Marvel Snap Is About Playing The Man, Not The Match

Something I love about Marvel Snap is the ability to make almost any deck work. Want to bully and bamboozle players with Sunspot and Infinaut? Go ahead. Prefer a weird discard deck with Hela and a load of staggeringly strong six-drops? That’s viable too. What if you just want to hang out with your best girlies and wives? Also possible. That’s because Marvel snap is all about playing your opponent, not the game itself.

I’m currently rocking an ongoing deck that relies on a Turn 6 Onslaught or Spectrum. Onslaught buffs Blue Marvel, Mr. Fantastic, Captain America, or Punisher, and Spectrum is perfect if all my cards are spread out. That little ol’ Ebony Maw protected by an Armor doesn’t seem too deadly with its combined power of nine, so many players forget about it, but once Spectrum lands and it becomes 13, it can win a tightly contested location.

The reason this deck works so well is because it relies on my opponent not seeing just how powerful my cards can get on the final turn. Most opponents have a strategy in mind and they just blindly follow it, tending to ignore what I do, save for trying to fight me on locations I’m filling. My ongoing deck allows me to pursue my own game plan but also disrupt theirs. If I see Nova come down, I know instantly I’m dealing with a destroy deck. I’ll wait a turn or two and then pop Armor on the same location, scuppering their chance to buff all their destructive monsters. It’s twice as satisfying if Bucky or Red Hood is there too.

Even people who do spot what I’m doing often fall flat. Enchantress can’t hurt me as long as I’m winning and can drop Spectrum first. She boosts all ongoing cards, and they keep that +2 even when Enchantress removes their abilities. Leech, an annoying shit of a card that drains all the abilities from cards in your opponent's hand, once helped me win by allowing me to play Ebony Maw late in the game.

This all sounds a lot like playing the match, but it’s not. Playing the match, anyone can win. By learning what the meta decks are and spotting their early turn tells, I know where to put my cards. If I see Wong, I swear loudly and then place my heaviest hitters right where he is. Why? Because most cards played there actually empower other locations. Tigress and Iron Heart spread power across the board, so it’s only Black Panther I have to worry about, and Shang-Chi can sort him out. Also, something as simple as snapping when an opponent makes an obvious mistake can make them retreat, netting you an easy cube.

If I notice someone not playing anything Turn 5, looking at you Ben Sledge, I just have to make sure that I’m winning in all three locations come Turn 6. Easier said than done, sure, but what that often looks like is forgoing the Spectrum or Onslaught and playing Mr. Fantastic, Colossus, and Iceman across three locations to give everywhere that little nudge it needs to get my power above theirs. She-Hulk complicates this, but you’re never going to win every game, no matter how much you strategise, it’s just about making your win percentage higher. If I were just playing the match and waiting for my grand Turn 6 finale, as many people do, I’d drop Onslaught on my Blue Marvel and lose because no one location can compete with Infinaut’s raw power.

As long as you know what deck your opponent is running, you can – and should – adjust your strategy. If you spot a Ka-Zoo deck gaining some traction, hold your Killmonger till the final turn and trick them into a double snap. If you’re afraid of Leader, just play your final cards at a location they’ve already filled, or only play Onslaught or Spectrum, as they’ll likely not synergise with their decks well. And if you see a movement deck, well flip a coin because there’s simply no way to tell how Heimdall will affect the result. He’s just as likely to help you as he is them. Play the man, not the match.

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