Don't Have To: Little Kids, Big City (by Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen)

Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response to my previous 'book report' on Ramona Singer's Life on the Ramona Coaster (seriously, thank you all -- truly supporting other women 🙏🙏), I decided to try my hand at writing up yet another of the embarrassing number of Housewives books in my personal collection: Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen's Little Kids, Big City: Tales from a Real House in New York City with Lessons on Life and Love for Your Own Concrete Jungle.
After reading just the title of this book, I'm already exhausted. It's pretentiously long and awkwardly phrased while somehow still managing to be entirely devoid of meaning. In other words, a perfect encapsulation of Simon and Alex. The summary on the back cover describes the pair as the "breakout stars" of RHONY, an assessment that I would charitably call 'debatable,' before going on to inform me that I can look forward to "informative and often hair-raising stories of life in the urban jungle," and that "Alex and Simon use their own hard-won experience as a springboard to discuss a host of parenting topics." I anticipate that this content will be quite useful to me, the guardian of four cats that I spoil endlessly and treat like my actual children.
One of the pull-quotes on the back cover allegedly comes from our very own Bethenny Frankel. I say 'allegedly' because I refuse to believe that the following passage would ever come out of Bethenny's mouth (or keyboard or whatever):
Alex and Simon don't take themselves too seriously, which seems to be essential to parenting. Their fresh 'he said, she said' perspective on parenting is both humorous and insightful!
Please, take a moment and do your very best to picture mention-it-all, betting-on-horse-races-at-age-five Bethenny unironically using the phrase "fresh 'he said, she said' perspective." To describe Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord. Right, didn't think so.
My experience reading Little Kids, Big City started on an unexpected high note when I opened the front cover to find that my copy (purchased used through Better World Books for the low, low price of $5.31 with shipping) had been signed by Ms. you-are-in-high-school-while-I-am-in-Brooklyn herself, Alex McCord! Truly a gift I do not deserve. Samantha and Debbie (whoever and wherever you may be), thank you for your service. I am forever in your debt.
Unfortunately, as would soon become painfully clear to me, after starting off on such a promising note, I would have nowhere to go but down.
The book, which is written in alternating passages from Alex and Simon, begins its introduction with a chronicle of Alex's "fashionably nomadic" early adulthood. Ever the proto-edgelord, she recalls, "I did all those things our mothers warned us about and had fun doing them." We switch to Simon's perspective to hear the deeply embarrassing story of the couple meeting through a dating app while Simon was on a business trip in New York City. No, there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about meeting someone on a dating app. But there absolutely is something embarrassing about using the profile name "Yetisrule" to meet someone on a dating app. To clarify, this was apparently Alex's username, and I remain hopeful that we will get a more thorough explanation of her connection to the elusive Yeti as this book continues.
Alex tells us that, while she and Simon hadn't initially planned to have children, they eventually started to have "clucky feelings." I have never heard this phrase in my entire twenty-five years of life, but based on context clues and also a Google search, I learned that it means they wanted to have a baby. Don't worry, though! As Alex tells us, "You can be eight months pregnant and wear a leather miniskirt." Personally, this is life-changing news -- I had always believed that I couldn't have kids unless I was willing to compromise my 90s goth aesthetic! Maybe I'll rethink this child-free thing after all.
The next bit of advice seems like it actually could potentially be sort of helpful. "No one is a good parent all the time -- nor is anyone a bad parent all the time," they reassure the reader. "You can become a parent without losing yourself." Unfortunately, as soon as I catch myself nodding along, the modicum of goodwill I'd built up is promptly trashed by a gag-worthy line from Simon: "If you take nothing away but a wry smile after reading our little tome, then we've done our job." I immediately vow not to smile until I'm finished reading this book. Excuse me, this little tome.
The book starts in earnest with Chapter 1: "Does a German Shepherd Need a Birth Plan?" To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting a riddle at this juncture, but I am nevertheless excited to hear Simon and Alex tell us "why childbirth is not an intellectual activity." First, however, we get a passing reference to "Park Slope, home of the ParkSlopeParents.com message board made famous in 2007 with a so-ridiculous-it-got-headlines discussion on gender-specific baby hats and where feminism can be taken to extremes." And despite the lame alarmist allusion to ~*XTREME feminism*~, this line did manage to lead me down an interesting Internet rabbit hole, so thanks for that, I guess?
Jesus Christ, I am on PAGE 4 and I am already so done with Simon. Presented without comment:
With the Park Slope OB-GYN, we had the first sonogram and saw the little blip on the screen -- our child-to-be. They say seeing is believing and as nothing was happening inside me, seeing confirmation on the video monitor that indeed my spermatozoa had penetrated and infiltrated one of Alex's ova made me aware that my days as a footloose and fancy-free guy might be coming to an end.
Y'all, I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Biology. Which, if you were not previously aware, gives me the authority to decree that Simon is never allowed to use the word "spermatozoa" ever again. And so it is.
I was about to say that Alex's passages are at least more tolerable, but it appears I spoke too soon.
The stats they quoted referenced a 40 percent cesarean section rate in the city, and I wonder how that can be acceptable? Are we heading toward Brave New World, where babies are scientifically created in petri dishes and gestated in artificial wombs? Oh wait, we're already there. Are we heading towards a Wall-E existence, where we ride around in carts everywhere and do nothing for ourselves so that our bodies break down and we're all fat, oozy blobs drinking protein from a straw? Somebody slap me, please!!
Truly, Alex, it would be my pleasure.
As a Type-A person, just reading the story of Alex's first pregnancy and delivery gave me anxiety. She says that she just never really "felt the need to establish a birth plan" and that she "gave in to any craving [she] felt." Don’t worry, though -- "If I had suddenly craved chalk, ecstasy or Elmer's Glue, I'd have thought twice." I feel like there is some symbolism here to unpack (Could the Elmer's Glue be a metaphor for the childlike spirit of connection and unity???). Simon describes himself as "a learn-on-the-job guy" and tells us that he and Alex "failed to attend the last couple of [birthing] classes as by then we both just wanted to let instinct take over when the time came." As someone who has never trusted my instincts even once in my entire life, I cannot relate.
Twelve days after his due date, baby François is born. Except it turns out that he actually was born right on time, but Alex "didn't keep regimented track of [her] periods" and miscalculated. What a bummer that modern medicine hasn't advanced to the point where doctors can guide you about that sort of thing.
I don't even know what to say about this next bit, but God help me, I still have 215 more pages of this book to go.
Although the final stages of labor were very, very painful, I [Alex] never used our code word (tin can) for "game over, give me drugs." I definitely recommend using a code word, because it was kind of fun to scream, "I want drugs, give me drugs" through a contraction and have the midwife, nurse and Simon all know I wasn't serious. Once he [François] was finally out of my body, I experienced a tsunami of endorphins that was almost orgasmic, and I understand completely the stories other women have written about ecstatic birth. Simon was sitting behind me at the point of birth, and later when we untangled ourselves he discovered he'd actually ejaculated though hadn't felt any of the normal lead-up to that. It may seem distasteful to some, and definitely neither of us was thinking of sex at the time, but with the rush of emotion and my lower nerve endings going crazy, it's not too far a stretch to say that it's a profound experience.
Johan is born two years later, although it's unclear from the text whether either parent reached orgasm during the event.
The chapter ends with a top-ten list entitled "10 Things We'll Remember That Happened During Pregnancy." These include useful tidbits like
  1. Best advice I heard: men's genitals grow and change shape regularly, then go back to the way they were before. Don't worry about your female delicate bits being able to retract.
Which is…a lovely sentiment. But one that is slightly undermined by phrasing the first part in the grossest way possible, as well as by the use of the phrase "female delicate bits." I do like the idea that they "retract," however, because I think it's very cool to imagine the vagina as an SUV sunroof. By the grace of God, Chapter 1 comes to a close.
In Chapter 2 (titled "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn, What's My Name Again? and Who is This Alien?" -- seriously, were they padding their word count with chapter titles?), we get more questionable parenting advice from the McCord-van Kempens. They glibly dismiss concerns about co-sleeping ("Simon and I both slept with cats and dogs our whole lives without squishing them"), which I honestly would be more annoyed about if I hadn't immediately gone on to read Simon's account of "the midnight race to the 24-hour pharmacy to buy a breast pump as Alex's breasts were seemingly engorged with too much milk and she thought they were about to explode and fly off her chest." As it stands, I'm truly too defeated to care. Again, just to be perfectly clear: no shade to having issues breastfeeding, all shade to using the word 'engorged.’ And also for giving me the mental image of Alex's breasts desperately struggling to flee from her body (though to be fair, who could blame them?).
Proving that she does not inhabit the same world as the rest of us mortals, Alex tells us that she expected that her state of sleep-deprivation as she raised two young children would "spur [her] creativity with graphic design." For some reason, this does not seem to be the case. Alex is puzzled.
Finally, we've come to this chapter's top ten list ("Top 10 Memories of Random Things We Did While in the Post-Birth Haze"). While these lists have so far been utterly irredeemable, they also mean the chapter is coming to a close, so I can at least take some solace in that. This particular list ranges from the irritating…
  1. We subversively took sleeping babies to as many non-child-friendly places as possible to prove the point that children can be seen, not heard and not bothersome, such as dinner at the Ritz in London, the Sahara Desert, shopping on Madison Avenue, Underbar in Union Square and film festivals.
…to the truly unnecessary.
  1. While changing François' diaper on day one or two, we both stood mesmerized by the changing pad as meconium oozed out of him. It was really the most bizarre and fascinating thing I'd seen to date.
With the couple's general backstory and credentials now under our belts, Chapter 3 ("The Screaming Kid on the Plane is NOT Mine! (This Time)") focuses on advice for traveling with children, which Alex admits "can be a complete pain in the you-know-what." I cannot describe the rage I feel at the fact that she has -- in no fewer than 50 pages -- forced me to read about both her newborn son's excrement and her husband's ejaculate, but cannot bring herself to use the word "ass." Alex, we're really far beyond that at this point, don't you think?
Not to be outdone, Simon shares a conversation he had with François that is remarkable not for its content, but for the fact that one of Simon's nicknames for his son is apparently "F-Boy." Thanks, I hate it.
This chapter's list ("Alex's Top 10 Travel Memories") includes the entry:
  1. Both boys charging down Saline Beach in St. Barths like something out of Lord of the Flies.
So, like a horde of primal sadists? I'm wondering if Alex and Simon have inadvertently confused Lord of the Flies with the hit 2007 reality show Kid Nation. I really hope that's what's going on here.
Chapter 4 ("'Mommy, Johan is Gone!'") promises to teach us how to handle accidents. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel taking emergency advice from the authors of this particular book, but (in large part due to the fact that I have slept since reading the previous chapter, giving the pain a chance to dull somewhat), I am willing to at least hear them out.
After relaying a story of François needing emergency surgery after a foot injury, Alex tells us that at one point, she and Simon realized they had spent "nearly $5000 on Indian takeout" in the past year. For the mathematically averse, this works out to a monthly budget of roughly $100 worth of Indian food per week, making my quarantine Uber Eats habit seem downright quaint by comparison. The chapter-ending list walks us through the "Top 10 Things We Do in a Crisis," and fortunately, the tips seem pretty benign.
  1. Knowing what calms the children down, such as making silly faces or reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards.
Wait, hang on. What?
reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards
I'm sorry, please forgive me if I have missed some recent, paradigm-shifting development in the field of early childhood education, but what?? As in, "ends sidewalk the where?" "Sdne klawedis eht erehw?" I am truly befuddled.
Maybe the next chapter ("'Is Today a Work Day or a Home Day, Mommy?'") will have some applicable wisdom for me, as I will, in fact, be working from home every other week for the foreseeable future. And, I cannot stress this enough, I am a psychotically overinvested cat mom. Alas, we are instead treated to an unnecessarily detailed breakdown of how important it is to delegate, and specifically that Simon cleans up vomit and Alex cleans up "feces in the various forms that come out of children's bottoms at appropriate and sometimes inappropriate times such as the middle of Thanksgiving festivities." As if we needed another reason to consider Thanksgiving problematic.
The chapter takes a brief commercial break…
When an everyday product can do double duty such as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty, a dish soap that seals in moisture while I'm tackling cleanup, sure, I'll buy it.
…before closing out with a list of the "Top 10 Things We Do Because We Were Here First." I am happy to confirm your worst suspicions and tell you that item number one is indeed "Have passionate sex."
In Chapter 6 ("I Saw Your Nanny…Being Normal?"), I find myself actually sympathizing with Alex for the first time in this book. Which is mostly just because the chapter starts by talking about all of the awful, catty parental competitions that seem endemic to a certain crew of white Manhattan moms, and it makes Alex come off at least slightly less irritating in comparison.
That is, at least until a few pages later, when she starts to complain about a previous au pair:
She was sullen, melodramatic and kept a blog about how she hated Americans, hated France, hated us and the children but loved New York. I think she must have thought we were idiots, and when she asked us to leave early we were only too happy to get her out of our home.
I would love to meet this woman. I think we could be great friends.
This chapter's list is even more difficult to parse than previous ones, because while it's titled "Top 10 Things Caregivers Have Inadvertently Done to Amuse, Annoy or Thrill Us," it's not at all clear which descriptors apply to which points. When a babysitter "accidentally used a household cleaning wipe when changing a diaper," were the McCord-Van Kempens amused? Annoyed? Thrilled? The world may never know.
In Chapter 7 ("'Putting To Death Is Not Nice,' a Duet for Two Boys and A Guitar"), Alex and Simon share some of their hard-earned childrearing wisdom with us. Which basically amounts to Alex telling us that, while normally misbehavior from the kids incurs a warning followed by a time-out, she has also developed an ingenious new strategy where she actually steps in to intervene when the stakes are higher. Let's listen in:
A third permutation is when there's a behavior that has to stop immediately, say if Johan has a big blue indelible marker and is running through a white hotel suite. I swoop in and grab the marker as to risk a three count [warning] would be to risk decoration of the sofa.
Take the marker from the toddler immediately instead of trying to reason with him? Groundbreaking.
Side Note: At this point in my reading, I am incredibly satisfied to report that I have discovered my first typo in the book, and in one of Simon's sections no less! ("These toads secret [sic] a poison…"). This is wildly pedantic of me and proof that I am a deeply sick person.
We run though a list of "Top 10 Things We Never Thought We Would Have To Explain" ("10. Why hot pizza stones do not like Legos.") before moving right along into Chapter 8, "Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons." Strangely, I have a very vivid memory of Alex saying "I have a chapter in my book called, 'Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons" in some distant RHONY episode or reunion. I guess she was telling the truth.
The chapter opens with a series of passages in which Alex and Simon respond to various comments that have been made about their parenting over the years. I think this device is supposed to be a bit of lighthearted snark on overbearing strangers, but instead just comes off as weirdly defensive and passive-aggressive. A few examples:
"My daughter is perfect. Her table manners are excellent, she never speaks unless spoken to and we've always had white sofas at home since she was a child, with no staining."
-A woman with one preteen daughter, no sons
Your daughter sounds boring. I wouldn't want my sons to date her..
Zing!
"Why are you outside?" - A bagel seller in Montreal, in February
I'm hungry and the stroller is well protected under the plastic cover. Johan is warm and cozy, the others are asleep in the hotel and I'm going stir-crazy. Is that enough, or should I buy my bagel from someone else?
Got 'em!
"Excuse me, your baby is crying." -- Someone said to Simon as they peered into the stroller to try and determine the cause of said noise.
You don't say! Do you think, you stupid idiot, that I don't hear that? Do you think I think it's just loud music? Do you think I don't want him to stop and that I like it???
Sorry, did I say 'passive-aggressive'? Let's change that to just 'aggressive.'
But despite bristling at being the recipient of unwanted advice, far be it from Alex to shy away from giving her opinions on the shortcomings of other parents.
There was a mom at another table who wore all black and told her hyperactive daughter that they had to have a family meeting to decide what to do next. The type of woman who might ask her daughter to "process her feelings" about which color to choose. The type of woman who wanted make [sic] a big huge hairy deal about including her daughter in the decision-making process and "negotiating" the next best step for the family to take in the pottery shop. Pardon me while I shoot myself.
I'm sorry, but I just cannot respect this take coming from a woman who calms her sons by reciting comedic children's poetry backwards.
We next learn that there are "many websites out in cyberspace," some of which offer child-rearing advice. Simon summarizes their useless "vitriol" as such:
They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, whereas for the 21st century surely hell no longer hath fury, as it's all been hurled at the belittled and scorned Internet mom.
I'm honestly not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, and my confusion continues all the way through this chapter's "Top 10 Ways We Make Ourselves Feel Better When It's All Getting To Be Too Much." We begin reasonably enough…
  1. Check to see whether the person offering advice has children. How old are they?
  2. Do they have a point? Are they right? It is entirely possible.
…before quickly losing all sense of self-awareness and flying completely off the rails.
  1. Will we ever see this person again? If not, can we get away with unleashing our fury on them? Note, if you're reading this and decide to try it for yourself, go big or go home.
The last few chapters have been a bit Alex-heavy, but never fear -- Simon pops back up in Chapter 9 ("If I Wouldn't Eat That, My Kid Won't Either") to tell us a charming story about how the family refers to his Bolognese sauce as "Dead Cow Sauce," and this is because his children are incredibly enlightened and understand the circle of life and where food comes from. Or something along those lines.
This chapter also provides a lot of really incontrovertible proof that, even though you may swear that your kids say the most hilarious things all the time, you are wrong. I love kids. I can play cool aunt with the best of them. But this "recipe" for "Johan's Concoction" tries so hard to be cute and funny ("whisk violently -- making sure to spill a little out of the top") that I could barely stifle my groans. For anyone who happens to frequent RebornDollCringe, I am strongly and inexplicably reminded of Britton.
A list of "Top 10 Things We Don't Like About Children's Restaurants" culminates with
  1. Where would you rather be? A bistro devoted to race-car driving, with 1950s toy cars on the walls, or T.G.I. Friday's?
Excuse me, ma'am, you must be unfamiliar with the concept of Endless Apps®.
The title of Chapter 10 is "You'll Give in Before I Do!" and although the subtitle lets me know this is referencing "the art and warfare of bedtime," it's hard not to take it as a personal taunt from the authors. Most of this chapter is just transcriptions of 'cute' things François and Johan have said to try to avoid going to bed, but we do get this gem:
Slaying the dragon is our family euphemism for using the toilet (drowning the dragons that live in the sewer) and is fun for the boys to talk about, though probably not forever.
Before giving us a chance to adequately process this revelation, Alex goes on to reflect:
Hmm, perhaps I should delete this -- I don’t want obnoxious classmates getting hold of this book in 10 years and asking the boys if they need to slay the dragon in the middle of geometry class.
Alex, I assure you, you truly have nothing to worry about. Any self-respecting bully will be far too focused on the fact that Simon ejaculated at the moment of his son's birth to pay this comparatively trivial factoid any attention.
The authors shake things up and end this chapter with lists of both "Top 20 Bedtime Stories" and "Top 10 Lullabies," both of which are thankfully inoffensive.
In Chapter 11 ("Children Like Shiny Objects"), we follow Alex and Simon as they purchase the townhouse we see them renovating on RHONY. Although other (read: lesser) parents might store breakables out of reach or limit children's toys to playrooms and bedrooms, Alex and Simon were blessed with two boys whose aesthetic sensibilities are already quite developed:
One kind of funny thing that I noticed recently is that the toys the boys tend to leave upstairs in our red and black living room often tend to be red and black as well. I'm not sure whether that's intentional, but it's funny that the room always seems to match regardless of its contents.
The list of "Top 10 Craziest Places We've Found Objects" is mercifully absent of any orifice-related discoveries.
After reading just the title of Chapter 12 ("Raising Baby Einsteins"), I'm bracing myself for the self-satisfied smugness to come. This preparation turns out to be duly warranted. Baby sign language is dismissed as "a scheme dreamed up by ASL experts who wanted to sell classes to easily influenced new parents," Mommy and Me classes are "not really for teaching anything," and we learn that Alex and Simon have instituted a bizarre family rule that "if a talking toy came into our house, it had to speak a foreign language or speak English in an accent other than American."
We learn that Simon apparently does not know what antonyms are (for the record, Simon, the word you're looking for is homophones) and that New York City is replete with "wailing, nocturnal, type-A obsessed harridans willing to sleep with persons not their spouse if they think it will help their child get into THE RIGHT SCHOOL." Uh, yikes. After a tediously long description of François' pre-school admissions process, Alex informs us:
As a former actor, I've always gotten into play-acting and dressing up with my children. Perhaps a little too much. But I've taken the opportunity to show off a few old monologues, complete with bounding around like a puppy. If you have knowledge, why not share it? If you happen to know Puck's speeches from a Midsummer Night's Dream by ear with tumbling and staged sword play, why the heck don’t you share that with your boisterous boys, who love it and run around shouting, "Thou speakest aright!"
I am suddenly compelled to call my mother and thank her profusely for never making me put up with anything like this. Maybe I'll also get her thoughts on one of the tips listed in "Top 10 Favorite 'Developmental' Things To Do": "if they want something that you want to delay giving them, make them ask in every language they can before giving in." To me, this seems like an effective way to encourage your children to learn how to say "Fuck you, mom" in French as early as possible.
In Chapter 13 ("Urban Wonderland"), Alex and Simon promise to share their unique perspective on "taking advantage of raising a child in the urban jungle." But mostly, we just get a rant about how everyone thinks their kids have weird names, and that makes Simon mad. This chapter's "Top 10 Reasons New York is the Center of the Universe to a Kid" list reminds us what truly matters: "there are more songs with NYC in their titles than any other city."
Immediately after telling us how great it is to live in a city (excuse me, urban jungle), Alex and Simon switch tack and spend Chapter 14 ("'Daddy, a Cow! And It's Not in a Zoo!") expounding on the importance of exposing kids to nature. Sounds great, I'm on board. Unfortunately, we almost immediately take a hard left turn into a story from Simon's childhood where he and his brother are "befriended by this old guy, Dick, who lived on the outskirts of town in a small tin shed." We hear that Dick "occasionally pulled out an early Playboy magazine back from the days when the lower regions were airbrushed out," and that "there had been pretty strong rumors of pedophilia," before promptly returning to the main narrative with no further explanation. I can only describe the transition as 'jarring.'
I can tell how exhausted I am at this point in the book by how hurriedly I skimmed the list of "Top 10 Differences We've Noticed Between City Kids and Country Kids." To be honest, I'm almost annoyed when a particularly bizarre quote manages to catch my attention, because that means I have to think about it for the full amount of time it takes me to transcribe from the page. I'm beginning to think that my initial hope that I could glean some useful cat-rearing advice from this experience may have been overzealous.
Chapter 15 ("You're Such a Great Parent, You Should Be on TV (LOL)") is the only chapter to directly address the family's time on RHONY. It starts with this (attempted) comedy bit in which Alex and Simon pretend to be hilariously self-aware and self-effacing (Alex: "Look up 'Mommylicious' in the dictionary and you will see a photo of me in a ball gown, breast-feeding an infant while making Osso Buco and directing carpenters to build a bookcase for my Dickens and Shakespeare."). This posture would be infinitely more believable if I hadn't spent the previous 205 pages watching these two take themselves deadly seriously.
But rather than share any juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits (or, indeed, convey anything of substance at all), Alex and Simon spend exactly 3.5 pages blustering about how it wasn't harmful for their children to be on TV before giving us a list of "Top 10 Hilarious Things The Boys Have Done While Filming or at Photo Shoots." Spoiler alert: none of them are 'hilarious.'
Chapter 16 is literally titled "The Light at the End of the Tunnel," which makes me feel like this whole experience may have just been Alex and Simon playing some sort of twisted game with me. Alex tells us this is "the chapter of hope," but given that she then tells us about a time when she "spent one full hour discussing why magic markers cannot be carried around with the caps off, particularly in a hotel suite with white couches and walls," I'm not sure exactly where this hope is coming from. Also it seems like this markers-in-a-hotel-room thing happens weirdly frequently. We are then treated to Alex and Simon's "Top 10 Moments of Getting It,'" which includes
  1. Apropos of nothing, Johan said, "You give us time-outs because you are teaching us to be good grown-ups."
This is a thing I'm sure Johan said completely organically and not in response to hearing his parents say "we're giving you a time-out so that you learn to be a good grown-up" approximately seven zillion times.
This brings us to the book's Epilogue (a mercifully short two pages) featuring the line "If you made it to the end of this book, we salute you." Honored to accept this hard-earned accolade, I can finally close the book and start figuring out a way to erase the memory of Simon busting a mid-childbirth nut from my aching brain. Wish me luck!
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[Primer] The Nightmare Hive: A Five-Colour Lurrus Slivers Guide

Humans don’t have it easy in fantasy settings. They tend to be cast either as strictly worse versions of other races in all qualities that actually matter, or they’re just the jacks-of-all-trades lacking both the strengths and weaknesses of the others. In many games, this lack of specialization makes humans boring, and keeps them away from presence in minmaxed munchkin builds, but here? They do have one strength.
Diversity.
A band of humans from all five colours trek across the countryside. The finest specimens that the species has to offer. They come from all walks of life: noble priests, veteran soldiers, pirates with even less respect for you than for your property rights. There’s one chick who makes stuff cost more mana somehow. (Do any of the Innistrad novels explain that?)
All march together for a common purpose: using their combined powers, they must exterminate a hive of interplanar rodents. The slivers have expanded their territory in recent months, terrorizing the farmers whose grain the kingdom relies on. The exterminators are well-equipped, bringing magic found in their faith, strength found in the arrival of their comrades, and giant praying mantises found God-knows-where. Discard, +1/+1 counters, ramp - they have it all. If there’s a need that has to be met, you can bet there’s a human somewhere willing to do it for enough coin. But through it all, these bipedal mammals still have one weakness.
Diversity.
Humans are pack animals, you see, but still individuals. Social ones to be sure, but they also appear determined to love their shortcomings more than their potential greatness, and cringe away from the pinnacle of evolution: the parasocial. Their flesh-brains have come so far, but without an omnipresent psionic link, they’re little more than their unicellular ancestors. Limited to a single life. A single existence. You can dismantle an entire army of them just by breaking down their fragile communications systems. Once that’s done, you can just sit back and watch as disorganization dissolves their ranks and their differences drive them to tear each other apart. This is the eternal flaw of the Self: it implies a lack of perfect union with the Whole.
And as these humans, less of a people than a cobbled-together mass of persons, reach the top of the hill and see the outline of the Hive on the horizon, they will know the failure of their species. They will bear witness to the accomplishments of the Whole and even as they fail to articulate it in words, they will know that the Self is the Flaw.
We have long since mended this Flaw. They sent their finest ones, but the fact that their finest are confined to being ones, with gifts that only apply to singular specimens, is their fatal limit. That is why their final stand against our expansion can only ever be that: a final stand.
---
"bro wtf that was cringe, ur gonna lose karma"
Sorry, I’m a wannabe fantasy writer on Reddit. Get used to awful prose.
Welcome to a primer for my particular brew of 5C Slivers in Modern: the Nightmare Hive. It’s something I’ve been somewhat surprised to not see more Slivers players dabbling in. If you ask me, I think they have an unhealthy attachment to 3-drops. 🤮
I’m going to focus on deckbuilding/card choice and playstyle notes. It’s probably not going to be a ton of new information for experienced players, but it can call attention to some micro. I’ll throw some attention to matchup notes but that’s not what’s as fun for me to write. This is also the first time I’ve ever written an MTG primer. Well, a primer that isn’t for a deck that’s actually just a shitpost made of cardboard. (Ask me about 95-land Vendilion Clique EDH!)
There’s not much I have to say for an introduction or a “Why Slivers?” in general. You guys already know it. Slivers have a certain reputation among casual players for being OP. Maybe this is because they’re the truest embodiment of what a tribal deck is. Slivers sacrifice a lot of individual power in order to maximize group power. But really the reason for this is that building a functional Sliver deck for casual is one of the easiest things in the world. As far as fair decks go, you can get a ton of mileage in terms of effectiveness out of relatively little money spent just by rooting through the foul-smelling dumpster that is your LGS’s bulk commons bin, throwing any slivers you find at some lands and calling it a deck. You also get more insight by comparing them to other creature types like Humans or Elves: plenty of those creature types will show up incidentally in more generalist decks, but the instant an opponent plays their first Sliver, you know exactly what’s going on and you know you should be afraid. Consequently, casual circles often have the one Sliver deck of the friend group whose player loves to be feared and who everyone else loves to fear.
This shifts a lot once one goes into competitive environments. Slivers have clear weaknesses, and in my view, many of the common modern Sliver builds fail to really play to their strengths enough to make up for this. I don’t even know if the deck I’m about to describe to you is any different, but I can attest to this deck having a good matchup against other Sliver decks by virtue of sheer speed. Vroom vroom.
Do keep in mind that while I’m hyping this deck up because it’s mine and I’m proud of it, it’s far from perfect. But you know what it is? Consistent, easy to play and fun as SHIT for smoothbrains like me. HAHA TURN CREATURES SIDEWAYS EVERY TURN, WORLD’S BEST STRATEGY GAME, NOW FREE TO PLAY ON MTGARENA
Alright bois, get ready. Strap in, set aside your existential identity as a Unique and become one with the Hive. Click your talons together when you’re ready and brace yourself for some card choice analysis. Truly the funnest part of Magic, at least if you’re like me and spend hours honing a theoretical build for your D&D character without caring to ever actually play it.
If all you care about is the list, here's the summary by a helpful Goyf.

The 0-Drops:

In this deck, our only 0-drops are lands, and you’re probably familiar with what the best choices already are. Where this gets a tad spicy is in the land count: 18. One of the reasons this deck stands at an advantage against other Sliver decks is precisely from the pseudo card advantage provided by being able to draw fewer lands than our opponent and still have a functional deck. Curving lower than burn out here.
4x Cavern of Souls: Surprising literally nobody with this one. In the Bant snowpile meta that hasn't quite gone away with Astrolabe, your opponent will have plenty of countermagic, and this card will be pulling a lot of weight for getting you on even footing with them.
4x Unclaimed Territory: Discount Cavern. The color-fixing is just this valuable, letting us draw on Slivers from every color to create an optimized horde without stressing about our mana sources.
4x Sliver Hive: Here’s something we have over other tribal decks: Twelve different lands that can all tap for colorless as well as one of any color to spend on our creatures. Sliver Hive has a final ability stapled on, but I legitimately feel that this card would be buffed if that ability was replaced with flavor text. That would improve Slivers as a whole by adding to their aesthetic while also removing an ability that literally never gets used, at least in this build. Requires you to draw a third of the lands in your whole library to use, and if you’ve reached that point, you’ve probably already lost.
0x Ancient Ziggurat: WHAT? Yeah yeah, I know. Here’s the thing: With the above lands doing so much for our mana fixing, and a number of other lands we want, there’s little room for Ancient Ziggurat. Which is a shame, because ziggurat is an awesome word that you should strive to use at least once every day. The inability to be used on noncreature sources matters more often than you’d think, usually in the case of sideboard cards but also for a number of hands in which one would be keeping a single land and an Aether Vial.
“But isn’t it better for Lurrus since it can produce any colour to cast it, unlike Sliver Hive?”
Before the nerf, this was correct. However, now that you have to pay 3 generic mana to put your companion into your hand, a cost that Ancient Ziggurat can’t contribute to, it’s no longer worth it.
In short, Ancient Ziggurat is good, but “good” isn’t good enough for the Hive. We demand more.
3x Mutavault: Unfortunately, playing 4 Mutavaults here is suboptimal. Five-color deck needs its five-color sources, and in a deck with 18 lands, we don’t want more than one-sixth of our lands failing to produce colored mana. A number of creatures in the deck are ones Mutavault can’t be used to pay for even if we want to. That said, the 2/2 body that benefits from all the Sliver buffs is commonly the difference between winning and losing a game. In playtesting I’ve found 3 to be the optimal number, but you wouldn’t be totally insane for playing 2 or 4.
2x Silent Clearing: Apparently 18 lands is sometimes too many. The pain from these is usually insignificant, while the card draw can help us pull a clutch win out of nowhere. This particular horizon land is chosen since out of the ones available, it most lines up with our mana requirements. Shoutout to the times you crack it at EoT, draw a creature you can drop with Aether Vial, untap and swing for lethal because of that new Sliver.
1x Snow-Covered Plains: Yes, this deck is very, very bad against Blood Moon. Good thing the Astrolabe ban makes Ponza worse, right? Blood Moon only gets less common in the meta from here, right guys?
The single Plains is mostly a formality, something to fetch off of opponents’ Paths, Assassin’s Trophies and Fields of Ruin. Why Snow-Covered? Mind games. It might cause your opponent to think you run something that makes the snow quality relevant. In truth, it’s because it adds possible variance in your opponent’s mind that they might account for, at zero mechanical downside. I actually don’t like the fact that snow-covered basics are strictly better than standard basics. I’d like to see a modern-legal Snow hoser that’s good enough to use, making snow lands something to use only if your deck actually cares about them rather than making them the optimal default for every single deck.
So, that’s our manabase. Nothing too surprising or exciting, but had to be done.

The 1-Drops:

AND NOW WE GET TO THE CARDS YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT

AIGHT HERE’S HOW YOU MURDER EVERY SAPIENT BEING YOU ENCOUNTER

One of Slivers’ main weaknesses as a tribe is their one-drops. There aren’t many, and the ones we get aren’t absolutely spectacular. No 1 mana 2/2s with haste or anything. (God can you imagine how OP a 1 mana 2/2 with haste would be?) But they do get the job done, providing the keyword soup that makes this deck favourable against other fair decks. Just to fluff this out and address some bad possibilities people might want to account for, I’ll also be rating every one-drop sliver. I know you’re desperate for my opinion.
4x Aether Vial: When I first got into Magic, I didn’t understand what was so good about Aether Vial. Sure, you can get some cards into play faster, but it also takes up your first turn as well as a card to use. You’re just kneecapping yourself in the long run. What I didn’t understand is that much of the time, there is no long run in Modern. The added speed is worth it, as is the instant timing and the immunity to counterspells. Aether Vial is our only noncreature spell maindeck and we’ll drop it turn 1 if it’s in hand. They’d better counter it then, or the combination of Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial itself will make counters useless. This card is also what lets this deck survive at all against Blood Moon.
0x Metallic Sliver, Plated Sliver: The earliest slivers weren’t that powerful. We’re not missing much from being unable to use these.
0x Mindlash Sliver: I do wish this was somehow playable, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. You’re spending mana to 2-for-1ing yourself, unless your hand is empty, but even then this probably isn’t worth it. You don’t want to rip apart hands, you want to rip apart FACES. Doesn’t make the cut. Maybe one day we’ll get a better version of this that’ll be useful against control.
0x Screeching Sliver: If someone manages to make Sliver Mill good, let me know. It’s certainly not viable now given all the Uros and dredge.
4x Sidewinder Sliver: Now we’re talking! Costs 1 white mana, meaning it works with any of our non-Mutavault lands. Flanking essentially makes this a lord for combat only, but there will be places where the fact it gives others a minus instead of your own creatures a plus is relevant: opposing lifelink becomes less powerful, Ice-Fang Coatls die before they get to deal damage, even 1-toughness first strikers die before getting to deal damage. Flanking only works against creatures without flanking, but the only time that’ll come up in Modern is the mirror, and in that matchup this will essentially just be vanilla since it grants the ability to all slivers, not just yours.
0x Virulent Sliver: Maybe in the past you could’ve made the case for this. Maybe you could argue that in some very niche cases like against soul sisters or decks that can continuously pick off your lords, the poison will kill before the damage. Especially if you get multiple of these out. But nowadays our selection of one-drops isn’t quite that terrible, and we don’t have to use this.
4x Galerider Sliver: The best one-drop Sliver in most cases. Little to say, makes them unblockable to most creatures. Being able to block enemy fliers sometimes matters, but usually your playstyle is just HAHA TURN CREATURES SIDEWAYS, MAGIC IS THE WORLD’S BEST STRATEGY CARD GAME. If your opening hand has multiple one-drop slivers, you might want to drop one of the other one-drops first in order to bait the removal on that one. To use Sidewinder Sliver as a point of comparison: making your opponent’s blocking choices less optimal isn’t as good as taking away their option of blocking at all.
4x Striking Sliver: Now this is interesting. Most Sliver decks I’ve seen run 2 of both this and Sidewinder, but since this deck is meant to be faster and more aggressive, we want 4 of both. Especially since both of them are equally good against one-toughness blockers like Snapcaster Mage or Ice-Fang Coatl. Let’s compare them for interest’s sake. First Strike works on both attacks and blocks, unlike flanking, and you can Aether Vial the Striking Sliver in as a combat trick after blocks. Can’t do that with Sidewinder since flanking is a triggered ability. By contrast, Sidewinder Sliver is easier to cast given our mana base, works better as a combat trick in more cases (a 2/2 sliver with first strike blocked by a 2/2 successfully turns a trade into a win, while being blocked by a 3/3 fails to turn a loss into a trade; flanking succeeds for both) and as the slight nudge into superiority for me, flanking stacks. Also importantly, many of your opponents will not know that flanking stacks until after you inform them of this once they’ve already formally declared blockers. For me, flanking stacking makes it more valuable to get multiple Sidewinder Slivers as opposed to multiple Striking Slivers, and in most matchups if I’m boarding out 1-drops, I’ll start taking out copies of Striking before Sidewinder. Exceptions do exist: against 8-ball you will be very thankful for your 1/1 first striker that totally negates their single-toughness attackers.
Well I guess that’s all of them. Time to move on to-
>OBJECTION!<
2x Changeling Outcast?!: That’s right folks, you heard it here first. We’re this aggressive. We’re committing so hard to our lord and savior The Fast that we’re throwing in a couple of 1-mana unblockable changelings who will benefit from all pumps given to slivers. The fact they can’t block is hardly ever relevant in a deck that intends to do no blocking, and the unblockable clause makes this a clock that gets surprisingly fast once you have a couple of the two-drops down. Costing black mana means there’s only four lands in the deck that can’t cast it, making it a reliable first-turn play if you really have nothing else to put down, and they’ll let you win through a number of board stalemates. All of that said, these will usually be your first cuts when it comes to sideboarding. Not that they’re bad, just that everything else is better - these are essentially flex slots. Try them, and if you find them underwhelming, I have other suggestions in their stead for the two-drops. Do note, however, that this can make your curve a bit too high to be truly speedy.

The 2-Drops:

The reason this build works, and arguably the reason the whole tribe works, is that Slivers have such an abundance of 2-mana lords. (Basically, if you wish Rat Colony.dec was a good deck, play this. That's why I do.) They wind up buffing each other and creating monstrous attack phases in a short number of turns. The consistency is phenomenal since they’re all so interchangeable and redundant. Not all of them are created equal, but all of them will nonetheless serve you well in ripping people’s midsections open.
4x Unsettled Mariner: This time we’ll just get the one changeling out of the way upfront: this guy is good. 2 mana 2/2 makes it a reasonable rate for a body, and you can drop it early in place of a lord without actually losing much damage. Many opponents will be tunnel visioned on killing this in order to free up mana, which will also take up their removal that should have been saved for killing lords. It makes life noticeably harder for burn, 8rack, Jund as long as they have to let it live, and so on. An excellent addition to the deck from Modern Horizons, instant 4-of. Be sure not to forget that it doesn’t just prevent the spellcasting, but counters it as a triggered ability, so you won’t just have to correct your opponent that they’re unable to cast their spell given the mana they have like with Thalia - their spell is directly countered if they screw up. Also remember that the counter applies to spells that target your nonsliver permanents, such as land destruction, as well as to you! Delaying Cryptic Command for a turn is super helpful in the control matchup. Lastly, it applies to abilities as well. Planeswalker abilities, Fields of Ruin, Thought-Knot Seer ETB trigger, even Gifts Ungiven, all of it has to have extra mana paid or it does nothing.
0x Clot, Heart, Muscle, Talon, Winged, Acidic, Crystalline, Hibernation, Victual, Crypt, Hunter, Mistform, Quick Sliver: None of them are modern legal. The most unfortunate loss is Crystalline Sliver, which could be out here giving all of them shroud and thus making removal totally pointless. At least Unsettled Mariner does an acceptable impression.
0x Gemhide Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED THIS MUCH MANA FOR? GET OUTTA HERE GREEN BOY
0x Ghostflame Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE COLORLESS FOR? GET OUTTA HERE COLORLESS BOY (might be fun tech against all is dust or ugin, but by that point you’ve already lost)
0x Quilled Sliver: WHY IS THIS SLIVER UNTAPPED?! YOU’RE FIRED!
0x Spined Sliver: This is an interesting one to me, and I’ve come very close to running it. The 2/2 body makes it attractive, as does the ability acting similar to flanking. Two things contribute to it not being worth running: the fact that at the end of the day its ability is a worse flanking, and the fact that casting it is too awkward for the utility we get out of it. We need either Vial or two lands that can tap for any colour to get Spined Sliver out, and while we actually do meet that criteria the majority of the time, the minority is large enough to be worthy of consideration.
0x Spinneret Sliver: WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO BLOCK?! GET OUTTA HERE SPIDER SLIVER. ALSO WE ALREADY GET ACTUAL FLYING FROM GALERIDER SO WHO NEEDS YOU
0x Two-Headed Sliver: It sometimes gets close to kinda viable-ish, but the fact it’s a 2 mana 1/1 that doesn’t pump itself as well as the fact that we already have several flying sources and a few unblockables in here means that this ability is very often pointless. You will feel the pain when it’s absent, and you’re unlikely to notice the pain of it being present and wishing it was something else, but trust me - the damage is there even if you don’t feel it. It’s not good enough for the main deck, and the sideboard has much more important circumstances to concern itself with than whether or not menace would be good in this matchup. We already run over most other go-wide decks, and are unlikely to lose due to a lack of menace.
0x Cautery Sliver: You just get so much more out of any given sliver from its quality of improving other slivers than you get from sacrificing them to ping stuff.
0x Darkheart Sliver: I legitimately believe this one can be viable. If you’re in a particularly aggressive meta, you can pull wins out of the extra life from this. Against burn, each sliver can directly cancel out a burn spell. Against Jund, you can respond to all removal spells by gaining some extra life. Sac everything in response to a boardwipe to buy time for your recovery, including dodging the exile clause on Anger of the Gods. Chump and sac before damage if you manage to be losing for some reason. There was a time when I ran a single one mainboard as a better game 1 against burn decks, and I wouldn’t fault you for running it as a one-of, though I now consider the loss of consistency for doing so to be a bit too much. Especially since Unsettled Mariner is already a card that makes it more awkward for your opponents to remove your slivers, you already have some protection from this angle.
4x Sinew Sliver: And now we’re off to the races! Drop it turn 2, cast it with an extremely easy mana cost for this deck, Aether Vial it in before damage to screw over opponents’ blocking decisions, pump your Mutavault, save creatures from damage spells. Sinew Sliver puts in a ton of work, and is easily one of the best cards in the deck. PUT IT DOWN, MAKE ALL YOUR SLIVERS RIPPED, TURN YOUR CREATURES SIDEWAYS, YOU CANNOT LOSE.*
\you can sometimes lose)
4x Frenzy Sliver: I don’t like Frenzy Sliver. I just don’t. It’s a 2-mana 1/1 that only adds power and only for unblocked creatures. Can’t even Aether Vial it in after blockers are declared. Sinew Sliver sparks joy. Frenzy Sliver does not spark joy. However, it’s very easy for this deck to cast and it comes close enough to being a lord for this highly aggressive list that it makes the cut as a 4-of. If you’re considering cutting two-drops for your sideboard cards, these will be among the first to go, unless your opponent plays so few targeted spells and abilities that Unsettled Mariner isn’t worth it.
0x Manaweft Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED THIS MUCH MANA FOR? GET OUTTA HERE GREEN BOY
4x Predatory Sliver: Yes… YEEEEEESSSSS! One-sided Sinew Sliver STRONK! Costs green instead of white, but being one-sided matters more often than you think, and not just for the mirror. Sinew Sliver will also be buffing opposing Mutavaults and Unsettled Mariners. Predatory Sliver is consistently a house against decks of all kinds, being cast turn 2 or being dropped by Aether Vial at instant speed to wreak havoc on opponents. Many question why one would even play Slivers when options like Merfolk and Goblins are available, and the answer is that we’ve already touched on 12 different damage-boosting 2-drop slivers, and we’re not even done!
0x Sentinel Sliver: Similar to Darkheart Sliver, I used to run this as a one-of and I’m quite convinced it’s viable depending on meta. Easy to cast, 2/2 body, and without being able to use the 3-mana lifelink sliver, this does a lifegain impression by allowing us to threaten blocks where we couldn’t before. That said, its benefit is situational and its presence raises our curve as well as potentially the need for more lands. I leave it out, but you wouldn’t be insane for including one if you have an aggressive creature-based meta.
0x Diffusion Sliver: Other Slivers players will maul me for this choice, but it comes back to how aggressive this deck wants to be. 2 mana 1/1s really need to earn their place, and this doesn’t quite do it, especially with Unsettled Mariner already present in the deck. Diffusion Sliver is an absolute house in more midrangey or ramp-focused sliver builds to protect the big boys, but this list doesn’t lean so heavily on any individual component, and it would typically rather draw another lord than a diffusion sliver. Especially when it’s already late game or when it’s trying to recover from a wiped board. So what I’m getting at is something you probably already knew: defense is for wimps.
4x Leeching Sliver: This is a better version of Frenzy Sliver. It still has many of the same problems, but the advantages of life loss as opposed to a damage boost are crucial: the life loss bypasses effects like Worship, isn’t prevented by Fogs, still applies even if the attacking creature is blocked, and the triggers can finish off a nearly-dead opponent even if they have enough creatures to block everything. 16 2-mana lords. This is why you play slivers.
0x Venom Sliver: This can work as a one-of if the stars align and you have an extremely weird meta full of big creatures that aren’t Uro and Kroxa. But in most metas the deathtouch just isn’t going to be useful enough. Your creatures should get big enough to kill with combat damage, and you’d rather have a lord instead of this to boost said combat damage.
0x Bladeback Sliver: Slivers that are tapping to deal direct damage aren’t benefiting from the 16 lords. We don't like your type 'round these parts.
4x Cloudshredder Sliver: Oh-HOOOOH, this thing is spicy. This absolute MADMAN acts as Galeriders 5-8 for much more consistent evasion, as well as haste. This is the quality it takes to let a 2-mana 1/1 that doesn’t pump itself be viable, and it earns its place unquestioningly. Seriously, this allows for absolutely ridiculous plays. Turn 1 Aether Vial, turn 2 Cloudshredder Sliver, Vial in Sidewinder Sliver and swing for 2, turn 3 Striking Sliver, Predatory Sliver, Vial in another Predatory Sliver, swing for 15, flying, flanking, first strike. There are many decks that just cannot handle this pressure, especially if they’ve already shocked themselves. If they Anger of the Gods now, they’ll still be low enough for you to rebuild and kill with a second wave later.
0x Dregscape Sliver: This may or may not be the correct choice. It’s what I’m currently using due to trying to avoid the unearth being a nonbo with a certain nightmare cat. No question that these are good, and might actually warrant a place here, but this specific build performs just fine without them. Like the other 0-but-viable slivers, you can play around with cutting the Changeling Outcasts for a couple copies if you wish.
0x Enduring Sliver: WHY AREN’T YOU ATTACKING? GET OUT OF HERE ABZAN SLIVER

The 3-Drops:

Why would anyone in their right mind play 3-drops in a non-ramp deck? This is modern. Format's too fast and degenerate for that, bucko.
With one exception.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The benefit for the restriction, besides the lower land count. We all know how awesome Lurrus is. Format-breaking monster.
“But u/Yaldev, companions got nerfed!”
You call that a nerf?! Now we can pay 3 mana, the same as its normal cost, but now it’s colorless, and then put it into play at instant speed and uncounterably with Aether Vial! Combined with the fact that the hardest abusers of Lurrus are now considerably less able to abuse it themselves, while it actually got better for us specifically, and I think there’s never been a better time to play this deck!
If you do feel like casting Lurrus from hand, it costs 1 colourless and two hybrid black/white, so even our non-5C lands can contribute to casting it. Also keep in mind that it’s totally viable to play your “name a creature type” lands and name Nightmare for the sake of being able to cast Lurrus, AND keep in mind that those lands will still be able to be used to pay for your changelings since they also count as Nightmare Cats. Fun!
Lurrus is such a boon for this deck, despite not being a sliver. It has lifelink, working well against burn and prowess. It lets you come back from a number of different boardwipes. It frees up the space that would have been taken up by Dregscape Sliver to instead get other utility and one-mana spells while still having access to reanimation. You can recur your sideboard cards if they get destroyed. This card is just so GOOD and I can’t believe that other Slivers players are so delusional that they think it’s worth it to trade off Lurrus for cards that cost THREE mana!
But what about Collected Company?
Collected Company is indeed one of the best arguments against a Lurrus build, but there are a few details I want to call attention to, one of which is the impact of both the mana cost and the coloured requirement. Including Collected Company demands a retooling of the mana base, reducing consistency in exchange for potential pop-offs that have a ceiling that feels good to pull off, but is typically overkill.
The other issue is one that doesn’t have as much attention paid to it: it increases how many noncreature spells you’re running. Despite the bans, we’re likely still looking at a meta with a dominant snow-pile control feel. A deck with enough Dovin’s Vetos and Force of Negations to spare. By making these cards practically useless by sticking to almost entirely creature spells, we deprive our opponent of resources.
All of that said, you actually could still play around with including Collected Company as well as Lurrus. Remember, Lurrus’s restriction only applies to permanents, not to instants and sorceries. It’ll just require retooling your mana base a bit, probably including another land or two and dropping some of the any-colour producers in favour of green lands, Silent Clearings go out for Horizon Canopies, and it makes you more vulnerable to Grafdigger’s Cage, a card that opponents will already be boarding in against you if they have it in order to deal with Lurrus. You also won’t get maximum value since you have no 3 drops to get. This is essentially 4 mana for 4 mana at most.
Slivers isn’t a solved archetype. Feel free to be a scientist, do your own experiments, add to collective knowledge of the Slivers Player Hivemind.

Sideboard:

For this sideboard, I’ve opted towards going hard against specific decks rather than having few cards for everything. This is in part out of necessity, since our options for diversifying legitimately are limited: the Slivers that are worth including in sideboards are 3+ mana, and that leaves only colourless spells that cost 2 or less. We can’t go wide, so we have to go deep.
4x Chalice of the Void: BEHOLD THE FUNSLAYER. Chalice on 1 is your answer to all the decks you already know are reliant on 1 drops, including but not limited to:
To account for this, you’ll typically be boarding out some 1-drops to account for strong likelihood of them being uncastable, though even then, there’s still a good chance you’ll get to use them anyway. Aether Vial turn 1 will let you get them in without casting, while Cavern of Souls will make your 1-drops uncounterable by Chalice.
Also keep in mind the super spicy Chalice on 0, which makes life difficult for UR Free Spells, Cascade, any cheesy strats trying to be Cheerios in 2020, Prime Time (NO PACT 4 U), and once again, Ad Nauseam. 0 stops them from casting Lotus Bloom from exile!
Overall, I think Chalice is the deck’s best sideboard weapon. Do not run less than 4. It’s too valuable.
4x Dismember: Sometimes there are creatures you genuinely have to worry about. Stoneforge Mystic fetched Batterskull and you can’t handle it being played on turn 3. Goyf needs to die before it gets massive. Against other tribal decks, taking out a key lord can be more valuable than yet another 1-drop sliver on your own side. 4 life is a lot to pay, but often this card will save you more than 4 life, or prevent more than 4 life gained for your opponent, or just secure a win that could have otherwise been thrown into question. Also keep in mind that because your Silent Clearings tap for black, they can contribute to the Phyrexian mana cost to save a teensy bit of life.
4x Soul-Guide Lantern: This can easily be substituted for Tormod’s Crypt if that’s your preference. I just like the Lantern for the ETB exile so that it doesn’t have to be cracked as early just to get rid of a single problematic card in a graveyard. In any case, this answers dredge, Uro, Jund and so forth. Can also be sacced to draw if you simply must win the game before your opponent’s next turn and desperately need to hit something to secure that. As a bonus, it can be recurred with Lurrus as both repeatable grave hate and card draw.
1x Damping Sphere: In all likelihood you’ll want 2 of these if Tron has relevant presence in your meta, but for my own deck I prefer to keep it to 1. Nothing special here, it hits all the same stuff you’d expect, such as Tron, Storm and Prowess. The annoying thing about it is that you also happen to be one of the decks that wants to put out several spells per turn, meaning that Damping Sphere will be slowing you down as well.
1x Torpor Orb: In all likelihood you’d rather drop this to double up on Damping Spheres, but I find that in longer games, you’ll get a ridiculous amount of mileage out of this bad boy. Your deck has exactly zero ETB triggers, so you’ll miss out on nothing, while simultaneously gimping Snapcaster Mages, Ice-Fang Coatls, Soul Sisters, Squadron Hawks, Rangers and Ranger-Captains of Eos, Seasoned Pyromancers, Silvergill Adepts, Harbingers of the Tides, Merfolk Tricksters, Thassa’s Oracle, Champions of the Parish, Thalia’s Lieutenants, Detention Mages, Freebooters, Thought-Knot Seers, those god-awful “turn your lands into artifacts and then Reclamation Sage them” decks, and need I even mention blink strats?

Piloting the Deck:

BRRRRRRRRBRBRBRRRRRRBBPLTHPBLBWRBPWBLGPTH
VRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM
In many games, this deck plays out in quite similar ways: Turn 1 sliver, turn 2 lord and swing, turn 3 another lord and swing with second mainphase one drop, turn 4 play 2 more lords and kill. May take an extra turn or two depending on their removal and how painful their manabase is. Seriously, it’s impressively fast, while also being impressively consistent.
Because the creature spells in your library curve out at 2, you’re perfectly fine with keeping a hand consisting of a single land and an Aether Vial. You can leave the Vial at 2 charge counters for the whole game, and even if by some freak of probability you never draw a second land, you can cast your 1-drops with the single land. At the same time, drawing more than one Aether Vial isn’t redundant for you, since there are a number of times when you’ll want to tick a 2-counter vial up to 3 for the sake of dropping Lurrus.
Note that in most games, Lurrus won’t even come out. Deck is 3FAST. It’s more of a possibly-turn-losses-into-wins sort of card. In games you were going to win anyway, it’s rarely necessary.
Deck’s fun. Sometimes you do actually have to think about the attacks you’re making. Sometimes you have to play around your opponent’s open mana meaning they very likely have something to pick off a lord. That can impact whether you’re still willing to attack with your 3/3 that’ll be brought down to a 2/2 into their blocker. Sometimes you have multiple lords in hand and you play the weaker one first to bait removal. I can’t realistically cover every situation, but I can offer some general advice:

Matchup Notes

This primer's already approaching the character cap for reddit, so here's a separate document for any hotties who've made it this far.

Conclusion (ft. Shameless Self-Plug)

Thanks for reading this, ModernMagic lurkers! Apart from wanting to give back to all the primer writers who've helped me smash face in Magic and other games through the years, I wrote this in order to get my writing in front of people's beautiful faces. If you like my style, feel free to check out my fantasy/sci-fi writing project at Yaldev. It's got weaponized cyborgs, undead dinosaurs, sentient paper airplanes, Horse Meat, lots of pretty art, and if you're a Vorthos flavour-geek you'll definitely be seeing how MTG influences the worldbuilding. Hopefully that's a good thing.
Feel free to post comments and discussion, I should be around to provide responses of questionable value.
submitted by Yaldev to ModernMagic [link] [comments]

Berwick Saga Tier List

Rules for the tier list:
Ease of use in completing main and side missions.
Turn counts, idk man I haven't ltc'ed Berwick Saga and Berwick Saga never felt to me like an ltc game, it felt like a journey I need to complete and each mission has so much stuff, that replaying and learning it is mind blowing.
So here's the tier list and my reasoning:
Here's my opinion abt Berwick Saga and it's unit's, feel free to agree or disagree. Still even with this tier list, certain missions require a certain combination of units and weapons to beat a specific or capture a specific enemy, which speaks to berwick's saga game design whether it's good or bad is another topic
Top: Clifford, Volo, Sherpa, Larentia, Dean, Sherlock
High: Reese, Ward, Arthur, Owen, Perceval, Izerna, Czene, Faramir
Mid: Aegina, Thaddy, Christine, Syvlis, Alvina , Elbert , Daoud, Kramer, Faye, Axel, Leon, Burroughs
Low: Ruby, Enid, Estaban, Marcel, Adel
Complex: Saphira, Paramythis, Lynette.
150: 150 G
Reasoning:
Clifford:
He has the highest base spear skill which means he hits very reliably throughout the game, sword skill is kinda decent but Clifford will mostly stick with spears, shieldfaire, great bases, good gear killer lance, mithril sword and a paladin shield, he's at level 20 which means he can use most swords, spears, lances, small and medium shields, comes in with a mount which has a lot of durability, he's virtually unkillable with a good shield early on, and takes quite a few hits with the leather medium shield for most of the game, best part you can bring him to side missions so he's a pretty good pick for most missions.
He can even help in captures early on, due to him having fairly high hit rates with the harpoon, eventually you get better tools to perform injuries like the bolt knife or the blizzard tome which require capturing certain units or forging respectively or by just doing sheer damage with his killer lance or mithril sword to have a chance at instantly crippling units.
Clifford gets provoke to manipulate the enemy A.I.
Clifford can use lances which are basically more powerful spears with the ability to negate counterattacks on the enemy or retaliating against the enemy.
His flaw is that you need to promote Ruby to recruit him, while not a bad unit in her own right , she's pretty hard to raise to promotion.
Volo:
Reliable player phase delete button, he can use blades too which amplify his damage output, if you want to reliably kill off a generic, Volo can use deathmatch and since he has adept and iado, he should pretty much reliably kill off enemies, killing enemies with him also gives you a small amount of gold which is nice, he isn't particularly bulky, but his hitrates can be fairly reliable with an eagle's brace and the miracle charm should keep him alive if you really want to kill a dangerous enemy, otherwise the raze tar is pretty helpful.
His flaws are mainly average bulk and the gameplay mechanics not particularly killing every enemy depending upon how you play the game, also he's fairly expensive and somewhat hard to recruit, but if you ask me, he's pretty easy to recruit, the worst case you just need to pay him for all the chapters and he should be recruitable around ch 13 even if you didn't use him. But why wouldn't you use Volo atleast early on the main missions.
Sherpa:
He's something like the typical mercenary, my first impression of sherpa was that, he was so badass that he'd be my favorite unit...
Anyway biases aside, Sherpa is one of the few units who will have a semblance of a typical fire emblem enemy phase because of his counter skill, his bulk is ok, mainly high hp amd low to average defense, but what really makes him stand out is his high sword rank and his technically personal sword the brymranger which essentially enables accost for three turns with it's high might and it's downside of reducing avoid.
Sherpa should reliably kill most enemies on ep because of his counter skill, He also is one of the few units who come in with guard, he can protect units in a pinch if you need him to.
Sherpa is one of the better users of the tiger brace if you get it, essentially pushing his hitrates to nearly a 100 points until he reaches high sword skill, which he also has the highest base in. That -10 avoid plays well with his counter skill.
Sherpa can use windsweep if he doesn't move essentially avoiding a counterattack and somewhat negates the brymranger's avoid penatly, it's also useful if you don't think sherpa can't afford to take damage but needs to stay at the same place.
Sherpa has robust which means he can't be crippled or captured, which makes him even more reliable.
Sherpa has 11 A.S which means he can counterattack enemies who can use crossbows, handaxes, javelins and their variants.
Sherpa is easy to recruit, requiring only one happiness to get him and a mandatory plot event in ch 8.
In short, Sherpa is a pretty reliable , low maintenance unit who you can bring for main missions and side missions if you have him in your party. Low maintenance because you just need to give him a sword and he should do his job, while knights will probably require a weapon, shield and a mount if the knight can use one.
Larentia:
She's the only flyer you get in the game, that alone should speak volumes on how useful she should be.
Her wyvern is essentially a mounted unit with infinite durability which means you can keep her mounted, unless you really need to dismount for terrain bonuses or to visit certain houses. The consequence of being on a flying mount, means she essentially can move six tiles in any direction, she can't wait in certain spots like houses and cliff, but mounted units can't visit houses anyway, so it's not a big issue.
She comes in with two skills windsweep which sherpa has, in her case, it's a lot more useful since she can use it to hit and run even if she misses and she can use canto to set it up way better than sherpa can, next one is mercy, this is one of the few units who get it, and the first unit who can use it on a main mission if you really require it, mercy leaves units at one hp, which really helps in crippling units, once you manage to rig enough times to injure them. Crippling units helps a lot in capturing units, not only you get good loot by capturing bounties, you get double the bounty price you'd get if you kill them.
Watchful, this negates the hidden and obsfusciation status which makes her pretty useful for scouting purposes to detect hidden enemies in terrain or enemies like riddle whom you otherwise can't see the inventory or stats.
Lastly she gets adept which sadly she can't exploit because she would prefer using spears which in conjuction with shields really reduces her A.S, but she can use swords to increase her A.S if you ever need an adept proc early on.
She comes in with a pretty good spear called the euthyrpo, it's a pretty accurate lance that does extra lightning damage.
Her flaws, lowish bulk, she can take a hit or two and enemies generally ignore her because of how flight works, small shields don't really offer a lot of defense unless you put in the price, her hp is kinda low.
Depending upon how your tactics ranking is, you get larentia between the end of the main mission of chapter 7 or around the beginning of chapter 10
Dean:
Dean is probably one of the best offense based units the game can give you.
He gets Adept, desperation, and vengeance.
Adept is one of the few ways the game lets a unit double, even if it is a chance based proc.
What makes him stand out is desperation, it shows that the unit has more hitrate on the enemy and the enemy has 100 % hitrate, but what the game does not tell you is that if you have more than 5 A.S compared to the enemy, you will perform a second attack, this essentially acts as a riskier option to double, combine this with vengeance when it procs which deals a lot of damage roughly to the proportion of hp lost along with the damage you deal to the enemy, he should kill most enemies pretty easily.
He has 0-1 range with francisas and similar weapons, which lets him attack safely if he so desires.
He gets mercy when you permanently recruit him which might help in capturing units and fortune at level 20 essentially negates crits on him.
All in all , Dean's a solid unit who can kill units pretty reliably.
Sherlock:
He's a mounted archer which means he can easily perform hit and runs, position himself in better positions.
What make Sherlock standout from every archer and almost every unit is the fact, he has the highest damage potential if you time your skills right with double shot and one two he can easily hit three times, post promotion he gets triple shot which amplifies it even further.
His accuracy is admittedly a bit shaky since he doesn't get aim but if you absolutely want to kill an enemy using the right bow and + arrows or sniper arrows hit the mark almost every time.
High Tier:
Reese:
Honestly one of the better lords throughout fire emblem. Fire Emblem and future hacks should really take notes on how to make a good lord from berwick saga.
Reese has a fairly combination of good skills and weapon types.
Adept: has a chance to double, you need atleast 5 A.S for adept to proc, the chance increases as the skill level for a weapon and the A.S increases
Robust: Can't be crippled or captured, so Reese can be fairly reliable combat unit.
Commander: gives +10 hit to allies within 3 tiles, you can increase this to four tiles with a certain furniture piece, this skill is pretty vital since hit rates are shaky throughout berwick saga unless units use accessories that boost hitrates, have very high weapon skill around 30+, have skills that boost hitrates like aim or desperation or a combination of these, hitrates are going to be shaky, infact most players will likely rely on this skill on the main mission to make a strategy even more reliable throughout the game.
Expert: essentially lets Reese have a seven weapon level lead, say Reese is at level 1 and the rapier is at level 8, he can use the rapier freely without any weapon penalty or a chance to fail.
These stuff depend upon whether you get reese furniture or not
Extra avoid Extra hit in forests Armsthrift Extra chance to adept Quickly raise sword levels Miracle
If you have the reese's circlet on his inventory, Resse cannot be crit
Swords are fairly light and he starts with small shields which don't particularly impede his A.S a lot, he can ditch the shield to get more A.S.
Upon promotion, he can use medium shields to enhance his bulk even further.
He also has the option to use a mount if he wants to, and you'd definitely want a mount on him.
He gets loads of personal weapons throughout the game, gram is one of them, giving reese some sort of complex accost, essentially letting Reese double and kill enemies fairly reliably due to it's stats. He comes in with the perseid small shield which gives him 7 defense and is fairly light for a shield that offers the same amount of defense.
His flaws are mainly his low weapon skill level will make him have shaky hitrates, he's a bit frail until promotion, he can take a few hits but he's no tank and finally his biggest flaw is that he can only participate in the main missions and two side missions... while it's realistic storywise since he actually has to be ready to serve the king and the duke at any time, it essentially cuts him from roughly half the maps the game has to offer which means he sadly cannot get a lot of weapon level to raise his hitrates.
Ward:
Reese's general, and an excellent one at that, ward is your Jeigan of the game and he never falls off,
His skillset is limited, he has guard which can intercept enemy attack to protect another unit and Robust which prevents him from being crippled.
He comes in with fairly high sword, spear and medium shield rank, his high level of 20 should let hin use most swords and spears and he comes in with good gear, a knight sword which lets him double in a way, a kite shield which offers a massive 10 def and a long spear which hits pretty hard especially if he moves around on a mount.

Ward can move across easily, take hits, kill off enemies, protect frailer units , honestly he'd probably be top tier, if only he was available in the side missions, which essentially consist of 1/2 to 3/4 the game.

Arthur:
He's a sword knight, he's mounted and uses swords like Reese but his skillset is one of the most useful skillsets even if you eventually get better units and tools to replicate what he can do
Hurry: Lets him move an extra space, but can only wait after performing it, this essentially lets arthur have the highest mov for most of the game at the coar of his turn, useful for moving across places you'd want to be.
Armsthrift: Slows down weapon degradation, essentially Arthur will likely have more uses of a weapon, since weapon breaking is somewhat random, I can't exactly say when a weapon will break, but I'm sure it will likely last longer ona unit who has armsthrift.
Flourish: halves attack but increases injury rate to 33, has a cooldown of 7 turn, this lets arthur have a chance to injure enemies which once in 7 turns is unreliable, injuring units is an unreliable process, requiring you to rig saves, but theoretically this gives him the highest injury chance, when he uses a harpoon upon promotion with fairly shaky hitrates but early on when you lack spear users who are accurate and if you don't want to bring clifford to the easier side missions, Arthur's skill can help with injuries bounties and even if you have a harpoon having a second chance to injure is pretty nice
Desperation: increases hit rates by 22, reduces def to 0 and enemy's hitrate to hundred, this seems like a dumb skill on first glance.
However in practise, hitrates are shaky in berwick saga and sometimes you'd like the reliability in hitrates, since desperation can be used when you can move, however what the game doesn't tell you is that if you have 5 more A.S than the enemy you can essentially double an enemy, which makes desperation a riskier way to double and kill off enemies. Since Arthur can use shields, he can take less damage from it.
As for weapon types, Arthur is stuck with swords, small shields and medium shields, he gains access to lances upon promotion, he progresses fairly quickly to the required skill levels for promotion, so Arthur promotes fairly quickly and at around ch 8, his happiness requirement is reduced to one making him a pretty easy unit to use and recruit.
Owen:
Owen is a bishop, he can heal and comes in with a wide variety of orbs that are stuck to him unless you recruit him, which somewhat restricts his inventory space, he can also use fire, wind and thunder magic incase you want to attack.
I'd recommend not using the wind and thunder orbs since Aegina or Perceval may need them to reach 30 in wind or thunder respectively, fire magic is fairly accurate if you want an offense based tome, and it is unlikely that Enid will reach her promotion at a reach unless you rig magic level ups or if you use her a lot.
What makes Owen stand out is his highish level of 13 and having expert which lets him use nearly every orb if you want to use it albeit every orb except light will likely have shaky hitrates which can't be increased a lot due to Owen's weapon skill growth being low in those areas.
Owen also comes in with a built in escape skill which makes it pretty easy for him to get out of a map most of the missions are limited by turns, and since mages tend to have low mov, this skill lets him escape with ease.
The only reason why Owen isn't in the top tier, is because after turn 20 he will turn into an enemy due to plot reasons until he gets permanently recruited.
Perceval:
You need only a brace that boosts hitrates to make this guy pretty good, ideally a tiger's brace should push his shaky hitrates to a decent point the - 10 avoid penalty is minor, but if you need perceval to take multiple hits, you can always remove it but an eagle's brace does the job too, and thunder magic hits at 1 to 2 range which gives Perceval a huge amount of flexibility in where he can attack and he can avoid getting countersliced by an enemy who has more than 11 A.S.
What makes perceval even better is that dire thunder is one of the best ways to deal damage to bulky units, because it targets a stat they are generally weak at and it has high might along with the additive effect.
Perceval gets arrowbane along with 1-2 range, making him the perfect counter to bows and it can let him avoid ballistae although this strategy is definitely risky
Finally perceval gets mercy which when combined with lightning which doubles the crippling chance of an injured unit along with lightning having 0-1 range to negate vantage, makes perceval the best unit to aid in capturing a bounty, most notably Riddle who has a wind ring which amplifies his weakness to thunder magic.
Izerna:
Free healer, honestly you'll be fielding her in most maps maybe not a lot in the main missions after chapter 5 since her low mov really makes it difficult for her to escape if you don't position her rightly.
It's a minor gripe besides her being frail which honestly isn't new for mages and clerics.
Now we go into her strengths.
Izerna is the first healer you get and trust me you will be fielding her for most of the game because the other healers have some flaws that will likely not let them be in certain maps.
At level 6, she gets expert which gives her a huge level lead in what orbs you'd like to let her use.
After promotion, she gets an orb that helps cure units who get crippled, it's a handy orb to have incase you don't feel like going to the last 5 turn save.
Czene:
She's a thief you get for free that alone is vital, since without a thief or a pirate you are going to miss on a lot of stuff like items and money.
Knives are great tools if you want to capture certain units having a pretty high injury rate, infact the bolting knife pushes it to around 40% making injuring an opponent fairly reliable.
Czene if you manage to get her to promotion, gets a mount which means she can move even further than your other thieves can.
Her horse gives her animal friend which lets her swap around horses and restore their hp to a certain amount which is a pretty useful skill since horses are expensive to obtain.
Faramir:
Faramir is an interesting unit, with the combination of five move and a wide variety of defensive skills, a personal sword that doubles and very likely kills frail units and somewhat decent bulk, combined with high sword and bow skill level and very good growths in them.
Faramir comes in with celerity which gives him one extra mov compared to most units, combined with the fact that mounted units generally might prefer being dismounted to save a horse's durability and rough terrain on certain maps, Faramir will generally have high mov.
Faramir comes in with fortune which negates critical hits, which is a total counter to assasins but incase you want to capture a bounty faramir is probably not your best bet, since he doesn't have tools to either injure or cripple an enemy, on second thought he can use the apeiron to cripple enemies, but his accuracy might be a bit shaky because he can't equip accessories that boost hitrates or the fact that he doesn't have aim which most bow units have.
He has parry which can negate an enemy's damage at the cost of reducing weapon durability.
Honestly if deploying Faramir didn't require you to hire Faye everytime, he would have been in the top tier.
Mid tier:
Aegina:
Adgina is the first mage you get in berwick saga, and if you are using her always put the eagle brace on her to make sure she has some semblance of hitrates with airblade.
Her weapon level progression is sadly low, but 0-1 range and the fact that she can ignore shields, comes in with focus chant to boost her hit rate and damage o/p and a personal 1-2 range tome that hits four times and replenishes 8 uses at the end of each chapter along with the fact that certain wyverns fall easily to either wind or fire magic, will make Aegina used a lot more than this tier may suggest.
If you forge a blizzard tome, aegina makes for a very reliable unit who can injure units because of focus chant boosting hitrate to a high amount. Granted the process of injuring itself isn't reliable. Aegina comes in very close to doing that job most of the time, infact the hardest bounty to capture, Riddle, requires you to use blizzard to hit him reliably and negate vantage.
Her flaws are similar to an archetypical mage, being frail , stuck with low mov, her 2 range option isn't as spammable as perceval's is. And finally her wind skill progression is fairly slow.
Thaddy:
He's a thief with cool skills and can actually reliably steal stuff, open doors and pick up chests which definitely comes in uses in certain maps, as with all thieves, the dagger damage o/p is generally low causing him to have difficulties in levelling up.
He can increase his evasion through a certain skill and aggro enemies with provoke.
Bolt knife, if you get it , is one of the best ways to injure enemies and the fact that he promotes into an assassin and gets an increased crit rate as his level increases.
Honestly that's about it from Thaddy, he's a thief with interesting skills.
Cristine:
Cristine is a mounted bow and crossbow user , who prefers to use crossbows.
The best crossbows can hit pretty hard or hit multiple times making her offense somewhat devastating depending upon how much you use her.
She gets aim for hitting reliably if you desire to do so and with a mount, she can position herself to perform it the next turn too.
Her stand out quality is that he has animal friend or horse care which helps in keeping your mount's health up or swap mounts across different units if you want to do so.
She is perfectly usable but I think that most of the time I don't really find a slot for her.
Sylvis
Probably the best bow unit, access to 0-1-2 range and even 3 range with deadeye with rather shaky hitrates , Sylvis can target an enemy at any point.
Sylvis definitely prefers bows but she can put work with crossbows using her aim skill.
She comes with the expert skill which means she can use certain bows and crossbows a lot quicker without the downsides of weapon degradation and chances of weapon failure compared to your other bow units.
Sylvis is fairly expensive and honestly I personally find that I don't bring her in the main missions a lot.
She's not bad but I find it hard to give her a slot on the main missions, that's probably why I don't bring her in a lot of maps. She does contribute a lot when you do decide to bring her.
Since bows are going to be your viable 2 range option due to the limited number of thunder orbs, you'll likely bring atleast one bow user for most of your missions.
Alvina
She's pretty good, she comes with a liga courser horse that gives her one extra move comes in with great gear like the swift spear and finally her skillset is excellent, with shieldfaire, adept
Shieldfaire indirectly gives her more bulk
Adept lets her have a chance to double,
Mercy kinda helps when you want to capture a certain unit.
She honestly has everything I'd want in a a paladin
why you would wonder that I put her in mid tier.
It falls into two points.
One her weapon levels are kinda average giving her some shaky hitrates when even a trained ruby if you choose to deploy on every map will have around 30 weapon level in either spear or sword. You are going to train ruby anyway to get clifford.
Next her availability, she comes in at the end of the main mission for ch 10.
Her availability doesn't matter as much she more than makes up for it with her combat prowess and she is a free unit, which means you can use her if you are particularly short on funds to hire another mercenary.
It's just that you are likely going to have units who essentially do the same job which makes me put Alvina in mid tier.
If you don't have mercs in your army tho, she's perfectly a good unit with somewhat shaky hitrates which commander, meals or charisma can solve to some point along with the iron spear being fairly accurate.
Elbert:
He's a free unit, comes in with solid bases and alright weaponry, he has arrowbane and provoke.
Arrowbane gives him a niche, that lets him avoid bows and crossbows to a fair amount
Provoke will lure enemies towards him
He will eventually get shield faire if you train him enough.
He's honestly not a bad unit with great bases.
He can use a mount to move around.
Why would a free unit be in the mid tier?
If he had medium shields say instead of small shields, I would definitely bring him in for more maps.
His spear skill level progression is kinda slow, and you need it to be at 20 to promote him and get medium shields, while Arthur has no difficulties reaching his required weapon ranks, Ruby struggles a bit with the shield rank due to axe bane. Adel has shit for spear progression and leon is kinda slow on the small shield progression, they either have one weapon to work with or in case of ruby quick weapon level progression.
Elbert has to keep spamming spears to reach promotion most of the time, while he would prefer using swords a lot more.
And since a delayed promotion means he can't get medium shields for a long time, if you are spendthrifty because shields keep breaking a lot, you'll be stuck with the leather small shield which gives him one defense. It kinda puts a damper on his high hp base and base defense.
Combat wise, he's pretty good, he can't double at all for the most part, but he can lure and take hits if you want someone to do it.
Daoud:
He's basically an armored knight without it's inherent weaknesses and having similar move to an unmounted knight, while it backfires on rough terrain, it's still enough to move where you would like to if you don't want Daoud to go for side objectives.
Daoud has decent bases and can equip a medium shield to take a fair amount of hits
His shield skill progression is fairly quick and you'll likely have no difficulties reaching it.
With Yell and pulverise if you set it up right, Daoud can easily one shot enemies and even cripple them, if that's what you'd like. You'll rarely stack it up to the max, but it wouldn't ve uncommon if you decide to stack one warcry and pulverise just for accuracy's sake.
With robust, you don't have to worry about daoud getting crippled or injured.
Honestly Daoud is ok, if you need a unit who can take hits while Ward and Clifford need to be somewhere else, he's likely to be the next most bulkiest unit for atleast a couple of chapters
Kramer:
He is a mercenary with high base hp and low defense, something like Sherpa if he wasn't promoted.
Kramer comes in with interesting skills like knockaway when it procs removes an enemy shield from them
He comes in with the climber skill which means he doesn't get an avoid penalty when he goes on cliffs.
Finally he comes in with arrow bane which means he can avoid arrows.
He can use the tiger's brace somewhat safely
Honestly Kramer isn't a bad unit and it's a good idea to bring him in missions where there are cliffs and a lot of units with bows or shields, it's just that Kramer doesn't stand out enough, have some plot connection or that you need to use him to recruit a certain unit that make it worthwhile to use him, he's definitely usable if you want to use him.
Faye:
At first glance, she seems like a worse volo and she frankly is until she promotes.
She can't kill enemies reliably, has a low sword level even if she progresses at a somewhat fast pace, she can't use blades until promotion which does cut her damage.
However she comes on with a personal sword that lets het double, comes in with Iado to have extra reliability when it procs and gets adept too and she is one of the most reliable way to kill Chaos in the final map with a certain sword
Things get really good for her once she promotes , she gets astra , a seven turn cooldown attack that should let her kill almost any enemy reliably without getting counterattacked like Volo does, she can use blades though she'd prefer using swords to have more avoid.
The reasons I put her in mid is because she's frail, and it really takes a while to get her to become a reliable unit.
Axel:
Axel's combat capabilities aren't particularly stellar.
He gets the pulverize skill to one shot enemies.
He can search around houses and have relatively decent combat compared to the playable thieves.
But Axel's main utility lies in the fact that he can move across water, this utility alone is worth bringing Axel in certain maps in which you may need to cross some amount of water.
Since his combat isn't stellar but average. I'm putting him in mid tier because of his utility.
Leon:
Early on leon is fairly reliable with hitrates if Adel is around him which is nice since most units lack reliable hitrates
And with deathmatch he should easily kill off generics if you want to use it.
He has robust which means he can't be crippled.
His main flaws come from his somewhat hard to reach promotion gains, no access to medium shields even after promotion.
He kinda falls off into the background once you start to get better units.
He's not particularly bad , he's just average.
Burroughs:
Burroughs is the only ballistae user, you can get throughout the game.
He has low mov, but has a very high range which extends beyond the range of the bows and thunder magic.
As for skills, he has yell, hurry.
Yell helps with accuracy and possibly one shot potentially.
Hurry helps with movement.
Burroughs is probably worth bringing if you want to take down far to reach enemies.
Low tier :
Ruby:
Ruby is an interesting unit, while she has a low starting level and a low skill level in her weapon rank, she will quickly get weapon skill levels and easily turn out to hit accurately, and you will likely use her to some extent because promoting her is vital if you want Clifford to permanently be in your party.
As for skills, she starts with axebane, which makes it easier for her to face axe units and paragon where she gets slightly more exp than most units until she reaches level 10 where she loses paragin after reaching level 11.
She gets throw and adept, throw is pretty useful if you want Ruby to avoid facing an counterattack when she attacks.
You get Adept kinda late but Ruby will likely make decent use of it because of her highish skill levels.
Problem is, it takes a while for Ruby to reach the point where she'll be a good unit. If you do plan to recruit Clifford, Ruby will very likely be a decent unit.
Hence the low tier, since she can't use bands to boost hitrates and it can get fairly expensive to maintain a mount, weapons and shields.
Enid:
Enid is an interesting unit, her peak performance will vary significantly depending upon whether she promotes early or not.
If you rig magic levels at 1 to 5 and level 5 to when she reaches level 6 and give her a magic potion.
She will promote into a magic fencer with a personal high might fire tome, she can use fire magic which is very accurate, hits hard and thunder magic which has 2 range.
This will push Enid into a decent unit when she had a bad start.
She gets paragon which essentially gives her quick exp. and this makes her an interesting support bot, she gets charisma which boosts allies hitrate by 3 for 5 tiles, this is helpful since you can bring Enid for side missions.
Enid's performance varies significantly depending upon the chapter she can promote even if Pallas leia likely makes short work of the gigas knight in ch 9 because of his weakness to fire magic.
Estaban:
Estaban to me is an interesting unit, he has a high amount of bow skill and starts at a low level which means he can't use the good weapons. He also can use knives if you really want, he's terrible at it but if you are tight on deployment slots and don't particularly want a thief unit to be in a map, Estaban can cover it for you.
His skills are mainly useful in FoW maps and maps which have a lot of forests, this game does have a lot of forests.
He gets aim at level 15, which is kinda late if you ask me and he is one of the two playable units to get pursuit at level 20 which gives you a guaranteed chance to double compared to adept which is chance based.
One thing I have noticed about playable archers is that they always come in with a bag to store extra stuff, Estaban doesn't which significantly limits his options if you don't choose to give him a bag.
Post promotion, Estaban get swords which he likely won't rely upon but it's nice just incase you feel like Estaban should counterattack on a given turn.
Estaban does become good but it takes a long time to reach there.
Estaban on paper seems amazing, but in practise he's pretty hard to use when all the three bow units you get have something that they can only do and it matters on every map unlike Estaban skills which while useful applies to certain terrain or certain maps.
Marcel:
Marcel is an interesting unit, has large shields take hits, he's your armored unit without those weaknesses.
As for skills, he comes in with shieldfaire which lets him reliably block for the most part taking no damage and having a semblance of an enemy phase, it becomes guaranteed when he reaches 40 shield skill, essentially giving him 18 def at the minimum if you equip a shield.
He comes in with guard while he can't move around as much as Ward, he can definitely take a lot more hits than Ward or Sherpa.
He can use blades which means he can hit fairly hard.
After a certain side mission, he gets a sword that lets him double, it's technically his personal sword since very few units can use swords and be at level 20 at the same time for a significant portion of the game. The exceptions are Ward and Clifford
His flaws 3 mov until he reaches level 15 due to a hidden skill, large shields have low durability and I frequently find myself bringing in a spare large shield on Marcel, for the most part the leather large shield does the job but it's hard to find better large shields because of their availability and cost.
He does his job but it can be hard to move him around, and buying a lot of large shields does eat up funds.
Adel:
Adel is probably a good unit on paper if you look at the skills he has or will get, in practise it's a lot harder to use him.
As for skills, he has vantage which essentially negates enemy counters at 0 range if he is faster than the enemy and hits.
He comes with the throw skill to boost the accuracy of throwing Javelins around and negates a counterattack unless the enemy has 11 A.S or more and has one range, the former is somewhat understandable but if an enemy has one range, I'd rather go up close.
He comes in with the supporter skill which makes Leon's and Adel's hitrates consistency reliable throughout the game.
He gets shieldfaire which is frankly pointless unless you use the expensive small shields. For example Aspis is a good small shield, but I can definitely use two or three leather medium shields for the price of two aspis shields and not to mention that they are limited in stock while the leather medium shield is virtually available everytime.
His spear progression is so slow that it's a pain to get him to promotion. This also makes his hitrates really shaky unless you have Leon nearby.
His strength base is kinda low which cuts into vantage blocking because of reduced A.S.
Honestly Adel is good on paper, bad on practise and hence the low tier.
Complex:
This tier is mainly for units who'd be at mid or low due to their availability but contribute significantly if you do deploy them.
Saphira:
At first, she starts off as an unassuming cleric who is seemingly worse than Izerna or Owen. I'm not saying that being a healer is bad, but she doesn't really get to the meat until her plot related promotion.
When she does promote , she can silence dark mages for thrre turns through a skill which has a turn cool down which will be vital in the endgame to have an easier time to deal with them.
She also gets the resistor skill, which essentially gives units who stay within 3 tiles of her range , an extra 5 res ,which is pretty useful if you are fighting against mages who don't use dark magic...
As for her skills at base, nothing particularly important but imbue is a one in a four turn free self heal which is nice if she got hit, which rarely happens but it's nice if you do get hit, especially if you don't have vulneararies or brought in another healer…
She can use the holy and starlight orb if you use her to use it, but Izerna and Owen can use it too, so it's likely a moot point.
Paramythis:
Her availability is bad but look at what she brings to the table.
Pursuit which means she can double with any weapon as long as she's fast enough.
She can use light magic orbs which means she can heal if you want to and will likely deal the most damage with light magic because she can double.
She can even go on a mount for added mobility.
She can't equip a shield but she can likely equip an accessory to either boost hitrates or modify stats slightly.
Her hitrates with a sword might be a bit shaky but it's nothing that commander and charisma can't solve.
She's a healer with high mobility in the worst case and an excellent swordfighter at the best case.
Lynette:
Interesting unit, She has a wide variety of weapons and skills which pretty much make have a must have in your party.
submitted by Darknight_97 to fireemblem [link] [comments]

[Primer] The Nightmare Hive: A Five-Colour Lurrus Slivers Guide

Humans don’t have it easy in fantasy settings. They tend to be cast either as strictly worse versions of other races in all qualities that actually matter, or they’re just the jacks-of-all-trades lacking both the strengths and weaknesses of the others. In many games, this lack of specialization makes humans boring, and keeps them away from presence in minmaxed munchkin builds, but here? They do have one strength.
Diversity.
A band of humans from all five colours trek across the countryside. The finest specimens that the species has to offer. They come from all walks of life: noble priests, veteran soldiers, pirates with even less respect for you than for your property rights. There’s one chick who makes stuff cost more mana somehow. (Do any of the Innistrad novels explain that?)
All march together for a common purpose: using their combined powers, they must exterminate a hive of interplanar rodents. The slivers have expanded their territory in recent months, terrorizing the farmers whose grain the kingdom relies on. The exterminators are well-equipped, bringing magic found in their faith, strength found in the arrival of their comrades, and giant praying mantises found God-knows-where. Discard, +1/+1 counters, ramp - they have it all. If there’s a need that has to be met, you can bet there’s a human somewhere willing to do it for enough coin. But through it all, these bipedal mammals still have one weakness.
Diversity.
Humans are pack animals, you see, but still individuals. Social ones to be sure, but they also appear determined to love their shortcomings more than their potential greatness, and cringe away from the pinnacle of evolution: the parasocial. Their flesh-brains have come so far, but without an omnipresent psionic link, they’re little more than their unicellular ancestors. Limited to a single life. A single existence. You can dismantle an entire army of them just by breaking down their fragile communications systems. Once that’s done, you can just sit back and watch as disorganization dissolves their ranks and their differences drive them to tear each other apart. This is the eternal flaw of the Self: it implies a lack of perfect union with the Whole.
And as these humans, less of a people than a cobbled-together mass of persons, reach the top of the hill and see the outline of the Hive on the horizon, they will know the failure of their species. They will bear witness to the accomplishments of the Whole and even as they fail to articulate it in words, they will know that the Self is the Flaw.
We have long since mended this Flaw. They sent their finest ones, but the fact that their finest are confined to being ones, with gifts that only apply to singular specimens, is their fatal limit. That is why their final stand against our expansion can only ever be that: a final stand.
---
"bro wtf that was cringe, ur gonna lose karma"
Sorry, I’m a wannabe fantasy writer on Reddit. Get used to awful prose.
Welcome to a primer for my particular brew of 5C Slivers in Modern: the Nightmare Hive. It’s something I’ve been somewhat surprised to not see more Slivers players dabbling in. If you ask me, I think they have an unhealthy attachment to 3-drops. 🤮
I’m going to focus on deckbuilding/card choice and playstyle notes. It’s probably not going to be a ton of new information for experienced players, but it can call attention to some micro. I’ll throw some attention to matchup notes but that’s not what’s as fun for me to write. This is also the first time I’ve ever written an MTG primer. Well, a primer that isn’t for a deck that’s actually just a shitpost made of cardboard. (Ask me about 95-land Vendilion Clique EDH!)
There’s not much I have to say for an introduction or a “Why Slivers?” in general. You guys already know it. Slivers have a certain reputation among casual players for being OP. Maybe this is because they’re the truest embodiment of what a tribal deck is. Slivers sacrifice a lot of individual power in order to maximize group power. But really the reason for this is that building a functional Sliver deck for casual is one of the easiest things in the world. As far as fair decks go, you can get a ton of mileage in terms of effectiveness out of relatively little money spent just by rooting through the foul-smelling dumpster that is your LGS’s bulk commons bin, throwing any slivers you find at some lands and calling it a deck. You also get more insight by comparing them to other creature types like Humans or Elves: plenty of those creature types will show up incidentally in more generalist decks, but the instant an opponent plays their first Sliver, you know exactly what’s going on and you know you should be afraid. Consequently, casual circles often have the one Sliver deck of the friend group whose player loves to be feared and who everyone else loves to fear.
This shifts a lot once one goes into competitive environments. Slivers have clear weaknesses, and in my view, many of the common modern Sliver builds fail to really play to their strengths enough to make up for this. I don’t even know if the deck I’m about to describe to you is any different, but I can attest to this deck having a good matchup against other Sliver decks by virtue of sheer speed. Vroom vroom.
Do keep in mind that while I’m hyping this deck up because it’s mine and I’m proud of it, it’s far from perfect. But you know what it is? Consistent, easy to play and fun as SHIT for smoothbrains like me. HAHA TURN CREATURES SIDEWAYS EVERY TURN, WORLD’S BEST STRATEGY GAME, NOW FREE TO PLAY ON MTGARENA
Alright bois, get ready. Strap in, set aside your existential identity as a Unique and become one with the Hive. Click your talons together when you’re ready and brace yourself for some card choice analysis. Truly the funnest part of Magic, at least if you’re like me and spend hours honing a theoretical build for your D&D character without caring to ever actually play it.
If all you care about is the list, here's the summary by a helpful Goyf.

The 0-Drops:

In this deck, our only 0-drops are lands, and you’re probably familiar with what the best choices already are. Where this gets a tad spicy is in the land count: 18. One of the reasons this deck stands at an advantage against other Sliver decks is precisely from the pseudo card advantage provided by being able to draw fewer lands than our opponent and still have a functional deck. Curving lower than burn out here.
4x Cavern of Souls: Surprising literally nobody with this one. In the Bant snowpile meta that hasn't quite gone away with Astrolabe, your opponent will have plenty of countermagic, and this card will be pulling a lot of weight for getting you on even footing with them.
4x Unclaimed Territory: Discount Cavern. The color-fixing is just this valuable, letting us draw on Slivers from every color to create an optimized horde without stressing about our mana sources.
4x Sliver Hive: Here’s something we have over other tribal decks: Twelve different lands that can all tap for colorless as well as one of any color to spend on our creatures. Sliver Hive has a final ability stapled on, but I legitimately feel that this card would be buffed if that ability was replaced with flavor text. That would improve Slivers as a whole by adding to their aesthetic while also removing an ability that literally never gets used, at least in this build. Requires you to draw a third of the lands in your whole library to use, and if you’ve reached that point, you’ve probably already lost.
0x Ancient Ziggurat: WHAT? Yeah yeah, I know. Here’s the thing: With the above lands doing so much for our mana fixing, and a number of other lands we want, there’s little room for Ancient Ziggurat. Which is a shame, because ziggurat is an awesome word that you should strive to use at least once every day. The inability to be used on noncreature sources matters more often than you’d think, usually in the case of sideboard cards but also for a number of hands in which one would be keeping a single land and an Aether Vial.
“But isn’t it better for Lurrus since it can produce any colour to cast it, unlike Sliver Hive?”
Before the nerf, this was correct. However, now that you have to pay 3 generic mana to put your companion into your hand, a cost that Ancient Ziggurat can’t contribute to, it’s no longer worth it.
In short, Ancient Ziggurat is good, but “good” isn’t good enough for the Hive. We demand more.
3x Mutavault: Unfortunately, playing 4 Mutavaults here is suboptimal. Five-color deck needs its five-color sources, and in a deck with 18 lands, we don’t want more than one-sixth of our lands failing to produce colored mana. A number of creatures in the deck are ones Mutavault can’t be used to pay for even if we want to. That said, the 2/2 body that benefits from all the Sliver buffs is commonly the difference between winning and losing a game. In playtesting I’ve found 3 to be the optimal number, but you wouldn’t be totally insane for playing 2 or 4.
2x Silent Clearing: Apparently 18 lands is sometimes too many. The pain from these is usually insignificant, while the card draw can help us pull a clutch win out of nowhere. This particular horizon land is chosen since out of the ones available, it most lines up with our mana requirements. Shoutout to the times you crack it at EoT, draw a creature you can drop with Aether Vial, untap and swing for lethal because of that new Sliver.
1x Snow-Covered Plains: Yes, this deck is very, very bad against Blood Moon. Good thing the Astrolabe ban makes Ponza worse, right? Blood Moon only gets less common in the meta from here, right guys?
The single Plains is mostly a formality, something to fetch off of opponents’ Paths, Assassin’s Trophies and Fields of Ruin. Why Snow-Covered? Mind games. It might cause your opponent to think you run something that makes the snow quality relevant. In truth, it’s because it adds possible variance in your opponent’s mind that they might account for, at zero mechanical downside. I actually don’t like the fact that snow-covered basics are strictly better than standard basics. I’d like to see a modern-legal Snow hoser that’s good enough to use, making snow lands something to use only if your deck actually cares about them rather than making them the optimal default for every single deck.
So, that’s our manabase. Nothing too surprising or exciting, but had to be done.

The 1-Drops:

AND NOW WE GET TO THE CARDS YOU ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT

AIGHT HERE’S HOW YOU MURDER EVERY SAPIENT BEING YOU ENCOUNTER

One of Slivers’ main weaknesses as a tribe is their one-drops. There aren’t many, and the ones we get aren’t absolutely spectacular. No 1 mana 2/2s with haste or anything. (God can you imagine how OP a 1 mana 2/2 with haste would be?) But they do get the job done, providing the keyword soup that makes this deck favourable against other fair decks. Just to fluff this out and address some bad possibilities people might want to account for, I’ll also be rating every one-drop sliver. I know you’re desperate for my opinion.
4x Aether Vial: When I first got into Magic, I didn’t understand what was so good about Aether Vial. Sure, you can get some cards into play faster, but it also takes up your first turn as well as a card to use. You’re just kneecapping yourself in the long run. What I didn’t understand is that much of the time, there is no long run in Modern. The added speed is worth it, as is the instant timing and the immunity to counterspells. Aether Vial is our only noncreature spell maindeck and we’ll drop it turn 1 if it’s in hand. They’d better counter it then, or the combination of Cavern of Souls and Aether Vial itself will make counters useless. This card is also what lets this deck survive at all against Blood Moon.
0x Metallic Sliver, Plated Sliver: The earliest slivers weren’t that powerful. We’re not missing much from being unable to use these.
0x Mindlash Sliver: I do wish this was somehow playable, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. You’re spending mana to 2-for-1ing yourself, unless your hand is empty, but even then this probably isn’t worth it. You don’t want to rip apart hands, you want to rip apart FACES. Doesn’t make the cut. Maybe one day we’ll get a better version of this that’ll be useful against control.
0x Screeching Sliver: If someone manages to make Sliver Mill good, let me know. It’s certainly not viable now given all the Uros and dredge.
4x Sidewinder Sliver: Now we’re talking! Costs 1 white mana, meaning it works with any of our non-Mutavault lands. Flanking essentially makes this a lord for combat only, but there will be places where the fact it gives others a minus instead of your own creatures a plus is relevant: opposing lifelink becomes less powerful, Ice-Fang Coatls die before they get to deal damage, even 1-toughness first strikers die before getting to deal damage. Flanking only works against creatures without flanking, but the only time that’ll come up in Modern is the mirror, and in that matchup this will essentially just be vanilla since it grants the ability to all slivers, not just yours.
0x Virulent Sliver: Maybe in the past you could’ve made the case for this. Maybe you could argue that in some very niche cases like against soul sisters or decks that can continuously pick off your lords, the poison will kill before the damage. Especially if you get multiple of these out. But nowadays our selection of one-drops isn’t quite that terrible, and we don’t have to use this.
4x Galerider Sliver: The best one-drop Sliver in most cases. Little to say, makes them unblockable to most creatures. Being able to block enemy fliers sometimes matters, but usually your playstyle is just HAHA TURN CREATURES SIDEWAYS, MAGIC IS THE WORLD’S BEST STRATEGY CARD GAME. If your opening hand has multiple one-drop slivers, you might want to drop one of the other one-drops first in order to bait the removal on that one. To use Sidewinder Sliver as a point of comparison: making your opponent’s blocking choices less optimal isn’t as good as taking away their option of blocking at all.
4x Striking Sliver: Now this is interesting. Most Sliver decks I’ve seen run 2 of both this and Sidewinder, but since this deck is meant to be faster and more aggressive, we want 4 of both. Especially since both of them are equally good against one-toughness blockers like Snapcaster Mage or Ice-Fang Coatl. Let’s compare them for interest’s sake. First Strike works on both attacks and blocks, unlike flanking, and you can Aether Vial the Striking Sliver in as a combat trick after blocks. Can’t do that with Sidewinder since flanking is a triggered ability. By contrast, Sidewinder Sliver is easier to cast given our mana base, works better as a combat trick in more cases (a 2/2 sliver with first strike blocked by a 2/2 successfully turns a trade into a win, while being blocked by a 3/3 fails to turn a loss into a trade; flanking succeeds for both) and as the slight nudge into superiority for me, flanking stacks. Also importantly, many of your opponents will not know that flanking stacks until after you inform them of this once they’ve already formally declared blockers. For me, flanking stacking makes it more valuable to get multiple Sidewinder Slivers as opposed to multiple Striking Slivers, and in most matchups if I’m boarding out 1-drops, I’ll start taking out copies of Striking before Sidewinder. Exceptions do exist: against 8-ball you will be very thankful for your 1/1 first striker that totally negates their single-toughness attackers.
Well I guess that’s all of them. Time to move on to-
>OBJECTION!<
2x Changeling Outcast?!: That’s right folks, you heard it here first. We’re this aggressive. We’re committing so hard to our lord and savior The Fast that we’re throwing in a couple of 1-mana unblockable changelings who will benefit from all pumps given to slivers. The fact they can’t block is hardly ever relevant in a deck that intends to do no blocking, and the unblockable clause makes this a clock that gets surprisingly fast once you have a couple of the two-drops down. Costing black mana means there’s only four lands in the deck that can’t cast it, making it a reliable first-turn play if you really have nothing else to put down, and they’ll let you win through a number of board stalemates. All of that said, these will usually be your first cuts when it comes to sideboarding. Not that they’re bad, just that everything else is better - these are essentially flex slots. Try them, and if you find them underwhelming, I have other suggestions in their stead for the two-drops. Do note, however, that this can make your curve a bit too high to be truly speedy.

The 2-Drops:

The reason this build works, and arguably the reason the whole tribe works, is that Slivers have such an abundance of 2-mana lords. (Basically, if you wish Pack Rat.dec was a good deck, play this. That's why I do.) They wind up buffing each other and creating monstrous attack phases in a short number of turns. The consistency is phenomenal since they’re all so interchangeable and redundant. Not all of them are created equal, but all of them will nonetheless serve you well in ripping people’s midsections open.
4x Unsettled Mariner: This time we’ll just get the one changeling out of the way upfront: this guy is good. 2 mana 2/2 makes it a reasonable rate for a body, and you can drop it early in place of a lord without actually losing much damage. Many opponents will be tunnel visioned on killing this in order to free up mana, which will also take up their removal that should have been saved for killing lords. It makes life noticeably harder for burn, 8rack, Jund as long as they have to let it live, and so on. An excellent addition to the deck from Modern Horizons, instant 4-of. Be sure not to forget that it doesn’t just prevent the spellcasting, but counters it as a triggered ability, so you won’t just have to correct your opponent that they’re unable to cast their spell given the mana they have like with Thalia - their spell is directly countered if they screw up. Also remember that the counter applies to spells that target your nonsliver permanents, such as land destruction, as well as to you! Delaying Cryptic Command for a turn is super helpful in the control matchup. Lastly, it applies to abilities as well. Planeswalker abilities, Fields of Ruin, Thought-Knot Seer ETB trigger, even Gifts Ungiven, all of it has to have extra mana paid or it does nothing.
0x Clot, Heart, Muscle, Talon, Winged, Acidic, Crystalline, Hibernation, Victual, Crypt, Hunter, Mistform, Quick Sliver: None of them are modern legal. The most unfortunate loss is Crystalline Sliver, which could be out here giving all of them shroud and thus making removal totally pointless. At least Unsettled Mariner does an acceptable impression.
0x Gemhide Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED THIS MUCH MANA FOR? GET OUTTA HERE GREEN BOY
0x Ghostflame Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED TO BE COLORLESS FOR? GET OUTTA HERE COLORLESS BOY (might be fun tech against all is dust or ugin, but by that point you’ve already lost)
0x Quilled Sliver: WHY IS THIS SLIVER UNTAPPED?! YOU’RE FIRED!
0x Spined Sliver: This is an interesting one to me, and I’ve come very close to running it. The 2/2 body makes it attractive, as does the ability acting similar to flanking. Two things contribute to it not being worth running: the fact that at the end of the day its ability is a worse flanking, and the fact that casting it is too awkward for the utility we get out of it. We need either Vial or two lands that can tap for any colour to get Spined Sliver out, and while we actually do meet that criteria the majority of the time, the minority is large enough to be worthy of consideration.
0x Spinneret Sliver: WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO BLOCK?! GET OUTTA HERE SPIDER SLIVER. ALSO WE ALREADY GET ACTUAL FLYING FROM GALERIDER SO WHO NEEDS YOU
0x Two-Headed Sliver: It sometimes gets close to kinda viable-ish, but the fact it’s a 2 mana 1/1 that doesn’t pump itself as well as the fact that we already have several flying sources and a few unblockables in here means that this ability is very often pointless. You will feel the pain when it’s absent, and you’re unlikely to notice the pain of it being present and wishing it was something else, but trust me - the damage is there even if you don’t feel it. It’s not good enough for the main deck, and the sideboard has much more important circumstances to concern itself with than whether or not menace would be good in this matchup. We already run over most other go-wide decks, and are unlikely to lose due to a lack of menace.
0x Cautery Sliver: You just get so much more out of any given sliver from its quality of improving other slivers than you get from sacrificing them to ping stuff.
0x Darkheart Sliver: I legitimately believe this one can be viable. If you’re in a particularly aggressive meta, you can pull wins out of the extra life from this. Against burn, each sliver can directly cancel out a burn spell. Against Jund, you can respond to all removal spells by gaining some extra life. Sac everything in response to a boardwipe to buy time for your recovery, including dodging the exile clause on Anger of the Gods. Chump and sac before damage if you manage to be losing for some reason. There was a time when I ran a single one mainboard as a better game 1 against burn decks, and I wouldn’t fault you for running it as a one-of, though I now consider the loss of consistency for doing so to be a bit too much. Especially since Unsettled Mariner is already a card that makes it more awkward for your opponents to remove your slivers, you already have some protection from this angle.
4x Sinew Sliver: And now we’re off to the races! Drop it turn 2, cast it with an extremely easy mana cost for this deck, Aether Vial it in before damage to screw over opponents’ blocking decisions, pump your Mutavault, save creatures from damage spells. Sinew Sliver puts in a ton of work, and is easily one of the best cards in the deck. PUT IT DOWN, MAKE ALL YOUR SLIVERS RIPPED, TURN YOUR CREATURES SIDEWAYS, YOU CANNOT LOSE.*
\you can sometimes lose)
4x Frenzy Sliver: I don’t like Frenzy Sliver. I just don’t. It’s a 2-mana 1/1 that only adds power and only for unblocked creatures. Can’t even Aether Vial it in after blockers are declared. Sinew Sliver sparks joy. Frenzy Sliver does not spark joy. However, it’s very easy for this deck to cast and it comes close enough to being a lord for this highly aggressive list that it makes the cut as a 4-of. If you’re considering cutting two-drops for your sideboard cards, these will be among the first to go, unless your opponent plays so few targeted spells and abilities that Unsettled Mariner isn’t worth it.
0x Manaweft Sliver: WHAT DO WE NEED THIS MUCH MANA FOR? GET OUTTA HERE GREEN BOY
4x Predatory Sliver: Yes… YEEEEEESSSSS! One-sided Sinew Sliver STRONK! Costs green instead of white, but being one-sided matters more often than you think, and not just for the mirror. Sinew Sliver will also be buffing opposing Mutavaults and Unsettled Mariners. Predatory Sliver is consistently a house against decks of all kinds, being cast turn 2 or being dropped by Aether Vial at instant speed to wreak havoc on opponents. Many question why one would even play Slivers when options like Merfolk and Goblins are available, and the answer is that we’ve already touched on 12 different damage-boosting 2-drop slivers, and we’re not even done!
0x Sentinel Sliver: Similar to Darkheart Sliver, I used to run this as a one-of and I’m quite convinced it’s viable depending on meta. Easy to cast, 2/2 body, and without being able to use the 3-mana lifelink sliver, this does a lifegain impression by allowing us to threaten blocks where we couldn’t before. That said, its benefit is situational and its presence raises our curve as well as potentially the need for more lands. I leave it out, but you wouldn’t be insane for including one if you have an aggressive creature-based meta.
0x Diffusion Sliver: Other Slivers players will maul me for this choice, but it comes back to how aggressive this deck wants to be. 2 mana 1/1s really need to earn their place, and this doesn’t quite do it, especially with Unsettled Mariner already present in the deck. Diffusion Sliver is an absolute house in more midrangey or ramp-focused sliver builds to protect the big boys, but this list doesn’t lean so heavily on any individual component, and it would typically rather draw another lord than a diffusion sliver. Especially when it’s already late game or when it’s trying to recover from a wiped board. So what I’m getting at is something you probably already knew: defense is for wimps.
4x Leeching Sliver: This is a better version of Frenzy Sliver. It still has many of the same problems, but the advantages of life loss as opposed to a damage boost are crucial: the life loss bypasses effects like Worship, isn’t prevented by Fogs, still applies even if the attacking creature is blocked, and the triggers can finish off a nearly-dead opponent even if they have enough creatures to block everything. 16 2-mana lords. This is why you play slivers.
0x Venom Sliver: This can work as a one-of if the stars align and you have an extremely weird meta full of big creatures that aren’t Uro and Kroxa. But in most metas the deathtouch just isn’t going to be useful enough. Your creatures should get big enough to kill with combat damage, and you’d rather have a lord instead of this to boost said combat damage.
0x Bladeback Sliver: Slivers that are tapping to deal direct damage aren’t benefiting from the 16 lords. We don't like your type 'round these parts.
4x Cloudshredder Sliver: Oh-HOOOOH, this thing is spicy. This absolute MADMAN acts as Galeriders 5-8 for much more consistent evasion, as well as haste. This is the quality it takes to let a 2-mana 1/1 that doesn’t pump itself be viable, and it earns its place unquestioningly. Seriously, this allows for absolutely ridiculous plays. Turn 1 Aether Vial, turn 2 Cloudshredder Sliver, Vial in Sidewinder Sliver and swing for 2, turn 3 Striking Sliver, Predatory Sliver, Vial in another Predatory Sliver, swing for 15, flying, flanking, first strike. There are many decks that just cannot handle this pressure, especially if they’ve already shocked themselves. If they Anger of the Gods now, they’ll still be low enough for you to rebuild and kill with a second wave later.
0x Dregscape Sliver: This may or may not be the correct choice. It’s what I’m currently using due to trying to avoid the unearth being a nonbo with a certain nightmare cat. No question that these are good, and might actually warrant a place here, but this specific build performs just fine without them. Like the other 0-but-viable slivers, you can play around with cutting the Changeling Outcasts for a couple copies if you wish.
0x Enduring Sliver: WHY AREN’T YOU ATTACKING? GET OUT OF HERE ABZAN SLIVER

The 3-Drops:

Why would anyone in their right mind play 3-drops in a non-ramp deck? This is modern. Format's too fast and degenerate for that, bucko.
With one exception.

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

The benefit for the restriction, besides the lower land count. We all know how awesome Lurrus is. Format-breaking monster.
“But u/Yaldev, companions got nerfed!”
You call that a nerf?! Now we can pay 3 mana, the same as its normal cost, but now it’s colorless, and then put it into play at instant speed and uncounterably with Aether Vial! Combined with the fact that the hardest abusers of Lurrus are now considerably less able to abuse it themselves, while it actually got better for us specifically, and I think there’s never been a better time to play this deck!
If you do feel like casting Lurrus from hand, it costs 1 colourless and two hybrid black/white, so even our non-5C lands can contribute to casting it. Also keep in mind that it’s totally viable to play your “name a creature type” lands and name Nightmare for the sake of being able to cast Lurrus, AND keep in mind that those lands will still be able to be used to pay for your changelings since they also count as Nightmare Cats. Fun!
Lurrus is such a boon for this deck, despite not being a sliver. It has lifelink, working well against burn and prowess. It lets you come back from a number of different boardwipes. It frees up the space that would have been taken up by Dregscape Sliver to instead get other utility and one-mana spells while still having access to reanimation. You can recur your sideboard cards if they get destroyed. This card is just so GOOD and I can’t believe that other Slivers players are so delusional that they think it’s worth it to trade off Lurrus for cards that cost THREE mana!
But what about Collected Company?
Collected Company is indeed one of the best arguments against a Lurrus build, but there are a few details I want to call attention to, one of which is the impact of both the mana cost and the coloured requirement. Including Collected Company demands a retooling of the mana base, reducing consistency in exchange for potential pop-offs that have a ceiling that feels good to pull off, but is typically overkill.
The other issue is one that doesn’t have as much attention paid to it: it increases how many noncreature spells you’re running. Despite the bans, we’re likely still looking at a meta with a dominant snow-pile control feel. A deck with enough Dovin’s Vetos and Force of Negations to spare. By making these cards practically useless by sticking to almost entirely creature spells, we deprive our opponent of resources.
All of that said, you actually could still play around with including Collected Company as well as Lurrus. Remember, Lurrus’s restriction only applies to permanents, not to instants and sorceries. It’ll just require retooling your mana base a bit, probably including another land or two and dropping some of the any-colour producers in favour of green lands, Silent Clearings go out for Horizon Canopies, and it makes you more vulnerable to Grafdigger’s Cage, a card that opponents will already be boarding in against you if they have it in order to deal with Lurrus. You also won’t get maximum value since you have no 3 drops to get. This is essentially 4 mana for 4 mana at most.
Slivers isn’t a solved archetype. Feel free to be a scientist, do your own experiments, add to collective knowledge of the Slivers Player Hivemind.

Sideboard:

For this sideboard, I’ve opted towards going hard against specific decks rather than having few cards for everything. This is in part out of necessity, since our options for diversifying legitimately are limited: the Slivers that are worth including in sideboards are 3+ mana, and that leaves only colourless spells that cost 2 or less. We can’t go wide, so we have to go deep.
4x Chalice of the Void: BEHOLD THE FUNSLAYER. Chalice on 1 is your answer to all the decks you already know are reliant on 1 drops, including but not limited to:
To account for this, you’ll typically be boarding out some 1-drops to account for strong likelihood of them being uncastable, though even then, there’s still a good chance you’ll get to use them anyway. Aether Vial turn 1 will let you get them in without casting, while Cavern of Souls will make your 1-drops uncounterable by Chalice.
Also keep in mind the super spicy Chalice on 0, which makes life difficult for UR Free Spells, Cascade, any cheesy strats trying to be Cheerios in 2020, Prime Time (NO PACT 4 U), and once again, Ad Nauseam. 0 stops them from casting Lotus Bloom from exile!
Overall, I think Chalice is the deck’s best sideboard weapon. Do not run less than 4. It’s too valuable.
4x Dismember: Sometimes there are creatures you genuinely have to worry about. Stoneforge Mystic fetched Batterskull and you can’t handle it being played on turn 3. Goyf needs to die before it gets massive. Against other tribal decks, taking out a key lord can be more valuable than yet another 1-drop sliver on your own side. 4 life is a lot to pay, but often this card will save you more than 4 life, or prevent more than 4 life gained for your opponent, or just secure a win that could have otherwise been thrown into question. Also keep in mind that because your Silent Clearings tap for black, they can contribute to the Phyrexian mana cost to save a teensy bit of life.
4x Soul-Guide Lantern: This can easily be substituted for Tormod’s Crypt if that’s your preference. I just like the Lantern for the ETB exile so that it doesn’t have to be cracked as early just to get rid of a single problematic card in a graveyard. In any case, this answers dredge, Uro, Jund and so forth. Can also be sacced to draw if you simply must win the game before your opponent’s next turn and desperately need to hit something to secure that. As a bonus, it can be recurred with Lurrus as both repeatable grave hate and card draw.
1x Damping Sphere: In all likelihood you’ll want 2 of these if Tron has relevant presence in your meta, but for my own deck I prefer to keep it to 1. Nothing special here, it hits all the same stuff you’d expect, such as Tron, Storm and Prowess. The annoying thing about it is that you also happen to be one of the decks that wants to put out several spells per turn, meaning that Damping Sphere will be slowing you down as well.
1x Torpor Orb: In all likelihood you’d rather drop this to double up on Damping Spheres, but I find that in longer games, you’ll get a ridiculous amount of mileage out of this bad boy. Your deck has exactly zero ETB triggers, so you’ll miss out on nothing, while simultaneously gimping Snapcaster Mages, Ice-Fang Coatls, Soul Sisters, Squadron Hawks, Rangers and Ranger-Captains of Eos, Seasoned Pyromancers, Silvergill Adepts, Harbingers of the Tides, Merfolk Tricksters, Thassa’s Oracle, Champions of the Parish, Thalia’s Lieutenants, Detention Mages, Freebooters, Thought-Knot Seers, those god-awful “turn your lands into artifacts and then Reclamation Sage them” decks, and need I even mention blink strats?

Piloting the Deck:

BRRRRRRRRBRBRBRRRRRRBBPLTHPBLBWRBPWBLGPTH
VRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM
In many games, this deck plays out in quite similar ways: Turn 1 sliver, turn 2 lord and swing, turn 3 another lord and swing with second mainphase one drop, turn 4 play 2 more lords and kill. May take an extra turn or two depending on their removal and how painful their manabase is. Seriously, it’s impressively fast, while also being impressively consistent.
Because the creature spells in your library curve out at 2, you’re perfectly fine with keeping a hand consisting of a single land and an Aether Vial. You can leave the Vial at 2 charge counters for the whole game, and even if by some freak of probability you never draw a second land, you can cast your 1-drops with the single land. At the same time, drawing more than one Aether Vial isn’t redundant for you, since there are a number of times when you’ll want to tick a 2-counter vial up to 3 for the sake of dropping Lurrus.
Note that in most games, Lurrus won’t even come out. Deck is 3FAST. It’s more of a possibly-turn-losses-into-wins sort of card. In games you were going to win anyway, it’s rarely necessary.
Deck’s fun. Sometimes you do actually have to think about the attacks you’re making. Sometimes you have to play around your opponent’s open mana meaning they very likely have something to pick off a lord. That can impact whether you’re still willing to attack with your 3/3 that’ll be brought down to a 2/2 into their blocker. Sometimes you have multiple lords in hand and you play the weaker one first to bait removal. I can’t realistically cover every situation, but I can offer some general advice:

Matchup Notes

This primer's already approaching the character cap for reddit, so here's a separate document for any hotties who've made it this far.

Conclusion (ft. Shameless Self-Plug)

Thanks for reading this, magicTCG lurkers! Apart from wanting to give back to all the primer writers who've helped me smash face in Magic and other games through the years, I wrote this in order to get my writing in front of people's beautiful faces. If you like my style, feel free to check out my fantasy/sci-fi writing project at Yaldev. It's got weaponized cyborgs, undead dinosaurs, sentient paper airplanes, Horse Meat, lots of pretty art, and if you're a Vorthos flavour-geek you'll definitely be seeing how MTG influences the worldbuilding. Hopefully that's a good thing.
Feel free to post comments and discussion, I should be around to provide responses of questionable value.
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Keeneland Horse Racing Free Picks and Tips  Race 6 Late Pick 4  Friday, July 10 How to Back EVERY HORSE IN A RACE for Profit Horse Race Betting Tips From Horse Player Haven - How To Bet On Horse Racing Betting Odds Let's Beat The Bookies- Horse Racing Bets 1 Introduction of betting strategy in horse racing

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Keeneland Horse Racing Free Picks and Tips Race 6 Late Pick 4 Friday, July 10

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