Table of Contents
Hello everyone, and welcome to Top 5! I’m Glazer of Snap Judgments: The Official Marvel Snap Zone Podcast, and every week, we’ll be counting down a different Top 5 things you need to know in, around, and about Marvel Snap! Sometimes this will be silly in nature, but we’ll always have some pearls of wisdom to help make you the best (and best adjusted!) Marvel Snap player you can be!
This week? It’s the one-year anniversary of Marvel Snap, so let’s look at the Top 5 biggest updates and features to the game in Marvel Snap’s first year!
Honorable Mention: Token Shop
When the Token Shop first debuted along with Series 4 and Series 5 cards, the game changed wildly. At the time, I was in the midst of the Series 3 slog, months of grinding out cards without any way to really have agency over the process, just like our beta-playing friends did before us.
At this point, the Token Shop opened up, and I could buy Series 3 cards of my choice for 1000 a pop. I couldn’t wait to buy great cards like Death, Thor, and Mister Negative. Deckbuilding was wide open – I was in heaven and spent to finish Series 3 within a little over a month.
So why is this great change only an honorable mention? It’s gone. There’s no agency in Series 3 anymore. It’s a greater and longer slog than ever, which is extremely disappointing.
5. Spotlight Caches
This one is going to be controversial since a lot of people totally hate Spotlight Caches, but, well, this is my life, and I love them. While not without flaws (Iron Lad, where art thou!), the system did as promised – it put more Series 4 and Series 5 cards into players hands more quickly. Indeed with smart opening, it’s possible to get a high majority of the cards.
Some players, though, want all the cards immediately. That requires spending yes, but only the season pass and intelligent use of those resources according to basically everyone who’s done the math. I expect to have to pay some for value, and $10 a month is well less than I would based on my enjoyment of the game.
The big problem with Spotlight Caches to me besides that some great and important cards don’t show up often is that we were promised special, Ultimate level variants in them. It seems that Second Dinner didn’t adequately plan, and reasonably often, these are the kinds of 700 Gold Dan Hipp art we regularly see in the store. While I love Hipp art, this definitely is a disappointment.
4. Series 4 and Series 5 and One Card a Week Releases
We knew we weren’t getting new cards for free forever, right? Any new card would need to be added to Series 3, meaning any Series 3 complete player would immediately have that card. In order to alleviate that, Second Dinner created Series 4 and 5. At the time, you’d get Series 4 and 5 cards quite far apart- notably, Series 5 cards were next to impossible to get with only a tiny chance to appear in caches (I got two ever, Sauron and The Living Tribunal).
Still, Collector’s Tokens (see the honorable mention) came at an acceptable pace, and we were able to usually get the most important cards with care. This gave way to Spotlight Caches, and, again, see above. Can cards be hard to get? Absolutely, but that leads to one of my favorite things about Snap – the card distribution model.
What I really enjoy though, is the release schedule. I’m able to get basically a new card every week. That means new builds, new experiments, new content to be made and watched. We get to figure out if there are new archetypes if the card is build around or fits in, and along with #2, it keeps Marvel Snap feeling consistently fresh.
3. Ladder Changes + The Leaderboard
Oh, you sweet summer child, you cannot know the grinding I’ve done. Infinite was 10 Cubes for a level with only one free level out of every ten. That may not seem a lot, but getting to Infinite was bot-free and an absolute ordeal. It took amazingly frustrating grinding and, while I did it every month, after the first time or two, it was just no longer fun or challenging. It was just an ordeal, and I don’t know about you all, but I don’t play games for them to be an ordeal.
Over time, the system altered to be 7 cubes to a new level and 3 free levels. While some complain this is too easy, once you’ve hit Infinite, the challenge is solved, and the same challenge over and over again has no thrill. Meanwhile, for those trying to hit Infinite the first time, the challenge remains.
There are, though, those that love to grind. Thankfully, this week the Infinite Leaderboard debuted. For those who want it, grinding up the leaderboards like our friend SafetyBlade (Top 30) is a worthwhile endeavor. Now, though, it’s an optional one.
2. OTA Balance Updates
Two Thursdays out of every four, Marvel Snap updates the metagame by changing three to eight cards. These updates can only change the numbers on cards but have often been absolutely insanely impactful and basically reshaped the metagame. They make it so that it’s nearly impossible for Snap to get stale the way it did during the Red Skull and Thanos era while giving players of all levels constantly new cards and builds to try out. The OTAs are one of the biggest reasons Marvel Snap is fun!
Some of the most effective and interesting OTA changes include Enchantress from a [4/4] to a [4/6] and down to a [4/5], Forge to a +3 bonus then down to +2 and down to 1 cost, Captain Marvel and The Phoenix Force dropping to [4/5]s, where Captain Marvel was too strong and went to a [4/4], while Absorbing Man went from a [4/3] to a [4/5] and then back down to a [4/4], Galactus getting kicked from [6/7] to [6/5] and thus out of the meta, Shadow King falling all the way to a [2/3], Sandman going up to [5/5] and down to [5/4], and Nimrod going from a mediocre [5/5] to a great [5/6].
Some of the best changes, though, were just a reminder cards exist. Invisible Woman became meta after gaining an extra power, but it was her ability that mattered. The same is true of Vision. Heck, some changes like Doctor Doom and Red Skull were even strictly temporary.
OTAs have been unbelievably fun and totally unpredictable.
1. Conquest and Battle Mode
It’s hard for me to imagine Snap without Conquest now. The mode has come to feel to many, including both myself and Lamby, the game’s best player, like the main mode of Marvel Snap. It’s intensely fun and strategic, turning in-game Cubes to a life meter, and allowing that to play out in a series of games is a stroke of genius. These games can be time-consuming, sure, but they are the truest measure of skill over time in Snap.
Further than their individual brilliance and measure of skill, Conquest and Battle Mode open up tournaments. I. LOVE. Tournaments. High-skill, high-pressure games of Marvel Snap with the best players and the best decks? Yes, please.
While I want more game modes in Snap, Conquest is infinitely replayable for me in a way Ladder just isn’t, and it sets an insanely high bar for all future game modes.