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Ice Age (Magic: The Gathering)

Ice Age (Magic: The Gathering)

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Ice Age is the eleventh Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering
Magic: The Gathering , also known as Magic, is the first collectible trading card game created by mathematics professor Richard Garfield and introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. Magic continues to thrive, with approximately twelve million players as of 2011...

set and the sixth expansion set, released in June 1995. Set in the years from 450 to 2934 AR
Antiquities (Magic: The Gathering)
Antiquities was the fifth Magic: The Gathering set and the second expansion set. It was the first set to have an original backstory that explores the mythos of the Magic universe . The story is primarily about the brothers Urza and Mishra who are inseparable at first, but become sworn enemies over...

, the set describes a world set in perpetual winter due to the events in Antiquities
Antiquities (Magic: The Gathering)
Antiquities was the fifth Magic: The Gathering set and the second expansion set. It was the first set to have an original backstory that explores the mythos of the Magic universe . The story is primarily about the brothers Urza and Mishra who are inseparable at first, but become sworn enemies over...

. Of the 383 cards in the set most are new, but a few are also reprint cards from the core game.

Storyline


The Brothers' War, referenced in the set Antiquities
Antiquities (Magic: The Gathering)
Antiquities was the fifth Magic: The Gathering set and the second expansion set. It was the first set to have an original backstory that explores the mythos of the Magic universe . The story is primarily about the brothers Urza and Mishra who are inseparable at first, but become sworn enemies over...

and the Urza block, has thrown Dominaria into a drastic climate change. The temperature has dropped sharply and a new Ice Age has begun. Most of society has been lost; all that remains are the soldier nation of Kjeldor, the barbarians of Balduvia, and the elvish society of Fyndhorn. These people must battle against the necromancer Lim-Dûl who has begun to conduct twisted experiments. Meanwhile the wizard Zur the Enchanter trains new wizards to survive in the harsh environment.

Set history


Ice Age was the first "stand-alone" expansion; that is, it was the first set that could be played independently of other Magic: The Gathering products. It was the first expansion to reprint all five basic lands. Ice Age is also the first set that was printed for a certain period. Previous sets had a previously specified print run and were then sold while supplies lasted.

With the release of Ice Age Wizards replaced the original white mana symbol with a more defined version of itself. Two cards in the set, Fylgja and Prismatic Ward, were printed with the old mana symbol anyway due to some printer deadline issues that arose because Fylgja and Prismatic Ward had been chosen as promotional cards to be release in magazines prior to the release of Ice Age.

As Ice Age was the first "stand-alone" expansion set, the designers believed that some "staple" cards from the basic set and expansions should be in the set. Thus, the set was also the first expansion set (aside from the Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights (Magic: The Gathering)
Arabian Nights was the fourth Magic: The Gathering set and the first expansion set. The set is composed entirely of new cards. The setting of Arabian Nights is inspired by the themes and characters of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights with some of the characters and places coming directly from...

Mountain misprint) to reprint cards. Staple cards like Swords to Plowshares, Giant Growth, Counterspell, and Dark Ritual, as well as popular older cards like Icy Manipulator were reprinted in Ice Age. All in all the set included about 8% reprints of old cards. Also, another 8% of the cards were functional reprints of already-printed cards; that is, aside from the name (and possibly the creature type), these cards were identical to cards in other sets. Examples include Fyndhorn Elves, a functional reprint of Llanowar Elves; Zuran Spellcaster, a functional reprint of Prodigal Sorcerer.

Ice Age was the first Magic expansion that was released in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Mechanics


Snow permanents — In Ice Age, a new type of basic land was printed: snow-covered versions of the five basic lands. Some cards had effects that were stronger when a player used snow-covered lands rather than normal basic lands, and some effects exposed players using those cards to additional weaknesses. Currently, snow-covered lands are the only basic lands ever printed beyond the five normal basic lands. This mechanic was expanded later in the Coldsnap
Coldsnap
For other uses of this term, see Cold snap.Coldsnap is the third set in the Ice Age block for the Magic:The Gathering collectible card game. It was released on July 21, 2006 by Wizards of the Coast. The set came out over ten years after Ice Age was released in June 1995, the longest period of time...

set, changing the supertype snow-covered to only Snow, and thus able to appear on nonland cards.

Cumulative Upkeep — Cards with Cumulative Upkeep forced the player during every upkeep phase to add a counter to the card, then pay a cost for each counter on it. The mechanic would later influence the design of similar mechanics involving reduced cost for future upkeep (such as Urza's Saga's
Urza's Saga
Urza's Saga is the 15th expert level set, a 350-card Magic: The Gathering expansion set that debuted in October 1998. Some employees of Wizards consider it one of the most powerful sets ever released, with many cards now banned in tournament formats...

Echo and Nemesis's
Nemesis (Magic: The Gathering)
Nemesis is the second set in the Mercadian Masques block of sets in the Magic: The Gathering game, along with the expansions Mercadian Masques and Prophecy. Its expansion symbol is an axe. The set consists of 143 cards and was released on February 14, 2000...

Fading). The Arabian Nights card Cyclone, designed before this mechanic was implemented, was later errata'd to use this mechanic, but has since been reworded to match the original version more closely.

Cantrips — Cards that allowed the player to draw a card at the beginning of the next player's upkeep. This effect was added to cards whose effect might not be powerful enough to warrant being put on a card but for the added card draw. Future sets would use a similar mechanic, but instead allowed the player to draw a card instantly.

Cooperation of friendly colorsIce Age is the first set to seriously explore cooperation between friendly colors. While such cards existed even in the original Magic release, Ice Age has several cards revolving around this theme.

Single-Color Legends — Before Ice Age, all legendary permanents were either multi-colored creatures or Lands. This was due to the designers of Legends wanting these legendary permanents to be more exotic than regular permanents. By the time Ice Age was developed, this stance was softened, and the single-color legends Marton Stromgald and General Jarkeld were printed.

Cards


Ice Age consists of 383 cards. Of these 121 each are common, uncommon, and rare. The remaining 20 cards are basic lands distributed solely in Starter Packs. There were 56 cards of each color, 25 multicolor cards, 45 artifacts, and 33 lands in Ice Age.

Notable cards

  • — The linchpin of the "Necro" deck, this black card allows a player to trade life for cards. After the restriction of Black Vise the use of this card increased drastically. Necropotence was originally used to give aggressive black decks a way to refuel after putting all their cards into play. The first Necro decks were so dominant that competitive strategies were reduced to Necro or anti-Necro (decks that arose to oppose necro's dominance included Turbo-stasis and Sligh). This period is often referred to as Black Summer (1996). Necropotence was reprinted in 5th Edition
    5th Edition (Magic: The Gathering)
    The Fifth Edition was the seventeenth Magic: The Gathering set and fifth core set, a revision of the base set released in March 1997. It contained 449 cards, counting multiple illustrations of basic lands, making it the largest card set in the game's history...

    , leading to another surge of Necro-decks in Standard. Later Necropotence was used in Extended decks such as Trix as the draw engine (in tandem with Illusions of Grandeur, also from Ice Age). Nowadays, Necropotence is banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage.
  • — This card also allowed a tradeoff; in this case, a player traded lands for life. This, combined with a casting cost of 0, made this card immediately a staple in many decks, including the Necro deck (where a player could trade the lands for life, and then the life for more cards), and the Ernhamgeddon deck (where a player could trade the lands for life instead of having them be destroyed by Armageddon). Another way to abuse the Zuran Orb was to sacrifice lands to it in response to playing Balance. Most competitive tournament decks played at least one Zuran Orb, including Tom Chanpheng's deck that won the 1996 World Championship. The Zuran Orb's power was such that it was eventually the first card from Ice Age to be restricted; though that restriction has since been lifted and Zuran Orb is now banned only in Ice Age Block Constructed.
  • — The Cap was the most popular card when Ice Age was first released. Though by itself, this card does nothing to directly hurt the opponent, if the opponent employs a strategy that relies on one of at most three examplars of a card, as combo decks occasionally do, their entire deck strategy is rendered useless. Jester's Cap was also popular due to allowing the player to look at the cards in their opponent's deck.

External links