Building Decks With Cards That I Don’t Own and Finding Replacements

Want to play a list you like from the tier list, but missing one or two cards? Den takes a look at how to address situations where you need to find a replacement!

In a previous episode, we covered how to be competitive if you are extremely limited by your collection in Marvel Snap.
In today’s piece, we will continue down this road and talk about being limited in terms of having most of a deck, but not one or two cards.

In almost every card game I have been a part of, and especially Marvel Snap, conventional wisdom is that a player should be creative to overcome the limitations of their collection. This means they should not look at a deck list for its exact 12 cards, but rather for inspiration.

In reality, there are decks that truly can’t function without certain cards, and not owning those cards means the archetype is much weaker, maybe unplayable.

That said, I won’t do our readership the insult of covering the obvious cases like missing Mister Negative for a Negative deck. Today’s article will focus on situations where it is difficult to know if we should look for a replacement, or simply wait until we can play the deck with the 12 in the list.


Mystique: Marvel Snap’s Power Amplifier

This one is my personal struggle in Marvel Snap. I still don’t have Mystique, which limits the decks I can build.

Cards like Patriot, Sera, Iron Man, Cerebro or even Wong are regarded as extremely strong. I have all those cards, but still feel as though I cannot use them at full strength without Mystique.
The fact I don’t have Mystique doesn’t mean all these cards are unplayable. The impact of her absence varies depending on the importance of the card to their deck, and their flexibility outside their signature builds.

  • Sera and Iron Man: These are two of the strongest cards in the game right now. When they are paired with Mystique, they aren’t the ones who need help. Instead, Mystique gets played in their decks because copying these abilities is so good.
    As a result, it is absolutely fine to play Sera or Iron Man without Mystique. The deck passes up on a great synergy opportunity, but doesn’t become much weaker in terms of the core gameplan.
  • Wong: Wong is a support card to the On Reveal synergy, meaning the card tends to be run with a package of other cards.
    The Wongoing deck might not be worth running anymore without Mystique, as the Wong plus Mystique combo is part of the win condition. Otherwise, Wong isn’t a card that becomes unplayable because I’m missing Mystique. I can still use it in the Discard deck, for example.
    In that regard, Mystique limits how much I can abuse Wong’s potential, and not having her might make some Wong decks unplayable. However, it doesn’t make Wong as a card totally useless.
  • Patriot and Cerebro: Once we enter the realm of cards that serve as a true win condition, missing Mystique becomes a bigger blow. For cards like Patriot or Cerebro, Mystique basically represents doubling the potential of your win condition. Compared to Sera and Iron Man, which are incredibly strong but don’t mean an auto-loss if you don’t draw into them, the blow is much more difficult to absorb here.
    In this case, the only correct way to look at it is to wonder if the deck can develop enough points without Mystique included. For now, it looks like that answer is a no, unfortunately.

When looking at a card that enables others to perform better, the big question to ask is which one is the enabler, and which one is being enabled.
Iron Man and Sera are enablers, meaning it is Mystique that benefits the most from this relationship.
Yet, if we look at Patriot, Mystique enables the deck to be played at full strength, which looks mandatory to reach a good enough win rate.


Doctor Doom: The Strong Standalone Card

Another card I have been dying to collect for some time now is Doctor Doom. The card looks to be so good in so many decks, from Sandman decks (which I love), or just ramp archetypes. However, there isn’t a deck I cannot play because I don’t own Doctor Doom.

The reason for this is that Doctor Doom isn’t specifically necessary to any deck. It is a great card, but to me, it is simply another possibility in the ocean of 6-Cost cards.

In this scenario, our focus should to be figuring out what the card brings to the deck, so we can find something filling a similar role, if one exists.

If I look at Doctor Doom, here are a few reasons I would want him in my deck :

  • #1 : I think it’s one of the better 6-Cost cards in the game, and I want X 6-Cost cards in my deck.
  • #2 : I believe its ability to impact multiple lanes at once is key to my deck
  • #3 : I like that I can trigger it again thanks to Odin’s ability.
  • #4 : I simply need the large amount of points he develops.

Understanding which of these reasons I believe is the most important in my deck will make it much easier for me to figure out a good replacement for the card:

Through identifying the role of the card of the card in my deck, I’m able to build a framework for finding logical replacements. They might not be as strong, but at least my deck functions as I planned.


Dracula: The Keystone To New Playstyles

The last kind of card that you can work around the absence of is a card that provides flexibility to a chosen archetype. For example, Dracula, a card that I only got very recently.

Up until now, I was playing my Discard deck with the intent to abuse Discard cards to grow Apocalypse and multiply Swarm, as a way to build a devastating turn six.
So my deck looked something like this:

Discard Before
Created by den
, updated 3 months ago
8x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
3x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Then I got Dracula, and obviously was looking at how to incorporate into my deck. My current build was quite weird to play it as it was looking to play more of a tempo oriented game plan. Instead, Dracula feels much better when played in a combo build. Not having to reserve turn six for Apocalypse allows us to be much more flexible.

In other words, Dracula opened up a different avenue for me to play around the Discard synergy:

Discard After
Created by den
, updated 3 months ago
6x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

The core of the strategy was still the same, with nine cards shared between both decks. The difference came from Dracula freeing up turn 6 for me, which meant I could think differently as to how to attack the various locations.

In this last scenario, Dracula wasn’t preventing me from playing Discard at all. It was gatekeeping specific version of the Discard deck, but the synergy still had a lot of merits nonetheless.


Closing Words

Marvel Snap is built in such a way that it will always be frustrating to look at our collection, one way or another. You may be missing a tech card in a specific deck, or missing the ability to build a specific deck because of a missing card. Due to this, the whole game revolves around adapting to an incomplete collection.

While we don’t have that many cards to play with yet, I feel there already are several ways to adapt to a lackluster collection. It probably isn’t optimal, but it allows virtually anyone to be able to play with what they are given.

I hope this insight at how to work around missing a certain card was helpful. As usual, feel free to join our community discord and find me on my Twitter page.

Good Game Everyone,

den
den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yu-Gi-Oh! and then Magic: The Gathering.

Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on these games.

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