Since its release, Marvel Snap has been a game that, while extremely fun to play, was missing that competitive mode to drive me. All that changed this week, as Second Dinner introduced CONQUEST mode, a new, more competitive mode for Marvel Snap. But is it enough to push Marvel Snap into the upper tier of competitive card games?
First, let’s explain how it works. In Conquest Mode, you are playing Battle Mode. Unlike normal games of Marvel Snap, in Battle mode, you will play an entire series of games as opposed to just one. You start with 10 health, and for every cube you win, your opponent loses that much health, and vice versa. This makes for an interesting back-and-forth; do you try and be aggressive with your Snaps when your opponent has less information about your deck? Or do you play more conservatively, to avoid getting surprised by your opponent’s plays? It’s a format that is vastly more skill testing than a normal Snap ladder. You learn your opponent’s deck over a series of 4-8 rounds, and the player who better understands the matchup and plays appropriately will win more often than not.
In Conquest, you start in the Proving Grounds, where one win in Battle mode gets you a Silver Ticket, which you can then use to enter a Silver Conquest. Win two in a row, and you get a ticket for Gold Conquest. Three wins there, and you receive a ticket to the Infinity Conquest, which is only available the last week of each season and requires 5 wins in a row to complete. This mode is EXTREMELY competitive, as any loss in the later conquests loses you the whole thing and you’re forced to start over. This means people don’t mess around in Silver or Gold Conquest – you bring your best decks or you risk losing and having to start all over.
So let’s talk pros and cons. There’s a lot to love about this mode. For those of you who found Snap’s ladder format to be too random and simplistic, this format is MUCH more complex and skill testing. You can learn from your opponent’s plays and tendencies, adapt accordingly, and win a lot of games by just outplaying your opponents. The mode is COMPLETELY free to play – a win in each level gives you a ticket, as well as medals you can use in the Conquest shop to buy variants, gold, credits, and other in-game goods. It also allows you to test decks for Ladder, as Proving Grounds is low-risk and easy to play repeatedly.
The mode has a ton of strategic depth that I felt had been missing from Snap. I’ve noticed some players who prefer snapping very early every game before the other player knows what they’re playing. But I’ve also noticed players who wait to snap till they feel they have a good handle on what you are trying to do. There are so many layers for someone like me to dissect and try and find the optimal way to play. It’s what has kept me coming back, over and over again.
There are some issues with the mode, most of which I think can be corrected with time. There are a lot of UI issues with the interface currently, with end-of-match prompts loading after you’ve had a chance to join a new game, bugging my client several times. Games are much longer, meaning if Snap is your go-to game for short bursts of time, this mode isn’t going to work as well for you. My biggest issue, however, is how unforgiving the mode is. Proving Grounds and Silver Conquest are fine, as 1 or 2 wins in a row is an easy task. But Gold Conquest has proven a huge turn-off for many players, as chaining three wins in a row is a challenge for any player. There’s nothing worse than getting to game three and losing to an unfavorable matchup. This has warped the Conquest meta around 2 or 3 best decks, which makes for a sometimes aggravating experience dealing with the same decks over and over again. It creates an environment where you either play those decks or give up a win percentage. This is only going to get worse with Infinity Conquest, where an insane 5 WINS in a row is necessary to complete it.
I’d love to see it softened up a bit; Gold Conquest allowing for one loss and Infinity allowing 1 or 2 would go a long way in making the mode more enjoyable. I know some people disagree, but I’ve seen far more players voice their displeasure with the unforgiving nature of it. This singular change I think would make this mode much more enjoyable and increase its popularity tenfold, which is what modes like this need to be successful. There are bad matchups for every deck, and losing your whole run to a bad matchup is going to be an issue forever if the mode remains as is.
So in closing, is Conquest mode worth your time as a competitive player? I firmly believe it is. The game mode is addicting, thrilling, and skill-testing. Free to play, with unique rewards for the players who can complete their most complex challenges. There is room for improvement, as there is for any mode. But I think the future of competitive Marvel Snap is very bright, with infinite possibilities…see what I did there? Stay tuned later this week for a strategy primer with tips, tricks, and the best decks for the mode!
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