September 2022 Buff And Nerf Predictions

Den tackles something a little different this week, as the patch we all expected heading into Season Four didn't arrive! We asked you what cards you'd like to see changed in the next patch, and Den takes his best attempt at fixing them!

Many players expected a balance patch to go along the start of Season Four. As we all know, this patch did not materialize. This left a lot of the player base wondering what to do in Marvel Snap without any new challenge on the horizon.

This week, we asked you what would you would like to see if this hypothetical patch was released, and I’m here to discuss the community’s choices about it.

Here are the results of our poll :

Nerfs: SeraMister NegativeMagik

Buffs: Pool One or Pool Two cards.

I don’t think there are any surprises in this list. The three cards mentioned in the nerf category have been dominating the game for quite some time now.
The buffs were a little more wide-ranging, but were very focused around Pool One and Two. This makes sense, because each of the summer patches nerfed almost exclusively cards outside of Pool Three.


How To Balance The Current Top Cards In Marvel Snap

Before we get into the specifics, I’d like to explain my perspective on why it is so challenging to nerf cards whose strength is due to unique abilities.


Simply put, the easy nerfs aren’t a good option. If Second Dinner were to put Sera to three power and Mister Negative to two power, it would likely damage the cards with the game in its current state. However, their ability would eventually resurface as more cards are added to the game that can synergize with them.


As a result, trying to balance an ability through making the card carrying the ability very weak (like Mystique or Wong, for example) is a short term band-aid. This band-aid will last until new cards that make the ability worth abusing at its now-nerfed cost are available.

Mystique is a great example. At zero power, the card can’t be worse unless she costs more. However, nobody ever asked for a Mystique buff, because nobody looks at the card’s power outside of Mister Negative decks.

Therefore, I tried to stay away from the classic mana or power adjustment. I believe it would simply either nuke the card or barely impact it, depending on how good we judge the ability is.

Sera

While it is a close call, I personally consider Sera to be the current biggest offender in the game, ahead of Mister Negative.
The card could be nerfed to be a two or three power and feel less oppressive. Yet, to me, what makes Sera oppressive is that she allows you to be very flexible with when to play our cards.

Sera was designed as a 5-Cost card in order to be only excellent on turn six. In practice, between locations, energy gains, or Magik’s ability, Sera can often end up impacting the game over several turns.

Envisioned nerf: Ability Change – On Reveal: Your cards cost 1 less next turn. (minimum 1)


Mister Negative

Like Sera, I don’t think nerfing Mister Negative to a lower power would change much of the problem with the card. The card would feel weaker, but the high roll potential would be largely unchanged when played early in the game. It probably is the easiest option to make the card a 4-cost, 2 power and align it with the likes of Wong. If this happens, I think the problem would resurface in the future when new cards are making it worthwhile to abuse Mister Negative.

The big problem with Mister Negative is that changing his mana cost doesn’t feel like an option either. As a 5-cost, the card would become unplayable, with any deck built around him relying exclusively on playing the card as early as possible.
In the end, only offering the opponent some counter play opportunities feels like the right option

Envisioned nerf: Ability Change: Ongoing: Cards you draw have their Power and Cost swapped.


Magik

Although it was a popular pick in our poll, I personally wouldn’t nerf Magik. The card generates a different gameplay experience. In addition, she helped to shake up a metagame where decks were built to be super effective over exactly six turns.

Magik could probably become a six energy, four power card if you think it is too strong for a 5-Cost, limiting the time frame to play the card. I am not sure if it would reduce the level of frustration the card generates, especially as Nick Fury could now create it.

We could simply nuke the card and make it a zero or a one power card, basically making it a “skip your turn 5 in order to get a turn 7”. However, I honestly think Magik’s power comes from the current state of the game, meaning that if we address the other cards, Magik should be back to a balanced state.

Envisioned nerf: None.


How Can We Help Pool One And Pool Two?

When one considers Angela, and how popular she is across the different decks of the current metagame, one wonders why Pool One and Two even need buffs.

However, Angela is perfectly representative of the problem in Pool One and Two. After both patches we had during the summer, there aren’t many options left in order to build around the cards we acquired early in our journey. Angela, alongside Bishop and Iron Man, are survivors of what was formerly a deep pool of resources players could rely on to build decks.

To be honest, I am not sure precisely what cards need to be buffed, but there is a need to restore some sense of diversity to Pool One and Two.

Here are a few avenues to explore:

  • Buffing the Guardians of the Galaxy (Rocket Raccoon, Star lord, Groot, Gamora…) to make them more appealing outside of the new player experience. Drax being in Pool 3 is a bit of a joke as well.
  • Nakia now grants +3 power to two cards in your hand. We know that the previous Nakia was too strong, but the current one is under powered, and could use a boost.
    Upping the bonus by a point could help the card see play alongside Human Torch or Deadpool for example.
  • Wolverine and Sabretooth. These two have been embarrassingly bad, even in decks built around destroy synergies. The simple fact they aren’t played in the Destroyer archetype shows how little impact they have.
  • Up the vanilla cards a notch. Perhaps Misty Knight could be a 1-3, Shocker could be a 2-4 and Cyclops could be a 3-5. These cards are only playable in a Patriot deck, collectible in Pool Three. And even then, you usually need to get the full PatriotOnslaughtMystique trio in order to be competitive.

Closing Words

The major issue in the current patch is the feeling to be forced to play certain cards, most of them in Pool Three, to have a reasonable shot in most of our Marvel Snap games.
As time passes, more players are joining, and bots are becoming smarter and playing better decks. This naturally leads to a more competitive environment, which also leads to focusing around the most competitive decks.

Unfortunately, the current strongest cards in the game are frustrating to play against. And there isn’t enough diversity in Marvel Snap to be able to separate yourself when being creative if you haven’t reached level 2000 on your collection track.

In order to solve these issues, the focus should be on reducing the frustration cards like Sera or Mister Negative can produce. Limiting their potential or giving some counter play potential to the opponent seems like a good avenue to explore.
On the other end, while it is only natural that someone deep in Pool Three has many more options compared to someone barely done with Pool Two. It shouldn’t come at the cost of feeling forced to pick one of the two decks that have shown competitive potential.

That is all for me in this one. I welcome any idea that can spark a discussion about the now much needed and widely demanded patch. The global launch was just announced recently, which explains why we have to wait more than usual for balance changes.

Feel free to join our discord if you’d like to discuss card adjustments with the rest of the community or share your accomplishments. As for myself, you can find me on Twitter.

Good Game Everyone,

den
den

Den has been in love with strategy games for as long as he can remember, starting with the Heroes of Might and Magic series as a kid. Card games came around the middle school - Yu-Gi-Oh! and then Magic: The Gathering.

Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra has been his real breakthrough and he has been a coach, writer, and caster on the French scene for many years now. He now coaches aspiring pro players and writes various articles on these games.

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