January 10, 2015 March 19, 2023
Pretty much from the moment it was released back in Avalon, the Ice School’s Snow Drift spell has been one of my favorite utility spells. Not because I use it all the time or anything (my only Wizard above level 40 is Myth), but from a PvP design perspective. It’s a niche utility spell. The kind of card that you don’t max out copies of, and that becomes awesome only when the metagame shifts one way.
Snow Drift is a 2 mana utility spell Ice spell. As it is obtained through questing in Avalon, as opposed to purchasable by TP in Ravenwood, it is only available to Ice School Wizards.
However, item card versions of the spell can be obtained on gear such as all levels of the Misty Mountain Mandolin, Summer Palace Boots, and more.
A Bit of History
Snow Drift doesn’t have as much of a storied history as many other spells we feature in spell spotlights. Drift appeared on the scene during the Archmage era, when the Great Wall of China had to admit that Ice was the superior wall.
At the time, it was an interesting spell, but nothing super game-changing in the beginnings. Most Ice were enraptured by that sweet crafted gear that went on to help them conquer the defensive arena, before the later game-wide shift towards offense and pierce.
But Avalon brought bounty to more than just Ice. Balance came across its best friends: Mana Burn, Supernova, Availing Hands. Loremaster came along sometime afterwards. As PvP pivoted into the Azteca and Khrysalis ages, Ice remained a decent class at high level. However, as with every PvP game, the throne shifted when new updates emerged, and Balance’s popularity soared.
Snow Drift –> Avalanche
So what did Balance’s eventual popularity have to do with Snow Drift?
It’s important to first remember Snow Drift’s
main only function: stealing a heal over time. There are a number of these in the game: Sprite (and Spritely by association), Healing Hands, the heal from Fire’s Link and Power Link. But there are two main targets that Snow Drift wants to hit: Life’s Regenerate and Balance’s Availing Hands.
Life has generally never been as popular as the other schools in PvP, and when you did find a Theurgist, it was rare to see one consistently run Regenerate. And that’s sort of where Snow Drift ended up at first, viewed through the lens that you’d usually only steal a Spritely. Not bad by any means, but not impressive.
However, once Balance began to find itself, Snow Drift found it’s soul mate, Availing Hands. Past Avalon into Azteca, Tartarus, Khyrsalis, the shift to critical only meant Balance would usually crit that Availing, a sweeter target. Snow Drift had other ways too. Balance Amulet has always been a favored choice since Masteries first arrived, and many Wizards used them for Power Pip Reshuffles with Availing to replace Satyrs. The Reshuffle nerf did see some decline in Balance Mastery usage, but the amulet is still popular.
Currently, Snow Drift has found its place as a nice one-off (possibly two-off) in many Ice builds. While a niche spell, it’s non-costly enough to slip into most decks. And for that, it’s one of my favorite spells.
What are your thoughts on Snow Drift? Let us know in the comments!