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How to Get to Infinite Rank in Marvel Snap Part 4 – How and When to Snap or Retreat and be the best Gambit

Gunslinger showdown, but it's a video game about Marvel cards.

All of the things that you’ve mastered so far are not worth anything if you don’t know how to Snap and Retreat. Believe it or not, the consensus is that most genuinely good players with great knowledge of the game, decent collections, understanding of the game, and great win rates suffer because they do not Snap or Retreat when they are supposed to.

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This sub-article might just be the most important in this series, and this will hopefully be a turning point for a lot of players’ upbringing to Infinite Rank in Marvel Snap. Have fun!

When to Retreat in Marvel Snap

Hey, here’s the Table of Contents for this article series, in case you want to know more about some other aspects of the game.

  1. Grasping the Game and Card Mechanics
  2. Obtaining the Necessary Cards and Tools
  3. Understanding the Meta – Know Thy Enemy
  4. How and When to Snap or Retreat
  5. How to Improve your Mental Game

While there are no general rules that are set in stone about when the optimal moment for a Retreat is, there are some guidelines that will help you. I’ll sort them into separate pieces of advice.

Related: A Player Has Somehow Reached The Current Maximum Collection Level in Marvel Snap

  • Learn to let go. Losing one or two Cubes is not the end of the world. You’ll reclaim them. Losing four Cubes is somewhat manageable, but takes more effort, but losing EIGHT (8!) Cubes… It’s almost like losing an entire rank!
  • You will make bad Retreat decisions from time to time. Try not to think about what “could have happened”. Focus on the next game. You will see a lot of top players not being willing to play for any stake bigger than two Cubes. They just don’t find it worthy. They play their number game and make slow and steady wins over time… Win three Cubes, Lose two, win three more, then lose two more… Slowly but surely, you move forward. Why ruin it with a bad eight Cube Snap? If you hate yourself for losing one Cube, imagine what you would feel for losing eight Cubes.
  • When your opponent snaps on Turn 6 and raises the stakes to four or eight Cubes, try to see why that might be the case. As written in the previous article, you should calculate what are the possible scenarios based on the information gathered so far. Maybe the opponent is bluffing? Maybe your opponent is just reckless and has not made an informed decision to snap, because they are not aware of what you can do to them on the last turn, or maybe, they want to scare you away if you are not feeling confident enough… Be careful when deciding if you want to see if they have the final combo piece or not. I’ve seen people “telegraph” an Infinaut by skipping Turn 5 and then just playing something random, expecting you to flee out of fear of Infinaut, for example.
  • When your opponent snaps on Turn 1 with just one Location revealed, without even knowing what the other two are, without even seeing you play any cards… That is deemed reckless behavior. This may imply that your opponent has all the combo pieces in their first four cards and that there’s maximum confidence that victory is close. In other cases, your opponent is testing your confidence in your starting hand and is trying to flush you out of the game by putting early pressure on you. If your hand is absolute garbage and you do not have a foreseeable Turn 1, 2, and 3 plays to put yourself on the board, bail the hell out. Of course, you can “pay” one additional Cube and stay in the match until the end of Turn 5 to see what the development will be because your opponent cannot Snap again and the wager is two Cubes until the Final Showdown. If you do not see yourself winning after Turn 6, concede the two Cubes and move on.
  • When you are playing a Combo deck and your opponent derails it (or you just draw like crap), it’s maybe time to go and not desperately try to claw your way to victory. You drop a Wong, they drop a Cosmo… You drop Zabu or Sera, they drop Enchantress, you drop a lot of 1-Drops, and they drop a Killmonger before you can Armor up… You set up a Deadpool, and they drop you an Armor and lock it there forever… You play a Galactus or Arnim Zola deck and all of your Locations have at least 1 card on them due to Location or Card effect.
    Try to keep it real and more importantly, to keep it cool. You will get countered hard from time to time, by the Locations or by your opponent. It’s not good to fall into the Sunk Cost Fallacy. As mentioned above, one or two Cubes are NOT a big deal to lose.
  • When your opponent develops a game-winning board that is unbreakable even if you draw what you want from your deck, get out. This may or may not include a simple, seemingly not dangerous Mister Negative play. God knows what they can shell out on Turn 5 and Turn 6. Rather just run and not think about it, before you get several zero-cost cards on Turn 6 that will completely change the landscape of the match.

When to Snap in Marvel Snap

It’s Easier to Run” by Linkin Park is the title that says it all. It takes two taps (clicks) on the screen to run away from a Match, but the biggest art in Marvel Snap is the art of Snapping properly and in a timely fashion, or just not snapping at all.

“Not snapping at all, you say? But why?”. Well, the explanation is fairly simple in hindsight. What if you don’t Snap and don’t scare away your opponent? This is applicable even if your opponent Snapped earlier in the match. It’s Turn 6, you are in visibly heavy advantage, and your thumb (mouse pointer) is moving towards the top of the screen. You see that at the end of the Match, the Cube wager will be two, or four. You become Bilbo Baggins for a second… and think about doubling it before the Final Showdown…

The game stops, you are informed of your victory, and you are met with the message that your opponent has retreated. You won one (or two) Cubes. You pulled the fishing rod too hard and the fish got scared and ran off, and your bait failed, miserably.

Your opponent simply said “OK, this is too much, I don’t think I can win this” and bailed out. If your opponent has fallen a lot behind you, that’s what’s going to happen. If there’s an illusion that you are “close”, then you might try to Snap.

Moral of the short story: Do not scare away your opponents if you think they are just too weak.

Related: All Wakanda Forever Cards in Marvel Snap

A common example during my climb (in the lower ranks) was me winning two Locations before Turn 6 started, and the third Location having two or three card slots free, with me having an Aero in hand. Since at the time, a lot of players were somehow still oblivious to Aero (or were confident that I don’t have it), they paid the Cube price. My rationale was simple: I reveal first, I will move whatever they have to that third Location and concede it to them, and I’ll keep my two Locations and will wind up winning the match. Naturally, I check if things like Dr. Doom, White Tiger, or Arnim Zola (to not name any more cards that influence other Locations) can lose me the game before proceeding with the wager.

The same thing works with every end-of-the-game play that’s hard to read, hard to predict, or is otherwise unexpected, and yes, this does include RNG plays. One game, a Location gave me a copy of Luke Cage, and I knew I was up against the Hazmat deck. I planned accordingly, and kept Luke Cage hidden until the last turn because I know that when both players have Luke Cage, I win by raw power, and on all three Locations, to top it all off! I planned the play carefully, on Turn 5 my opponent had Wong and Mystique and I thought to myself that that’s it, I got it…

…Until the cards were flipped.

I was greeted by Gambit, who decided to “take pictures” of my every card on the board, cleaning everything I’ve built so far… of course, including the Luke Cage… And to top it all off, after Gambit, Ironheart came along, to rub more salt in my fresh wound, with many emotes coming out of the top-right corner of the screen, including Ms. Marvel’s “Thumbs up” (God, that wink and that smile are so toxic, I swear) and Thanos’ “Snap”… I got caught in an illusion, I tunnel-visioned big-time, and in reality, the only “certain” winner for me would be a Cosmo in that Location that would put a stop to the entire madness. Sadly, the doggo was not there. Otherwise, he’d say “Let me do it for you” and would fetch Cubes for me. I apologize to my Editor and to my audience for getting the meme sound stuck in their heads.

Contrary to the Retreat example from above, I would not advise you to Snap at the very start of the Match. You have no idea what Locations can come up. You have no idea what your opponent is playing (unless you remember the name/avatar/title combo) It’s a high-risk, high-reward play.

Psychologically speaking, if I feel I am in a strong position (let’s say, Shuri went through and I am about to drop a Red Skull on a Cosmo/Armor position (cannot be Shang-Chi’d), and I have Aero, Taskmaster, and a random 1-Cost for Turn 6), I would snap after putting my cards down on Turn 5. Why?

Because it’s, however odd it sounds, a great way to entrap your opponent into a steeping rise of costs to remain in the Match.

It was a one Cube Match before Turn 5 reveal, it becomes a two Cube Match if your opponent accepts it, and it becomes a four Cube Match if your opponent proceeds to the Final Showdown (without your opponent snapping). It’s easier to swallow that you are paying one additional Cube to see Turn 5 play out, and then two more for the sixth, final turn. Snapping before the Final Showdown (from 1 to 4) might result in a Retreat because you’ve given up too much information, for too few Cubes, and you are taking away the illusion that you’re totally not winning. Most reasonable players would bail out if they do not have a certain counter that can turn the game around, and even in those cases, they would think twice if the turnover is actually a possibility.

If you get a decent read on your opponent, for example, they dropped Wong or Wave and you slide Cosmo under their supposed On Reveal play that should seal them the game, you can Snap before ending your turn. This will keep them wondering whether you have a Cosmo or not… Or, if you have something even stronger than their play? If they “pay” more Cubes to “see” the next Turn, you already got something out of it. If you show your Cosmo and they show their Galactus, and you snap on the next turn, of course, they’re gonna bail, when they know what’s up, and that they have no business.

This is why playing less predictable decks is more beneficial for Snapping because your opponents have a harder time getting a read on you. Less predictable, but still, functional, with enough consistency to win around 50% of your games.

Do you know why I failed to climb the first time I tried racing to Infinite, despite having around a 60% win rate in the season?

Crap Retreats and even crappier Snaps. Take it from my example. I hoped too much that my Hail Marys would float, that I would get an exact RNG on my cards (even if there was like… 50% of it working)… I hoped too much that my opponents would Retreat. I was impatient, I was out of focus a lot of times. All that has led me to a lot of TILT, which made me Snap unreasonably even more, out of control, even on Turn 1, out of pure and unrefined Rage. Fast Forward an hour later, and I dropped from my then-highest rank of 94 all the way down to the 70s. Because I couldn’t accept defeat. However, this opens up a new subject, for which I’ve reserved the final sub-article in this series. So, keep the unrealistic expectations out.

One good way of getting a win (keep in mind, I am saying “win”, not “Cubes”) AFTER your opponent snaps early is to Snap suddenly on Turn 6. Yes, this is somewhat contradictory to the “steeping rise of costs” mentioned above. However, it is “in line” with the part of scaring your opponent when you are raising the stakes from two Cubes to eight Cubes… That’s six additional Cubes or four times bigger amount of Cubes. This will make your opponent question themselves and try to make out what’s up. Then they are the ones that are getting flashbacks of all times they got countered on the last turn. In most cases, they have already played out their hand and pressed “End Turn” so when you Snap, they cannot change their play anymore if your Snap gave them the idea of what you’re about to do!

You can do this when you are less certain of winning, because the main intent is to scare the opponent away and get two Cubes, and if Final Showdown happens by any chance, you are supposed to have more odds of winning (RNGesus, take the wheel!). Or else just… Retreat, or play it out for four Cubes so that you don’t feel too bad when you lose. If you do win, don’t go all “I could have gone for eight!!!” because you were not sure of your victory, or your opponent could have retreated and you would wind up winning only two.

In the end, you understand that it’s all about mind tricks, (mis)representation of your power, and psychologically dragging your opponent into committing more than they would otherwise (because it’s easy to Retreat when the ante is one, and difficult when it’s four or eight).

One last thing: If you are certain in your cards and your deck, and your opponent Snaps, Snapping back also conveys an interesting message, especially if you Snap back within a second so that they think that you have 100% confidence and responded fast in an “I waited for you to Snap for ages” manner, or even worse, to wait almost until the end of the turn and then Snap back, undoubtedly showing that you are Doctor Strange who reviewed all of the dozen million scenarios and found out that you’re winning in this one. Then, your opponent will have little to no time to decide whether to proceed for eight cubes and risk it, or run away and lose just two (or four).

That’s it for the Snapping guide. Have discipline, and results will show soon enough! The last sub-article will be about the Mental Game.


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Author
Nikola L
Nikola has been a Staff Writer at Prima Games since May 2022. He has been gaming since being able to hold an Amiga 500 joystick on his own, back in the early 90s (when gaming was really good!). Nikola has helped organize dozens of gaming events and tournaments and has been professionally attached to gaming since 2009.