5 Underrated Commander Cards From Coldsnap

5 Underrated Commander Cards From Coldsnap

Jacob LacknerCommander

Coldsnap is one of the strangest sets in the history of Magic. This is because it was printed as the third set in Ice Age Block. That might not sound strange at first, but it was released in 2006 – more than a decade after Ice Age Block had concluded. While it isn’t the focus of this article, I did go deep on just how strange Coldsnap was in a past article.

This effectively made it a small standalone set and it is one that is generally considered underpowered, largely because they tried to make the cards fit with such an old Block. This meant bringing back the much-maligned cumulative upkeep mechanic, which gives your permanents a massive downside.

The set isn’t a completely barren tundra for Commander, though. For example, Zur, the Enchanter is the 50th most popular Commander on EDHRec, and Coldsteel Heart is a pretty great mana rock.

However, there are several more cards in the set that I think should be played at a higher rate than they currently are. 

Underrated Commander: Heidar, Rimewind Master

Heidar, Rimewind Master
The 2,214th most popular Commander on EDHRec

When you first look at Heidar, it may not feel surprising that no one wants to play him as their Commander. After all, he’s got a miserable stat-line and an ability that takes some set up. However, it really isn’t that difficult to get four snow permanents in play, provided you’re running some Snow-Covered Islands

Obviously enough, you’re going to want to load up your Heidar deck with other snow permanents too. There are plenty of Snow permanents and Snow payoffs in Blue these days, so that really isn’t a challenge.

However, Heidar is especially notable because he’s the only Commander in all of Magic that can bounce permanents of any type. This opens up a whole world of possibilities. 

Sure, you can use it to keep your opponent off of their Commander, but things get really nasty when you combine him with untap effects to bounce multiple things in a turn. Pemmin’s Aura can be particularly spicy, since it can protect Heidar, while also allowing him to untap.

There are also some other nasty combos you can take advantage of by bouncing your own stuff. Most of these involve stacking exile triggers. For example, you can use Parallax Tide to exile five lands every turn. You do this by putting each trigger on the stack one after the other, and then bouncing the Tide with Heidar. This causes the Tide to leave play before it has exiled anything. Then, its other abilities all resolve and you exile those lands permanently.

You can do the same thing with Icy Prison. Its ETB ability goes on the stack, but then you bounce it before the ability resolves and the creature it targeted gets exiled permanently.

Braid of Fire

Braid of Fire
Played in 1% of Red Decks on EDHRec

I complained about cumulative upkeep earlier, but at least they actually found some interesting ways to use it in Coldsnap. Braid of Fire is a good example of this, since it gives you more and more mana every single turn. When it was printed, there was a downside associated with this because of mana burn. In those days, if you had unspent mana at the end of a phase, you took one damage for each unspent mana.

But, now that mana burn is no longer part of the game, Braid of Fire is pure upside! It takes a little while to start generating mana, and it can be kind of a bummer to draw it late, but if you can get it online, it gives you a very real mana boost.

It’s especially useful if you’re using a Commander with an activated ability, since then there’s a very good chance you can sink that mana into something. For example, if you’re using Grenzo or Xantcha, the Braid can make it far easier for you to use their abilities.

However, the best home for the Braid is probably with Omnath, Locus of All. Alongside that Commander, you’re always going to get to hold on to all of your Braid mana.

Vexing Sphinx

Vexing Sphinx
Played in 0.004% of Blue Decks on EDHRec

Vexing Sphinx gives you another very interesting use of Cumulative Upkeep. You get an efficient flier, but it’s also going to make you discard more and more cards. However, when the Sphinx goes down, you get to draw a card for each age counter on it. So, you break even in the end. 

Keep in mind, you have the option of paying the upkeep. So if you’ve reached a point where you don’t want to discard any more, you can just choose not to pay it and draw some cards.

Obviously, Vexing Sphinx isn’t the kind of card that should just be slotted into every random Blue deck, but if your deck is interested in filling the graveyard and discarding cards, Vexing Sphinx can do that for you.

Examples of Commanders that will feel right at home with what the Sphinx offers are Oskar, Rubbish Reclaimer and Rielle, the Everwise. Oskar lets you cast the stuff you discard, and Rielle will draw you cards equal to the number you discard. They both also like having cards in the graveyard.

Panglacial Wurm

Panglacial Wurm
Played in 0.02% of Green Decks on EDHRec

A 7-mana 9/5 with Trample isn’t exactly exciting, but Panglacial Wurm comes with a very unique ability. If you’re searching your library, you can cast it. You do still have to pay that seven mana, but it effectively draws you a very real card when you cast it.

If you’re playing a ramp deck and you draw something like Rampant Growth in the late game, it doesn’t tend to feel very good. Panglacial Wurm lets you turn those extra ramp spells into a threat. That’s some pretty nice flood insurance.


Played in 1% of Blue Decks on EDHRec

Coldsnap has a whole cycle of 7-mana cards that can be cast for free if you exile two cards of that spell’s color from your hand. Of these, Commandeer is certainly the best for Commander. 

One of the best feelings in the world is your opponent assuming you can’t do anything because you’re tapped out, and then stealing their noncreature spell and doing whatever you want with it. Sure, you have to go down two cards to make it happen, but that’s an incredibly swingy play in most cases.

If you’re playing a deck with lots of Blue cards in it, Commandeer is something you should be considering for your deck.

End Step

Those are my picks for the most underrated Commander cards in Coldsnap. Do you disagree with any of my picks? Let me know over on X!