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Playing with Purpose: Optimizing Play Patterns on Ladder with coco4 (Including Decks for Each Pool!)

Climbing Marvel Snap’s ranked ladder to Infinite is the primary challenge in Marvel Snap (and in most card games, honestly) and it can be difficult to take a step back and take the time to learn and take in the fundamentals required to climb the ladder to the coveted final rank. There is no better way to learn and take in these fundamentals than to talk about them and seek feedback. You should always be challenging yourself to improve and challenging your own assumptions about what is best.

So to do this I went to noted Marvel Snap streamer, all around great player and entertainer! CoCo_Four and I discussed the below concepts and how to apply them. I also asked him to give some deck recommendations for players at all levels which are included within this article. So sit down for an in-depth write up on some of what we believe are the common mistakes we all make when engaging with card games such as Marvel SNAP!

Focusing on YOUR high percentage plays

We as players tend to want to dive in and start making reads and call outs. This could be detrimental to growth over time when trying to climb and improve your play.

With the number of different cards and strategies out there it can be a daunting task to identify correct play patterns in any given situation. Often though, we focus too much on trying to identify the cards we can win against and lose to, rather than focusing first on our play and ensuring we are doing everything we can to put ourselves in a winning position.

When looking at SNAP we should be aiming to play the highest percent play each turn on our climb to Infinite and always assume your opponent can play the obvious line.

One good rule is to consider is if your opponent has to go out of their way to lose, and if they do, more often than not it will not work. In a ladder environment where we don’t have the ability to properly gauge our opponent’s skill level and deck choices, non-telegraphed play assumptions are dangerous.

So how do we avoid bad reads and make the high percentage play. The recommended deck for Pool 1 climbing can demonstrate this concept:

Pool 1 Odin
Created by coco_four
, updated 2 months ago
5x Collection Level 1-14
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Recruit Season
2x Starter Card
3.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.9
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

If for example, it’s Turn 6, you can play Odin on White Tiger and as long as they play into more than 1 lane you win, but you are making the read they could skip playing and buff their Sunspot to win two lanes – you are probably making too far a read. Would that be an obvious play? If not, you don’t play around it, you make your strongest play (play Odin on the White Tiger) and you play on. Now the Snap mechanic flips this on its head.

If they Snap and there is an obvious way they can win (skip the turn to buff their Sunspot) then you should respect that. Assuming they will then make the mistake of not skipping the turn to buff their Sunspot is then setting yourself up for failure. If you can see an obvious line that beats you, staying in becomes the mistake.

Planning your gameplan from turn 1 (and sticking to it mostly)

From the perspective of our play, we should be aiming to play our strongest line on each turn and avoiding branching off from that line if possible. With how small and consistent the decks are in SNAP, it’s generally correct to assume we are going to draw our win condition and play out our turns accordingly.

Assessing our opening hand and picking the line that is most likely to enable our win condition, even if we don’t have it yet, should be the priority and sticking to that gameplan is essential. A lot of losses come from trying to deviate from our initial set up mid game based on several factors.

So how do we plan out our game, our Pool 2 recommendation demonstrates this concept.

Pool 2 DevilDino
Created by coco_four
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
7x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
1x Starter Card
3
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Devil Dinosaur decks require hand management planning, and planning for your Moon Girl plays, and so on. At the start of the game, run through what you have and what you need to do. Always play as if you are going to have Devil Dinosaur ready on 4 to be copied by Moon Girl if you don’t have another clear plan.

Do you need to clear space on the left of your hand to prepare for Moon Girl on turn 4 or will you have to play towards playing Storm on 3 into Jessica Jones for example. Once you have made your plan, while your learning and climbing, stick to it unless you are forced to pivot.

The plan of doubling your Devil Dinosaur is only really forced to pivot when you don’t draw it by turn 4 for example. Pivoting earlier may mean you are stuck with too many cards on the left hand side of your hand and you can no longer double your Dino when you draw it on 4.

Playing to your outs and retreating

Remember that it’s ok to retreat if we don’t end up drawing what you need on time. Don’t get stuck in the habit of trying to win every game and instead aim to have consistency over time. The climb is the sum of all of our decisions throughout every match. Taking high percentage lines and focusing on just doing what our deck is supposed to do will lead to a more consistent outcome which translates to improving our rank. So play to your outs but be clear on when retreating is the right play. If they Snap you and you don’t yet have your out for example, it’s probably time to retreat.

Our Series 3 recommendation demonstrates this concept:

Ongoing-Destroyer
Created by coco_four
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
2x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Recruit Season
1x Starter Card
3.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Destroyer decks can generally determine if they have lost or have a small chance of winning by Turn 4 to 5. This gives you the opportunity to stay in games which are high value for you and retreat when they are not. When playing the deck, even without Spectrum or Destroyer in hand you can start planning for drawing one of them with where you play your Cosmo and Armor.

If you can do this successfully you draw the card and win, if not, you know your position and can retreat.

Therefore, although it’s not the strongest deck in the meta necessarily, when climbing it can be the most consistent. You are put in the pretty clear position of knowing when you’re likely to lose and can Snap when the stars are aligning confidently.

Conclusion

In conclusion, when climbing in a ladder environment consistency is the key to improving our rank. Going out of our way to be less consistent in the hopes our opponent misplaying or making the god tier read is generally a weak approach and should be avoided in favor of making the obvious plays, high percentage plays and maximizing our chances to draw the winning play.

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SafetyBlade
SafetyBlade

SafetyBlade is an reformed Hearthstone addict and Marvel Fanboy from Australia. Needless to say Marvel Snap is the perfect game for him!

Articles: 45

One comment

  1. Nice article and good advice on retreating. I didn’t learn this when I first started, and due to how the cubes work (potential to lose big in a way awfully similar to poker chips in a casino), it’s easy to let myself get tempted to win back my losses, hoping for a big win instead of numerous consistent wins. But nowadays, I try to play less often, only checking in thrice per day to complete missions and browse the token shop, but more importantly, learning to retreat often, especially when the opponent snaps and my hand isn’t that promising. Better to lose 2 cubes by turn 6 than waste half your day losing 8.

    Above all though, I think the main takeaway from your article is that poker rules apply: it’s less about playing your hand than it’s about playing your opponent. Big obvious wins like Wong+Odin can get you big power-ups when the stars align and all the right cards are drawn, but they’re countered easily (Cosmo, Enchantress). Of course, the opponent would have to draw Cosmo or Enchantress to stand a chance, but that’s where the turn 6 reaction comes in: do you Shang-Chi/Enchantress in reaction (assuming the opponent’s cards flip first), or do you go for the big 6-cost card in an empty location and hope that your opponent doesn’t Aero/Magneto away your side (it’s those random Magnetos that you’d never expect)? Don’t get me started on playing Kazoo and pray that a Killmonger doesn’t show. It’s all about reacting to your opponent, rarely your own hand. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at that, and my anxiety that makes me a nervous wreck really doesn’t help with clear judgment. lol

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