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Brewer's Minute: Hidden Treasures—Coldsnap

Hey, everyone! It's time for another Brewer's Minute. This week marks the return of the sometimes sub-series Hidden Treasures as we work our way through Coldsnap to find some cards with potential that might be floating just a little bit below the radar. Like usual, I don't have actual deck lists for any of these cards, so if you have some ideas about how we could make them work, make sure to let me know in the comments! 

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#5: Thrumming Stone

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Thrumming Stone comes in at number five on our list because we already know what to do with it—play it in a deck full of Shadowborn Apostles or Relentless Rats and use it to flood the board with creatures. As such, unlike some of the hidden treasures, Thrumming Stone isn't so much about finding a combo but finding a way to make the combo work in Modern. The good news is that it's pretty straightforward: we should win the game if we can resolve the five-mana artifact and then a single copy of Shadowborn Apostle or Relentless Rats. The question is how we get to that point. Do we go heavy on discard to slow down the game? Do we ramp into Thrumming Stone? Reanimate it with Trash for Treasure? The possibilities are endless, and all it would take for Thrumming Stone to become a "real" deck is someone stumbling across the right one. 

#4: Jotun Grunt

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Having a 4/4 for just two mana is a pretty good deal, even in a format like Modern; the problem is figuring out how to deal with the cumulative upkeep cost. Here, there are two possibilities. First, there are a lot of decks in Modern that put cards into their graveyard like Storm, Dredge, and Death's Shadow, so perhaps if we can get a few cards in our own graveyard, we can play Jotun Grunt fairly as a big beater. Plus, in some matchups, getting things from our opponent's graveyard is actually a huge upside, making Jotun Grunt a weird budget-friendly Scavenging Ooze. The other possibility is Solemnity, which happens to come down on Turn 3—the turn after we cast a Jotun Grunt—and can keep the cumulative upkeep cost from spiraling out of control, leaving us with a very above-the-curve two-mana creature. Solemnity Aggro anyone?

#3: Wall of Shards

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wall of Shards is actually similar to Jotun Grunt—a very above-the-curve two-drop with a cumulative upkeep downside, but it works in very different kinds of decks. Once again, there are two main ways to take advantage of having a huge blocker that also gives your opponent an ever-increasing amount of life each turn. First, we can play it with something like Tainted Remedy to turn the drawback into an upside. A 1/8 defender with flying that also drains the opponent's life away turn by turn seems like a pretty good deal. Second, we can play it in a deck that doesn't really care about the opponent's life total. If we are winning with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn annihilating away our opponent board, or an alternate win condition like Approach of the Second SunWall of Shards is a great way to stay alive while we are setting up the big finish.

#2: Vexing Sphinx

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Vexing Sphinx might be a long shot, but it makes our list primarily for one reason: it's insane with Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign. While Unesh is super powerful, it's naturally held back by the fact that other Sphinxes are super expensive. Vexing Sphinx breaks the mold, giving us a huge 4/4 flying body for just three mana. Of course, it does become painful to keep it around, since we have to discard more and more cards each turn, but Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign helps solve this problem as well thanks to its Fact or Fiction ability. We can either use the extra cards we draw to keep Vexing Sphinx alive while we beat down or just cast Vexing Sphinx without ever planning on paying its cumulative upkeep cost as a two-mana mini-Fact or Fiction! Even beyond Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign, Vexing Sphinx could also have a home in the hypothetical Solemnity Aggro deck we talked about a moment ago!

#1: Tamanoa

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Coming in at the top of the list is Tamanoa, one of the most unique creatures in Modern. First off, as a three-mana 2/4, the stats on Tamanoa are pretty good, helping it dodge removal like Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix. Then, while the lifegain ability might look a bit like Soulfire Grand Master (and we could potentially play the cards together for redundancy), it actually does a whole lot more, since it triggers on any non-creature damage rather than just instants and sorceries. This gives us janky combos like playing a Sanguine Bond with a mana base of pain lands and killing our opponent by tapping our lands, or Pyrohemia, Anger of the Gods, and Blasphemous Act gaining us tons of life while also killing the opponent with Stuffy Doll or Boros Reckoner. If we want to go really deep, we can even throw in Rite of Passage to keep growing our creatures as we deal damage to our own stuff (which is especially sweet with Pyrohemia, which becomes: pay one mana, gain a life for each creature on the battlefield, and put a +1/+1 counter on all your creatures)! Basically, there are a ton of cool things that can potentially be done with Tamanoa; all it takes is someone figuring out the right one. 


Anyway, that's all for today. How can we take advantage of our Coldsnap Hidden Treasures? Are there any other below-the-radar cards with potential from the set that I missed? Make sure to let me know in the comments! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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