Marvel Snap Tech Cards: Countering Your Opponent’s Plans
Table of Contents
Marvel Snap is still in its early development stages, as most players don’t even have access to the game. Yet, we can already see a metagame developing and revolving around incredibly powerful cards like Nova or Devil Dinosaur.
In order to fight those dominant forces, a lot of players have started including tech cards into their deck to counter them. Armor to prevent Nova from being destroyed, and Enchantress in order to get the Devil Dinosaur to 0 have become staples in many decks over the last week.
Outside these now common interactions, Tech cards have been a prevalent part of Marvel Snap and a key factor of success to grind the ladder. These cards allow us to adapt to our opponent, but also to Featured Locations and Hot Locations.
This Sunday, The Superflow was the Hot Location, so we could see much more Professor X or Hobgoblin in the decks as a way to take advantage this specific location. Previously, Monster Island was a Featured Location and Shang-Chi was a staple then to prevail on this one.
In this article, I want to talk specifically about tech cards and how they can help you get an edge over your opponent. I also want to talk about finding the right balance for those, as with only 12 slots available in our deck, we can quickly have a deck that doesn’t accomplish anything outside countering specific opponents.
When to Use Tech Cards
The term “tech card” derives from “technical”, as in a card that would be our secret technique to win the game. As such, it is important to understand that a tech card isn’t something that will work at all times and be played every single game.
A tech card is an answer to a specific situation that we are facing enough to justify playing a card that has otherwise no reason to be included in our deck.
In this logic, there are two aspects we want to look at to know if we should start including one or more tech cards into our deck:
Does it make a recurring situation much better for us?
There is no need to include tech cards if our deck can already handle the situations we see the most. Before thinking about adapting our deck and changing the fundamentals of our strategy, we should reflect on whether we can adapt the way we play our deck.
If we look at the Devil Dinosaur, for example, a solution against the card could be to win the other 2 locations if we feel we can’t match the points on the location it is played. Because Enchantress is a 4-cost and our target only costs 3, we are willing to pay more mana than our opponent in order to win this interaction.
In exchange for that, we are including a card that doesn’t do much for our deck in terms of synergy. So if the Enchantress isn’t helping us to solve the problem in a decisive way compared to what we were capable of doing already, then the card could hurt us more than it helps. So in this specific interaction, we need to make sure Enchantress actually wins us the location when we play her onto a location with Devil Dinosaur in play.
How effective is the card outside the specific situation we plan to use it for?
The second thing to account for is how much does the card hurt us outside the situation. In my Enchantress example, what am I doing with the card outside of making Devil Dinosaur worthless?
Because I can’t control when I will actually draw the card, I have to imagine what use it has for me when I draw it and the situation I play it for isn’t happening. Are there any other Ongoing effects I would want to cancel out? Is the card providing enough power to be considered strong even just as a vanilla play?
Let’s look at Armor, a 3 power card for 2 mana, played as the tech card to counter Nova and stop it from being destroyed. As such, Armor can simply be dropped for the points when we have 2 mana available if we feel like it. Enchantress, or even Cosmo, which are also played to prevent Nova from being destroyed with Carnage or Deathlok, have the same power as their cost, making them worse than Armor if we look at their relative stats. As such, their effect has to provide enough value to compensate from the points they sacrifice for it.
This second question is the reason aggressive, low curve decks tend to play much less tech cards than other archetypes. These decks usually rely on generating a lot of power early on and pressuring the opponent into difficult spots. Reactive cards, which do not contribute as much power, can be highly counterproductive outside their specific situation.
How to Use Tech Cards
Once we decided to commit to playing on or more tech cards in our deck, we need to figure out how they work out in the overall strategy of our deck.
A big point of emphasis is at what point can we spend the Energy during our 6 turns on this tech card. Typically, each deck has a turn where they can’t afford to do something else than the planned strategy. Otherwise, they would be sacrificing too much in regard to what they are trying to accomplish.
Imagine a deck that is playing Okoye, a card that we are looking to always play on turn 2 to maximize its effect. If we were playing Armor in the deck as well, it probably means we have to find another turn where we can develop Armor because every time Okoye is available on 2, we likely will make her the priority.
But then, our deck also plays Jubilee and America Chavez. Which means, if we want to play Jubilee on turn 4 or 5, we can’t play Armor on the same turn as well. And finally, if Jubilee doesn’t pull America Chavez, then, we might look to be playing her on turn 6.
Armor is a pretty easy card to fit in our curve as it only costs 2. From this example, you can just tell that we will play the card somewhere on turn 3 to turn 6 based on how our curve and how the game develops. In this example, we did it with a rather flexible card.
If I were to do the same thing with Enchantress, which is a 4 cost card, suddenly, she is much harder to fit into my curve. First, I can’t play her before turn 4, which limits the window at which she is available. Second, it is very likely that if I play Enchantress at any point, I won’t be able to do much else during that turn, so the card needs to be decisive when played.
As such, while Armor doesn’t impact my overall strategy too much because of its low cost, but playing Enchantress might require me to lower the overall curve of my deck. Considering there is one turn from turn 4 to 6 that could be locked, we need to make a better use of the first 3 turns instead.
The Reveal Timing Makes All the Difference
If you look at the image above, you will see that one player’s name has an orange lighting added to it when the other one doesn’t. This lighting means that DEN will reveal its cards before TREC in the upcoming turn. The player with the lightning is the one with the lead at the start of the turn.
This information is key, as some tech cards want to be in play before their target, and others want to be revealed afterwards.
Armor or Cosmo, for example, need to be active before Carnage, Deathlok or Venom are revealed to destroy Nova. In the picture, DEN has initiative, meaning if TREC didn’t place Armor last turn, they cannot prevent their opponent from destroying Nova.
In the Enchantress against Devil Dinosaur interaction though, it’s the opposite that happens. Enchantress wants to reveal after Devil Dinosaur did. This means we either have to play Enchantress the turn following Devil Dinosaur or take a gamble on where our opponent could play it if they have the reveal initiative the upcoming turn.
This mechanic in the game puts the emphasis on the player using the tech cards to be wary on timing and keeping an eye on who will reveal first.
For example, a way to play around the Enchantress for the Devil Dinosaur deck is to fall behind on point on turn 5 and play Moon Girl with Devil Dinosaur in hand. This way, the player will be able to play both Devil Dinosaur safely, as they will reveal after the opponent’s cards, making Enchantress worthless while adding a ton of points on 2 locations.
How Many Tech Cards Should You Be Playing in Your Deck?
In the current state of Marvel Snap, it feels like almost everyone should be playing Armor, and most decks without a very low curve probably want Enchantress as well. As time passes, we even see Cosmo being included too, as a way to counter the On Reveal effect destroying Nova. Storm can also be considered a card which limits the location where the opponent can pull the Nova combo.
The dominance Nova and the Devil Dinosaur have had over the last week of play led to control decks, basically filled with tech cards, to become popular. I featured such a deck previously in this article if you aren’t sure what an “Anti-Nova” control deck might look like.
However, it is important to understand what motivates these decks to be played: The meta environment.
A tech card is a reactive card, one that we are playing because we feel there is a situation we will see so much of that countering it is worth more than doing pretty much anything else. In Marvel Snap’s 12 card deck, tech cards tend to be extremely effective compared to other card games. Each game, both player see 9 games out of their deck without counting for potential draws, making it very reliable to create the situations we create our deck for.
If I take Legends of Runeterra for example, which features a 40 card deck, the chances that both the opponent gets the situation installed and that I find the tech cards I included in my deck for that situation are abysmal compared to the chances it happens in Marvel Snap.
Also, with only 1 copy of a card available to play in our deck, we can often be pressed to play several cards with the same goal, such as playing both Armor and Cosmo to ensure Nova‘s destruction.
In addition to this, the 6 turn system that exists in Marvel Snap makes tech cards much more impactful than they are in other games. When a single card can win you a location on turn 4 and after, the opponent rarely can recover from it and is forced to invest into the other 2 locations.
All these considerations are making Marvel Snap the perfect game to run a lot of tech cards, and the early competitive days have proven how effective they can be.
I would simply put two limitations to this conclusion:
- Do not put expensive tech cards into an aggressive deck, as your win condition isn’t to deny your opponent’s, but making sure yours can happen. The more tech cards you are playing, and the more you should make your deck about being reactive.
- Run Tech Cards to answer a situation you have information about. Tomorrow, a balance patch will be revealed and the metagame will be heavily impact, making Tech cards much worse for a time.
Looking at the early competitive days in the game, it looks obvious at how impactful tech cards can be in Marvel Snap. Players who manage to read the metagame early and builds decks designed to counter the popular Nova based decks have done incredibly well at all ranks of the ladder.
Considering how fast the information about good performing decks travels in the internet era, and the way Marvel Snap pushes for highly effective decks with its fast paced system, I have no doubts that the tech cards are going to be a big factor in doing well on ladder in the future.
This is the end of this long piece, I hope it was helpful to some of you out there, and wish you the best of luck on your quest to rack up those Cubes for the current leaderboard and season rank!
If you have any questions regarding this article, feel free to leave it in the comment section or find me directly on Twitter.
Good game everyone.
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