Last updated on July 25, 2023

Counterbalance - Illustration by John Zeleznik

Counterbalance | Illustration by John Zeleznik

The Ice Age of Dominaria lasted for almost 2500 years. Possibly the most long-lasting consequence of the Brothers’ War, this period shaped the plane and its people forever. But all things must come to an end, and that’s what happened during Coldsnap.

But not all things come on time. Coldsnap, the third set in the Ice Age block, was released a whopping 10 years after Alliances, the second set in the block.

Let’s take a closer look!

Coldsnap Basic Information

Frozen Solid - Illustration by Ralph Horsley

Frozen Solid | Illustration by Ralph Horsley

Set Details

Set Symbol
Set CodeCSP
Number of Cards155
Rarities60 commons, 55 uncommons, 40 rares
Mechanicscantrips, cumulative upkeep, snow, pitch cards, ripple, recover

Coldsnap was conceived as the final set in the Ice Age block, except it came 10 years later. Homelands had acted as the third set in that block, but it hardly fit its themes and storyline. When Coldsnap released, Homelands was retroactively removed from Ice Age block.

The purpose of this set was to fit with the block it was meant to complement but also work within the margins of Magic’s more modern standards and design idiosyncrasies.

Important Dates

Set ReleaseJuly 21, 2006

About the Set: The Story

Tresserhorn Skyknight - Illustration by Dan Dos Santos

Tresserhorn Skyknight | Illustration by Dan Dos Santos

Almost two millennia and a half after the start of the Ice Age, Freyalise casts her World Spell and slowly brings it to an end. As the climate begins to change and temperatures rise, the Thaw age begins. Dominaria starts to heal from the scars of the Brothers’ War. But nothing is ever so simple, and the continent of Terisiare serves as a stark reminder.

The Fates of the Peoples of Terisiare

The conflict between Kjeldor and Balduvia ceases when the two peoples form an alliance to defeat the necromancer Lim-Dûl. This eventually culminates with the birth of the kingdom of New Argive.

The Thaw is also known for another name: The Age of Floods. The melting of the snow and ice causes water levels to rise rapidly, brutally flooding most of the continent. This pushes the elves of Fyndhorn to leave and settle on their new home of Yavimaya. The massive flooding displaces people, destroys kingdoms, and even breaks up the entire continent into an archipelago of large islands. Almaaz and New Argive are some of the few areas that remain relatively unaffected by the floodings.

The higher temperatures also bring a rise in plagues and sicknesses, with the city of Krov being one of the most damaged by this. People die of the diseases but there’s also a rise in vampirism and zombification, haunting the few survivors of the plagues with horrors and monsters. Garza Zol gains control over the plague-ridden town and leads it in an alliance with the Cult of Rimewind.

Finally, there’s the city of Soldev. They seek to bring back machines, using their findings of old designs dating back to the Brothers’ War. This also means old Phyrexian beasts. These machines eventually rise up and destroy the entire city, bringing it to ruin.

The Cult of Rimewind and the Unending Cold

It’s not hard to see how the people of Terisiare wouldn’t see the Thaw with the most kind eyes. The continent is in ruins, refugees are trying to survive however they can, entire cities are destroyed by water and plague. The Thaw means the destruction of Terisiare, and not everyone is eager for that.

The Cult of Rimewind had been a group of scholars and magicians dedicated to studying and understanding the Ice Age and the unending freeze that surrounded them. But as the Thaw goes on and its destructive consequences become increasingly unavoidable, Cult’s goals shift. They now have the purpose of fighting back the Thaw, trying to prolong the Ice Age as long as possible.

Even though they manage to push back against it, their efforts don’t hold forever. Desperate, Heidar, the cult leader’s protegé, begins researching for answers. In this desperate search, he comes across ancient etchings beneath the depths of the Cult’s keep. The etchings whisper dark secrets to him and slowly drive him mad. Heidar is sure he knows how to bring about a new Ice Age, but his master dismisses him. Heidar repays the courtesy by murdering him and usurping his place.

Heidar allies himself with Garza Sol and her plague-ridden city of Krov so he can scour their archives and libraries. He also allies with Haakon and his Order of Stromgald so they can offer protection from New Argive who seek to stop the Cult.

Lovisa Coldeyes leads a strong attack force of Balduvians against Rimewind Keep, which gives Heidar the ideal excuse to activate his unearthed phyrexian monsters. The battle turns into a massacre, and Lovisa dies. The beasts go on a rampage through the north of the frozen continent, murdering anyone in their path. The New Argivians attempt to retaliate, but Haakon’s order keeps them at bay.

Heidar, growing increasingly mad, start attacking enemies and allies indiscriminately. Garza Zol then realizes she can’t trust the wizard, so she sends assassins to take out Heidar. At the same time, elves from Yavimaya and their shamans start combating the Phyrexian beasts, taking them down. With the Cult leaderless and the beasts being thoroughly destroyed, the efforts of the Rimewind are thwarted, and the Thaw resumes its normal course.

With Rimewind defeated, the Kjeldorans manages to defeat Haakon and the Order of Stormgald, bringing an end to the conflicts on Terisiare. The Thaw slowly continues and brings a rebirth to Dominaria.

Set Mechanics


Coldsnap was the set to introduce the snow supertype for snow lands. It also introduced the supertype for non-land permanents and the snowflake symbol to denote costs to be paid with snow mana.


Recover makes it so that when a creature you control is put into your graveyard, you can pay a certain cost to return the card with the ability from your graveyard to your hand. If you don’t, the card is then exiled. The most notable cards with recover are probably Grim Harvest and Icefall.

The ability only showed up in Coldsnap, and it’s hard to imagine it ever coming back. The fact that any and all cards with recover in your graveyard are exiled any time a creature you control dies means you’re gonna be losing them more often than not. Especially cards with significant recover costs like Controvert or Garza's Assassin.


Ripple is an ability that triggers when you cast the spell that has it, allowing you to reveal the top N cards of your library and play any cards with the same name as that card. Notably, all cards with ripple have ripple 4 specifically.

Most cards with ripple aren’t particularly good, which means they don’t make it worth it to have four of them. The best and most notable cards related to ripple is Thrumming Stone, which gives ripple 4 to all spells you cast. This can be absurdly good, especially in decks with cards like Relentless Rats or Shadowborn Apostle, where you’re more likely than not to be hitting at least one copy, statistically speaking.

Card List









Notable Cards

Coldsnap has a nice handful of cards that still see play and have a more than decent price.

Some of the more notable cards in this set are:

Even some of the least obvious cards still see play and nice prices, like:

Available Products

Coldsnap was sold in 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks, and a fat pack. The fat pack included six booster packs, a 40-card land pack, a visual guide of the set, a novel, a cardboard piece that could be unglued to show a panorama art-piece, and two boxes with six color-coded plastic dividers.

The theme decks included cards from the entire block, which meant cards from Ice Age and Alliances got modern card frames, rarity-colored set symbols, and collector’s numbers. Three of the theme decks were bicolored while one was tricolored. The decks were: Aurochs Stampede, a Gruul aggro deck with an Auroch typal theme; Beyond the Grave, a Grixis graveyard-themed deck; Kjeldoran Cunning, an Azorius soldier typal; and Snowscape, a Dimir deck with a snow supertype theme.

You’d be relatively lucky to find any sealed Coldsnap products nowadays. The set is over 25 years old. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find collectors looking to sell their old products or some LGS that has a box or a theme deck in their deposit room because it was forgotten there.

Wrap Up

Vanish into Memory - Illustration by Rebekah Lynn

Vanish into Memory | Illustration by Rebekah Lynn

Considering this set came 10 years after the rest of its block, it had a difficult task: both working in the context of the block it was meant to complete while also being playable by the more modern standards of Magic. I think it manages to achieve both relatively well, fitting into the Ice Age block neatly (at least more neatly than Homelands, which is also infamous as one of Magic’s worst sets) while bringing more modern sensibilities to old design ideas.

The set was weird, with plenty of cards that were pretty good on release and cards that became way more popular with time. Cards like Dark Depths, which was mostly ignored when it came out but exploded in price with the release of Vampire Hexmage and Thespian's Stage.

But enough about all that. What’s your opinion on Coldsnap? What’s your favorite card from the set? Would you like me to cover other older sets like this one? If so, leave a comment letting me know! While you’re here, don’t forget to visit our Discord server, where you can join an amazing community of MTG fans.

That’s all from me for now! Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time.

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