Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of August 30, 2023: Silver Samurai 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 will Captain America get reworked to his Shield to protect cards, was Legion‘s strength a surprise to the developers, will we ever get to preview borders for cards before we buy them, 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 launch new card Silver Samurai! If you aren’t sure if you should spend Caches on this card, make sure to check out our weekly Spotlight Cache breakdown and review!

Answers and questions may be slightly rephrased for more clarity and ease of reading. This weeks topics will be divided into Card Specific Questions and Other Questions.

Remember, you can check out our new Marvel Snap Developer Tracker to see all questions and answers in real time! Topics can also be searched, filtered, and sorted.

Card Specific Questions

Q: Why didn’t X-23 launch with an animation? Why not just copy Wolverine?
A: Glenn “We were scant on VFX in order to get as many hands on-deck for the PC launch. We’re already working now on prioritizing and backfilling VFX for cards that need some love.

Plus, X-23 doesn’t have 3 claws on each hand, so we’d have to change at least that much.”

Q: Why do Green Goblin and Hobgoblin say “Opponent takes control of this card” but Titania says “switch sides?”
A: Glenn “We’ve already decided the Goblins should match Titania, we’ll have that update in a future patch.”

Q: Could we see a rework where Captain America uses his Shield to protect his cards from Shang-Chi?
A: Glenn “The vast majority of SNAP cards are “about one thing.” We try to avoid doubling up on abilities, but when we do we like them to be very strongly linked in function and identity. This design wouldn’t meet that threshold, especially given the complexity it would add to one of the first cards our newest players see.”

Q: Does Spider-Man care if he moves to a lane that is full, or does he only move to a location where he can pull a card with him?
A: Glenn “Yes, he prioritizes being able to drag an enemy if possible.”

Q: Will Silver Samurai discard Knull if his power updates in hand?
A: Glenn “Currently, Samurai can’t discard Knull if a bunch of cards have been destroyed. It will change in the future, hopefully near future.”

Q: I had 2 cards in Space Trome, but Dazzler didn’t get a buff from that lane. Is this intended since there wasn’t 4 cards?
A: Glenn “That’s a bug. Space Throne is considered full at 1 or more cards for Dazzler.”

Q: If Storm, Magik, and Rhino’s ability creates and/or removes locations, why doesn’t Galactus turn his location into Worldship?
A: Glenn “Location variance adds dynamism to the game. Galactus’s endgame would play out with even more redundantly if he also removed the effect of his location. In general, we prefer to miminize adding strength that way for that reason. Magik’s a more unique case given what she’s doing, and it helps that it’s a big creative win for her.”

Q: The community appeared to underestimate the strength of Legion before he released, as now he is considered a very good card. Was the team also surprised by this?
A: Glenn “He surprised us, but not to the same degree. We thought he was good, but recognized players might underestimate him. That’s actually what led to him getting a bump from 5/7 to 5/8 late in balance, just wanting to make sure we had him in a spot that was appealing enough to play. We expected a winning card, but not a “Top 5 card.”

I can’t think of too many instances where I was really surprised. Sometimes things just take time—I knew Silk was a very strong card, for example. I guess I’ll say Phoenix Force, which wound up at its release balance point in part because I played that deck a ton and was winning a lot. In hindsight, the rest of our internal metagame was probably just underdeveloped at the time.”

Q: When Gambit chooses a card to destroy, is he purely random, or does he consider how many cards are in a lane?
A: Glenn “He only cares about the number of cards, not where they are.”

Q: With the Forge and Absorbing Man buff, Forge into Brood into Absorbing Man is growing wildly popular. Is this play pattern considered healthy for the game looking at your data?
A: Glenn “We’re still evaluating the performance of archetypes using this combination of cards, among others. It’s certainly strong, but our reaction to something new and strong is never “let’s stamp that out.” We always want to let players have their chance to adapt and change the metagame. The emergence of a new deck should be an exciting time to play.”

Other Questions

Q: What are the team’s thoughts on alternate win conditions?
A: Glenn “The space is very tricky, as Galactus has shown us. Many of the decks that do that in other games still let both players experience the core fun of the game, but SNAP is already so short and so confined it its game space that shortcutting it further risks making it feel like it’s not SNAP at all.

I’d generally rather look at combos that make 100 Power at a location or something than win the game outright, but if the right idea and execution came along we’d explore it.”

Q: Will we ever be able to see previews of borders on cards in the shop before we buy them?
A: Stephen “Yes it’s in dev right now so will be in one of our upcoming updates!”

Q: Are token variants ever being added?
A: Stephen “Yes we are working on this for a few new upcoming variants.  Check out our SDCC panel from a few weeks ago for more info”

Q: Do different variant styles have different weights in mystery packs? I feel like I always get pixels.
A: Stephen “Variants are all equally weighted in mystery variants.  Pixels pop up frequently solely because there are a lot of them (one for almost every card)”

Q: Will I get banned for violating the TOS if I use an Windows emulator to play Snap on Mac?
A: Stephen “You can keep playing with no issues”

Q: In the daily variant shop, will there be a more consistent way for players to see newly released variants?
A: Stephen “We are planning to set it so when new variants release everyone sees them in the shop within a day or two of release.  This change will start in an upcoming patch.  We may revisit it in a future update as we continue to iterate on personalization”

Q: If your MMR doesn’t go down once you hit infinite, does it still go up?
A: Glenn “Yes, if you’re winning it goes up.”

Q: When players with lower collection levels reach Infinite Rank, they’ll be matched with people who have higher series cards. Is the team aware of this, and if so, is this by design?
A: Glenn “Yes. Post-infinite play offers an unrestricted competitive experience. When we introduce a global leaderboard, that will be crucial to its integrity.”

Q: During Hot/Featured locations, can you separate the data from these days when balancing? And do you see a meta shift during those days?
A: Glenn “Yes, we see pretty different metagames during Hot/Featured locations. We filter games played while a location is H/F out of our metagame data for balance.

We sometimes look at it for various reasons or even just curiosity, but it’s not a regular part of our process to reference it beyond figuring out if the location was fun.”

Q: Do weekend missions make an impact on the data you collect?
A: Glenn “I’m observing it. The differences aren’t as meaningful as you might imagine in aggregate, but a deck or performance does stick out from time to time.”

Q: Why is it that if you play Scarlet Witch (or Reality Stone) and it creates Death’s Domin then Scarlet won’t die, but if you play Quake onto the middle location and it rotates an existing Death Domain to the middle then Quake will die?
A: Glenn “The function for tracking whether a card had been staged and resolved has an exception to “hide” from locations that were replaced between those two moments.

This predates me by about a year, so I can’t speak with certainty to why. My guess is the restricted location pool of early Series 1 made stuff like Scarlet Witch into a surprise Death’s Domain/Danger Room too common, so the exception was created to protect a good experience. That sounds worthwhile, so I imagine any adjustment we’d make would line Quake up with Wanda. However, the lift to do that seems pretty heavy relative to the gains, so I wouldn’t expect such a change anytime soon.”

Q: Why does Kamar-Taj retrigger the On Reveal of Storm, Magik, Scarlet Witch, or other location changing cards, but the location doesn’t effect these cards in locations like Death's Domain, Luke's Bar, Quantum Tunnel, ect?
A: Glenn “All of the locations you named trigger “After you play a card here” which means after its On Reveal effect has resolved. Kamar-Taj doesn’t do that–it adds a bonus instance of the card’s On Reveal, and the bonus goes off first. So the bonus from Magik, Storm, etc. wipes Kamar-Taj away, and then the original On Reveal is still waiting to resolve.”

Q: Do you plan on adding any more cards that synergize with Sauron? Do cards like Sauron or Zero that silence cards create design restrictions?
A: Glenn “The silencing cards aren’t a huge restriction–any cards we make with negative effects we’d likely aim to interact with one or more of the cards like Cosmo, Zero, or Sauron. Those combos are fun to discover.

The trick is that those cards are often unappealing on their face, so we have to find really great designs. We want to ensure people are interested and excited about finding ways to mitigate their downsides. We want to make these cards–they’re just tough to execute.”

Q: How does Yashida Base treat ties to arrive, such as from Debrii adding multiple rocks at once?
A: Glenn “While cards may visually appear simultaneously, the game generates elements in an order and indexes them relative to one another. That order will vary depending on who has priority and which locations received what, so it’s not literally random but plays pretty close.”

Q: Will you ever add a new Keyword like On Reveal, Ongoing, Move, ect, maybe this year?
A: Glenn “Yes, but not this year.”

Questions From You!

Each week, I ask 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!

Last week we had a ton of questions from readers! While not all of them got answers, many did! I will update this if more questions get answers. Check them out below:

Q: Will we ever get the ability to delete variants from our collections? I have so many infinity splits just taking up space and I’d like to clean them out.
A: Stephen “We know this is a mounting issue.  We have other higher priority things to solve right now but this is on our minds too”

Q: Can we get landscape mode for Ipad?
A: Stephen (older answer) “Maybe.  Not sure yet.  Will share more when we get closer to PC landscape being done”

Q: I know players only play against other players within the same tier, do we also only play against other players who are in the same battle number?
A: Glenn “You’re matched within Conquest (so gold vs. gold, etc.) with prioritization towards players with the same number of wins and within a band that matches your collection level. The longer matchmaking takes, the more willing it is to use an opponent with different numbers of wins and/or a different collection level. Infinite has the “loosest” matchmaking as it more often has the least players.”

Q: Do you plan any form of traits that would make Avengers or Fantastic 4 etc. to be in one deck and working together?
A: I can’t find the exact quotes for you, but the devs have mentioned they don’t plan on making bonuses in matches for playing a team out all at once or including them all in your deck. They are, however, wanting to add a classification to cards like “avengers” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” that can open up new mission opportunities, or other possibilities.

Q: Quando os Eternos entrarão para o jogo? (English: When will the Eternals join the game?)
A: Stephen “Arishem os chamou de volta, mas se os Deviants retornarem, tenho certeza que eles também retornarão (Arishem called them back but if the Deviants return I’m sure they will too)”

Q: Has the team considered implementing duplicate protection for the Spotlight Cache Random S4/5?
A: When asked this question, Tucker claimed no dupe protection because “it was too pay to win giving players a 50% chance each week get the newest card each week”. His further explanation is below:
Tucker “It’s another rule that makes it more complicated and difficult to understand, and produces a layer of gaminess where the optimal thing to do is to purposely not try and get the newest 3 cards (and one of the big goals of spotlight cache is to make those new cards more accessible, so once we’ve introduced that incentive we’ve failed). That said, I’m not going to say the current Random S4/S5 behavior is particularly intuitive, so we’re thinking about what we could do to streamline and simplify it a bit.”

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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  1. Question for the devs: Will we see an increase in number of available decks any time soon? The spotlight caches have opened so many deck possibilities that it’s hard to decide what to cut so that I can try out new cards!

  2. A few questions about big bads
    Is there a cost limit for big bads or can they cost anything like from 1-3 ?
    Next, how many big bads will you have in the game, or is there a limit as well?

  3. Question: When Spiderman moves an unrevealed card, the moved card still trigger the original location’s effect. But when Juggernaut moves unrevealed cards, they trigger the new location’s effect. Is it intended?

  4. Question for the Devs: Miracleman (Michael Moran) started out as being from a seperate company (much like Angela), was bought by Marvel, and is slowly being incorporated into the Marvel Universe. My question is if 1. Is he a character you have discussed adding to the game? 2. If yes, would you wait until he makes his full Earth-616 debut to do so?

  5. I mean Forge into Brood into Absorbing Man might be immediately hitting two locations with 15 power, but as someone who’s playing a Handbuff deck with this line: you run out of space quicker than you think.

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