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Regarded as one of the worst cards in the game just a few days ago, Snowguard was changed at the start of the September season. Now a 1-Cost card that creates two 2-Costs in hand, Snowguard immediately found a purpose alongside The Collector, which is one of the most popular cards in the game since Loki released. However, Snowguard‘s utility doesn’t stop at growing The Collector‘s power when creating the Snowguard Hawk and Snowguard Bear in your hand. The card itself is regarded as a great 1-Cost now, and it sees a bit of play in other decks as a solid standalone inclusion.
This week, Snowguard will be available in the Spotlight Caches alongside Alioth. Many players who skipped the card when it was released due to its low power will be given an opportunity to add it to their collection. This time around, we expect Snowguard to do much better than on its release.
The base form of Snowguard is pretty straight forward: its On Reveal effect gives you two new cards in your hand. The cards you receive might be a little more difficult to understand and leverage properly. Many, myself included, have lost a game because we thought Snowguard Hawk would completely cancel a location if we played it on the last turn of the match based on the “(or the game)” text on the card.
Before we get into the multiple uses of Snowguard, let’s make sure we all have the same understanding of its two forms:
The Bear is the easiest of the two to understand, and it’s often regarded as the weaker card for its limited use. Basically, if you play it on a location with a triggered ability (which is an ability that is activated whenever the location reveals), the Bear will trigger it upon revealing for both players. Here are a few examples to make sure we are on the same page:
- Central Park: Snowguard Bear triggers it immediately and a second wave of Squirrels is added to each location.
- Asgard: The trigger is only after Turn 4, so you cannot reactivate it later on because it wouldn’t match the location’s preset timing.
- Necrosha: The effect is passive, so you can’t trigger it. It is always active.
- White Hot Room: If the effect was consumed, it is now a location with no ability for the rest of the match. Snowguard Bear cannot give you the same bonus again.
Snowguard Hawk doesn’t make as many distinctions as the Bear; it will turn off all locations for both players after it reveals. However, there are a few things to know about the card:
- Necrosha: The location you disable will always regain its ability for the points calculation on game’s end, even if you play the Hawk on the last turn of play. Bar With No Name will teach you this the hard way.
- The Hub: If you disable a location with a triggered ability, nothing will happen when it comes back to normal. It will not consider the location to be revealed again.
- The Bifrost: If you disable a location and the turn it should activate goes by, that location will not trigger later on. Consider this location blank.
- Aunt May's: Snowguard Hawk will reveal before the location activates. Therefore, the location’s effect will not resolve if the Hawk was your first card played there.
- Crimson Cosmos: You need to be able to play the Hawk on a different location to disable this one. Deep Space would also prevail over Snowguard Hawk.
Alright, now that we’ve covered how both cards work, we can dive deep into all the locations and see which are the most interesting to leverage with both forms of Snowguard.
The location pool for Snowguard Bear Bear isn’t that big compared to the Hawk. However, some of them can be a big deal, and they might flip a game upside down if the Bear is played at the right time. Here is a list of the locations you might want to leverage to annoy your opponent or get some support for your own strategy:
- Central Park: If you have a way to use the Squirrels (Carnage, Blue Marvel…), then clogging your opponent’s lanes can be very beneficial.
- Camp Lehigh: It can help to find a play on Turn 3 if you anticipate an empty turn. It can also power up The Collector and Devil Dinosaur.
- Collapsed Mine: This pushes both players to skip another turn to get rid of the Rocks. You will also have your Bear on this location, so you’ll be ahead if your opponent left it empty.
- Daily Bugle: You can get more information about your opponent’s hand, or find alternate lines of play.
- District X: Refills both player’s decks to ten cards, which can power up a Darkhawk to 20.
- Hell's Kitchen: You draw a card, which is especially good if you noticed your opponent didn’t draw the first time it revealed.
- Monster Island: Get another 9-Power monster, and then you can use Shang-Chi to remove the ones your opponent has (or just wait for them to fill the lane).
- Nova Roma, Olympia: If your opponent doesn’t play much early, you can get cards while they don’t.
- Project Pegasus: Can be useful if you have Sunspot on board or She-Hulk in hand.
- Savage Land: You can fill this location for your opponent on Turn 2. This is especially good if you have Blue Marvel or another buff.
- Shadowland: If you fill the lane, you only give the Ninja to your opponent.
- Sokovia: If your opponent has a small hand, you could massively disrupt them.
- Subterranea: If your hand is good enough or you can create cards, shuffling more Rocks should be more detrimental for your opponent. This can also be another 10 power for Darkhawk.
- The Hub: This can help you find a play if you anticipate a blank turn. It can also power up The Collector and Devil Dinosaur.
- The Ice Box: This provides some small disruption if you think it will be more detrimental to your opponent.
- The Peak: You can cancel the first activation and get your cards back to normal.
- The Triskelion: Huge power up for The Collector and Devil Dinosaur, and it also works great with Quinjet and Loki.
- Wakandan Embassy: Can build up very explosive turns with cheap, high power cards.
While the Bear works more immediately, Snowguard Hawk lets us plan ahead of time and disable locations both on the turn it is played and the next one. In that regard, priority seems to be much more important with the Hawk than the Bear – especially if you want to use it to disrupt your opponent’s turn.
- Eternity Range
- Gamma Lab
- Grand Central
- Los Diablos Base
- Oscorp Tower
- Stark Tower
- Starlight Citadel
- Strange Academy
- The Bifrost
- Valley of the Hand
- Avengers Compound
- Dream Dimension
- New York
- The Vault
If you cancel the location when it should trigger, it will basically make it a blank location for the match. And for timing locations like these, your opponent might prepare their plan around the effect coming into play.
- Asteroid M
- Bar Sinister
- Cloning Vats
- Fisk Tower
- Great Web
- Hellfire Club
- Luke's Bar
- Orchis Forge
- Muir Island
- Quantum Realm
- Quantum Tunnel
- Shuri's Lab
- Sinister London
- The Big House
- The Superflow
- Altar of Death
- Death's Domain
- Danger Room
If you manage to disable these location at a certain time, you can surprise an opponent who planned around that effect being in play. I didn’t include some Ongoing effects (mostly the ones that will still impact the end of the game since you cannot disable those). Necrosha, for example, will reduce the card’s power by two in the final countdown, even if you try to disable it on Turn 6 with Snowguard Hawk. Priority can be particularly important with these locations depending on whether you want your opponent to reveal their cards with or without the effect in play.
“After Each Turn” Locations
Similar to the previous category, you can use Snowguard Hawk to remove the ability from triggering at the end of a turn or two. While it might seem minimal to disable a location for one or two turns over the course of six, do not underestimate the value of ruining a synergy your opponent was planing to abuse on a given turn. For example, disabling Muir Island to keep your cards at eight power denies a ton of value from a potential Shang-Chi.
“One Time Use” Locations
One time locations will typically heavily impact at least one turn of the match, as the decision of both players will be heavily impacted by said location. Similar to the Ongoing ones earlier, if you manage to punish that decision through turning off the location, you punish the investment the opponent had to make, and you’ve gained precious information in the process.
Decks for Snowguard
Snowguard has three ways of contributing to a deck. It can either bring some flexibility regarding the locations of the game, generate cards in order to provide new solutions and play patterns, and buff certain cards in your deck.
Here are a few decks where Snowguard has already proven its worth:
After being one of those cards that gathered dust in everyone’s collections (for those who even decided to get Snowguard with their Collector’s Tokens back when it released), it’s become a solid 1-Cost card. It’s included in the same discussions as Nebula, Kitty Pryde, and Sunspot as the best 1-Cost in the game, which makes it clear that the change to Snowguard in the last patch did the card a lot of good.
Now part of the Spotlight Cache rotation for the week to come, Snowguard should get some attention. It might even be a nice addition to many players’ collections, even if they’re just looking for Alioth. However, the card remains a bit of a puzzle to understand completely and leverage during your games.
As you could see in the featured decks, Cerebro (or just a high tempo deck like Move Legion) have started including the card as a solid standalone, which shows that there are some clear upsides to considering Snowguard whenever your deck is missing a 1-Cost card. I hope this piece helps you see where you can best use the card. More importantly, I hope I explained how Snowguard is more than just a nice buff to The Collector and Devil Dinosaur.
Have some questions about the card? A spicy deck where Snowguard is a star? Find me on the Marvel Snap Zone community Discord, or use my Twitter page where I share decks and biased opinions about the game to get in touch.
Good Game Everyone.
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