Is Marvel Snap Pay-to-Win? – Answered

Can you be competitive as a F2P player?

In the past decade or so, hundreds of free-to-play games have risen and fallen for many different reasons. Many are wary when they approach new F2P titles because of completely reasonable fears that the game might be pay-to-win (P2W). Given the recent rise in popularity of Marvel Snap’s Early Access on Steam, Android, and iOS, everyone wants to know if that’s the case here and whether they’ll need to splash cash to have a good time.

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We’re here to answer that for you – so here’s everything you need to know about whether Marvel Snap is pay-to-win or not.

Do You Need to Spend Money to Enjoy Marvel Snap?

Given that Marvel Snap is a free-to-play game, there has to be a monetization system to keep the servers alive and to keep the game going. But, given the recent events, it’s pay-to-win more and more as time progresses. There is no element of the game that becomes significantly better when you invest real money in Marvel Snap. The progression of your collection can just be somewhat accelerated by putting in real money. However, it has been proven by many players that you can reach Infinite rank with the likes of the Dino Draw deck, which is available fairly early.

Everyone always gets random cards when they unlock a new card and you cannot choose which new card you will get. Technically, eventually, everyone will unlock them all if enough play time is invested (although that might take a while, given the pace of the introduction of new cards)

Related: Can you Play Marvel Snap on Steam Deck? – Answered

Can You Be Competitive as a Free-to-Play Player in Marvel Snap?

The more time passes, the more trouble you’ll have when you’re starting out and catching up with the high-ranked competitive game.

February 2023 Update:

Unfortunately, I have to go back to this article and add that we’ve had an epidemic of meta-defining decks where key cards were hidden behind a season-pass paywall (about $12 monthly). Yes, this is about Zabu and Silver Surfer, that got nerfed after these two passes ended. Now, we have MODOK which is kinda broken but is actually reasonably counterable. Hopefully, Second Dinner won’t pull stunts like these in the next season passes, because if this keeps up, Marvel Snap can be classified as borderline Pay-to-Win due to how higher the Season Pass Card decks stood above the competition.

Related: Zabu and Silver Surfer Have Finally Been Nerfed – How do I feel about this?

May 2023 Update:

Given the updates in the shop, and some more free stuff that we’re now getting (free card each season per your choice, more free Collector’s Tokens in the chests) the game is now more friendly towards players that do not want to give real money.

Season Pass Cards are now more “tame” and do not define the entire meta, so you can reach Infinite without giving money. However, this will take you a few months of grinding until you earn yourself enough cards to form a respectable deck. Shortcuts like these that are deemed “predatory” by some are tipping the scales in favor of Marvel Snap being a Pay-to-Win game. It’s however, still, not a directly pay-to-win game, even though some players would deem that paying to progress your account faster than the competition that does not pay, is indeed, Pay-to-Win. Make up your own conclusion and opinion based on the facts presented here and in other places that cover this subject.

May 2023 Update Number 2 (after the big patch):

Marvel Snap is now offering additional “weekend quests” which ask you to win a certain amount of games while having specific cards in your deck and reward you with Gold or Collector’s Tokens, depending on which card is a quest requirement. And you certainly will be shocked when you learn that the cards you will need to have for these quests are:

  • Current Paid Season Pass Card
  • Current latest Series 5 Card

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, along with the disruption of the usual Series Drop schedule which keeps some cards “up” on purpose, keeping them far away from the hands of the newcomers. I wholeheartedly regret to say this, but if you just started out playing Marvel Snap and have like, a few hours or a few days in – uninstall the game and never come back. Why? Because as we move forward, there will be more and more and more cards and you will need to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to become competitive. Remember, you mostly cannot “pick” which card are you going to get, so at some point, you will need to go through a lot of clutter and fluff to get meta-relevant cards. And this is not Magic/Yu-Gi-Oh!/Pokemon where you can sell your cards later.

Related: When Did Spending Thousands of Dollars in Video Games Become the New Normal?

These words will probably carry more and more weight as time progresses, since each month, we get about 5 new cards.

You are probably wondering what my collection looks like. Well, at this moment (May 18th, 2023) I lack the:

  • Five cards from Series 4
  • Eight cards from Series 5

…in order to have the full Collection. And mind you: I have made my peace that I won’t ever get the full Collection.

My collection level is 4900, I bought that welcome pack, and Season Passes for Miles Morales, Black Panther, Zabu, Silver Surfer, and a minor amount of Gold. Then, I realized how wrong I was to support I am only playing it so that I can cover it, while there’s interest among the community. But, I need to remain as objective as possible when it comes to these matters. And to put myself in the shoes of a newcomer to this game, more importantly. I remember how it was when I first started out. And now it is worse. Some new players will try to fight it out with me regarding this subject matter, but please, wait until you get out of the honeymoon phase (Series 1 and Series 2 cards).

That’s all of my rants. I had the outro here that hoped that you will enjoy the game. Nowadays, I find less enjoyment than ever in this game. To top it all, this happened so close to the Overwatch 2 PvE Fiasco. What the heck with today’s gaming?

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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.