If you wanted to have a heated argument with most Marvel Snap players right now, the perfect way to start it would probably be “So, Galactus eh?” And then just disagree with whatever the other person says. You should be in for a treat as long as you enjoy subjective argumentation and hand-picked examples to support a claim.
On each side of this captivating discussion are two rival clans. Those who think Galactus is the definition of a failed concept that limits what everyone else is allowed to play and ruins the fun of the majority, and those who claim Galactus has done nothing wrong and argue that it’s not that hard to include one of the many counter cards available to limit its power (and that the other clan should “take a chill pill”).
This war of words has been going on for months now; it’s even impacted how completely unrelated cards are welcomed in the community. I mean, if there is ONE card that really has nothing to do with Galactus, it is The Living Tribunal.
As long as it’s just people exchanging Internet blows, I would argue it’s a fair game. In the end, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and part of keeping a lively community is having those joyful conversations all over social media. Still, everything changed when Second Dinner announced the Big Bad was crossing some thresholds and they are exploring potential adjustments. No more Internet trivialities at this point; Galactus‘s life hangs in the balance!
A couple of weeks ago, Glenn Jones shared in a Discord reply that the Second Dinner team was looking at how to change the Devourer of Worlds. I would like to point out two other important pieces of information from that answer about Galactus in the metagame at that time:
- Weak win percentage
- Too popular
This is an odd combination to say the least. In the modern era of card games, where the Internet tells you everything you need to know about the deck you should be playing, the decks labeled as “too popular” very rarely also come with a “weak win percentage”. Even stranger, the combination of these two traits seems to indicate a deck that the player base enjoys (too popular), but does not take the metagame hostage (weak win percentage). How is this a problem in the end? It’s a popular deck even though it’s not among the best ones, and it sounds like a design players are having fun with considering they are playing it – even if it’s not so good.
Yes, just as much fun as those losing to it get frustrated, apparently. Two clans, remember?
Since the left picture was posted on May 16th and the right on May 23rd (i.e. before High Evolutionary joined the game), the metagame has changed quite a bit. Particularly, Galactus has grown much stronger as most of its counter cards are seeing less play; instead, the metagame revolves around Wave, Luke Cage, and Killmonger as the popular tech cards. It is important to note, though, High Evolutionary‘s best archetype is Lockdown so far, which packs the necessary tools to counter Galactus with Storm, Spider-Man, and Professor X. This likely means that the win rate of Galactus is going back down since there is another popular archetype serving as a counter power.
This is kind of the story for Galactus in Marvel Snap to be fair. The reputation of the Devourer of Worlds ranges from being considered a terrible archetype to being the biggest problem in the metagame, depending on what the other popular decks are doing. Logically, depending on whether the archetype is in a dominant status or regularly faces counters, you will hear one of the two rival clans more than the other.
Today, I would like to explore how everyone could end up satisfied with Galactus. I’m not going to try to make anyone happy; we’re all playing much more because of frustration rather than happiness, so it would be bad for business. Also, I will not side on whether Galactus deserves a nerf or not. This task falls to the good folks at Second Dinner, and I’m too scared about the comments I would get (clans are not my thing, sorry). Instead, let’s take a look at the various options they might have to please everyone and bring poor The Living Tribunal some peace and quiet, too.
Buff Galactus’s Immediate Counters
“However, he is not a simple card to change, both from a design perspective and from a technological one.” When I read this part of Glenn’s message, I immediately wondered if the solution to Galactus is outside the card. Particularly, I want to look at the OTA balances patches and their power to remind everyone about cards that were unused up until this point. For example, although I completely missed it when it happened, Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a decent Galactus counter if you think about it.
If what Glenn Jones said is still true, the problem with Galactus is the popularity, not the strength. As such, let’s give the community a way to reduce the popularity without actually destroying the archetype in the process. With that in mind, I went through all the cards that might help against Galactus, looking for those who could be buffed without getting out of line.
Although these might become too powerful after a buff (especially Viper and Goose), I think these three are nice candidates for a power buff in an OTA patch directed at limiting Galactus. It needs to be just enough to make them be considered more often in the community while not becoming staples if your deck doesn’t need them otherwise.
Considering I had to go through all the cards in the game to do this, I may as well give you the cards that are good enough to be included in various archetypes if you require help against Galactus before the next balances patch rolls out.
I mean, for real this time.
The biggest frustration with Galactus comes from this infamous play pattern: Wave on Turn 3, Galactus on Turn 4, Spider-Man or Doctor Octopus on Turn 5. Making Wave a [4/4] would break this pattern and prevent Galactus from having that extra turn to lock the lane. It also keeps Wave as the disruptive tool you want her to be; the card can still be used to unlock powerful synergies with two 6-Cost cards back to back in ramp archetypes.
There are other cards in the deck that are often the target of criticism. Knull and Doctor Octopus, in particular, seem to be Galactus‘s most faithful allies when it comes to taking the blame. However, both cards are more than fair in all the other decks they are included, which indicates they could disappear completely if they took a hit.
Use Galactus’s Lore
To write this article, I searched for ideas on how to work around Galactus. Something I learned is that Galactus‘s arrival to a planet was usually announced by a Herald of Galactus. Their task was to scan the planet to see if it was fit to satisfy the Devourer’s appetite.
A nice rework to the card that keeps it true to its current form in the game would be changing its text to:
On Reveal: If you control a Herald of Galactus here, destroy all other locations.
We would lose the “If this is your only card” part of the ability and instead replace it with cards announcing where Galactus will be played. This gives the opponent more agency to prepare for it. Also, considering there were plenty of Heralds (Nova, Human Torch, Dazzler, Thor, Doctor Strange, Ka-Zar…), it would open different ways to build around the Big Bad.
If I’m being honest, I don’t think a full Galactus rework is in the works. First, it seems extremely difficult to execute from a technical standpoint, and it would represent too much of a risk in case of a miss. Indeed, considering another heated debate in the community (card acquisition), changing a Big Bad for the worse probably means compensating everyone for the 6,000 Collector’s Tokens they spent on the card. Alongside the expected backlash about the decision, it goes without saying.
As such, I think we have to look at the bigger picture and find a way to keep Galactus close enough to what it currently is so the players who are enjoying the card do not feel completely robbed. At the same time, give those who can’t stand Galactus enough agency to interact with him. Either through more solid cards that would also help against the current Galactus or through a slight rework, one not big enough to change who Galactus is in Marvel Snap. Last, if we consider the problem isn’t the card itself as much as the deck, there are other strong, metagame-defining cards in that archetype that could be nerfed and solve the Galactus problem in the process.
No matter which gang you belong to (or even if you don’t have one, like myself), I think every player should want the best for Marvel Snap, and more drama around Collector’s Tokens and Series 5 cards does not fit that bill. Second Dinner probably knows it better than any of us, hence why they are so careful with the Big Bad and not rushing into any changes that could lead to a worse situation.
If the Galactus dilemma is solved through OTAs, I don’t see how it could be through changing the numbers on the Devourer of Worlds – meaning another card would have to take the blame. Otherwise, we will likely have to wait for the next monthly patch to happen in two or three weeks from now. I won’t hide my doubts regarding Galactus potentially ruining the Move party for the June season; the Big Bad looks like a decent counter to decks aiming to navigate across the locations.
I am also really curious to know what you all think about this situation. Did you like my suggested changes, or did you think about some yourself? Let me know in the comments below, or find me on the Marvel Snap Zone community Discord. You can also find me on my Twitter page where I share decks and biased opinions about the game.
Good Game Everyone.
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