After taking home the award for Best Mobile Game at the Game Awards, it’s clear that Marvel Snap is the next big mobile sensation. The game has a ton of potential, given Marvel’s vast roster of heroes and villains to draw from, and developer Second Dinner Studios has already poured a lot of creative efforts into the game with Ben Brode of Hearthstone fame at the helm. One deck that has become increasingly popular among Marvel Snap players involves the strategy of intentionally discarding cards to boost their power and features the villain Swarm as its keystone.
With the ever-changing meta game of Marvel Snap, most decks are in a constant state of flux. However, the nature of a Swarm deck makes it adaptable to the current meta thanks to its versatile ability and relatively low Cost. As one of the few evergreen strategies in the game, discard aggro decks that feature Swarm are likely to stick around from season to season. That means it’s a great idea for players to familiarize themselves with Swarm and the discard aggro deck as a whole in order to prepare for opponents using it—or to build their own.
Taking a Look at Swarm’s History in the Marvel Universe
First appearing in The Champions #14 in 1977, Swarm is a recurring Marvel villain created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne. Originally known as the beekeeper Fritz von Meyer, Swarm was created after a failed attempt to manipulate a colony of mutated bees results in their devouring of his body and uniting with his consciousness. Now with a literal hive mind of bees surrounding his skeleton, Swarm takes on and is defeated by the Champions in his first outing. However, this is not the end for the character, as he is able to return thanks to his intangible nature and goes on to face the hero he’s most commonly associated with—Spider-Man.
The web-slinger is easily able to defeat Swarm in their first encounter thanks to an insecticide-laced suit which costs the villain his original skeleton, only maintaining his form thanks to the merging of his consciousness with the bees’ hive mind. Seeking revenge, he teams up with Kraven the Hunter to battle Spider-Man along with the X-Men’s Iceman and Firestar. Now lacking a skeleton, Swarm can never truly be defeated as the bees are able to disperse and reform as necessary.
After this encounter with Spider-Man, Swarm becomes obsessed with destroying mankind in order to usher in the age of insects. In this pursuit, Swarm manipulates a group of scientists into granting him the power to control every bee on Earth. As a result, New York City becomes overrun with bees only to be stopped when Scarlet Spider successfully tracks the scientists’ location and disables the device Swarm is using to control the bees.
Future appearances of Swarm see the villain facing off against a variety of Marvel’s teams including the X-Men, Thunderbolts, and Mighty Avengers. At one point, he even forms his own version of the Sinister Six in order to attack Spider-Man and the X-Men. With his role as a recurring villain and member of Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery, Swarm has a lot of history that influences his design in Marvel Snap and the cards he synergizes best with.
Discard Aggro Decks in Marvel Snap and How Swarm Factors Into Them
The goal of a discard aggro deck is to take advantage of cards with abilities that activate when discarded. This requires players to intentionally discard cards from their hand in a risky move to boost the power of other cards. The aggro portion of this deck comes from the strategy of filling the field quickly with lots of low cost cards in an attempt to capitalize on the buffs granted by locations like Mojoworld, Baxter Building, and Asgard.
What makes Swarm such a great card to build this type of deck around is his ability to create two copies of himself with a Cost of 0 when he is discarded from the hand. This ability has great synergistic potential with a low-Cost card like Blade who forces the player to discard a random card from their hand on reveal. Sword Master is another card that can fulfill this function as he iterates on the ability of Blade, although his higher cost makes him less useful in terms of aggro strategies. Once Swarm is discarded from the player’s hand, he can double the player’s power potential and fill two slots on the field for free.
As a fellow X-Men foe, Apocalypse is another must-have card alongside Swarm for his ability to return to the player’s hand with +4 Power when discarded. One easy way to trigger this ability is to play Lady Sif, as her On Reveal ability forces the player to discard the highest Cost card in their hand. As a card with a Cost of 6, it’s likely that if the player has drawn it, Apocalypse will be discarded by Sif. Playing Lady Sif on a turn prior to playing Apocalypse on turn 6 can often net players the win.
There are several other great cards to include in this deck that can benefit from the nature of an aggro play style, most of which being 1 or 2 Cost cards due to their ease of play. One such card is Swarm’s foe Iceman, who is a 1 Cost card that can hinder opponents by increasing the Cost of one random card in their hand. Another low-cost card that synergizes well with Swarm is Colleen Wing—a 2 Cost/4 Power card that discards the player’s lowest cost card from their hand on reveal. With Swarm being a fellow 2 Cost card, it’s likely to be the lowest cost card in the player’s hand and can benefit from this ability. One final addition to this deck should be Bishop, since his ability gives him +1 power every time the player plays a card—perfect for an aggro play style.
Marvel Snap is available now for Mobile and PC.