Infinite Decks of the Week – February 19, 2023: Should Lockjaw Be on the Watch List?
This week has been a particularly crazy one in Marvel Snap as the Featured Location Quantum Tunnel really put an emphasis on a specific deck: Lockjaw Thanos. Everyone with the ability to play the deck seems to have done so, and I don’t think I have found this many reports of reaching Infinite with the same deck since I started this series. I mean, Zabu was super dominant, but it had several archetypes attached to it which gave it more of a sense of diversity.
The other deck I saw mentioned quite a bit was Shuri Zero, a metagame juggernaut in its own right and the dominant archetype before the featured location period started. Alongside Lockjaw, the two decks have largely dominated the field of play; they’re undoubtedly the decks to beat right now.
So what do we do in this situation? Do we just talk about Lockjaw and Shuri in this series, just like I would do in the tier list, since both of these decks are tier 1 material right now? Or, do we focus on what this series is really about: Trying to help fellow players reach the Infinite rank and maybe find a way to abuse the fact the metagame is really about two decks right now.
I’m alone in my living room writing this, so, unfortunately, you don’t really get a vote. If, however, you just clicked on this article to get some hot decklists to grind the ladder with, here are two iterations of the decks that climbed to Infinite this week:
Table of Contents
How do these two decks work?
In order to try to counter a deck, one first needs to understand the basics about it. In this case, both decks share similar traits:
- Both look to get cards worth a gazillion points on the board.
- Both have a key card at the core of their gameplan: Lockjaw and Shuri, respectively.
- Both include the Sunspot + She-Hulk duo which gives them the opportunity to pass turn five and have an explosive six.
- With Doctor Doom in the Shuri deck, and Space Stone in Lockjaw, both decks are capable of reaching unplayable locations.
- Both decks include Aero, one of the best cards in the game, and are able to control either turn five or six if they have priority. As such, once they are ahead, these builds are able to control their opponent’s card placements.
Overall, both archetypes check most of the boxes for a strong deck when viewing them from afar. They can develop a lot of points and have the opportunity to be flexible with their energy or even their locations. As one would expect, most of their important plays are in the second portion of the game, but each still has the ability to develop points early on. With Aero in the deck, it also seems like these decks are much stronger with priority because they can disrupt the opposing play on the last turn.
Finding a way to counter these two decks is looking like a tough nut to crack.
If we look at their play patterns, we can quickly see that Lockjaw Thanos is much more flexible than Shuri Zero, mostly due to the ability to play behind Lockjaw at any point in the second part of the game. If the position of Lockjaw tells us where we are likely to see most of the opponent’s power, Shuri can play its powerhouse cards wherever it sees fit, making it hard to anticipate unless we can rule out some locations during the game.
Also, Shuri Zero will typically only play one card per turn for most of the game while Lockjaw is more flexible thanks to the Infinity Stones.
So, what can we exploit from this information?
Cards to consider
We mentioned both decks were looking to develop big cards at some point in the game; this makes Shang-Chi one of the better cards against Shuri Zero and a solid choice against Lockjaw. The card isn’t a magic answer, though, as you need to have priority for it to hit its intended target thanks to Aero. Also, Shuri Zero often runs Armor and Cosmo in order to limit Shang-Chi’s potential against the deck.
Similar to Shang-Chi, Valkyrie is a good way to punish big power cards while giving some value to our cards in the process. The card is devastating against Shuri Zero since it forces Taskmaster to copy a three-power card and ruins whole game plan for the deck. It is weaker against Lockjaw; that deck’s lanes are much more likely to be full of Stones, so you’ll have to fill your lanes as well for the best value.
Unless the opposing lane is full, Valkyrie would rather be played without priority, but that opens you up to an Aero counter. Overall, Shang-Chi looks like an easier card to utilize effectively.
It is hard to figure if an extra energy would be annoying to Lockjaw; the card still remains powerful whether played on turn three or turn four. Against Shuri Zero, Iceman could be disastrous for the opponent if it hits either Shuri or Red Skull and derails their turn four and five curve.
Aero is, unsurprisingly, great against both decks. It can move cards played behind Lockjaw to somewhere else or have Red Skull and Taskmaster on the same location so they don’t each win a lane. The big emphasis for Aero is that you need priority for the card to really shine. Without that, the cards played behind Lockjaw get cycled and Aero doesn’t move anything.
Instead of trying to move things around or destroy lane-winning cards, one can try to lock lanes down before the opponent can take advantage of them. With both decks potentially able to reach the lanes through Doctor Doom (or even the Space Stone), though, Spider-Man doesn’t guarantee you a win, but it does make it much easier to plan your next turn.
A riskier Spider-Man, Professor X would guarantee the lane is won. Considering how explosive both decks can be on turn 5, Professor X probably requires Daredevil to make sure we aren’t playing it on the lane that the opponent invests into during the same turn. The card does seem to be a nice counter to the pass on turn five and explode with She-Hulk on turn six pattern from both decks.
A card that doesn’t particularly make sense as a tech card against either deck, Mister Fantastic is one of the best in the game at seizing priority going into the second part of a match. For several cards on this list, having priority is crucial to ensure they work as intended. In that regard, the ability to seize the initiative before those key turns is extremely important.
Trying to counter the dominant decks in the metagame is never an easy task; if it was, the decks wouldn’t be dominant. Shuri Zero has already proven to be a top deck, but Shang-Chi has demonstrated that it’s a solid inclusion against the deck because it’s able to balance some matchups. Thanos Lockjaw is more difficult to figure out for now. The deck really took a front row seat with Quantum Tunnel as the featured location.
It was a strong archetype before then, certainly worthy of consideration as a tier 1 deck, but this week really catapulted Lockjaw and Thanos as a feared duo popular enough to dedicate some deck slots towards countering. Because of its more recent ascension, the most annoying plays for Thanos Lockjaw to deal with remain undiscovered. The unpredictability of Lockjaw coupled with the flexibility of the Infinity Stones is looking like a very strong combination. It’s much more difficult to predict than the established routine of turn four Shuri, turn five Red Skull, and turn six Taskmaster.
In this piece, I tried to open some avenues regarding how to tackle both of these decks and discussed cards worthy of consideration against them. Still, it seems like more players are looking to pick up these decks rather than beat them consistently. Maybe once someone figures out how to do it their dominance will start declining. Until then, I guess you better be prepared to face these two in order to punch your ticket on the road to Infinite.
As usual, you can find every member of our community on the Marvel Snap Zone Discord or me directly on Twitter.
Good Game Everyone.
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Sweet, those impossible to get decks! <3
Can’t lie, Thanos Lockjaw both during and after the Quantum Tunnel site did all the work for me from 85 to Infinite this season. Thanos Valkyrie was my best from 70 to 85 but that’s always the easy part.
I haven’t gotten a new card in a long time, and Shuri/Thanks are so far out of reach right now. I’m at over 4k CL and it feels like I will never see either of those cards, I probably won’t until they leave meta, get nerfed, or whatever else could happen, just like when I got Leader.