Marvel Snap is the latest mobile card battler from developer Second Dinner Studios and publisher Nuverse, and thousands are learning how to play. With the creative head behind the game being Ben Brode, game director of similar card-battler smash hit Hearthstone, players can expect tight, strategic gameplay featuring their favorite Marvel characters.
Jumping into this game can seem daunting at first, but the gameplay is quite intuitive. With this beginner’s guide to Marvel Snap, we’ll show you the ropes and help understand the basics of gameplay and level progression to make sure you’re well on your way to mastering the mechanics of Marvel Snap.
Beginner’s Guide on How to Play Marvel Snap
Let’s jump right into our beginner’s guide to Marvel Snap and make sure you know how to play! Once you get the basics down, we’ll go over some tips and tricks to help you build a winning deck.
Understand the Basics of Gameplay
Marvel Snap allows two players to face off in online PVP matches. Like most card games, Marvel Snap utilizes a deck of cards that players will draw from each turn and play their cards at one of three possible locations on the field.
Turns are taken simultaneously, with players revealing the cards they played that same turn after both have finished. Cards will each contribute to the total power level a player has at a given location, with the player reaching the highest power winning the respective location.
The game lasts for six turns, and the player with the highest power at two out of the three locations is declared the victor.
Cost and Power
Every card in Marvel Snap has a value for Cost and a value for Power.
Cost, shown on the upper left of the card, represents how much Energy a card costs to play. Energy is shown in the bottom center of the screen and will increase in relation to the number of the turn. As such, it may take some time before stronger cards can be played. Unspent Energy does not roll over to the next turn, so use it while you can!
Power is the value shown in the upper right hand of the card. This number represents the strength of the card and the total value it adds to the location where it’s played. Typically, cards with lower Costs are associated with lower Power, and vice versa. However, this is not always the case and can change depending on a card’s particular ability.
Most of the strategic elements of Marvel Snap revolve around the individual abilities of cards. There are two primary types of abilities: Ongoing and On Reveal. The majority of cards in the game will fall under one of these two categories. However, some cards have an ability that is not treated as either, while others don’t have any ability at all.
Cards with Ongoing abilities will affect the game as long as they remain face up on the field. An example of an Ongoing ability is Armor’s, which prevents cards at the same location from being destroyed. Another good example is Mister Fantastic’s, which grants +2 power to adjacent locations.
Cards with On Reveal abilities activate only once when they are first played. A good example of an On Reveal ability is Star Lord’s, which gives the card +3 if the opponent also played a card at the same location that turn. Another great example of an On Reveal ability is Iron Heart’s, which gives three random friendly cards +2 power.
Locations are almost as important a factor in success as cards in a player’s deck. However, unlike cards, players can’t control which locations appear in a match.
Every match has three locations that players can attempt to win by playing cards there. To add another level of strategy to the game, each location comes with its own unique ability that can affect the game in a variety of ways.
Some locations offer beneficial effects like Elysium, which reduces the Cost of all cards by one. Others, like Danger Room, have negative effects, like a 25% chance of destroying a card when it’s played there.
There are also locations with neutral effects that can be a positive or negative depending on how they’re played. Knowhere, for example, prevents On Reveal abilities from happening at that location. This can be beneficial for cards with On Reveal abilities that would negatively affect the player, but can hurt cards with helpful ones.
At the start of the match, all locations are unknown. A new location is revealed each turn for the first three turns of the game. It can often be a gamble to play a card at an unknown location given the risk of a location with a negative effect appearing. Locations are randomly selected each match. However, the game cycles through featured locations that have an increased chance of appearing during this time.
Tips & Tricks for Marvel Snap
Now that we got the basics down, let’s go over some tips and tricks to give you the edge and strengthen your deck in Marvel Snap.
Tip #1: Learn When You Should Snap
A crucial part of Marvel Snap that gives it a unique identity compared to other card battlers is the Snap mechanic. This titular mechanic allows players to raise the number of Cubes at stake for a given match. Cubes are the points that affect a player’s rank, which can increase or decrease depending on whether they win or lose a match.
At the start of a match, only one Cube is at stake. However, both players have the opportunity to Snap, doubling the number of Cubes at stake. While both players can only Snap once per match, the number of Cubes at stake will automatically double after the final turn, regardless of who has Snapped. If neither player has Snapped, only two Cubes will be awarded or withdrawn from players. However, up to eight total Cubes can be at stake if both players end up Snapping.
There is an element of strategy for when to Snap depending on your preferred play style. Confident players may want to Snap right away and put pressure on their opponents. Other players may want to wait until the end when victory is all but assured to Snap.
There is also the option to retreat, surrendering the match and only losing the number of Cubes currently at stake. If things aren’t going your way, there’s no shame in retreating.
Tip #2: Build a Balanced Deck Around a Theme
Once you’ve got the hang of the basic flow of gameplay, it’s time to build a deck of your own. Every deck is made up of 12 cards owned in your collection. While it’s up to you to decide which cards to put in your deck, there are some general guidelines and deck types you can follow for inspiration.
A good rule of thumb is to include cards with a variety of costs to ensure a turn isn’t wasted because all of your cards had too high a Cost. Starting with a few 1 and 2-Cost cards and then ramping up until you have a couple powerful 6-Cost cards is generally the way to go. This strategy can fluctuate as you increase your card collection and get into more advanced deck building strategies.
Most decks follow a certain theme and contain cards that synergize well with that theme. Some decks might be themed around discarding or destroying cards to power up others, while others might focus on flooding the field with lots of low-Cost cards. As you play, you’ll tend to gravitate towards one type of play style that can be the focus of the deck you build.
Tip #3: Upgrade Your Cards to Unlock New Ones
Like with most card games, part of the enjoyment of Marvel Snap comes from collecting new cards. With over 200 cards, players are certain to find some of their favorite heroes and villains from across the Marvel universe. Luckily, getting new cards is fairly simple and easy in Marvel Snap, especially compared to other card battlers.
The main way to get new cards is to unlock them by upgrading your current cards. Marvel Snap has the unique feature that allows players to upgrade the rarity of their cards using Card Boosters and Credits. Doing so also grants players an increase in their Collection Level. As players rank up their Collection Level, they will unlock new cards based on a series of card pools associated with specific Collection Levels.
There are currently five card pools in Marvel Snap. The first pool is available at Level 18 and players will unlock new cards from this pool up to Level 214. These cards are randomly unlocked, but players will unlock all cards in the pool by Level 214. The same is true for the second pool, which goes between Levels 222 and 474. From there on, players have the opportunity to unlock cards from pools three, four, and five, with the latter ones being the most rare.
All Currencies in Marvel Snap
As you move up in your Collection Level, unlocking new cards will become less common and currency rewards will become more common. There are three main types of currencies in Marvel Snap: Credits, Gold, and Tokens. Each of these currencies serve a different function in the game, but are all worth collecting.
Credits are the most common type of currency players will receive. They are used to upgrade cards once a given card reaches the required number of Boosters. Credits can be obtained in a variety of ways, including daily missions, Season Pass rewards, and Collector’s Caches and Reserves.
Gold is the next most common type of currency and can be purchased for real-world money from within the shop. While usually required to purchase cosmetic card variants, Gold can also be used to buy Credits. Aside from being purchased outright, Gold can be obtained from the Season Pass as well as Collector’s Caches and Reserves.
Tokens are the rarest form of currency and are only found within Collector’s Reserves, which have random rewards and are available beginning at Collection Level 1006. They are used for purchasing the specific cards on rotation in the Token Shop. This is a way for players at higher Collection Levels to save up for the specific card they are looking for without having to rely on the randomness of higher level rewards.
Should You Get the Season Pass?
Like most free-to-play games, Marvel Snap has its own Season Pass, along with three tiers of payment options. The free tier gives players access to Credits and Gold, while the Premium tier adds access to a new seasonal card, several cosmetic items like avatars and card variants, and Boosters for various cards. There is also the Premium+ tier, which gives players an automatic ten-level start on the Season Pass.
Ultimately, whether the Season Pass is worth it to you comes mostly down to how much you value cosmetics, as the currency earned from it is available via the free tier. The biggest benefit of the Premium Season Pass is the seasonal card, which tends to be quite powerful. However, there is nothing preventing the developers from nerfing the seasonal card so beware! Otherwise, sticking with the free tier is a perfectly viable strategy for staying competitive in Marvel Snap.
Join the High Ground
That’s all for our beginner’s guide on how to play Marvel Snap. With this info on hand, you are well equipped to jump in and work your way up the ranks of Marvel Snap players.
If you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments below. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of our future Marvel Snap guides!