Losing in Marvel Snap? Discuss these cards ASAP!

Losing in Marvel Snap?  Discuss these cards ASAP!

One image shows a collage of Marvel Snap cards including The Hulk and Mantis.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

If, like me, John Walker, you are still searching through the lower layers of Marvel Snap, there’s a good chance it’s cards you’re clinging to because they worked so well for you. However, you now start to lose more often and wonder what went wrong. The answer is: Kill your loved ones.

With the help of my colleague Zack Zwiezen – who’s been playing the game for a while now – we’ve come up with a list of cards you might want to cut from your decks.

Now, let’s be clear: None of us are saying that these cards are completely useless, or that having them in your deck is always a bad idea. It’s just the ones that felt so good early on that you might not be able to bring yourself to recognize their weaknesses, holding you back from experimenting with more interesting combos. Be bold, be brave and let these babies go.

And remember, you can always add them later if you experiment too much and end up with a stinky deck! Anyway, let’s start cutting some cards!


An image shows the Marvel Snap card Quicksilver.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

As Kotaku have previously broken up, Quicksilver was developer Second Dinner’s ingenious solution to completely remove the concept of mulligans from their card game. Guaranteeing a 1 cost card in hand at the start of each game ensures that you can always play in the first turn, every time, adding 2 power to the board right away. Something that at first felt vitally important. Except, the more you play, the more you realize that being able to play in the first round isn’t actually that important.

Chances are you’re not going to lay down anything game-changing on the first turn. And actually by not playing on turn one, you fend off other 1 cost cards like Elektra. You can even uncomfortably opt out of playing a 1 prize you might have in hand in turn 1 just so you can play two of them more tactically in turn 2. Again, for example Elektra!

And, as we’ll get to below, decks that pick as many 1-cost cards as possible will become progressively weaker as you climb the ranks, meaning Quicksilver’s lack of additional abilities quickly turns him into more of a burden than a blessing .


An image shows the Marvel Snap card Utau.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

When you first stumble upon Uatu, he feels like a secret hack, a card that gives you special insights not available to anyone who hasn’t yet found him. His ability to show you the properties of unrevealed locations feels like something that allows you to plan ahead and make psychic moves your opponent can’t predict. And to some extent, on some level, he does.

Except, it won’t happen nearly often enough to justify Uatu taking up valuable space in your 12-card deck. The problem lies in the number of conditions that must be right for him to actually prove useful. Obviously you need the luck of drafting him early enough to work. Unless you get him in the first or second round, Uatu’s ability is pretty useless. Second, you need to play a game with places where prior knowledge is actually useful.

So many places have properties where prior knowledge is of very little value. When you find that when it is revealed, you will have a random card added to your hand, a random card taken from it, or a 12-power card added to both sides…it is very rare that this will be important information for you. Yes, there are certainly circumstances where it’s great, where knowing that every card will get 5+ power when played there means you can load up and dominate where your opponent might not know. But does it happen often enough for Uatu to remain an important card? Really, no.


An image shows the Marvel Snap card Hulk.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

This one is difficult. But listen: there are better and more interesting ways for a great finish. The Hulk is there from the start to give you the satisfaction of playing a ridiculous 12-power card on these Pool 1 bots. But he’s baby food, and you’re ready for solids.

Sure, you have nothing else in your deck that offers this much power. It’s simple logic. But Hulk’s simplicity is the problem. Using up all your energy in turn 6 on one card that does nothing but add a bunch of power means you’re missing out on a lot more fun big finishes. Never mind that Shang-Chi, available from collection level 222, can wipe him out with “Destroy all enemy cards in this location that have 9 or more power.”

But there are so many cards that do more interesting things in the last round. Like Odin, which adds 8 power but also fires all the On Reveal abilities of the other cards in place. That means you could see White Tiger lay out another 7-power card in another spot, bringing her total contribution to 15, while also triggering Gamora’s extra +5 power if the opponent plays a card there. That puts Gamora up to a total of 17, even without taking into account a possible third card in place, just playing Odin has increased our power by 20. Take thatHulk.

America Chavez

An image shows the Marvel Snap card America Chavez.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

When you first get this card, you may be excited. America is a 6-cost/9-power card that always appears on turn six, which is usually the last turn of most Marvel Snap game. And yes, it’s nice to know that a powerful card with 9 strengths is definitely going to show up at the end of the game. But this also means she doesn’t hang around in your hand, which means she can’t be buffed or randomly thrown into the field early.

And while adding 9 powers at the end of a match can be useful, you’ll quickly run into games as you level up where 9 powers aren’t enough to win back a zone or lock something. Worse, America has no special abilities beyond showing up on turn 6. Then, like Quicksilver, she shows up and doesn’t really do anything. And unlike the Hulk who is very strong, America is only kind of strong. In a specific deck built around buffing, she can work, but 6 and even 5 cost cards are better to trade in instead.


An image shows the Marvel Snap card Domino.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

Let’s just throw this in here as well, while we’re talking about America Chavez and Quicksilver. Like these cards, Domino has a unique ability that means she’s guaranteed to end up in your hand on turn two. And as a 2-cost/3-power, she seems useful as a turn one Quicksilver follow-up. And early on you can definitely win with Domino. But eventually you have to get over these cards.

It’s hard, I know, but while giving up means giving up the consistency of always knowing what’s coming on rounds one, two, and six, you’re also giving up three slots in your little 12-card deck to characters for no other purpose. They buff, enhance, move, kill, destroy or do something useful like that. Again, in certain decks these cards can be useful. But there are only so many better cards you can use instead of Domino, Quicksilver and America. Say goodbye to consistency and hello to chaos. It is Marvel Snap road.


An image shows the Marvel Snap card Mantis.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

Mantis, like the other one Guardians of the Galaxy-related characters, have a reveal ability that appears when your opponent plays a card in that location on the same turn it is played. But unlike Gamora, Star-Lord or Rocket, Mantis doesn’t get a power-up, instead drawing a card from his opponent’s deck. This is fun and chaotic, which we support! Snap is more fun when things are hard to predict and wild. But this becomes far less useful in most situations rather quickly.

The number of times people play Mantis, get a card and never use that card because it doesn’t sync with the deck’s synergy is high. And that’s if your opponent plays a card that turn and you guessed the location correctly. If you don’t, Mantis is a lousy 1-cost/2-power paperweight just begging to be killed by Elektra or worse, left there with no way for you to remove it, taking up valuable real estate. So, yeah, ditched Mantis. And if you scream “Well, she’s part of my zoo!” right now, here’s more bad news…

Zoo Decks

One image shows a collage of low-cost, low-impact Marvel Snap cards.

Picture: Marvel / Second Dinner / Kotaku

The “Zoo Deck” was certainly one of the most popular meta decks Snapits early days, but in the face of the more common addition of Killmonger to players’ decks, it now proves a liability.

A Zoo Deck is a community name for decks that put together lots of low-cost cards, especially 1-cost cards, which often have animal art on them. (Not often enough to justify the name, but that’s the name they’ve been given anyway.) Advocates celebrate that they allow you to play more cards in later rounds, surprising players who rely on hefty 5 and 6 cost cards, like some kind of cheeky rogue running between the legs of the angry giant. Except, because of Killmonger, they’re pretty useless.

Killmonger looks to be an incredible OP card, although he can only be picked up by players who have reached collection level 462. At only 3 cost, with 3 power, it is a playable card from round 3 onwards, and devastatingly removes every single 1 cost card from the board. Yours and theirs. And people in pool 2 reports seeing it pops up a lot. The effects are brutal. Oh, and Zoo Decks can also be beaten badly by a Scorpion, which lowers the attack power of all the cards in your hand by one, which can easily cost you a close match when most of the 1 cost cards are low power. So yes, Zoo Decks are fun…but not worth it later.

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