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Your questions about Marvel Snap’s battle mode, answered

‘Friendly Battle’ lets you test your best decks against friends

Arnim Zola and Squirrel Girl face off in key art for Marvel Snap’s battle mode, Friendly Battle. Image: Second Dinner/Marvel
Ari Notis (he/him) is a guides editor at Polygon, where he writes, edits, and shepherds service-oriented articles about the biggest games du jour. He previously worked at Kotaku.

You can now send snarky Ms. Marvel stickers to your pals playing Marvel Snap, thanks to a recently added matchmaking mode. Rolled out in a Jan. 31 patch, Friendly Battle lets you go up against a friend in a multi-round gauntlet of Snap matches.

Unless your friends are total jerks, Friendly Battle is relatively low stakes, allowing you a risk-free playground in which you can test out decks before bringing them to the main multiplayer mode. But it’s still a blast, and is poised to radically upend Marvel Snap’s ever-evolving meta. Here’s everything you need to know.

How do I start a match of Marvel Snap’s battle mode?

To the right of Marvel Snap’s main page, where the season pass tab used to be, you’ll see an icon shaped like a joystick. (You can still access the season pass menu in the upper-left corner of the main page.) Click on that, then select the giant “Friendly Battle” button — currently the only option on that tab.

From there, you can either create or join a match of Friendly Battle. If you create a match, you’ll be given a five-digit numeric code. Send that to any friend you want to play against; they can punch it in and join your game.

How long are matches of Marvel Snap battle mode?

Games of Marvel Snap’s battle mode lasts a bit longer than standard games, since each one plays out over multiple matches. Instead of cubes, players have health. After every match, the amount of cubes you’d win is actually the amount of health your opponent will lose, and vice versa — but you can’t deal more damage than the amount of health you have left. When one player drops to 0 health, it’s game over. You also can’t switch decks between rounds.

This results in a fascinating wrinkle to Marvel Snap’s underlying game of bluffs. Though locations are randomized with every match, both players use the same decks throughout. Success is contingent on memorizing which cards your opponent plays (and clocking, for instance, that your opponent has a Rogue in her deck, meaning your Wong card isn’t just practically useless but is in fact an enormous risk factor).

All told, an entire game of Friendly Battle can last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes.

Can you earn Marvel Snap progress from battle mode?

Nope. Matches of Friendly Battle don’t reward you with boosters (used to level up your cards) or cubes (which increase your seasonal rank). All you can get is the sweetest prize of all: bragging rights.

Since Marvel Snap’s Friendly Battle doesn’t influence your progress over the course of a season, it’s a good place to test out decks whose efficacy you’re not yet sure of.

Does Marvel Snap battle mode feature chat?

Not at the moment, unfortunately. You’ll still have to rely on Marvel Snap’s rudimentary but pointedly nontoxic communication system — sending Bitmojis of five popular characters — to convey feelings of “dammit!” and “screw you!” Or you could just pop into a Discord server.

Why doesn’t Marvel Snap show Friendly Battle?

Probably because you haven’t updated your app! On iPhone, for instance, you may need to head to the App Store and manually update Marvel Snap. For Friendly Battle to display, your app should be on versions 11.18.1+0. (You can find this info at the very bottom of Marvel Snap’s settings menu.)

What are the best decks for Marvel Snap battle mode?

Hey, this mode came out, like, three hours ago. We’ll let you know!