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Marvel Snap is a perfectly balanced trading card game

I’ve been playing what I’d categorize as an unhealthy amount of Marvel’s new digital trading card game, Marvel Snap, since its beta began this week. What I quickly found out is that the game does everything it promised almost flawlessly. It’s a perfect card game for anyone who loves Marvel comics, like myself, because there’s no way I could ignore any game that includes both Nova and Magik.


After years of not playing card games — since Yu-Gi-Oh! back in elementary school — I’ve been wanting to find a deck builder to jump into and find that strategic fun I’ve missed since then. But I’ve always been intimidated by current series like Magic the Gathering or current digital Yu-Gi-Oh! games due to extensive metas and complicated sets of rules. Thankfully, Marvel Snap is the perfect game for newcomers to the genre who want a less complicated introduction.

A simple challenge

Marvel Snap playing field and cards placed on it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Marvel Snap is a trading card game from former developers who worked on Hearthstone that sets out to be a simple and fast entry in the genre and retains strategy from other titles. I instantly fell in love with that approach, one that means a single game won’t eat up my entire lunch break.

The premise of the game is to capture three fields by placing cards that add up to a higher power than your opponent’s. You do this with some basic addition and subtraction depending on the ability of your cards and the fields themselves, which will sometimes present extra challenges and setting changes. The fields reveal themselves within three of the five turns and each can quickly turn the tide of battle, adding even more to the strategy of the game.

Players take their turns at the same time in Marvel Snap, so there’s no waiting around for an opponent (I don’t wait in the Marvel universe unless it’s for a post-credits scene). That simple change makes the game even more fast-paced and strategic.

Perfectly balanced

Deck of cards in Marvel Snap.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

As with all deck builders, many cards have different effects that can add to its player’s power or take away from their opponent’s. Of course, these cards can be avoided or outright countered, making the gambit of playing cards at the same time intense. For example, there are cards that will add to their power if the player predicts and places it where the opponent is going to play as well. Little battles like this are common in Snap and make every turn as brain-teasing as the last.

Depending on your cards, these strategies will constantly change. Cards like Nightcrawler can be placed and moved later, allowing him to hop to different buffs or even to fields where cards can’t normally be played. There are also cards, like Scarlet Witch, that straight-up move fields around, adding a random variable to the match.

Of course, cards can’t be played for free and cost a set amount of energy points per use. The energy points start at one and add up to six, and sometimes seven by the end of the match. This means that depending on your card draw, sometimes you’re completely stuck playing certain cards or may not be able to play any at all.

I’ve found Marvel Snap to be an easy to learn card game so far, one that I’ve been craving for a long time. Not only is it super easy to pick up and play, but it still brings a fair level of challenge. I can’t wait to see what the developers bring to the table with the full release.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more grinding to do so I can finally get that Magik card I need.

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DeAngelo Epps
De'Angelo Epps is a gaming writer passionate about the culture, communities, and industry surrounding gaming. His work ranges…
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