Marvel Snap has been here for officially one full month, and in that time, it has, for better and for worse, taken over my life. I cannot get enough of playing this game, and in a short 30 days, I’ve managed to claw my way up the collection rank into the mid-700s. In that time, I’ve learned a thing or two about this little game and thought I might share some best practices.
Is there a card you’ve encountered that’s the final missing piece for that deck you’ve been building? Have you climbed rank after rank, frustrated that your silver bullet hasn’t shown up yet? Did you know that there is an invisible tier system integrated in the collection ranks that determines which cards you get? They’re called “card pools,” and as of this writing, there are three of them; which one you’re in determines the cards you pull. Here are the pools, their levels, and what cards you can get in each pool:
Pool 1 Cards — Collection Level 18 – 214
Pool 2 Cards — Collection level 222 – 474
Pool 3 Cards — Collection level 486+
All the cards within a pool are randomized, so, unfortunately, you’ll never know at what level you’ll crack open that Agatha Harkness, just that you have a chance to open her sometime after reaching collection level 486.
Location, location, location
The best laid decks with the most devastating combos (I’m looking at you, Odin / Wong) are absolutely no match for whatever locations fate decides to throw at you. As such, carry cards that are combo agnostic and can pull you out of any pinch. Pool 1 cards like Blue Marvel and Spider-Woman have not lost their utility even deep into Pool 3. (That Mister Negative, a Pool 3 card that swaps your cards’ power and cost values, synergizes perfectly with Blue Marvel, allowing you to play him on turn 3 instead of 5, is a great example of this.) And at 6 energy with 12 power, Hulk is still a handy card to keep around, especially in those low-scoring games when nobody’s combo pulls off just right or if you’ve got a Wave deck.
Also, and I cannot stress this enough: read! A location will tell you exactly what is and is not permissible so pay close attention. The Sanctum Sanctorum won’t let you play cards there but doesn’t say anything about moving cards there. Similarly, the Miniaturized Lab says no cards can be added there, which caught me and my usual Iron Fist / Multiple Man opening by surprise.
(Pro tip: I shouldn’t be telling you this because it is my deck’s bread and butter right now, but Kraven triggers when any cards move to his location, not just his controller’s. The amount of people who also move their cards when I play Cloak in Kraven’s location is deeply concerning but also... deeply, deeply funny. Keep it up.)
When in doubt, Snap it out
Did you not pull any of your combo cards? Are you sitting with a dead hand on turn 4? Snap! More than a way to get you up the collection ladder faster, snapping is a great bluffing tool you can use to your advantage when you have a shitty hand. The mere act of snapping on turn 2-4 can scare your opponent into conceding, even when you know that Squirrel Girl ain’t gonna save you.
Take a break
This is gonna be blasphemy to hear, but since I’ve graduated to the higher collection levels where card rewards are even further spaced out, I’ve found that it’s better to play less often. I like going a full day without playing or playing only once a day because it gives missions — little quests that reward battle pass points and credits — time to accumulate. Opening my phone after a long and stressful day of not playing Snap means I have so many missions to complete. That, in turn, gives me a boatload of credits with which to advance up the collection tiers, giving me a better feeling of progress than when I would play during every free moment.
Believe in the heart of the cards
Finally, my best piece of advice is to just fucking go for it. In most card games, the game is over and done long before anybody swings for lethal damage. In Marvel Snap, even the most hopeless game is still winnable by sheer luck. In a recent match, I had my opponent dead to rights. All three locations were well under my control, and nothing, I thought, they could have done on turn 6 would change that. Then they played Galactus, and what ended up being a guaranteed win ended in a draw.
It was the kind of “loss” that doesn’t make you mad but actually gives you admiration and respect for your opponent. That’s the great thing about Marvel Snap: even when you lose, you win. So don’t do the math, play that risky Heimdall, and let the cards fall (to the left) where they may.
This isn’t a comprehensive list and, frankly, probably not even the “best” practices. At the end of the day, Marvel Snap’s uniqueness, with its varied, random location abilities and effects, makes it really difficult to establish a singular meta — i.e., the best way to win — the way you can in other card games like Magic: Arena and Hearthstone. Also, Marvel Snap is just more fun when you wing it, so get out there and wing it.