Marvel Snap Metagame Tier List, January 9th, 2023: Savage Land Week 1 Meta Madness!

Zabu is officially here and the metagame is beginning to evolve around it - which means it's time for another weekly tier list update! Join Den_CCG has he studies the rapidly evolving metagame, and helps guide you toward the best decks in Marvel Snap today!

The first week of Marvel Snap’s January 2023 Savage Land Season has everything I want in it, and sometimes even more. First, we get new cards to experiment with, and considering the season is five weeks long, deck builders have no pressure to grind the ladder quickly. For those who enjoy the grinding on the other end, they get a rank reset and a new challenge on their way back to the Infinite rank. Lastly, for those who simply enjoy Marvel Snap, they should have a much nicer environment to play in, as the pressure of the rank is largely alleviated for a lot of us, leading to more diversity overall.

Furthermore, this diversity is exactly what this first Tier List of the Savage Land Season is about. For this first week, I don’t want to talk about decks, but about archetypes. I don’t want to talk about cards, but about concepts. For the simple reason that the Marvel Snap metagame is all over the place for now. The new decks are being refined, and the old ones are figuring out how they should adapt to the new emerging builds. As a result, nothing is set in stone this week, and I would like this Tier List to serve as inspiration more than a hard recommendation.

Of course, some decks are better than others, and more and more players are reaching Infinite every day, sharing their lists and opinion on how their climb went. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a particular deck that is head and shoulders above the competition. Sera Surfer, Good Cards or builds around Shuri were popular last season and seem to do great early on. Considering these were comfort decks already, it is only natural that a lot of players defaulted to these in order to get their climb going.

Regarding the new Season Pass card, Zabu, there is a lot going on around it, and several archetypes are either including or built around the card. It appears that it is the combination with Darkhawk which nets the better results so far. However, Shuri, Spider-Man or the control core of Enchantress and Shang-Chi also have cemented a very strong position in decks around the new card.

There is a lot to talk about for this first week in Savage Land, and maybe even more we haven’t figured out yet. So let’s keep an open mind, and dive head first into this new metagame!


Marvel Snap Meta Tier List

TierDeck Name + ExplanationGo to Deck List
Tier 1Seracle SurferDeck List
Tier 1Shuri ZeroDeck List
Tier 1Good Cards PriorityDeck List
Tier 2Zabu Darkhawk 🆕Deck List
Tier 2Negative SurferDeck List
Tier 2Electro RampDeck List
Tier 2She-Hulk BaeroDeck List
Tier 2Patriot SurferDeck List
Tier 2GalactusDeck List
Tier 3Thanos ZooDeck List
Tier 3ZeroculaDeck List
Tier 3Cerebro 2Deck List
Tier 3Zabu Control 🆕Deck List
Tier 4Handsize Good Cards 🆕Deck List
Tier 4Wong On Reveal 🔽Deck List
Tier 4Lockjaw On Reveal 🔽Deck List
Tier 4Hela DiscardDeck List
Tier 4Ongoing Destroyer 🔽Deck List
Tier 4Discard LockjawDeck List
BudgetHandsize DestroyDeck List
BudgetOngoingDeck List
BudgetSandman KazooDeck List
BudgetControlDeck List

Tier Explanation

Tier 1: Tier 1 represents decks with all the upsides we would be looking for to rack up Cubes. They make a lot of sense matchup wise in the current metagame, offer different play patterns during a match, and often have an explosive or surprising side to them. These should be decks worth investing into in order to climb for the coming week.

Tier 2: Tier 2 are very good decks but with a weakness holding them back, either not being as reliable in its draws as Tier 1 decks, countered by another popular deck, or is still a work in process as you read this. A good pilot could probably take these and have the same results as with a Tier 1 deck, but their concepts or play patterns are more difficult to exploit compared to the Tier above.

Tier 3: This tier is made of decks with a strong purpose, but not making particular sense in the current metagame, or requiring much more investment and knowledge in order to have the same results as with the high tiers decks. Usually, Tier 3 will be a mix of decks on the rise and which don’t have much data about themselves, old archetypes on the decline, or niche decks in the current metagame.

Tier 4: Off-meta decks that have fallen off in recent times.

Budget: Decks that consist only cards in Pool 1 and 2 but are still capable of competing with an experienced pilot in a similar Collection Level, Rank, and MMR range. See our matchmaking guide for more details.

Meta stats and analytics directly from our Marvel Snap Tracker can also be found here. We’ll have more data being integrated soon for the tier list!


Tier 1

Seracle Surfer

Seracle Surfer
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
4x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2.9
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.1
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: The best deck from the previous metagame doesn’t seem to have slowed down for the start of the new season. With most of the attention being on Zabu for this first week of play, Silver Surfer was free to roam the ladder and do a ton of damage in the process. It also helps to be a deck most people knew how to play already, but it is even better to be ignored after being the focus of the last month.

For now, it seems like Silver Surfer is a better card than Zabu, especially because Zabu needs to be played earlier in a match, which reduces the amount of draw we have to find it. Silver Surfer can be drawn on turn six and contribute perfectly to the deck, while Zabu after turn four is often unplayable. We will see how the Season Pass cards match up evolves next week.

How To Play: The basic play pattern for the deck would be:

  • Play a 3-Cost on turn three.
  • Play a 3-Cost on turn four. The sole 1-Cost can be played here if you have it in hand.
  • Play Sera on turn five.
  • Play several 3-Cost cards, including Silver Surfer as the last one on turn six.

Presented like this, it doesn’t seem like the deck is very flexible, but the whole point is that you have so many 3-Cost cards that you can use them flexibly depending on the game status. Cards like Bishop or Mister Fantastic are non-committal cards, meaning their effect is the same no matter the game state. Cosmo, Killmonger and Polaris are more matchup based, and can help to derail the opposing strategy. Lastly, Maximus and Brood are payoff cards, which tip the opponent as to where we will invest our largest amounts of points. Ideally, we want to keep these for the last turn, as to maximize flexibility.

Potential additions:

As Sera isn’t as annoying as Mister Negative when it comes to including cards in her deck, many cards can work as substitutes:

  • Storm and Juggernaut are a nice duo in the deck.
  • Domino can be played to guarantee a 2-Cost on turn two. Then either play double 1-Cost or add another 3-Cost.
  • Wolfsbane is another good card when it comes to points. It can replace Bishop if you are more about playing late points rather than setting them up early.
  • Nova works well with Killmonger.
  • Lizard is another 2-Cost that fits well to seize priority.
  • Rogue is seeing a lot of play lately as a Zabu counter.

Shuri Zero

Shuri Zero
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
8x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.4
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: Shuri gained a lot of attention at the end of December, as players started to realize how much power she was able to develop. Now, the card is considered one of the most valuable in Series 5. This deck probably has a lot to do with it, as Shuri shines in it, so much that it pushed players to try Zabu in the deck.

For now, the deck is benefitting a lot from Shang-Chi not being such a popular card, most deck focusing on themselves or countering Zabu and Silver Surfer. As a result, Shuri is able to express her full potential and will usually win a game that is solely about generating a ton of points.

How To Play: This deck is the definition of how to split your gameplan in two parts when building your deck:

  • Part one: Seize priority, develop points and play around the revealing locations.
  • Part two: Play Shuri or Wong, into Red Skull or Vision, into Arnim Zola or Taskmaster.
  • Part two sometimes: Play Shuri, pass turn five and She-Hulk plus Taskmaster becomes available.
  • Part three: Simply is looking at the humongous amount of points you have on the table, and maybe thinking about when to Snap during the game.

The newly included Zabu allows for big abuses with our 4-Cost cards. Wong plus Shuri doubles the amount of points for our combos, and the card makes Typhoid Mary a worthy inclusion. It doesn’t change much to how the deck is played. As a result, the deck’s gameplan is quite easy to figure out based on your hand. The big emphasis should be on maximizing your chances at realizing your win condition, planning ahead of how your opponent could try to counter it.

Potential additions: The deck takes its inspiration from the Wong On Reveal build and the Zero archetype, which you can try to pick ideas from both these decks. However, apart from Armor and She-Hulk, all the other cards are part of a package of multiple cards, making them difficult to change alone.

Typical standalone additions include:

  • Okoye instead of Armor, maximizing your points at the cost of Shang-Chi ruining your combo.
  • Sandman for Wong, which helps for Silver Surfer decks. Although, you should be able to just win a points shoot-out.
  • Aero instead of She-Hulk, giving you more ways to annoy the opponent, but reducing your combo potential.
  • With Zabu now in the deck, a lot of 4-Cost cards can make sense, so feel free to play around with those.

Good Cards Priority

Good Cards
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
3x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3.7
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.7
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: Early in a season, this kind of archetype has everything a grinder could wish for. It is build around solid standalone cards, making the play patterns easy to visualize, which limits the mistakes one could commit. It also can be adapted flexibly to fit different environments, and has proven to be reliable enough to climb the ladder at all ranks. I would expect this deck to dip to high Tier 2 next week, once other archetypes get more refined and can develop their synergies to their full potential.

Currently, Good Cards and Silver Surfer build are probably the go-to decks for anyone without Zabu or who doesn’t want to work on new concepts yet. Apart from Zabu archetypes, they are the most popular decks on ladder amongst the already existing archetype, representing close to 10% of the metagame each.

How To Play: Get priority early on with Lizard and Maximus, keep it while gathering information with White Queen, and then just dictate the last two turns with Aero and Leader.

If this plan would fail, or the draws don’t align, you still have a couple of other patterns thanks to alternate plays on every mana cost.

Leech is the most important card in the deck, as it can make or break some matchups. Look to play it as early as possible against highly synergistic builds like Silver Surfer or Zabu for example, but be careful against Zero decks or if you suspect your opponent to run The Infinaut.

Potential additions: Anything that can score a ton of points could fit this list, and there are a lot of variations of the build.

  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur can work very well instead of Shang-Chi and Magneto. It also opens double Maximus on six, not so bad.
  • Enchantress, Killmonger and other counter cards can replace Shang-Chi in the flexible slot.
  • Polaris or other high scoring cards for their cost make sense, as long as their ability is of some utility.
  • Doctor Doom is another good six, allowing for flexible spread of points compared to Magneto.

Tier 2

Zabu Darkhawk 🆕

Zabu Darkhawk
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3.2
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: Zabu Darkhawk could be considered a Tier 1 deck in the right hands, and some players reached Infinite rank with similar decks already. However, considering the deck is very new, and it is unclear what is the best iteration for it so far, which leads to some consistency issue, Tier 2 seems to be fair for now.

Currently, Zabu represents over 20% of the total metagame, but is played in very different builds, which makes it difficult to assess how good the card really is. Nevertheless, the pairing with Darkhawk seems to be the best so far, as it represents a good mix of points and ability to interact with the opponent. The big emphasis in most Zabu decks is how to get Zabu as early and often as possible. America Chavez is tested in other decks, but in this more proactive build, Crystal seems to be preferred by the playerbase.

How To Play: The deck relies on Zabu reducing the cost of our cards in order to unlock strong play patterns. In that sense, Bast and Adam Warlock were included to help with finding our signature card on turn three.

Each 4-Cost card has a precise role in the deck:

They aren’t any precise play patterns with the deck, as we are extremely flexible once Zabu is in play. Depending on your hand, you can go for points, disruption, or a mix of both. If you don’t find Zabu, you aren’t guaranteed to lose, but I would be very careful with the stakes of the game then.

Potential additions:

Negative Surfer

Negative Surfer
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
8x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Starter Card
2.9
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
0.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: Mostly losing popularity, which might end up being a good thing in the end, Mister Negative suffers a lot from the Good Cards archetype popularity early in the season. With Cosmo and leech being staples in the deck, Silver Surfer and Mister Negative usually have a hard time developing their strategy, and can’t reliably snap either.

Against Shuri or Sera Surfer, the problem is different, but not easier to solve. These matches usually end up in big point shoot-outs, and Negative usually only wins when it gets the nuts. Otherwise, the average draw from both other decks tends to get there, and the opponent snapping us when we don’t have Mister Negative in hand often means retreating for safety.

How To Play: The obvious gameplan would be to play Mister Negative on turn four, three if you get an early Psylocke. Then, a three and a two on turn five, and unleash everything we can on turn six, profiting from our Negative’d cards.

Even without Mister Negative, the deck still has some solid play patterns to try to win 2 locations:

Potential additions: Obviously, most cards with a power lower to their cost can be considered, especially if they are a 3-Cost.

Notable inclusions are Forge, Ironheart or the occasional Jane Foster Might Thor or Morph if you like to take the high roll train. Wong could make sense if you were to go heavy on the On Reveal effects, likely removing Rogue, Bishop or Mister Fantastic for the extra space.

Electro Ramp

Electro Ramp
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
9x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
4.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: In my book, Electro is the best deck if I had to recommend someone without any Marvel Snap experience and looking to climb the ladder. The archetype has a very simple play pattern and, through playing only one card a turn, limits the decision making process for the pilot. In that regard, Electro Ramp joins the Good Cards archetype as some of the best early performers because of its simple to understand concepts and play patterns.

Most of the time, landing Electro on turn three and Leech on four is enough to get an early retreat from the opponent, and Zabu joining the mix has only made the duo stronger in the forming metagame.

The trick is to simply know the deck’s limitations, as it obviously isn’t as flexible as the other decks higher on the list. Especially, not finding Electro will result in games where you should just leave before it is too late.

How To Play: The deck relies on very simple play patterns and combination of cards:

  • Turn one and two are ideally Sunspot plus Armor to protect it from Killmonger. Scorpion is a safe, non-committal play otherwise. Psylocke serves as a poor man’s Electro, so doesn’t have much purpose when played on two, as we aren’t running any 4-Cost cards.
  • Turn three is the key turn, where you should play Electro if possible, but could also decide to go on a Wave → 6-Cost scheme, which allows playing Leech on turn five still.
  • Once at five energy, we need to pick either going for (Leech) or Aero before our big 6-Cost. Think about your opponent’s goal and how impactful would Leech be to their gameplan.
  • If we are going for a double 6-Cost pattern. Odin is obviously always second, triggering Leader, Aero, or Doctor Doom again. Magneto is the flexible one that should be played based on the state of the board.

Potential additions: Although I would tend to keep the On Reveal theme strong for the 5 and 6-Cost cards, a lot of addition can make the list:

  • Sandman is another card that could annoy a lot of opponents currently and make sense in the deck, especially with Psylocke already included. It can replace a 6-cost or Scorpion.
  • Captain Marvel or Vision are nice, flexible cards, and completely ignore an opposing Aero moving them around.
  • Lizard and Ebony Maw are solid, high-power cards for priority purposes.
  • Black Panther and Arnim Zola are a duo to consider and see more play in other archetypes. They work well to support Ebony Maw.

She-Hulk Baero

Baero
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: it seems like the DeathWave golden days are in the rear-view mirror, although the deck can still serve as a perfectly fine comfort pick for a lot of players. Wave, Aero and Leader are still incredible cards, but have joined other decks and don’t seem particularly worse there. Also, Armor being a staple 2-Cost in many decks is a big problem. As well as Leader being one of the most popular card in the game.

I guess Baero is more of a metagame pick than a top contender nowadays.

How To Play: The whole point of the deck is to be able to get two destroy effects while having reveal priority going into turn six. This should be achieved with a simple on-curve play during the first four turns, as the destroy synergy is able to generate solid power through its staple cards like Bucky Barnes, Deathlok, or Carnage.

Turn five should be a Wave play, and nothing else if we have She-Hulk in hand, so the card can be a 2-Cost next turn and be paired with Aero or Leader. If we managed to get to four destroy effects, Death becomes free and both her and She-Hulk can be played in addition to another card. Squirrel Girl being destroyed by Killmonger usually is the way to go to get our four destructions in time.

Outside this basic play pattern, looking to maximize energy usage, the deck still is quite flexible, and is able to develop points even without drawing into Wave. The destroy synergy especially shines when it comes to cleaning annoying cards that would appear on our side of the board, be it from locations or the opponent.

Potential additions: The deck usually rotates through four different 1-Cost cards (Nova, Yondu, The Hood and Squirrel Girl) with all having different their merits. Mysterio is another inclusion in the deck, serving as a nice destroy fodder while setting up some points for the late game. Lastly, America Chavez still makes a lot of sense in the build, as she makes the deck more reliable, helping to find Wave on turn five as often as possible.

Patriot Surfer

Patriot Surfer
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
8x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Recruit Season
3x Starter Card
3.1
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: I don’t know how many times I have written that Patriot looked like a great deck that just felt done when it comes to deck building. Well, this one is on me, and congrats to the players who managed to be creative and innovate around Patriot, as Patriot Surfer is now official!

The deck simply mixes both synergies, allowing for a nice little mix that is a headache to solve for the opponent when it comes to reliably guessing how many and where the points will be spread. Indeed, when you are a deck that is all about developing points, being flexible and unpredictable are key traits to succeed.

Currently, the Tier 1 decks seem to be problematic for this one. Sera Surfer is more reliable, and has a shot at snipping Silver Surfer or Ultron with Cosmo. Shuri Zero can develop its points without being worried of a counter play, and Leech in the Good Cards deck can end the game on the spot.

How To Play: The idea around this deck is to show that we are a Patriot deck, as most players will recognize that in the first two turns of the game, but still keep the Silver Surfer surprise in story to mess with their anticipation of our points spread. As such, Brood is often best kept in hand if possible, the card tipping our opponent on the Silver Surfer potential.

There are usually two ways to play this deck, on curve, or with a combo playstyle:

  • On Curve: This is our Patriot side talking, as we will usually just Ultron during the turn of the match, filling whatever is left of our unused spots on the board. Before this point, simply look to set up Ultron nicely, getting your Patriot out, even if it can be answered. In this logic, we are just playing our best turn possible points wise every time. It is usually the go-to route when Silver Surfer is nowhere to be seen.
  • Combo: Sera helps, as she usually allows for a combination of three amongst Patriot, Mystique, Silver Surfer and Brood on turn six. But even without Sera, we can get away with just Brood and Silver Surfer on turn six, while showing a classic Patriot deck for the rest of the game. Patriot into Mystique also works perfectly, but tends to be more expected.
    In this approach, try to think of your space ahead of time, and keep some flexibility to dodge annoying locations or Cosmo.

Potential additions: Considering this take on Patriot has emerged recently on the big stage, it is hard to know precisely what can be cannot be changed. I would argue Ant Man and Sera look like the two flexible cards in the deck if you were looking to include something else.

From the various list I saw during research, Debrii, Mister Sinister, Storm, Maximus or other popular 3-Cost cards in the Sera Surfer deck seemed to be included.

If you’d like some gameplay of this deck, HowlingMines recently made some!

Galactus

Galactus Electro
Created by den
, updated 8 months ago
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
3x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
4.3
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Rank Justification: Zabu has brought Spider-Man back in the metagame, and the card just wins the game against Galactus. Same for Cosmo who can just stop the deck in its track if it counters Galactus On Reveal effect.

Outside these two problems, Galactus still makes sense, in the same vein as Electro ramp, in order to punish highly synergistic decks, looking to play their cards and ignore their opponent. Once Zabu sees less play, I would expect Galactus to return to a solid tier 2 status, rather than being at the bottom of it.

How To Play: The deck really has two key turns, four and five, or four and six depending on our hand, leaving the rest of the game to be flexible.

If we played Electro on turn three, our turn four should ideally be Leech or Doctor Octopus. Both cards serve the similar purpose of disabling the opponent’s hand, and unable to compete when we play Galactus on turn five. Snap timing is absolutely key in this gameplan, as most opponent will retreat once they understand what is going on.

The other way of getting Galactus out is through Wave on turn three. We then have a flexible turn five and likely will look to go Shang-Chi plus Death on turn six without priority in order to beat an opposing Leader. In that sequence, turn five is flexible, and can be dedicated to pushing for points with Maximus. Alternatively, we can also try to cancel the opponent’s six with Leech or Doctor Octopus if we have a read on the opponent playing a very synergistic deck.

Potential additions: