Table of Contents
- Deck Presentation
- Concept and Strategy
- Core Cards
- Card Substitutions
- Other Ways to Build the Archetype
- Snap and Retreat
- Turn by Turn Breakdown
- Closing Words
After reading comments regarding my first three deck guides for Marvel Snap Zone, I realize that even if many of you could enjoy the articles, on some occasions you can’t play the deck because some card is missing.
Considering this makes me think about presenting a deck without Series 4 and Series 5 cards that can compete against the current meta. Finding one that can be good enough wasn’t that hard. A few weeks ago I was working with Cerebro 2, the most solid iteration of Cerebro decks. I climbed 23 ranks with it and without many complications. Looking at my stats again using the Marvel Snap Tracker made me realize that the deck is good enough to try again.
I played some Conquest matches with it, and to my surprise, I was able to win against Evolved Lockjaw and Bounce, my first two opponents. That led me to start working with the archetype again and let me tell you, I think there’s no better deck to play right now with just Series 3 cards.
At first glance, a deck where all your cards have so little power might seem weak, but Cerebro 2 is far from it.
I started playing this deck a month and a half ago, and with almost 150 games with it I believe keeping a 61.22% win rate and .90 average Cubes per game, it’s a clear sign of solidity. That’s the main reason that makes me keep a deck among my 20 deck options. If the stats back them up, no matter how much time passes, I’ll have them there ready for the right time.
Concept and Strategy
Certainly, Cerebro 2 is an easy deck to play in general terms. However, I think it requires a difficult skill to develop in this game and that is discipline.
When all the cards have the same power, choosing where to play each one is usually not complicated. The difficult thing is having the ability to accept when the game is favorable and retreat despite losing 1 Cube or 1 HP and wait for favorable circumstances, which, with a deck like this, its redundancy means that in the long run, good games end up coming sooner or later.
For those of you who have never played this strategy, the idea behind Cerebro is simple. If we manage to make all our cards in play have the same power, Cerebro will give +2 to all of them since they will all be “our highest power card”.
We were able to maximize this idea by playing Mystique after Cerebro, giving +4 to all our team and Blue Marvel, who by having 3 power and giving +1 to the rest of our cards, will make our entire side of the field have 3 power, making the effect of Cerebro remain active.
Since its first appearance, this deck has had many versions to this day. The fact that any card with 2 power can be considered has meant that many things have been tested and little by little the list became what today is considered the base. I will present first the cards that in my opinion must undoubtedly be present, and then the others, explaining their current reason for being in the deck at the moment.
If any of those cards did not exist, the deck would simply be a pile of good cards with no ability to compete. Now, being able to have all 3 in the same deck working in unison transforms the whole concept into something that allows us to make 28 points in two locations simultaneously. It may not sound impressive, but this is enough to compete against the strongest decks in the meta.
To achieve this, all we have to do is play our cards in two locations, trying to leave a space in one of them for Blue Marvel on turn 5. This will take all our cards to have 3 power. In this way and an ideal game, playing Cerebro + Mystique together on turn 6 will boost each of our cards up to 7 power, which leaves us with two locations with 28 points and the location where we play Cerebro and Mystique with 2 total power.
This is the conventional way to play, but we can divide this power between the 3 locations and end the game by competing for all 3 locations if necessary even if our point total is slightly lower. Getting three locations with 21+ power is not complicated.
A few months ago, Luke Cage was a 2/1, and playing Cerebro 2 was somewhat very hard. Something easy to learn playing this archetype is that many locations heavily disrupt our plan. Anything that modifies the power of our cards positively or negatively it’s enough for turning off our symmetry making Cerebro buff useless. Play Cerebro 3, an iteration of the archetype where having Scarlet Witch and Rhino was usually enough to use to be more common.
Nevertheless, despite this, the archetype still struggled against Scorpion, Hazmat, or cards with similar effects, which made the inclusion of Luke Cage gradually become mandatory to mitigate this. Its most recent buff was enough to transform Cerebro 2 into the best version among all Cerebro decks since in the company of Storm we not only managed to ignore 1 or 2 locations, but we can avoid multiple negative effects thanks to Luke and using Storm in a more flexible way allowing us to remove any other location that could hinder our plans.
In addition to what has been said, Storm also allows us to put the tempo of the game in our favor. Flooding a location allows us to pressure the opponent and force them to play in it. thanks to Brood and Mister Sinister, we can fill the Storm location without a problem, and thanks to our aforementioned Buffing Core, increasing the points of the location without playing in it allows us to win it consistently.
These two cards are what allow us to fill the locations without much trouble. In a game like Snap where the decks only have 12 cards and we start the game with a 3-card hand, it would be difficult to be able to play enough cards to have two locations full of cards with 2 power if we thought of doing it conventionally.
Disruption and Control
Thanks to these cards we can play against decks that have cards that are inherently stronger than our own.
Our plan tends to be simple. Delaying an important card thanks to Iceman causes our opponents’ plans which are usually a bit more elaborate to stumble, allowing us to carry on with our simple mission calmly. For its part, Scorpion helps us reduce the power of the cards in our opponents’ hands. Doing so means that cards that normally could easily compete against an archetype like ours don’t have such an easy time.
This combination is strong enough that for a long time, it came to be considered the best in the game. Decks had to play Sunspot + Armor or Iceman + Scorpion or it was understood that something was going wrong with your deck.
As for Goose, the explanation is simple. Having the ability to limit a location to low-cost cards lets us know that we won’t have much of a problem winning with low-powered cards there. In the same way, the Silver Surfer archetypes use Goose, Cerebro 2 uses this Kitten so that, in combination with Storm, two locations are not very accessible to the opponent and our combo with Cerebro is more than enough to win them.
If some 2 power card came out sometime in the future that was strong enough to be considered in the archetype, I’d probably think about using one of these two slots to try it out.
Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that these two cards are not good. Starting with M'Baku, few opponents expect it, and in our deck, it can mean 7 points on the last turn out of nowhere and at no cost! Keeping it always present allows us to snap at times when the opponent does not understand what is happening.
Nightcrawler also has good moments in the decks. Being able to enter or exit Storm’s locations or gain some conventionally inaccessible location. Before Jeff the Baby Land Shark‘s release, Nightcrawler was much more popular, and although it’s less seen now, in this archetype it does not go bad at all.
Mister Fantastic has always seemed like a solid card to me, no matter how you look at it. Technically a 3/6 without drawbacks is something that can always be taken into account. It works well with Storm and gives us points in all locations without taking away our symmetry.
Perhaps, our only issue with this particular deck is its cost. Normally we will prefer to play 2 cards on turn 3 to fill our locations more (or do it by playing Brood).
The combination of these cards has always been something to consider when playing this deck. The information Daredevil gives us is always valuable, and being able to play Hobgoblin on turn 5 without fear of missing is very strong.
I’ve seen versions even with Green Goblin. In both cases, the goblins allow us to disturb the opponent’s side, cripple their strategy by taking up spaces on the board, and make the point difference bigger without messing up our combo in the process.
When Luke Cage‘s buff happened, Hazmat also received the same treatment. Logic certainly led the archetype quickly to try playing both in the same deck and while it’s not a bad idea, after testing it, it seems to me that the deck is more consistent without it.
If we play Hazmat we are forced to have to draw Luke Cage or play Hazmat as our first card. In addition to this, Hazmat is usually always better in the last turn of the game, and it’s not bad to play it if we already have Luke in the field, but if our best turn 6 is to play Cerebro + Mystique, find the best turn for Hazmat is usually complicated.
I certainly think it’s possible to play Hazmat on this archetype, but it requires a lot more discipline than is already necessary when playing this archetype since while it does add a second relevant win condition, you have to wait for Luke Cage.
Iron Man is one of the latest innovations for the deck. It’s an interesting idea to explore as it allows us to strongly boost a location without breaking the symmetry.
Other Ways to Build the Archetype
Some of the ideas I mentioned above may allow us to build the deck in other ways. The fact that the only requirement for a card to be tested in the deck is that its power be 2 means that there are always quite a few options to try.
Snap and Retreat
This archetype has a clear idea of how the board may look during each turn. Unlike other decks, is easy to know when we want to Snap or Retreat. Having the discipline to make any of these decisions when appropriate is key to success.
We should snap:
- On turn 2 if we already play something on turn 1, we have a play for turn 2 and 3 and we have Cerebro.
- Before turn 3 if we played Iceman + Scorpion on curve + Cerebro
- On turn 3 before playing Storm if we have Brood or Mister Sinister + Nightcrawler as a follow-up and we also have Cerebro.
- Before playing a card on turn 4 if we played Goose on turn 2 and Storm on turn 3 locking two locations and we have something to play on Flooding.
- On turn 4 or before playing Blue Marvel on turn 5 if we have Cerebro.
- During turn 5 if we have Cerebro + Mystique for turn 6.
- On turn 6 if M'Baku is still on your deck and its power is going to be enough for winning a location, no matter where it jumps.
Retreat is mandatory if:
- Any card or location break or symmetry and we don’t have Luke Cage and/or Storm for dealing with it.
- You don’t draw Cerebro and Blue Marvel + Mystique is not going to be enough.
- Altar of Death, Death's Domain, Vormir: Good for us thanks to Brood and Mister Sinister.
- Kamar-Taj: works well with Iceman, Scorpion, Mister Sinister, and Brood.
- Mojoworld: very easy to compete for us. The same goes for The Sacred Timeline and The Raft.
- Onslaught Citadel: Fantastic for Cerebro, Mystique, and Blue Marvel.
- Quantum Realm: We don’t have penalties here, and Cerebro + Mystique are going to be also part of our buffed cards.
- The Big House: I love a game where we have double Goose.
- TVA: We have a very good early game.
- Atlantis, Aunt May's, Muir Island, Nidavellir: All of these locations are really bad for us, we need Storm for playing games with these locations in play. Muir Island is something we could use for Cerebro and Mystique during the last turns.
- Crimson Cosmos: This is most of the time an instant-retreat.
- Jotunheim, Sewer System, Necrosha, Negative Zone: Unplayable without Luke Cage. With Luke Cage, the game is not only playable but something were we should consider snapping.
- The Space Throne: 7 power is our best-case scenario here.
- Wakandan Embassy: This mess up with our symmetry heavily… But it’s a playable game if this hits Cerebro and Mystique instead of other cards.
- X-Mansion and Monster Island: Both also mess with our symmetry.
In the case of Bounce, playing Iceman and Scorpion on curve undoubtedly hurts them a lot. Do not miss the opportunity of playing both cards as soon as possible. In the same way, Storm is usually quite annoying to them since it’s right on turns 3, 4, and 5 that they start to enable their game plan and Storm forces them to respond immediately.
It might seem very difficult to beat a deck with many high-power cards. However, our gameplan can be annoying for them.
In this case and as I have said in other articles, the best time to play Iceman is turn 2 to give us the best chance to delay Lockjaw or Thor. Doing it on turn 3 is also relevant since we can delay Dracula or Jubilee.
Goose is important here, as while they can get high-cost cards in Goose’s location, they are dependent on RNG if they try to find high-power cards with Lockjaw and it lets us know that they can’t naturally play cards like Hulk or Magneto in that location. Playing Goose during mid-game in a different location than Lockjaw also let us secure one location without many problems.
Storm is also important, as even though they can play Jubilee there, they again rely on having a good pull with it. Even playing Doom, we can put more power in that location thanks to Cerebro than they can with Doom Bots.
Off all the decks featured in this section, I think this is the one we need to be most careful with overall.
The game can turn in curious ways. While some cards that Sera Control plays don’t affect us like Shang-Chi and some others could give us favorable results like Scarlet Witch, some others like Killmonger or Enchantress can be very annoying.
Beating Kitty Pryde, Bishop, or Hit Monkey on points isn’t really a problem, but for that, you have to play very carefully and always do so by playing around Enchantress and Killmonger. Try to save a 1-cost card (or think about M’baku) for the final turns after Killmonger has been played, and always play thinking about getting Cerebro to dodge Enchantress.
Depending on the circumstances Blue Marvel or Cerebro could help us as bait for the Enchantress and if we have priority we can recover the buff before the Enchantress effect resolve thanks to Mystique. If Blue Marvel lures Enchantress it will be a win for us and will allow us to play Cerebro last turn.
Cerebro, Blue Marvel, and Mystique allow us to put more points than them on the board since they provide us with more powerful buffs than Silver Surfer alone. We just have to keep in mind that they could play Rogue and they will surely play Killmonger, so, the annotations said for the match against Sera Control (where they play Killmonger and Enchantress) are just as valid here.
Turn by Turn Breakdown
- Turn 1: Iceman, M'Baku, or Nightcrawler. Just remember that properly timing Iceman against certain decks is key for disrupting their plans, so, save it for turn 2 or 3 only against decks where you know the possibilities of blocking a crucial card are higher.
- Turn 2: I prefer to play Goose most of the time. Saving Luke Cage for the late game can get you many 4-8 cube games, just don’t forget to do the maths. Mister Sinister is something we prefer to save for turn 3 if we don’t have Brood. If Brood is in our hand, playing Mister Sinister on turn 2 is better than Goose if we already know that Goose doesn’t affect our opponents’ plan.
- Turn 3: Storm is going to be our preferred play. Playing Brood is our second-best play. Playing Cerebro on turn 3 is not out of logic if we can copy its effect on turn 4 with Mystique or if we know that we have a way to protect it (like locking the location later with Storm or Goose can stop Enchantress).
- Turn 4: This turn is going to be our “follow-up” turn, where we are going to do our best to maximize our board presence depending on how well our early game went.
- Turn 5: Blue Marvel is what we are expecting here, but we have many ways of spending 5 energy for spread our board in case we don’t have Blue Marvel in our hand.
- Turn 6: The ideal scenario will be to play Cerebro + Mystique and get two locations with 28 total power. Failing to do so happens from time to time, but when it does, playing Cerebro + any other card(s) is usually more than enough for getting 15-20 points in two locations. The same happens if we play Cerebro earlier and Mystique and/or Blue Marvel come into play during turns 5 or 6.
I hope this guide, dear readers, has been to your liking. Thinking about working with a deck without pool 4 and pool 5 cards was thanks to reading your comments on past articles and social media and taking them into account. I know it can be frustrating to want to play an archetype and not have the cards, but I’m sure that Cerebro 2 is a deck that many of you can put together and achieve your in-game goals. Just don’t forget; you have to play with discipline!
I appreciate the support of the entire community on my streams as well as your comments on my social media (links below). I think Cerebro 2 can compete with the great decks in the current meta. Given the strength it’s gained from Luke Cage, I think it’s a stable deck to go to Infinite and get those Conquest wins also!
See you soon in the next guide and as always, don’t forget to smile; it certainly makes a difference.
Enjoy our content? You can Support Marvel Snap Zone and your favorite content creators by subscribing to our Premium community! Get the most of your Marvel Snap experience with the following perks for paid membership:
- No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
- Exclusive Content: Get instant access to all our Premium articles!
- Meta Reports: Exclusive daily meta reports, such as the Top 10 Decks of the Day, Top 30 Cards, and Top Card Pairs tailored for you!
- Team Coaching: Join our free weekly team coaching call sessions on the Discord server. Claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn and discuss in real time!
- Premium Dashboard: Get full instant access to the member-only dashboard, the all-in-one page for all your benefits.
- Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience! You get also get a Premium badge and border on your profile.
- Special offer: For a limited time, use coupon code SBYREX4RL1 to get 50% off the Annual plan!