This Bonkers Marvel Snap Combo isn’t a bug, it just feels like one.

If you’ve been playing Marvel Snap, and I highly recommend you do, you may have run into an opponent in the last couple of days who threw you like an upset Hulk for a Loki. A powerful super combo allows players to win locations with over 4,000 or even 6,000 power, in a game where your total power often peaks within 30-40 seconds. This has led many to wonder: Wait, what the hell? Is this a bug or a hack?

It is neither. The game works normally, but it is a very particular combo that will not be viable for much longer. Let’s explain.

In Marvel Snap, you’re fighting for control of three locations that appear from a random pool. Most of the time, these placements are too inconsistent to base an entire deck on their appearance, but there is one exception. The game alternates in “hot” locations from time to time, which means that they appear much more frequently than usual, in almost half of all games. So during the brief period when a hot location allows for a killer combo, savvy deckbuilders can take advantage of it. That’s part of the game: maxing out your deck to take advantage of a hot location is a good way to rank up.

The hot location in question here is sinister bar, which fills the location with copies of any cards you play on it. That means you get four times the On Reveal or Ongoing effects. The combo is based on a very particular sequence of events involving three cards in a game where you have access to Bar Sinister.

  1. First game night owl in Sinister Bar. You can do this at any time as long as you have four Nightcrawlers in Bar Sinister at the end of turn 4.
  2. In the meantime, play some cards at your other two locations. You should leave at least four spots open in those other spots, but otherwise it doesn’t really matter what you play there. Locations that limit your cards in play, like Sanctum Sanctorum or The Space Throne, can mess up the combo.
  3. On turn 5, move one (and only one) Nightcrawler to another location. This opens a place to play blue wonder in Sinister Bar.
  4. On turn 6, move the three remaining Nightcrawlers to other locations. Play Onslaught in Sinister Bar.
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Congratulations, you’ve won the game, unless your opponent did the same of course. So how does it work?

The combination of Blue Marvel and Onslaught is really what’s important, and we’ll explain why in a bit. But if you just played Blue Marvel, you’d get four copies and the location would essentially be locked. It is important that you only have a blue wonder and Three lunges. That’s where Nightcrawler comes in. His teleport ability allows you to selectively open slots to enable the combo.

Blue Marvel adds +1 power to all of your other cards, so it was important to play something in your other locations. This skill is classified as continuous effect, meaning that it happens continuously, rather than just at the first reveal. Onslaught duplicates all current effects at its location, so a Blue Marvel plus an Onslaught would give +2 power to everything. But here’s the rub: the Onslaught effect is what’s more a Continuous effect, meaning that each of the three Rushes also doubles the doubling effect of the other. That’s how you get into these wild numbers.

So far, developer Second Dinner hasn’t commented on the combo, aside from acknowledging it with a retweet from the official account. And it’s not necessarily game-breaking: it took us quite a few games to have all the matching pieces in place, on the right turns, in a match with Bar Sinister. There are certainly better ways to rank up with other more consistent Bar Sinister combos. But it feels unfair in the sense that the developer could patch if the location wasn’t about to go out of rotation anyway. Since hot locations are temporary, it’s hard to see how anyone could gain any real strategic advantage by having this combo. But rest assured, this is not a bug.

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But hey, if you’ve come across this combo and want to counter it, might we suggest packing an Elektra to slay all those pesky Nightcrawlers?

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a portion of the proceeds if you purchase something featured on our site.

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