REDMAGIC Game Review: Marvel Snap
REDMAGIC Game Review: Marvel Snap
Image courtesy of the Marvel website
If you have not tried Marvel Snap yet, you are truly missing out on the best card-collecting game you can get on your smartphone. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it has all our favorite Marvel heroes with character-specific special moves for each card. It takes general inspiration from Witcher 3’s Gwent card game but simplifies the way you play it and at the same time adds an immense level of complexity and randomness so every game is different.
That short synopsis is 100% accurate but just doesn’t do it justice, so let's break it down and see why this is the best card game you need to be playing this holiday season if you aren’t already.
An Outrageous Number Of Totally Different Cards
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the cards all have abilities with some being very different. But the sheer number of them and the different abilities we keep running into is something I have only seen in older, more well-established card-collecting games like Magic The Gathering.
As you progress through the game and rise in your Collection Level, you’ll have access to more and more cards, keeping the game fresh with new cards and new metas for you to experience as you progress.
What about the cards though?
The cards look great, and there are loads of variant versions to collect, you can even level them up to make the cards look cooler still. The special abilities of the cards are perfectly suited for the characters and there’s an absolutely bonkers amount of cards in the game already with expectations of more to come in the future.
When you’re playing the game though, the cards get even better since they often have their own animations for how they come into the game or interact with each other or other cards. It’s a nice little touch that isn’t needed but really makes it more enjoyable.
The Game Is Fast And Fun And Always Different
this is the best smartphone card game we have ever played. It may not be as complex to play complexities as Magic The Gathering Arena, or the simplicity of a more traditional card game, but instead, it sits on that middle line between the two perfectly. Each game only lasts 6 turns usually, there are special rules that could make it last to turn 7 or end early at turn 4, but these are rare. Usually, a game will only last about 5 to 10 minutes.
The game seems to take some similarities with Witcher 3’s Gwent card game. Where you are fighting for zones. In Marven Snap, the zones are laid out horizontally and the person with the most power in the zone by the end of the game wins that zone. Control 2 out of 3 zones at the end of the match and you win. If there is a tie, then the person with the highest overall power wins.
Since it’s a card game there is always the element of chance. Maybe you’d do better if you drew the perfect order of cards, or maybe if your opponent had worse luck. In Marvel Snap, they add an additional level of randomness with the 3 zones.
The zones in Marvel that you fight over all offer their own special rules upon the game. Some help, some hurt, and they aren’t always in the same location. If that wasn’t enough, there are a lot of different types of zones that you can possibly encounter in your games. So each game you play can be truly random.
It sounds complex, but it’s not. When you play, Marvel Snap will seem pretty simple with obvious avenues of depth to explore. But with the randomness from the lands and from drawing cards, every game is exciting and when you’re done with a match, it leaves you wanting more
The Replay Ability Is Insane
Seriously, a game with this much easy reliability should be illegal. I can’t tell you how many times “one more game” turned into 3 hours and 50 games later!
Win or lose, jumping into the next game is so easy, and the desire to see what new combination of cards or lands or if you can do better than before never seems to go away.
Another element that keeps the replayability so nice is how the game manages matchmaking. It takes two aspects of the player into consideration it looks like. Your Collection level and your Ranked Level are both taken into account when matching you up with other players. This way you will play with people at not only your same skill level in theory but also your same progression level.
The Progression Cap
Like every F2P game, there is a progression limit. In the case of Marvel Snap, you can only get so many credits a day through the daily missions. You use these credits to level up your cards and unlock higher Collection Levels so you can get more cards to play with. Due to this, you can find yourself playing matches where the only progress you can achieve is your Rank Level. For most that are enough sense of progression once the daily, weekly, and monthly missions are done.
Side note, since Marvel Snap lets you bet your Rank Level progression with the “snapping”, we found that it’s generally best to NOT snap actually. The logic is kind of like cautious gambling. There is less reward, but the chance for big losses is low. This tactic does mean that progression can be painfully slow, but you won't find yourself falling 2 ranks in two bad games, which can happen thanks to how random things can be. If you think you’re going to lose, you can always hit the “Retreat” button. If you hit it early enough you won't have to pay up the entire bet.
Since we don’t snap, we’re usually not betting much and we will often just play it through. Amusingly, this has led us to winning so many games we thought we were going to lose. So I guess there is some more moral in the saying “Never give up, Never surrender”.
The Free To Play Experience
We already talked about the progression cap you’ll experience as a F2P player, but that’s the only drawback in the world of awesome that is Marvel Snap. For example, we’re playing FREE to play and we have three totally different deck styles and around 6 different decks, all tweaked in different ways for us to play around with. And we’ve only been at it for a week. Next week we think we’ll enter the next category of Collection Level and will get to see a whole new set of cards soon.
You can also play an indefinite amount of games in a day on Marvel Snap, which isn’t always the case with these F2P collecting-style games. Which is awesome, cause this game is addictingly fun to play.
Our Preferred Early Game Decks
Since we’re still in the early game, our decks are suited for that Meta, so they may not be the best that they could be. But they’ll wreck face for beginners just starting the game.
While our best decks are based on different themes and mechanics, the goal is always the same.
- Win control of two locations, don’t need all three.
- Have options throughout the game, a Plan A and a Plan B.
If you have played Magic The Gathering or other card-collecting games like it, then you are probably familiar with sacrifice-style decks, where you sacrifice cards to make other cards stronger. That’s the same idea here in the Carnage Deck. Carnage is a 2 energy cost eater of friendly cards that gets +2 for each card eaten, including token cards like squirrels or Mr. Sinister clones. In addition to the sacrifice mechanic, the deck synergizes well with discarding cards to play strong cards early or to make a card bigger, in this case, Apocalypse.
Real, quickly, the cards you need are, of course, Carnage, followed by Squirrell Girl, Mr. Sinister, Nova, Wolverine, Iron Heart, Apocalypse, Angel, Lady Sif, and America Chavez.
The strategy is if you have Carnage in your hand on turn one or two and build up a zone of weak cards for him to eat on turn 3 or 4. Ideally, you want him to eat token cards, Wolverine, Nova, or Iron Heart. These cards are either weak or cheap and have already done their job. If you eat Nova, he makes everyone one point stronger and Wolverine doesn’t care, he’ll just regenerate and come back to a random location on the board.
If you have Apocalypse and Lady Sif in your hand before turn 5 you will want to play Lady Sif turn 4 or 5 so she discards Apocalypse. His special rule makes him come back stronger after being discarded. Then on turn 6, you drop a buffed-up Apocalypse where you need him to be. You can play more discard ability cards in an effort to make Apocalypse bigger, but the other cards are more random in their selection. If you are not so lucky to have Apocalypse in your hand, then you can count on America Chavez to be your plan B option for turn 6 because she is guaranteed to always be drawn on turn 6. It’s a gamble of a deck but a lot of fun to play.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Themed Deck
We originally made this deck to be a meme, but it works! This won’t be the first deck you make, it wasn't for us, but it should be doable before you reach the 200s of the Collection Level. We noticed that for new players we get a lot of Guardians Of The Galaxy characters and almost all of them have a similar mechanic.
On reveal, do something if your opponent played a card in the same zone.
The deck itself is pretty simple to build, grab all the Guardians Of the Galaxy cards you have then fill in the rest of the deck with whatever you want, we put in Carnage, Uatu The Watcher, Klaw, and Spider Woman. Carnage is a good buffer since so many cards are weak and done once they are played and Klaw is a strong card that can win you the game sometimes. Spider Woman is a card we got recently and she’s just broken. If you have her in your hand you have a 6 energy 7-11 power card, so overpowered in this early game meta.
Then you have Gamora, if you can predict your opponent’s play, she can easily land you the points you need to control a key zone at the end of the game.
Our Best Deck In Marvel Snap
So far, our best deck in Marvel Snap is what we would call a Ramp or Buff deck. Other Marvel players would probably call it some variation of an Odin Deck.
Pretty much, the idea is that every card is a power multiplier of some kind. Every card ideally has to have a good energy-to-power ratio and not just 1 to 2 either, that’s basic. We’re talking about cards that create copies or can provide significant board control like Mr. Fantastic, Squirrel Girl, Klaw, or White Tiger. These cards are then buffed by our mid and end-game cards like Kazar, Iron Heart, Blue Marvel, and Odin (got have an Odin for an Odin deck after all).
Sow what are the must-have cards we think? Squirrel Girl, Quick Silver, Iron Heart, Mr. fantastic, Kazar, White Tiger, Blue Marvel, Klaw, and Odin.
How do we play it? Fairly simple actually.
There are only two things to consider, which two lands you want to capitalize on and what is your card order. Once you have planned out your cards and which lands you want, you stick to the plan and play it out. We find trying to take the Middle Zone and the Right Zone is usually the best.
Early game you want Squirrel Girl, but Quick Silver is a good first-turn drop too. Turn 2 you want to drop another card if you can. On turn three you want to drop Iron Heart or Mr. Fantastic. Ideally, turn 4 will be Kazar, but if he isn’t pulled, then drop other lower energy cards you have, there are no wrong plays on turn 4. Turn 5 is where it gets tricky. You need to decide what to do based on your 5 energy cards. Buff everyone with Blue Marvel, try to take to places with Klaw, or try for the White Tiger with Odin combo, maybe even add Iron Heart if you played her earlier. The Odin combo has the potential to be the strongest while Blue Marvel is a good Plan B. Klaw though is a surprising trump card though, if you see an opportunity to grab not one but two zones with one card.
Our Parting Advice For New Marvel Snap Players
When building a deck, you want options above all else. Having options, and multiple ways to lay on the pressure against your opponent is how you win. Don’t lock yourself into one game-winning combo, there is no guarantee you will get it. But if you have two options, you’re guaranteed to get one of them in some form or another.
When you’re playing, you’re not playing to have the highest level cards or to control everything, you just need two zones to win. Winning by 1 is still a win. So pick two zones you want early and take them. If you see your opponent building up power on a zone, let them have it. Them building there will be a waste if you control the other two locations.
Think ahead in your games. The games are short and you are given 4 cards in your hand so you can plan up to 4 turns in advance. Plan, then follow through.