Coldsnap's Build-Around Cards



Every new set that comes out brings us new cards to build decks around. Of course, some of these are simply support cards that a lot of decks could use, like the latest Terror variant, or maybe a Giant Growth featuring the new block mechanic. But the really interesting cards are the ones that inspire whole new archetypes, like Life from the Loam or Greater Good. And just like any other set, Coldsnap has its fair share of these build-around cards. Here are some ideas for Standard.

The easiest card to build a deck around would have to be Scrying Sheets. This Jushi Apprentice wannabe will only pick up snow cards, so it's best in a control deck based off of snow permanents. Luckily for control, some of the best snow cards are in blue and white.

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Control
2 Cover of Winter
4 Gelid Shackles
4 Wrath of God
4 Remand
4 Rune Snag
2 Squall Drifter

Victory Conditions
4 Frost Raptor
4 Adarkar Valkyrie
2 Phyrexian Ironfoot
2 Rimefeather Owl

Mana
4 Coldsteel Heart
4 Boreal Shelf
4 Scrying Sheets
8 Snow-Covered Island
8 Snow-Covered Plains



Only 12 cards in this deck aren't snow! The card-drawing power of the Sheets cannot be denied. Cover of Winter, Squall Drifter, and Gelid Shackles will keep you clean until you can cast Wrath of God. Frost Raptor's untargetability and evasion can make it difficult to deal with, so you can mercilessly pluck away at their life total 2 points at a time. Ironfoot can clog up the ground, and winning should be easy with Adarkar Valkyrie or the super-huge Rimefeather Owl.

Braiding Your Fires
Let's take a look at Braid of Fire. Obviously this was created to help pay for generic cumulative upkeep costs. You could combo it with Earthen Goo or Balduvian Fallen for a creature that would steadily increase in size over time. Or, it can help pay for burn spells. Or, use some mana sinks. Even better, use a combination of the three, which I think would be the best idea.

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Braid Engine
4 Braid of Fire
2 Sensei's Divining Top

Creatures
4 Earthen Goo
3 Kumano, Master Yamabushi
3 Shivan Dragon
3 Rakdos Pit Dragon

Burn
2 Genju of the Spires
4 Shock
4 Char
4 Lightning Storm
4 Glacial Ray

Lands
1 Dark Depths
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
21 Mountain



This is just a crude example of such a deck that could take advantage of Braid of Fire. All of the burn is instant-speed, so you could sink Braid mana into it. Of course, you could just sink all the mana into Sensei's Divining Top, Genju of the Spires, or Dark Depths if you can't get a dragon or Kumano online. Actually, untapping with Kumano and multiple Braids is probably an instant victory.

A Less Burn-Oriented Idea
Coldsnap has given us a great build-around card that gives blue mages a new way to counter spells for no mana: Counterbalance. This 2-mana enchantment has already been talked about quite a bit, especially in combination with Sensei's Divining Top, but why limit yourself to looking at just the top 3 cards of your library? Why not use your entire library?

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Counter-Engine
4 Counterbalance
4 Congregation at Dawn
2 Sensei's Divining Top

Creatures
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Surging Sentinels
4 Loxodon Hierarch
2 Meloku the Clouded Mirror
2 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Simic Sky Swallower

Support Cards
4 Supply // Demand
1 Glare of Subdual

Land
4 Breeding Pool
4 Temple Garden
4 Hallowed Fountain
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree
5 Forest
4 Plains
2 Island



This deck has good creatures with converted mana costs between 1 and 7 so you can respond to the Counterbalance trigger by casting Congregation at Dawn and putting a creature with the cost of the spell that you need to counter on top of your library. Also, Supply // Demand has converted mana costs of 2 and 3, so it will counter either 2 or 3 mana spells, and also doubles as a victory condition. Sensei's Divining Top can "float" a certain card on the top of your deck, making Counterbalance look a little like an adjustable Chalice of the Void. In case the Counterbalance plan doesn't work, you could put three Surging Sentinels on top with Congregation at Dawn, cast one, and ripple into the other 2. In addition, you could use Supply // Demand to fetch the single Glare of Subdual and keep your opponent locked down.

Rawr!
Coldsnap has a few horrendously undercosted fatties with some serious drawbacks. Sure, there is probably some trick you could do with Jokulmorder and Life from the Loam, but it just doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy feeling inside that a Phyrexian death machine would. Phyrexians demand payment in blood!

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Creatures
4 Phyrexian Soulgorger
4 Selesnya Guildmage
4 Soul Warden
4 Birds of Paradise
4 Jotun Owl Keeper
2 Belfry Spirit

Support cards
2 Seed Spark
4 Fists of Ironwood
4 Promise of Bunrei
3 Glorious Anthem
2 Glare of Subdual

Land
4 Temple Garden
4 Brushland
2 Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree
7 Forest
6 Plains



This is my favorite deck out of the bunch. It starts out with the elves and the birds and the Saprolings just getting along happily. One big happy family. Maybe dancing around the City Tree singing their Glorious Anthem. But all is not well. Something horrible has been awakened by the singing. Phyrexian Soulgorger is not pleased with the singing at all! It's really angry and must have sacrifices! The elves give Fists of Ironwood to him but all the Phyrexian does is trample over everything! Not only that, he DEVOURED all the Saprolings! The elves see that their time is short and make the Promise of Bunrei, but the Soulgorger's hunger is never-ending and steadily increasing. It's a bloodbath, and Phyrexian Soulgorger is out of control! MWAHAHA!!!!!

Ahem, um.... So, when you play the Phyrexian Soulgorger, everything is going to start dying. Most of your creatures make even more creatures so you will be able to pay his upkeep for 2-3 turns, which is all you'll really need. Of course, you could always just make a bunch of Saprolings and buff with Selesnya Guildmage or Glorious Anthem, but what fun is that?

Wrapping up
Hope you folks had fun. I always get a kick out of making a somewhat decent deck out of lesser-used cards. Bear in mind these decks posted are just ideas for decks, and could be improved upon. I'll let you decide how.

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