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How to: Retreat

Ever wanted to know how to upgrade your Marvel Snap game? This in-depth guide to Retreating, one of the game's fundamental components, will help you climb the ladder more efficiently and effectively, plus even help complete Missions and get Season Pass XP!

Welcome back to another How to Guide! Today, we are breaking down Retreating, it’s important, how to effectively use it while climbing, and useful tips. If you haven’t seen it already, make sure to check out our How to: Snap article!

Retreating is a fundamental component of Marvel Snap that will heavily dictate how well you climb ranks. Even if you care nothing about ranks, Retreating still has uses for you! Let’s break down the mechanic:

The Basics

The mechanics of Retreating are fairly simple. You can end the game at any point and take a cube loss while giving your opponent the victory.

The Retreat button is in the bottom left corner of every game. By tapping/clicking it, a sub menu will appear giving 2 options: Retreat now or Retreat Later. You can also tap off menu to cancel the retreat if you haven’t selected an option yet. Using Retreat Now will instantly end the game and give you a loss. Using Retreat Later will keep the match going, but only until your opponent ends their turn or also retreats. If one player uses Retreat Later, and the other player also retreats, the game ends in a draw, where neither player gains or loses cubes.

Simple enough, right? With the basic mechanics out of the way, let’s talk about WHY you should Retreat.

Why Retreat

Lose Less Cubes

Marvel Snap has a high amount of luck in the game, be it via location luck, card draw luck, or bad matchup luck. Instead of mitigating this luck with a mulligan, like other games do, or removing it entirely (making the game repetitive), the developers use the Retreat system. Got a bad location set? Draw your high cost cards first and lose tempo? Opponent runs Sandman against your Sera? Time to Retreat! By retreating strategically, you can save cubes and time spent in bad matches.


You can also retreat to complete some of those tricky daily challenges and seasonal missions! If you retreat after turn 3, you gain progress towards missions even though you didn’t complete a full match. This includes missions like “Win all 3 Locations in a Match Mission Guide and Decks” or “Win a Location with only 1 Card Mission Guide and Decks“.

Missions also count if your opponent snaps on any turn. If you are on turn 2 and are winning a lane, if your opponent snaps you can retreat and gain any applicable missions! It does not, however, compete the seasonal mission “Win a game with all 3 locations won” because you also have to win the game.

Season Pass XP

Similarly, you can also gain Season Pass XP to collect Season Caches by retreating after turn 3 or after a snap! You gain 10 XP per lane won, plus 1 XP per turn completed. If you are at Infinite, you can technically grind XP by playing a deck that puts a lot of power out in multiple locations early (Like Squirrel Girl + Patriot or Bast + Mysterio) and retreat on the start of turn 4 to gain up to 33 XP per match. Of course, your rank will drop, but at Infinite that probably doesn’t matter to you.

In a non-grinding situation, you may also decide to retreat if your opponent Snaps and the match is early, but you are winning several locations. You might decide to just reset and take the quick XP progress instead of possibly losing and losing more locations (which means less XP after a longer match).

Knowing When to Retreat

Using your Retreats effectively is key to climbing ranks. Many players struggle with this as they don’t know when to call it quits, or are too invested in a match and want to either see if they can maybe win or want to see what their opponent is going to do. Here are the best ways to know when it’s time to Retreat:

1. Your opponent snaps and you don’t have an answer

This could mean you have a bad hand, are behind on tempo, get locked out of a lane, or don’t have the counter to your opponents deck. If you see lots of “No Ability” cards and your opponent snaps before playing Patriot, if you don’t have Enchantress or another counter, you might want to Retreat and move onto next match.

2. You lose your win condition

If Sokovia discards Hela, Yondu destroys Mister Negative, or Cosmo blocks your Wong, you may want to cut your losses and move on. It’s not always impossible to win these scenarios, but losing a key point of your decks game plan will severely hinder you from victory.

3. Bad luck

As bad luck is explained in the previous section, these moments (locations, draw, matchups) are typically good times to retreat and reset your luck. If your opponent hasn’t snapped, you can always save the retreat until later to see if they also have bad luck that match. Your only downside to waiting is losing time that could be spent in favorable matches that you could be Snapping to boost cube gains.

When NOT to Retreat

Not every game should be retreated if it isn’t going perfect for you. In the Sokovia example, you may have lost Hela, but your opponent might have lost Patriot. If nobody snapped, it may be worth sticking out the match longer to see if a win is likely with the remaining cards. You can always retreat later if your situation doesn’t improve.

You should also not retreat just because your opponent Snaps. If you have counters or generally have a good setup, it might be worth the risk. Your opponent could also be bluffing with a Snap. With reading bluffs, however, it is important to study the situation and address the likelihood of a snap. If your opponent is playing Galactus, but the final turn can only be won if they happen to run Doctor Doom, there is a good chance a Snap might be bluffing Doctor Doom. In reality, Galactus decks don’t run Doom, so you can read the situation to take the risk. In that same scenario, if Doom wins but the opponent is playing Patriot, there is a good chance they have it since Doom is used in those deck styles, so retreating is the smarter decision.

Another time you shouldn’t retreat is on the final turns in Infinite ranks. If you reach Infinite, ranks don’t matter. I personally found that staying in all matches, regardless of inevitable defeat, can many times teach you things! It can teach you play patterns of decks, reveal combos you haven’t seen before, or highlight how many opponents actually Snap to bluff. These defeats can help you grow as a player and prepare you for next seasons climb! It can be helpful to make notes for yourself in these practice situations. You may think “I would have retreated here normally, but I will play it out to see what happens”, and once the match ends, keep a tally on if it was correct or not to leave that match. If so, keep to your gut and retreat. If not, you may want to stick matches out more often.

When to Use Retreat Later vs Now

Many players have asked “why would I ever use Retreat Later?” The important distinction between the two is when you know 100% that you will lose vs there being a chance your opponent may also think they are losing. A perfect example is with Subterranea. If you draw all Rocks the entire game, you may see there isn’t a way to win the game. However, your opponent may have also drawn all Rocks and thus may also consider retreating. If you “Retreat Now” you guarantee the loss and give your opponent a win. By choosing “Retreat Later”, you unlock the possibility your opponent may also retreat and end the game in a draw where neither player has to lose.

Why wouldn’t you always Retreat later? By technicality, Retreating later is always better as it always leaves the potential open for a draw. It’s downside is consuming your time. If you definitely can’t win, such as your opponent has locked all lanes down and is winning, there is no way they would retreat. Using “Retreat Now” saves both players time by not prolonging the inevitable. So you can use it every match, though you may often just be wasting time you could have spent searching for your next match.

Why wouldn’t I just wait until the end of the turn to see if they Retreat, thus giving me a win instead of a draw? While there is that possibility, you are more likely just wasting your and your opponent’s time, especially if your opponent has chosen “Retreat Later” and is just waiting on you to make a decision. So in short, don’t be rude and waste everyone’s time. If you think they may Retreat too, use “Retreat Later” to respect your opponents time and be happy with a draw that saved you cubes.

As a special note, the game currently doesn’t do a great job telling you the match ended in a draw if both players Retreated. There will be a note that says “Your Opponent Retreated” (just like if they left normally), but it will show right before your screen displays “Retreated!” Your cube count will also not move on the final screen, though cube losses display so quickly, it is hard to always know if you lost cubes or not. Hopefully the developers update this soon to change “Retreated” into “Draw” if both players Retreat. So in the meantime, don’t expect to see a unique message if both players retreat.


In conclusion, effectively using Retreating does much more than just saving you cubes. It also mitigates time in bad matches and can help complete missions or grind XP. While there is no set rulebook on when you should always Retreat or not, mastering the tool is key to climbing ranks faster. Retreating also shouldn’t be overused, as you do need to win games to climb, and sometimes finishing a match can teach you things that can help you grow as a player. Finally, using “Retreat Later” vs “Retreat Now” can further help mitigate cube loss without delaying the game unnecessarily.

Did we miss anything? Have a recommendation for future guides you would like to see? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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