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Let it Snow 2: Snow Harder with a Vengeance

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Readers!

I wrote a column called "Let it snow" which you all remember because it was very memorable and well written and it was only 5 1/2 years ago that it was written. I made a case for running snow in your decks and the case was, well, admittedly not that robust. I discovered some cards broke the color wheel wide open, such as Glacial Crevasses and other cards gave you a powerful, reusable effect such as Sunstone, a card that is basically Glacial Crevasses. They put two nearly identical versions of the same card in the same set. I mean, this is Ice Age we're talking about, so I guess we can cut them a break for giving us a good card twice since one can go in any color deck. Ice Age did this more than once - it gave us a fantastic cycle of painlands at Rare which didn't excite people too much at the time since it felt bad to open a land as your rare in those days and turned around and gave us a cycle of absolute garbage depletion lands also at rare. I'm not sure which card among Sunstone and Glacial Crevasses is the Sulfurous Springs and which is the Lava Tubes, but I don't have to know - if you can run Crevasses, you can probably take a look at running both for redundancy. You know, in your Red deck.

Joking aside, Red landfall decks could potentially use Fog effects to be able to swing out more effectively. If they play a combat trick and try to kill your attackers, you can fog to save the team. If they swing back while you're tapped out, you can just sac a land to Fog then bring it right back with Wayward Swordtooth or Crucible of Worlds to rebuy the Fog every time someone cracks back, allowing you to swing out with abandon. Fogging isn't a super Red ability, but the existing infrastructure of a lot of the Gruul-containing landfall decks, some of which are very aggressive, can be easily adapted to include a card like Glacial Crevasses, and Sunstone is a no-brainer in control decks of any color. You might not want to do that, but isn't it nice to know you could? Furthermore, you wouldn't have to fundamentally alter a deck that is already an aggressive landfall deck beyond finding room for Crevasses and/or Sunstone and changing your lands to snow-Covered lands.

How many other decks could benefit in some way from the switch to snow Basics? Thinking about it in these terms made me want to dust off some of the enthusiasm for adding snow to decks that I expressed in the original "Let it snow" piece. I have built two decks with snow Basics already since Kaldheim, and I added snow lands to a 3rd before Kaldheim came out. What has me so interested in snow? Let's take a look!

Asymmetry as Far as the Eye Can See

I had a mono-Green Omnath deck because of course I do. I like Omnath so much I made a Discord server for people who have an Omnath deck that you can join if you want. As an Omthusiast, as we like to be called, I wanted an easy way to double my Green man; and, one of the ways I opted to do this was by including Extraplanar Lens in the deck.

Extraplanar Lens

It's not exactly new tech, but adding this to the deck gave me a lot more Green mana without helping out other players who also play Forests (basically everyone, this is Commander) the way something like Vernal Bloom does. Any Mono-colored deck can try this, and I even experimented with it in two-colored decks to limited success. This is mostly for mono-colored strategies, but it you want an asymmetrical mana doubler for a mere three mana that can go in any color deck, this is your card. Again, it's not new, but I mentioned I added snow lands to an older deck, and this is it. Could that Omnath deck use more cards than just Lens? Sunstone is a possibility, as is Into the North, Blizzard Brawl, and maybe Sculptor of Winter and Rime Tender. Double mana isn't a bad impetus for adding snow lands but doubling mana isn't all that 75%. You know what is?

What Kind of Zombie Exiles Yards?

Draugr Necromancer

A lot of people dismissed Draugr Necromancer as a Kirkland brand Tergrid and after jamming him in some decks, I have to disagree. An aspect of Necromancer that perhaps got lost in the sauce at first glance was that Draugr Necromancer doesn't let creatures hit the yard. They don't get triggers for hitting the yard, they don't get access to those cards and they don't get to use their graveyard as a hand. Of course, we all knew the cards got exiled to give you access to them to play them later, but it never really registered for me that Necromancer is basically a Leyline of the Void with feet that doesn't affect you. It doesn't affect spells, either, but it's still a powerful card, and one that's quite a problem for a lot of decks. Add in the utility of having access to their dead creatures and you have a compelling reason to jam in some frosty basics. A lot of cards that exile their stuff to give it back when the creature dies or it's stranded in exile forever, but Draugr Necromancer can replay those cards if he comes back because he can play anything in exile with an ice counter on it, whether or not that copy of Draugr Necromancer was the one that exiled them. This could get interesting if you and your opponent both have a Necromancer - you could fight over who gets to play your opponents' cards first. This is a card I initially liked a lot and after playing with it, like even more. You can add more than just snow basics - Arcanum Astrolabe, Replicating Ring, Scrying Sheets - you can fix your mana problems and be able to play their cards with ice counters on them with the same cards.

There's No Land Like Snow Land

When I built the Cosima deck I proposed on this site, I added snow basics. It wasn't just because I wanted to add Extraplanar Lens, though I did add Lens, but also because there is a card that no one really uses much but really should. Stealing their lands with Cosima and your vehicles is nice for preventing them from ramping too much, but you don't deal with the board as much as you'd like. That's where our mystery guest comes in.

Heidar, Rimewind Master

Five mana is a lot to pay for a 3/3, but when you're casting him with stolen lands, it seems much more affordable. Generally, reusable sources of bounce have a drawback - Erratic Portal and Crystal Shard both allow the opponent to pay mana to keep the creature in play, making them much less effective on their permanents and mostly relegating them to use with your own. Heidar has a different drawback, one that basically doesn't exist when your lands are all snowy. Being able to save your own permanent, get rid of theirs or keep untapped as a rattlesnake card that can threaten to do away with problem permanents, Heidar is the total package. Currently, Tradewind Rider and Heidar aren't in a ton of decks on EDHREC, but they're powerful cards that should get a second look, Heidar especially now that it's trivial to control four snow permanents. Putting their lands into play is cool, but you'll need to play your own lands, too, and one thing my Cosima deck needed was a faster clock, which it got.

Marit Lage's Slumber

Between Marit Lage's Slumber and Dark Depths, a deck that should ideally have extra land and extra landfall should have no trouble awakening the Eldritch Monster from its eternal frozen slumber to slip through a Rogue's Passage and end someone's entire face. I am flirting with adding this beasty as well to really reward myself for playing Snow lands and take myself back to 6th grade where I assembled the combo of Barbarian Guides and Arcum's Weathervane or housed people with Polar Kraken.

Icebreaker Kraken

Icebreaker rewards you for dumping a lot of land into play, and rewards you double if it's snow land. You can even bounce land with Kraken so you can replay it for more Roil Elemental triggers - eat your heart out, Meloku. Bounce this with Heidar for an icy combo that will send a chill up their spine and... look, is it OK with you if I bail out of this dumb metaphor? It's starting to sound like ad copy for a Goosebumps branded popsicle. The point is, you run Heidar, so why not keep them frosted with Kraken?

Of the decks I have built, these are the three with snow lands, but it could easily be more - Omnath, Locus of Rage occasionally keeps creatures home to defend against swingbacks and we could stop doing that with Sunstone and Crevasses to keep us safe, basically all of my Black decks could run Draugr Necromancer (Teysa Karlov comes to mind), and Heidar would work very well in any of my decks currently running Equilibrium since you can never have enough bounce.

Here are a few more snow cards I think have a place in a current deck or two.

Boreal Outrider

I have been playing +1/+1 counter decks in Simic since before Vorel of the Hull Clade came along and one problem the decks have always had is getting that first counter on there to then double it or quadruple it. There basically isn't a creature in the deck that won't benefit from a free counter, from Master Biomancer to Gyre Sage to Lorescale Coatl. My Pir and Toothy deck can add snow lands and basically nothing else and trigger this reliably. This isn't quite another Master Biomancer, but the effect is non-trivial and the cost is negligible.

Glittering Frost

I dismissed this at first, but I am coming around. Much in the same way that I looked at The World Tree and saw a card for Gods tribal and not a land that tapped for Green and did an excellent impression of Chromatic Lantern when you got to 6 lands, I saw a snow enabler and not a card to go in my Estrid deck. This is no better than Verdant Haven if you don't benefit from having Snow permanents, but if you did need get to four snow permanents for something like Heidar, this and the land it's on gets you halfway there.

Thermopod

This is cheating because you don't need to run Snow in your deck at all to get a benefit out of this, but Thermopod is saucy. Kykar decks create a lot of tokens that aren't Spirits and this can turn those into mana as well. Kykar decks tend to have one really explosive turn and getting the extra reach from turning your Young Pyromancer and Akim, the Soaring Wind tokens into gas. All of my token decks can use a sac outlet, and this costs a heck of a lot less money than Phyrexian Altar. Again, including this is cheating since you can cast him without snow mana, but it's my article and I'll point out a fun card when I feel like it.

There are a lot of cards that are worth a look in your decks and if the cost to include them is merely replacing your basics with snow basics, adding Coldsteel Heart in place of Arcane Signet, and maybe adding Scrying Sheets, it's a no brainer. Keep them off of your Extraplanar Lens mana, run a maindeck Leyline of the Void with feet and upgrade your Crystal Shard. If a snow card is a strict upgrade to a card you already run, why not make the switch today? Snow big investment to.. OK, I'm making puns, it's time to call this one. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, Joseph and thanks for the snow stuff, Wizards. Until next time!

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