So, you’re a Marvel fan looking to get into Marvel Snap (Free). Maybe you’re a card game fan seeking the latest hit. Maybe you meant to click on another story but your finger slipped and here you are. Whatever your reason, you’re here now. Am I locked in the cage with you, or are you locked in the cage with me? It doesn’t matter. I’m here to impart some advice from playing the heck out of Marvel Snap since its launch. This is more of a beginner’s guide, but there are some tips in here that perhaps even regular players can use. At the very least, I hope it’s entertaining.
The first steps are the easiest. Go download the game on your platform of choice from the store of your choice. Play through the tutorials. They’re very good. Mr. Brode and his team worked hard on them. They will teach you the basics of the game in a way some text on a website really can’t replicate. Everyone gets the same basic starter deck, and it will suit your purposes for a little while but not too long. You’ll also get the same few card unlocks during the tutorials that everyone else does. Once you’ve done that, swing on back here.
Alright, with that done, let’s talk about this guide. I’m going to give you advice in three different sections. First, how to build a deck. I won’t go super-deep here, but there will be a guide for that later. Just some basic deck-building theory to get you on your way. Next, some tips for playing. A special focus on the Snap mechanic here in particular. Finally, some advice for how to use your resources to keep on moving smoothly.
Deck Building 101
Your starting deck is a nice little potpourri that demonstrates various types of card features. You’ll probably have swapped out one or two cards by the time you’re reading this. Maybe you are a little attached to it. I’m sorry, you need to get rid of it. Well, not right away. But it isn’t going to be helpful to you for very long, so let’s build a new deck or three.
Generally speaking, your deck should have some kind of theme. Some cards work together better than others, and you’ll want to have as many of those lovely situations coming up as possible. You’re going to be limited by the cards you have, of course. You might also want to avoid having 100% of your eggs in a particular basket, because the other player might have a counter to your core strategy and then you’ll be in trouble. Let’s look at a few basic deck types.
The goal of this deck is to take advantage of cards that gain power through destruction. Nova, for example, will give all of your other cards +1 Power when he is destroyed. Bucky comes back as the much stronger Winter Soldier. The key element of these decks are your triggers. At lower levels, Carnage and Deathlok are likely to be the ones you have access to. It’s best to include both to increase your chances of pulling one, because if you never do the jig will be up. It’ll be a while before you have a thematically appropriate 5-Cost or 6-Cost card to fill this out, so take your pick of Iron Man/Blue Marvel and a powerful heavy hitter like Hulk or America Chavez until then.
This one focuses on moving cards around to take advantage of various buffs. Vulture, Kraven, and Multiple Man all benefit from moving or having things moved to them. Doctor Strange, Cloak, Heimdall, and Iron Fist will help you make those moves. Buffing up Multiple Man before he copies himself makes his clones stronger, so you might want to include some cards that can buff him like the Hulk Buster. Vision and Heimdall will likely take your 5-Cost and 6-Cost positions, but Blue Marvel is a good idea to include as well since he can buff all of your clones.
This deck can be a little hard to build at first unless you get really lucky with the cards you get, but it’s a real grower. You’ll notice some cards force you to discard another card to play them. A counter to the Power of those cards, but also a penalty you can twist to your advantage. Wolverine is a good choice, as even if he is discarded he will pop up somewhere. This deck really gets cooking when you get Morbius and Apocalypse. Morbius gets stronger for every card you discard, and Apocalypse gets stronger the more times he is discarded. Dracula is another good choice, as at the end of the game he takes on the Power of a card discarded from your final hand.
Hopefully you get the general idea. We’ll look at more decks in greater detail in a future guide, but this should at least get you on the way with some ideas.
Playing the Game 101
The first piece of advice happens before you even start a round. At any given time, a particular location will be featured. Keep a variety of decks and try to take advantage of that location by using the best set-up. Of course, it’s also worth remembering that other players will be doing the same. It might be a good idea to prepare a deck that counters the kind of deck that people would use in the featured location. Yes, this is partly a psychological game.
This probably should go without saying, but the most important tip I can give here is to have a strategy. You only have six turns and twelve cards in your deck. Think about each move you are making and which card you are playing. Is this going to help you win? Are you thinking about how cards work together? Are you keeping in mind that each location can only hold four cards? Sometimes due to luck of the draw you don’t have a great move to make, but you should always be looking for one.
The left location will be revealed first. If you have a good card to play there, by all means. Otherwise, it might be wise to play your first card on the middle or right location. Cards played before the location is revealed aren’t subject to conditions that would normally happen as soon as you play the card there. If the location is revealed as something like Luke’s Bar or The Sanctum Sanctorum, this could benefit you. It also avoids running into players who throw out a card that gets stronger if you play a card at the same location on that turn, as most players start with the left.
Think carefully about when to play a card that buffs other cards. You might be tempted to get it out right away, but it can be far more effective as a late-game surprise. The same goes for debuff cards. Keep your Energy in mind, but throwing a last-minute wrench into the works can be a very good move.
Remember that the ultimate goal is to win two of the three locations. Not one. Not three. Two. Don’t spread yourself too thin, but don’t focus too much on one location either. Keep an eye on where your opponent is focusing their cards. There’s no point throwing away good cards when you can just take the other two spots to win. One extra tip is that players tend to shy away from locations that reduce Power. You can usually win these spots with less resistance, provided you have the right cards for the job.
This is fundamentally a game about math. Many a player faces a loss because they didn’t add up the numbers right and ended up playing too weak of a card to win a location. But this is also a game about reading your opponent. Think about what kind of cards they might have in their hand and use that in your calculations. Someone playing a bunch of Discard cards is probably holding Apocalypse or Hela. If someone plays Moon Girl, they almost certainly have Devil Dinosaur. At the very minimum, you should be prepared for a Hulk. Give yourself a buffer.
Tying into the last point, don’t be afraid to retreat. Do the math. If you can’t win, get out of there. You’ll always lose fewer Cubes by running than you will by playing through a certain loss. Be honest with your chances. Lower-level players tend to stay on the sinking boat, but as you rise through the ranks you’ll notice more players retreat when things look bad. Be like the higher-level players.
So, the Snap. This is the titular mechanic of the game, and it’s where a lot of excitement comes from. If you’re confident in a win, feel free to Snap. That’s why it’s there, right? But the Snap is a lot like raising in Poker. It’s an expression of confidence, and one the other player might take as you having something they can’t see that they should be afraid of. If they’re teetering, a Snap can be the push that makes your opponent retreat. Thus, you can use it to bluff. If you’re trying to bluff, know when to Snap to make it look like you’re legit. The best time for this is when a location is revealed. Your opponent might assume the location favors your hand or deck and think twice about continuing.
Resource Management 101
Assuming you are playing without paying, you’ll want to use your Credits and Gold carefully. Make sure you’re completing Missions to keep the Credits and Gold coming in, and don’t forget to claim rewards. You can only have six active missions at once, and you’ll miss out if you’re full up when the next set pops. Sometimes you’ll have to play a different deck or use a different strategy to clear these missions, but it’s always worth making sure you have as empty a list as possible.
To start with, I recommend that you only use your Gold to buy Variant cards. Those not only look cool but are also a source of more Collection Level points. You’ll get Gold at a trickle, so make sure you get Variants you like. The more you upgrade a card, the more expensive the next upgrade becomes. Variants are a nice way to give you cheaper upgrades as the supply of new cards starts to slow down.
As for your Credits, those should be used wisely. It’s always best to directly upgrade cards that you already have Boosters for. You’ll get the best value for your Credits by upgrading higher level cards. If you don’t have enough Credits, it’s better to wait. Once you’ve exhausted all of the cards you have Boosters for, head over to the Shop and see what’s available for Fast Upgrade. Again go for the higher level cards here as they will yield the best bang for your buck.
That’s all for this guide, friends. I’ll be back again with more in-depth guides on certain aspects of Marvel Snap, particularly with regards to deck building. For now, this should get you on your way and give you a good foundation to work from. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun while you’re playing. That’s the point, right?