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Marvel Snap’s best decks for beginners

Plus, learn how to get new cards

A group of superheroes and villains, including Iron Man, Wolverine, and Venom, assemble epically in front of the logo for Marvel Snap. Image: Marvel/Second Dinner Studios
Pete Volk (he/they) is Polygon’s curation editor for movies and TV, with a particular love for action and martial arts movies.

Marvel Snap, the new card battler from Second Dinner Studios, is a refreshing change of pace for the genre, with quick games and a design built for easy phone playing. But with a lot of cards to sort through, it can be difficult to figure out how to get new ones or what to play.

Fear not, battlers. After having a blast playing this game for hours on end, here are some of my favorite decks to play in Pool 1 (and what that means), as well as how to add new cards to your collection. And after you get through Pool 1, make sure to check out our list of the best Pool 2 decks.

How to get new cards

The brief answer: Just keep playing!

The long answer: Marvel Snap ditches some of the pay-to-win mechanics of its competitors, allowing you to get every card in the game for free (randomly, though, you can’t purchase or craft specific cards). As you play, you will earn Credits (they’re blue and kind of look like computer chips) and Boosters (green, and kind of look like atoms). Credits apply to all cards, while Boosters are specific to certain cards. By using both, you can upgrade your cards into rarer, cooler-looking versions.

In addition to making you feel good about your collection, upgrading cards also increases your Collection Level. This number represents the overall strength of your collection, and is viewable at the top of the home page – it’s the number in a green border under your profile picture. Every few Collection Levels, you will unlock something – sometimes it’s Credits, sometimes it’s Boosters, but occasionally it is a Mystery Card.

Mystery Cards will unlock one random card in the “Pool” that you are in. From Collection Level 18 to 214, you are in Pool 1, and will only get cards from that Pool. Pool 2 unlocks at 222, and Pool 3 unlocks at 486 (it will take you a while to get to either of those).

So let’s just talk about Pool 1, since that’s where the majority of you are going to be. What are the easiest and best decks to execute on in the beginning stages of your Marvel Snap journey?

Here are some of my favorite options so far. Shout out to the Snap community, who have been advising each other online on different deck options, and helped me figure out what I like to play.

One-cost onslaught (aka “Kazoo”)

A deck list from Marvel Snap, with card images for Ant-Man, Elektra, Squirrel Girl, Korg, Nightcrawler, Rocket Raccoon, Angela, Captain America, Ka-Zar, Blue Marvel, Onslaught, and America Chavez Image: Second Dinner Studios

Key cards: Ant-Man, Squirrel Girl, Angela, Captain America, Ka-Zar, Blue Marvel, any other one-costs

This deck is the most consistent and easiest to play. It relies heavily on one-cost cards and Ka-Zar (the source of the community’s loving nickname for this deck, “Kazoo.”). Ka-Zar is a four-cost, four-power card that has an Ongoing effect where all of your one-cost cards get one extra power. Makes sense to combine him with a bunch of one-cost cards, right?

My current Kazoo deck has six one-cost cards: Ant-Man, Elektra, Squirrel Girl, Korg, Nightcrawler, and Rocket Raccoon. Ant-Man and Squirrel Girl are the most crucial one-costs, as they synergize best with Ka-Zar and some of the other mechanics in this deck. In addition to Ka-Zar, it also has other cards that synergize well with full boards of cards – Angela, Captain America, and Blue Marvel – with Onslaught and America Chavez as a pair of late game six-cost cards.

Dino Delight

A deck list from Marvel Snap, with card images of Ant-Man, Mantis, Nightcrawler, Cable, Sentinel, Cosmo, Jesisca Jones, White Queen, Iron Man, Devil Dinosaur, Onslaught, America Chavez Image: Second Dinner Studios

Key cards: Mantis, Cable, Sentinel, White Queen, Devil Dinosaur

This one is my favorite to play, although it takes some practice and patience to master. This deck relies on you stuffing your hand with cards, as the Devil Dinosaur gets +2 power for each card in your hand.

That’s why the other key cards listed here are all ones that lead to you drawing additional cards – when you play Devil Dinosaur, you want to make sure you’re getting as much value as possible. That means take extra care to think about playing each card – sometimes it makes sense with this deck to simply pass on early turns. Jessica Jones and America Chavez are also both greats fit here; both are good cards generally, but Jessica Jones’ ability encourages you not to play more cards, while America Chavez is a guaranteed six-drop to follow up your dino.

Odin Reveal

Deck list from Marvel Snap, with card images for Nightcrawler, Rocket Raccoon, Yondu, Medusa, Star-Lord, Scarlet Witch, Ironheart, Enchantress, Jessica Jones, White Tiger, Gamora, Odin Image: Second Dinner Studios

Key cards: Ironheart, White Tiger, Odin

The reveal mechanic is a critical one in Marvel Snap. It is an effect that activates when the card is revealed (cards are first played face down before being turned over). The six-cost Odin is a very powerful Pool 1 card, as its reveal effect activates the reveal effects of all your other cards at that location. That means if you’ve stacked three other reveal cards and then play Odin, those abilities will activate a second time (or, if these cards are on the Kamar-Taj location, where reveal abilities activate twice, a third and fourth time).

That can lead to some powerful combinations, particularly with Ironheart (who gives three of your cards +2 power) and White Tiger (who summons a 7-Power monster to a friendly location).

There are lots of cards with Reveal mechanics in the game. Feel free to tinker with what feels best, but the White Tiger + Odin combination in the late game is hard to beat.

Ongoing (or, the Enduring Iron Man)

Deck list for Marvel Snap, with images for cards for Ant-Man, Nightcrawler, Armor, Colossus, Sentinel, Mister Fantastic, Punisher, Captain America, Namor, Iron Man, Klaw, and Spectrum Image: Second Dinner Studios

Key cards: Ant-Man, Mister Fantastic, Namor, Iron Man, Spectrum

Like the reveal mechanic, ongoing is pretty straightforward: They are effects that persist in perpetuity (unless your opponent uses a card like Enchantress that can nullify them). Also like reveal, there are a ton of ongoing cards in the game, so mix and match to find what you like best.

In my view, it’s most important to have at least two of Namor (who can win you a location by himself), Iron Man, and Klaw when trying this deck, to give you a decent chance at having some later game power. Iron Man in particular is very strong – he doubles the power of whatever location he’s at, so he’s a nice top-off to whatever else you have going on. With Namor locking down one location for you, all you have to do is win another, and it’s a solid bet that either Iron Man or Mister Fantastic/Klaw (both of whom increase the power of multiple locations) can handle the other for you.

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