Adapting to Constant Meta Changes: Marvel Snap’s Strongest Card Packages
Table of Contents
We recently published an article delving into the raw data of what card pairs win the most. But what does our resident master deckbuilder den have to say about Marvel Snap’s strongest card packages?
With the announcement of regular “Over The Air” balances changes from now on, Marvel Snap players will need to develop some form of adaptability in the choice of their deck. Indeed, if you are used to playing the best decks, you are also prone to playing a deck that could be impacted any given week. Even if you enjoy playing off-meta, exotic builds, you never know when your favorite card might be buffed and suddenly worth including in other decks.
With this increased need to be able to constantly rethink what is good and what isn’t, it feels important to know the strongest foundations that exist in Marvel Snap. In my opinion, these cards are flexible enough to either represent the core of a deck, worthy of building around them to maximize their impact, or serve as the last cards to include in a deck and contribute one way or another (or give you options on the turns your archetype normally doesn’t have any).
Are you feeling lost every time Second Dinner announces something will change in the game? Well, it’s not going to get any better with these weekly updates in Marvel Snap. But fear not – this piece is here to help give you a better chance at adapting to those changes.
The Destroy and Disrupt Package
In addition to being the core of DeathWave, these three are also great cards in Marvel Snap. Wave is among the best disruption and ramp tools in the game. It’s often featured alongside Electro or used as a pseudo Sandman. Death has so many locations that help to reduce her cost, she might be considered as a solo card one day. Lastly, Killmonger is one of the most feared counter cards in the game, punishing every deck who thought building your whole game plan around 1-cost cards was a good idea. As such, if they can serve as the foundation of a Destroy deck, they can be slotted as a flexible package in other builds.
Thanos Lockjaw is a great example of how to use Wave, Death, and Killmonger in a deck that has no reason to destroy cards in the first place. However, because it can use the extra space on its locations, Killmonger has an extra utility in the deck when removing the stones and feeding Death at the same time. As for Wave, because the deck cheats energy so easily with Lockjaw, denying the opponent a good turn with Wave‘s ability can often lock the game for good. This gives Wave another reason to be played outside allowing a free Death.
Most decks also take an extra step and add She-Hulk to this trio, which leads us to our next package.
The Develop and Disrupt Package
If Wave is mostly associated with Death, they can’t go together without a way to get some destruction as well, even if Killmonger can be enough at times. Her pair with She-Hulk, though, works really well without any outside help. Together, the two cards represent one of the best Turn 5 and 6 synergies in the game. When you play Wave alone on Turn 5, the two unspent energy will go towards discounting She-Hulk. Then, She-Hulk will only cost two energy and can be paired with any other card of your choosing since Wave made every other card a 4-cost for the turn.
These two have been the bread and butter of the DoomWave archetype lately, one of the best Pool 3 decks in Marvel Snap. In order to make this duo as efficient as possible, it is usually best to be in the lead going into Turn 5. This way, Wave can also serve as a disruptive tool to an opponent who would try to turn things around on Turn 6.
In the past, the third card to play alongside these two was Aero or Doctor Doom, both allowing you to cover most possibilities. Since Aero got nerfed, Doctor Doom remained a valid option, but we are seeing less DoomWave and more variety around Wave and She-Hulk.
The Play Cards Package
Angela and Bishop were already a famous duo; the two cards have been dominating Pool 1 forever. With Hit Monkey joining the game, we now have a trio of cards that reward you for playing a lot of other cards. These three are most famous in the Bounce archetype where they can abuse the abilities of Beast and Falcon.
They are also regularly included in Sera Control decks as a way to generate points alongside the reactive cards in the deck. Mysterio could be included as the fourth card in this package as it synergizes so well with Bishop and Hit Monkey. It is extremely likely Kitty Pryde will follow Mysterio‘s footsteps once she’s playable again.
Together, these cards represent the points in a deck, and and you can expect them to win one (and sometimes more than one) lane needed to secure the game. Angela and Bishop are the early plays. You look to grow them as the game progresses, and you can change how much you want to invest in either one depending on how it goes. On the other end, Hit Monkey is a card looking to go big or go home. Oftentimes you will have to hold on to cards you could have played earlier in order to grow Hit Monkey. Together, they give different possibilities on how to develop your game plan and can be deadly when you have a way to maximize all three cards in the same match.
At its core, this package is very proactive and highly synergistic, but it only functions in specific archetypes where you are very explosive in the second part of the game. If you are just looking to play good cards that are worth as many points as you’ll get for their energy cost, you might want to look at the next one: The Good Cards package.
The Good Cards (or Priority) Package
Before its nerf, Sunspot would have been another card included here. This is probably the most open-to-discussion package on our list today since it mainly depends on your deck and the energy cost you are looking for to finish it. White Queen could be mentioned as a 4-cost, for example.
Currently, Lizard, Mister Fantastic, and Polaris are a perfect representation of this package because they fit in virtually any deck looking to gain priority in the first half of the match. With priority going into the turns with more energy available, you are at less of a risk to have your opponent counter some of your abilities or be able to disrupt your space before your cards reveal. In many decks, it is extremely important to have the guarantee our cards will resolve as we intend, as some going wrong in our sequence can completely derail the entirety of our game plan.
Currently, priority isn’t a big emphasis in Marvel Snap – only DoomWave actively works for it. There are some archetypes that tend to perform much better with priority, though, such as Galactus and Dracula Discard, both of which are much worse if their abilities are impaired.
So why Lizard, Mister Fantastic, and Polaris?
- Lizard is the strongest 2-cost in the game on Turn 2. Down the line it could be much weaker, but no deck will have four cards played on the same location by Turn 3, so Lizard should give us the win on his lane.
- Polaris follows a similar logic, only being beaten by Maximus when it comes to points. Still, Polaris has a strong ability that allows us to reposition our opponent’s points while Maximus gives them extra cards (something we generally don’t want to do).
- Mister Fantastic plays on all locations at once as long as he is played in the middle. This greatly increases our odds at being ahead on two different lanes and gaining priority in the process.
The Ramp Package
Perfectly exemplified by the Sandman buff in March, cheating on your available energy can be extremely strong if you have the cards to back it up. Together, Electro and Wave have been staples for a ton of expensive cards in Marvel Snap. They allow you to play cards ahead of their cost and open more avenues for combos. Without both cards, we might have never been able to use Galactus properly, for example.
This is by far one of the most limiting packages to run due to Electro‘s Ongoing ability. Still, whenever you see a 5- or 6-cost card that is able to win the game if played early, you immediately think about Wave and Electro.
In the same vein, you could try Lockjaw and Jubilee in order to cheat high cost cards earlier than expected. This combination is aimed at developing a ton of power rather than abusing particular abilities, though.
The Dino Package
Moon Girl, Agent 13, Agent Coulson, White Queen, Sentinel, and even Quinjet could make the list here, but then it forms more of a dedicated Devil Dinosaur deck. Here we want to talk about adding the card as an extra win condition.
The red dinosaur is routinely able to dominate a lane almost on its own with a 17-power ceiling. If you are playing a deck that is missing some strong 5-cost cards and you aren’t particularly looking to empty your hand by the end of the game, Devil Dinosaur should be a consideration. The card already sees play in Thanos builds and some Bounce decks, and it usually only needs one card from its long list of friends in order to be worth running in the deck.
This is why the card is so good in the end: it finds support at almost every energy cost so you can be flexible about the cards you want include with him:
- 1-Cost: Agent 13, Quinjet
- 2-Cost: Cable, Maria Hill, Beast, Sentinel
- 3-Cost: Agent Coulson, Mystique
- 4-Cost: White Queen, Moon Girl
With that many cards able to help Devil Dinosaur grow, there is obviously a deck around the card (and a pretty good one at that). Once we start entering the realm of Series 4 and 5, the card becomes a secondary win condition rather than the primary game plan.
The Rock Package
Similar to Devil Dinosaur, Darkhawk is a card that has become increasingly easy to slot into various archetypes lately. It provides a stable anchor on a location for a modest deck building investment. Especially since Sunspot‘s nerf, there isn’t a default 1-cost card to include in any deck, so you could just run Korg and make Darkhawk a consideration.
And in a deck where Zabu already makes sense, Rockslide and Darkhawk aren’t so hard to imagine including. This has been the case in Sera Control, as well as alongside Devil Dinosaur, since Moon Girl and White Queen are also 4-cost cards.
What is particularly good with this package of cards is that it doesn’t clog other win conditions. With the most expensive card at four energy, you can still run other expensive cards or think about some nice synergies during your last two turns. You can also decide to keep Darkhawk in hand and protected until dropping him on Turn 6.
The Opponent’s Hand Package
Living in the shadow of Devil Dinosaur and Darkhawk, Ronan finally grabbed a powerful ally in Master Mold. For now, the latter is still in Pool 5 so very few players will have the chance to try it out and spread the word about its power. Still, those who have had the privilege of testing it seem convinced that it’s worth talking about. Scorpion is also a popular inclusion as it makes the Sentinels from Master Mold weaker and entices the opponent to not play their cards.
Points wise, this isn’t necessarily better than what Devil Dinosaur or Darkhawk can accomplish, even though Maximus is quite big and often a nice Turn 6 play; however, the ability to disrupt the opponent’s hand can be very powerful. Against opponents like Thanos Lockjaw and Bounce, both of which typically have a lot of cards in hand, it’s easy to make them skip a draw when playing Maximus or Master Mold.
The Reactive Package
Enchantress typically joins them, and Nova is great alongside Killmonger as well. Together, these cards have been the backbone of Sera Control, a deck that is routinely in the top three, for the past few months. The reason I separated these two specifically is that they tend to be included in other decks as well, either as tech cards or simply because they don’t do any harm to the deck’s game plan while providing the potential to high roll.
In decks without a strong desire for priority, Shang-Chi and Killmonger are able to turn a lane around thanks to their abilities. Still, because these are tech cards, it is also important to reevaluate their need in the metagame depending on what is announced every Thursday.
The Super Strong Abilities Packages
Abilities have a cost in Marvel Snap, and, most of the time, card are pay that cost with their base power. For example, Iron Man has an insane ability, so it is a 0-power card as a result. So is Mystique, Hit Monkey, Angela, Arnim Zola…
When both Bast and Valkyrie were still in Pool 5, it was completely unthinkable to have a deck built around their synergy. Now that both are in Series 4 (and about to drop again in the near future), they might be worth considering as a solid package to include in some specific decks.
Generally, you want to look at decks based around strong abilities and little power attached to them, or decks with cheap cards that typically have a power below three. Patriot is a great example of a perfect use of Bast and Valkyrie:
- Cards have a low base power with Patriot, Mystique, Iron Man, and the like.
- The energy curve is quite low, so we can dump our hand on Turn 6 or have enough cards to make Valkyrie worth running.
- Our Ongoing and Vanilla cards are able to grow past three power thanks to their ability or the Patriot boost.
Most of the time, the community thinks about Mister Negative whenever a card sees its power reduced, but I think this duo is a scary one whenever a strong ability can be a top card with a little power boost.
The Lockdown Package
Storm, Viper, Green Goblin, and other cards could be mentioned here as well since Lockdown is an archetype of its own. Daredevil and Professor X manage to be played outside that specific archetype as a little “steal a lane on Turn 5” kind of deal in decks with high power cards to contest another lane on the last turn.
Once again, this feels more like a metagame package that can punish decks without a strong five or decks that keep their shots for the last turn of play. In that scenario, Professor X‘s low power isn’t an issue, and we are usually able to take a lane and force our opponent to be perfect on the other two as a result.
If you are missing only two cards and your deck doesn’t have a strong 5-cost, this is probably something to look at.
The Thor Package
This package hasn’t seen much use out of a Lockjaw archetype up until this point. However, with Hit Monkey now in the game, Mjölnir and Wasp have gained yet another card they can synergize with. The star of this last group of cards is obviously Thor, a 3-cost able to rival the high-end cards your opponent could play later in the game. Also, Jane Foster is often forgotten as an eight power card, which isn’t so bad for a support tool.
I wouldn’t necessarily run this package anywhere I am missing a three and a five to play, as I believe there are more global options available. However, if you also have a synergy with 0-cost cards in your deck, this could be a good package to explore.
I was aiming to keep this list kind of short and only highlight the top of the class, but Marvel Snap does allow some nice flexibility when it comes to deckbuilding. Obviously, the metagame will influence us in the choices we make and push us to consider some cards more than others. While it is completely fine to take a look at what is currently working in order to have a feel for our next idea, the weekly small balance patch might have a say in this.
Indeed, even if only a couple of cards are changed, the metagame can quickly fall to a domino effect where a card being changed affects a whole deck. This deck disappears, so its counter doesn’t have much interest anymore, and suddenly the entire environment doesn’t make sense. When this happens, it is normal to feel a bit lost and have no idea what is good to play. I hope this piece can help you have an idea on the cards and synergies you can rely on to get started on (or to finish) a deck where only eight or nine cards seem to make sense.
I’m sure there are other combinations of cards worth taking a look at, and this list could change any time a balance patch goes live. If you’d like to share your favorite package of cards, or simply discuss with the community, join us on Discord. As for myself, you can find me on Twitter where I share decks and opinions about Marvel Snap.
Good Game Everyone.
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