Marvel Snap OTA Update Analysis and Decks to Play: Darkhawk and Lockjaw Headline Some Incredible Changes!

With nerfs that hit every major deck (and a few very interesting buffs), this OTA balance update is sure to make a big splash! Check out the changes and some post-OTA decks to play here.

The cards we got during the Black Order season have been quite impactful. They did not, however, push the decks that a large part of the community would have liked to see perform into the spotlight.

Thanos Lockjaw has been the best deck in the game since Cull Obsidian released during the second week of the season. Then, the last two weeks have been a discard show with Hela becoming Thanos‘s biggest rival, which in turn made the meta a lot about proactive development.

In that mix, only Destroy felt like a regular contender that was often able to go toe-to-toe with the other two. Lately, we have seen a nice burst of momentum for Good Cards Junk, which shows Darkhawk and Zabu should never be forgotten.

Well, all these archetypes are taking a hit in this OTA.

Check out the full patch notes!

Darkhawk for Good Cards, Forge in Destroy and Bounce, Lockjaw for Hela and Thanos, there is a nerf for all the dominant decks currently. On the side, we are also getting some nice buffs to Ant-Man, Sword Master, Vulture or Adam Warlock. This is bound to change the metagame we have experienced over the past three weeks, right?

Maybe, but we still have a few hurdles to overcome.


Thanos Lockjaw is Still the Best Deck in the Game

Thanos Lockjaw
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
6x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Recruit Season
4.7
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
6.4
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Lockjaw as a [4/5] might slow down the deck a bit now that you might not be able to routinely abuse the ability three times during a match. However, I don’t really understand the need to give Lockjaw three power to mitigate the extra energy it now costs.

Thanos still has Psylocke and the Time Stone to get Lockjaw out on Turn 3, and it’s not like the deck is unable to compete when it doesn’t find the now 4-Cost. In that deck, Lockjaw was very often a Snap, and very rarely would Thanos Retreat early simply because it couldn’t find Lockjaw.

I do think the change will impact the deck in some way. It will likely make it slower overall, but I can’t imagine the era of Thanos Lockjaw is done for now. The deck has shown too many times in the past how it was able to overcome plenty of obstacles thanks to its incredible flexibility.

Also, Lockjaw joins the very private club of cards nerfed twice.


Hela Still Has Other Decks

Hela Ramp
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
3x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
3x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
7.1
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Hela Tribunal
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Starter Card
4.7
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
6.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

The change to Lockjaw will also hurt Hela since it’s the other archetype abusing the ability to develop its game plan. Compared to Thanos, I believe this change will be more impactful for Hela. The best performing (and kind of historical) build for the archetype relied heavily on Lockjaw. Compared to the Mad Titan, Lockjaw significantly improved your chances to win the match when you drew it early on.

I do think we will see less of Hela in the near future. However, I don’t think the card will disappear because we still have at least two decks based around Hela to use. Arguably, these two are easier to counter and play against since they don’t have the same penchant for Snapping early, which means we could lose fewer cubes when going against it.

Overall, I believe Hela took a bigger hit than Thanos, and their head to head battle for the top deck probably ends with this OTA. I think Hela will not be able to compete at that level for the time being.


Destroy Takes a Real Hit This Time

Hybrid Destroy
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
3.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.3
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

In the last OTA, Hulkbuster was changed from a [3/4] to a [2/3], which was presented as a nerf to Destroy. Most of the community laughed and didn’t believe it for one second (and look how it turned out). This time, Forge becoming a [2/2] might have a much bigger impact on Destroy’s ability to dominate.

Indeed, while we could still have access to Forge on Turn 2 followed by Deadpool and Carnage, the card will be much more difficult to use outside this specific use case.

I’m not dismissing the possibility that the current build could remain the best one for the archetype, but I’m willing to explore other avenues for Destroy as well. For example, Nimrod has been a solid card lately, and it would greatly benefit from most of the best proactive decks taking a hit. This logically makes Shuri a good inclusion as well since it represents a different way of growing Deadpool if you wish to.


Darkhawk and Zabu Finally Split Up

Good Cards Bounce
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
3x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
4x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
2.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.1
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Lockdown
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
6x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
3.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.2
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Loki
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
3x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
3.1
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.3
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Toxic Sera
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3.2
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.6
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

The Marvel Snap couple of 2023 isn’t having much fun in 2024. After struggling to crawl its way back into the competitive scene with the Good Cards Junk archetype, this nerf to Darkhawk is a huge hit to the entire Good Cards archetype.

Simply put, the Good Cards archetype wants to play only one 5-Cost card. At least, this has been the perfect balance for it over the last three seasons. Leech in the basic build with Darkhawk and more counter cards, Annihilus in the build with Junk, and Jane Foster Mighty Thor if you included Thor and Beta Ray Bill in your deck. With Darkhawk as a 5-Cost, it is going to be much more difficult to include the Rock package in the Good Cards archetype – especially now that zero cards from it synergize with Zabu.

For the time being, I expect this nerf to end the relationship between Zabu and Darkhawk and place the now 5-Cost in a similar spot as Ronan the Accuser. It won’t be a bad card, but it likely won’t be good enough to see tons of play, either.

As for the Good Cards archetype, we should still find plenty of way to abuse Zabu if we need to. Bounce was already using it to great success, as were Loki, Sera, and even Lockdown. The only one getting hurt is Darkhawk.


Decks to Test After This OTA

We have discussed how the nerfs might not kill any of the archetype they are directly aimed at (particularly Thanos, which looks to be the most resilient of the bunch). But nerfs and buffs aren’t so much about which decks are being changed for the worse. Rather, the interesting part of an OTA is trying to guess which archetypes will come in a take the available space left by the affected decks.

Here is a collection of decks I think are worth trying after this OTA, all including at least one of the recently buffed cards:

Cerebro 5
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Recruit Season
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.3
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Bounce
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
3x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
2.2
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.2
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Move
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
3x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
3x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
2.6
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.5
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Kazoo
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Recruit Season
2.2
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Mister Negative
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
7x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
1x Recruit Season
1x Starter Card
4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
1.5
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Closing Words

I’m not entirely sure the meta will feel very different from what it is now after this OTA. I do expect less of Destroy and Hela after this OTA, but I doubt Thanos will be anything less than a top contender once again.

This OTA is massive, don’t get me wrong, but only one of the game’s super powerful engines was touched (Lockjaw). Zabu, Loki, Sera, and plenty of other foundations are still around, and I expect they will take most of the play rate that the nerfed archetypes will give away.

As usual, these will feel like the best decks early on after the OTA. They are already built, we know how to play them, and plenty of unrefined decks will be tested; it’s a perfect opportunity to feed those well oiled machines’ Win Rates and Cube Averages.

For this OTA to have a real impact, we also need to play our part and test different things. Really get out of our comfort zone. I understand it can be difficult to do so if you are looking to reach your goals before the season’s end. But remember, there will be plenty of opportunities to do that next season as well if you don’t feel like giving it a try now. It can be a new card, a rising archetype that catches your eye, or just a synergy you wanted to explore in the past and never did because of a bad match up holding it back.

This OTA opened some space, but it is up to the players to decided how to fill it. If we all go back to slamming Thanos and Hela, I have little doubt these two can still be powerhouses in Marvel Snap. However, I also have no doubt they are weaker now than they were before this update. It’s up to us to figure out by how much.

Want to discuss this OTA or share a deck you will try with the update? Find me on the Marvel Snap Zone community Discord, or reach out through my Twitter page where I share decks and biased opinions about the game.

Good Game Everyone.

Enjoy our content? You can Support Marvel Snap Zone and your favorite content creators by subscribing to our Premium community! Get the most of your Marvel Snap experience with the following perks for paid membership:

  • No ads: Browse the entire website ad-free, both display and video.
  • Exclusive Content: Get instant access to all our Premium articles!
  • Meta Reports: Exclusive daily meta reports, such as the Ultimate Card Metrics Report, Top 10 Decks of the Day, Top 30 Cards, and Top Card Pairs tailored for you!
  • Team Coaching: Join our free weekly team coaching call sessions on the Discord server. Claim your Premium role and gain access to exclusive channels where you can learn and discuss in real time!
  • Premium Dashboard: Get full instant access to the member-only dashboard, the all-in-one page for all your benefits.
  • Support: All your contributions get directly reinvested into the website to increase your viewing experience! You get also get a Premium badge and border on your profile.
  • Special offerFor a limited time, use coupon code SBYREX4RL1 to get 50% off the Annual plan!
den
den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yu-Gi-Oh! and then Magic: The Gathering.

Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on these games.

Articles: 392