Posted by Brian (@ChaosMTG).

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Am I supposed to do a second “welcome to the new season”-type intro? I don’t know… Well, I already did that last week; so let’s just get to the content.

Here in the middle of nowhere, the last few weeks have been living in a climate fluctuating between Hoth and beyond the Wall. In other words, it’s cold. So today I’m going to talk about cold things… Like Snow permanents and cold spells in general.

Snow Lands

Snow lands are a lot like regular lands, except they look different and produce snow mana… This is good, because a lot of these snow permanents want you to spend snow mana on them. Aside from a cycle of snow taplands and basics, there are three of these worth looking at:

Dark Depths

Oh, Dark Depths, one of the most beloved and behated cards in the game. Sure, it doesn’t produce mana, but it doesn’t need to when it produces a 20/20 flier instead. Add to this the fact that cards like Vampire Hexmage and Thespian’s Stage exist, and Marit Lage becomes an easily made threat.

Mouth of Ronom

Um… You can kill some stuff. This is pretty good for removal-light decks like permanent only Primal Surge decks.
(Note to self: Give Mayael a Snow mana base.)

Scrying Sheets

Scrying Sheets is a great mana sink and reason enough for some decks to run a snow mana base. I know many people who consider this to be an auto-include in any mana base simply for the potential card advantage.

Snow Enchantments

Cover of WinterGlacial Plating

Cumulative upkeep… Need I say more? (Yes; yes I do.)

Cover of Winter is a card I had completely forgotten about until writing this. Cumulative upkeep is usually hit or miss, but I think Cover of Winter does a good job of balancing the tension that comes with it, allowing you to slowly invest to build up a whiteout defense or pump all of your snow mana into it at once for an emergency Fog effect. (Obligatory mention that Zur can fetch it.)

My main problem with Glacial Plating is that it costs 4 mana to do nothing for one turn and only provides +3/+3 for an investment of 5 mana. The bonus just doesn’t balance with the mana cost (7 mana for +6/+6, 10 mana for +9/+9, 14 for +12/+12). That said, I can see this being useful in a deck that runs a decent amount of hexproof. Costing four mana makes it likely that you can keep it around for four turns to get the +12/+12 bonus, which is by no means inconsequential when stacked on someone like Uril, the Miststalker or Rafiq of the Many.

Gelid ShacklesRime Transfusion

The other two snow enchantments are a bit more affordable, requesting only a 1 mana investment each turn. Gelid Shackles shuts down utility creatures for one mana and for one more mana you can stop that creature from attacking as well, a great political play.

Rime Transfusion is a 2 drop Unholy Strength, what’s important about it, though, is the activated ability it grants. The game isn’t exactly filled with snow creatures, so this is essentially activated unblockability in black with the added bonus of giving +2/+1.

Snow Creatures

Wall of Shards

Another cumulative upkeep card, Wall of Shards is by far the most political of them (Well, there’s Sheltering Ancient, but that isn’t a snow creature.). A flying 1/8 for 2 mana is a steal, it doesn’t much matter that your opponents will be gaining life with it since you can aim it strategically to heal them for the damage they might be takingĀ  because someone else doesn’t feel like uselessly attacking into an 8 toughness creature.

Diamond Faerie

Diamond Faerie has one major flaw… Without help, there are a whole 29 snow creatures in the entire game, 18 of which can be put into a Bant deck; meaning this faerie is more likely to be a shade than anything else… But wait, there’s something available to help it out…

Rimefeather Owl

Alone, Rimefeather Owl is small, but with some snowy friends and snow mana investment, it can get huge, getting a permanent +1/+1 for two mana.

Rimescale Dragon

Here’s a creature purely outside of its natural habitat, the snow dragon. Rimescale Dragon is a blue card painted red just so Wizards could make a snow dragon, but I’m OK with this because it gives red an interesting way to be controlling, by permanently tapping down creatures with an ice breathing dragon.

Centaur Omenreader

I like cheap creature spells, especially when those spells can cost even less by having this centaur play a Springleaf Drum.

Oh, and here’s an Angel.
Apparently it’s pretty popular.

 

Coldsteel HeartColdsteel Heart

It gets its own category because it can. Two drop mana rocks are good, even if you have to wait a turn to get their full benefit, and Coldsteel Heart can fit into any deck since it lets you choose the color it produces.

Not-So-Snowy Stuff

Tendo Ice Bridge

Tendo Ice Bridge trades the permanence of its mana fixing for being able to enter untapped, a huge boon to decks that care about tempo. It’s also easy to reset with bounce lands or Crucible of Worlds and sac outlets.

Ice Floe

Another land that doesn’t produce mana, but what Ice Floe lacks in mana production it makes up for in locking down landlocked commanders. (That’s certainly a nice Rafiq you’ve got there…)

Ice Storm

I’ve heard that LD is good or something like that…

Ice Cave
Ice Cave is pretty, but unless you’re playing a five color deck, it’s not likely to be optimal… That said, if you play a five color deck and do use this, I applaud you.

Winter's Chill

That text is tiny… Here’s the oracle text:

Cast Winter’s Chill only during combat before blockers are declared.
X can’t be greater than the number of snow lands you control.
Choose X target attacking creatures. For each of those creatures, its controller may pay 1 or 2. If that player doesn’t, destroy that creature at end of combat. If that player pays only 1, prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by that creature this combat.
It’s a fog and creature destruction in mono blue. I think I’ll try this out in my next blue deck…
Well, I could go on with the myriad blue spells that are cold related, but we don’t have time for that. So I’ll leave you with a pet card of mine, a card with so much text that most people don’t even bother to read it:
Ice Cauldron
Ice Cauldron
Variable Colorless, Tap: Put a charge counter on Ice Cauldron and exile a nonland card from your hand. You may cast that card for as long as it remains exiled. Note the type and amount of mana spent to pay this activation cost. Activate this ability only if there are no charge counters on Ice Cauldron.
Tap, Remove a charge counter from Ice Cauldron: Add Ice Cauldron’s last noted type and amount of mana to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast the last card exiled with Ice Cauldron.
Sure, the cauldron might request payment, but there’s one vital part to it, the fact that regardless how much, if any, mana you spend, you can still play the card for the rest of the game. Ice Cauldron is great hand protection that lets you tuck a card away every other turn (or more often if you have something to untap it) to threaten your opponents with and to keep safe from any discard that may be directed your way.
Of course, if that’s not your way of doing things, you can always pour all of your mana into it at the end of an opponent’s turn and exile a Fireball to dump twice the mana into it next turn.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. (Not really, but I don’t think a comprehensive article on ice themed cards would hold many peoples’ attention.) I’ll be back next week with the news in EDH (Every Development Here). Until then, stay warm… Or cold; it’s up to you, just don’t stay lukewarm.
(I have no clue what’s going on here, wordpress doesn’t want to separate my paragraphs even though I’ve put multiple linebreaks between them.)