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Storm Scale 5[1]
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{W} 8.3% {U} 17.6% {B} 9.3% {R} 8.3% {G} 17.6% {U/B} 2.8% {R/G} 0.9% {G/U} 2.8% {M} 0.9% {artifact symbol} 6.5% {land symbol} 25%
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Snow is a supertype with no inherent functionality. Instead, it serves as an identifying characteristic of permanents and spells, and is closely tied to snow activation costs and mana costs. Snow is a replacement for the supertype "Snow-Covered".

Description[ | ]

Snow appears on basic lands from Ice Age, and on cards of multiple types in Coldsnap, Future Sight, Commander 2019, Modern Horizons[2] and Kaldheim[3]. Additionally some cards in Alliances reference snow.

Unlike other supertypes, like basic or world, but similar to the spell subtype arcane, snow does nothing other than to identify snow cards. Instead, various effects reference the snow supertype.[4][5]

Snow lands[ | ]

Like the regular basic lands, the snow lands tap for one mana of:

Both Coldsnap and Kaldheim feature dual snow lands; the latter group also have basic land types.

Modern Horizons III brought the final basic land Snow-Covered Wastes.

Snow costs[ | ]

Snow activation costs and mana costs, represented by {S}, can be paid by one mana produced by snow sources, regardless of that mana's type. However, this is a requirement of the cost itself. The mana produced by a snow source has no special properties, effects, or restrictions derived from the snow supertype, and except when considering snow mana costs, that mana is indistinguishable from any other mana of the same type.

Before Kaldheim, the snow symbol was used exclusively to denote a cost, payable by one mana from a snow permanent. Since Kaldheim snow spells exist that add mana, so "snow permanent" became "snow source." On cards like Search for Glory {S} is also used to reference the amount of mana spent from a snow source.[6]

History[ | ]

Ice Age (1995) introduced the Snow-Covered basic lands. It had some build-around cards that rewarded you for having these lands, but also multiple snow hate cards. Alliances (1996) also had a few snow build-around cards, but these were added in development after it was decided to create the Ice Age block.

Ten years later, the design team for Coldsnap (2006) invented the snow mana symbol for activation costs and replaced the term Snow-Covered with the term Snow. Cards that were formerly Snow-Covered received Oracle updates upon the release of the set.[7]

Mark Rosewater stated snow basic lands to be a mistake, because they caused a lot of confusion about where and how many could be used in decks.[8][9][10][11] He was highly skeptical that they ever would be reprinted in a Standard-legal set.[12]

In the Gatecrash update of Gatherer the black and white colors of the snow symbol were inverted.[13]


Inverted snow symbol

Modern Horizons (which passed by the Standard format) finally provided the opportunity to revive the mechanic.[14][15] It was the first set to feature snow mana costs (Arcum's Astrolabe, Icehide Golem). This set also contained full-art snow basics.

Snow returned in Kaldheim, where the supertype was first featured on non-permanents. These are more powerful for each snow mana spent to cast it or are improved by having three snow permanents in play. Snow cards also for the first time featured their own recognizable Snow frame.[16]

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

A supertype that’s normally relevant on permanents. See rule 205.4, “Supertypes.”

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Snow Mana Symbol
The snow mana symbol {S} represents a cost that can be paid with one mana produced by a snow source. It can also represent mana from a snow source that was spent to pay a cost. See rule 107.4h.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Snow-Covered (Obsolete)
Some older cards were printed with the term “snow-covered” in their rules text. Except when referencing card names, such cards have received errata in the Oracle card reference to reference the supertype “snow” instead. See Snow.

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 107.4h When used in a cost, the snow mana symbol {S} represents a cost that can be paid with one mana of any type produced by a snow source (see rule 106.3). Effects that reduce the amount of generic mana you pay don’t affect {S} costs. The {S} symbol can also be used to refer to mana of any type produced by a snow source spent to pay a cost. Snow is neither a color nor a type of mana.

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 205.4g Any permanent with the supertype “snow” is a snow permanent. Any permanent that doesn’t have this supertype is a nonsnow permanent, regardless of its name.

Rulings[ | ]

  • Snow is a supertype, not a card type. It has no rules meaning or function by itself, but other cards and abilities may refer to it.[17][18]
  • In Constructed events where basic snow lands are legal, your deck may contain any number of them. In a Modern Horizons Limited event, your deck can't contain basic snow lands that you didn't draft (in a Draft event) or open (in a Sealed Deck event).
  • The {S} symbol is a generic mana symbol. To pay it, you must spend one mana of any type that was produced by a snow permanent. Effects that reduce costs by an amount of generic mana can't reduce an S cost.
  • Snow isn't a type of mana. If an effect allows you to spend mana as though it were mana of any type, you can't pay {S} with mana from a nonsnow permanent.
  • If a card has only snow mana symbols in its mana cost, it's a colorless card. Snow is not a color.

Notes[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 03, 2022). "Storm Scale: Throne of Eldraine through Strixhaven, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Cynthia Sheppard (May 22, 2019). "A Sliver of Direction". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Matt Tabak (December 7, 2020). "Kaldheim Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (June 26, 2006). "There’s No Business Like Snow Business". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Aaron Forsythe (July 21, 2006). "Snow Big Deal". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Matt Tabak (February 2, 2021). "Kaldheim Comprehensive Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Aaron Forsythe (July 7, 2006). "A Walk Through the Cold". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (February 23, 2017). "Is it possible that we could see a set with snow-covered lands purely because it's a thematic fit?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "Please don't dismiss them completely!". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  10. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "Can you speak a bit more in depth on why you think snow basics were a mistake?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "A good reason why casual players won't see basic snowlands, ever again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "So they will never be reprinted in Standard sets?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Apocrypha Effect (February 26, 2013). "Last gatherer update changed the 'snow' symbol.". MTG Salvation.
  14. Ethan Fleischer (May 31, 2019). "The snow mechanic has a weird history.". Twitter.
  15. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Kaldheim Fest (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  17. Wizards of the Coast (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Matt Tabak (January 22, 2021). "Kaldheim Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Magic Arcana (July 12, 2006). "Snow from an Iceberg". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]