Snow

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Snow
S.svg
Supertype
Statistics 47 cards
{W} 14.9% {U} 8.5% {B} 10.6% {R} 12.8% {G} 12.8% {M} 4.3% {artifact symbol} 8.5% {land symbol} 27.7%
Scryfall Search
type:"Snow"

Snow is a supertype with no inherent functionality. Instead, it serves as an identifying characteristic, and is closely tied to snow activation costs and mana costs. Snow is a replacement for the supertype "Snow-Covered"

Description[edit | edit source]

Snow appears on basic lands from Ice Age, and on cards of multiple types in Alliances, Coldsnap and Modern Horizons.[1] It is referenced by cards in .

Unlike other supertypes, like basic or world, but similar to the spell subtype arcane, snow does nothing other than to identify snow permanents. Instead, various effects reference snow permanents.[2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

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-arounds, 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. Cards that were formerly snow-covered received Oracle updates upon the release of the set.[4]

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.[5][6][7][8] He was highly skeptical that they ever would be reprinted in a Standard-legal set.[9]

Modern Horizons (which passes the Standard format by) finally provided the opportunity to revive the mechanic.[10][11] This set also contained full-art snow basics.

Snow costs[edit | edit source]

Snow activation costs and mana costs, represented by {S}, can be paid by one mana produced by a snow permanent, regardless of that mana's type. However, this is a requirement of the cost itself. The mana produced by a snow permanent 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.

Snow activation costs were introduced in Coldsnap, while mana costs first appeared in Modern Horizons (Arcum's Astrolabe, Icehide Golem).

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 12, 2019—Core Set 2020)

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

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 12, 2019—Core Set 2020)

Snow Mana Symbol
The snow mana symbol {S} represents a cost that can be paid with one mana produced by a snow permanent. See rule 107.4h.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 12, 2019—Core Set 2020)

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 (July 12, 2019—Core Set 2020)

  • 107.4h The snow mana symbol {S} represents one mana in a cost. This mana can be paid with one mana of any type produced by a snow permanent (see rule 205.4g). Effects that reduce the amount of generic mana you pay don’t affect {S} costs. Snow is neither a color nor a type of mana.

From the Comprehensive Rules (July 12, 2019—Core Set 2020)

  • 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[edit | edit source]

  • 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.[12]
  • Basic snow lands are legal in formats where the Modern Horizons set is legal; they're not legal in the Standard format. 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 colorless. Snow is not a color.

Notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cynthia Sheppard (May 22, 2019). "A Sliver of Direction". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (June 26, 2006). "There’s No Business Like Snow Business". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Aaron Forsythe (July 21, 2006). "Snow Big Deal". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Aaron Forsythe (July 7, 2006). "A Walk Through the Cold". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. 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.
  6. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "Please don't dismiss them completely!". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "Can you speak a bit more in depth on why you think snow basics were a mistake?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "A good reason why casual players won't see basic snowlands, ever again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (August 26, 2017). "So they will never be reprinted in Standard sets?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  10. Ethan Fleischer (May 31, 2019). "The snow mechanic has a weird history.". Twitter.
  11. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Wizards of the Coast (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Release Notes". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Magic Arcana (July 12, 2006). "Snow from an Iceberg". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  14. David Leavitt (February 26, 2013). "Gatherer update introduces new snow mana symbol, points to reprints or new set". www.examiner.com.

External links[edit | edit source]