Marvel Snap Zone Premium
Marvel Snap Zone Premium
Leader

The Most Problematic Cards in Marvel Snap (Opinion and Discussion)

For a long time, the top tier decks have consisted of the same decks ruling the top spots. DeathWave, Negative, and Sera Miracle. Of these decks, the cards that make these decks be so strong are Sera, Mister Negative, and Leader. I believe these cards may be problematic for the game and require a rework. Why, you may ask? First, let’s break each card down.

Mister Negative

Why is it a problem?

Currently seeing play in the top tier Negative Surfer deck and others, this card is one of the most problematic, as shown by Second Dinner’s struggle to balance him. After seeing multiple nerfs, and even being quoted as “busted” by Ben Brode when he was tested as having less cost, this card creates a massive problem for the game. Mister Negative isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but his existence creates issues for the longevity of the game.

Negative Surfer
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
2x Collection Level 1-14
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 4 Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 4)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
1x Starter Card
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
0.7
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

Cards are balanced by making the Cost and Power of a card match the effect it gives. Cards that have desirable effects (like Wong or Iron Man) get a low power and higher cost the stronger the effect is. Cards that have undesirable effects (like discard cards or Ebony Maw) have higher power and lower cost to encourage the risk. Mister Negative breaks this balancing tool by making downsides become upsides.

Anytime a new card is released or and old card needs a nerf, power now becomes a tricky tool to use for balancing. If a card is too strong and needs a nerf, lowering its power to nerf it may make it even stronger to Negative. A perfect example would be the nerfs to Angela and Bishop, who both saw their power eventually reduced to zero. Negative players were happy for the change, as it just made their inclusion in the deck more beneficial.

Another example is the new Season Pass card Silver Surfer. While his effect is strong, his power is at a zero to make him balanced. This downside is simply an upside for Mister Negative, as now the card has a strong effect and is a free 3 power. The strength of this effect can be seen by the fact that Negative Surfer is number 1 on the tier list currently.

What can we change?

Mister Negative creates a unfortunate situation, as he is binary. His power is mostly meaningless because his effect is so strong. If you change the card effect, the card likely dies unless it is completely reworked. Basically, Mister Negative is either really good or unplayable.

The best solution that I can think of is a major rework. “On Reveal: The next card you play has its power and cost flipped”. This keeps the spirit of the card “inverting” a card it touches and allows for a targeted setup (such as Iron Man) without making the entire deck inverted. This also allows the Negative effect to be more versatile, allowing inclusion in other decks that may want to cheat out a turn 6 card early, make a specific card have better stats, or make a specific combo possible.

Sera

Why is it a problem?

Even after Mister Negative’s nerf to -1 power, Sera still remained at the top of tier lists with her Sera “Miracle” decks. Today, she sits at the top with Sera Surfer in top tier, and Sera Miracle in tier two. Even after her recent nerf to 4 power, she still remains problematic for the game.

Seracle Surfer
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
3x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Series 5 Ultra Rare – Collection Level 486+ (Pool 5)
2.8
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
2.5
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Seracle Control
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
5x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Starter Card
2.9
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
3.4
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

As evidenced by her near undefeated inclusion in the top tier, this card is very strong. The ability to discount cards makes her similar to Mister Negative in that she breaks the balance of the game. Cards like Wolfsbane or Maximus, who are statted at 3 power, can be played for only two power, making room for more cards to be played. Combos like Iron Man plus Mystique become possible without playing them turns apart or even relying on negative.

Sera also creates massive power swings that happen on the final turn of the game. The final turn is so significant because it’s the most predictable board state of what the end of the game will look like. For example:

If I am playing Patriot, Sera holds the power dump until the last turn and can devote resources to key lanes that Patriot is weaker in, such as the lane with patriot or a less developed lane. Sera also can ignore the lane that Patriot has developed heavily.

Players can always make decisions on which lane they want to devote to or give up, but the key difference between normal decks and Sera decks are the turn. Most decks you have to dedicate to a lane plan by turn 4. Sera can hold back key power pieces until the final turn, and then place them exactly where she needs to secure the win. Mr. Negative shares this feature, which shows why Sera and Negative frequently stay at the top of tier lists.

What can we change?

The reason power dumps are problematic, is that it is against the developers game intents. Developers mentioned that they do not want Marvel Snap to be a game where all players win games by dumping their hand on the final turns. Sera and Mister Negative both create this problem exactly. They want decks that play on curve to have equal chance of winning as a deck that does want to have explosive final turns. Unfortunately though, Sera proves at top tier that dumping cards at the end is stronger than playing throughout.

To fix this card, I could suggest making her power zero so you basically skip turn 5, but this is simply a buff for Mister Negative (remember that balancing issue I mentioned?). Another fix for the card could be a rework of the text “Ongoing: Each turn, the first card you play costs 2 less.” This allows the card to still provide unique combos, but require better pacing throughout a match.

Leader

Why is it a problem?

I have felt this card has been broken since early beta, but it is currently getting a lot of attention from the community. Leader sees play in a wide range of decks including top tier She-Hulk Baero. The idea of the card is fine: To punish decks that play big ending turns and not throughout the match. The issue is that the way the card functions is equal to that saying of “having your cake and eating it too”.

Baero
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
4x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
2x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
6x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3.5
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.3
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Devil Dinosaur Good Cards Pile
Created by den
, updated 2 months ago
6x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
1x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
4x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
1x Starter Card
3.4
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
4.4
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
Electro Ramp
Created by den
, updated 1 month ago
1x Collection Level 1-14
1x Collection Level 18-214 (Pool 1)
3x Collection Level 222-474 (Pool 2)
7x Collection Level 486+ (Pool 3)
3.9
Cost
0-
1
2
3
4
5+
5.4
Power
0-
1
2
3
4
5+

At 4 power, Leader has the ability to tip the scales of a location to your favor with no ability. With his ability, you copy anything your opponent does AND add extra points. The issue is compounded by the fact that revealing second means you get a buffed version of the card. Let’s break it down.

If locations are as follows: My board at 10 on left, 10 middle, and 7 on right and my opponent is 4, 11, and 4. I am in a winning position. Realistically, I should likely reinforce my right lane and left lane, abandon middle. If my opponent plays Leader on the right, they move from 4 power to 8 (gaining advantage) and copying anything that I play. This means that Leader wins no matter what location I play at.

Many people defend Leader by saying he “sucks against synergy decks”, and in cases like Patriot that may be true, but not all players play super synergistic decks that only benefit themselves. As long as you read your opponents deck and know when it isn’t appropriate to play Leader (like against Patriot), there is no downside to the card. Forcing players to not play decks they enjoy because Leader can just copy their setup is problematic.

Deadpool decks are a great example. You may spend an entire game building up a Deadpool with great card draws. Your final turn is Deadpool plus Death. Your opponent plays Leader and copies your big pay off, and also adds 4 power to their side for advantage. Let’s not even get into The Infinaut decks that literally telegraph to Leader that he should be played.

Leader also can copy upgraded cards and retrigger them. If I play Black Panther and double from 4 to 8 power and reveal first, Leader copies the 8 power Black Panther and doubles it to 16. This is the “Have your cake and eat it too” moment. Not only do you get my card and add 4 power, you also can benefit from going Second (which means you were losing more locations). Why does this card get to have all of the benefits and none of the trade-offs?

Leader‘s strength can be seen in decks like DeathWave and Baero, and lately the counter decks of Devil Dinosaur Good Cards or Leech-er. His entire design removes the games best feature of trying to out think your opponent. No matter what you do, Leader will just copy it and add extra power to it. He is counterable, but so is every card in the game. Just because a card has counters doesn’t mean it isn’t over powered.

What can we change?

Unlike Sera and Mister Negative, Leader doesn’t effect the ability to balance cards. He does, however, severely limit what is good in the meta. Combined with effects like Leech, he becomes unstoppable in many situations. Many deck types become unplayable, because Leader is so easy to put into any deck so you see him all the time. He requires no synergy and can turn guessing games into guaranteed wins. Decks like Baero don’t even need Leader to function, but why not include him? He only adds to the deck’s success rate.

This card does have options for how to fix it. You could lower his power to zero or a negative number, but then Mister Negative decks get stronger (noticing a trend?). I believe the card should only copy cards in the lane that they were played in, and copy the card in the state it was played in, not the final result. This keeps the spirit of the card alive as a way to protect a lane, but with the downside of you have to know which lane to protect. You can’t simply cover all lanes.

Summary

All in all, Marvel Snap is a great game that rightfully won Mobile Game of the Year. These 3 cards, however, are time proven to be not only extremely powerful, but very problematic for the longevity of the game. I believe if these cards get changed, the meta will flourish and be more diverse than ever.

Do you agree or disagree with these ideas? Make sure to comment to let us know your thoughts! As always, make sure to check back here at Marvel Snap Zone to stay up to date on all of the newest news, tier lists, and more!

Marvel Snap Zone Premium

Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, remove all advertisements, an exclusive badge, and more!

CanadianAlfredo
CanadianAlfredo
Articles: 10

36 Comments

  1. Sounds like people just need to get better cards than nerf down good ones. Besides, Mister Negative is pretty redundant if your high-cost cards are already in your hand. A turn-4 play for Negative isn’t exactly game-breaking.

    • To really limit him, he should be 5-0 like Iron Man. He could be just like today’s cost with Psylocke, Electro or playing in that field which cards cost 1 less (which is not that common) and so he wouldn’t draw that many cards inverted like actual conditions.

  2. Negative is not a problem, nor is Sera. Leader and Leech are the current problems. Leader as stated above, should only be in the lane he’s played in. Leech should hit 2 cards at random, not all.

    • Leech is a turn-5 card with only 3 power. Sure he is game changing, but so is Aero, for example, with 8 power. Leech can’t save alone a game with 4 turns (5, considering its turn?) lost and just hit cards at hand, not from all deck, so he doesn’t affect your final draw (America?). Leech alone don’t do much more than Magneto or even Shang-Chi, f.ex.

      Leader is a problem, but a cost-6 card shouldn’t be limited to copy a lane with only 4 power. I could agree if he was 4-4, but a 6-cost card has to be game changer. You can’t expect 5 turns, specially building a strategy, to drop something that wouldn’t change anything in the end. And consider that he can be Leech’d, Cosmo’d, lanes filled, losing 2+ lanes etc. Copying a lane with 6-cost is lame. Just punish the owners of the card for people who likes others… I’d rather punish Wong than Leader.

      • I agree! People clearly haven’t played enough with Leader to see his vulnerabilities. I’d rather punish Wong than Leader as well and I played a lot with both. Like make Wong a regular ability rather than Ongoing or On Reveal so his abilities can’t be triggered twice which leads to a minute and a half of animations from the other cards. Leader is very situational and only loses when people try to bring out a big static card on one lane, like Hulk or Infinaut. That makes Leader a counter card.. but the moment cards with synergies pop up or your board is filled with trash, you are very restricted in what you can copy and if they have Ongoing cards that increase power prior to turn 6, 4 power probably won’t be enough for a guaranteed win.

      • you really want to nerf card that says: i will play here… you have 2 turns to stop me from doing it??? wong has 2 counter cards cosmo, enchantress. wong will tell you where he will play… when u dont have tech cards in deck is ur problem… if there is no draw, it is % bad luck. counter play vs Leader?? is only guess!!!! or bad play from opponent

  3. Sera and Negative have no problem. They take huge risks in the early stage, and they should build a card group around them. Once they can’t catch the core, the game will be lost. But Leader is different. Leader is placed wherever it is, which will not affect the portfolio, and can also enjoy its success

    • Leader is also not a problem. Unless the person is playing a static card like Hulk… But for decks that have synergies, copying the one card without the other synergy card can easily make you lose. Against cards like Arnim Zola, or some Ongoing cards, or if they already have Angela and Bishop down, its not going to give you a win because they will grow their power more than is needed to beat Leader’s measly 4 power.

  4. I’m not sure it’s an influencer’s role to judge if a card is toxic for “the future of the game” but to evaluate its current toxicity instead. The future of the game only belongs to the devs. We have no visbility, we have no idea what’s coming, we don’t even know where the game will go for sure. The argument that it’s bad for the future of the game is irrelevant.

  5. Totally agree with you on the Mister Negative topic. Shoulda get a rework so that it doesn’t flip power and cost of all cards (as you mentioned maybe the next card you play). On Sera i am not totally with you, pointslam is a kind of strategy you can/shoulda play. But i think she provides too much power, coulda lower her power to 0 or 1 -> But yeah first we need the Mister Negative rework 😉
    And finally Leader! Leader is such a bs card which totally destroyes the game atm, that card can just be included into every deck as you (nearly) always benefit from it. Copying all cards and giving the extra bonus on cards like Black Panther + giving a 4 power addition from it’s own is just too much. This card coulda be balanced in many different directions, like setting it up to 0 power (again, we need the Mister Negative rework first ;)) or make it to copy the next/last card your opponent plays/played

    These cards make it rly hard to balance the game/other cards. As you were 100% correct on the example with Bishop and Angela. These changes show us how the balance stuff shoulda go. We see that a card is a bit too strong, lower power or higher cos or change the ability description a bit for example lower or higher reveal/discard or whatever effects. But yeah if cards like Mister Negative exist, the balancing work gonna be rly hard imo 😛

  6. Negative seems to me like a serious problem for the game design, every single card they make has to be statted around “is it broken with Negative” or given a restriction so it doesn’t work properly with Negative. I don’t think your solution is the way even if they can code it (being able to pick your negative card is going to be more consistent than current negative and lets the negative deck play some good cards that would be bad if negatived, at the expense of the occasional high roll “Psylocke, Negative, draw Negatived Iron Man + Mystique +White Tiger” kind of games.) But I think they do need to push the button on reworking his ability somehow.

    I suspect the devs thought of him as an inconsistent fun card as originally designed and it did take the beta community a while to really break him in half.

    Sera we all know is consistently one of the best cards in the game but something has to be. The big turn 6 strategy is vulnerable when the meta turns on it as we just saw with Leach Leader. They might drop another power off especially if Negative is addressed.

    Leader beats some things and is beaten handily by others. No deck is entitled to beat everything, but some people simply seem offended that their big turn 6 play with no synergy effects has a 6 cost counter. The stats do not show Leader as a problem card in win rate. As a beta player I think Leader is a card where people go through a phase of “how do I beat this?” as they start into pool 3 and as their collection gets more advanced they stop worrying about Leader because everything from Heimdall to Taskmaster to Spectrum to Destroyer to Wong screws it up. A simple Lizard on their side which reduces on power when the lane is filled can screw it up. Playing more cards into a lane than they have leftover space screws it. And of course, not being ahead screws it up…

    If you want to challenge something in Leech Leader as unfun, go after Leech which is also not overpowered but is irritating because unlike Leader there’s no counterplay around it, your cards are trashed and there’s nothing you can do. They should make it 5/6 and trash 2 random cards in hand or something.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you… except Leech. It was always a bad card, 5-3 in pool 2, almost nobody used, until someone found the synergy with Leader (and some others). To nerf its power (which I can agree, for sure), probably it should cost less. Wasting a turn-5, where people usually have 3+ cards (and drawing a leechless one to turn 6), to just affect 2 cards, it seems too little for 5 cost and only 3 power. Maybe it should be like Shang-Chi or Cosmo (to turn 3 or 4).

  7. I’m surprised you left out Wave. The interaction with Death’s and She-Hulk’s cost reduction is insane. DeathWave’s ability to limit your opponent’s plays and simultaneously drop a 5/6-cost, Death and She-Hulk is so strong. Wave can also cheat out Galactus and other cards way ahead of curve.

    Part of the reason Leader is so prominent is it answers DeathWave’s turn 6 super well. If we hit DeathWave maybe Leader becomes less prominent but I also think he needs to be nerfed as well ’cause it feels so bad to dump your hand and he just copies whatever on top of his 4 power.

    I’m not as worried about Sera and Negative decks because as we’ve seen Leech can be a problem for those decks. However, Negative still has the problem that he limits design space too much so I could see him getting reworked in the future.

    • This!

      Wave is SO overpowered, specially in She-Hulk-Death decks, but also with almost any 6-cost card, as you stated of Galactus. No 3-cost card could be this game-changer. If it was 5-cost limiter and not 4, ok, it’d disrupt much more strategies and balance more the game. Or it could have a limit of playing turn like Magic/Ebony Maw. Wave should be played until turn 4 (so it’d affect turn 5 and not 6).

      • Thought about it a bit more and Wave’s effect being symmetrical is kinda okay. It’s just the interaction with other cost reduction effects so maybe they should bump She-Hulk’s and Death’s energy cost instead.

  8. I definitely agree about Leader and Mr. Negative being problematic cards (the latter moreso because of his constant shadow looming over future card designs and rebalances).

    With regards to Sera and Negative decks, I feel like one of the current problems is that Sandman, a card that’s supposed to exist as a counter to “flood” decks like these has really weak stats, making him a hard sell in Series 3+. While I’m VERY glad that Sandman’s effect is symmetrical, he may as well read “Skip your turn 4” (or turn 2 & 3 if you ramp into him with Psylocke, but at that point, wouldn’t you be better off ramping into something stronger and asymmetrical? Ditto with something like pulling him with Jubilee).

    I saw a suggestion to buff Sandman to a 4/2 or maybe even a 4/3, which I think would be interesting to explore. He’s powerful in Series 2, but he seems much too weak to keep Series 3+ decks in check (if he were actually a viable counter to decks like Seracle, Negative, DeathWave, he’d already be somewhere on the Series 3+ tier lists!). So I’m curious how decks like Sera, Negative, DeathWave would fare in a world where Sandman were a bit stronger, and could actually act as a counter/deterrent to such deck types without putting you so far behind to gain his symmetrical effect.

    I’m curious to see how Zabu will impact the meta next month, given how impactful cost reduction cards have been so far (and how his ability could be paired with Sera, Mystique, and/or Negative, possibly to disgusting effect).

    • …while also avoiding the potential pitfalls of Leader + a potentially buffed Sandman becoming a problem (although again, this feels more like a problem with Leader’s current design IMO):
      > get ahead on turns 1-3
      > drop Sandman as 4/2 or 4/3
      > play something beefy or flexible on T5 (e.g. Red Skull, Vision, Captain Marvel)
      > T6 Leader in the lane your opponent is mostly likely to contest

    • Imagining next month a deck with no plays at turns 1, 2, 3, just piling 4-cost cards, then playing Zabu at 4 (not considering Psylocke or Elysium field), Mystique him (plus some other 4-cost at turn 5) and then lots of cost 0 cards at turn 6 (except Crossbones, probably).

  9. Am I alone in thinking DareDevil is problem card? The selling point for this game is the simultaneous turns. I think it’s fair to say that out-guessing and surprising your opponent is the primary fun-generator during an actual game. DareDevil simply removes that for turn 5. Who thought that was a good idea? The card is just silly. Professor X, Hobgoblin, Spider-Man and others become an issue when they can be played with perfect board knowledge.
    There is a reason this game is not played sequentially. Why ruin that?

    • It is a pretty effective card at turning things around, but I still feel that the lack of detection on what the finisher is on T6 keeps Daredevil from being completely broken. A T6 Leader, Death or Destroyer can still turn things around beyond prediction.

      And finally, let’s not forget: your opponent KNOWS Daredevil is watching (literally flashing red alert), so they could just outsmart you by playing a red herring too.

  10. I disagree on on 3. The cards have their uses but its not like you can play them in every deck. All you are really saying is “I keep losing to these cards, I want them broken so that nobody plays them again”. The game has MASSIVE RNG anyway. I’ve played these cards and half the time a location or a unlucky draw prevents me from making good use of them. Leader is usually okay because it stands on its own, however the trick is winning by the start of turn 6 (with the inclusion of its 4 power). If you don’t, it doesn’t matter what you copy from the opponent, you’ll lose. Also, there are decks where copying cards is irrelevant… Lets say Angela and Bishop are on the other players board. Or they have other ongoing cards that boost overall power. You can copy the cards being played to your side, but if you don’t have those other cards, their total power will keep going up beyond those cards they placed down and 4 power is pretty easy to make up. Leader isn’t always a sure win; this is coming from a player that used him a lot. What about Arnim Zola? What good is me copying that card last turn If I don’t have a card of equal or greater power that the opponent intends to send to the other 2 lanes to clutch the game? Now Mr Negative, what good is he if he is very late in your draws? He barely makes a difference in a game. You have to wait until turn 4 to even play him, unless you have a Psylocke in your hand early enough (or Electro if you don’t mind the 1 card per turn downside). As for Sera, you have to wait until turn 5 to even play her. And in late game it doesn’t make too much of a difference. Maybe it allows you to play 2 cards instead of one. Or 3 cards instead of 2. Unless its a zoo deck that throws all its 1 and 2 cost cards down during the last turn, Sera is not going to be much of a game changer.

    In my opinion, these cards can stay exactly as they are. They are not nearly that broken. There are some locations I’d rather get rid of or nerf more than these cards. Instead of nerfing, I’d rather see some new cards that could be used as counters. Like for Sera, (or even Magik) how about a card that ends the game on turn 5 (or instantly… could be related to TVA) (On Reveal)? Either way, keep the cards as they are.

  11. Is there objectively a meta problem? The meta seems diverse, people are posting Infinity rank with all sorts of decks, obscure cards (leech) and builds keep emerging…

    So I guess it should come down to win rate and play rate data amd analytics.

    This article seems more about “cards its feels bad to lose to”.

  12. for Mister Negative, i wish they would make it so he couldnt reduce cards below 1 cost, that would make the devs able to nerf cards to 0 power or less just as easily as they nerf cards to 1 power

  13. The only one I agree with is leader. It feels bad to play it and it feels bad to play against it. I would take a different step to nerfing it. Change it to 5 cost and add an effect similar to magik. Say something like Can’t be played after turn 5.

    • I also should say that should accompany a nerf to wave. Making her ability not stack with other cost reductions. Since with a nerf to leader like I suggest deathwave will be more dominant then ever.

  14. Great article.

    I completely agree that Mister Negative warps the design space of the entire game. Your proposal to limit the effect to one card is ingenious, but I’m not sure it will be easy to program, and it still might have broken combos.

    One possible quick fix is to add (minimum 1 cost) to the cost-power swap effect. That is, Iron Man would become a 1/5 instead of an 0/5.

    But the fundamental problem is, as you said, that it turns two downsides (high cost and low power) into two upsides. So the other fix would be to change the “swap cost and power” ability with “set the cost equal to the power” (so Iron Man becomes a 0/0) or “set the power equal to the cost” (so Iron Man becomes a 5/5).

  15. who says that leader is not problem… he is probably braindmged… currently its total waste of time to play this game because is random nonsense or leader… leader is everywhere, in any deck… and it’s really cancer… build lead = play leader = autowin and for person who does not have full collection or specific cards to be able to play around leader… it’s really frustrating …. and the top of it all is leech, you have cards against leader and hope opponent doesn’t have leech… leech it doesn’t need nerf it’s just an incredibly strong tech card for leader…

  16. Playing against Sera or Negative never felt oppressive or unfair to me.
    But Leader and Leech are literally the opposite of what a card game is about.
    A healthy card game is all about “look what I can do!” with some “look what you cant do” salt.
    But Leader and Leech are pure party pooper “look what you cant do” cards and Leader does not even have a real downside.

Leave a Reply