A header-sized image of Red Guardian in Marvel Snap as part of an article on the best decks using the card.

Best Red Guardian Decks in Marvel Snap

The third villain-turned-pseudo-hero — or Thunderbolt — hitting Marvel Snap is Red Guardian, a character also known as the Soviet version of Captain America. This guide takes a look at whether or not he’s worth adding to your collection.

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How Does Red Guardian Work in Marvel Snap

Red Guardian is fairly straightforward as a 3 energy, 3 power card with an ability that reads “On Reveal: Afflict the lowest-Power enemy card here with -2 Power and remove its text.”

If your opponent has a card in play opposite Red Guardian, he essentially functions as a 3 cost, 5 power card, with the upside of removing a powerful ability, such as Iron Man’s Ongoing effect. If two cards have the same amount of power opposite Red Guardian, he will randomly choose one to debuff.

Do note that he will only hit cards that have been revealed, and he wont take away power gained through an On Reveal ability.

Best Red Guardian Decks in Marvel Snap

Red Guardian is a hybrid between tech card and a great inclusion in Silver Surfer and affliction-style decks. If you’re running into lots of The Living Tribunal decks that run Iron Man, he’s not a bad replacement for Shang-Chi; that said, let’s take a look at two more proactive roles for him.

The first is a Silver Surfer Hazmat list, which has become a decent pick in the recent meta:

  • Forge
  • Hazmat
  • Brood
  • Magik
  • Silver Surfer
  • Red Guardian
  • Luke Cage
  • Sebastian Shaw
  • Wong
  • Absorbing Man
  • Sera
  • Odin

This deck is a little more complicated than a regular Silver Surfer deck. If you have drawn Luke Cage, trying to set off Hazmat with Wong before finishing with a 3 drop-heavy flourish is a sure-fire way to win; however, you can also lean into Brood into Absorbing Man into Silver Surfer. This deck has a ton of synergies — Absorbing Man hits a lot of cards — and with Magik involved, you have an extra turn to get all the combos off. Red Guardian adds another way to debuff your opponent’s cards and perhaps remove a powerful ability on their side of the board. Of course, Silver Surfer also gives him extra power.

Re-releasing alongside Red Guardian in his Spotlight Cache week is High Evolutionary, which is great timing as Red Guardian fits pretty well into a High Evolutionary affliction-themed deck. Take a look at this list:

  • Misty Knight
  • Scorpion
  • US Agent (or Nebula if you do not have him)
  • Debrii
  • Red Guardian
  • Cyclops
  • Luke Cage
  • High Evolutionary
  • Man-Thing
  • The Thing
  • Abomination
  • Red Hulk

This deck also makes use of US Agent if you (for some reason) picked him up the week prior. The goal with this deck is to afflict your opponent with as much negative power as possible to discount Abomination as much as possible. If Abomination reaches 0 cost, you can drop him on the final turn alongside Red Hulk. Otherwise, playing two 3 cost cards after playing Abomination on turn 5 will also win games. Red Guardian provides both another way to afflict negative power while working as a tech card to, for example, disable an opponent’s Luke Cage. Speaking of, there may be an uptick in Luke Cage after the release of Red Guardian for the first week or two.

Red Guardian Counters in Marvel Snap

If you have a specific card such as Cerebro or Iron Man you wish to protect from Red Guardian, placing it behind a Cosmo is the way to go, as Red Guardian will not be able to bypass the space puppy. As previously mentioned, Luke Cage will also do away with Red Guardian’s debuffing effect. Otherwise, playing small cards such as Squirrel Girl or Nebula in front of your powerful, important cards will mitigate some of the damage Red Guardian can do.

Who is Red Guardian?

Also known as Alexei Shostakov, Red Guardian is the Soviet version of Captain America. In the comics, Shostakov married Black Widow before his death was faked by the Soviet government and she defected to join the Avengers. He was loyal to the Soviet government but would betray them to protect Black Widow and even save Captain America. He would join the most recent Thunderbolts team led by Bucky Barnes, assisting with the assassination of Red Skull.

Is Red Guardian Worth Your Spotlight Keys or Collector’s Tokens?

Yes, Red Guardian is a pretty good pickup as his ability has a lot of utility. Even hitting a Sunspot or Nebula with Red Guardian is a powerful play; if you’re lucky, you can even snipe the ability off of some mid-game cards such as Hope Summers or Wong. For the most part, he’ll be a 3 cost, 5 power card with some upside. He may not fit into every deck and see a ton of play, but much like Cosmo, he certainly is capable of stealing games and fits into a few decks capable of going up against the most powerful meta decks.

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Lowell Bell
Lowell is a freelance contributor with The Escapist that began his career reporting on live events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and E3 back in 2012. Over the last couple of years, he carved a niche for himself covering competitive Pokémon as he transitioned into game criticism full time. About a decade ago, Lowell moved to Japan for a year or two but is still there, raising a Shiba Inu named Zelda with his wife while missing access to good burritos. He also has a love/hate relationship with Japanese role-playing games.