The archetype revolves around Death, by destroying cards you can cheat her out along with some other high power cards. This deck is intuitive and easy to pick up, but it does require some setup and is also fragile, it can be easily teched against with Armor and Cosmo in the early game and Shang-Chi on the final turns.
The basic strategy of the deck is to gain tempo with your small cards and destroy them to make Death as cheap as possible over the course of the first half of the game. Follow that up by playing Moon Girl - you'll either be copying a cheap Death as your finisher or playing double 0 energy Sabretooth with America Chavez on the final turn (very rarely all of them if you're favored by the locations - great synergy with Death's Domain as an example).
A big advantage of the deck is that the opponent can't quite always anticipate on where and how much power you'll distribute on the last turn if you've pulled of your combo.
I've had some crazy final turns when I've played double Death, Sabretooth (sometimes at 5 power) and America Chavez for a 40+ power swing but those are usually rare and require specific conditions so don't force yourself into doing it all.
To further upgrade the deck, you can try including Deadpool or The Hood.
With the recent change to Wolverine, he has also become a valid option if you want to pop something on turn 3.
The card choices:
- Squirrel Girl, all 1-drops have great synergy with the destroy effects, she even more so as there are 3 bodies for the slaughter. If you didn't draw or decided not to play Killmonger, a Nova buffed Squirrel can challenge locations which are hard to reach for the deck such as Sanctum Sanctorum or Luke's Bar.
- Angel, thins the deck, feels bad if you draw Patches, but silver lining is that you can play him for tempo and/or sacrifice him.
- Nova, buff whatever that remains, great for Sabretooth if you can play Nova first. Don't be afraid to play him on turn 1 as the deck relies more on the destruction effects, so the buffs we get, while nice, are usually not as substantial as they would be for a more Zoo type deck.
- Yondu, makes Death cheaper by both playing and destroying him while you're also gambling on hitting a high priority card of your opponents or just thinning their deck for them.
- Bucky Barnes, early tempo with destruction synergy.
- Carnage, Killmonger and Deathlok are synergy enablers which also provide tempo with a usually decent statline.
- Sabretooth, extra stats on the final turn as an alternative win condition if you manage to double him which can be tricky so you don't have to force him in the midgame when you see a better playline (a cheap Death). If you've managed to pop him on a prior turn and you're playing a Carnage or Deathlok on turn 5 instead of Moon Girl, make sure to feed Sabretooth to them again for extra discount on Death.
- Moon Girl, to be played on turn 4 or 5 to get a larger payoff from Sabretooth and/or Death with the latter being the priority target. If you're copying Death, make sure you can bring her down to a minimum of 3 energy cost on the prior or following turn (based on when Moon Girl's played), otherwise don't bother!
- America Chavez, consistently drawn on the final turn, increases the chance of getting other cards earlier, helps you plan ahead. Will sometimes be your alternative win condition if you've failed to draw Death.
- Death, the big payoff of the deck, usually played on the final turn. You can do so earlier if you really can/want/need to push for that extra 9 power from Chavez on turn 6, however this leaves Death vulnerable to Shang-Chi.
The Snap is an interesting mechanic which makes your matches similar to games of Poker. Meaning, knowing when to fold (retreat) or double down by snapping will heavily impact the amount of cubes you'll be gaining. It also means that while I'm in love with the game, I wouldn't recommend playing it if you're struggling with gambling addiction.
When to snap: general rule of thumb dictates doing it after a successful early game (you've managed to gain tempo by popping Bucky Barnes or made a big Carnage as an example) and you're about to transition into your big play by copying Death with Moon Girl or you're about to wipe the opponent's board with Killmonger. So turns 4 or 5 are usually a safe option. Of course, never fail to consider what the opponent's playing and their potential power swings.
Snap in the midgame if you look at your hand, can already see your endgame and you like it - depending on the matchup - is the short answer on when to snap.
On the other hand, you can consider retreating early if you've a good early setup, e.g. 1-drop and just played Bucky Barnes, but you don't hold the initiative and the opponent snapped the moment he hit the board. I'd usually bet that they're about to counter you with Armor or Cosmo which will ruin your tempo as you need those On Reveal destruction effects to go off (of course if you have initiative just play Deathlok/Carnage on turn 3).
I'll go over some general rules I try to stick to which may help out players maximize cube gains and minimize losses, as I see a lot of them using this mechanic in questionable ways.
- Never snap before all the locations are revealed is probably the first one I adhere to. Therefore, turn 3 should be the first moment when you ought to consider snapping as you never know whether that final location will turn out to be Ego, Worldship or a location which supercharges the opponent's archetype and the whole game plan just flies out of the window. Not to mention, the opponent also has agency and will use it by playing Storm, Scarlet Witch, Aero, Magneto, etc. That also brings me to the second rule.
- I don't recommend snapping until you've figured out what archetype the opponent's playing. This can delay your decision to do so by a turn or two. You could have the best hand in the game, but a disruptive deck doesn't care about that. This leads us to the next point.
- Watch the game, take note of what and where the opponent's setting up their plays. To be honest, this is probably the most complicated one as it requires a broader knowledge of the archetypes and it will take some time to gain enough experience. If you've considered all the options and are feeling comfortable, go ahead and snap before locking in your play on turn 5 at latest - the reason to do so is related to the next rule. The same goes for when you're feeling behind and the opponent snaps on turn 5, there's always the option to retreat. Also, if you've accepted a snap earlier or have snapped yourself, it is not wrong to retreat if you see an unfavorable outcome. No need to feel obligated to commit just because there's more than 1 cube on the line, losing 1 or 2 cubes doesn't matter in the long run as they can be replaced easily by winning just a single match.
- Never snap on the final turn. This is probably the most common thing I see when playing. The math is mostly on the table on the final turn, be it a close game or they're ahead, the opponent snaps. Best case scenario; it may occasionally cheat out 4 cubes from a less experienced player. What it usually ends up achieving is a retreat in a close game where the other party would stay in for those 2 cubes (because now they know that they've managed to draw their finisher and people are very rarely bluffing on the final turn), making a loss of 1 cube. Worst case scenario; the finisher's been anticipated, countered and you make a loss of 4 or more cubes.
- I'll dub this one 'Avoid bad snaps', it's about snapping before making a play of small significance. One of my favorite examples is snapping when playing Armor on Nova or The Hood. Remember that the opponent has 11 more cards in their deck, was also just informed about the 'big counter' and will likely adjust accordingly.
Armor and Cosmo were already mentioned, other cards to watch out for:
- Shang-Chi, widely played tech card, play around him by not showing your hand too early (play your high powered cards on the final turn).
- Wave can deny you the 0 cost Sabretooth on the final turn (will almost certainly make Death cost 0, but they're likely playing one as well).
- Polaris, Aero or Magneto if you're behind as one will force your cards away (try to play your most powerful card last) and the other will just steal your tempo (try to win the location where the opponent has a lot of cards, play your weaker one first, fill their location and then Death).