Is Snow Worth it?
May 6, 2024
By The Gathering Community

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this community-createdarticle, where I do the math, so you don’t have to- unless you want to
check my math. Please don’t do that. I’m self-conscious.

Snow Basics are exactly what you’d assume they’d be- normal basic lands, but with the snow subtype! They’re strictly better in every way, shape, and form- except in price. Are they worth that extra cash, or should we through them in the dump?


Snow hate, snow love, and snow… appreciation?


That’s right! Snow is more than just a flavorful subtype slapped onto any… um… lizard… it’s also a type that a couple of very specific cards care about! Those “snow-matters” cards can vary from loving the snowy banks of winter to being outfitted with khaki shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Although there aren’t a lot of “snow-matters” cards in either direction, there’s a lot more love for the snowy peaks than there is hate for the unloving cold of the outdoors. Insert global warming joke here.

After looking at the full list of cards that mentioned snow, of which there are oddly many, I’ve divided the cards into cards that benefit from snow vs cards that punish you for playing snow-

You can find the list of cards that hate on snow here, and you can find the list of cards that benefit from snow here.

If you didn’t check out the lists provided, or if you have severe memory loss, here’s a tl;dr of the two lists- There are 13 cards that your opponent could theoretically play to counter snow-covered basics, but most of them are fairly “meh”, such as a 3 mana land destruction spell that gains you a life if the land destroyed was snow. Not exactly breaking any expectations, but I guess I know what Thermokarst means now. That measly 13 pales in comparison to the 89 cards that directly benefit you playing snow lands! 

There’s always a “however”. Always. Y’see, how many cards are actually made playable with snow basics? There are a total of 6, yes, count ‘em, 6 cards that I’d consider to be actually playable once you hock out the extra $1.25 per land.

Dead of Winter is easily comparable to its fellow 3 mana black sorcery-speed -X/-X board wipe, Toxic Deluge. They share the same upsides, specifically efficiency and dodging indestructibility, but they are immediately separated after that point. While Toxic Deluge requires a large amount of life, it can be tailored to not destroy your large creatures- which Dead of Winter can’t do. Additionally, Toxic Deluge will always do the same thing no matter what portion of the game you’re in- as opposed to Dead of Winter, which can only deal with large creatures later in the game, provided you’re even playing enough basic lands. However, one area where Dead of Winter has a clear advantage is in price. While Toxic Deluge currently sits at a hefty price point of around $23, Dead of Winter can be found for a much more reasonable price of around two quarters. This makes Dead of Winter a great budget option for players who need a reliable board wipe but don’t want to break the bank. Ultimately, while both cards have their strengths and weaknesses, Dead of Winter’s lower cost and ability to deal with larger creatures later in the game make it a solid choice for any black deck looking for a powerful board wipe.

Wait a second, a two-mana sorcery that costs one generic mana and one green mana to search your library for a specific type of land card and put it onto the battlefield tapped? What is this, Rampant Growth?

Well, with snow basics, yep! It’s basically indistinguishable- heck, it’s even better if you play with the snow dual lands that were released in Kaldheim! Plus, let’s not forget that Into the North gets those same snow lands that Dead of Winter and the rest of the cards on this list love so much. However, all prospective cards must come to an end. Rampant Growth currently weighs in at $.79, while Into the North costs a dollar more. Even with the larger price, I’d argue that it’s definitely worth it to add a bit of redundancy to your land ramp. With the amount of 3, 4, and even 6 mana ramp released recently, if you’d like your deck to have just a little more consistency with its speed, I’d argue that you should take out an Explosive Vegetation and slot this puppy in instead. Or, man on a puppy. Is that a Tauntaun? Is Hoth just ice-age-era Dominaria? Oh god, what a can of worms.

Skred is a pretty interesting card, I’ll admit. It easily scales with your game, just like Dead of Winter, while also being instant speed removal for just a red mana. However, I don’t know if I should compare this to Shock, Lightning Bolt, or… Singe? Chaos Charm? Or is it better than all of them? Well, on turn one, there are only 219 creatures out of 992 possible creatures your opponent could play that could survive a turn one Skred- assuming that they only have access to one mana on turn one.

That’s only 22% of all one-mana creatures- the same percentage of Americans that say they haven’t made a friend in the last five years. There’s only 21% of two-mana creatures that can survive a Skred on turn two, 13% of three-mana creatures that can survive a Skred on turn three, 8% of four-mana creatures that can survive all-mighty Skred on turn four, and so forth, with the percentage of survivors always going down, with an exception of higher mana values that only the Eldrazi Titans occupy. So sure, Skred scales exceptionally well, but that’s really only on paper. In actuality, there’s a lot of variables in play, such as how reliably you can play snow lands, whether you’re playing against +1/+1 counter or voltron decks, and any tricks your opponent may have up their sleeve.

However, I wouldn’t advise against playing this in the right environment- it certainly has its benefits as a cheap, efficient, and scalable removal spell in a deck that can play snow lands consistently. This exponentially growing effectiveness is in direct opposition to Lightning Bolt’s ever-decreasing utility as the game goes on for longer. All in all, if you’re looking for a cheap, effective removal spell that holds up the further you get in the game- I’d consider Skred.

Oh… phew… okay, Glacial Crevasses is a lot easier to talk about. Gone are the comparisons to other mono-red removal spells, this is more of a “Well, I just think it’s neat!” kinda card. There are only three damage-prevention spells in mono-red, the other two being spells in naya colours that prevent damage from incredibly specific sources. Glacial Crevasses is, on paper, the best possible fog effect red can achieve. Not only does it prevent all combat damage that would be dealt, but it can also be reused every single turn with a land sacrifice. In your average game of commander, this could save your life multiple times and buy you an extra turn to set up a comeback. And, as an addendum, having Glacial Crevasses out telegraphs to everyone that you have a fog- which means your opponents are less likely to attack you, knowing it’d be futile.

The downside, however, is that its effect is only relevant in certain situations, and it can be a MAJOR dead draw in games where your main priority is the player who doesn’t play creatures. Also, the fact that it requires you to sacrifice a land to activate means that you’d best hope you can survive the combat step AND afford to cast your follow-up.

Although this is on the reserved list, and that makes the price a little bit higher than it ought to be, I’d say $2.49 is a fair price for mono red protection. At the end of the day, Glacial Crevasses is a unique and interesting card that can be a powerful tool in the right deck. If you’re looking for a way to protect yourself from combat damage in mono-red, it’s definitely worth considering.

On Thin Ice is probably the easiest comparison yet. It’s a one-white mana aura that enchants a land, and when it ETBs, it exiles a creature for as long as On Thin Ice sticks around. Immediately, the parallels are drawn to the two arguably best white removal spells, Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile. They’re both one-mana instants that exile a creature- on the condition that your opponent gets a benefit With Swords, it’s life gain, and with Path, it’s an extra land.

On Thin Ice doesn’t have these drawbacks, but it does have one glaring issue: it’s an aura. Auras have a notoriety for being easily two-for-one’d, meaning that when the permanent it’s enchanting is removed, so is the enchantment; effectively losing two cards to the one card your opponent cast. Although enchantments are technically the hardest permanents to remove, lands aren’t. Red, green, and black all have access to land destruction, blue can counter spells (and turn the enchanted land non-snow for some reason), and white’s cup overfloweth with enchantment removal.

So, humble reader, is On Thin Ice playable?

The answer is… it depends! The meta of your playgroup is the determining factor, depending on how much land/enchantment removal they pack. Also, this is a house in an Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines deck.

Scrying Sheets doesn’t really have any other card like it- and that’s okay. Scrying Sheets offers a unique spin on the “land that draws cards”, specifically helping to clean out the seemingly endless stream of basics on the top of your library. In mono-white, mono red, or mono green, decks with notoriously poor card draw, this is a powerful effect. In addition, being a colorless land means that ANY deck of yours running snow-covered basics can take advantage of this effect, making it an attractive inclusion in many mono-colored decks that can afford it.

Overall, Scrying Sheets is a unique and powerful card that can provide valuable card selection in decks that struggle with card draw. Sure, it isn’t as powerful as, say, War Room, but I’d throw this in any deck that already runs snow lands.

In conclusion, sure, snow lands are pricey- in fact, with the average casual deck running 21 basic lands, and each basic land coming in at an average of $1.15, you’re paying $24.15 extra for your… um… “budget” Toxic Deluge. So, actually, ignore everything I said about budget if you’re picking up your wallet to buy a $.49 Toxic Deluge- in fact, I’d even advise not to purchase basic lands for just one of the cards I’ve mentioned- however, if you’ve got stacks of cash hanging around, and you don’t mind redundancy in your deck, I’d say snow basics are…

Firemind Approved!

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