This deck got me to infinite!
(Last Season! But it's still viable now!)
And here's the full play guide, written by me! I hope it helps you climb!
(Edited to include POST-NERF changes! I swapped Aero for Vision and the deck still works after thorough testing! I finished at rank 121 with it!)
Updated on: 04/12/23
- Concept -
The idea behind Shuri/Zero is to drop a SHITLOAD of raw power onto the field by turn 6! (Enough to win at least two lanes.) You'll spend the first half of the match setting up your protection and the second half slamming down your giant, unkillable titans for the GG!
- Turn Order -
The ideal turn order would be: T1 Sunspot, T2 Armor, T3 Cosmo, T4 Shuri, T5 Red Skull, T6 Task Master + Zero
- This offers great protection and the ability to drop your highest, most risk-free power on the board. Try to not put your Armor and Cosmo in the same spot so you're protected from Shang-Chi in both of the lanes you hope to win.
There are MANY ways your hands can unfold, so I'll give a few more examples.
ex1. T1 Sunspot, T2 Lizard, T3 Polaris, T4 Shuri, T5 (skip), T6 Red Skull + She-Hulk
- This drops your Sunspot, gets some early game power on the board and moves some cards around via Polaris. Dropping Shuri and then skipping turn 5 will give your Sunspot a nice boost and enable you to play a massive RS or SH on turn 6. SH can also be dropped into Goose lanes as a 1 cost, which is a great steal for a lane like that.
ex2. T1 Zero, T2 Lizard, T3 Sunspot + Armor, T4 Shuri, T5 Red Skull, T6 Arnim Zola
- This gets you a lot of early game power and removes Lizard's negative effect. Arnim Zola can spread your 30 power RS into other lanes on turn 6 as well (just make sure you play the RS in an unprotected lane so you can Zola him). This is a suboptimal play, but sometimes it's all you can do. Zola can also get your cards into lanes you otherwise wouldn't be able to play in, like Sanctum or Storm. It's a great surprise card and even beats enemy T6 Aero.
ex3. T1 Sunspot, T2 Zero, T3 Lizard, T4 Shuri, T5 Vision, T6 Task Master + Zero
- This turn order gets you a lot of early game power and a moveable 14 power Vision. TM will copy him at 14 power and Zero stops the new Aero from messing you up. This should get you a win and leaves you with nice options to get power into an unplayable lane or potentially dodge a Shang-Chi play.
ex4. T1 (nothing), T2 (nothing), T3 (nothing) T4 Shuri, T5 Red Skull, T6 Task Master (or Arnim Zola)
- This is a worst case scenario hand, but yes, this deck can win with just 3 cards on the board. You will be totally exposed to all counters if this happens though, so I don't recommend trying it.
ex5. T1 Sunspot, T2 Armor, T3 Cosmo, T4 Polaris + Zero T5 Red Skull, T6 Task Master (or Arnim Zola)
- This is an example hand for when you don't draw Shuri. You'll want to Zero out your Red Skull if possible to get max value. If you can't do that, try to drop him in a lane that will give your opponent the least value possible.
You get the idea. Lots of interactions and combos are available with this deck, but you'll be coming back to the main staples for a majority of your matches. It is possible to win without drawing Shuri, it's just a lot harder so be careful in those games. It's very easy to misplay something with Zero, Cosmo and Red Skull's effect so don't end your turn until you're sure about your decisions!
- Snapping and Retreating -
Understanding when to snap and when to retreat is essential. I call it "Snap Discipline" and once I figured out this part of the game, I sailed up the ladder. I'll try to explain when and why I snap with this deck to help you make better decisions in your own games.
Early snaps. If I have an absolutely stellar hand on turn 2 or 3, I will snap. It's very rare though. Generally, you'll want to wait for all 3 locations to reveal. Sometimes snapping early will backfire if a game-losing location (like TVA) shows up and you've already committed.
Mid-game snaps. The majority of my snaps happen on turn 4 if I'm dropping Shuri and have something decent to follow-up with. Red Skull, She-Hulk, Task Master, Vision, etc. The bulk of your snaps should be happening here.
Late-game snaps. I generally don't recommend snapping on turn 5 or 6, as your opponent will be able to tell that they're going to lose and you'll only get 1 cube instead of 2 when they retreat. Sometimes it's better to just not snap at all if you haven't by this point.
I recommend retreating if you get unfavorable locations (like TVA) or if your opponent has gained the upper hand by turn 3 and you don't have anything good to play by turn 4. Usually, not getting Shuri is a bad sign. It's not totally impossible to win without her, but it's extremely risky. Retreat when things aren't looking good and save yourself some cubes.
- Meta Matchups -
- It is possible to beat Thanos decks by overpowering them, but usually not worth the brain power and effort it requires. If things don't look good by turn 3, I usually retreat. They always have Leech, Shang-Chi and Aero, all of which can mess you up. On top of all the stone powers and the potentially massive Thanos, it's just not a great matchup.
- Shuri is a top tier meta deck, so you'll be seeing a lot of mirror matches when you run her. They will almost always have some variation of what you're seeing here, so it just comes down to who draws their Shuri and who has the better hand. You'll just need to outsmart them to win and always assume they have the best combo possible to aid your decision making.
- Mmmmmmmm baby! Gimme those FREE CUBES! Seriously, I actually prefer this matchup because of how predictable it is! You should be able to spot a Galactus deck by turn 2 or 3. Once you figure out what you're up against, it's extremely easy to find a counter for it. If you don't have a good counter, retreat! If you do, snap and get the 8 cubes! Most Galactus decks have very obvious tells! Wolverine, Cloak, Nimrod, Wave, Green Goblin, Hob Goblin, Electro, Psylocke, Turn 5 Doc Oc, etc. If you see any of these cards after rank 80, it will be a Galactus deck!
- Generally, the Galactus player will throw their goblins into the future Galactus lane to weaken and clog it, so start dumping your massive Shuri power there to counter! If you can't do that, use Polaris or Cosmo (with priority) to ruin the Galactus play. This will get them to retreat and get you some free cubes!
- Additional Info -
Here are some quick tips I learned about this deck to help you climb!
- Sometimes, cloning something like Red Skull with Zola actually loses lanes because he BUFFS enemy cards. (Always do the math and be wary of unexpected turn 6 buffs from the enemy!)
- Shuri, Red Skull, Zola is super strong. Zola can also get your cards into unplayable lanes, so use that to your advantage!
- Zola retains Task Master's power instead of setting the copies to Zola's 0. Many people don't realize this.
- Use your Polaris as effectively as possible. Moving cards around gives you a massive advantage, so sometimes saving her for the right moment is essential to getting maximum value! Don't just play her right away every time! Think about WHY moving your opponent's card somewhere would help you win.
- Zero doesn't have to be played right away either. Sometimes saving him for later is the best option, as tempting as it is to use him early. He's especially useful on turn 4 (into Red Skull turn 5) if your Shuri hasn't arrived by then and he pairs well with Task Master on turn 6.
- Cosmo can be a blessing and a curse, so don't forget about him! I ruined my own plays plenty of times by making fast decisions.
- The way this deck works, 1 misplay often means retreat. So place carefully and don't end turn until you're happy with what you did.
- Armor can also be used to stop destroy decks and salvage certain locations for you, like Death's Domain and Rickety Bridge so be clever with it!
- Sometimes, Cosmo on turn 6 is the winning play (if you have priority). Don't underestimate the doggo!
- Never straight up retreat, always use "Retreat Later" - This will save you lots of cubes and only cost you a few extra seconds.
Hope this helps and good luck out there! You got this!