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Coldsnap booster pack each containing 15 cards per pack. Distribution is 1 rare, 3 uncommon, and 11 common. Released on July 21, 2006, Coldsnap is the third set in the Ice Age block. The set contains 155 black-bordered cards (40 rare, 55 uncommon, and 60 commons).
Coldsnap came out over ten years after Ice Age was released in June 1995, the longest period of time between the beginning and the completion of a full block in Magic. Coldsnap replaced Homelands in the Ice Age block. In the initial announcement, Randy Buehler said that Coldsnap was designed around the same time as Ice Age and Alliances but was never released because "internal politics" had "forced" Wizards to release Homelands instead. Buehler said that although the set was not a modern design, it would go through modern development and released with modern Magic text and wordings. However, in the Ask Wizards section on November 10, 2005, a player pointed to several inconsistencies in Buehler's story and suggested that Coldsnap was in fact a newly designed set. While Buehler did not explicitly confirm that the player's analysis was correct, he did imply as much by saying only that the notion that Coldsnap was "from the vault" was more fun to think about. Mark Rosewater confirmed in his column that the "from the vault" story was a "cute little cover" to make the announcement more interesting and expressed surprise that any players took the story at face value. He apologized for the confusion Wizards R&D had created and made it clear that the set is indeed a newly designed one.
As of February 2011, Coldsnap is tournament legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Ice Age Block tournament formats. It was also released on Magic the Gathering Online on August 14, becoming the first expansion ever to be legal for Constructed tournament play on Magic Online before its paper version was.
Four theme decks were released for Coldsnap. The theme decks were unusual in that they contained selected reprints of older cards from both Ice Age and Alliances. The reprints kept the original artwork but used the new borders, updated Oracle wording and the original expansion symbols were given rarity colors. Collector numbers were also added to the bottom of the cards to show where they would be in the original sets if they were printed today.
The Ice Age and Alliances reprints were not legal in Standard tournament play however, and the reprints have not been added to the official card database. The theme decks are important to the on-line version of the game because the Ice Age and Alliances expansions have never been released, meaning purchasing the theme decks is the only way to acquire these cards.
- The theme deck titled Aurochs Stampede, a red and green colored deck, featured a theme based on the Auroch creature type with past and present Aurochs.
- Beyond the Grave is a 3 color theme deck composed of red, green and black that heavily features cards that benefit from the graveyard.
- The theme deck titled Kjeldoran Cunning is a white and blue theme deck based on the popular Kjeldoran nation that thrived during the Ice Age.
- Snowscape is a blue and black deck that features cards that use the snow supertype.
- Ripple. When a spell with Ripple is played, the controller of the spell may reveal the top four cards of his library. If he reveals any cards with the same name as the spell with Ripple effect, the player may play those spells without paying their mana costs. The card Thrumming Stone gives all spells its controller plays Ripple. Interestingly, although each card involving Ripple requires four cards to be revealed, the mechanic is templated as "Ripple X", meaning that further iterations of the ability could involve revealing a greater or smaller number of cards.
- Recover. Recover is a triggered ability that allows cards to be returned from the graveyard to their owner's hand. When a card with Recover is in the graveyard and a creature is put into the same graveyard, the ability triggers. Its controller may then pay the Recover cost and return the Recoverable card to their hand. If they do not, the player removes it from the game. This mechanic was designed to preserve the spirit of Death Spark, a popular Alliances card, while holding to the modern policy of not printing cards that require the graveyard to stay in a specific order.
- Cumulative Upkeep. An old ability that initially debuted in Ice Age, cards with Cumulative Upkeep require their controllers to pay increasing upkeep costs every turn or sacrifice them. Coldsnap offers new twists on this mechanic, including bonuses or penalties based on the number of turns the card has been in play.