Things I wish I knew before playing Marvel Snap

The card game Marvel Snap.
(Image credit: Second Dinner)

Marvel Snap has taken over the digital card game space, and with players from all over the world rushing to thwart their enemies and level up, the competition can be tough. In this guide, I’ll share some tips and tricks I’ve learned through trial and—mostly—error that will give new players the upper hand to reign victorious.  

Be goal orientated

Words cannot describe how much I wish I had paid more attention to the Missions and Season Pass goals when I started playing Marvel Snap. The criteria can often be achieved passively as you play, but focusing on specific missions can pay off as you'll win loads of credits and season pass rewards, leading to some healthy boosts to your Collection Levels, and by proxy, more cards. 

Early on, the cost of upgrading base cards is a negligible 25 credits and five boosters. So by working towards specific tasks and banking the rewards as you progress to more expensive upgrades, you will have already done a lot of the work. Additionally, you can earn pockets of Gold through the free Recruit Season Pass, and gold is a resource that would otherwise cost real-world cash. This gold can be used to pick up Variant Cards, unlock more daily missions or pick up a sizable amount of credits to upgrade more cards.

Shop smart

The shop is located at the bottom left of the screen and is home to two key elements that can assist players in the early game. The first is a small cache of 50 free credits that are available daily. This boost is equivalent to the credits needed for two card upgrades from base form to uncommon. While it may seem like a small amount at first, it’s a helping hand that shouldn’t be ignored.

Elsewhere in the shop, there is a section labeled Fast Upgrade, where players can use credits to upgrade their cards. While grinding out boosters can be frustrating, if you pay attention to the missions, you can rack up credits fast and utilise the fast upgrade to its full potential. Keep an eye on the refresh times, and you’ll be racking up collection levels and rewards like it’s nobody's business. 

Theme your decks

In Marvel Snap, getting your cards to work in harmony is no easy feat, but it is necessary to create a strong deck, no matter what hand you're dealt. It’s worth noting that upgrading your cards doesn't do anything to their Power; it only helps you climb the collection levels and gain loot. So, even if you upgrade one card to the max, there is no technical loss in letting it go to make a stronger deck. In fact, you should consistently play with your upgraded cards that haven't been upgraded so that you can reap more rewards.

Early on, when you don’t have many cards, it’s good to pick two or three that you love and build around them. For example, if you like dropping a lot of 1-cost cards across the board, Kazar is a great option. Not only does he give you four power wherever he is placed, but all of your 1-cost cards gain one power too. Having this card can make a big difference when the Zone numbers are close.

Once you have found a few cards you really enjoy playing with, build the rest of the deck as a support system that lets them thrive.

Consider abilities as well as raw power

On the topic of deck building, massive power payoff cards are viable but not always the way forward. An example is the Hulk card, which weighs in at a whopping six energy and twelve power. Early on, I wouldn't dare take him out of my deck, but as I worked further into the depths of Pool 1, I found that cards with similar or lower attributes but useful abilities on top could also lead to more success. 

Your energy levels will always remain the same every round, unless there’s some zone interference, so the risk vs reward of a behemoth card doesn’t always pay off. Take the Devil Dinosaur card, a 5-cost card that gives you a base power of three. The attached effect will give you +2 Power for each card in your hand, meaning you can gain a good amount of power for a lower cost. This choice also gives you the breathing room of being able to take another turn to solidify your win. 

Another great example of a lower-cost card with a powerful effect is Elektra who, while only adding one power, destroys a random enemy 1-cost card at the location when revealed. Early incremental wins like this can psych out your opponent and help to set up a win. 

The art of the snap

Snapping is as much about believing in yourself as it is about winning, but it can also be a great way to mess with your competitor. If you go in confident on round one and have built up a strong deck, an early snap—accessible by clicking the cube above the game board—boosts the rewards earned or lost in the match-up and warns the other player that you’re not messing around. Even though I’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds of early snaps, I still get a pang of fear when it happens. 

This method can surely lead to crushing defeats, but when it comes to Marvel Snap, if there's no risk, there is no reward. A safer option is to get to the final round and deliver a confident ‘Gotcha!' snap. This can be a good way to get comfortable with it if you can see you have a pretty clear win ahead of you. 

Something else to consider while snapping is that the cards players receive as they progress in Marvel Snap are dealt randomly. This means your competitor may be as new as you are but playing with completely unseen cards. But don't fret—if you have built your deck with a solid theme, it should be robust enough to weather the storm.

Winning a few rounds with bold early snaps will also lead to some hefty rank rewards that are well worth fighting the fear for, so give it a go.

Lose to win

Finally, the most frustrating lesson of all is to fight your own hubris. There comes a point when you will be using all of your knowledge and smashing in wins left, right and centre. It can feel amazing… until one player rinses you with a card combo you could never have predicted. For me, this was a turning point. Be molded by the darkness!

You will not have every card when you start, so there is no perfect deck early on. There will always be surprises along the way that pick apart your strategy, making you rethink your whole deck. Instead of burning it all to the ground as I did, study the new cards that brought your demise and revise their effects. The best offense is a good defense, and by losing, you can see new approaches and cards to use in your own games. At the very least, you always get a booster.