High Evolutionary & the Rise of Hybrid Decks
Big bads in Marvel Snap are meant to have a lasting impact on the game. The release of High Evolutionary fits the mold of what a big bad is meant to do when introduced. Before the card was released, the general expectation for High Evolutionary was that he would at the very least make underutilized cards usable and respectable pieces in Marvel Snap. The card accomplished this and not only made the evolved cards prominent in Marvel Snap but also sent ripples through the meta like we had never seen before.
High Evolutionary’s release not only had a tremendous impact on the meta, but also brought a level of versatility never before seen. There are seven cards, not including High Evolutionary, that evolve when paired with High Evolutionary in a deck list. These seven cards are:
Out of the seven evolved cards, six are cards you will receive automatically as starters in your collection. These six starter cards are Misty Knight, Shocker, Cyclops, The Thing, Abomination, and Hulk. Wasp is a Series 3 card that can be collected after collection level 486. As for High Evolutionary, since he is a big bad, he will always be a Series 5 card costing 6,000 collector tokens or can be found in spotlight caches when featured.
The evolved cards abilities are interactive with card cost reduction, unspent energy, and/or power affliction. Shocker is the only card within the evolved cards to provide card cost reduction, as, on reveal, this card gives the leftmost card in your hand -1 Cost. The evolved cards that interact with unspent energy include Misty Knight and Hulk. Misty Knight will give another friendly card +1 Power when you end a turn with unspent energy, and Hulk will get +2 Power (if in hand or in play) when you end a turn with unspent energy.
As for the power affliction evolved cards, these include Wasp, Cyclops, The Thing, and Abomination. Wasp, Cyclops, and the Thing have power affliction effects, while Abomination receives 1 less cost for each enemy card in play that’s afflicted with negative power. Wasp afflicts a random enemy card with -1 Power on reveal, and The Thing afflicts 3 random enemy cards, in the same lane with -1 Power on reveal. Cyclops not only has a power affliction but also interacts with unspent energy. With Cyclops on the board, the card will grant -1 power to two random enemies in the same lane when you end a turn with unspent energy.
Now that we know the abilities of each evolved card when paired with High Evolutionary, it’s only fitting to look at the archetypes that are top performers when applying High Evolutionary and the evolved cards to the deck list. The archetypes that will be showcased are top-performing deck lists, including High Evolutionary, which are Lockjaw on reveal, Shenaunt, Control, KageMat, and Balanced High Evolutionary.
Lockjaw On Reveal
Prior to the release of High Evolutionary, the lockjaw archetype consisted of the core cards Wasp, Lockjaw, Thor, Jubilee, and Jane Foster Mighty Thor. We know with the edition of High Evolutionary came the new evolved ability for Wasp. With this new ability applied to the lockjaw archetype, not only are you throwing wasp into lockjaw for no cost penalty (under normal circumstances) but now you have the opportunity to afflict -1 power to an enemy card within that lane and pull out a random card within your deck which could be a high powered, disruptive, or not so ideal card (pulling High Evolutionary am I right?).
Of course, the effectiveness of the lockjaw and evolved wasp combo is contingent on not being halted by a location and/or an enemy counter card. Another synergy found in lockjaw lists that have high evolutionary cards is Jane Foster Mighty Thor with Wasp. Not only does Jane Foster allow you to utilize Wasp again with Lockjaw like prior to the edition of High Evolutionary, but it also lets you now double dip with the power affliction onto enemy cards (if Wasp isn’t already in your hand before Jane Foster is played).
In terms of play patterns in lockjaw with evolved cards, having Hulk in your hand, pulled out from either lockjaw or jubilee, or already out on the field allows you the flexibility to utilize that unspent energy interaction with evolved Hulk to produce more power in the lane you plan on utilizing that resource for. Evolved Hulk unlocks various benefits to the lockjaw archetype, like being a power play. Not only can he be played as a power play, but as mentioned, he can stay in your hand and collect power through unspent energy to be discarded as Dracula’s card at the end of the game.
Dracula was already an excellent card to avoid Shang Chi, but with the inclusion of the evolved Hulk in this deck list, unspent energy throughout the game is justified by the power potential on the final turn or at the end of the game (under normal circumstances). The deck list you’ll find below is a Lockjaw High Evolutionary that is a top performer in all ranks as well as in conquest. In ranked play, this deck has a 59.95% win rate with an average cube rate of 0.64, and in conquest, this deck has a 55.63% win rate across all conquest ranks.
If you are looking for a home for High Evolutionary that capitalizes on power slamming and unspent energy, then Shenaunt is a great deck to consider. The core cards of the Shenaunt archetype are Sunspot, Armor, Magik, She-Hulk, and the Infinaut. Other common cards you may see within Shenaunt deck lists include Cosmo, Moon Girl, Nebula, Kang the Conqueror, and Legion. The involvement of High Evolutionary in the Shenaunt archetype showcases the flexibility of evolved cards for deck lists.
The evolved cards you typically find in High Evolutionary Shenaunt deck lists include Misty Knight, Shocker, Cyclops, and Hulk. Although these are the typical cards found within the archetype, the flexibility of the evolved cards allows for adaptation and preference while creating a deck list within this archetype. You can find lists that have different dynamics to change play patterns, such as Moon Girl, Leech, and swapping out unspent energy evolved cards for power affliction cards.
No matter what dynamics you choose for your High Evolutionary Shenaunt deck list, the main objective is power slam. Power slam can come in various different forms within this archetype. Whether that’s a turn 7 combination play of She Hulk with the Infinaut or Hulk (power depending on unspent energy), multiple low- to no-cost She Hulk’s due to Moon Girl duplicating the card (Hulk is also a duplicate target in turn 7 games), a Sunspot float of unspent energy, or just utilizing Hulk has a final turn to compete at a singular lane. The Infinaut is usually not as prominent in Moon Girl variations as the deck usually leans into late-game burst plays, which can make skipping turn 5 or 6 (if Magik is present) a little awkward when not playing cards at critical points in a battle.
Also, when you skip the late game turns, it can give your strategy away to opponents and make them counter you easier. Don’t forget that evolved Cyclops and Misty are normally great cards to have on the field if you plan on capitalizing on turns not using energy that are setting up these power slams, as they will not only reduce the power of cards for the enemy with Cyclops (if Luke Cage isn’t present for the enemy) but distribute power with Misty Knight.
Aside from the Moon Girl deck list variations in this archetype, Leech variations can provide helpful disruption to the enemy to make your late-game power allocations less likely to be countered (unless the opponent draws Shang Chi after the Leech effect). The Infinaut is more prominent inside of the Leech variations, as you can avoid those counters even though the opponent may know what your next play is. Cosmo is also able to be played more to counter your opponent than as a defensive play. All the burst potential found in the Moon Girl variations is present here, just without the duplication dynamic and with the added power potential option of the Infinaut.
The evolved cards within this archetype are the more consistent performers and are able to be interchanged depending on preference. We mentioned the evolved cards you can normally find in this archetype, but that doesn’t constrict the ability to experiment with different evolved cards to interact with the variations listed. For example, somebody may prefer the power affliction of the evolved High Evolutionary cards but like the Shenaut archetype. Well, with a few replacements like Abomination for Hulk and Wasp for Shocker, you can utilize this preference within the Moon Girl variation to make a viable deck. The deck list you’ll find below is a variation of this and performs just as well as the more common Moon Girl and Leech variations with Hulk In ranked play, this deck has a 62.23% win rate with an average cube rate of 0.57, and in conquest, this deck has a 60.22% win rate across all conquest ranks.
Now onto one of the more polarizing archetypes in Marvel Snap, which is control/lockdown. In my experience, normally players either enjoy playing control-style deck lists or are not that big of fans of playing against them. This sentiment towards the control list is sometimes applied to facing High Evolutionary as well, whether that’s with the woes of power affliction or the task of maneuvering around the power gained from unspent energy. If you are a player looking to enable these pain points, the Control archetypes may be something to look into. The typical cards you’ll find as core control mechanics within deck lists include Daredevil, Storm, Spider-Man, and Professor X.
Shutting down lanes is the name of the game for the control archetypes. The core cards that enable the lockdown mechanics include Daredevil and Spider-Man. Daredevil allows you to properly plan out your turn 5 play as well as your options for turn 6. As mentioned in the Shenaut archetype, turns 5 and 6 can be crucial when High Evolutionary cards exist within the deck list. When you merge the control archetype with evolved cards, you are able to create a deck that compliments itself from turn 1 to the final turn.
Storm enables evolved Cyclops to make one of the best combinations you’ll find in Marvel Snap. The ability to reduce your enemy’s power while maintaining your own is a strong condition to bring into most matchups. Coupled with early plays like Daredevil and Nebula (preferably on the Storm Lane), the duo of Storm and evolved Cyclops carves a consistent strategy for the late-game, which is usually to lean into more control with Professor X, spread power out to all lanes with Doom, or make a power play in a singular lane with the evolved Hulk.
High Evo Control is a deck and archetype that I would recommend getting experience with because, if you do, the ability to see your play patterns and carve out the rest of the game will make your overall gameplay in Marvel Snap better. The deck list you will see below is one I that is not only a top performer, but one I highly recommend putting the time into. This deck has a 58.91% win rate with an average cube rate of 0.45 in ranked play, and in conquest, this deck has a 57.85% win rate across all conquest ranks.
Fans of power affliction will appreciate diving aggressively into that when they fuse evolved cards with the cards found in the KageMat archetype. The two main staples in KageMat are Luke Cage and Hazmat. The interesting aspect that evolved cards bring to Luke Cage and Hazmat is their ability to bring consistency to an archetype that relies on card draw and combos. The combination allows Luke Cage and Hazmat to compliment other pieces within the list rather than being the end all, be all of the list.
The best synergy for Hazmat and Luke Cage with the High Evolutionary cards is Abomination. Hazmat is able to afflict cards currently in play, and each enemy card that has lost power due to Hazmat will reduce the cost of your Abomination (1 cost per card), whether Abomination is in your hand or in the deck. Luke Cage makes this power affliction only affect your opponents played cards when placed into play on your side (under normal conditions) and keeps the benefit, which is the cost reduction for Abomination.
Another common card that you can find in the KageMat archetype is Scorpion. As Hazmat affects the cards in play when played, Scorpion afflicts power from the opponent’s hand when played. The only thing to keep in mind is for Scorpion to benefit Abomination, the opponent must play the cards affected by Scorpion into play, which can create a situation where your turns could be a little more sporadic and less coordinated.
Of course, any counters to the on-reveal abilities of Hazmat and Scorpion, like Cosmo, can be detrimental to your strategy. It is important to be cautious of the board's locations and cards that can counter your game plan. As much as Luke Cage benefits the KageMat archetype, an enemy Luke Cage in play can redirect your strategy. I highly recommend having multiple win conditions instead of banking on the cost reduction of Abomination. The deck list you will see below not only showcases the preference towards power afflictions but also has more power play options within the list. This deck has a 59.46% win rate in ranked play along with an average cube rate of 0.37. In conquest across all ranks, this deck has a 57.14% win rate.
Balanced High Evolutionary
It’s no surprise that High Evolutionary and the evolved cards are strong enough to build their own archetypes. Not only is there a separate archetype for High Evolutionary and Control (High Evolutionary Control), but putting the eight cards together with four other cards of your choosing can create a viable deck in any game mode. The usual strong options to put with High Evolutionary plus the seven evolved cards are the tech cards found in Marvel Snap. Whether that is Luke Cage, Cosmo, Rogue, Shang Chi, or Enchantress, these provide essential counter potential as well as play into other cards' viability to fill those four slots to join the eight High Evolutionary cards.
The best aspect of this archetype is that it is very adaptable to the meta. Although the composition of the deck is bound to change, the ability to sustain competitiveness through change is valuable with Marvel Snap. Keep in mind that the tech solutions could only occupy one space within the deck list, but maybe the meta dictates that your deck list add one or a few more of those counter cards. The ability to switch play styles from aggressive to defensive is contingent on your ability to read what you do and don’t need to combat in the meta. For example, if you see on-reveal cards frequently featured in your games, maybe you should consider the counters to on-reveal cards as an option within your deck. Speaking of making considerations, consider the deck list below if you’d like to play a Balance High Evolutionary list. This deck has a 59.87% win rate in ranked play with an average cube rate of 0.42, as well as a 55.56% win rate in conquest across all conquest ranks.
Final Thoughts & Other Deck List Suggestions
If you are considering picking up High Evolutionary when he is available in a spotlight cache or for 6,000 collector tokens, I highly recommend finding an archetype you would like to play him in and making the determination if you would like to utilize your resources to pick him up. I personally would recommend High Evolutionary, as he is useful for lower collection accounts and works well with cards you get earlier in the collection track. Of course, with a high collection, the card opportunities and potential increase, but I feel like making the investment now will give you a card that is flexible to the ever-changing meta. High Evolutionary progressed the prominence of hybrid deck lists being viable in Marvel Snap. Recent card releases have followed the trend of merging abilities together to further the progression of game play in Marvel Snap. Below, I have provided some more deck lists to check out! Feel free to comment your thoughts on High Evolutionary and remember to have a BEWDiful Day!