Apocalypse

Discard Ability Guide: Decks, Cards, Synergies, and Counters

Marvel Snap features a lot of different cards, all with different abilities, representing ways to affect a match. In these series of guides, we will go in-depth on each of these specific abilities, covering their strengths, weaknesses, and favored gameplay.

After the piece on the On Reveal ability, we will discuss the Discard synergy, one where we accept to purposefully throw cards out of our hand. In doing so, we are aiming to activate synergies with other cards, or transform the discarded one into a better version of what it was.

Through exploring its strengths, weaknesses, and possible builds, this guide aims at offering a good entry point into the discard synergy.

Most of the time, newer players might not be familiar with the hand manipulation that involves discarding some of our hand. Later in your game experience though, you should encounter much more decks using the discard as a key or a support mechanic, as it packs some of the best games in the game currently.


What is the Discard Ability?

The whole point of the Discard synergy is to manipulate our hand to discard specific cards. Through discarding we unlock specific synergies such as Swarm who duplicates himself when discarded, Wolverine, who summons himself, or Apocalypse, which comes back in your hand with an extra 4 points.

There are 2 types of discard oriented cards: General discard or targeted discard.

General Discard

General discard cards usually grant more power compared to the average card for their energy, the extra cost of losing a card from your hand being reflected in the points awarded.

For example, Blade is a 3 power card, where the average 1 energy is a 2 point card. Sword Master is a 4 energy, 7 points cards where most other cards are netting 4 to 5 points at that cost.

Typically, you will use those cards later in the game, once you managed your hand a bit and are able to control what you will discard with the effect.

Specific Discard

Specific discard units will tell you what they discard before you play them, except if you have several cards matching the condition, then it will be random amongst those.

Targeted discard cards tend to be used in a much more synergistic way than the generic discard ones can be. As you get much more control of what you will discard, the need to manage your hand appropriately reduces.

Currently, a staple 1-2 punch in the discard arsenal is the combination of Lady Sif discarding a 6 cost unit early on so that Ghost Rider can bring it back for free later on.

One key point to the discard synergy is that you can play cards with a discard effect even if they have no target in your hand. The discard effect isn’t a condition to be able to play the card.


When are Cards Discarded?

Discard effects are On Reveal cards, meaning you will toss the card(s) out of your hand when your card is flipped onto the board.

This specific point is particularly important as it can be a dealbreaker for a few reasons:

  • Depending on who reveals their cards first, you or your opponent could interact with your hand before or after your discard effect have triggered. For example, let’s say you play a discard effect and Moon Girl in the same turn. If you discard before Moon Girl reveals, you will not get a copy of the card you discarded. If Moon Girl reveals before your discard effect, though, then you will copy the card before it leaves your hand.
  • Combined with Cosmo or Knowhere, you can play cards without triggering their discard effect.
  • You can play your cards in order to have your specific discards trigger before or after your generic discards, as a way to maximize the chances of hitting the perfect discard.
  • The effects of cards you discard will trigger immediately upon being discarded, before revealing your other cards.
  • If you empty your hand during the turn, your cards with a discard effect will still be in play and counting towards your power total.

Discard Cards: Strengths

At the time I am writing this guide (early July 2022), discard is slowly becoming one of the most talked about ability in the game. At the start of Season 2, several players have revealed using a discard oriented deck in order to reach the Infinite rank.

The reason for this surge of discard decks in the current metagame is the mighty power of Swarm, which I consider to be one of the biggest strength to the archetype.

While it is obvious why Swarm should be played in any discard oriented deck, the card allows the whole discard mechanic to collaborate with completely different cards as well.

The Collector, for example, is a card that gets buffed whenever Swarm is discarded as you are receiving new cards in your hand. Nakia or Okoye are another example of a synergy, as Swarm keeps the buffs he received when creating copies of himself.

As such, outside simply being a solid synergy overall, with good numbers on its cards and a solid cast to pick from in order to build a 12 cards deck. The discard ability is able to create bridges with other powerful cards in the game to create cohesive decks with various play patterns.

Another card that is currently making the discard strategies quite popular is Ghost Rider. The combo with Lady Sif to summon The Infinaut or other big 6 energy units is already being considered nerf worthy by some top players. Especially as both cards can be played in the same turn, completely blindsiding the opponent who rarely expects to see 23 powers to come down on an empty location.

This kind of very effective play patterns, allowing to ignore the requirements of certain cards to be played, is exactly why Discard is slowly becoming one of the strongest archetypes in the game.


Discard cards: Weaknesses and Counters

While it is something that can be worked on over time, the discard synergy isn’t high on the list of the easiest archetypes to play with.

Managing your hand, timing your discards right and sequencing your reveals to maximize your chances is a skill that will take a bit of time to master.

Outside the sheer difficulty of playing discard, it is difficult to find some obvious weaknesses to it in the current state of things, but several counters do exist:

  • Leech makes Swarm and Apocalypse worthless to discard anymore.
  • Wave sets the cost of every Swarm in your opponent’s hand to 4, limiting their play to only 1, no matter how many times they discarded it in the past.
  • Sandman is another Wave like effect, limiting the synergy the opponent can develop in a turn.

Budget Discard Deck Build

When you start the game, you won’t have access to most cards worthy of playing a full discard deck. Swarm, Morbius or Hellcow won’t be available before quite some time as you will need to search through both Pool 2 and Pool 3 in order to find all the required cards.

As such, budget decks will most of the time use the discard ability as a support mechanic rather than have a deck completely revolving around it. For example, decks with a lot of cheap cards have the ability to easily manage their hand and set up their preferred discard or even not pay the discard requirement at all.

It is exactly the concept of this budget deck, looking to use the many 1 drops to buff-up Angela and only keep Apocalypse in hand to discard him as much as possible.
Another take on this deck exists as we remove Lady Sif for Strong Guy and Apocalypse for America Chavez. Emptying our hand then buffs Strong Guy, and we have the guarantee of a solid turn 6 with America Chavez.

Budget Discard Zoo 1
Created by den
, updated 3 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
9x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Recruit Season
2.3
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.2
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Budget Discard Zoo 2
Created by den
, updated 3 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
9x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Recruit Season
2.3
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.3
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Competitive Discard Deck Build

As already stated, the discard mechanic is a very strong one once we get in later stages of the collection track. Cards like Swarm, Hellcow or Ghost Rider are making our decks reach new highs while allowing us to play a discard focused deck.

While in the budget versions, the discard synergy would act as the support to the deck overall gameplan, the competitive builds work around the discard mechanic, finding ways to support it as good as possible.

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

In this deck, we are looking to abuse the discard synergy either with Swarm or with Apocalypse. This allows us to create either several cards to flood several locations or build one huge card to guarantee we are winning a specific one.

The support cards are Nakia, The Collector and Moon Girl. They help us in boosting Swarm’s power, threatening an extra location or making extra copies of our cheap cards to get more discard fodders or effects. Check out the full deck highlight:


Closing Words

Because there are many cards which are difficult to collect, preventing the archetype from being a mainstream one yet, Discard isn’t talked about much outside the top level of play.

Yet, if we take a look at the early performing decks in season 2 – Love and Thunder, we can see many high ranked players from Season 1 make the climb with Discard oriented builds. As such, I fully expect this ability to gain a lot of traction as time passes, and become a staple archetype in the future.

If you had any questions regarding this guide or simply on Marvel Snap in general, feel free to drop a comment in the section below. You can also check our other guides as all the other synergy will be covered here.

For a direct contact, you can add me on Twitter or Discord (den#3613).

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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