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Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description three icicles
Design Bill Rose (lead)
Mark Rosewater
Aaron Forsythe
Devin Low
Development Randy Buehler (lead)
Mike Turian
Devin Low
Zvi Mowshowitz
Art direction Jeremy Cranford
Release date July 21, 2006
Plane Dominaria
Themes and mechanics Cantrips, Cumulative upkeep, Snow, Pitch cards, collectible commons
Keywords/​ability words Ripple, Recover
Set size 155 cards
(60 commons, 55 uncommons, 40 rares)
Expansion code CSP[1]
Development codename Splat
Ice Age block[note 1]
Ice Age Alliances Coldsnap
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Dissension Coldsnap Time Spiral

Coldsnap is the thirty-ninth Magic expansion and was released in July 2006 as the third set and second small expansion of the Ice Age block, ten years after the second expansion of the block, Alliances. This replaced the Homelands expansion as a member of the block, the only time a block has been changed this way in Magic.[2] Since Coldsnap concluded a much older block, its design made a special effort to revisit many of the previous themes while updating them for the more modern environment. The prerelease events for this set were held on July 8–9, 2006.[3][4]

Set details[ | ]

Coldsnap contains 155 black-bordered cards (40 rare, 55 uncommon, and 60 commons). Its expansion symbol is a depiction of three icicles.[5] When Coldsnap was initially announced, Wizards of the Coast claimed that the set was a "lost design file" only recently found.[6][7] Because this statement was taken seriously, Mark Rosewater later had to clarify that it was a joke.[8][9]

Coldsnap had the shortest-ever design, at six weeks.[10] R&D made a conscious effort to hit on every standout theme in Ice Age and Alliances to give the set the necessary “retro” feel.[11] This included cumulative upkeep, allied colors, pitch cards, old characters springing to life and land that doesn't tap for mana.[12] The 'snow-covered' supertype changed to 'snow' and expanded its use to nonland permanents.[13][14] The new Recover mechanic captured the feel of "graveyard order matters" without requiring meticulous tracking.[15] Another new mechanic was Ripple.[16]

Because most sealed tournaments would use only Coldsnap cards due to the rarity of Ice Age and Alliances booster packs, as a means of making frequently recurring commons more valuable, several common cards (the "kindle" and "surging" cycles) were printed that rewarded players for using multiple copies in their decks, making them more desirable.[17]

Storyline[ | ]

Terisiare, the island continent that was home to the Brothers’ War and the Ice Age, is in a state of rebirth known as the Thaw.[18][19] The icy shell that encased the continent is melting away. Most of the inhabitants of Terisiare rejoice as the ice gives way to warmth and the rebirth of the land. But, in this time of great change, some see it as a time to angle for power: a secretive society of mages poised to shroud the continent with their icy brand of magic.

Savor the Flavor[ | ]

Main article: Savor the Flavor
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
The Horror at Ronom Glacier Doug Beyer June 21, 2006 Dominaria Arcum Dagsson, Heidar, Darien
The Battle of Kjeldor Monty Ashley June 28, 2006 Dominaria Darien, Sek'Kuar, Haakon
Vannemir's Choice Adam Lee July 5, 2006 Dominaria Vannemir, Pik, Guldark, Valharad, Heidar, Darien, Taaveti, Ysidra, Sek'Kuar, Isa

Marketing[ | ]

Coldsnap icecube

Promotional Coldsnap LED icecube given for demo'ing Magic at the 2006 Comic-Con in San Diego.

Coldsnap Player's Guide

Player's Guide included in the Coldsnap fat pack

Coldsnap was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack.[20] The decks and the fat pack contained a random Pro Tour Players Card. The booster packs featured artwork from Adarkar Valkyrie, Rimescale Dragon, and Allosaurus Rider. The prerelease card was a foil alternate art Allosaurus Rider.[21] The release card was a Marit Lage token [22] The fat pack contained Jeff Grubb's classic novel The Gathering Dark and a new original story by the same author included with the Coldsnap Player's Guide (Keeping the Cold).[23]

Legality[ | ]

Coldsnap is tournament legal in Modern, Legacy, Vintage, and Ice Age block tournament formats.

This set is the only expansion released during the block-oriented period of Magic that was not in any block, creating some confusion. Upon release, it was legal in Standard and Extended formats based on its release date, not its association with the Ice Age block. It rotated out of Standard slightly over two years later together with the block released immediately afterward, Time Spiral block. Since both Coldsnap and core sets of the time were released in the "summer slot" of the Magic release cycle, this schedule was similar to the core sets, but Coldsnap remained legal a couple months longer - until the new block began that autumn, rather than until the new core set was released in the summer.

Coldnsnap was released on Magic Online on August 14, becoming the first expansion ever to be legal for Constructed tournament play on Magic Online before its paper version was. However, the Ice Age and Alliances reprints from the theme decks were not legal in Standard tournament play, and the reprints have not been added to Gatherer.

Mechanics[ | ]

  • Recover — allows a player to return cards with the ability to their hand by paying the card's Recover cost when a creature is put into their graveyard from the battlefield; however, if they do not pay the Recover cost the card is then exiled.
  • Ripple — when a player plays a spell with ripple, they may reveal the top four cards of their library. If they do, they cast play all cards revealed this way that shares a name with the spell without paying their mana costs.

Creature types[ | ]

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Juggernaut.

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Angel, Ape, Artificer, Assassin, Aurochs, Avatar, Barbarian, Bear, Beast, Bird, Cat, Centaur, Cleric, Construct, Dragon, Druid, Elemental, Elf, Faerie, Gargoyle, Giant, Goblin, Griffin, Horror, Illusion, Knight, Leviathan, Lizard, Lord (later changed to Human), Minotaur, Mutant, Ooze, Orc, Rogue, Serpent, Shade, Shaman, Skeleton, Slug, Snake, Soldier, Specter, Sphinx, Spider, Spirit, Treefolk, Unicorn, Vampire, Wall, Warrior, Wizard, Wurm, Yeti, Zombie.

Cycles[ | ]

Coldsnap has ten cycles and a vertical cycle.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Allied-color cumulative upkeep spells Jötun Owl Keeper Krovikan Whispers Balduvian Fallen Earthen Goo Arctic Nishoba
Each of these uncommon spells has a cumulative upkeep cost that can be paid with either that spell's color or the next allied color clockwise around the color pie and has an age counter related ability. Balduvian Fallen has an unusual template to a similar effect - colorless cost with no reference to age counters, but its ability is only relevant when {B/R} is paid for the upkeep.
Enemy-color hosers Luminesce Flashfreeze Deathmark Cryoclasm Karplusan Strider
Each of these uncommon spells hampers both of their enemy colors at a low mana cost. This cycle was reprinted in 10th Edition.
Kindle spells Kjeldoran War Cry Rune Snag Feast of Flesh Rite of Flame Sound the Call
Each of these common instant or sorcery spells become more powerful the more spells there are with the same name in all graveyards. This cycle is named after the card Kindle from Tempest.
Martyrs Martyr of Sands Martyr of Frost Martyr of Bones Martyr of Ashes Martyr of Spores
Each of these common Human creatures has an activated ability that requires you to pay a mana cost, reveal X cards of its color from your hand, and sacrifice it for an effect based on the number of cards revealed.[24]
Super pitch cards Sunscour Commandeer Soul Spike Fury of the Horde Allosaurus Rider
Each of these rare spells may be played by removing two cards in your hand of its color from the game instead of playing its mana cost. Allosaurus Rider was the set's prerelease card.
Surging spells Surging Sentinels Surging Æther Surging Dementia Surging Flame Surging Might
Each of these common spells has the ripple ability.
Snow-covered lands Snow-Covered Plains Snow-Covered Island Snow-Covered Swamp Snow-Covered Mountain Snow-Covered Forest
Each of these basic lands has the snow supertype. They were reprinted from Ice Age.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied-color snow taplands Boreal Shelf Frost Marsh Tresserhorn Sinks Highland Weald Arctic Flats
Each of these uncommon nonbasic snow lands come into play tapped and can produce two allied colors of mana.
Uncommon gold spells Vanish into Memory Blizzard Specter Deepfire Elemental Wilderness Elemental Juniper Order Ranger
Each uncommon multicolor spell requires two mana of allied colors to cast.
Cycle name {G}{W}{U} {W}{U}{B} {U}{B}{R} {B}{R}{G} {R}{G}{W}
Tricolor creatures Diamond Faerie Zur the Enchanter Garza Zol, Plague Queen Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper Tamanoa
Each rare creature requires three mana colors to cast.

Vertical cycle[ | ]

Cycle name
Rimewind wizards Rimewind Taskmage Rimewind Cryomancer Heidar, Rimewind Master
Each of these blue Human Wizard creatures, one at each level of rarity, has an activated ability that can be used only if you control four or more snow permanents.

Pairs[ | ]

Coldsnap has one mirrored pair.

Mirrored Pairs Description
White Shield Crusader
Stromgald Crusader
Uncommon 2/1 Knight creatures, each have protection from the other's color, "{M}: [This] gains flying until end of turn", and "{M}{M}: [This] gets +1/+0 until end of turn". These cards are an homage to the "pump knights" from Fallen Empires and Ice Age.

Theme decks[ | ]

Main article: Coldsnap/Theme decks

Like other theme decks, Coldsnap theme decks used cards available in its block. This created reprints of Ice Age and Alliances cards. These reprints were different from the originals in that they had expansion symbol rarity coloring (in addition to being slightly redesigned), had collector numbers, and were printed featuring the new card frame.[25]

The preconstructed theme decks are:

deck name
Colors Included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Aurochs Stampede R G
Beyond the Grave B R G
Kjeldoran Cunning W U
Snowscape U B

Notable cards[ | ]

  • Dark Depths was originally ignored for tournament play, until the printing of Vampire Hexmage in Zendikar (and later Thespian's Stage in Gatecrash) caused its play value and price to skyrocket. The associated token, Marit Lage, was made available only as a promotional card and eventually became one of the most valuable token cards ever printed.
  • Ohran Viper was the initial chase rare of the set, harkening back to Shadowmage Infiltrator's legacy.
  • Panglacial Wurm is the first, and likely only, spell that can be played directly from the library. Due to its rules implications, Rosewater doubts such an ability will return.[26]
  • Haakon, Stromgald Scourge is the first creature that specifies that it can't be cast from multiple zones. This includes the command zone, preventing it from being a commander under standard rules.
  • Lightning Serpent is the last card printed to use asymmetrical counters and one of two to remain legal in Modern, the other being the Mirage reprint Wall of Roots.
  • Lightning Storm is the only spell that has an activated ability while it is a spell on the stack, and the only card to use counters while in that zone; many other instant and sorcery cards do have activated abilities in other zones or use counters in exile, but not while on the stack. Lightning Storm saw regular play as the kill condition for any deck that could draw its library until Thassa's Oracle was printed.
  • Vanish into Memory is the third card to be designed through the Wizards of the Coast's "You Make the Card" promotion through their website,
  • Counterbalance is perhaps the most powerful blue enchantment ever printed, the combination of Counterbalance with deck manipulation cards such as Brainstorm and Sensei's Divining Top can be used to repeatedly counter your opponent's spells. The two-card combo of Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top is most commonly referred to as "CounterTop", and CounterTop decks have been a Legacy staple for years, with the most recent archetype to use CounterTop to full advantage being Miracles, before its ban in 2017.
  • A cycle of free spells that require two cards to be exiled to be played for free, with many seeing unsurprising play in competitive formats.
    • Commandeer has seen sporadic play in Modern sideboards in metagames with spells worth spending three cards on to steal
    • Allosaurus Rider was a crucial part of the infamous NeoBrand combo deck in Modern, which could play the Rider for free then use Neoform to put Griselbrand onto the battlefield as early as turn one. The success of this deck lead contributed to the banning of fast mana in the format
  • Rite of Flame is likely the best red ritual ever printed, providing additional mana for the least initial investment. This, combined with its ability to make even more mana if other copies have been played before it, led to it getting banned in Modern to prevent degenerate early starts.
  • Mishra's Bauble has seen heavy play in Modern and other formats as a "free card," costing no mana and returning a card at the next upkeep about old cantrips. This led to it seeing heavy play in multiple formats, particularly in combination with Lurrus of the Dream Den which can recur every turn for free extra card draw.
  • Thrumming Stone was a notoriously powerful Limited card, as due to the small nature of the set, it became easy to draft many copies of commons and put them all onto the battlefield with a single cast.
  • Martyr of Sands paired with Proclamation of Rebirth to make the Martyr-Proc deck in Modern and Legacy, which used the Martyr's ability to gain significant amounts of life every turn; even a control deck would struggle to contain an opponent gaining 15 life every upkeep.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Coldsnap.

  • Frozen Solid — was last seen in Scourge, possibly reprinted due to the card name and card flavor fitting the set.
  • Snow-covered lands — were last seen in Ice Age.

Functional reprints[ | ]

Coldsnap has two functional reprints:

Trivia[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Notes[ | ]

  1. Coldsnap replaced Homelands.

References[ | ]

  1. set symbol URL on Gatherer
  2. Magic Arcana (October 24, 2005). "Announcement: Coldsnap". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana (February 21, 2006). "Coldsnap Fact Sheet". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Brian David-Marshall (July 03, 2006). "An Arctic Blast From the Past". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Randy Buehler (October 26, 2005). "Coldsnap Q&A". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (August 30, 2010). "Thank You Sir, May I Have Another". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (February 06, 2006). "Back Issues". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Mark Rosewater (February 06, 2006). "Coldsnap Q&A". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Aaron Forsythe (July 28, 2006). "Putting Nostalgia in the Cold". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Mark Rosewater (July 6, 2003). "Of Ice and Men". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater (June 26, 2006). "There’s No Business Like Snow Business". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Aaron Forsythe (July 21, 2006). "Snow Big Deal". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Aaron Forsythe (June 30, 2006). "Coldsnap: A Fine Recovery". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Aaron Forsythe (July 07, 2006). "A Walk Through the Cold". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (July 10, 2006). "Feeling a Draft". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Rei Nakazawa (June 26, 2006). "Coming in from the Cold". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Doug Beyer (July 24, 2006). "The Italicized World of Coldsnap: Interviewing Cavotta and a Continent". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana (May 22, 2006). "Coldsnap Fat Pack". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Magic Arcana (July 03, 2006). "Coldsnap Prerelease Card Revealed". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Magic Arcana (July 13, 2006). "Coldsnap Release Promo Card Revealed". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Magic Arcana (June 29, 2006). "Jeff Grubb Returns in the Coldsnap Fat Pack!". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Magic Arcana (August 28, 2006). "The Martyr’s Talisman". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Magic Arcana (July 11, 2006). "Coldsnap Theme Decks". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (May 17, 2022). "When are we getting more cards like Panglacial Wurm?". Blogatog. Tumblr.

External links[ | ]