So folks, I've already mentioned this to @Mitchell and @MardiganX but I wanted to put the Double Death* deck on the radar.
I'm currently rank 27 but someone I know used a similar deck (with America Chavez instead of Arnim Zola) to get to rank 100. I've finished every season at rank ~50 so far with other decks that I don't think have been as fun or have as much potential as this.
*For those familiar with Magic the Gathering, this is equivalent to a black sacrifice deck - hence the backing
So the deck has 3 main strategies - it is fairly straight forward to play but does require some intermediate knowledge of the rules and forward planning:
1. Increase Venom's power as much as possible
2. Reduce Death's energy as much as possible
3. Clone one or both of the above via Moon Girl and/or Arnim Zola
The deck is mostly made up of destroy cards or those that have destroy potential. Generally speaking, you'll want to play destory cards as early and as often as possible to buff Death. Then try to stack multiple cards in one location to play Carnage (buffs Death) then Venom (who also buffs Death), ideally in that order. If you have 4 cards in hand, and Death is 3-cost or less and you have Moon Girl in hand - play Moon Girl for the benefit of Double Death on turn 6.
Finally, try to keep one location with a single card (ideally Venom) or empty (for Death) in the instance that Arnim Zola can come out, to clone the only card existing in that space. Arnim Zola effectively sacrifices one location, to try and claim the other two on turn 6. Throughout all of the above, make sure to keep an eye on your deck probabilities throughout all of the above to make informed choices based on what has/hasn't drawn.
I instantly snap almost every game, and even if I lose - I tend to win more than I lose at a higher gain. This is an excessive example of what's possible when the stars align:
- Due to the low cost of cards (i.e. strong energy curve), you'll rarely be in a position where you can't play anything and it also devalues the need for Sunspot
- Because there are multiple strategies, you aren't necessarily beholden to the RNG gods as with other metas- but you might have to change tack part way through a game (more on this below)
- If your opponent is playing a 1-cost clone deck or destroy deck, then that also works to your advantage by buffing Death
- If you come across Leader on turn 6, it can be self sacrifice for the opponent which tends to make them much worse off
- Killmonger is the secret weapon of the deck, especially if your opponent has lined up lots of 1-costs, as well as yourself - insane buff to Death
I think it's genuinely easier to list the locations that doesn't benefit this deck - shields, deck swaps, Ego automatically playing the deck for you or TVA ending the game early can be a pain. Negative locations initially start painful for low cost cards, but you can power stack Venom and Death to have those locations be more appealing due to higher power. Automatically play a card from hand locations can be hit and miss.
- Anything with creatures (e.g. squirrels, raptors, monsters, rocks) is good to buff Carnage or Venom.
- Any destroy locations to buff Death. Copy locations for high power cards.
- Reduced cost / energy gain locations make most of the 1 cost cards free, with the added benefit of them still being 'worth' 1 on the battlefield, so Killmonger can destroy (buffs Death).
- Anything that buffs power will be dominated in late game.
- The Raft is especially good for giving a free 6-cost card (can stack with strategy if you're lucky), line up all your 1-costs and then have preferably Carnage or Venom destroy for best of both worlds.
- Single cards in a location, or preventing cards being played can be circumvented by Arnim Zola.
- Luke's Bar or Cloning Vats is really good for Yondu, play 1-cost, destroy, return to hand, repeat. This is also a great approach for destroying Shang Chi or Armor, and can give you insights into the opponent's deck.
- Armor | obviously almost entirely negates the strategy
- Shang Chi | the core counter when you're buffing one or more cards
- Mantis/Cable | opponent stealing a card that you don't know about, affects your strategy and draw probabilities
- Aero | can be annoying to move Venom or Arnim Zola when you've built up the existing stack
- Wave | Changes card cost to 4 at the end of turn 3, this is okay for Death and Arnim Zola (though too early to max their potential) but terrible for everybody else
- Agatha Harkness | if you get a random drop of this from Agent 13, it's a pain, it's happened to me a few times on turn 1 or 2
- Heimdall | Or move decks in general, tend to have unpredictable outcomes which can affect the intended result for that particular turn
I'm always keen to optimise decks and I think I have a few suggestions for improving the deck further:
1. Swap out Sabretooth for Deadpool = A like for like substitution.
Flattens the energy curve, whilst effectively providing a potential increased damage/destroy benefit for a guarenteed lower cost
2. Swap out Agent 13 for Beast = Removes RNG from the hand.
Gives the added benefit of pulling a buffed Venom or isolated Sabretooth back into hand with a reduced cost. Can also be used to counter against cards that move to, or are stuck in, undesirable locations (i.e. shields, negative zones)
3. Swap out Elektra for Knull = A wildcard alternative.
Removes a low cost, hard-read card to one with a high cost/high damage potential. It mantains 'max four 1-costs' which is a decent rule of thumb. Although I'm not too sure how often this change would pan out because Knull likely relies on sacrificing Venom in late game (via Carnage / preferably Arnim Zola), which means that it's only going to viable to dominate a single location on turn 6 with Shang Chi and Leader benefitting from it's existance (opponent deck and location dependant)
Copy the above deck and have some fun. Use https://snap.fan/ to review the card behaviours above. Kotaku has the Marvel Snap Locations List. The energy curve (aka mana starving / mana flooding) can be read about here: Finding The Perfect Energy Curve