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Ari Ferreira

Analysis of Naya Slivers in Pauper

Today we'll discuss an aggro deck that has stood out in Pauper: Naya Slivers!

Hey, guys! o/ This is Ari, and today we'll discuss an aggressive (or *aggro*) deck that has stood out in the Pauper format: *Naya Slivers!* For a while now, the traditional GW Slivers deck started *splashing* with the red color. The Modern Horizons set also gave the deck new life, with the addition of both [card](Winding Way) and [card](Bladeback Sliver). The former was immediately incorporated into GW, with the latter being an integral answer to many *fog spells* in this format. The list underwent some minor adjustments to occupy the red color, [card](Gemhide Sliver) was naturally added, helping with the mana base and its *ramping*. The red color then became more than just a splash, as cards like [card](Hunter Sliver), [card](Gorilla Shaman) and even [card](Electrickery) started appearing in the deck. Recently, player *mikamimtg* won the Pauper Challenge on January 12th with the following list: [deck](28150) It's worth noting the number of Tron decks present in the Top 8 of this Challenge. We can really see that a strategy against *fogs* is necessary. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1580044665.jpeg) I ended up building *mikamimtg's* list on MTGO, and although I haven't played many games yet, I will share my first impressions about the deck. After more than five years playing Pauper, I finally had the experience of playing with 12 lords. I think this is a worthy highlight, as Slivers are the only type in this format with such privilege. (Hey, Wizards... I don't ask much, but what about merfolk, vampires, goblins?) Setting up a 3 color deck on Pauper is a complex task, and it was one of my concerns using this list. But right from the get-go I realized that this deck was really well adapted to its red *splash*. It has only 1 [card](Mountain), but in most cases, we are not in such a hurry to find it. In a specific match, I ended up with this single Mountain in the graveyard (due to [card](Winding Way)), but thanks to [card](Gemhide Sliver), this is not really a problem. [card](Gemhide Sliver) also has a fantastic synergy with [card](Bladeback Sliver). On top of granting us red mana, it helps with casting a lot per turn, keeping our hand empty and enabling a combo with [card](Bladeback Sliver)'s ability. This combo requires some important decisions, though. Often, we won't do any damage so we can cast our hand instead, setting up an oppressive battlefield to perform a powerful attack in the next turn. We may also stop our attacks to summon more lords and to escape from some removals like [card](Lightning Bolt) and [card](Galvanic Blast). [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/cartas/en/ddu-duel-decks:-elves-vs-inventors-lead-the-stampede-16.jpg) [card](Winding Way) and [card](Lead the Stampede) are essential cards to maintain this deck's pacing, certifying we always have more Slivers than opponent's answers. Both cards also help us with keeping brief and succint. Many aggro players know about the curse that is drawing several lands in the mid and late game. Usually, lists use 4 copies of each, but I find it interesting that some use only 3 copies of [card](Lead the Stampede), as it may be the "slowest" card in the deck and usually puts our "non-creature side" into the bottom of our library. The deck has 12 *"1 drop"* creatures and I wouldn't decrease this amount, as the abilities of these creatures are very relevant. [card](Plated Sliver) is useful in matches that have mass removals, such as [card](Evincar's Justice) and [card](Swirling Sandstorm). Personally, I also like to keep it against aggros. [card](Sidewinder Sliver) is great against faerie or bird decks. I also like to use it against [card](Thorn of the Black Rose), as it avoids deathtouch. In the image below we have an example of how the *flanking* ability can turn "block" into a very unfavorable action to the opponent. [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1580044810.jpeg) [card](Virulent Sliver) is important in matches where the opponent can gain a lot of life, or cancel out many creatures. But I don't usually use it in matches against aggro decks. Most lists don't have any removals, which to me is strange at first, such as when I faced a burn deck that cast a [card](Thermo-Alchemist) early in the match. Despite having only 1 on the main deck, [card](Hunter Sliver) is essential because it assumes this role of removals. As I said, I only played a handful games with Slivers, but I want to discuss some *matchups*: *Fog Tron*: It was a complicated game, the Fogs are very efficient against Slivers. Unlike Affinity or Bogles decks, we don't have a [card](Fling) + [card](Dispel) combo to end the game. We can try to use the best opportunity to put a [card](Bladeback Sliver) on the field, but the opponent usually has many [card](Hydroblast)s to answer. *Elves*: It seems like a Good Matchup to me. [card](Sidewinder Sliver) and [card](Hunter Sliver) stand out in this match, but as we have no removals, the priority is to cast [card](Hunter Sliver) as soon as possible, since the opponent can tap their elves to escape the block forced by the provoke ability. Besides that, going for an aggressive strategy also works well. *MBC and BW Pestilence*: I got good results by drawing and filling the battlefield with as many creatures as possible. [card](Crypt Rats) may complicate as it is a bit faster than [card](Pestilence), but I didn't encounter any. I intend to test [card](Obsidian Acolyte) in this matchup. *Affinity*: GW Slivers used to be a smoother matchup for Affinity, the battlefield was often locked and [card](Fling) was very good in these situations. However, Slivers have the current advantage. In addition to [card](Hallow) and [card](Prismatic Strands), the deck's red cards ([card](Gorilla Shaman), [card](Hunter Sliver) and [card]( Bladeback Sliver)) fare well against Affinity. *Burn*: Definitely a Bad Matchup. The opponent can promptly deal with our lords and win the game by dealing damage with [card](Thermo-Alchemist) and [card](Firebrand Archer). Even with [card](Hallow) and [card](Prismatic Strands) on the side, it's a complicated match. Prismatic Strands is a little too slow and Hallow doesn't protect our creatures very well, because the opponent can destroy them with another removal, and we won't even gain Hallow's life points. I really want to test [card](Crimson Acolyte) in this matchup. *Tron* and *Burn* are both really popular in the current meta, so maybe that explains why Sliver doesn't have much representation (%) right now, even though it has good results. That's all for today, I hope you guys enjoyed the article. I'm really enjoying playing with this deck, but I'm still learning the ropes, so why don't we discuss it further on the comments below? I appreciate any sort of questions, criticisms or suggestions!

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Kaylani Bochie

cEDH Handbook - Game Scenarios


*TABLE OF CONTENTS* [link](https://cardsrealm.com/articles/607)(1. Threat Assessment) 2. Game Scenarios 3. Archetypes *GAME SCENARIOS* This time, we will exemplify the principles discussed in the previous article with decisions made during actual matches. • *1st scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579221467.jpeg) - *Player A* had a slow *development* and was trying to gradually create *board presence* due to decks with mass removals in the match. - *Player B* spent the first few rounds managing their hand, trying to gather 7 mana necessary to their win condition while controlling the pace of the other decks. - *Player C* tried to gather *card advantage* in the early game using his commanders. He also used *tutors* to search for answers and missing pieces for his combo. - *Player D* quickly achieved 12 mana with his [card](Dockside Extortionist) and was ready to engage in the next turn. *Board state:*          A: Some *mana dorks*, the commander and 1 mana.          B: Commander, some artifacts and 0 mana.          C: Mana dorks, [card](Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) (Lab-Jace), commanders and 6 mana.          D: [card](Dockside Extornionist) and 12 mana. In the 5th turn, *Player B* put a piece of his combo at the top of his library with [card](Mystical Tutor). He used this instant on his own turn because the other players didn't have much mana, although *Player C* had a [card](Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) (Lab-Jace) on the battlefield. *Player C* then used his Jace, forcing *Player B* to cast a draw spell at *instant speed* so as not to lose his combo piece. In response, *Player C* used [card](Vampiric Tutor) to put a piece of his [card](Protean Hulk) combo on the top of his library and draw it with Jace. *Player C* ended his turn with [card](Jace, Wielder of Mysteries), [card](Sylvan Safekeeper) and 6 mana. On *Player D*'s turn (while *Player B* had no mana), he cast [card](Obliterate), sacrificing his Treasure tokens in order to gather enough mana to play his commander. With the mana generated, *Player C* cast [card](Flash) before switching phases and then *wins the match.* - *Analysis:* *Player B* used a tutor to gather his combo piece even though he knew he would need resources to defend it. He also tried to execute his game plan *without taking into account his opponents' capabilities*, probably because he didn't know much about his decks. *Player D* lost the game because he *didn't recognize imminent threats* from other decks, probably due to a lack of knowledge about the format. He also failed in changing his *game plan* in the presence of said threats. • *2nd scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579222546.jpeg) - *Player A* had a quick development with the help of *mana rocks* and slowed *Player C* (which was the fastest deck) with the help of disruptive elements from the other players. - *Player B* had a slower development and could not commit to the development of his *board* due to the threat of [card](Flash) + [card](Protean Hulk) that *Player C* presented. - *Player C* had a good development with the use of mana dorks and was using the commander to obtain *card advantage* until he was delayed by a *board wipe*. - *Player D* didn't have permanents that affected the game until his commander was on the field, except for a [card](Howling Mine) that was destroyed by *Player A* (who didn't want others drawing more cards). *Board state:*          A: Some mana rocks, [card](Karn, the Great Creator), [card](Teferi, Time Raveler) and 12 mana.          B: Commander and 6 mana.          C: [card](Thrasios, Triton Hero), [card](Noble Hierarch), [card](Sylvan Safekeeper) and 6 mana. On his hand, he had a [card](Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) (Lab-Jace), [card](Demonic Consultation) and [card](Veil of Summer).          D: were using a deck with few interactions and so his board and hand did not effectively affect the game. *Player A* managed to lead the game with the ability to play at *instant speed* and due to the acceleration he achieved in the *early game*, on top of using an off-meta deck, which was mistakenly ignored. With [card](Teferi, Time Raveler) preventing other players from finding answers and the ability to develop his board even further on *Player D's* end-step, it was clear that the game needed to be resolved quickly. *Player B's* hand consisted only of a bounce spell, which would not be effective against *Player A's* [card](Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage), as he could recast his permanents. In the end, *Player B* spent the turn expecting the worst. *Player C* needed [card](Veil of Summer)'s protection to execute his game plan, but *Player A's* [card](Teferi, Time Raveler) wouldn't let them cast it. So, *Player C* tried to force *Player A's* interaction by attacking Teferi with two creatures. *Player A* blocked one of the creatures but had to cast [card](Teferi's Protection) so as not to lose Teferi. With *Player A* out of the picture, *Player C* cast [card](Jace, Wielder of Mysteries) and [card](Demonic Consultation). However, *Player B* had two removals, and so [card](Veil of Summer) was not the enough to protect Jace. On *Player A's* turn, he cast [card](Knowledge Pool) to lock the other players with Teferi. After a board wipe, the other players *conceded.* - *Analysis:* *Player A* almost lost the game due to a conservative move and *Player B* had to use his responses to stop *Player C*. *Player C* tried to end the game early because he didn't think the situation would get any better (and it didn't). *Player D*, in addition to not interacting with other players' threats, provided an additional draw with [card](Howling Mine). This kind of strategy can backfire, as giving cards to your opponents isn't the best option. In short, many resources in this match were misallocated and key decisions were ignored until they could no longer be resolved. • *3rd scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579222838.jpeg) - *Player A* and *Player D* both spent the early game trying to use mana dorks to accelerate his strategies, trying to clutch the game quickly with an infinite mana combo, as *Player B* and *Player C* would stabilize during the *late game*. - *Player B* and *Player C*, on the other hand, spent the early game resolving specific threats from *Player A* and *Player D* while trying to *ramp* his mana and gather card advantage. - After some clashes, *Player A* and *Player D* could no longer keep up with the game and so the match would be decided between *Player B* and *Player C*. *Board state:*          A: Some mana dorks and 0 mana.          B: More than 20 mana.          C: Commander, [card](Counterbalance) and more than 10 mana.          D: Mana dorks and 1 mana. *Player B* had access to more than 20 mana per turn (thanks to Urborg-Coffers and Mana Doublers) and was expecting a loophole to win with [card](Exsanguinate). *Player C* was trying to use [card](Rashmi, Eternities Crafter) with [card](Capsize)'s buyback ability so he could draw even more cards. Following some stalemate turns, *Player C* had a [card](Peregrine Drake) + [card](Deadeye Navigator) combo in hand, but waited until he had more cards than *Player B*, so he could answer all his removals. After a few more turns, *Player C* used [card](Gitaxian Probe) to find out if it was possible to outplay *Player B's* removals. However, *Player B* had a [card](Sudden Death) in hand (a removal with *split second*). *Player C* then cast [card](Brainstorm) to put [card](Capsize) on top of the deck, which allowed them to use [card](Counterbalance)'s effect to counter *Player B's* [card](Sudden Death), as both Sudden Death and Capsize had the same converted mana cost. After casting [card](Delay), [card](Dispel) and triggering [card](Counterbalance), *Player C* managed to play his [card](Peregrine Drake) + [card](Deadeye Navigator) combo and *proceed to win* with [card](Stroke of Genius). - *Analysis:* If *Player C* was impatient, he would have lost his only combo and possibly the entire match. However, he identified that it was up to *Player B* to *take initiative* and moved aggressively only after being confident that victory could be obtained. • *4th scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579223045.jpeg) This match can be found in the 1st episode of the 3rd season of Laboratory Maniacs [1]. - *Player A* had an explosive start with [card](Mana Vault) in his 1st turn, an uncounterable [card](The Gitrog Monster) in his 2nd turn and a [card](Bazaar of Baghdad) shortly after. - *Player B* spent the first few turns developing his board and responding to *Player A's* Gitrog with a [card](Gilded Drake), a solution that was circumvented by *Player A* using his newly purchased [card](Homeward Path). - *Player C* had a slower start and used one of his responses to slow *Player D*, knowing that Zur is also an explosive deck. - *Player D* had one of his acceleration pieces countered but found an opening to try to clutch the game. After a [card](Timetwister) cast by *Player C* and a [card](Chain of Vapor) that cleared much of the field (17:20 in the video [1]), the players used the next cycle to rebuild his boards. After an attempt of a *end step sculpt* by *Player A* and a [card](Vampiric Tutor) cast by *Player D*, we have the following: *Board state:*          A: Commander, [card](Homeward Path) (in the field) and [card](Life from the Loam) (in hand).          B: [card](Gilded Drake), [card](Mystic Remora), [card](Exploration), [card](Carpet of Flowers) and 3 mana.          C: [card](Grim Monolith), [card](Rhystic Study) and 5 mana.          D: [card](Sensei's Divining Top) and 5 mana. *Player D* then cast a [card](Laboratory Maniac) followed by a [card](Demonic Consultation). Although *Player B* has [card](Mystic Remora) and *Player C* has [card](Rhystic Study) (both with enough mana to cast them), *Player D* thought it was a good time to try to win the game. The game was starting to get out of reach for *Player D*, since the other decks had lots of *card advantage*. The result of the interaction (which was admitted as "greedy" by *Player D*) can be seen in the episode. Spoilers, though: *Player D* was stopped by a simple [card](Chain of Vapor). - *Analysis:* The mistake here was not to ignore the other decks at the table, or even not knowing how to assess threats. Rather, *Player D* failed in trying to end the game without having any sort of protection against other players' interactions. • *5th scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579223244.jpeg) This match can be found in the 2nd episode of the 3rd season of Laboratory Maniacs [2]. - *Player A* cast in his 1st turn a piece of the *Stax* strategy ([card](Grafdigger's Cage)) that affected two other decks. Then, he spent the next turns only presenting answers. - *Player B* cast a mana dork in his 1st turn and [card](Aven Mindcensor) in his 2nd (another Stax piece instead of his commander). - *Player C* was *setback* due to the Aven Mindcensor cast by *Player B*. - *Player D* started very slowly and cast another piece of Stax ([card](Cursed Totem)) in turn 2. *Board state:*          A: [card](Grafdigger's Cage) and 3 (blue) mana.          B: [card](Noble Hierarch), [card](Aven Mindcensor) and 3 mana.          C: [card](Mox Opal) and 1 mana.          D: [card](Cursed Totem), [card](Mox Opal) and 0 mana. *Player B* had his [card](Tymna the Weaver) countered by *Player A* (12:20 in the video [2]). The battlefield contained 3 pieces of Stax, where 2 of them hijacked *Player B's* original plan ([card](Flash) + [card](Protean Hulk)). - *Analysis:* *Player B's* reasoning was to use the commander as a *card advantage engine* while he were unable to remove Stax's pieces. However, *Player A* thought that in a slower game Tymna would lead in *card advantage* and surprised *Player B* with a [card](Counterspell). • *6th scenario* [image](https://cardsrealm.com/images/uploads/1579223367.jpeg) This match can be found in the uncut episode of the 3rd season of Laboratory Maniacs [3]. - *Player A* had a quick development, as is usual for a *Food Chain* deck, and spent the first few turns using tutors to gather pieces for his win condition. - *Player B* had a slower development, as is customary for a control deck, and used his turns to ramp his mana and cast his commander. The commander choice here is notable as it represents the *card advantage* he will attempt to establish throughout the game (12:42 in the video [3]). - *Player C* spent his early game interacting (stopping *Player A's* multiple attacks) and casting a [card](Mystic Remora). - *Player D* had a slow start and maintained the burden of interaction on *Player B* and *Player C*, as he were last on priority (this can be seen by *Player D's* starting hand at 2:13 [3]). *Board state:*          A: [card](Noble Hierarch) and 1 mana.          B: [card](Birds of Paradise), [card](Vial Smasher the Fierce) and 3 mana.          C: [card](Mystic Remora) and 0 mana.          D: [card](Sensei's Divining Top) and 1 mana. *In this case, it's worth mentioning the previous moves:*          A: Resolved two tutors, had a tutor canceled, cast a [card](Silence) and was unable to win the game after a bounce spell on [card](Noble Hierarch).          B: Cast an acceleration piece and the commander, which was tapped before *Player A's* third turn.          C: Cast a [card](Mystic Remora) and only interacted with *Player A.*          D: Cast a [card](Sensei's Divining Top) but had no acceleration pieces or card advantage. This play didn't directly affect the end of the game, but it would have changed the course of the game if it had been different. *Player B* casts a [card](Keen Sense), trying to establish a card advantage engine. *Player D* casts a [card](Swords to Plowshares) on [card](Vial Smasher the Fierce), trying to prevent *Player B* from developing. The discussion between the players follows (it can be heard at 12:42[3]): D: I'll cast a Swords to Plowshares, targeting Vial Smasher. B: Please, reconsider. Luke (A) probably has a Food Chain in his hand. Are you sure you want to do that? D: Yeah. You still have 3 mana. Cameron (C) has 10 cards and is not that fast a deck. Slow decks win by baiting foolhardy like me into not let them use his engines early and bridging it to the late game. I've lost to Cameron on Tasigur enough to know that, yes, you do, in fact, kick the control player in the first couple turns, otherwise you lose. B: You are playing a dangerous game. D: Aha. If I lose to Luke (A), I lose to Luke (A). I can still just lose to you because you have a Keen Sense. I'm not winning in neither of those cases. I don't care who I lose to, I'd rather win. B: There is a good chance that you might not win because of it. D: There is a good chance that you should be saving your 3 mana for a counterspell then. B: What if I don't? D: Well, then. That's your punt, not mine. - *Analysis:* *Player D's* reasoning was proven correct, given the outcome of the game. It is interesting to note that *Player B* was forced to spend resources to establish a way to unite his early game with his late game. *Player B* also acted correctly, as he needed to ensure that his game plan would be executed, even in the presence of *Player A's* threat. Overall, great assessment made by *Player D* on the positions of each player in the match. Further reading (spoiler) and a centralized PDF (in Portuguese): https://github.com/kaylani2/cedh-ta *REFERENCES* [1] L. Maniacs, “S3 episode 1: Gitrog combo vs tasigur control vs chain veil teferi vs shimmer zur cedh gameplay.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5Dlbw0suXo, 2019. [2] L. Maniacs, “S3 episode 2: Breya consult vs shuffle hulk vs divergent control vs niv-mizzet parun cedh gameplay.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwk0jZIijYI, 2019. [3] L. Maniacs, “S3 uncut: Food chain tazri vs 4 color rashmi vs inalla wizards vs e man cedh gameplay.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hz-hXKlSnxQ, 2019.

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Kaylani Bochie

Kaylani Bochie iniciou no Magic em Mirrodin, no final de 2003. Foi iniciado no cEDH em 2016, pelo interesse natural em otimizar estratégias no Commander. Busca decks control em todos os formatos e está sempre à procura do “2-por-1” perfeito.

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