Forgotten Harvest - Wintering in Meletis

(Cover of Winter | Art by Wayne Reynolds)

Do You Want To Brew a Snowman?

Happy holidays, everyone! Welcome to a very festive edition of Forgotten Harvest. Like all the previous articles, we'll be focusing on the Isle of Misfit Magic Cards (those in 300 decks or less on EDHREC) and the ways we can bring those cards together into an unconventional brew. In keeping with the season, we'll be looking at a snow-themed deck this time around.

My first step before slinging some snow is looking at the limited pool of cards that care about snow. Surveying the frosty landscape of cards, a few facts became apparent:

  1. There's a group of cards that care about having snow permanents on the battlefield.
  2. There's a group of cards that trigger when snow permanents enter the battlefield.
  3. There are snowy cards that bounce themselves or other creatures.
  4. There isn't enough support for the theme unless we go at least 4-color.

From this, I began work on a bounce-themed snow deck. For a commander, I was looking for one that could help me play my snow-covered lands. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim looked appealing, but aside from the one Dead of Winter, black offers very little in the way of snow support, so instead, I settled on Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis.

K&T give us extra land drops, which is great for new snowy cards like Iceberg Cancrix and Marit Lage's Slumber. Both are underplayed cards from Modern Horizons, included in just 62 and 259 decks, respectively. These cards love all the extra snow-covered lands K&T will give us, not to mention the plethora of other snow permanents and bounce effects in the deck. I don't necessarily see the mill from the Cancrix being a game-ender, but it's certainly a good resource-limiting card to make our opponents uncomfortable while we work on something more devastating, like a Marit Lage token.

A Flurry of Fury

The extra snowy land drops from K&T will also, over time, help bolster those creatures that like having a bunch of snow permanents in play. Rimefeather Owl (96 decks) is the best of the bunch; this bird allows us to ice up the entire field with its activated ability, then grows larger as the inches of snow pile up. Plus, the ice counters it distributes have the added bonus of synergizing with Rimescale Dragon (136 decks). Facing these two on the battlefield together can be brutal for opposing armies (so long as you avoid putting ice counters on your own creatures).

Abominable Treefolk, another creature that scales with the frosted board state, is a welcome addition from Modern Horizons. It's only in 55 decks right now, but in this deck, it can be a real all-star. Its triggered ability upon entering the battlefield will work with some of the bounce effects we'll talk about later. However, this ill-tempered Treefolk's trample is the real key here, allowing us to break through armies while our Rimefeather Owl soars over them. As a second option for plowing through drifts of blockers, I've also included Conifer Wurm (46 decks).

Lastly, I couldn't include red in this snow deck without playing Skred. It's such an efficient damage-dealer in any deck running Snow-Covered Mountains, but especially in this one. I'm kind of shocked that it's only run in 167 decks right now. If you're going with a snow-covered manabase, give this sorcery a look.

An Avalanche of Activated Abilities

Whether requiring frosty mana or a number of snow permanents, there are some powerful activated abilities out there to be utilized by snow-themed decks. One of them happens to be my favorite snow-themed card. As I've said previously, Rimehorn Aurochs needs to see so much more play than the 10 decks it's in right now. It's an absolute travesty! Anyway, it's in this deck, as is my second-favorite snowy card: Heidar, Rimewind Master (115 decks). I don't understand why such a powerful bouncer sees so little play when all it takes is a small stack of snow-covered lands to make it great. If you like the idea of Boomerang Imprinted on Isochron Scepter, then please give Heidar some love!

Next up we have the sparkly team-buffer Diamond Faerie (31 decks). If we're looking to win with combat damage from Conifer Wurm or Abominable Treefolk, this card will help us push even more damage through. Combine this crystalline sprite with snow cards like Squall Drifter (43 decks) and Goblin Rimerunner (13 decks) to remove blockers, and that win from combat is even more assured.

Speaking of removing cards from combat, if you decide to attack by air, Adarkar Windform can help keep any blockers earthbound. Similarly, on defense, it can keep the battle out of the skies and in a range where K&T can do some blocking. It's only in 30 decks on EDHREC, which I can understand. Its use is a little niche, but that's the niche this deck lives in!

A Blizzard of Bounce

Even moving to four colors, there still isn't enough snow to truly fill out the deck's 99. Based on the wintry selection, bounce becomes the clear choice to complement the excellent enters-the-battlefield abilities of cards like Blizzard Strix (67 decks) and Ice-Fang Coatl. It seems thematically appropriate to include the creature Snow Hound, despite it not technically being related to the snow card type. Showing up in only 16 decks on the site, I very much like this card when casting a creature is important, and blink spells can't help. Please consider it the next time you brew with Karametra, God of Harvests and the like.

Back on theme, Barbarian Guides gives us some repeatable bounce. With the help of Rimefeather Owl, it can also make an attacker unblockable for a turn before bouncing it. Imagine blasting through a maxed-out Abominable Treefolk with snow-landwalk, only to get to use its ETB ability the next turn. I can understand the low deck count of 15, as snow-covered lands aren't all that prevalent, but if you have the means to icify the other side of the field, it's a gem!

In a deck without black, repeatable creature removal is a great thing. I've thus chosen to run Stalking Yeti from Coldsnap. I do wish its activated ability were faster, but it'll do for removing opposing utility creatures. It's only in 12 decks, which seems fair. What doesn't seem fair, though, is pairing it with Purphoros, God of the Forge or Diamond Faerie.

Finally, and I know I'm repeating myself, but Azorius Aethermage could really use some attention. It's only seeing play in 54 decks on EDHREC, but it's the #1 card for any bounce strategy. And, the best part, it doesn't care about the type of permanent you're bouncing! Azorius Chancery, Cloud Cover, Cloudstone Curio, and Overburden all love the Aethermage. I'm confident I could write 2,000 words on this card by itself, but for now I'll just say it's worth a second look.

How about a decklist, hmm?

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It Doesn't Have To Be a Snowman

That about wraps up this wintry mix of cards on Forgotten Harvest. I know there have got to be some questions, comments, and snide remarks after all that snowfall. Please leave them below in the comments! I'll be around down there talking about just how many other hyper-underplayed cards made the deck that I didn't have time to talk about above. I know I also included quite a few powerful cards in this build to help compensate for the weaker cards that were on theme. If there's something not in your collection and out of your price range, hit me up for an alternate suggestion.

As always, if you've got a card that sees play in 300 decks or less on the site that you'd like me to write about, let me know. I'm always up for reader suggestions! Until next time, stay frosty!

Midwest transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Kyle has been playing the jankiest of decks for nearly 20 years. He loves non-lethal combos, obscure deck themes, Cloudstone Curio, and winning with Coalition Victory. When he's not tapping lands or brewing decks, Kyle is enjoying his other ridiculously expensive hobby: building with Lego.