Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of April 26, 2023: End of Season Edition (30 Questions)!

In this week's edition of Developer Update, we get answers to questions from the team at Second Dinner about Marvel Snap over the past week.

Hello all! Welcome back to this week’s breakdown of what’s happening over on the Marvel Snap official Discord! This week, we get answers to why didn’t Team Dog get a gold card back version, will there be any more variant rushes, is the team happy with the “quick upgrade” system in the shop , and more! If you want to stay up to date with what’s coming and what answers developers have for the community, make sure to check back here each week!

This week’s edition comes after the new monthly patch, as well as the release of Stegron! Make sure to check out the patch notes so today’s questions make sense. This edition also comes after the announcement of the future of Kitty Pryde and the compensation for her delay.

Answers and questions may be slightly rephrased for more clarity and ease of reading. To keep the format similar, even though the questions this week are not largely on the same topic, topics will be divided into card specific questions and all other questions.

Card Specific Questions

Q: Is the team happy with how Sandman currently is?
A: Glenn “It’s very early after the patch to call anything definitively, Electro-Sandman is clearly a major player, but it has a healthy range of good and bad matchups– its two worst matchups are actually both quite popular. While it’s not a balance outlier, it is gaining popularity and we’re keeping an eye on that.

Q: Are there any pans to have more simple pool 3 cards like Patriot, Destroyer, or Coleen Wing move down to pool 2?
A: Glenn “Not currently. The early Series experience has been carefully curated and works very well, so we’d need a compelling reason to disrupt it.”

Q: Any plans on buffing the Shuri + Black Panther interaction? An old staple of BP was Shuri -> BP -> Zola, but this chain is now way less consistent with the latest patch.
A: Glenn “I don’t foresee us reworking any of these cards with the goal of specifically making unmodified Black Panther the “best” Shuri target, as his design encourages more help. We may make balance changes or release new cards that influence the dynamic in the future, of course.”

Q: After many balance changes and patches, Kang feels a bit underwhelming for a big bad. How does the team feel about this?
A: Glenn “We’re happy with Kang; our goals for Big Bads don’t require them to create or contribute to top decks in the metagame. Big Bads strive to fulfil the ‘fantasy’ of their character, and our priorities are making that exciting to see and novel to play with. It’s just a natural consequence of those goals, that a Big Bad often creates or complements a competitive deck, and we consider that a nice bonus for players who enjoy the card.”

Other Questions

Q: Any chance we get a Infinite Team Dog card back?
A: Stephen “I am a Team Dog person and want it too, We made the tough call to only do an infinite cat for now but I’m sure Cosmo has nit had the last bark if we ever do cat vs dog round 2.”

A: Daniela “Team Cat >>> Team Dog😼😸 “

Q: Why did the dev team choose Cosmo over Lockjaw for the team dog rep on the card back? Has Lockjaw not been a good boy?
A: Stephen “Lockjaw is a good boy too. He kept teleporting ‘trophies’ that we had to clean up at a key moment leading into the Team Dog captain election. Lockjaw was polling ahead before Trophy Gate, but Cosmo put a collar on the victory after that”

Q: I recently saw Ben Brode’s GDC talk on Marvel Snap, and it interested me when he talked about keeping text per card low was an important goal of keeping things simple. Is the team worried about changes to cards that increase the amount of text and complexity happening too frequently?
A: Glenn “It’s a concern for us, but it’s less that ‘more words are bad’ and more the threshold–we try to stay inside two lines as often as possible. For example, Shuri is longer now, but not too long. “

Q: How does the team feel about polarizing “rock, paper, scissor” matchups?
A: Glenn “The slopes of good and bad matchups for decks intersecting at different points in different ways is a vital piece of our balance philosophy, and plays a role in most games. It helps create churn within the upper ranks of the metagame and ensures that players are encouraged to experiment and discover new things, including new decks.”

Q: Will there be an OTA patch on the same week as a monthly patch? Is it healthy for the game?
A: Glenn “The slopes of good and bad matchups for decks intersecting at different points in different ways is a vital piece of our balance philosophy, and plays a role in most games. It helps create churn within the upper ranks of the metagame and ensures that players are encouraged to experiment and discover new things, including new decks.”

Q: During the first few seasons after global launch, the card back for reaching infinite was totally unique. Lately, these card backs have been recolors of a season pass card back. Was this a resource allocation decision, or to make players feel less excluded from content?
A: Stephen “Our goal is to thread the needle between players feeling excluded ad providing something unique and cool to those that achieve it. We still feel like gold card backs are an awesome reward and achieving that goal.”

Q: Are there any plans for Second Dinner to host a custom card or custom variant challenge, and the winner gets their entry added to the game?
A: Glenn “Not at present, but could be fun.”

Q: Have there ever been plans for a Campaign with cutscenes and specific decks you use?
A: Glenn “Nothing more than individuals’ idle thoughts right now.”

Q: Are there any plans to add variable power (ie: X Power) to cards?
A: Glenn “I think we’ll explore Costs that can vary with your available Energy in the future. Between On Reveal, Ongoing, and triggers like Collector, we have all the tools we need for variable Power.”

Q: Is there a rough frequency on how often you expect to do a new variant rush?
A: Stephen “We currently do not have plans for another Variant rush. After watching sentiment and data it primarily drove everyone to cache hoard. We still want to have fun events like that so we are game planning other ways to do it that aren’t tied to the CL track.”

Q: It has been implied the dev team does not desire players to hoarding caches/reserves due to variant rushes. How does the team feel about players hoarding Caches to get new cards right when they downgrade?
A: Stephen “Series drops are tied to patches for technical reasons or they would be spread out across the month! We will keep taking steps to remove and avoid reasons to hoard caches with our future changes and features”

Q: Can you hear Ben Brode’s booming laugh throughout the entire building?
A: Stephen “I can still hear his laughter booming after work too and I live in another state”

Q: Is the team happy with the current fast upgrade system?
A: Stephen “The fast upgrade systems primary purpose is to help players that gain more credits than boosters. Those players need a way to stay below the credit cap. We have had tons of discussion about this feature internally for a long time and overall we think it doesn’t totally hit the mark but we haven’t landed on a solution we like better to achieve the original goal yet that doesn’t also introduce other new issues. I’m sure we will change it at some point once we discover a better solve.”

Q: Any plans to add a shop section for avatars and titles?
A: Stephen “We want to do this but no ETA right now. We have other priorities at the moment”

Q: Since there are a finite number of split options, what happens when you split all possibilities? Can you see if the max number of splits has ever been achieved by a player?
A:Stephen “We have designs to expand on the infinity split system to give a lot of this kind of info and some other cool stuff. No ETA right now though. We are focused on PC and Conquest.”

Q: Can we get the ability to revert card borders to one that was previously unlocked? I want to return my Spider-Man back to the Ultra border since it looked better than the infinite does.
A: Stephen “We have plans to address this in a cool way related to infinity splitting. No ETA at this time but its on our radar”

Q: Will you be able to complete quests and earn season pass XP in conquest mode?
A: Stephen “Yes you can complete daily missions and season missions in conquest. You will also gain the season pass XP the same way as you do in ranked from turns played and locations won. You also gain boosters the same as ranked play.”

Q: Will Conquest change the structure of the season pass?
A: Stephen “No plans to do that at this time. You can complete your season missions in conquest though”

Q: Any plans to liven up the weekends? There isn’t much to do with weekly quests being filled up by Friday and no new Seasonal quests.
A: Stephen “We have noticed this too. We are working on something to make weekends more exciting. Still designing it so not ready to share more yet.”

Q: Any plans to lower the cost of ultimate variants?
A: Stephen “No plans right now to decrease their price or downgrade them. They are meant to be premium variants and we want to do more to differentiate them from Rare and Super Rare in the future.”

Q: When you improve the Ultimate Variants are you going to add them to bundles, or make bundle cards be Ultimate Variants?
A: Stephen “Bundle and Season Pass variants are typically Super Rare. If a specific variant was an ultimate instead we would call that out and give it the appropriate treatment.”

Q: Mythic variant tech was hinted to apply to Ultimate variants in some fashion. Are these possible changes going to be retro-active to existing Ultimates??
A: Stephen “We do want to retroactively make ultimates better once we do the tech to uncouple characters from their vfx/sfx/vo/ect.”

Q: Would the team be open to sharing some discarded balance changes they decided against?
A: Glenn “We might discuss it in a future patch and OTA updates, but it’s not often super interesting. One reason we might hesitate is that in testing reworks, we often find designs that would suit a new card better. Our process is usually identifying the bounds of what we can do with numbers to evaluate if a solution exists there, and if not, we start trying minor reworks.”

Q: What Series 5 card shows up in the weekly spotlight during the first week of a season when no new cards are released?
A: Stephen “The previous season’s season pass card”

Q: How is a card made?
A: Glenn “For individual cards, it happens both ways. We have a list of card ideas we like, and we also identify characters and try to generate new ideas that suit them creatively. Usually we check the existing list first, just to see if there’s an easy win, but the way we refill the list is by generating the new ideas, so it’s kind of a cycle.”

Q: When might we get an update on the personalized shop that was teased in the “in development” section of the 3/20/23 Roadmap?
A: Stephen “We will be taking steps over the next few patches to roll out the personalized shop in phases. The first step will largely be tech based. The next one will call out and flag new variants added to the game and ensure everyone sees them if they own the card. Later phases will ensure variants are surfaced to you based off playing with the card, using similar variant styles, etc.. We have a lot of exciting plans to build out and improve the daily offer shop throughout 2023”

Questions From You!

Recently, I asked readers of the weekly dev update to leave their questions down in the comment section. That way we can ask those questions on your behalf, or let you know the answers if those questions have been asked before! I read each comment you leave, so I will be adding this section at the end of each week’s edition to highlight your questions that you asked last week!

Some of your questions did not get answers back when I asked for you, but there are multiple reasons why they may choose not to answer a question. It may be too soon (questions about unreleased content), they don’t really have a definitive answer (will x function be added to the game), etc. If you didn’t see your question featured here, I will continue to look for answers and feature it in the next update if there is an answer given. Keep up the great questions!

Q: Will there be more deck spaces added? 20 decks often isn’t enough.
A: Daniela “Not at this time, we’re listening to feedback though

Q: Any plans to not add every new card into Series 5?
A: Stephen “It is definitely possible”

Q: Are we going to have any new events?
A: Stephen “We have paused these for now. We felt like they were not hitting the quality bar we hold ourselves to while distracting us from bigger features.”

Keep Your Questions and Feedback Coming!

That’s all for this week’s update! Be sure to check back here at Marvel Snap Zone for next week’s update! If you enjoyed the amount of content in this edition, make sure to keep asking your questions to the developers by submitting it in their official Discord in the “#ask-the-team” channel. If you have questions and don’t use Discord, leave your questions for the developers in the comment section here, and I will make sure your question has been answered by the devs!

If you have feedback or changes you would like to see with these weekly updates, also let us know in the comment section!

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Articles: 29


  1. To the infinte split question:

    I just got every single infinite splits for the base card/variant of Agatha.
    The conclusion:
    – There are 131 different infinite splits.
    – 1 base card
    – 2 only background card (your first split is one of the rainbow or hexagon and your very last split will be the other one. No(!) only ink or gold split)
    – 4 (background) * 4 (particle) * 8 (particle colors) = 128
    – On your last split after you reached infinite, the right button(the upgrade one) just disappears which is weird, cos every other cards has it.
    – Very sad we can’t get, only ink or gold background split.
    – The last card:

    • Someone lives up to their name, but I also know she hoards all boosters from matches, so she would be the easiest to achieve with.
      Sad I haven’t pulled her yet (and almost bought her back when Pool 3 cards still rotated), as I’m missing like 1 card to have her base deck completed (aside from missing her).

    • Thanks for pointing that out! I type each q and a by hand (no copy paste), but I do use the previous week’s post as a website template to make sure formatting is the same each week. That answer was from last week’s question, so I must have typed in the new question and somehow didn’t type the answer with it. It is corrected now!

  2. I do like the fast upgrade system since it makes use of cards that currently aren’t played in decks.
    Variable power cards will be interesting. Think I’ve seen a few custom through Drewberry.
    Livening up weekends also sounds neat.

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