Hot Temper, Cold Eyes

Posted in Feature on July 5, 2006

By Matt Cavotta

Matt has worn many wizard hats in the 18 years he has worked on Magic—art-mage, logomancer, lightning bard, and (of course) Planeswalker.

A barbarian, a warrior, and a berserker walk into a patisserie. Immediately the berserker blurts out, “I want some bread!” To which the pastry shop owner replies, “But of course. I have many tasty delights for you to choose from.” Then the barbarian steps up and pounds his fist on the counter. “Enough talk! Get us bread!” And the warrior chimes in with “Yeah, don’t make us bust this place up!” Calmly, the pastry shop owner produces a plate of chocolate croissant with a light sweet glaze. “How much?” asks the warrior, fetching his coin purse. “3 coins of the realm per pastry—that will be nine in all.”

“Nine!” the three ruffians yell in unison. “But we can get a whole rye loaf for three, or hard tack for less than one. What kind of bum deal is this!?”

Still calm, the pastry shop owner replies, ”Gentlemen, this is a patisserie, and these are chocolate croissants with sweet glaze. If you want hard tack, go to the general store. If you want to taste the chocolate, put down your battle-axes, produce a little coin, and experience the wonder of fine pastry.”

And what did the berserker, barbarian, and warrior do next? Well, they slaughtered the guy and ate the croissants anyway—but that’s beside the point.

* * * * *

Mmmm…chocolaty goodness

“What is the point?” you ask. The point is that this is Taste The Magic. While I am lucky enough to be a part of card previews, I do not hang up my oven mitts to dish out previews the way everyone else does. I choose cards to preview that pack the flavor that I want to serve up, whether they cost too much or not. The power potential of cards previewed in Taste The Magic is mostly irrelevant. While you’re free to discuss the power of these cards in the TTM message board or in the comfort of your own local pastry shop, just know that I don’t choose cards that showcase the set’s mechanical gems. I choose the ones that showcase the set’s flavor—the set’s chocolate, if you will.

That leads us to this week’s card preview. This card was chosen because last week I went with a new character, Heidar, who is integral to the new Coldsnap story. This week I am switching gears a tad and going with a character that made her mark in the old Ice Age and Alliances stories.

If you’re wondering why you recognize her name, it could be because she’s quoted on 20 Ice Age and Alliances cards. I encourage you to read the flavor text on these cards. You’ll see that she’s all business. She is the Balduvian Chieftain, and that does require a bit of politicking, but she’s mostly just about smashing faces.

Lovisa from Ice Age (Brand of Ill Omen): “Let those who bear the brand receive no shelter, no kindness, and no comfort from our people.”
—Lovisa Coldeyes, Balduvian Chieftain

Lovisa from Alliances (Balduvian Horde): “Peace will come only when we have taken Varchild’s head.”
—Lovisa Coldeyes, Balduvian Chieftain

Lovisa in Coldsnap (Lovisa Coldeyes): “I lead my horde to the northwest. I won’t return until the ice wizards fall and their fiendish contraptions are crushed!”

Oooh! It looks like she means to duke it out with last week’s preview card. But what is she to do against a man who wields the full force of winter against her? Stop by the patisserie and recruit some goons, of course! Lovisa has a way with the belligerent. Whether it’s the beautiful face, the baleful stare, or the massive axe, she inspires every berserker, barbarian, and warrior within earshot of her spirited war cries. (If you were curious, there are over 130 warriors, berserkers, and barbarians in Magic who would gladly follow her to bloody victory.)

And follow her they do—all the way to Rimewind Keep. This is why Lovisa makes a great TTM preview card. She connects the flavor of Ice Age and Alliances to that of Coldsnap. She is directly involved with the union of Kjeldor and Balduvia:

(Kjeldoran Escort): “We willingly trade with Kjeldor, but the peace we build must come from both our lands.”
—Lovisa Coldeyes, Balduvian Chieftain

(Kjeldoran Escort): “The first caravan has passed safely through the Karplusan Mountains without incident, forging a trade route to Balduvia. Kjeld himself would never have believed it!”
—King Darien of Kjeldor

In fact, Lovisa and King Darien are not just heads of state—they are heads of their own little household as well, if you know what I mean. The two have a son, Lothar Lovisason, now a mighty warrior in the Balduvian Horde.

Lovisa Coldeyes Darien, King of Kjeldor Lothar Lovisason

Lovisa is also directly involved in the clash between New Argive (the nation formed by the union of Balduvia and Kjeldor) and Heidar’s Rimewind cult. Take another look at her flavor text and you’ll see that she does not get too caught up in the dealings of high government. She represents co-leadership of a nation, but…politics, bah! Battle is in her blood! I won’t spoil the outcome of this battle, but I will tell you that it is quite a tussle, involving the “ice wizards” and “fiendish contraptions” of which she speaks.

If you care to find out what happens to Lovisa, and all the other folks who appear in Coldsnap, there are a few sources of information for you. The best and most comprehensive source is the Coldsnap Player’s Guide, which comes in the Fat Pack. The Player’s Guide has a broad story synopsis as well as a hefty short story written by Jeff Grubb—the writer who brought us the original Ice Age novel trilogy, The Gathering Dark, Eternal Ice, and Shattered Alliance. Other bits and pieces of story can be gleaned from the three Coldsnap short stories shown right here at Of course, you can also expect to read about our chilly Coldsnap pals right here at TTM. Frozen desserts are on the way. Can you hear the infectious tune ringing out from my truck?

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