Marvel Snap is the new digital collectible card game released by developer Second Dinner and publisher Nuverse officially on October 18th, 2022 after a few months of beta.
Many new players are hyped to play as their favorite heroes and villains from the Marvel multiverse, but the game can be confusing to play at first.
This guide on How to Play Marvel Snap will explain how the game works for newbies and other players who need a refresher course on the basic mechanics.
Marvel Snap Gameplay Basics
The game is a 1 vs. 1 card duel where players compete against each other using decks of 12 cards over 6 rounds to conquer locations. The player who conquers two or more locations, or the player who has the highest amount of power in the case of a tie wins the match.
What the heck do any of the words above mean? Let’s find out!
Let’s start with the win condition: locations. There are three locations every game. Players place the cards they’re playing each turn at one of these locations to try and dominate it with their cards’ combined power (the attack number on a card; see Cards section). After each player has placed a card and has ended their setup phase of their turn, the card is revealed and its power is added to the location along with playing out whatever ability it may have.
The player with the most power at a location wins it, and the player who wins 2+ locations at the end of the last round wins the match; in the case of a tie, whichever player has the highest power overall wins the match.
One of the most interesting aspects of Marvel Snap is that each location has its own special effect that adds something to the game. For example, the Baxter Building’s effect is “whoever is winning this location gets +3 at the others” and Nova Roma’s is “draw a card.”
During the first round, the location on the left has its effect revealed while the middle and right location have theirs hidden. During round 2, the middle location reveals its power, and round 3 reveals the right location’s power.
Each location can only hold four cards. Players can play as many cards as they want up until that limit. Sometimes a powerful card can dominate a location by itself, but other times a player will want to play four cards at one location to ensure their win.
Anatomy of a Card
Any card game is incomplete without the cards themselves! Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a card:
After finishing the tutorial section, all players should receive a set of basic starter cards. Abomination is one of the stronger, higher-cost ones. He’s the example above.
If you look at the top left of this card, it shows you its energy cost. All players start off the game with 1 energy in round 1 and earn an additional energy for each round, although sometimes players might be given extra energy in some rounds (see Locations for more information). Abomination has a cost of 5 meaning he can be played once the player has at least 5 energy.
In the top right, you can see the card’s power. Unlike other card games like Magic: the Gathering, Hearthstone, or Legends of Runeterra, the cards here don’t have any HP as they don’t ever directly attack each other. Instead, they only have an attack attribute called power. Each card at a location adds its power to create the total that shows up on the location itself.
Cards have different qualities that can be upgraded for special visual effects by obtaining the boosters for a specific character and paying an upgrade cost using credits. Here is a list of Marvel Snap card qualities:
- Common cards are the default.
- Uncommon card upgrades cost 5 boosters and 25 credits. Upgrading to uncommon causes a frame break. It increases your collection level by one point.
- Rare card upgrades cost 10 boosters and 100 credits. Upgrading to rare causes the card to become 3D and display a cool visual effect when you rotate your phone. It increases your collection level by two points.
- Epic card upgrades cost 20 boosters and 200 credits. Upgrading to epic causes the card to become animated. It increases your collection level by four points.
- Legendary card upgrades cost 30 boosters and 300 credits. Upgrading to legendary causes the card’s nameplate to become shiny. It increases your collection level by six points.
- Ultra card upgrades cost 40 boosters and 400 credits. Upgrading to ultra provides an animated frame for the card. It increases your collection level by eight points.
- Infinite card upgrades cost 50 boosters and 500 credits. Upgrading to infinite allows players to create a variant copy of the card with a holographic background similar to real-life rare cards in trading card games like Pokemon. It increases your collection by ten points.
When you’re first starting the game out, you’ll be given access to a starter deck made up of very basic cards. As you upgrade them and increase your collection level, you’ll earn newer, better cards that come with abilities.
Marvel Snap Cards and Abilities
After getting your first set of basic cards, you start to unlock cards with abilities. Let’s take a look at one of the best ones for starting players that you get early on in your game time.
Odin is a powerful end-game card that costs 6. This means you cannot play him unless it’s the sixth round for all of your energy, or if you have a location that is granting some amount of bonus energy. Odin has a power of 8 which makes him already a rather strong card.
The thing that makes Odin so special is that he has an On Reveal ability. This means when his card is revealed, the effect described at the bottom of his card happens. For Odin, that means that he activates the On Reveal abilities of other cards at the same location which can greatly increase your power or cause other helpful effects.
There are many different abilities, but most cards in the beginner level that you unlock early on revolve around:
- On Reveal: Something happens one time when the card is revealed.
- Ongoing: An effect continuously happens as long as the card isn’t silenced by another card or by the location.
- Discard: Playing a discard card causes the player to trash one of the cards in their hands.
- Destroy: Playing a destroy card eliminates a card or cards already on the board at a specific location.
- Other: Some cards have individual abilities that react to others, e.g. Apocalypse gains +4 power each time he’s discarded then returns to your hand, and Nightcrawler can be moved from one location to another once per game.
Marvel Snap Game Modes and Competitive Play
At the moment, the only game mode is ranked, meaning players will always either gain an amount of points that can increase their rank each win or lose an amount of points that can decrease their rank each loss.
Each game starts off by having players battle for one point by default. By the mid-point of the game, this turns into two points which means players will either gain or lose two points depending on the match’s outcome.
Players can snap by pressing the cube on the top of the screen that displays the amount of points being bet. Snapping doubles the amount of points being bet, so if one player snaps, the players will either gain or lose 4 points depending on the outcome, or if both players snap, it’ll be 8 points total.
Players can retreat before the game is over to avoid losing too many points from their rank. This adds a compelling psychological element to the game that many other card games lack as it almost becomes like poker at a certain point. If you bluff your snap and try to intimidate your opponent into quitting, they might leave early and give you a win even if you have a bad hand.
Leveling Up and Rewards
As mentioned before, players increase their collection level by upgrading their card qualities. Increasing this level grants new cards as well as credits and boosters for further upgrades.
There is a battle pass each season with new cards, gold, credits, cosmetics, etc. that reward players for completing things called missions.
Players can complete 6 daily missions for credits and battle pass experience. Each week, players can get extra rewards up to 5 times for completing 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 missions. This rewards credits, gold, and battle pass experience.
If players have the battle pass, they can greatly increase their battle pass level by completing its specific missions. A new mission is released each day and a new chapter is released each week.
If you’re looking to build a powerful deck centered around Knull, be sure to check out our article on crafting the ultimate Knull Marvel Snap deck right here!
Joseph has been writing about games for a decade. His gaming interests are wide and varied, but he’s most fond of fighting games, Pokemon, and most Blizzard games. When he’s not gaming, he’s watching trashy reality TV, listening to comedy podcasts, or studying languages