Marvel Snap is the best Marvel game you’ve never played

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I’ve been playing Marvel Snap for a good long while now. So long in fact that when it had recently come out of beta, I had genuinely forgotten it wasn’t officially released yet. I had gone through a few seasons of the game already.

When I first saw Marvel Snap, my first thought was: “Oh cool, yet another card battler.” But then I played it, and I fell in love with it.

Marvel Snap seems simple at first glance. You get your custom deck of cards featuring Marvel characters. Each has two numbers on them; how much they cost to play and how many points they’re worth. Every round of the six-turn game gives you one extra point to work with, so the first round obviously limits you to cards that cost one point to play. And you have three locations to play the cards. At the end of the sixth round, it’s whoever has won the most spots by having more points there wins. Which sounds deceitfully simple.

But let’s look at the places where you can put your cards down. At the beginning of the game, these spots are mysteries until they’re revealed one by one over the first three turns. Each spot is a famous Marvel location and each has an appropriate effect. For example, if you play a card on the Danger Room, there’s a 25% chance that any card you play there will be shot by a laser cannon and destroyed. Any cards on Arcade’s Murderworld after the third turn will get destroyed by a giant mallet. The Bar with No Name gives the win to whichever side has the LEAST amount of points.

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With so many different locations being added, including the recently added Nexus that shares any points you’ve earned there with the other three locations, it’s NEVER going to be the game you expect it to be.

To top it off, almost every card has a unique ability and there are a lot of cards with more constantly being added. Even cards that have NO special abilities can be beneficial as there are other cards and locations that give bonuses to cards with no abilities.

One of my favorite things is that the special abilities fit the characters remarkably well in some creative ways. Destroy Wolverine’s card and it immediately comes back to a random location. When you play Thor he summons a Mjolnir card into the deck that, when played, makes Thor worth significantly more points. The Nightcrawler card can teleport. Viper can sneak a card you play across enemy lines to the other side. Squirrel Girl summons a squirrel to each location. Ice Man fires ice on a random opponent’s card in their hand making them cost one more point to play, slowing that card down a turn.

This also leads to the cards playing together in really fun ways. When you play Cloak, on the next turn any of your other played cards can move to his location on the next turn. And several cards have abilities that occur when they move from one location to another. Dagger gains +2 power for each card that is already at that location. Multiple Man levels a duplicate of himself wherever he teleported from. Vulture gets stronger every time he swoops from one place to the next.

This can lead to even further combos as there are cards like Miles Morales. If a card moved in the previous turn, his card goes from costing four energy to one. Making it more likely he’ll be teamed up with another card on your next turn.

The possibilities are remarkably endless.

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To top it off, despite being a card game, the sound and animation are so much better than they needed to be and I love it for that. It’s a given the art on the cards is going to be great, and it is, and there are even variant cards for each character and the ability to make the art on them 3D so the perspective shifts with your phone.

But when you pick up Ant-Man’s card, while it’s still under your finger, it shrinks down or grows. When Thor summons Mjolnir (which I just realized I spelled twice without looking it up) you actually hear him call out for the hammer which gets summoned in with a rainbow. Playing Mjolnir will then cause Thor to yell “TO ME” as lighting explodes from the card and onto Thor’s. Sandman’s card has one of the most visually stunning effects. When Sandman is played, for the rest of the game only one card can be played per turn on both sides. After you play a card on following turns, sand pours out across the field and over the cards in both hands just to drive the point home that those cards aren’t going anywhere.

There’s such a ridiculous amount of love and work put into these cards and that really helps make every game special. And the love isn’t just given to easily recognizable characters like Wolverine and Captain Marvel either. Moon Girl, Cosmo the Dog, Hazmat, and Leech, they ALL have moves that make sense and they all come with great art and animations. Hell, I’ll bet you right now there’s no other Marvel game in existence where you will see Hell Cow with the frequency that you’ll find him in the deck of every edgelord playing a deck that requires them to destroy as many of their cards as possible.

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I mean, I’m a long-time Marvel fan with an original Howard the Duck movie poster on my wall and even I had to look up who the Infinaut was.

One thing that kills me however is that after the last several Marvel console games turned out to be really stinky — from The Avengers game to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 — it would be really cool if this had a console release. Marvel, you could go all in on this too. Make the characters actually look like they’re standing on the cards. Animate it. I’ve seen what happens when you let a pinball game use your character’s license You can do it with cards too, ask Yugi.

Long story short though, in closing. Marvel Snap is an absolute gem of a game. Constant patches to fix the meta, and constant additions of new and exciting cards and locations. And even new additions of arts and variants like having all the characters be Venomized or Pixelated.


It all keeps the game constantly feeling fresh and I love seeing the magic spells people are able to weave out of a simple deck of 12 cards.

If you haven’t played it, you absolutely should. Even if you’re not into Marvel, hell, even if you’re not into card games, I feel like there’s a good chance this could win you over. Also, you earn cards by playing, not by paying. You pay for cosmetics like card variants but you can even earn those by playing.