Yesterday, we saw the Sliver Swarm Commander deck previewed in all its glory. While some of the reprints (and lack of reprints) certainly left something to be desired, there were also 10 new card spoiled. The Commander, Sliver Gravemother, and nine cards focused on the Sliver theme give any fans of the archetype some cards to look forward to. One of the most interesting cards in the bunch is the alternate Commander: Rukarumel, Biologist. Rukarumel lets you choose a Creature type when it enters the battlefield. All Sliver and nontoken Creatures you own are the chosen Creature type in addition to their other Creature types. Notably, this includes Creatures on the battlefield as well as Creature spells on the stack and Creature cards in your deck.
What makes this ability so interesting is that it allows you to take the typical Slivers archetype and go a slightly different route. While almost every other card in the Sliver Swarm Commander deck specifically cares only about Slivers in the benefits they provide, this card allows you to potentially utilize other typal cards without a Sliver focus. Let’s take a look at some of the unique directions you can take with Rukarumel, Biologist as your Commander.
Naming Other Types
Even if you want to build your deck mostly around Sliver Creatures, naming other Creature types allows you to branch out and play with other typal payoffs that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. For example, imagine you have a deck mostly built with Slivers, and you intend to still utilize all of the Sliver synergies your cards can provide. What you can do is you can name a different Creature type and throw in some of the most powerful cards of that type that still help your Sliver gameplan.
Let’s say you choose Goblin as the other Creature type. Because all Creature cards on the battlefield and in your deck are now Goblins as long as Rukarumel is on the battlefield, cards like Goblin Recruiter can now stack the top of your deck full of Sliver Creatures. Likewise, Conspicuous Snoop can play Sliver Creatures from the top of your library, and Goblin Matron can tutor for Sliver Legion or whatever your best Sliver payoff is.
Of course, this meshing of two types can be utilized even with Slivers completely out of the picture. Let’s say you wanted to build a deck entirely around Elves as your primary Creature type. You could still choose Goblin in this case to maximize Goblin Recruiter and stack your deck with lots of Elves instead. Cards like Kindred Discovery work super well even if your deck isn’t entirely focused on one Creature type. The world is your oyster. There are also some cool things you can do by choosing Sliver as your Creature type of choice in a deck full of Slivers that you otherwise couldn’t do.
One of the major benefits to choosing Slivers as your Creature type of choice with Rukarumel is that any non-Sliver Creature you play will still help your Slivers provide beneficial triggers to you. Most Sliver decks often have an all-in nature due to the fact that Slivers are known for benefitting each other. Luckily, with Rukarumel as your Commander, cards like Dockside Extortionist that are naturally great on their own get even better. Also, much like how Goblin Recruiter could tutor Slivers with Rukarumel naming Goblin, cards that tutor Slivers can even grab non-Sliver Creatures like Dockside with Rukarumel naming Sliver.
As a result, Rukarumel happens to work extremely well with Sliver Overlord and Homing Sliver. Sliver Overlord lets you pay three mana to tutor for a Sliver to your hand, while Homing Sliver has Slivercycling three and gives your other Slivers in hand Slivercycling three. With Rukarumel naming Sliver, these cards can now grab any Creature in your deck. Need a win condition? Go grab Craterhoof Behemoth[/tooltlips]. Need mana? Go grab Dockside Extortionist. Rukarumel gives you lots of deckbuilding options, which is part of what makes the card super interesting.
Above and Beyond
Rukarumel also happens to turn a couple of cards in particular into game winners with lots of mana. The first card in question is Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree. Realmbreaker provides a unique way to ramp, but it also has a massive ability for 10 mana that allows you to put any number of Praetors from your deck directly into play. Normally, this would require filling your deck with Praetors, but not with Rukarumel in the picture. If you name Praetor with Rukarumel and can pay the 10 mana, you can grab every Creature in your deck and put them all on the battlefield!
The same thing works with [tooltips]The World Tree. The World Tree is a nice Land to have in any five color Commander deck, since it fixes all your colors once you have six Lands in play. Yet, much like with Realmbreaker, the fun doesn’t stop there. If you can use its final ability and pay 10 mana, tap, and sacrifice the world Tree, you can again put any number of Creature cards from your deck into play, so long as Rukarumel is naming God.
One more awesome option for Rukarumel decks is Rooftop Storm. Rooftop Storm lets you cast Zombie Creature spells for free. Well, guess what, if Rukarumel is naming Zombie, you can proceed to cast any Creatures for free.
At worst, the Sliver text on Rukarumel will apply to the tokens it makes. This, at least, enables you to create tokens that suits your custom strategy regardless of what it is.
The most interesting application for Rukarumel may be to use it as the Commander of a Changeling deck. You can pick and choose whatever creature type is the most convenient to you at the time and Flicker your Commander should you need to change the creature type of choice.
On the surface, Rukarumel may simply look like a mediocre Sliver Commander, but it’s much more than that. This legendary Creature opens the door in lots of different directions. The sheer density of Creatures of a specific type you put in your deck often becomes less important, so make sure to think outside the box, and maximize this card to your heart’s content.