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Creature Type
(Subtype for creature/kindred cards)
Beeble Scale 6[1]
115 cards
{W} 17.4% {U} 13% {B} 13% {R} 18.3% {G} 15.7% {W/U} 1.7% {U/B} 1.7% {B/R} 1.7% {R/G} 1.7% {G/W} 1.7% {W/B} 0.9% {U/R} 0.9% {B/G} 0.9% {R/W} 2.6% {G/U} 0.9% {M} 5.2% {artifact symbol} 2.6%
12 Sliver creation cards
{C} 25% {W} 8.3% {B} 8.3% {G} 16.7% {M} 25% {artifact symbol} 8.3% {land symbol} 8.3%
as of Commander Masters
Scryfall Search

Slivers are creatures that share a hive mind, which allows them to share their abilities with other nearby slivers. Cards with the creature type Sliver have an ability or characteristic that they share with other slivers. Early slivers share with all slivers in play, while later slivers only affect the player's side of the board.

Description[ | ]

The original Slivers were depicted with an armored vertebrate body, a long, bifurcated whip-like tail, one arm with a single talon for a hand, and a singular head with an armored crest. Variations of this appearance existed per the abilities each has to offer to the hive.[2][3] An evolved form has humanoid features.[4]

A Sliver begins to show distinct physical attributes within a few days of its birth and reaches maturity within weeks, connecting to the hivemind and incorporating the characteristics of nearby Slivers.[5] What defines a Sliver's traits is unknown, but some believe that Rath's Slivers' attributes were controlled before birth by Volrath himself.

Slivers hunt in packs. Groups of unaugmented slivers are called "thrums."[6] Slivers prefer warm regions, hanging from ceilings in groups that resemble large pinecones.[5]

Mechanically, each Sliver in a set is expected to produce a unique ability to share with its fellow Slivers, though redundant abilities occur across sets. One of the bigger design problems is that without blocks and core sets, Slivers require a large chunk of set density to be worthwhile, and most sets would not have many new keywords to gift. Printing Slivers in supplemental sets such as Modern Horizons solved some of these issues, as they could use any keywords, have a higher power level or complexity, and did not need to factor into the plot.

Storyline[ | ]

Origin[ | ]

Eons ago, sentient species on an unknown plane used Slivers as beasts of burden. They were domesticated for their ability to adapt and many empires were built upon their service. However deep beneath the surface of the plane, in caverns that ran along every continent, a Sliver queen bided her time. As above, so too below were empires birthed and torn down, only these epochal cycles were orchestrated by the patient queen, a vast and unknowable mind seeking alien perfection. Each generation of Slivers grew stronger than the last until this queen, the Gravemother, finally completed the ultimate evolution: to conquer death. In a single night, kingdoms were reduced to rubble as their former servants were joined by the Gravemother's hardened brood. No trace of the plane was spared: the Slivers razed villages and castles alike. Landslides buried the plains, as mountains were torn apart by Slivers bursting from the vast burial calderas hidden beneath the ground. Countless armies were crushed beneath the stampede of Slivers, awoken by the sound of their encampments and comrades being torn to shreds by the living dead. Now, no living thing exists on that plane except what the Gravemother permits: empires reduced to cattle for her hive to feast upon when the time calls for it.[7]

Discovery[ | ]

Volrath visited an as-yet-unidentified plane and discovered slivers. A fellow shapeshifter and an obsessive zoologist, he was so fascinated by these mesomorphic, hive-minded creatures that he brought the Sliver Queen to Rath.[8][9] He then took a number of her brood away from her (and stuck them in the Furnace of Rath) so he could study them.

Rath[ | ]

Volrath is said to have genetically modified the slivers, but to what extent is also unknown. He attempted to create artificial slivers, but these were a poor approximation of the real thing and had no innate abilities to share with the hive. These Metallic Slivers were used to spy on the sliver hive. Before the Dominarian invasion, there were no more than 5,000 slivers on Rath.[10]

Volrath used the hive to guard the Legacy and to attack Weatherlight and her crew on their quest to retake those artifacts and their captain, Sisay. Thanks to Hanna, who realized how the slivers' hive mind worked, the crew defeated them in the Furnace of Rath and Karn was able to convince the Sliver Queen to release the Legacy to him, arguing that the artifacts were as much a part of him as the slivers were a part of her.[11][12]

Dominaria[ | ]

Rathi Overlay[ | ]

During the Rathi Overlay the slivers were transported to Urborg. Most of them were killed when they materialized in the heart of a volcano, and all the others were killed in the subsequent battles of the Invasion.

Riptide Project[ | ]

One hundred years later, wizards involved in the Riptide Project on Otaria discovered sliver remains in the ruins of the Stronghold in Urborg and planned to bring them back to life to study them.[13] The Riptide wizards successfully created entirely new varieties of slivers, but without knowing the importance of the Sliver Queen, didn't recreate her. Without her, the slivers went rampant, proving impossible to tame and breeding out of control. They quickly overran the island housing the project.[14]

At the same time, the Mirari was causing havoc all over Otaria. The magical waves it produced accelerated the slivers' growth, but it also lured them to the mainland since they confused its call with their deceased queen's. Most of the slivers were therefore present at the battle at Sanctum and were killed in the magical explosion that created Karona. However, a small group of slivers survived and fused into the ultimate manifestation of the hive mind, the Sliver Overlord.

After the apocalypse[ | ]

Venser's sliver

Venser's sliver, an artificial sliver.

Slivers that survived the apocalypse caused by Karona's destruction and a few breeds that were "timeshifted" into the present by the violent upheavals of the time stream were among the few creatures that were able to flourish on the dying plane of Dominaria. As other species fought for survival in a world almost completely drained of mana, the slivers continued to multiply and mutate into new forms. Some of these new breeds mimicked traits of other life forms in the multiverse; the vampiric sliver fed upon the life essence of its prey and was strengthened in return, much like the dreaded Sengir clan and their ilk. The gemhide sliver adopted an ability similar to that of the fabled Birds of Paradise, creating mana of any color whenever it wished. Basal slivers possessed the innate drive to sacrifice themselves to provide for their nestmates, similar to the way the master breeders of the Ebon Hand used Basal Thrulls for their dark rituals. Another new strain present during this time was the shadow sliver, trapped between two worlds when the nest within the bowels of Volrath's Stronghold was overlaid on Urborg. Presumably, this breed was a terror to the Rathi Tribes who were also caught in the overlay in their home, the City of Traitors. Without the leadership of their Queen, these sliver swarms raged across the plane, largely unstoppable when gathered in great enough numbers. The destruction caused by the slivers was not necessarily malevolent, the hive-minded creatures only sought a new queen, new leadership to guide their numbers.

For a time, the planeswalkers Freyalise and Lord Windgrace maintained some control over the slivers in their respective realms. Once the Weaver King discovered the simplicity of their hivemind, he quickly took control of them for his purposes and used them to wage war on their former masters. Since his destruction, the slivers are presumably once again without leadership, though it's indicated that the slivers' hivemind is slowly becoming sentient and self-aware, negating the further need for a Queen.

The Hivestone, a strange artifact discovered within the ruins of the Stronghold, was later found to have been used by the various evincars of Rath's past to control the seething sliver hive and its Queen. Upon its rediscovery, however, the device became a curse to its wielder, bending its possessor's will to the will of the swarm.

Slivers are implied to survive well into the future of Dominaria, taking on even more new and bizarre abilities.

Shandalar[ | ]

Humanoid sliver

The prime slivers with their humanoid forms differ greatly from the more primitive predators.

On the shores of the eastern Sea of Shandalar, an evolved race of slivers inhabits the "Skep", a great nest or hive. These slivers have gleaming, gemlike eyes and "hair" more like the squirming tentacles of a jellyfish or polyp. Two varieties exist: the insectile human-sized less brood that can be found on other planes (also called lesser slivers or predators), and primes, which are bipedal, humanoid, and slightly more sapient. All are covered with chitinous plates that glisten and slide about like oiled pieces of machinery. The creatures use a high-pitched, chittered speech, akin to a cricket.[15][10] An insectile hivelord rules over the primes and predators of the hive. The hivelord is around 20 times the size of a human.[16] The biologist who discovered the slivers was a shapeshifter[15], so the effect went unnoticed, but the two who followed in his footsteps found that they became slivers while in the Skep[16], which suggests the presence of a hivestone or similar effect.

Alara[ | ]

Slivers may also have appeared on Alara. The First Sliver, First Sliver's Chosen, and Dregscape Sliver have Cascade, Exalted and Unearth respectively, which are keywords from the Alara block. The Dregscape is also a location on Alara. These facts, however, do not outright prove that Slivers did appear but offer the possibility that they might have.

Mirrodin[ | ]

The Tempered Sliver seems to be located at Mirrodin/New Phyrexia.

Amonkhet[ | ]

Lazotep Sliver appears to be located on Amonkhet. It was later clarified that the card isn't canon.[17]

Notable Slivers[ | ]

The First Sliver

The First Sliver from unknown plane.


As cards[ | ]

The creature type Sliver was introduced in Tempest. It was originally designed by Mike Elliott for the unpublished expansion Astral Ways. Slivers were inspired by the card Plague Rats from Alpha.[18]

The creature type has been found in the Tempest block, the Onslaught block, the Time Spiral block, Magic 2014, Magic 2015, Modern Horizons and Commander Masters sets. Most Slivers have an ability that grants all Slivers the same ability. Exceptions to this rule include Metallic Sliver, Sliver Construct, Sliver Overlord, Sliver Queen, and Venser's Sliver.

Tempest[ | ]

Slivers first appeared in Tempest.

Stronghold[ | ]

Stronghold included another uncommon cycle and the rare Sliver Queen.

Legions[ | ]

Slivers returned five years later in Legions, the second set of the Onslaught block.[22][23][24][25]

Scourge[ | ]

Scourge had only the legendary Sliver Overlord, which was printed in homage to Sliver Queen, a very popular card in casual Magic. Sliver Overlord was meant to be a "Sliver King" of sorts, but that does not fit with Sliver biology, so it instead became an overlord.[26] Like Sliver Queen, it shares both its 7/7 size and WUBRG cost. Its activated abilities represent its ability to call and control other Slivers, which can be used with other type-changing effects and abilities to take control of opponents' creatures.

Time Spiral[ | ]

Three years later Time Spiral added 26 new Slivers, as well as reprinting Essence Sliver and Spined Sliver as "Timeshifted" cards. The set included two commons, one uncommon, and one rare of each color; one uncommon for each of the allied color combinations, and one artifact Sliver.

Planar Chaos[ | ]

Planar Chaos added another eleven:[27]

Future Sight[ | ]

Future Sight had one cycle, one legendary sliver, and two cards that referred to slivers:

Magic 2014[ | ]

Six years later, Slivers once again returned in Magic 2014.[29][30] These partially humanoid Slivers now only affected the player's side of the board.[4][31] 14 Slivers were printed, tilted towards the {R}{G}{W} shard.

Magic 2015[ | ]

Only one year later, Slivers returned in Magic 2015.[32] Notable is the return to the original art style in Sliver Hive.[33]

Modern Horizons[ | ]

Slivers were considered for the return to Dominaria, but were found too problematic in that they required a significant commitment to space that wasn't available.[34] It was announced that the next time we would see Slivers there would be a good chance that they would resemble their original body shape. Asked if they would affect all Slivers in play, Mark Rosewater declared that that ship has passed.[35]

Shortly after, Slivers in their original (pre-M14) form were featured in Modern Horizons, where they are the white-red draft archetype.[36][37][38]

Time Spiral Remastered[ | ]

Time Spiral Remastered featured a selection of the slivers of the Time Spiral block, concentrated in red, green, and white.[39][40] In addition, Cloudshredder Sliver appeared on the Timeshifted sheet.

Commander Masters[ | ]

The Commander Masters preconstructed deck Sliver Swarm features a new cycle of monocolored slivers alongside the {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} commander of the deck, Sliver Gravemother. This Sliver is a 6/6 and unusually has three abilities. Additionally, a different style of a five-color sliver-focused commander was printed in the form of Rukarumel, Biologist. Notably, following the return of the original sliver design in Modern Horizons, all slivers featured in this deck feature the original sliver design. As a consequence, many slivers in this deck received new artwork.

Tokens[ | ]

Token Name Color Type Line P/T Text Box Source Printings
Sliver Colorless Creature — Sliver 1/1
Sliver Army Black Creature — Sliver Army 0/0
Metallic Sliver Colorless Artifact Creature — Sliver 1/1
Test cards
Token Name Color Type Line P/T Text Box Source Printings
Eldrazi Sliver Colorless Creature — Eldrazi Sliver 1/1 Sacrifice this creature: Add {C}.

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 3, 2024). "How likely are we to see Slivers in standard again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Magic Arcana (December 12, 2006). "Sliver Anatomy". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Doug Beyer (August 10, 2011). "Magic's Exclusive Creatures". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b Doug Beyer (May 6, 2013). "Slivers Evolved". A Voice for Vorthos. Tumblr.
  5. a b Pete Venters (January 1998). "Dominian Chronicles: Stepping Into Darkness" The Duelist #21, 36-37
  6. Flavor texts of Megantic Sliver and Cleaving Sliver
  7. Sliver Swarm deck insert
  8. Mark Rosewater (March 11, 2019). "Where It's At". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater (August 5, 2019). "Need I Say Morph". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b Pete Venters (March 1998). "Dominian Chronicles: The ❤️ of Rath: The Art of Darkness." The Duelist #23, 24-25
  11. Rei Nakazawa (March 08, 2004). "How they fit into Magic's storyline. A Sliver Story". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (February 16, 2015). "Kings & Things". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. (2003). Legions Player's Guide. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Magic Arcana (March 22, 2006). "Riptide's Secret Experiment". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b Jennifer Clarke Wilkes (June 26, 2013). "Prisoner of the Skep; or, How I Encountered the Slivers—and Lived to Tell the Tale!". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b Matt Knicl (July 9, 2014). "The Bard and the Biologist". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Commander Masters Planeswalker Party! deck (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (July 18, 2023).
  18. Mark Rosewater (October 12, 2018). "Have any more delightful Sliver trivia?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Magic Arcana (March 10, 2004). "Sliver art gallery 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana (March 09, 2004). "Sliver art gallery 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Magic Arcana (March 08, 2004). "Sliver art gallery". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Randy Buehler (January 31, 2003). "Tales from the Crypt Sliver". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Mark Rosewater (March 8, 2004). "Sliver Me Timbers". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Randy Buehler (January 24, 2003). "One Part Ophidian, One Part Sliver". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Magic Arcana (April 05, 2005). "Sliver Ability Swaps". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Randy Buehler (June 13, 2003). "Designing Legends". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Magic Arcana (January 29, 2007). "Planar Chaos Sliver Sketches". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Blake Rasmussen (April 29, 2015). "Sliver Quiz". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Mark Rosewater (July 01, 2013). "Sliver Pâté". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Mark Rosewater (August 05, 2013). "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  31. Mark Rosewater (February 24, 2017). "Why is it that later slivers dont have symmetrical effects while early slivers do?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  32. Aaron Forsythe (June 23, 2014). "Magic 2015—It's In There". Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Bruce Richard (June 24, 2014). "This Hive is No Mos Eisley". Wizards of the Coast.
  34. Mark Rosewater (March 07, 2018). "With the us going to Dominaria, are we going to be seeing slivers again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  35. Mark Rosewater (August 05, 2017). "The only thing I'm hoping for is real slivers returning.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  36. Cynthia Sheppard (May 22, 2019). "A Sliver of Direction". Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Cynthia Sheppard (May 22, 2019). "A Sliver of Direction". Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  39. Mark Rosewater (March 1, 2021). "The Test of Time Spiral Remastered". Wizards of the Coast.
  40. Adam Styborski (March 4, 2021). "It's Time for the Sliver Lining". Wizards of the Coast.

See also[ | ]