Reliving the Ice Age: A recollection of the snow theme in Magic: The Gathering

MTG Snow Permanent

Modern Horizons saw the return of a unique card type, Snow. With the spoilers of Frostwalk Bastion and Marit Lage’s Slumber, Wizards is bringing back this rare but enjoyable type. Snow permanents may seem new to less-seasoned players, but the Snow super-type has been around since the Ice Age block. In this article, we wanted to take players both old and new on a chilly trip down memory lane.

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Ice Age and the beginning of snow permanents

In 1995, Magic: The Gathering dropped the Ice Age set, which visited the plane of Dominaria during the aforementioned Ice Age. The block that followed brought forth a number of cards focused heavily on this new theme of snow. The three sets in this block contained the titular Ice Age, Alliances, and Cold Snap. One interesting piece of trivia is that the Homelands set was originally considered part of the block, but it was removed later due to its lack of Ice Age mechanics and themes.

The themes and mechanics of this block brought forth the first instance of the Snow super-typing. Basic lands changed to Snow-Covered lands, which would still tap for their typical color mana. Not only did the basic lands gain the snow typing, but there was also half a cycle of dual-colored snow lands on top of other non-basic lands. On top of snow lands, the Ice Age block also adapted some of the most iconic and well-known cards in Magic‘s short history of the time. Cards like Llanowar Elves and Pacifism found snow iterations in Boreal Druid and Gelid Shackles, respectively.

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Magic: The Gathering is well known as one of the longest-running card games of all time. When a game runs for as long as Magic while also updating and adding cards so consistently, it’s no surprise that the meta of the game will change a lot. During the Ice Age block, it did just that, as two very strong decks emerged from its cards.

The first deck that gained prevalence from the release of Ice Age goes by the name of Skred Red. This is a mono-red deck based around the card of the same name from Coldsnap, using mostly Snow-Covered Mountains as its land base. Skred also utilizes a pair of Scrying Sheets to help filter through the deck. A typical Skred deck plays similarly to many red aggro or burn decks. Other versions of this popular deck look similar to tempo decks with dragons as the win condition.

The next deck that saw the limelight didn’t actually appear when Coldsnap first released. This deck is known as Turbo Depths, but it only gained traction in Legacy once Thespian’s Stage appeared in Gatecrash. Originally, for a player to use Dark Depths, they needed to spend 30 mana to create the legendary Marit Lage token. With Thespian’s Stage, you only had to pay two mana to manifest the token.

Winter is coming in Modern Horizons

As previously stated, Modern Horizons sees a resurgence in the Snow super-typing. The new set may focus less on this super-type than Ice Age did, but it still gives players a nice chill from new snow permanents. Modern Horizons even replaces the basic lands in each pack with full art snow lands. Wizards appears ready to introduce newer players to these older concepts, even as they give veteran fans reminiscent cards to boost their older decks.

Modern Horizons may be the last players see of the snow theme for some time. However, this look at the mechanic could be Wizards planting a seed to return to the Ice Age. We at Daily Esports are excited to see the return of snow to the game, and we’ll be here to keep you up to date if and when more such cards are revealed. What are your favorite mechanics or themes from Magic‘s history that you would like to see return?


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