Table of Contents
- Why Does Negative Surfer Work Right Now?
- The Strategy Behind Negative Surfer Lists
- Core Cards for Negative Surfer
- Other Worthwhile Considerations
- Snapping and Retreating with Negative Surfer
- Good Locations and Bad Locations
- Turn by Turn Breakdown with my Favorite Negative Surfer List
There’s always been a dominant deck in Marvel Snap. If you’ve been playing the game for a while, you probably remember the terrors of Thanos Lockjaw and Shuri Zero combos, and recently players were at the mercy of High Evolutionary or Bounce point slamming everything in sight.
If we go all the way back to December 2022, there was a time when Negative Surfer sat on top of the meta. While that deck archetype rapidly lost relevance in the new year, today it’s back and better than ever. So let’s jump in and go over how this Mister Negative deck will net you a positive Cube Rate! Let me just apologize for that brutal pun right away.
Why Does Negative Surfer Work Right Now?
When you think of Mister Negative decks, “meta relevant” doesn’t exactly come to mind. While regular Silver Surfer decks have been on the rise over the past month or so, adding a Mister Negative component might seem like you’re just taking a solid deck and making it worse.
However, after the July 20th OTA update, Negative Surfer got a much-needed buff with Magik’s change from a [5/3] to a [3/2]. Now Magik can be buffed by Silver Surfer, can be woven into more play lines with her reduced cost, and maintains her incredible game-extending ability giving you another draw (hopefully from a Negative flipped card).
Additionally, the OTA patch toned down the dominant Bounce archetype, which was reliably able to put out much more points than anything but Negative Surfer’s high roll.
The Strategy Behind Negative Surfer Lists
This deck archetype blends the high roll potential of Mister Negative decks and the consistent power output from Silver Surfer decks. At its core, the Negative Surfer archetype is a point slam deck that has a slow early game that can explode with power on the final turns of the match.
Mister Negative inherently creates unpredictability making your opponent wonder if you pulled an insane [0/5] Iron Man or a dud card. At the same time, your flurry of three power cards wait to get boosted by Silver Surfer.
This deck style can be a bit high roll-y and at the end of the day doesn’t include many interactive cards so it’s important to understand when you’ve got the nuts and when you need to dip out of there. It’s definitely a deck you need to get some practice with before you can really understand its lines, so your best bet is to start out in proving grounds where the stakes are low before you try to make an infinite push on the ladder or do higher conquest tiers.
Core Cards for Negative Surfer
The Glue of the Deck
You can’t make the deck happen without these two. Mister Negative enables the high roll side of the deck by flipping high-cost, low-power cards like Iron Man and Silver Surfer buffs the litany of three cost cards you’ll be playing over the course of a given match.
The Highest High Roll
If you can negative flip one or both of these cards you’re in for a good time. Drawing Negative Iron Man is almost always going to win a location: he’s arguably the best card in the entire game and is the perfect target for Mystique.
Unless you’re expecting a Wave or a Sandman from your opponent these are cards you want to hold for as long as possible to lull your opponent into a false sense of security and juice more cubes out of them.
Bast is just plain incredible for this deck. I did a deep dive on the subject earlier in the year so I’ll keep it brief here. Every card in your deck is a great Bast target, and she effectively acts as a mulligan in other card games when you draw cards like Iron Man or Mystique before you play Mister Negative.
Zabu gives us another high-roll avenue by letting us get Mister Negative onto a location on turn three instead of four, and there are a few other four-cost cards that slot well into Negative Surfer giving us even more value.
Magik gives us another draw of a negative flipped card and now gets buffed by Silver Surfer, she really is the card that bridges these two archetypes. Magik is also a great turn-three play if you aren’t able to cheat out Negative earlier with Zabu.
The Other Mandatory Three Cost Card
Magik and Mystique are auto-includes in every Negative Surfer list, but Brood is just as valuable to this archetype. Brood gives you three targets for Silver Surfer while keeping space open for Iron Man, Mystique, or another one of your three drops later in the game.
Prime Three Cost Cards
While any three-cost card that has a power of less than three can be considered for inclusion here, these three ladies are always where I start when putting a list together.
Rogue is a tech slot but can be very valuable in ongoing heavy metas – since we’re largely a point slam deck it can feel great to have a form of interactivity against our opponent’s deck.
Other Worthwhile Considerations
Jubilee helps us dig through our deck and either pull a negative flipped card or give us a turn four Hail Mary chance at pulling Mister Negative and activating our chance at high rolls late into the game.
Psylocke is more of a replacement for Zabu if you don’t have him rather than a card you’d want to include with Zabu already in your deck, she also keeps the archetype entirely free of series four cards and five cards if that’s something that helps you experiment with the deck.
Sera can give us more opportunities for high-roll miracle turns on six or seven but to me feels like trying to put ten pounds in a five-pound bag. If you’ve already played negative, then play Sera and have Limbo setup your opponent is probably retreating. Your mileage may vary here.
Mister Fantastic might seem a bit underwhelming, but an understated downside of this deck is having something that feels good to play on turn three. Sure we can high roll into Negative on turn three, but if that doesn’t happen and we haven’t drawn into Brood or Magik then turn three can end up awkward. Mister Fantastic always feels good on three and can contest hard-to-reach locations for us since we’re not playing cards like Jeff the Baby Land Shark.
Hit Monkey is highly speculative here. He’s a three-cost card now, but even with zero-cost Negative-flipped cards we aren’t actually playing that many cards on a given turn. He could still be worth some experimentation in the proving grounds though!
Snapping and Retreating with Negative Surfer
Retreating with Negative Surfer is pretty easy. On turn four if you haven’t played Bast, don’t have Mister Negative ready, and you didn’t get down Brood or Magik on turn three then you should definitely consider dipping for one cube before your opponent snaps on you.
The hardest part about piloting a Negative Surfer list is navigating the scenarios when you should Snap. That’s because, with any kind of Mister Negative deck, you have to snap based on what you can draw vs. what you already have in hand.
If you’re playing against Scams Thanos for example, and you have Time Stone and Professor X in hand on turn three without any horrible locations then you can confidently snap. With Negative Surfer if it’s turn three and you have Zabu on the board and a Bast-ed Mister Negative in hand with Iron Man still in your deck you probably should Snap… But you’re still relying on a specific card draw. Iron Man very well could end up sitting at the bottom of your deck.
So what’s the solution? Never Snap? Of course not. This added level of variance is just something you have to work with and get used to when learning the deck. Try and imagine play lines without relying on high rolls every match and if you feel uneasy about an opponent’s snap then trust your gut and save your cubes for another round!
Good Locations and Bad Locations
Good Locations for Negative Surfer
- The Peak: Literally a dream come true, everything I said about risky snapping above goes away when you get the peak – especially on turn two or three with Mister Negative in hand.
- Onslaught's Citadel: if you thought a 0/5 Iron Man sounded good, just wait until you toss him on the Citadel.
- Kamar-Taj: We have a lot of on-reveal effects so this is great, just don’t play Mister Negative here!
- Mojoworld, The Raft, White Hot Room: Brood, and our flurry of negative flipped or three cost cards let us cap this out fast and get buffed later on when Silver Surfer comes down.
- Quantum Tunnel: if you can wait until you play Mister Negative as your first card here, you’re in for a fun and chaotic match.
- Quantum Realm: Most of our cards are already low power, so this location acts as a mini Bast for cards that aren’t Negative-flipped.
Bad Locations for Negative Surfer
- Crimson Cosmos: Does anyone like this location? We need space to succeed and flat out not being able to play most of our cards is bad news.
- Weirdworld, Subterranea, Vibranium Mines, Lechuguilla: We want to draw Mister Negative by turn four and flip the cards in our deck not this garbage!
- The Space Throne: We can go tall on a location but we need more than one card in a location to make that happen.
- Negative Zone: In spite of the name cross over we don’t want anything to do with locations that lower power and discourage multiple cards in one location.
- Isle of Silence: No ongoing effects allowed? Say goodbye to your high roll potential.
Turn by Turn Breakdown with my Favorite Negative Surfer List
To cap things off today I’ll take you through a gameplan for each turn referencing my personal favorite Negative Surfer list at the moment.
Turn One: Most of the time we’re passing our first turn. You might think this is the ideal time to get Bast onto the board, but unless you have Zabu and ideally Mister Negative in hand it’s best to hold out until turn two to get more targets for Bast.
Turn Two: The dream scenario is playing Zabu with Negative ready to hit the board for turn three. Even if I don’t have Negative in hand I like getting Zabu down in case I draw him on turn three. Additionally, this gives us more options on turn three to play Jubilee or Wong, you never want to play Iron Heart, Mystique, or Wolfsbane on the board on turn three. Otherwise now is a good time to Bast.
Turn Three: if we can’t cheat Mister Negative out now then Magik, Brood, Jubilee, and Wong are all solid plays to make (roughly in that order). At this stage we’re just trying to get some solid board presence going.
Turn Four: Always try and get Mister Negative down here, even if you have limbo on the board, he feels like a dead card coming down after this turn. Now is also the time to really evaluate if you think you can win the match you’re in. Ask yourself how the first three turns went relative to this gameplan, do you have Mister Negative, has your opponent snapped yet? It’s very much possible to win without Mister Negative but it’s important to know when to dip and minimize losses.
Turn Five/Six: I put five/six here because this stage is just thinking about the second to last turn of your game depending on whether or not Magik is in play. Hell if you haven’t played Magik yet now is your chance. This stage is all about getting setting things up for an explosive final turn without showing your hand too much. I always try and save a negative flipped Iron Man for the final turn unless I absolutely have to get him down for example. Also, even playing a five-cost Iron Man isn’t terrible if you have a zero-cost Mystique you can bring out on the final turn.
Turn Six/Seven: Explode! Get out everything that you possibly can. Always try and have Iron Man and Mystique in different lanes and keep in mind that your Mystique will often end up bigger than a regular Iron Man if you can close things off with Silver Surfer. If you’ve kept your Brood location open with one spot that’s always the perfect place for her or Wolfsbane… or Iron Heart if it feels like your opponent has given up on that location.
With all this in mind, get out there and hit the ladder and Conquest with your Negative Surfing skills. Its summer time so you can ride the waves to Infinite! If you want to talk more about Negative Surfer go ahead and leave a comment or find me on Twitter at @ItsTheDMc.
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