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How to play Marvel Snap

A snappy introduction Marvel's latest mobile game.
By
November 21, 2022

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a really solid mobile card game. Legends of Runeterra and Hearthstone live on as some of the best options, and plenty of others are thriving. However, if you’re a Marvel fan that loves competitive card games, a new challenger is approaching: Marvel Snap. Let’s go over how to play Marvel Snap, as well as a few key strategies to help you through the early game.

Read more: 15 best free Android games available right now

QUICK ANSWER

Marvel Snap's core gameplay loop is all about playing more matches to get Boosters and Credits. These allow you to level up your cards, which allows you to unlock more cards. The in-game purchases don't do much for progression, so it really is a game that rewards you for playing rather than paying.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to play Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap is a digital collectible card game similar to titles like Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering: Arena, and Legends of Runeterra. Unlike those, however, the system of acquiring new character cards does not involve spending money — directly, at least.

The ultimate goal in Marvel Snap is to be able to win games against other players. To do that, you must build a winning deck. To build a winning deck, you must have the necessary cards — and new cards are only attainable by leveling up the cards you own.

To level up the cards you own, you must play matches. Whether you win, lose, or forfeit, you always get Boosters at the end of a match. Boosters are the level-up material used on your cards.

THE MARVEL SNAP GAMEPLAY LOOP

To get new cards, you must level up the cards you own. To level up the cards you own, you must play matches against other players. And, of course, whenever you play matches against others, your goal is to win.

Locations explained

Let’s start by uncovering the gameplay a little bit.

When you get into a Marvel Snap match, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are three locations. At the beginning of the match, all three locations are hidden.

Each location is revealed after the first three turns. On turn one, location one is revealed; on turn two, location two is revealed; on turn three, location three is revealed.

Every location affects your cards differently. For example, when you play a card at the Atlantis location, if you only have one card there, it gets an extra five power. These location-based formats, where your overall strategy depends on where you place your cards, are quite common with mobile card games.

You must win two out of three locations to win the match, and you win locations by having a higher power count than your opponent at the end of the game. Furthermore, if you win one location, your opponent wins one location, and you tie at the third location, whoever has the higher overall power count wins the match.

To check out all of the game’s location tiles, check out the marvelsnap.io locations database.

Cards in Marvel Snap

Playing the right cards at the right time in Marvel Snap is how you gain the upper hand. Every card has an energy cost, a power level, and an ability.

There are six turns in a match. Each turn you get a set amount of energy that does not increase or decrease. That number is based on what turn it is: on turn one you get one energy, on turn two you get two energy, so on and so forth. If you have leftover energy after your turn — meaning you didn’t play anything, or the cards you played didn’t match the amount of energy you received that turn — energy does not carry over.

Certain locations can change the number of turns or your energy-per-turn.

Your card’s energy cost is featured in the blue circle at the top left of the card. For example, Wolverine’s energy cost is 2. To play Wolverine, you must have and use two energy.

Your card’s power is featured in the burnt orange hexagon in the top right of the card. This determines how many points it will count for at the location you play it. You win locations at the end of the game by having a higher power count than your opponent.

card ability
Curtis Joe / Android Authority
Wolverine's ability in Marvel Snap is a reference to his comic book character.

Your card’s ability is viewable by tapping on the card. Every card in Marvel Snap has a different ability inspired by the comic book character. For example, Wolverine’s rapid healing ability is referenced by his inability to be destroyed in-game.

Building (and upgrading) your deck

There are many, many cards in Marvel Snap, and it can be difficult to make general deck builds because how you build your deck depends on the cards you have unlocked. However, in the early game, there are a few card combinations that work very well:

KAZAR

The key to a Kazar-centric deck is filling most of your deck with one-cost cards. Add cards like Squirrel GirlNova, Ant-ManNightcrawler, and Quicksilver. After that, make sure to add Kazar to boost up your one-cost cards.

CARNAGE

Add Carnage to your deck along with Nova for a big early-game boost. If you play Nova and then Carnage on top of him, Carnage destroys Nova, which will give all the rest of your cards — including Carnage himself — a power increase of one.

APOCALYPSE

With Apocalypse, the idea is you want to discard him from your hand as much as possible. Every time Apocalypse is discarded, he comes back to your hand with an extra four power. Cards like BladeLady Sif, and Sword Master are synergistic with Apocalypse.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR

Just like in the comics, you can add Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur to your deck for a perfect combo. The idea is that you want to have both cards in your hand at once. Play Moon Girl as soon as possible to duplicate your hand. Because Devil Dinosaur benefits from more cards in your hand, when you play him, he will have a huge power boost.

Credits and Gold explained

There are two currencies in Marvel Snap: Credits and Gold. Each is important in its own right, but they’re used for different things.

Credits

Credits are used for one thing: leveling up your cards. To level up a card, you must have the necessary Boosters and Credits.

HOW MANY CREDITS DO I NEED?

  • Common → Uncommon: 25 Credits / 5 Boosters
  • Uncommon → Rare: 100 Credits / 10 Boosters
  • Rare → Epic: 200 Credits / 20 Boosters
  • Epic → Legendary: 300 Credits / 30 Boosters
  • Legendary → Ultra: 400 Credits /40 Boosters
  • Ultra → Infinity: 500 Credits / 50 Boosters

Gold

gold uses marvel snap
Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Gold is the game’s premium currency. It is attainable via in-game purchase, the Season Pass, and ranking up to Galactic.

Function-wise, Gold can be used to purchase Variants of base cards — or versions of cards you already own, but with different art — or Credits. If you purchase the Season Pass, you can also use Gold to skip levels.

Is Marvel Snap pay to win?

All characters in Marvel Snap are available for free. However, buying the Season Pass can yield benefits.

At the end of the day, progression is based on how much you play. The more often you compete in Marvel Snap matches, the more you’ll be able to level up your existing cards and gain new ones. The only real advantage that money buys you is access to cards like Black Panther, which aren’t part of the set you get in the beginning. If you don’t purchase the Season Pass, you’ll need to get to a very high level later on to get that card.

Marvel Snap is not pay to win — it’s play to win.


Read more: 15 best card games for Android