Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of May 10, 2023: Iron Lad 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 can Iron Lad sometimes copy America Chavez, why does Wave change card’s cost the same turn she is played, what card the dev’s think is the most underutilized, 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 season, as well as the release of the new card Iron Lad! If you haven’t seen the potential this new card has, make sure to check out our guide on the first decks to try with Iron Lad when you get him!

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 all other questions.

Card Specific Questions

Q: I had a scenario where an opponent shuffled Mjolnir into their deck and then Jubilee’d out America Chavez. Is this interaction working as intended?
A: Glenn “Yes, you can shuffle or Yondu America to the top; she just won’t end up there naturally.”

Q: In my Thanos deck, Project Pegasus activated on turn 2. I played Iron Lad and it copied America Chavez. How is this possible?
A: Glenn “Thanos shuffled Chavez off the bottom of your deck.”

Q: What’s the design reason for both Coleen Wing and Lady Sif to have the same power but one has higher cost than the other when both are performing similar functions or targeted discard?
A: Glenn “Well, the cards they discard are different and that makes the impact vary. For example, Lady Sif is often discarding a large card to Ghost Rider/Hela back later, which are both meaningful Power swings and don’t constrain deckbuilding beyond having those cards. However, Coleen’s effect can’t hit any of those cards, and targeting something specific like Swarm or Wolverine has a deckbuilding cost of avoiding most 1-Cost and other 2-Cost cards. Since it’s harder to get a lot of Power from synergizing with Collen’s effect, she gets to be more efficient than Sif.”

Q: Why doesn’t Warpath trigger with only 1 location present?
A: Glenn “Warpath needs to see a location that’s empty on your side. If there aren’t any other locations to see, he can’t.”

Q: Is High Evolutionary going to be a Big Bad?
A: Stephen “We know there is a lot of excitement around High Evolutionary, and many of you have been wondering whether or not he’ll be a Big Bad! We have been waiting to announce that because we are working on revising and improving our card acquisition system. Our hope had been to finalize the improved card acquisition plans and announce High Evolutionary’s fate at the same time, but that hasn’t worked out. We can share that High Evolutionary will be a “current Big Bad” and cost 6000 Collector’s Tokens for an indefinite amount of time. We’re looking forward to sharing more about card acquisition in the future!”

Q: I’ve seen the recent post about High Evolutionary being confirmed as a perma series 5, will living tribunal get the same treatment or will it be a standard release?
A: Stephen “We considered making Living Tribunal a Big Bad, but decided High Evolutionary was a better fit”

Q: When Starlight Citadel activates, why does swapping locations sometimes take priority instead of the standard left to right location priority?
A: Glenn “We’ve identified an inconsistency in some of the trigger windows for our locations, and are working toward resolving it.”

Q: Why is it that when Wave is played on 5 she does not affect the cost of Stature given Stature’s ability triggers, but Wave affects the cost of Swarm after you receive the duplicate Swarm which reads that it costs 0?
A: Glenn “Stature’s cost reduction is passively applied based on whether or not a condition is true, as is Wave’s, and they apply in different layers. Swarm’s is just a onetime change applied to the copy. We have a change related to this in the near future that will make it more intuitive.”

Q: Why does Wave’s text say “next turn cards cost 4” but her ability changes card cost immediately and next turn?
A: Glenn “We’ll be changing her template to clarify that her effect starts immediately.”

Q: I just had a game where Sentry spawned the void onto Klyntar. When the location turned Void into a symbiote, it changed to a 0 power. The other cards (at the same location as Sentry) were Zabu and Luke Cage. Why did this happen?
A: Glenn “I’ll dig into this, but I believe it’s functioning correctly due to the “base” Symbiote being a 4/0 that receives Power modifiers via Klyntar’s trigger, and Luke Cage neutralizing negative Power modifiers.”

Q: Is it intentional that if you play Kang the turn you draw him, you draw a new card when the turn resets?
A: Glenn “This is intentional, and not an element of the functionality we intend to revisit. The redraw only happens when the turn he was drawn and the turn he’s rewinding are the same turn, causing the game to generate a new draw for that turn.”

Q: If your opponent plays Iron Lad, why does the card he copies show face down? Wouldn’t it be more intuitive for it to show the card since it isn’t a secret?
A: Glenn “If you see this occur, please report it as a bug in-game. Thanks!”

Q: Why does Morph lose his art when copying, but mystique and Iron Lad don’t?
A: Glenn “Mystique and Iron Lad both retain meaningful properties after their effects resolve, namely their Costs and Power, so being able to visually distinguish them is useful. Morph doesn’t, so taking on the appearance of the copied card is clearer.”

Other Questions

Q: Why are cards like Dracula and collector not Ongoing? Omitting this keyword removes a means of defense against them (enchantress). Dracula in particular is frustrating as his power is gained after the game so Shang Chi can’t be used either.
A: Glenn “They’re not Ongoing because their abilities don’t fit our mechanical definition of Ongoing, nor are they coded the way other Ongoing cards are. Ongoing abilities passively check and are resolved every turn, they aren’t triggered by specific events.”

Q: Some of the cards are not very strong, but it can ruin the player’s experience. Like Spider-Man, is not a OP card, but it can be particularly bad when can’t play any cards on turn 6. Would cards like these ever be changed if they are too unfun to face, but not overpowered?
A: Glenn “It’s a more complex topic than a single answer can easily simplify. Some effects can feel frustrating even if they aren’t very strong, and we try to a) not make a lot of those and b) avoid making them strong enough to become too commonplace.

Spider-Man is an example of such a card, in that it’s fine and even fun to exist when there’s enough variety, but not fun if it’s in both decks too often.”

Q: Some Marvel characters are more well known than others, and thus have a larger fanbase. Do you approach designing cards for those characters differently?
A: Glenn “It’s a complicated topic, but when a character is popular, there’s more expectation from the audience for their card to satisfy the narrative fantasy of the character. We try to be mindful of that.”

Q: What card(s), in your personal opinion, do you think players haven’t discovered all of its potential combos/aren’t playing to it’s fullest potential?
A: Glenn “Probably Yellowjacket? His ability to attack priority on early turns is novel and he can help challenge a few locations in unpredictable ways.”

Q:Why do some artists have a color artist as well, and some have only one credit? Does someone go through all the work of designing the art and have someone else color it?
A: Nicki Broderick “There’s lots of amazing artists in the comic book community who bring their specialities! We wanted to really highlight the comic book community in Marvel Snap – so we were stoked to work with artists who ink, color, do both, etc.!”

Q: Can you get ultimate variants for cards you don’t own?
A: Nicki Broderick “No – you need the base card in your collection to see the ultimate variant in the shop.”

Q: Where are all of the unreleased Dan Hipp variants?
A: Nicki Broderick “Right now we add around 5-7 new variants a week which is something we’re excited to highlight even more prominently in the future. We have some variants reserved for some amazing seasons that are coming up – I’m stoked for you all to get to experience them!”

Q: In most card games, it is common to get more complex cards as the game ages. How does Snap plan to handle this seeing as it aims to keep the game simple?
A: Glenn “It’s not only common, but often correct, for later-game experiences to be more complex. The players accessing those experiences have grown their familiarity with the game and are going to be enjoy content that surprises and challenges them. That said, it isn’t our intent to become dramatically more complex, just to pick and choose spots where it’s a good trade to make the most exciting content.You’ve seen this already, with cards like Kang and Jeff.”

Q: When my opponent plays a ton of cards, it’s sometimes difficult to understand what card costed what so they could execute the play. Has it been considered to show the adjusted cost when you click on an opponents cards?
A: Glenn “There are benefits, but there are also costs. We need cards in play to have non-modified Costs for lots of reasons, such as Silver Surfer. Displaying modifiers that reality doesn’t reflect would thus add confusing elements to the UI for all players, plus the information so often doesn’t matter and would just be another thing on the screen. So accommodating its visibility could be more disruptive than leaving it obfuscated.”

Q: After reading your answer to the Morph / Mystique question, I wonder are card names important properties for cards to keep?
A: Glenn “Yes, card names are also meaningful properties–generally they go hand-in-hand with art. Morph can “become worthy” by copying Thor, but Iron Lad can’t, and that’s intentional based on how we’d like each of their copy effects to function.

And yes, some future effects will care about the names of other cards.”

Q: Why can’t cards like Brood or Sinister have token art? Their spawned cards are exact copies of the original.
A: Daniela “They’re not the same art though. The Brood art is different from the Broodlings and Mister Sinister art is different from the Sinister Clone so they fall under the same “token” category as the squirrels and demon etc. Of course we’d love to have variants for the tokens we just don’t have the capacity at this time.”

Q: Why isn’t matchmaking based on rank? Why have hidden mmr at all?
A: Glenn “Using primarily rank creates a phenomenon at the start of the season where matchmaking pairs players across a wide skill gap because their ranks may be similar after the reset. This in turn encourages weaker players to stop playing and “wait” for strong players to rank up and out of their queue, because if they don’t then they’re going to risk losing even more ranks beyond the reset. That’s a bad experience either way, and when we’re debuting our new seasonal content we’d like that to be a really exciting time to play for everyone.”

Q: How does the team choose which questions to answer as there are so many? Do more upvotes get more priority?
A: Glenn “Personally, I periodically check when I have a few minutes available and answer things I see that are straightforward and I haven’t answered before, starting with the most recent. I also usually only answer questions that are directly in my wheelhouse (design) to avoid unintentionally misrepresenting others’ work.”

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!

Q: Will your opponent know at the start of the game that you’re playing High Evolutionary?
A: While there isn’t a direct answer to this yet, Stephen has stated previously that he will ship with animations. Since High Evolutionary doesn’t need to be played to get his effect, the animation referred to is likely to indicate he is active that match in some capacity.

Q: Any plans to add in-game history to see what actions have happened? Or being able to check what actions a card performed (e.g., seeing cards a card discarded)?
A: Ben Brode “Yes this is something we’d love to do – not sure where on the [Priority] list is is though”

Q: How Many “mode” ideas do you guys have?
A: The devs have not given a direct list of modes they want to try, but I did pull answers from several questions about modes the devs would like to see/ may be working on(?). Daniella states she would like to see a spectator mode, but no ETA. Stephen stated that alongside the upcoming conquest mode, “We also intend to add friendly match (single game like ranked mode) at some point in the future but no ETA.” The devs also have on their roadmap that “Clans” are in concept phase which may bring new features for playing.

Q: Does Green Goblin (on your opponent’s side) count towards Evolved Abomination’s Cost reduction?
A: The negative power referred to in Evolved Abomination’s text is Afflicted negative power, as in the card has had it’s power reduced at some point. Green Goblin would not have reduced power, but rather a negative starting power. If Green Goblin was hit by Scorpion and then sent to the opponent’s side, he would then have been afflicted with negative power.

Didn’t see your question featured?
I have posted questions on your behalf, but I have not received a response on your question (yet). Unfortunately, not every question is guaranteed to be answered, nor in a timely manner. As soon as I get an answer or one appears on a different question, I will make sure to feature you next week!

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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