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Zabu Theorycraft, Strategy, and Decklists – Best Season Pass Card Yet?

Looking to prepare for Season 8 of Marvel Snap? We delve into the strategies and potential of the new Season Pass card Zabu and theorycraft what decks it can fit in to!

Season 8 of Marvel Snap, Savage Land (not the official name), is set to kick off on January 3, 2022 at 3 AM GMT! Silver Surfer is currently one of the top card in the metagame, and Wave is the most impactful card to come out of the Season Passes so far, considering she has been relevant since joining the game, back in July. But damn, Zabu is a scary one, that I could easily imagine being as impactful as the two I just mentioned, if not even better.

Why is that, you might think? Well, because Sera is one very good card in Marvel Snap, and showed why cheating on your energy count could be extremely strong. Also, because the 4-Cost cards in the game are very solid, for example Wong, Shuri, White Queen or Moon Girl. Did you know Hellcow was considered the best game in the game at some point? Yes, back when the card used to cost two energy during beta. And do you know which card makes Hellcow a 2-Cost card once again? This bad boy:

Usually, these theorycraft guides are divided by their synergies, showcasing some decks that we could come up built around the new card. However here is the deal with Zabu: We managed to find so many decks to build around the card, that it felt natural to focus the article around those exclusively. It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that Zabu wants you to play 4-Cost cards in your deck, so the synergies part would have been a little dull.

As such, let’s embark on a journey of many decks, each of them showcasing a different way of using Zabu‘s ability to create, or reinforce a strong play pattern. Not all of them will be metagame defining, and that isn’t the goal here anyway – but look at how many decks appear to make sense around the new Season Pass card, and then tell me you don’t think it’s going to be a really scary one!

A little disclaimer before we dive into the madness that Zabu can bring. I think the card concept is really sweet, and being a low power card, should open the opponent to answer it with Enchantress on turn four with priority. This largely limits how much Zabu can just take over a game if the card becomes too popular.

Finally, the season details are not final and datamine is not the final product. Who knows, the card may be changed last minute or the season could be something else entirely.

For more Zabu theorycraft decks from the community, check out the deck database!


Kazoo Discard

KaZaBu
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
5x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
1x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
2x Recruit Season
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.6
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Series 4 and 5 cards have created quite a controversy in the Marvel Snap community, often being criticized for being way too difficult to obtain, especially for those who have not even finished Pool 3 yet. Well, do not worry if you are on a budget: Zabu is playable with very little resources needed, and Series 4 and 5 cards aren’t a requirement to abuse the card.

In this deck, only Hellcow is included, as it looks bonkers with the new card, with the rest of the cards from Pool 1 and 2, and actually represent an archetype that isn’t seeing much play anymore: Kazoo Discard.

The concept for this deck is to play like a regular Kazoo deck, flooding the board with cheap cards and buffing them with Ka-Zar and Blue Marvel. Except because our hand tends to empty itself quite fast, we are looking to abuse Strong Guy and activate its Ongoing ability, creating a lot of points in the process.

So what is Zabu‘s role in this deck? Simply creating a stupidly strong turn six where we would play Ka-Zar, Strong Guy and Hellcow all at once, generating more than 20 power in the process and emptying our hand with the discard effect from Hellcow.

This deck was actually a thing back in the summer, during the beta, but back then, Strong Guy and Hellcow both cost two energy, making the deck much more explosive than it currently can be. Zabu takes us back to memory lane, and could show why both cards were deservedly nerfed back then.


Handsize

Good Cards Zabu
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
3x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Starter Card
3.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.8
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Moon Girl and White Queen represent the backbone of the Devil Dinosaur support package currently, and with both cards being 4-Cost, it could already be enough to consider Zabu in the deck. But there actually are many other good cards that could be considered in the deck that were not included for consistency purposes. With Zabu in the mix, we can unbalance the deck in the spread of energy, and include many more 4-Cost cards, like Jessica Jones or Shuri for example.

This makes the deck a little more heavy in the second part of the game, but we shouldn’t feel it as long as we draw into the new card. With Moon Girl included, we could even just play 4-Cost cards for the rest of the game on some occasions. With Quinjet also in play, imagine how sweet it could be to play both Devil Dinosaur and White Queen on the same turn (five), and maybe again the next (six).

I think a card that benefits a ton from Zabu‘s addition is Jessica Jones. A card that fell out of flavor with White Queen taking over in the Leader metagame, but has always been a solid play on turn four in many decks. Now, I could easily picture the card being amongst the common additions to a Zabu deck, simply to increase the amount of 4-Cost card we have to play.


Hela Discard

Hela Zabu
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
7x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
4.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
6.6
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Which is stronger on turn six? Hela, or Hellcow plus Ghost Rider plus Absorbing Man copying Ghost Rider? The answer is: Why choose? Just pick the one available, thanks to Zabu! Also, you can replace Ghost Rider with Jubilee in this combo if Hela is still in your deck!

Hela Discard has always been an unreliable deck, requiring players to be really smart with your snaps and retreats in order to maximize the deck’s potential. As such, every time I see a card that might make it more reliable, I immediately think about the deck and how it could help it.

Now, I’m not sure if this take on Hela Discard will necessarily be better than the one we have currently, as we have to cut the 5-Cost cards to make room for the 4-Costs and Zabu. However, there has always been a debate around Jubilee, Ghost Rider and even Absorbing Man in the deck, and which card was optimal considering the limited space that we had. In this debate, Zabu offers another possibility, cutting the 5-Costs entirely and running all of them, which creates another path to a stupidly strong turn six for the deck.

This is just one of the various combos one should be worried about when Zabu hits the board.


Darkhawk Wombo Combo

Wombo Combo DarkHawk
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
2x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
7x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
3.6
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.6
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Just like other Series 5 cards, Darkhawk has been very discreet since its release, with just a few players deciding to spend the 6,000 Collector’s Tokens required to get the card, if it even appeared in their shop at all. But Darkhawk is a 4-Cost, and as the new season will start, this precise mana cost might become the new gold standard.

In the first three decks, we focused on how Zabu was just helping the deck get a little high roll going on and offer sweet last turns to surprise the opponent who thought they had a read on what our deck was capable of. Let’s scratch all this for this one, and just take it up a notch, make Zabu the key card in the deck, and abuse it as much as possible.

First, something important to understand is that if you have Sera plus Zabu on the board, your 4-Cost cards will only really cost you one energy. Using Mystique on Zabu also works to get your 4-Cost to 1 energy. Meaning on turn six, you could play SIX 4-cost cards, and good luck to whoever has to deal with that. Also, with that many cards potentially playable, we can have the luxury of playing reactive cards like Shang-Chi in addition to the one we intend to combo with.

I don’t necessarily think this archetype will be very strong, as we know what happens when Wong is super popular. Still, think about all the crazy stuff that could happen when you go Zabu on three and Sera on five:

Now imagine what happens if we are throwing Moon Girl on turn four and all these cards can be played twice during that last turn… I’ll just give you the best combo in the game because it’s such a funny one:

And the worse in all of this, is that the best play pattern is probably to simply play Wong and Rockslide together on turn four, shuffling four Rocks in the opposing deck. This alone could ruin a player’s deck.


Omega Red?!

Omega Red
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
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)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Recruit Season
1x Starter Card
3.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.6
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Alright Zabu, it’s become pretty clear you can be played in a ton of decks, but Omega Red, really?

Let’s be clear, if something of the sort becomes competitive enough to be considered a good deck with the sole addition of Zabu, it will end the debate about which is the best Season Pass card. Until this happens, let’s take a look of how Zabu can help this deck:

  • First, it will disguise the key card in the deck, allowing to play it on turn six, alongside Iron Man for example for a nice surprise.
  • Then, it makes the combo more flexible, as we can play Shuri, Warpath and Omega Red on six, which should make that lane good enough to trigger Omega Red. Considering we can even fit Wave on three and Onslaught on four before going into Zabu on five and our 4-cost on six, this seems a little strong.
  • Lastly, because our 4-Costs are much cheaper, we can include more situational cards, such as Spider-Man, in order to both progress our gameplan, and mitigate the opponent’s one as well. In a deck looking to crush a location, preventing the opponent from playing there seems incredibly strong.

CRYSTAL??!!

Zabu OP
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
3x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
2x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
3.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.5
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

If this one works out, Zabu is the best card in Marvel Snap, I don’t want to hear a thing about it. This deck is basically an all-in on Zabu, and packs the most stupid things that can be done with the card:

  • Because our hand becomes quite cheap when Zabu is in play, managing our hand outside the Discard archetype seems reasonable for Dracula.
  • For the same reason, we might lack cards on turn five, so Crystal can serve as a refill before turn six.
  • Wong, Shuri and Moon Girl seem like an extremely scary trio to abuse with Zabu.
  • Darkhawk and Rockslide might be played in every Zabu deck considering their synergy together, and being both 4-Cost cards.

There are other cards I consider really strong with Zabu, such as Spider-Man mentioned in other decks or Absorbing Man, considering some solid On Reveal are also 4-Cost cards. If this kind of “stuff your deck with good 4-Cost abilities” is able to work, it should definitely show that Zabu is way out of line.


Closing Words

I have a personal rule of never investing real money in games. It helps me keep a barrier and not go crazy whenever there is something that catches my eye in a shop. But I have to admit, Zabu is making it extremely difficult to follow that rule, as I truly anticipate the card to be extremely powerful. There might be a time during which we will have to run some counter cards for it, just in case.

For example, it might give a lot of upsides to Enchantress, who fell out of popularity lately, or Super-Skrull, a very disappointing card so far from Series 5, but who could suddenly get much better. Funnily enough, both cards can be played in a Zabu deck themselves, both cards costing four energy

I recognize I might have gone a little crazy in this one, and Zabu probably won’t push as many decks as I featured in this article. Although I could have featured more decks to be fair, like Discard Lockjaw, more decks around Wong, some greedy builds with Dracula and Jubilee… The possibilities are so wide with this card, I guess we will only know its real power once we can play with it.

Until that moment happens, I hope you are all having a good time on the game. As usual, find the Marvel Snap Zone team on our Discord, or myself directly on Twitter (@den_CCG).

Good Game Everyone.

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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: 94

10 Comments

  1. I’d just want to caution people who compare this to Silver Surfer or Sera – Silver Surfer has time for you to draw it by turn 6, and Sera by turn 5.

    If you make a deck that is all-in on Zabu and fails if it doesn’t draw it by turn 3, then you’re going to be disappointed, as it’ll be even less consistent than getting Mister Negative on 4. Just keep it in mind. *When* you need a card by does make a big difference.

  2. Super-Skrull might also work really well if Zabu is popular enough for lots of mirror matches. As someone who got Super-Skrull randomly, I’m excited to see if Zabu can boost him enough he gets and keeps a slot in a deck.

    • I’d say the game is ”pay to have the most fun,” which is a fine place to be, in my opinion. You can win without paying anything, it’s just that you have to be content without having the shiny new toys for awhile. Just dust off that Enchantress and jump into the fray.

      • After you finish Series 3, you can go literally weeks without earning a new card. How is that fun, in a CCG?! Very odd decision-making by the devs, in my opinion. The game has a lot of potential but, after Series 3, progression hits a brick wall.

      • @blueberry How is that weird, though? In most CCGs, after a new expansion drops and you get all the new cards, you don’t get new cards at all for 3-4 months. Though to be fair, once 3-4 months pass, you get 100-400 new cards all at once.

        There are issues, but “not getting a new card for a few months” is literally how most TCGs and CCGs work. Also, on average, you can buy a new series 4 card every 4 weeks. So 3.5 weeks between cards is going to be the average norm. But it does get terrible once you consider how long it takes to obtain, say, 12 new cards.

        But we’ll have to see what sort of cadence they set for pool de-ranking. If they move as many cards to pool 4 from 5, and as many from pool 4 to 3, as new cards they release each month, then each of us should be seeing about 5-6 new cards a month, which isn’t too bad. Gotta wait and see how they handle it though.

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