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Marvel Snap Activate Ability Explained: How It Works, New Cards And More

The latest datamine for Marvel Snap unveiled brand new Spider-Verse cards and a new card mechanic called "Activate," but how does it work?
Marvel Snap Activate Ability Explained: How It Works, New Cards And More
(Picture: Second Dinner / GINX)

Following the recent OTA update, which saw plenty of cards getting buffed while Angela gets hit with nerf, a new datamine surfaced online, with the Marvel Snap community engaging in plenty of discussions. While the datamine did reveal the theme for a forthcoming season arriving later this year, it also sparked much interest regarding a new card mechanic called "Activate."

This mechanic is tied to a new card ability, which joins On Reveal and Ongoing, but details on how the ability works and its gameplay remain a mystery. We've carefully reviewed the latest datamine to break down the "Activate" ability, how it works, the new cards that feature it, and more for Marvel Snap

Disclaimer: The information provided in this guide below was datamined and, as such, has been presented for the purpose of interest and gathering more details on the discussed mechanic and cards mentioned. As the information detailed is intended to inform players, we advise players to read cautiously and with reservations.

How Does The Activate Ability Mechanic Work In Marvel Snap?

Based on the latest datamined information for Marvel Snap, a batch of forthcoming cards that will be added to the game teased a new keyword in the ability description, "Activate." While it has generated much discussion on what it could mean in the context of the card's ability, there is a simple explanation for what the "Activate" ability entails.

Unlike On Reveal or Ongoing, cards with the Activate ability allow players to play these cards, which trigger no ability immediately. Instead, it gives them a chance to trigger it in later turns, hence the keyword "Activate," which lets them use the card's ability when advantageous and enjoy the benefits.

As of writing, we cannot confirm how exactly the "Activate ability works gameplay-wise, but there is a general theory akin to long-pressing on the card to trigger or activate its ability. Likewise, we cannot confirm if the ability lasts one turn or is ongoing and if they need to activate it first before playing (or last after playing).

We'll continue to follow this new development and update this guide once there's supporting information to clarify how the mechanics work. Now that we've explained the "Activate" ability, what cards are rumored to possess this mechanic in Marvel Snap?

Which New Cards Will Have The Activate Ability In Marvel Snap?

As we've mentioned before, the recent discovery of the "Activate" ability stemmed from datamined information, and as such, we advise players to approach caution regarding the cards speculated to have this mechanic. Per the datamined information, three cards will feature this mechanic, rumored to launch in September 2024 for the season dedicated to the Spider-Verse.

The cards in question are Araña, Scarlet Spider, and Symbiote Spider-Man, which have unique abilities to activate once they're in play. Let's take a closer look at each card and its "Activate" ability, plus cards or decks that synergize with these cards:

Araña is currently datamined to be a two-Cost and two-Energy card, and any or all information on the card is subject to change before launch. It has an "Activate" ability, which gives the last played card +2 Power and then moves it to the right, and thus far, a couple of cards come to mind that would benefit from Araña's ability.

Specifically, move cards like the Human Torch, Dagger, Multiple Man, Vulture, and possibly Spider-Man 2099 could synergize with Araña, depending on how early or late the card is played. Additionally, if Grand Master is added to a deck with Araña, it can trigger On Reveal cards like Iron Fist, Ghost-Spider, and Cloak, which move cards.

Ben Reilly a.k.a. Scarlet Spider is the next card with the "Activate" ability, as it's currently datamined to be a four-Cost and five-Energy card, making it a candidate to be discounted by Zabu. Its ability adds a clone of the card to another location, which is likely randomized, but the clone can be buffed by cards like Patriot and Blue Marvel.

The Scarlet Spider's "activate" ability adds a clone to another location, which this clone makes it prime to be buffed by cards like Blue Marvel. (Picture: Second Dinner / GINX)

Lastly, we have the Symbiote Spider-Man, which, similar to Scarlet Spider, is datamined as a four-Cost and six-Energy card with a unique "Activate" ability. When the card is in play, they can activate its ability to merge the lowest-Cost card at its location before copying its text "like it just revealed."

This card can merge with some powerful low-cost cards, but we can see it inserted into Destroy decks, especially if it merges with Carnage or Venom. Similarly, any five Cost On reveal cards like Black Panther, Namora, Gamora, and Doctor Octopus can take advantage of Symbiote Spider-Man's ability.

Marvel Snap Activate Ability Mechanic Explained: Final Thoughts

While there's still much clarity on how the "Activate" ability's gameplay will work, given the three cards currently datamined to feature it, the massive benefit of this mechanic is letting players control when to trigger a card's ability to its full potential. This gives them time to set up plays around the cards, which, in the case of Scarlet Spider, is playing cards to give its clone and other cards power buffs or waiting for the best card to enter their hand before being played.

An interesting note regarding the Activate ability is spending resources (i.e., Energy) per turn and when to spend Energy to reap the rewards later. The "Activate" ability may have some interesting strategies that may see certain cards played before activating a card's ability later, preventing their opponent's cards from meeting their conditions, specifically cards in Junk and Clog decks.

Certain cards and decks could potentially counter or restrict players from activating a card's ability, like a Clog deck, for example. (Picture: Untapped.gg)

However, there are some grey areas or areas of concern regarding these cards, like how useful they will be if drawn on Turn 6 or 7 if Magik was played or various tech cards that could counter them. For example, if Symbiote Spider-Man merges with Carnage or Venom, which have already destroyed cards, Shang-Chi can easily remove Symbiote Spider-Man if its ability is triggered.

The same can be said for Red Guardian, which can remove the cards' "Activate" ability, thus making it almost useless and disrupting their strategy altogether. Either way, it will be interesting to see how well-developed this new card mechanic will be in the following months, as there's still plenty ot know about it.

Second Dinner has been actively working on balancing cards and their abilities through major patch updates and OTAs, which have been viewed as good and bad (Zabu Nerf), but adding the Activate" ability should add something exciting to anticipate. As such, all the information provided has been datamined, as the game's developer has confirmed nothing, and any details on the "Activate" ability and the cards mentioned are still subject to change, so approach with caution.

For more Marvel Snap news, be sure to check out our dedicated section or take a look at some of our Guides & Tutorials just below:

All Major News & Updates
Future Updates
Marvel Snap Card Pools
Marvel Snap's Best Decks & Big Bad Decks
Marvel Snap Game Guides
Marvel Snap Buying Guides
Marvel Snap Tech Guides