Entertainment Feature: Beginner’s Guide to Marvel Snap: Best Starter Packs, New Cards & More

We’ve got some tips and tricks to give you an early start in Marvel Snap, the new mobile card game that’s got us hooked.

It’s funny how much you can learn about a game after just a week of playing it non-stop. My first few days in Marvel Snap were clumsy at best. I spent a lot of time upgrading cards without considering the credits I was running out of, only played cards with my favorite characters, and paid zero attention to completing weekly and seasonal missions. In other words, I made every mistake in the book while starting out in Marvel’s new digital deck builder game—and I’m here to stop you from making them, too.

Marvel Snap is a fun and highly addictive experience, but there are a few ways to get ahead early before the competition starts to heat up at higher ranks. Whether you’re looking for the best starter decks to play with or just trying to learn the basics, here’s everything a beginner needs to know about Marvel Snap.


Compared to other virtual card games like Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering Arena, the gameplay loop of Marvel Snap is downright simple to understand. Its three-minute matches make the game as easy to pick up as it is to put down, but no less addictive to play as long as you’ve covered the basics. Each player can build a deck of 12 cards to bring into a match, with each card depicting a Marvel Comics character that comes with an energy cost, a power level, and in most cases a special ability. Considering the game has over 200 cards to collect, you can imagine the amount of deck building combinations available here.

A match is given three random locations, each with special effects that are revealed in the first three turns. For example, Bifrost moves all cards one location to the right after Turn 4. Each game has six turns, but the Limbo location could suddenly throw a seventh turn at you and upend all your well-laid plans. That’s the thing about Marvel Snap: you could build the perfect deck, but even if luck is on your side and your opponent hasn’t brought a deck to counter yours, locations could always be your undoing. However, they could also be your salvation, and therein lies the fun.

The player gets one more energy point each turn to play cards with higher energy costs, and cards with higher energy costs usually come with higher power levels. This leads to a natural power curve that increases over time, culminating in the sixth turn, where the strongest cards finally get their due. The goal is to achieve the highest level of power in two out of three locations, meaning that the total power of your cards outnumbers your opponent in one location. There is also a ranking system, where you earn “Cubes” after each win, and ten cubes raises your ranking level by one. You can also double the amount of cubes won in a game by “snapping” during any turn, and you can keep snapping as long as you’re sure you’ll win.

All in all, it only took me a few matches to pick up these rules. Marvel Snap does a pretty good job of welcoming new players into the fold, and it’s not hard to catch up even if you’re just getting into the game today. I didn’t start playing until quite a while after the release and found myself in the competition for the first few days. Even if you’re not playing to win games, there are plenty of ways to feel like you’re still progressing in Marvel Snap. Every time you complete a daily mission, you get credits to spend on upgrade cards and season XP that go into the Battle Pass. When you upgrade cards, you gain collection levels and earn new cards. When you level up the Battle Pass, you get more credits and card variants. You’re always playing for something in Marvel Snap.

How do I get new cards?

Upgrade cards to get cards! After each match, you will receive Boosters that allow you to improve the rarity of a particular card. When you upgrade a book, you gain collection levels. Every few collection levels, the game gives you a random mystery card, increasing your collection and giving you access to new packs. Upgrading cards costs Credits, and you’ll find that upgrading to higher rarities can get quite expensive. It’s much more efficient to spend your Credits to upgrade cards from Common to Uncommon and Rare, because otherwise you use up Credits faster than you can use them.

It should be noted that Collection Levels give you cards from different “series” depending on how far along you are. Series 1 goes from collection level 18 to 214, giving you a total of 46 cards. Series 2 goes from Level 222 to Level 474, offering 25 cards in total. Series 3 starts at level 486 and up, with 74 cards in total and more on the way. You’ll get access to better and more powerful cards in the higher series, but there’s plenty to work with in Series 1 as well.

Some good starter packs to try

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to some of the best decks you can get started with. Marvel Snap randomly distributes new cards, meaning everyone gets to play with access to different decks. If you don’t like the cards you started with, keep playing and you’ll find at least a few more that can make a solid deck. The best decks build synergy around a specific ability, which is why there isn’t really a “best” or “worst” card to use here. A card’s usefulness depends on how a deck is built around it. For example, meet my favorite starter deck, lovingly named “Kazoo” by the Marvelsnap.io community:

The Kazoo deck takes its name from Kazar, a card that gives all 1 cost cards +1 Power. Above, you’ll see cost numbers in blue and power numbers in orange. The strategy is to build a deck full of useful 1-cost cards that are boosted by Kazar, then throw in some stronger cards like Iron Man to guarantee a location win on the sixth turn. 1-Cost cards are shockingly useful here, and this deck is very flexible. I’ve played with him multiple times after gaining new cards and he’s consistently held strong no matter what I throw at him. Don’t worry about copying the deck above – just fill in the blanks with the closest substitutes you have on hand.

Next, meet my good friend Odin:

Marvel Snap has some really good On Reveal cards, but as the name suggests, their abilities only activate once: when played. Odin says the rule is stupid and reactivates all other On Reveal cards in his location at the time he played. Pair it with some useful On Reveal cards, like White Tiger, which spawns a 7 Power Tiger in another location, or Ironheart, which gives three other +2 Power cards for big combos!

What is this? Don’t have any of these books yet? How about this very simple starter deck played by game designer Ben Brode himself during one of the game’s first reveal streams:

This is just a collection of great cards that, if played correctly, should net you a smooth win. Play Medusa in the middle location if possible to double its power, and Mister Fantastic to add +2 power to the adjacent locations. After that, you do your best to counter your opponent and throw the Hulk as the winner of the last turn location!

These three decks play with some basic card skill types like “On Reveal” and “Ongoing” to build huge combos that pay off in the late game. As you progress and gain access to higher level cards, you’ll be able to build powerful decks around card mechanics like Destroy and Move, which can be a lot of fun, if a little more risky. It’s all about having fun, and personally, I love the variety of play that comes with building all kinds of decks that play with very different cards. Playing a Kazoo deck can get old after the first 50 matches, so don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works.

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