Slivers In M14: What The Fuck Is This Fucking Shit?

by Guess Who!

[Giger] mandated that the creature have no eyes, because he felt that it made them much more frightening if you could not tell they were looking at you. – Alien Evolution, Alien Quadrilogy Box Set

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“The Newborn’s eyes and nose were added to improve its expressions to make it a character, rather than just a “killing machine”, and give it depth as a character.” – Unnatural Mutation – Creature Design, Alien Quadrilogy, 2003, 20th Century Fox

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So, now this is happening.

Anyone getting tanked up to make a moral judgment about this criticism should consider that the auteurs of this harlequin fetus have a job in paradise creating entertainment products to sell at a markup. Their asses are covered, their motivations a mixture of personal creative ambition and company direction, and like any object d’art put forth for our consumption, and *to* consume our hard-earned dollars, it is the fairest of games. Fairer, indeed, than Magic itself.

It was with the weariness of a weathered pack animal that I slumped upon seeing the M14 Sliver reboot. It is not just that it’s unnecessary, ill-advised, implicitly insulting. It’s that creativity has found no purchase on the dull edifice of this undertaking. It precedes M14 like a corpse floating headlong down the Nile, fly-blown and crocodile-bitten, leaving us to wonder what homogenized horrors may yet come.

Slivers with male and female characteristics? (Can sexualization be far behind? Is the Sarah Kerrigan of Slivers on the horizon? Or is one Glissa enough?)

Sliver generals, ranks within the collective? Slivers in clothing?

A menacing Sliver planeswalker dropping one-liners on token-generation Sorceries?

“You’re about to get a bad case of…the hives.”

The mind reels and rebels.

Where to begin? Perhaps with the admission that this doesn’t matter. A set is no museum exhibit but a collection of mass-produced game pieces, and if the rooks and pawns carry the benzine stink of the industrial process, they will still play readily enough. The art itself is expertly done. In a year, nobody will care. We are just here to get on the record, you and I, that we may one day link back to this combined outcry of voices, having suffered for too lengthy an interval the release of sneering, talking slivers that look like Donkey Kong. Today is our Independence Day.

Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, look at this piece of shit:

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BOOGA BOOGA.

Well, this guy certainly seems like he’s part of a hive to me. A hive of gorillas. I’m not sure why the extra limbs were necessary to set this heater of a design apart from it’s predecessors.  In case you’re wondering if there’s ever been a sliver with tusks and black sinew accented by boney plates before, the answer is no. That could have been sufficient had cooler heads prevailed.

(PS: Gives all slivers trample? HOW EXCITING. They couldn’t have picked worse cards to pseudo-spoil.)

especially like how the word ‘Sliver’ evokes something infiltrating, sharp, a lithe and predatory scintilla that’s part of a larger whole… and this card is a giant chimpanzee blundering through the forest, alone. As for the face, stretched as it is between two chitinous outcroppings, it appears to have all the mobility and expression of a vintage phrenology chart.

Come on! You wanted the face, Spielberg. Let’s see the soliloquy! Oh, what’s that? You’re saving it for the Wal-Mart shelf, those burning Sliver eyes writ large on a fat pack?

My conceptual complaints are, like my sadly desecrated friends, legion. Slivers have always been a basic form to which disparate characteristics could be applied, leaving all Slivers present (one presumes) with identical, combined traits. Now that the symmetry of the basic form is broken, the mental picture of what happens when slivers gather is muddled. Instead of imagining plating hardening or muscles strengthening on a hive-wide basis, we’re just left to conjure all a montage of disparate forms working together, looking like the X-Men if all their faces were shot up with Novocaine.

Moving on in this burgle-fest:

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The General Grievous of slivers, and no less superfluous a visual design. This looks like a Phyrexian Obliterator fell into a bag of ketchup chips and got really mad. The face, with all the softness and expression of an uncracked walnut, adds the now-expected stone nothing. Oh, and he’s got dreadlocks because he’s a Sliver.

It’s hard to explain why using faces this way is so ineffective, but I’ll try. Human faces are soft, they can express sadness, joy, fear, resolve, they have folds and pores, distinguishing marks. Sliver faces will never be used to express any emotions besides “I’m going to attack you”. These faces are just simulacra – blank, glowering, and dare I say “Phyrexian” in their unrealness. Do Slivers have tear ducts, throats, teeth? Do they eat human food? What other anatomical weirdness is suggested by this change?

You can’t just slap a face on something inhuman and give it character. It’s like putting a face on an ant or a cockroach.

I’m preemptively not interested in the inevitable “Slivers have been twisted by a humanoid corruption into the image of their new master, [Planeswalker whoever]” explanation, because I know it’s just a planter placed strategically over a commercial carpet stain. As a narrative impetus, accessibility is no less hollow than the lightless eyes of the new brood it’s birthed.

Hell, maybe there won’t even be an explanation, since core sets are the garbage time of Magic narrative. (Anyone remember the Eastern Paladin and Western Paladin?)

Anyway, my point is that every new sliver is just this guy.

The faces are either dead, waxen and mockingly human in a way the designers didn’t intend, or it IS intentional, in which case the slivers are just Phyrexians 2.0 and this is further reinforced as the dumbest idea of all time.

To add to the misery, the flavor text suggests that slivers have to “command” each other to take on their shared characteristics. I wonder if that was in the style guide or some random dingleberry just made it up on the spot. Neither would surprise me.  I further wonder- if you have this in play with a Blade Sliver, does the Blade Sliver grow two legs and a face as well?

Might as well keep the mediocrity train a-chugging:

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I don’t think that’s how Slivers work, flavor text guy. They don’t all see through this Sliver, they gain the ability to…oh-never-mind.

This one looks like somebody disemboweled Voldo from Soul Calibur and dropped him into Cambodia on a mission to assassinate communist advisers.  I fail to see why you couldn’t use the existing Sliver morphology to just this Vigilance effect- a slender sliver propped upright on it’s limb, triangular head raised, cobra-like, to detect any possible stimuli.

Oh, wait, now I remember- lazy art production.

Even if Sliver morphology had run its course (which I don’t concede), there were settings, textures, actions, colors, sizes! All sorts of knobs to be turned on the Sliver etch-a-sketch. Look man- tell me you don’t like my name. Tell me you don’t like my voice. Tell me you don’t like my fucking necktie. But don’t tell me you couldn’t put three creative people in a room for a few hours and come up with compelling art for fifteen new slivers without increasing limbs by 300%. Anyone who tells you that is lying to you.

Now we be a good time to talk about what a disaster it is to take an essentially insectoid/feral race and make it humanoid when a huge part of suggesting a hive (without actually showing one) is that morphology. If I see one ant, I expect more ants. If I see an ugly two-faced humanoid standing around  like the Marlboro man, I don’t expect more of the same.

Alright, let’s wrap up this freakshow before I vomit:

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Guy looks like a Viridian Elf that stumbled out of the Mephidross after a ten-day crack binge. Of the spoiled art, I think this is probably the biggest departure from the typical Sliver, visually…but it’s certainly not a departure from various other designs that have come and gone throughout Magic’s history.  Maybe it’s the Steelform talking, darling, but you seem like either a Myr or a Phyrexian to me.

I don’t get what the flavor text is trying to say. It’s either awful, awful, or boring, and the only mystery is what the intent was.

Does Sarlena think people could actually mistake them for humans? If so, she’s dumb.

Does Sarlena think people would try to fight them the way they fight humans, in terms of vital spots and such? Are sliver legs not legs? Do they not have tendons to cut? Do their faces not protect eyes and brains? We know they do, since Sentinel Sliver has eyes…so why can’t you fight it like a human?

Does Sarlena just mean they have inhuman cunning and viciousness? If so, this is a boring and none-too-expansive reference to the art change.

Spin-doctoring and digging the needle in is the explanatory post by WotC creative guru Doug Beyer, who I’m hoping was not the genesis of any of this schlock but rather was handed market research lemons with which to poop out a putrid and hackneyed lemonade.

Here’s the link, which should come with a kiss, since I fancy a kiss when I’m getting my doodle pulled.

” M14 adds a host of new slivers, and we decided it was time to broaden their range of potential morphologies.”

“We wanted them to be able to look you in the eye like other fantasy races, to be capable of a greater range of body language and even, sometimes, to generate facial expressions.”

So you wanted to broaden your range…with the restriction that they have humanoid faces and be able to show humanoid body language?

I’m curious to hear your initial thoughts.

Well, here you go.

I just can’t imagine anyone thinking this was a good idea. Taking one of a canon’s historically unique elements and gentrifying it for the masses is not a creatively laudable action, let alone advisable. I hope it was done under protest. What design space is opened up here? A chance to fill a graphic novel panel with a sliver’s flashing eyes? To describe a sliver’s changing expression in a novelization? Is this a genuflection before the graven monolith of packaging art, full-page advertising, and retail surfacing? Was the intent simply to place expressive Sliver faces at eye level with young Wal-Mart shoppers, piquing interest enough to elicit a tug at mom’s dress?

Slivers have lost their uniqueness- they are now the equal of any other sneering, razor-clawed antagonist. This new direction weakens the impact of the race and how it can be understood by players as a hive group without exposition to that effect.

While I’m at it, let’s just say that your flavor text writers needn’t bother keeping their mantles dusted for the installation of a Franz Kakfa prize.

It’s moot anyway. We’re still going to buy ’em. We’re still going to crack’em and play ’em. If Magic Online has shown us nothing else, it’s that the game is strong enough to weather most any stumble, so long as the gameplay remains pure. Our hides are toughened by numberless lashes, scabrous gifts from the whip of commerce. Virescit volnere virtus, as noted orator Sarlena, Paladin of the Northern Verge might say.

Though we will persevere, there has been one casualty here, and before it passes into the shadows of the internet perhaps this communication can serve as an epitaph.

Visually and in terms of mystique, Slivers are done.

An iconic creature type ends. Not with a bang, but with a click, a chitter, the crack and snap of flesh hardening into more of the same.

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40 responses to “Slivers In M14: What The Fuck Is This Fucking Shit?

  1. One thing that bothers me is the scale of the art vs PT. The vigilance sliver looks huge (its towering above trees) and is a 2/2, while the trample sliver is a 5/5 and smaller then trees.

  2. I could spend all day imagining in my mind space, that slivers are really slivers in humanoid body suits.

    The thing I can’t wish away with creative effort, is :”You control” in the text boxes.

    It’s blasphemy of the highest order when you destroy a mechanical construct that an entire tribe is built upon for the last 14 or so years in the name of “player friendliness”.

    • THIS. The art change bugs me, but taking away the calculation of “will this help my opponent more than it helps me?” PISSES ME THE HELL OFF.

  3. Sentinel Sliver looks like the artist just copy and pasted from Artisan of Kozilek. Artisan, notably, is a 10/9. This abomination is a 2/2.

  4. Yep. Yep. Yep. Thank you.

    Worst part might be the smug posture WOTC’s adopted especially since the boom. Can’t get a straight fucking answer any more. When you can get through the PR haze, all that’s left is a sneer or eyeroll.

  5. The purpose of the core set is to bring new sheep into the fold – not to satisfy the never-ending lust for NEW demanded by us established players. A slithering penis with a knife for an arm is much less attractive to most 12-year-olds than these feverish, Species-esque monsters.

    In other words… they are not for you.

    WotC is a business that needs fresh blood to live. I, personally, have a vested interest in keeping it alive. If Slivers bring in the drooling tweens spending their parents’ money, then so be it.

    C’mon… when you first started playing, didn’t you have a terrible all-Demons deck or anything? You were thrilled with it. Over time, you learned better. Young, new players need to go through those steps too…

    • If all they cared about was bringing fresh meat into the fold make a new creature type. Whether they are for us or not has no bearing on the fact that they have ruined one of magics iconic tribes.

      • I cannot agree emphatically enough with this. If you absolutely HAVE to have a call back to Slivers, then call these new… things… “Splinters,” or “Shards,” or something. Just don’t eviscerate everything that made Slivers distinctive because it’s a slow day for Creative.

    • No, I had a shitty 4 color Sliver deck, and it was awesome. And it wasn’t anything like these goofy bastards.

      There’s only so much reacharound I can take before I start to chafe. Let’s not forget that Slivers were the original tribal nasties; shit, just a Bant Sliver deck with one of each ‘good one’ in play leaves you with 3 3/3s and a 4/4, each with flying and shroud. Other creature types had to steal the Sliver trick just to become any good; is there a single playable tribe these days that didn’t lift a good trick from the Sliver hive? They all have Lords, or ability-bestowing dudes. What is Merfolk, but 20 Lords and Force of Will? There’s so many goddamn Lords that people don’t even play Brainstorm. “Why would I draw 3, when I could just play another Lord and beat for 15?”

      Look, I enjoy a lot of things about New World Order. I really do. While I wish more of the game was on the stack, I can appreciate what’s been done for the battlefield. When I started playing Magic in 2001, my crap Sliver deck was busy losing to goddamn Goblin Trenches. I’ve seen the Dark Side. I know how unfair things like Wrath of God, Counterspell, and Probe with a kicker can seem to a newjack. Here’s the thing though – you could literally put any creature type on those cards, and no one would ever go, “you know what? This is just a Sliver with a funny creature type.” If, like, they’d done this in reverse and printed like a 5-color cycle of Crispinglovers that said “Crispinglovers have -ability-.”, everyone would go, “…hey! That’s no Crispinglover!! That’s a Sliver!! The fuck!”

    • Yes I did have an all-Vampires deck back when I was a drooling teen, Slivers were in Standard, and I loved the fact that this was a world with “distinct” creatures and themes which sparked my imagination to incredible horizons. When they came up with Phyrexians I was like wtf is this random monster? It didn’t mean anything to me and did nothing to my imagination. I’m not sure how these random monsters which does nothing to one’s imagination and have ZERO flavor can elicit a better response from teens than a thematic, well imagined, characteristic creature type like Slivers.

      • Also this was why I got into Magic, and stayed with it for 14-15 years now, instead of stuff like Pokemon and Yugioh when I was a drooling teen. Magic presented me with well crafted, well imagined, thematic world in which you could imagine yourself in and continue the game in your imagination even when you’re just sorting through your cards. Games like Pokemon and Yugioh just had random monsters which didn’t give me any of the thrills of Pegasus flying over plains, Slivers flooding of their hives, Vampires in their castles, Elves cracking bones for trespassing in their forest (guess the flavor text) etc. etc. Different shapes and sizes of blobering masses are just random Pokemon creatures, they don’t have the appeal of Slivers.

        Sure, there’s a market for that type of thing but that market has historically been smaller than the market which Magic was able to appeal to. When you are head and shoulders above the other TCG games because of your originality it’s just a bad business decision to steer your creative teams towards the way of your lesser competitors, let alone a bad decision for sustaining the loyalty of your long term players who are still a VERY driving force behind carrying the flag of MtG to new generations and distinguishing it from other child’s TCG games from the perspective of youngsters.

    • Any time that a well-founded criticism of some element of WOTC’s operating practice is forwarded a relevant proportion of the responses will be dopey pseudo-arguments in the name of pragmatics, like Magicbeardo’s above.

      So, it’s not because Magicbeardo says anything worth dignifying with a response that one responds, but to speak to the perennial phenomenon of quarter-baked opiniations taking this angle of approach. This is in the hopes of providing more efficient means of dissolving such worthless clutter as it inevitably appears, making room for constructive dialogue.

      WOTC is a business, yes. One of their chief ends, though not their sole purpose, is to maximize profit, and so they operate with this in mind. This does not automatically confirm the soundness of any decision they make.

      1. Assuming for now that WOTC’s purpose is strictly to maximize profit (i.e. that they strictly are just a ‘business’), they may not be serving their own interests as best as possible.

      A. Short-term: Perhaps the change or policy in question does not serve the purpose it was meant to achieve, even at the most direct or ‘short-term’ level.

      For example, in this case, maybe the 2014 Slivers weren’t just meant to appeal to children, but were meant also to appeal to older players as nostalgia pieces. The critic would then be outlining why the attempt malfunctions, and suggesting a change that would be mutually beneficial to the players and the business.

      (The typical rejoinder here is to point to Magic’s boom in recent years to suggest absolute confidence that WOTC knows how best to serve their own interests. However, this may be due to one cause and not another, leaving room for debate on particular issues as they emerge.)

      B. Long-term: Perhaps the change of policy in question achieves its function in the short-term, but has uneconomical long-term consequences.

      2. Still assuming that WOTC’s purpose is strictly that of a business, and now assuming that their change or policy serves their interest precisely, WOTC’s interest (maximizing profit) would be in conflict with the players’ interest (playing the best game possible) to the extent that maximizing profit must be done at the expense of maximizing something else.

      The players, serving now their interests, have recourse to identifying areas where the interests of business are trumping the interests of the game simply, and “protesting”. By calling attention to such areas, as in a well-reasoned article, and raising consciousness among the player base, they actively change what’s in WOTC the business’s interest.

      (To address another dopey go-to: The interests of the business and the interests of the game are not in perfect harmony. What results in the most profit for WOTC/Hasbro the business is not necessarily in Magic the game’s best interests. That is, profit doesn’t get filtered right back into making the game better. Or, put differently, it is not obvious that the “expense” of sacrificing the interests of the game to the interests of the business is fully “repaid” to the game by the business’s subsequent increase in profit. This should be obvious from the barest observation of real life corporations. Even if all profit did get filtered back into the game, the question would exist of when to cap the profit (at the expense of gameplay simply) because the returns had sufficiently diminished.)

      3. Finally, let’s consider the possibility that WOTC’s interests can’t be reduced to profit-making simply.

      WOTC is composed of persons, who are game designers. They have human ambitions besides money-making. Namely, making games that are good or great, maximizing benefit to the world in which they live and participate. Sometimes the interests of game design will be in conflict with the interests of money-making. We can imagine the conscientious game designer (think Richard Garfield) butting heads with a brand manager whose imperative is push the game such that it can be marketed at minimum expense. WOTC needs sufficient profit to stay afloat and successful, of course, requiring compromise and reasonable expectations, but this is not the same as saying money-making should be or is the company’s sole interest. As players and critics we should identify, side with, and support the interests of the conscientious game designer.

      This person might object that a decision made in the business interests of the game is not worth the negative effect to the game itself.

      In this case, for example, the conscientious game designer might have objected to the subjection of that aspect of the game known as Slivers to a lazy non-fit in the broader project to streamline game mechanics (in the case the changing of “all” effects to “you control”), and their appearance, quirky and particular, to the brand’s art direction’s increasing trend toward homogeneity and dreary readymade tropes.

      (For this criticism to make sense, one must assume that an increase in popularity does not not necessarily designate an increase in quality. If the game gets more popular it does not mean the game got better, let alone in every respect. The fact is, people don’t always know what they really want; they know what they want in the short-term, or on the apparent level, but it is sometimes difficult to know what is best in the long-term, or on subtler levels, i.e. what they really want. The conscientious game designer is motivated to maximize the long-term and subtle benefit; the business is motivated to maximize the long-term and subtle benefit only to the point that the customer notices or that it affects sales. It’s not obvious that these two interests are in alignment. It’s often more economical to pressure the short-term and apparent appeal, as these are most noticeable and readily marketable, not to mention that the long-term and subtle appeal is elusive and only apparent at first to keen observers.)

      Now, all of this is not to put an end to the discussion, but to foster its possibility by pointing out in advance that “WOTC is a business therefore they are correct” is a waste of space. Unfortunately, WOTC’s current approach seems to have them less transparent than ever, and their actual motivations are mostly obscured behind PR doublespeak. Still, players/critics can attempt to work out among themselves which arguments are pertinent, which way they lean, and what would be best for all involved in this community.

      • Boy, some of you guys sure do like to write!

        The basic approach I am taking to the new Slivers is to shrug. Ultimately, big picture, this is not a huge deal. You may not like them. I may not like them. Someone else surely does like them. But, really, doesn’t everybody have more important things to do with their time than to rant about Slivers?? Do WotC’s occasional flavor/mechanic/design/development stumbles really get inside your head this deeply?

        If so, that’s great. I wish you the best.

        Personally, I will continue playing this game until the day that I don’t…

        TL;DR there are bigger problems than this

      • @magicbeardo

        It might not be a huge deal in itself, but it’s emblematic of a broader change of approach to the game. It’s an interesting discussion, and the author makes a great case.

        If you don’t care, why even bother to comment? You’ll “play Magic until the day you don’t”; okay, sure — some people enjoy participating in the community. Again, lots of interesting discussion to be had, which has proven to be effectful in the past, and even has resonances beyond the game.

        Anyway, the comment was in response to your point that “WotC is a business that needs fresh blood to live. I, personally, have a vested interest in keeping it alive. [And so this is a good move on their part.]”

    • Yeah… I did have a terrible “all-something” deck.

      Slivers…

      Because they were awesome looking.

      Now they look like Elementals and mutants…

    • When a comment assumes the author is a layman but the person leaving the comment doesn’t know the author at all, who do you trust?

    • I wouldn’t call the members of WotC creative team ‘artists’, I would rather call them human disasters the company has to cope with. They’re equivalent to Dilbert’s marketing department that’s constantly looking for ways to ruin a product. Magic players are used to roll eyes, groan, and forgive them whenever they produce a “Groffskithur”, “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA”, or 7th edition’s disrupting scepter, but this time they’ve went too far and we are truly disgusted by it.

      Was it SO hard to see that people would feel cheated if you show them a Predator and call it a sliver? Can you call yourself a professional when they specifically pay you to come up with ideas for an insect-like hive, and the best you can do is a gorilla with tusks? I mean, it takes special levels of incompetence to make a fiasco of a guaranteed success, yet the creative team just found new ways to outperform themselves.

      I confess I’m biased becase I hate them for their input on D&D. It’s so bad that now Somethingawful has a permanent column to mock their embarrasing job on a routinely basis.

      • Wow. You really don’t respect artists who work on commission at all do you?

        Maybe some of things you say are right, but I certainly don’t give any credence to somethingawful choosing to mock something. I mean, maybe I would a decade ago . . .

  6. “We’re still going to buy ‘em. We’re still going to crack’em and play ‘em”
    Not true for me. This was the last obvious money-grab slap in the face I could take. I’m never going to buy a single Wizards product ever again. Doesn’t mean that I stop playing, mind you. I already have a vast card pool, that I can make use of and I can still trade. Just saying that they will never see a single penny from me ever again.

  7. This comment reads like “the catcher in the rye”. It’s just a long, whining rant about how bad change sucks. Grow up and deal with it.

    • Just like you should grow up and deal with someone’s blog post? Unlike the sliver re-design, this isn’t even shoved in your face… you had to go out of your way to find this blog post and whine about it. That’s pretty incredible.

  8. I think your response is overstrong, but I agree with the point of it. Slivers are a wonderful creature type with all sorts of insane gameplay and HUGE flavor resonance and I would have like to see them evolve more interestingly. That said, I would be disappointed if slivers had returned and looked exactly the same. Slivers are essentially about evolution (warped, twisted, completely inhuman evolution, but evolution nonetheless) and it would have been a disappointment if they had not changed at all. I just wish they had evolved into new slivers, not humans.

  9. WOTC only thinks about the short term nowadays. If they consider things at all. Its unfortunate but this is what happens when instead of hiring the best employee for the job, you hire friends you played magic with.

  10. Thank you for writing this article.

    It’s just sad that people shrug this off as inconsequential or meaningless. This should be regarded as a serious issue if you have any affection at all for uniqueness and creativity in this game.

  11. Though I write this comment with only sketchy canonical knowledge mainly from time spiral novels, id like you to give it a chance. 🙂

    I agree with Griff!

    They could have made more effort to make the heads the same, you form continuity’s sake , buuuuttttt… also.

    Even if we don’t like the art, id say they can make slivers anything! I MEAN ANYTHING, a rock with a ball of limbs hanging off of it to drag it along, a slug with organic tank tracks, a floating trapezoid with veins all over it, i mean the fact that they look human NOW does not mean that in any of the later sets that they are going to stay human. It also makes sense that slivers would change after a long period of cannon without seeing any.

    Yes you could say that this area of freakish looks belongs to the eldraza but, from all the flavor I’ve seen added up, 420% freakish is how slivers would look 99% of the time with all the abilities together, so i argue that eldraza were more a recycle of sliver art style!

    HECK, that is almost what makes the sliver freaky. the fact that they don’t look freaky

    (T B H hands up who expected a sliver to look like that? that in itself is sort of a positive, right?)

    Though, i think the thing that will change slivers the most when they pop up again in future sets (say magic 2020?) is the fact staffing is going to have changed, and therefore what people put a stamp on them (seeing as a sliver can be almost anything) is almost impossible to predict, the forms that they will take.

  12. They should keep it simple and stay with the old mechanic and design, at least for flavour sake.
    If they really wanted to create some new design, why not simply create a new creature type then?

  13. To everyone who thinks the new humanoid forms are lazy, and that there is plenty of design space left in the old “everything looks like a mutated snake” form, please, go design a sliver for every major keyword. I’ll wait. I’m eager to see the variety you manage.

    Could I do it? I probably could. I am, after all, an artist. But here’s the thing. It’s not lazy to change a design template. It’s actually the opposite, because they can’t fall back on “draw a snake. Give it a cone for a head. Give it a giant preying mantis claw. Now change one thing about it.”

    The slivers are evolving. That’s what they do. To leave them as snakes with cone heads and single preying mantis claws makes no sense. Evolution diversifies forms, it does not stagnate them.

    Also, slivers have had multiple arms before. Blade (2), Firewake (4), Homing (2+), Muscle (2), Overlord (3), Queen (2) and Two-Headed (2) all had more than a single arm.

    These are also not the first slivers to have legs, Spitting and Spinneret both had many insectile legs. Legs, I’ll point out, which are the most insectile thing ever seen on slivers aside from the giant mantis claw. So by that standard, the new slivers are just as insectile as the old, save that their insectile trait is chitinous plates, as opposed to a single claw that was pulled from a specific insect.

    As for the old slivers looking more feral, a humanoid form is not inherently any less feral looking than a snake with a cone for a head and a giant mantis claw. Indeed the new humanoid form implies a special kind of feralness. Any creature can be called feral for ripping your head off, but only humans can manage the special feralness of smiling in your face and stabbing you in the back.

    Basically the response to the new slivers has fallen into two camps– those who are bawing at change because they just don’t like change, and those who are all for it because they just like slivers, whether they look like caricatures of franken-bugsnakes or humanoids.

    • I’m personally all for diversifying the slivers, but I would have liked to see traits from which they originated. The best example of this is the Blur Sliver. Sure it looks like a grey hound dog, but it’s elongated sliver like head suggest that it once had ties to the slivers we knew. And the Striking sliver has multiple legs, but it still has the claw we all know.

      I think the thing I most hate though, are the faces… These creatures are supposed to be alien to us. I don’t like humanizing them. Also… in terms of evolution, why give up so many of the advantages they once supported in favor of looking humanoid? We tend to be pretty weak in the over all scheme of things.

      And those Faces… Gods those faces… That kills it for me more than anything else…

  14. The catch is that they don’t look like slivers anymore, The only exception is the striking slivers, but only with his/her claw.

    Slivers envolve, yes, but just check the last slivers that showed up (Time Spiral block), they still keep the original design (from the oldschool tempest, stronghold and legions), but with some adaptations related to their abilities (Aka: Watcher slivers with eyes; Pulmonic Sliver with a lung like body; Battering slivers with a skin like armor and so on)

    Also, in the same block, they actually envolved from other creature, see vampiric sliver > Sengir vampire; Firewake sliver > fires of yavimaya; Sedge Sliver> Sedge trool.

    They changed the slivers concept so much that would be the same if they return for example, a forgotten creature like Kavus with a bird form that lives in cities like us.

    I really would like to point that I don’t hate the art, in fact, I like the art, however, they don’t fit the slivers theme, and like I said before, why not simply create a new creature type then?

  15. Pingback: Everything Old is New Again – Slivers in M14

  16. I just wanted Slivers to be Slivers…that’s all…was it so much to ask? Why produce a premium deck a few years back with the iconic “sliver” emblem to show off the set if they were going to destroy their image in the years to come? To the people that like the art, that’s great…the art might bear some quality…but it’s not of sliver quality…THE FUCKING BABOON OF A SLIVER IS UNACCEPTABLE! The Queen has been a dirty girl, breeding with some other species…’n I’m tellin’ the Overlord!

    All in all, my feelings have been thoroughly expressed already by the OP and by other people appalled by this travesty…

    As for people trying to cater to the “younger generations getting into Magic”…fuck ’em…the tweens can love slivers just like the rest of us…the elves still look like elves, the vampires (though slightly more elegant than vicious) still look like vampires, the goblins are still ugly little fuckers, and the angels still look pretty angelic…

    Wanna pull in the tweens with some cool art? Fine…but don’t sully the good name of this species…smh…freaking dip-shittery at its finest ladies and gentlemen…

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