Ben Brode, lead developer on Marvel Snap

Developer Update for the Week of October 11, 2023: Man-Thing Editon (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 we get the ability to choose card borders, will Alioth be changed to destroy when the turn ends, do the developers intentionally make season pass cards OP, 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 Man-Thing! If you aren’t sure if you should open a Spotlight Cache for this card, make sure to check out our weekly Spotlight Cache guide, as well as our Man-Thing guide!

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: Has the team considered changing Shanna from “add a 1-cost to each location” to “play a 1-cost to each location” so it opens up more options, like for Angela and Bishop?
A: Glenn “I don’t want to teach people that they need to read cards that closely every time for such similar effects. If a card puts other cards on the field, I just want it to be easy to understand how that works in each case.”

Q: Why did you reduce Galactus’s power but not Alioth’s?
A: Glenn “Reducing Alioth’s Power wouldn’t have meaningfully impacted his strength in Galactus decks, but it would’ve weakened him in other decks. Our goal was to address Galactus decks, not all Alioth decks.”

Q: Why does Shuri always activate before Elsa?
A: Glenn “The way On Reveals like Shuri’s are structured actually attaches them to the player or the location, both of which have higher ‘priorities’ than onboard card triggers (that aren’t On Reveals).”

Q: What does the team think about Mysterio losing his role of the “mystery” card when so often players use him as a stat bomb with Bast, Hit Monkey, Bishop, and Elsa?
A: Glenn “I think he has both roles, but emergent gameplay interactions are also one of the best parts of card games so we’re generally happy to see them.”

Q: Why is Stegron a 4/5 which is understated and moves opponent’s cards, but Polaris and Spider-Man are overstated and move opponent’s cards?
A: Glenn “Stegron is closer to Juggernaut than to Polaris or Spider-Man, because he moves Power out of his location while they bring Power wherever they are. So they get to have a little extra Power to compensate.

I think these cards are already in a pretty diverse range and they all see play for different reasons, which is the goal.”

Q: Why doesn’t Angela trigger when Alioth destroys cards, but Angela triggers when cards reveal after being moved away from her lane? Can you change Alioth to destroy cards after the turn ends?
A: Glenn “In Angela’s case, the card needs to complete ‘being played’ by turning face up to trigger her ability, just like a Cloning Vats or Death's Domain.

In Alioth’s case, his unique functionality is purposeful. In any case, we try to avoid ‘delayed triggers’ unless they’re necessary to the card, such as Iron Fist. Separating the outcome of an effect from its source over time is inherently confusing.”

Q: Since Nico’s spells seem to have art, will the spell art replace Nico’s art on the board?
A: Glenn “No, you’ll see Nico at the location.”

Q: How often is Cerebro taken into consideration when making OTA changes?
A: Glenn “We take note when it’s meaningful, but it doesn’t weigh heavily on any of our decisions.”

Q: Should Echo cancel the Ongoing ability Rogue steals?
A: Glenn “No. Echo triggers after an enemy card finishes resolving, and by then Rogue has gained an Ongoing ability.”

Q: Is there any update to a fix for the Phoenix Force bug where only 1 copy of Multiple Man can move around?
A: Addison “Hey, so this issue is fun as it requires more engineering support than most card issues and so it’s been tougher to actually get someone to take it on. It’s still on the radar and relatively high priority as far as card work goes, I just don’t know WHEN exactly it’s going to get fixed. It will however be included in the Known Issues list going forward until it’s fixed…I kept forgetting to add it…my bad!”

Q: The interaction for how Wolverine and X-23 function when destroyed is very unintuitive. They don’t get “destroy”-ed from Yondu, nor now do they get “destroy”-ed from Alioth when face down. Are these interactions, particularly Alioth, intentional and if so, why?
A: Glenn “Yes. Destroy triggers in our game only resolve if the card with the trigger is revealed, as cards that aren’t revealed and in play don’t have active abilities, generally. The exceptions to this are cards with abilities that specifically (and often only) function in other zones, such as She-Hulk, Apocalypse, and M'Baku.

Wolverine and X-23 are unusual in this regard because they have two abilities, one that only functions in your hand and another that only functions at a location if revealed.

We have considered amending this rule, as we recognize it creates some meaningful confusion. However, determining what should happen when a card like Nimrod or Bucky Barnes is destroyed by Yondu is less clear-cut.”

Q: With Mobius around, Death feels unsatisfying and unplayable now. Could her ability be changed to lower her base cost instead of modifying her cost?
A: Glenn “No, we wouldn’t do that. Base Power and base Cost are challenging concepts that make the game less accessible to surface.”

Other Questions

Q: If a card merges with another like Hulk Buster, why can Shadow King remove it? Isn’t it 2 cards stacked and not added power?
A: Glenn “If a card’s Power isn’t its base Power, it has a Power modifier. Multiple Man wearing Hulkbuster has a base Power of 3 and a modifier of 5. Merge is just a mechanical way to add a card’s Power to another card and also count the combined card for other effects, like Iron Fist.”

Q: Will a hold to confirm option be added for Spotlight Caches?
A: Stephen “Yes hold to confirm is in the next update. We have a bunch of QoL coming next update for spotlight cache.”

Q: Why does The Raft award both players a card of they both fill the location instead of awarding the player with priority?
A: Glenn “If four face down cards are at The Raft, it’s filled. Unlike Elsa, ‘playing’ (staging and revealing) is not a requirement of its condition. You’ll note cards like Mojo and Dazzler similarly gain their Ongoing buffs before cards start revealing if a location is full.”

Q: Is the team happy with the performance of destroy decks?
A: Glenn “We’re mostly happy with Destroy. It’s also an archetype that we support with card releases fairly often.”

Q: Do SNAP Points have any effect on Conquest matchmaking?
A: Glenn “SNAP Points have no effect on Conquest.”

Q: Is it part of the plan to make the season pass card OP? I’ve always argued this game is not P2W with people but the season pass cards are constantly coming out as the most powerful cards where as other cards come out all over the place. Loki and Elsa being the last 2 examples. But off the top of my head before nerfs there was zabu and silver surfer
A: Glenn “It’s an express goal of ours that new cards be impactful, especially the Season Pass. When they’re not, it can feel like we didn’t add content to the game for our players. For that reason, we’d rather be slightly too bold when it’s close. Plus, if we theme a season around a character, it’s even more important to capture that seasonal theme and excitement in the gameplay. If the most exciting card during Loki season is Shuri, we screwed up.

Because game balance isn’t an exact science, we won’t always hit our mark “just right,” and we’ll also miss in both directions. You used a few examples, but we can also look at Nimrod, Ghost-Spider, and Phoenix Force releasing a little too weak, while Nebula and Daken have been just about perfect. And when we do overreach, we have tools available to ensure we nudge things into place.”

Q: Will you design more cards than effect priority? Like a reverse Ghost that always let’s you reveal first, or cards that specify when they reveal?
A: Glenn “I’m sure we’ll do more, but there’s both not a lot of design space there and such cards complicate each other, so probably not many.”

Q: Why do OTA’s only update card number values? Are there limitations?
A: Glenn “It’s a technical limitation. Updating any card text other than the numerals requires localization into other languages, and those updates (at least currently) need a full patch to implement.”

Q: At what point do you determine a card’s usage is too broad, and how do you address it?
A: Glenn “It varies depending on the card—there’s no “it’s played at least X% of the time in Y decks” metric we adhere to. We just monitor the game, discuss the trends we’re seeing, and review what kinds of changes we think would impact the card in the desired direction, and by how much. Then we start trying them out.”

Q: Will we ever see cards that create like raptors from savage land if central park creates squirrels?
A: Glenn “Sauron’s probably the character that makes the most sense for that, but I imagine we could find someone else.”

Q: Is there anything planned  for a game mode that has the original versions of cards e.g. old Spider-Man, Zabu, Leader etc. so we could re-live the good old days of double Spider-Man on turn 5 or leader being the automatic win card?
A: Glenn “I don’t foresee us pursuing that feature.”

Q: Does Snap have a Marvel universe it’s set in, or is it’s own universe? Trying to understand which character versions we see, like is Cosmo a he or a she in this universe.
A: Glenn “Our game isn’t narratively centered; we feature characters and interpretations of those characters from the entire Marvel multiverse. So one could say we’ve got both Cosmos, in that context.”

Q: Any idea when buying boosters with Gold will be re-enabled?
A: Addison “With any luck, later this week or early next.”

Q: Why does The Abbey location need the word “exactly” in the text?
A: Glenn “Because 2 is a subset of 3, “First to place 2 cards here” would likely be understood to trigger if you placed 3 cards. The Abbey doesn’t draw a card if you place 3 (or 4) cards there all at once.”

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!

Q: Is there any update to letting players choose a card border color?
A: Stephen “Yes we have a solution designed but it’s not yet in development.  Will share more when it’s closer”

Q: Now that mobius m mobius has been released is there any chance some cards can revert back to their former glory days like beast becoming a 2 cost once more or she-hulk going back to 10 power?
A: Devs have not updated their response to this question, but this question was asked 2 weeks ago with this answer:
Glenn “We’ll let you know on 10/12, the next OTA after [Mobius’s] release, if we want to make shifts in his wake.”

Q: Are there plans to offer the new Dan Hipp variants again?
A: Dan Hipp variants are in rotation with other variants in the game. The only ones that will not return are from past bundles or past Season Passes according to the devs.

Q: Is Annihilus going to be a Big Bad?
A: Dev’s don’t comment on unannounced content, but we may get an answer closer to next season when his official announcement happens.

Q:Is there a limit to how many big bads can be made?
A: When the question was asked previously, devs said there is no set limit. I cannot find the original quote, however, and devs have not answered more recent inquiries about the subject.

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!

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