Table of Contents
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 did the developers kill DeathWave, is Sera getting unintentionally buffed each update, can we expect more restrictive locations, 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 latest patch, as well as the release of the new card Howard the Duck! If you haven’t read the patch notes, be sure to do that first as many questions reference it (especially the massive news on Wave‘s change).
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.
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: Cards generated by Shanna – Is it intended that some cards she generates affect her, while some others affect the next card played, e.g. iron fist and zero, even though they both seem like theyd affect her? Thanks
A: Glenn “Iron Fist’s On Reveal, like many cards (Angela, etc.) and locations (Cloning Vats, etc.), triggers after a card is staged from your hand and then resolves its own reveal. So when he shows up via Shanna, it’s just in time for his trigger to go into effect, because she hasn’t finished resolving yet. Zero has a slightly different condition for his On Reveal, which is why their text is different. His effect will trigger after a card is staged from your hand but just before it reveals to resolve. Shanna’s already revealed. Notably neither trigger needs to “see” the card being staged from your hand; it just has to be true that it was. That matters for stuff like Invisible Woman.”
Q: Is Super Skrull supposed to lose his ability while moving between locations?
A: Glenn “This is intended, as a function of how our VFX resolve with regard to Ongoing effects. However, we recognize it can cause some nonintuitive interactions, so it’s on my radar to dig into the technical side when we can and review whether it could be improved.”
Q: Currently, if your deck is shuffled, the card Howard the Duck sees will change. So if he sees Iron Man at the top of your deck, and a rock is added by Korg and shuffles the deck, Iron Man may no longer be the top card. Is this an intended functionality of Howard?
A: Glenn “This is the expected functionality of Howard and cards that shuffle your deck, including ones that add Rocks to it.”
Q: Most of the guardians have slightly below rate base stats with top or near top end stats (specifically Rocket, Star Lord and Gamora,) while the two in the middle (Drax and Groot) keep having their On Reveals fiddled with despite them being relatively below the power ceiling comparatively. Why do those two keep getting minor changes that seem to push consistency over explosiveness compared to the other three?
A: Glenn “The texture of the cards they’re competing with and the game scenarios they’re played in (or more accurately, not played in) vary, so we’re trying different things there.”
Q: Why isn’t Darkhawk a 5/3 like other cards in the “+2 power for each card in ___” archetype? Like Devil Dinosaur and Ronan?
A: Glenn “For the same reason Morbius is a 2/0; he counts different things and has synergy with different cards.”
Q: I’ve noticed that when Rogue ‘steals’ an Ongoing ability she also gains On Reveal effects, her effect being similar to Mystique and Absorbing Man, even though her text calls out stealing only an Ongoing ability. This indicates that the current code implementation is actually limited to copying full card text. On this I have a couple of questions: 1. Will the team consider revisiting this in the future to enable copying only a specific ability (partial text) and possibly reverting text changes made to the above cards ? 2. Is the current functionality preferable from a design and/or player-experience standpoint (being consistent across cards, thus easier to learn)?
A: Glenn “1. I’d say it’s possible we’ll consider revising it, though I personally prefer the current execution.
2. Among the reasons I prefer copy/steal effects always replacing the whole text box is that it’s a simpler heuristic to learn, yep.”
Q: In regards to Shuri, why is it ‘play the next card HERE’, but if the locations swap, it is not ‘here’ anymore? Why not say ‘at this location’?
A: Glenn “I do prefer that template in hindsight for this reason, and we may revise it in the future pending completing a larger review.”
Q: Very simple question here. Galactus has been oppressive since March due to the strength of removing two thirds of the board. Is there a reason he hasn’t been changed in any balance updates, March, April, or May?Is SD happy with his gameplay or how he works and are unwanting of changes to him? Or is there another reason he hasn’t been changed yet?
A: Glenn “The reason he hasn’t been changed is that the deck and its cards weren’t crossing our nerf thresholds, as a losing deck played by a small number of people doesn’t qualify as oppressive, even if it can be frustrating. Recently, he has consistently remained too popular even with a weak win percentage, so we’re exploring potential adjustments. However, he is not a simple card to change, both from a design perspective and from a technological one. We’d rather make no change than one that accidentally makes him either stronger or unplayable, so we are exercising diligence as we figure out the best course.”
Q: With the Wave changes, would cards affected by effects like Sera, Zabu, Quinjet, and Elysium for example still get the benefit of those effects? Or with Wave cards will just cost 4 next turn hard stop.
A: Glenn “All 4, all the time.”
Q: Wave used to be for energy cheating, shenanigans with cost reduction, and for shutting down decks that play a lot of cards on t6; All this change does is make it so that no more shenanigans can take place but it still paralyzes decks that play more than 1 card a turn; Furthermore, cards like zabu and sera can no longer ease the pain of playing against wave bc of the change; This seems like a really unneccesary buff to the big card archetype which already dominates snap; TLDR: Why give so many buffs to big card decks through nebula and wave nerf when its already so good?
A: Glenn “The best-performing Wave deck for over a month now has often been using her to play She-Hulk and another 6-Cost on turn 6, while the second-best was using her to play She-Hulk, Death, and maybe something else on turn 6. This change actually weakens both of those decks, and neither one was the top deck in the game, though most weeks one of them would make it into the Top 5. This change was important for us to make to continue designing exciting cards that used cost reduction. If it winds up having negative effects, we have balance tools to address that.”
Q: Did you have a personal hatred for DeathWave or DoomWave? I ask since both decks are dead now after the patch.
A: Glenn “No; I even think both decks are pretty cool, honestly. The problem is that we were rapidly approaching a spot where designing more cards that reward players with cost reduction would just become a Wave combo deck, and those cards are fun to make.I’d like to eventually live in a world where the best Death deck is trying to destroy 8 cards, the best “Evolved” Abomination deck is trying to afflict 5 cards, etc. Not just putting Yondu, Killmonger, and Scorpion into Wave decks with She-Hulk, Death, Evolved Abomination, and whatever we release next.”
Q: With the new change to Wave, what is now the order of priority for the cost setting ability of Wave with that of both Miles Morales and Stature? Is it still like before where even when the Wave is played, they still both cost 1, or will the Wave ability take precedence after said cards’ abilities set their costs to 1?
A: Glenn “Wave will “win” and set those cards to 4 until her effect wears off.”
Q: I am Confused about this Crystal rework. At such high cost to me my opponent gets a free draw as well leaving me at a 4 power and 4 energy disadvantage every time I play the card because the enemy got the same effect as me for free.
A: Glenn “That may often be true, but being able to draw a card is very powerful and not something we want to make freely available. The challenge for the Crystal player will be finding a deck that can make that symmetry worth it. Crystal was so weak and so unpopular that our priority was just fixing that, not creating a top competitive card.”
Q: Why are you indirectly buffing Sera with each update? Darkhawk, Zabu, Master Mold, Hit-monkey, Silver Surfer and other similar card releases was just made for Sera decks. Buffs and nerfs of other cards such as Enchantress buff, Sandman nerf, Wave nerf, and other tweaks. They are all indirectly affecting Sera decks. Even though I hate Wave decks, I had to play with a wave deck this season because of matching against Sera decks in like 9 out of 10 times. I can understand that Sera is a very flexible card but I just don’t understand cards you release/buff are just made for Sera and Sera only. I have never seen Enchantress outside of Sera decks and while Sera was a top tier deck and you buffed that card without any reason. Now that Wave gone and Sandman is not that great, there is no way to stop Sera decks. Anyways, you got my point. Is Sera your favorite card? If you are doing these tweaks unintentionally, will you consider Sera before releasing a patch for a card in the future?
A: Glenn “We think about Sera often, actually. Sera’s design is such that she’s flexible enough to fuel multiple archetypes and can leverage multiple cards that cost 2 to 4 effectively–that’s a huge percentage of cards in the game. Sometimes changes will be good for her, sometimes they’ll be bad, but they’ll affect her often because so many cards can. For example, of the five “Sera” cards you listed, there are at least 3 different Sera decks there, of varying strength, but those cards all also see play in non-Sera decks.
Enchantress was previously only played in Sera decks because Enchantress was too inefficient to play in other decks. The buff changed that, and allowed Enchantress to become a playable answer card in a much wider number of decks.
Q: I’ve noticed that if you have multiple 6 cost cards in hard Sif will discard a random 6 cost in your hand. Is that intentional to prevent Hela from being more consistent with Sif or are you ever going to for a way for Sif to decide on which 6 cost card to discard depending on the card’s power or any other metric?
A: Glenn “It’s intentional that cards discarded from hand are always random. If the potential quantity of cards is reduced but still 2 or greater, we want to keep it that way.”
Q: High Evolutionary – What is the final power, and cost for this gonna card going to be? I would hope some type of communication goes out kinda how you guys did with The Living Tribunal. Right now you guys have it at 4/7, but I see it on other pages as 4/4. That’s an enormous difference on power, and can really affect people’s decision on if the card is worth the 6k
A: Glenn “He’ll release as 4/4.”
Q: Before Crystal’s buff, all three of these Inhuman cards had the same location restriction. Now that Crystal no longer has a location requirement and she’s significantly more useful, are there any plans to remove the location requirement from Quake and Medusa as well?Part of what made Crystal so unplayable was how many restrictive locations there are in the game, and the same is currently true for Quake and Medusa.
A: Glenn “I don’t expect to make that change to Medusa, but it’s a debated consideration for Quake.”
Q: Why did you apply two nerfs for an unreleased card nerfing both the power and an interaction with the green team (wave into abom she hulk and hulk) before any of us have played with the card?
A: Glenn “Can an unreleased card get nerfed? Interesting philosophical question.
The 4/7 High Evolutionary asset we featured in the advertising video was the result of a miscommunication. He hadn’t been 4/7 for quite some time, internally. Cards change every week on our playtest build, and we don’t update future live builds with every playtest change because that would be very inefficient.
The adjustment to Wave was always planned to occur before High Evolutionary’s release, because playtesting him was what hammered home how restrictive Wave’s ability was becoming.
I played with “the green team” plenty–it was totally busted! There’s no scenario where one (or more) of these cards doesn’t get changed, we didn’t need to ruin the metagame for a couple weeks first.”
Q: What is your goals when you nerf a card?
A: Glenn “Our goal with nerfs is almost never to kill a playable deck, just correct it to be in a healthier range. I think that’s on display in the metagame right now, with Zabu, Darkhawk, Thanos, Lockjaw, Surfer, Sandman, and Shuri all still viable, among others. If we do overcorrect, such as with Leader, we’re also happy to push the other direction.We’ll be announcing the future of our OTA cadence later this month, but philosophically it has reflected our balance values well and continues to do so.”
Q: Marvel Snap lovers are familiar with the inconsistencies surrounding the “played” term, inconsistencies which are sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional. Shuri, Taskmaster, Leader, Invisible Woman, and now Nebula, have each required experimentation – rather than understanding of rules – to determine how they work in unique (and sometimes rare!) play circumstances.
In responding to questions about these unique “play” circumstances, the Devs have frequently used the term “Staged” to indicate the placement of a card from a players hand to a location. This is a unique term, and distinctly different than “played” (which requires a reveal).
It would seem that many incidents of player confusion about “played” might be cleaned up –and often prevented entirely– by in-game use of the “Staged” keyword. Just as one example: the use case of Nebula (Each turn your opponent doesn’t play a card here, +2 Power) played on Dark Dimension (Cards here are not revealed until the game ends). If Nebula instead read Each turn your opponent doesn’t stage a card here, +2 Power, it would be syntactically correct, eliminating the need for player guesswork.
So – Has “Stage” been considered as a keyword? If so, what stood in the way of its implementation? (and might it be reconsidered, to address ((admittedly assumed)) player desire for clarity in rules?)
A: Glenn “As a caveat, I wasn’t at this company when this stuff was decided, but I’ll do my best to clarify the position.
The biggest issue “stage” has is that its meaning is unclear without context or explanation. I can do that while answering questions easily, but for card text that’s a different story.
To better understand where we’re coming from on the power of accessible card text, I’d encourage anyone curious to check out Brode’s GDC talk. In particular, we want to be accessible to an audience who might be unfamiliar with TCGs, or even intimidated by them. There’s a lot of power to having brief card text that a potential player can immediately grasp–even if they get some parts wrong, that confidence is enough to get playing and learn on the go.
Thus templating for accessibility becomes about making trades, in a sense. And the truth is that every card game, no matter how rules-precise the language is, will have points of confusion that require experimentation or questioning an authority to figure out. As a former editor for Magic, I know that better than most! So we’re accepting some ambiguity in specific, learnable cases to keep our text cleaner to read.
For what it’s worth, I’m deeply invested in finding the best solves we can, and believe there’s always room to improve. I’m actually in the process of reviewing potential text-only changes to over 80 cards right now, looking for such opportunities.”
Q: Outside of gameplay itself, are there any quality of life updates you are working on?
A: Glenn “We’ve got a lot of stuff on our wishlist for upcoming QoL improvements, and we’re moving through it as we can prioritize the necessary resources.”
Q: is there an update planned to prevent matching the same people consecutively? and if so when is it planned for? I’m on a losing streak and just matched the same person i lost to three times and it just feels unfair, especially when they’re all losses?
A: Glenn “We have improvements to matchmaking incoming to improve this issue, with global matchmaking one of the most meaningful.”
Q: How much do raw numbers (win/cube/play rate)? Is it a 50/50 split? 70/30? Is it case by case? Do you take into account if it’s a Big Bad, the Series or if it was a Season Pass card at some point?A lot of people want a Galactus nerf, stuff like “You can only play this on turn 6” which is not the way to go in my opinion. He is the most predictable architype and also the easiest to counter, as his counters are present in most “good” (what I’d consider top 10-15) decks (Cosmo, Polaris, Professor X just to name a few). He is not the problem, it’s the card that get played after him (Death, Knull, Spider-Man, Doc Ock + Shang Chi). Same argument goes for Wave, she is fine, the problem is cards with passive cost reduction (Death, She-Hulk, Stature) that get played after.When a card gets hated like this but it’s fine counter wise (you don’t need to force a certain card in your deck just to counter it) will you take a stance like “We will not nerf (insert card name) for the foreseeable future”?
A: Glenn “The community’s primary impact on balance changes is to influence the timing or nature of the change, not whether we’ll make one. We may prioritize louder concerns higher once we decide to take action, and we’ll preserve what players have made clear they enjoy whenever we can.
Series and Pass status mostly don’t matter, though we do avoid adjusting the newest content **when all else seems equal**. That’s a tiebreaker because we prefer not to dampen the excitement surrounding new cards, and changing older cards makes collections feel less stale anyway.
For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with your assessments of Galactus or Wave in some fundamental ways, but that’s a larger topic than I’ll dig into here.”
Q: How many matches does it take for a new player to see Ego?
A: Glenn “In addition to weighting their frequency, we manage which locations can appear based on players’ ranks. Ego is at the highest of these tiers.”
Q: There is Thing as the baseline for 4-cost cards and cards like Emma and Hellcow with utility abilities that are meant to help your other cards.There are 4/8’s that achieve that extra power via conditions and extra steps (JJ, Crossbones, Drax)There are 4/9’s with arguably easier and less restrictive conditions like Rescue and Warpath (it’s easier to leave a location empty than to guess where/if your opponent will play a card)There are 4/10’s with drawbacks and harder conditions that you have to work around (Attuma, Mary, Strong Guy)And there are the ones under 6 power with strong On Reveal/Ongoing abilities (DarkHawk, Shuri etc)Rescue is way easier to play than Drax (which gets beaten by Groot + Rocket, a 4/10 combo) and ends up having more power. Why isn’t Drax more powerful since he’s harder to play? Same question goes for Strong Guy and Dazzler who, out of the 4/10’s, have the hardest conditions to fulfill, they can’t be Zero’d or easily worked around like Attuma, Mary and Sentry.
A: Glenn “It really just depends on a lot of factors, but our goal is to have many viable options and we test to find the right numbers as we create them. Relevantly, you’re missing some nuances in these evaluations that we also have to consider for new cards. For example, Rescue may seem easier to fulfill than Drax, but she’s narrower in some ways. You need another open slot at her location and a card you can profitably play there. Plus she never gets her buff if played on the last turn, which is Drax’s best turn. Is he worse by a full Power? Maybe. I think Strong Guy is more a victim of Dracula/Apocalypse being stronger in a deck he’d see play in than anything else. Dazzler certainly needs some help, and she is among several cards we’re looking to improve when the time is right.”
Q: What is the teams policy on fully changing a cards text, what would constitute such a change, and how would a change like this be implemented?
A: Glenn “Our threshold for reworks is higher than other balance tweaks, but it’s not a forbidden art or anything—we just want to make sure the additional VFX, QA, and design resources are going to a worthy cause. For example, our recent update to Leader was about as much work as totally redesigning the card would’ve been.”
Q: What is the point of having Hot Locations?
A: Glenn “Hot and Featured locations create incentives for players to vary deckbuilding choices and explore experiences they might not otherwise. We do it because we believe that exploration is fun—finding or seeing something new is a joyous part of TCGs. Different players find different locations enjoyable in this context, and I know some players prefer to just jam “normal” ranked. That’s why we make it available the majority of the time.”
Q: How does the team decide between changing a location’s effect and changing its frequency?
A: Glenn “Generally, we just think about the options and run any relevant math. As this week was our first OTA adjustment to locations, we limited the scope of the changes to reduce the risk of unforeseen complications.”
Q: With an increasing list of restrictive locations, do you worry about this leading to a dominant “pile of good cards” that everyone runs to combat the constant restrictions?
A: Glenn “We have been and will continue relying on live balancing cards to keep the metagame diverse and interesting. Hot and Featured locations also do some work here. As we add features, like Conquest, we’re optimistic about using them to create even more incentives to vary deckbuilding choices.”
Q: Is it possible to add a vfx that shows which cards an opponent can move? With an increasing list, it is growing difficult to keep track of what has and has not moved in a match.
A: Glenn “It’s desired, but a lower priority than some other things right now.”
Q: Glenn has stated that while all cards serve a purpose, that purpose might not specifically be “competitive viability”.If not competitive viability, what are some of the broad roles these cards fulfill?
Secondary question: will we ever get a reason to add some of these intentionally “non competitive cards” back into our decks? In a game with ONLY a competitive ranked mode it is a pity that players will inevitably “grow” past certain cards.
A: Glenn “The new player experience and “journeyman” player experience are the two clearest ones. Using a stricter definition of competitive, fun combo cards like Deadpool fit the bill. Some cards primarily demonstrate the range of design space to get excited about, like Agatha or Captain Marvel. Hot and Featured Locations provide an outlet for cards like Quake or Snowguard that otherwise don’t see consistent play. As we continue exploring game modes, there will be others.”
Q: Are there going to be permanent Series 4 cards now?
A: Glenn “No, we’re not locking any cards permanently into Series 4. However, cards may spend unequal amounts of time in Series 5 or 4.”
Q: What is a deck that you find simply fun to play? Not good/competitive, just fun.
A: Glenn “I’ve got a lot of favorites releasing this year, but among the live decks I’ve always enjoyed building around Moon Girl and She-Hulk.”
Q: Why change back the +5 bonus levels to +3?
A: Glenn “It’s important for ranked to be challenging in order for the infinite achievement to have meaning. As we’ve demonstrated, we’re willing to adjust the numbers to try and find the right balance, and I’m sure we’ll continue to adjust ranked until it’s in a great spot. I don’t think that large a bonus is likely to be one of those adjustments, however.”
Q: Does a card designer get payed per card created or is it based on the performance/popularity of the card?
A: Glenn “Neither. It’s just a job, with many responsibilities separate from the creation of individual cards.”
Q: How does the lack of built-in interaction influence Marvel Snap’s design? Other card games tend to have built-in interaction between cards by having, for example, combat mechanics where cards can fight and disable each other. Even games that don’t have direct card-to-card combat tend to allow cards to make the game end faster, often by fighting the opponent directly and reducing their Health Points, which can demand a sacrifice of a card to block an attack. Having built-in interaction makes every card a potential tool to deal with any other. Snap has no such mechanic, so how do you think that fact impacts Marvel Snap card design?
A: Glenn “It’s a fundamental element of our game engine, which uses the fixed number of turns and the finite number of board slots instead.
The primary function of the interaction you’re describing in most games is to create “wars of attrition” in which players are trading resources, like chess. In typical attrition games, a resource advantage is converted into a win (the way Patriot pressures every location) or a potential resource deficit is leveraged to create an opportunity to win (the way Shuri would always throw one location to win two).
In SNAP, the resources you trade are a combination of location slots and opportunity (Energy and time to play cards). The former is simple: if I can commit 1 card at a location that beats your 4, that’s functionally very similar to a player using one card to destroy 4 cards in other games.
If that was all we had, then everyone would just stare at each other waiting for someone to make the first move. That’s where the limited number of turns comes in, adding the opportunity cost to playing (or not playing) your cards. In other games, life totals provide this pressure.”
Q: How do you decide abilities for cards when Characters share in-universe abilities?
A: Glenn “Truly, it just varies. We’re a lot more concerned with finding abilities that resonate for the individual character than comparing them to potential existing or future content. Whether Wong feels like a powerful sorcerer is a more important goal than whether Wong and Strange feel like the same kinds of sorcerer. In addition, many characters have multiple aspects to their canon abilities and/or similar canon abilities to other characters, so we may focus different cards on different areas to ensure each card feels unique to the character. All the sorcerers know how to teleport, but we may only need one of them in-game to express that concept, because sorcerers have so many potential executions.”
Q: Why do you keep printing restrictive play locations?
A: Glenn “We have committed to doing less locations that explicitly restrict playing cards moving forward, but we do work months in advance and finalized this season well ahead of that commitment. After this season, while locations will necessarily continue to influence which cards you might want to play there and when, we don’t have any that prohibit playing there in the pipeline.”
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: Do you all plan on ever adding other ways to get credits outside of the missions? Currently at 5000 collection and I feel credits are by far the hardest thing to come by especially once you’ve finished your missions. Even something small like 5 credits a game would go a long way for the game?
A: The Devs recently announced weekend events, where it was teased events like “Win games to earn credits” would be happening. This was mentioned to be an addition to the game, not a replacement, so this should mean more credits.
Q: Does Super Skrull copy Electro’s ability Ongoing ability?
A: Yes he does!
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!