Patriot Detailed Deck Guide: Do You Like Vanilla?
Patriot is a unique card in Marvel Snap because it utilizes cards that are otherwise completely forgotten: the ones without any ability, also called Vanilla.
At its core, Marvel Snap is a game where both players are looking to beat each other based on the amount of points they are able to develop. However, as time passed and more cards were added to the game, players quickly realized you could get more points through playing cards with synergistic abilities. This trend allowed players to beat decks that were simply based around cards with sheer numbers on them. Also, as Vanilla cards aren’t gifted more points than the ones with abilities, there really is no point in not benefiting from those effects. For example, why would someone play Hulk when they have Magneto in their collection? Why would you want to include Misty Knight when you could play Iceman, Korg, or Nightcrawler? All of these cards have the same power as their Vanilla counterparts, but they include an effect too. Patriot is that reason. Its Ongoing ability will make your Vanilla cards worth playing by granting them extra power and making them worth much more than the energy paid.
Based on this simple concept and cards that were added to Marvel Snap back in beta, the Patriot archetype has always been around, and it is often considered a solid proactive deck. We even saw some innovation around it a few seasons ago, using Silver Surfer to add another way to buff our cards. Since Silver Surfer’s nerf in February (and because Patriot has never received a new card in Series 4 or 5), the archetype has lost the favor of a lot of the player base. The deck still exists, and it could be considered one of the best in Marvel Snap to farm bots (who have absolutely no idea what is coming), but it unfortunately isn’t so great against other players.
This isn’t necessarily because of its strength, as it is definitely able to compete with other decks for points, but instead for its predictability. No other deck in the game is using Misty Knight, Shocker, and Cyclops, so everyone you face should quickly figure out what’s up and can make educated guesses on what to do to counter you. This has largely limited Patriot‘s ability to be recognized as a big threat in Marvel Snap, and it ends up drawing more retreats than anything else. However, if you are good at timing your Snaps, or you manage to catch someone off guard, Patriot might still is deserve a position among the most dominant decks of Series 3.
Table of Contents
- Deck Presentation
- Snap and Retreat
- Turn by Turn Breakdown
- Closing Words
Deck Concept and Strategy
At its core, Patriot is a points-based deck looking to develop as many as possible across the three locations. Most of the time, because Patriot himself (and his best friend Mystique) are worth very few points, the deck will abandon the location where these cards are played. In exchange, the other locations should be very strong as all the cards there receive a solid +4 power buff.
Depending on the opponent, you might also want to balance your points and have Patriot and Mystique on different lanes. This can be done to avoid a disastrous Enchantress, or simply because you believe you have a higher ceiling than your opponent and want to force them into investing into each lane to win it.
Strategy wise, most of the thinking will be done based on what is in your hand since the deck isn’t exactly flexible. You will, of course, have different ways to build your turns, but the end result should be the same, meaning the emphasis is on how to get there. In that regard, there are a few questions one needs to ask when playing Patriot:
- How much information do you want to give your opponent before going all in? For example, Squirrel Girl, Cosmo, or even Ka-Zar aren’t a tell of exactly what you are playing, while Misty Knight or Shocker are obvious clues.
- Which locations will you go for, and which one will serve to host your low scoring cards?
- Are you relying on Ultron to fill the whole board at once on the last turn, or are you building the board incrementally?
Because Patriot doesn’t have many game plans, it can’t really try to be flexible regarding how to win. Through asking these key questions, you can at least manipulate and control how you will get to the final point, how you will keep your opponent on their toes, or at least how you will hide where and how many points you will develop.
Although there are Vanilla cards at every energy cost in Marvel Snap, Cyclops, The Thing, Abomination, and Hulk are not part of every Patriot deck while the cheaper ones see play almost every time.
Overall, these cards represent the very essence of what a Patriot deck is looking to accomplish: get Vanilla cards in play and buff them with Patriot and Mystique.
As you can see, the core of the deck isn’t so demanding. We want to fill the rest of the deck with cards that have specific abilities to support Patriot, and the deck has quite some flexibility in that regard.
Patriot has been teaming up with a lot of different cards since beta. The archetype has taken very different forms, from a straight forward “buff your Vanilla cards” deck to more of an explosive and combo kind of deck. As a result of these many iterations, a ton of cards can be mentioned alongside Patriot. As long as they fit your idea of how you want to play the archetype, many things can make sense.
First, let’s take a look at the Vanilla crew (and some cards that can summon them some as well):
The summoning cards tend to be stronger in this list, but they also require more available space – an important resource for a Patriot deck. Cyclops sees the most play out of the remaining Vanilla cards, mostly because its cost makes it more flexible to use.
In our demonstration list at the top of this guide, we have Debrii, Squirrel Girl, and Doctor Doom included, but the three cards rarely all see play in the same game. First, Ultron is usually the default card when it comes to mass summoning recipients of Patriot’s buff. Then, summoning several units at once is only worth it if we have enough buffs to make these units contribute to our points total, meaning we need to find the timing and the space to play both these cards and our buffing cards.
Let’s take a look at the other ways to buff our cards outside of Patriot, which gives more value to the previous category of cards:
Typically, Blue Marvel is the default buff card you will use if you want more than just Patriot in your deck. Ka-Zar is often included in the deck if you also have enough 1-cost cards to make it worth it, hence why Squirrel Girl and Debrii are popular additions. Onslaught could also be considered a buff card, but the other 6-costs tend to find their place in the deck first.
Silver Surfer enables a different kind of build, capitalizing on Patriot and Mystique both being 3-cost cards, which we will discuss at the end of this section.
Valkyrie rarely makes any of our cards weaker, and our units will retain the buffs coming from Ongoing abilities.
Moving on to cards protecting Patriot from some of its predators:
These cards will neither buff nor be buffed, so they’re not explicitly part of the Patriot concept. Instead, these two are just an insurance policy to protect Patriot from Enchantress. Most of the time, Cosmo gets the nod as it can also be played with Silver Surfer, but Invisible Woman can sometimes lead the opponent to make a wrong guess as to what we are playing (and it’s a cheaper card too).
To conclude this section of cards worthy of being considered in the Patriot archetype, we have combo oriented cards:
Highly synergistic decks tend to love being able to cheat resources or draw more of their deck to find key cards. In those roles, we have Magik and Sera, both of which barely see play but are worth keeping in mind.
Wave opens a different way of playing the archetype, mostly when you include several 6-cost cards. In that scenario, Wave can be useful to get out a 6-cost like Onslaught early and still have our final turn available to play Ultron, for example.
We won’t go into too many details about this one, but I wanted to showcase one of the more popular variants of the Patriot archetype. This one combines the traditional build with another win condition in the form of Silver Surfer. With this inclusion, the emphasis shifts to the 3-cost cards. Silver Surfer offers another way to manipulate our points and makes it harder for the opponent to guess our precise score.
Here is the latest Patriot deck being shared on social media and Discord. In this version, Patriot isn’t surrounded by all its usual friends; instead, it’s used to grant one buff in order to make Valkyrie almost guaranteed to win her lane. This is just another way to consider Patriot outside of just filling our deck with buff recipients.
Snap and Retreat
Part of what makes Patriot appealing for a lot of players is that most of its decisions are based on information that is clearly visible to us: the cards in our hand.
Obviously, your opponent’s deck will have an impact on your decisions. For example, if you expect your opponent to be running Killmonger or Enchantress, it would be wise to stay safe and not Snap against them. Still, once you figure the opponent isn’t running a deck with the ability to counter yours, it quickly becomes about points.
In that regard, Patriot is quite easy to figure out. The archetype allows Snapping early in a game, hopefully before the opponent recognizes your deck and switches gears to make an educated guess at your potential score. Indeed, once the other player figures out you are a Patriot deck, unless you are running some spicy card that can change the deck’s points potential or spread, your Snap will either be met with a retreat or a counter Snap. As such, take some time every turn to see how far in the game you are able to project yourself and how much you like that projection.
It is a risky gamble at times, but, over a large sample size, Snapping early based on your hand tends to be the best way to collect cubes with the Patriot archetype.
As for the retreats, it is a bit more difficult to identify them correctly. It’s often because your opponent has a great hand, but sometimes because they recognized your deck and have the counter card. Whenever your opponent Snaps you, take a moment to consider which of the two options is most likely.
If you think it is based on them having a great hand, simply ask yourself if you think you can beat it. If you anticipate a counter card coming, retreating is probably wise since Enchantress tends to turn the deck down if Patriot is our only source of buffs.
Patriot is particularly good at reaching locations that can’t be played on as Ultron, Squirrel Girl and Doctor Doom can drop a card there. Apart from these locations, most of the ones able to provide a buff to Patriot‘s ability or reward you for flooding the board will also be beneficial.
Locations that are difficult to reach or develop power onto:
Locations providing an ability boost
Location which help the Vanilla synergy
There are also a few bad locations, mostly those impairing Ongoing Synergies or breaking synergies in our deck. A few are also usually much more beneficial to our opponent:
- Shuri's Lab
- Subterranea: It gives Rocks, but dilutes your shot at finding Patriot.
- The Nexus
- The Raft
- The Space Throne
- Throne Room
- Warrior Falls
As stated in the intro to this section, there are two main cards that can ruin Patriot’s day: Killmonger and Enchantress. You will typically find the first one in Destroy based decks, and the second one as a tech card. Both meet in control oriented builds, such as the popular Sera Control, and can be very difficult to overcome.
Leech can also be a difficult card to beat, and it completely punishes us for keeping Patriot in our hand and trying to be sneaky with our strategy.
Galactus is also a very tough opponent because we aren’t made to compete on one location. We would rather spread our resources among all three lanes.
Every other match up should be points based, so simply ask yourself what your deck’s ceiling is and compare it to what you think the opponent’s is. Currently, Patriot should have a reasonable shot at reaching 20 points on two different locations in most games. This ranks it in the average points total, behind decks like Shuri Zero. Including Cosmo helps a lot against On Reveal combo decks, which are usually great at developing a ton of points if they aren’t disrupted while doing so.
Turn by Turn Breakdown
Before we go into a turn by turn breakdown, remember Patriot has two lines it can take:
- Not disguising anything and optimizing energy and cards.
- Trying to be a bit sneaky and keep Patriot and Mystique for Turn 6 to surprise the opponent.
Depending on whether we have Ultron already or not, we aren’t forced to a play a 1-cost card immediately. Squirrel Girl tends to be more versatile and not carry as much information as Misty Knight.
Shocker will usually be our play here since we can’t really fit it anywhere else in the curve. Invisible Woman could very well fit in the deck instead of Cosmo, and it would be a solid Turn 2 play as well.
This is an important turn. It’s where we will decide if we go for Patriot early or late in the game. If you decide to go for an early Patriot, you also want to consider Snapping since you’re revealing to your opponent what you play (and that’s likely enough information for them to know if they want to leave on the next turn).
On the flip side, if your opponent Snaps at you after you have revealed the deck you play, try to imagine the worst case scenario they may have in store for you.
Other plays can be Debrii for some disruption or Cosmo to protect Patriot later on.
Entering the second part of the game, we have to decide whether we want to start buffing our units or keep developing the board.
If we have Ultron in mind, Turn 4 will likely just be a Ka-Zar play or Mystique copying last turn’s Patriot. If we expect to take another route, we can be much more flexible with our energy.
Turn 5 will most often be a Blue Marvel play, unless we plan to go Patriot plus Mystique next turn and need to develop our board a bit more for the buffs to matter. Then, we will usually mix a 3-cost with whatever we have in hand like Squirrel Girl, Misty Knight, or Shocker.
Doctor Doom, Ultron, or Patriot plus Mystique are our options here. Turn 6 needs to be extremely impactful with this deck because it will either create enough Vanilla cards to win two lanes or buff our otherwise textless cards.
Although Patriot has a hard time competing with Series 4 and 5 these days, the archetype’s versatility when it comes to possibilities of disguising its core cards, or the way it can attack all three locations at once, has kept the deck relevant in every Marvel Snap metagame to date.
Sure, you won’t see the deck atop a Tier List anymore, but Patriot still remains a great Series 3 deck and a perfect building block for anyone looking to get their hands on a highly synergistic deck in Marvel Snap.
I hope this guide was helpful in learning more about one of Marvel Snap’s most iconic archetypes. If you had any question, feel free to reach out to us on Discord, or find me directly on Twitter.
Good Game Everyone.
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I like Storm in Patriot deck. As you noted, it’s a great deck for getting into hard to reach locations, so why not make your own! It’s also a 3-cost for Surfer synergy if you go that way.
Just waiting for Patriot to cycle back around in the shop, which is now bloated since crossing 1k CL
I like the Surfer Patriot deck but I swapped out Misty for Absorbing Man, so it is less obvious on what the deck is about and gives some more options like counter playing with Debrii . I also call it Silver Patron (Patriot-Ultron) but there may be some copyright issues with that 🙂