It turns out that there are more stories coming out of WotC's move across the street than just a giant Dragon stopping traffic. While I was helping to pack up R&D, I emptied out a filing cabinet in Richard Garfield's old office (now an R&D conference room known as "The Danger Room"). It looked as if the cabinet had been moved intact from Wizards' last move ten years ago. Inside I found a bunch of old folders. The bottom of which was cryptically titled "Rock & Roll". Curious, I blew the dust off the file and peeked inside. I had no idea what I was about to uncover.
I've worked in R&D for over five years, so I had heard the rumor. Rosewater's been spouting off about it for years, but like many things he says no one believed him. But as I began to read through the file I started seeing words like "Kjeldoran" and "Wiitigo", I realized that I might have just uncovered one of the great unsolved mysteries of R&D. Yes, in my hand was the lost Ice Age expansion!
For those of you unfamiliar, here's how the legend goes. Ice Age was designed to be the first of the modern day blocks complete with one large set and two small expansions. But due to internal politics, Homelands was forced upon R&D to be included in the block. This forced R&D to shelve the third set of the block as there wasn't going to be room for it before Mirage was released. According to the legend, the design was filed away never to be seen again. And rumor had it, it was the best set of the block.
Paging through it, I realized that legend might have been correct. The third set did some very interesting things with the themes found in Ice Age and Alliances. It seemed a shame that the world would never see it. The set deserved a better fate than being abandoned for eternity in a file cabinet. It only took one Tuesday Magic meeting to set things right. We decided that it wasn't too late to correct history. We should give the long-lost Ice Age set its day in the sun (and banish Homelands to the block-less limbo it so richly deserves). I am quite proud to announce that the lost Ice Age set, named Coldsnap, will be released on July 21st. I think you guys are going to have a lot of fun playing with it.
The set is now well into its development cycle so we're not only ready to announce that we're printing it, but I've also been authorized to answer some of the questions that we know will come up.
Q. How many cards will be in the set?
A. 155 -- 65 commons, 50 uncommons, and 40 rares.
Q. Will there be foils?
A. Yes. The way we're treating this is that we uncovered a lost design file, not a completed set. That means we're sending the set through modern development, modern templating, modern typesetting, etc. The card wordings will all be updated to work with current Magic rules (no "interrupts") and we will include such niceties as expansion symbols color-coded by rarity, collector numbers, and foils.
Q. Will the set be legal in Standard?
A. Yes. The set becomes legal for Standard constructed tournaments on August 20th and it rotates out a little over two years later, in conjunction with the Snap, Crackle, Pop block leaving Standard. (It will also be legal in Extended, Legacy, Vintage, and Ice Age Block Constructed, of course.)
Q. Will Coldsnap be released on Magic Online?
A. Yes, expect to see it in mid-August.
Q. Is this the "Snap" set that I already heard you guys were working on?
A. No. The sets in the block after Ravnica are currently codenamed "Snap," "Crackle," and "Pop;" but Coldsnap is a seperate set that comes out two months before [Snap]. Yes this is confusing, especially for those of us working on the sets. It's rivaled only by people talking for many minutes about playing "Control decks" before figuring out that one guy meant blue-based permission decks and the other meant decks with cards from the [Control], [Alt], [Delete] block. You'd think we'd be better at this code-naming thing by now, but oh well. We should have a real name for [Snap] soon and then none of this will matter.
Q. Will there be theme decks?
A. Yes. We're going to publish boosters, theme decks, and a Fat Pack for this release. Since this is the third set of the Ice Age block, of course, the theme decks will include a few cards from the first two sets of the block. For those cards we will be updating them to the new card frames (since Coldsnap uses the new card frames), but we will be keeping their original art.
Q. Will the Ice Age and Alliances cards in the Theme decks be Standard/Extended/whatever legal?
A. No. Only cards that appear in Coldsnap itself become part of Standard. The Ice Age and Alliances cards that appear in the theme decks are still considered part of those original sets.
Q. Will there be a prerelease?
A. Yes -- the prerelease will be on July 8-9. In addition, there will also be release events held at stores all over the world on July 22-23.
Q. Is this why the Dissension release date is a month earlier than it "normally" would be?
Q. What languages will it be available in?
A. Boosters and theme decks will be in all the regular Magic languages: English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese. The fat pack will be English only.
For more information about Coldsnap and all other Magical topics, keep your browser pointed to magicthegathering.com.