Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Snow Cards in Magic?
In Magic, snow is a special card designation that's added onto to other types; they can be anything from creatures to enchantments to lands. Snow cards follow the standard rules of their other categories, but their extra status triggers certain effects, granting additional combo potential.
You might think snow cards would favor blue, but they're surprisingly widespread, giving each color access to their chilling powers. So, with dozens of icy spells available, which units reign supreme? These are the ten best snow cards in Magic: The Gathering!
20. Rime Transfusion
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
As an aura enchantment, Transfusion adheres to a creature, granting it +2/+1 (two extra power and one extra toughness). That's already a handy benefit for just two mana, but you can also spend a snow mana (one that comes from any snow permanent) to make your creature unblockable for the turn except by snow creatures.
Since few decks will run snow units, odds are good opponents can't block your buffed unit, letting you easily land your blows and trigger direct damage effects (like those on the "Sword of" equipment spells).
19. Squall Drifter
While this creature's stats are a weak 1/1, his flying ability lets him soar over ground blockers, and he's one of white's few elementals. Better yet, by spending a single white mana and tapping, Drifter can tap any target creature, letting you stall your foe's biggest threats whenever you have leftover mana.
18. Rimefeather Owl
While Rimefeather's bird subtype doesn't contain many synergies, he highlights how snow cards function well together. He has flying, and his battle stats adjust to the number of snow permanents on the field—including your opponent's.
Plus, by spending two mana (at least one of which must stem from a snow card), Rimefeather can place an ice counter on any permanent, and his next effect makes cards with ice counters count as snow. Basically, you can use this to increase the number of frigid units fielded, boosting Rimefeather's power in the process.
17. Karplusan Wolverine
It's hard to condemn Wolverine's 1/1 stats considering his low cost, and in addition to his snow status, he deters guarding by inflicting one damage to any target when he's blocked.
Thus, if the defender has two or less toughness, you can kill them, and if they have more, you can instead direct the damage to their owner and nick them before Wolverine perishes. Not bad for a single-cost unit.
16. Centaur Omenreader
For his mana price, Omenreader's 3/3 stats aren't great, but as long as he's tapped, creatures you cast cost two less mana to play, a huge benefit that lets you summon your aces several turns ahead of schedule. To keep Omenreader tapped, either continuously swing with him or use cards that provide abilities to let him exhaust ("Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro" works well).
As icing on the cake, in addition to his snow status, Omenreader bears both the centaur and shaman subtypes, granting additional combos with a few clans.
15. Coldsteel Heart
The green faction offers several cards that tap for resources, but this colorless artifact lets any structure mana ramp. It enters the field tapped, so unlike most artifacts, you won't be able to use it immediately, but you pick a color on entrance, and Heart can later tap for one mana of that type.
Good for any build, Heart is particularly useful in multicolor decks, letting you cover for land types you haven't yet drawn. I use it in most non-green commander decks for some extra ramp, and (unlike several of our upcoming spells), it's surprisingly cheap, costing less than three dollars!
14. Rimebound Dead
Rimebound Dead has only 1/1 stats, but again, for just one mana, it's hard to complain. Plus, he has outstanding endurance since you can spend a snow mana to regenerate him, letting him endure any blow.
Thus, Rimebound's a useful early-game attacker and late-game blocker, as he can tank any hit and survive as long as you can spare a resource. While I wish he traded his rare skeleton subtype for the more abundant zombie lineage, Rimebound's still an awesome undying unit for any black deck.
13. Scrying Sheets
Like other terrains, Scrying Sheets doesn't cost any resources, but you can only play one land per turn. It can tap for a colorless mana, but it can also spend two mana (one being snow) and tap to look at the top card of your deck, and if it's snow, you can reveal and add it to your hand.
In dedicated snow decks, this offers a reliable hand advantage, and even if the top card of your deck isn't snow, you (and not your opponent) still gain the tactical advantage of knowing what's coming.
12. Rimescale Dragon
Rimescale Dragon costs a hefty sum of seven mana, but if you utilize cards like "Kaalia of the Vast," you can field him sooner than his fee would imply. Either way, his stats are a mediocre 5/5, but he carries flying and can spend three mana (including one snow) to tap a creature and put an ice counter on it.
Then, Rimescale prevents creatures with ice counters from untapping, an especially handy boon for red since dulling is generally exclusive to blue. A powerful force on his own, combine Rimescale with Rimefeather to ravage foes with their twin ice counter effects.
11. Blizzard Brawl
This is a strictly-better version of Prey Upon, because at worst, you pay one to have your creature fight an opponent's creature. But if you control at least three or more snow permanents, your creature gets +1/+0 and indestructible for the turn!
This means you've got a removal and boost in one great package. Just watch out for opposing removal; if they hit your creature before Brawl resolves, you effectively lose two cards.
10. Adarkar Valkyrie
A 4/5 angel with flying and vigilance is fair for Valkyrie's price, but its her effect that impresses, tapping to have another creature enter your field if it dies that turn. Notably, you can pick opposing creatures in addition to your own, practically forcing opponents to handle Valkyrie before other threats.
9. Marit Lage's Slumber
A snow enchantment, Slumber has a minor but ongoing effect: when it or another snow permanent enters your field, you scry 1. With decks that spam snow basic lands, that's a great way to always ensure you have what you need.
And if it can survive until an upkeep where you control at least ten snow permanents (counting itself), Slumber sacrifices itself to create Marit Lage, a 20/20 token with flying and indestructible! That's one of the strongest creatures in the game that absolutely demands a removal.
8. Faceless Haven
Though it only taps for colorless, Haven counts as a snow-land, and it's an impressive manland too; spend three snow mana and Haven becomes a 4/3 changeling with vigilance for the turn.
Not only are these simply impressive stats, but the ability to empower any subtype makes it a great inclusion for zombie or elf decks.
7. Ohran Frostfang
2/6 might not seem terribly strong, but Frostfang gives all your attacking creatures, itself including, deathtouch. Plus, whenever your creature deals combat damage, he lets you draw, and again, this includes himself. Toss in snake and snow synergy for a versatile card that offers both power and card advantage.
6. Jorn, God of Winter/Kaldring, the Rimestaff
Both of Jorn's sides cost three mana. Cast Jorn with green mana for a 3/3 god who untaps all your snow permanents (including himself) when he attacks, an amazing way to reuse your lands each round.
Blue/black Kaldring works better when you need to access your graveyard; it taps to let you play a snow permanent from your graveyard tapped that turn. Both are powerful sides, just remember in EDH your commander needs all three colors to include this card.
5. Narfi, Betrayer King
Narfi's zombie and wizard synergy already impress, and 4/3 stats aren't terrible. More than that, Narfi gives your other zombies and snow creatures +1/+1, and by paying three snow mana, you can play him tapped from your graveyard!
This basically forces opponents to exile Narfi; if they can't, they're fighting an uphill battle against a boosted tribal deck.
4. Blood on the Snow
A rare snow sorcery, Blood either destroys all creature or all planeswalkers. That's a bit more expensive than most board wipes, but in exchange, you get to revive a creature or planeswalker from your graveyard with cost less than or equal to the amount of snow mana you paid!
Plus, you don't have to pick a card you just lost, it can be one that entered your graveyard through other means.
3. Ice-Fang Coatl
1/1 is weak, but Coatl more than compensates with flash, flying, snow/snake synergy, and deathtouch if you control three or more other snow permanents! So, you've basically got a surprise ambush blocker, and to seal the deal, Coatl draws on entry.
2. Arcum's Astrolabe
One of the best color-fixers in the game, Astrolabe needs a snow mana (of any color) to play, draws on entry, and taps to turn any type of mana into any color. Simple, cheap, and great for empowering snow-based effect, Astrolabe fits in nearly any deck.
1. Dark Depths
Unique for both its legendary and snow status, Dark Depths enters with ten ice counters, and unlike most lands, it can't tap for mana. However, you can spend three mana of any type to remove an ice counter, and when all are gone, you sacrifice Depths and create a legendary 20/20 creature token called Marit Lage with both flying and indestructible.
20/20 stats makes Marit one of the game's strongest cards, and it really shines when combined with the land "Thespian's Stage," which can copy other lands. Thus, field both, then have Stage copy Depths (and not its ice counters), letting you immediately sacrifice it for your indestructible beatstick. A bit tricky, but absolutely lethal in its element, Dark Depths remains the best snow card yet.
Basic Snow Lands in MTG
Each type of basic land offers a snow variant, which perform the same function, simply tapping for one colored mana. However, their snow status lets them combo with today's cards and avoids accidentally benefiting your opponent if you run spells like "Extraplanar Lens," making them more valuable than they initially appear.
Because snow cards are relatively rare, few decks include counters to them, letting your frigid tactics slip by unchecked. I definitely recommend testing them yourself, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of arctic spells, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next Magic countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill