The increasingly popular free-to-play card game, Marvel Snap, appears to be fighting fires at the top end, as developer Second Dinner has notably taken aim at two of the most dominant decks seen in higher tiers of gameplay, in a patch released on 21 March 2023. This update has significantly reduced the power of these decks by dialling down the effectiveness of key cards in Marvel Snap.
Read: Marvel Snap designer Kent-Erik Hagman talks smart card game design
Thanos deck nerfs
The first is a popular deck that revolves around Thanos, who injects six Infinity Stone cards into the deck at the start of play. Typically, players will utilise the Quinjet card – which reduces the energy cost of cards that didn’t start in the player’s deck – to make these Infinity Stone cards cost nothing to play. Paired with Lockjaw – who swaps a played card with another still in your deck – and the ability to inject high-powered cards onto the playing field for free will almost certainly win you several matches.
In the latest patch, the Quinjet’s ability now has a condition that the minimum energy cost it can reduce a card to is 1. The Space Stone card, which originally allowed you to move a card away from the played location on the next turn, has also been reversed – you can now only move cards to the location. This change reduces the potential for Lockjaw to introduce and move several powerful cards onto the playing field for free. Thanos himself has also seen a slight decrease in power.
Shuri deck nerfs
The second major change is for decks featuring Shuri, which have also been seeing widespread play. Shuri’s ability doubles the power of the next card played.
Two particularly strong cards have changed: Red Skull‘s drawback has been increased, meaning cards that oppose him on the opponent’s side now have +2 extra power, where previously they only had +1. She-Hulk has also had her power taken down by 1. These are both among the most powerful cards that can be played before the last turn of the match, making them key in building up incredible numbers of power, combined with Shuri.
There’s also a number of additional changes to other cards like Aero, who could previously move all enemy cards played to another location, potentially stopping your opponent from building up power in locations where the player is already winning. Aero can now only move one card.
Cards that absorb the abilities and power of cards played immediately prior to it, such as Mystique, Absorbing Man, and Taskmaster can now only do so if the card is still in play, not if it’s been destroyed in the meantime.
Elsewhere, Second Dinner also announced a handful of new features coming to Marvel Snap soon, including a new competitive mode based on the friendly battle format, and revamps to card acquisition and player rankings.
Full Marvel Snap patch notes for March 2023 follow, courtesy of Second Dinner.
Marvel Snap Patch Notes – March 21, 2023
- MORE TOKENS: Players who have not yet finished Marvel Snap Series 3 will now earn 4x more Tokens than before.
- SHOP UPDATE: Cards can now be acquired from the Shop in two different sections:
- CHOOSE YOUR CARD: Series 3 cards have been separated into their own shop section. Instead of purchasing one Series 3 card a month with tokens, players can now choose one Series 3 card to unlock each month for free! So, save those tokens for Series 4 and Series 5!
- THE TOKEN SHOP: The Token Shop now contains only Series 4, Series 5, and Ultimate Variants.
- Seasonal Series Drop: Some cards have dropped down to a lower series!
- Cards dropping from Series 5 to Series 4:
- Shadow King
- Series 4 to 3:
- When you tap on a card for more details during a match, the big card detail screen now features Artist Credits and Card Mods.
- New Card Sounds for:
- Master Mold
- Negasonic Teenage Warhead
- New Location Sounds for:
- Bar Sinister
ART & VISUAL EFFECTS
- The almighty Thanos now has VFX along with all of the Infinity Stones.
The unscheduled changes to Zabu and Silver Surfer made the Marvel Snap metagame shifts for the last month more difficult for us to predict, and we weren’t able to make timely adjustments for technical reasons. In that time, Thanos became one of our most dominant decks yet–his weak matchups vs. Zabu and Surfer had really been holding the Mad Titan back. Shuri-based decks were another big winner here, and both of these archetypes have exceeded our tolerances for game balance. This patch’s adjustments are aimed at restoring order and weakening each of them.
We’re continuing to explore updates and improvements to both our balance technology and our philosophy around scheduling changes, and we look forward to sharing that with you soon.
- Thanos: 6/11 -> 6/10
Developer Comments: We increased Thanos’s Power in a previous patch that was built during a time when Zabu and Silver Surfer were suppressing the success of Thanos-based decks. We’re happy to keep him at 9+ Power for Shang-Chi’s sake, but given his recent success we thought it appropriate to pull back on that buff just a touch. This change won’t dramatically impact the success of Thanos decks, as most of the strength is in the Stone interactions.
- Space Stone: On Reveal: Next turn you can move 1 card at this location. Draw a card. -> On Reveal: Next turn, you can move one card to this location. Draw a card.
Developer Comments: This is among the strongest Stones in Thanos decks due to its ability to create bonus Lockjaw triggers and disguise where strong cards might move. This change reduces its efficacy with Lockjaw by removing the incentive to play Space Stone itself for a Lockjaw trigger, flattening the number of bonus trigger opportunities for Lockjaw, and restricting the strategic options for late-game movement. We expect this to reduce the tactical flexibility of Thanos decks and make them more fun to play against.
- Quinjet: Now reduces costs to a minimum of 1.
Developer Comments: Cost reduction is powerful, and Quinjet was one of very few cards capable of reducing multiple cards’ Energy cost to 0. While we’ve enjoyed this interaction in some cases, such as The Hood’s Demon, ultimately it creates both an ongoing risk for future design space as well as fueling the dominant Thanos decks of today. This change should be a meaningful net reduction in strength to Thanos decks across the board.
- Red Skull: 5/15 – Ongoing: Enemy cards at this location have +2 Power ->5/13 – Ongoing: Enemy cards at this location have +1 Power.
Developer Comments: This change is singularly aimed at reducing the strength of combining Red Skull with Shuri and Taskmaster. Outside of those interactions, this change is mostly a buff to the base case usage for Red Skull, giving you 9 or 10 Power at crowded locations rather than 7 or 9.
- She-Hulk: 6/10 -> 6/9
Developer Comments: She-Hulk is a key component in the strongest Shuri decks, but it sees widespread play in various decks thanks to its strength alongside Sunspot, Wave, and Moon Girl. We mostly think that’s cool, but that she’s more powerful than she needs to be for those combos. In addition, we want to encourage playing actively to locations, rather than holding cards for explosive turn 6s, so we’re continuing to weaken a few of the best cards for the latter.
- Aero: 5/7 – On Reveal: Move all enemy cards played this turn to this location.->5/8 – On Reveal: Move the last enemy card played this turn to this location.
Developer Comments: Aero is a tricky card for us. The actual game balance for Aero has been healthy, and she fulfills a vital role in our game by providing interaction, especially against dangerously polarizing cards like Galactus. It’s important for Aero to be versatile and strong in order to be a widely playable “tech card,” but we don’t want her pushing the majority of other 5-Cost cards out of decks. Unfortunately, that’s the behavior we’re seeing. Aero can also be frustrating to see, denying players the option to play their own endgames. This change seeks to keep Aero strong where she’s needed, foster more competition among 5-Cost cards, and add counterplay to make her more fun to play against.
- Mystique, Absorbing Man, and Taskmaster – These cards now require the previously played card to be in play in order to copy its attributes. Here are their updated templates:
- Mystique: On Reveal: If the last card you played has an Ongoing, copy its text. (if it’s in play)
- Absorbing Man: If the last card you played has an On Reveal, copy its text. (if it’s in play)
- Taskmaster: On Reveal: Set this card’s Power equal to that of the last card you played. (if that card’s in play)
Developer Comments: This adjustment is part balance, part matching expectations. A meaningful chunk of Taskmaster’s strength in Shuri decks is his ability to copy a card’s Power even if it’s been destroyed by Shang-Chi or similar, an interaction that somewhat often gets reported as a bug. Hopefully this change weakens Shuri decks slightly and more cleanly matches players’ intuition when they see these cards for the first time.
- Morbius: Morbius’s Power no longer updates in-hand or in-deck, only at a location.
Developer Comments: We previously adjusted Morbius’s Power to update when he wasn’t in play to simplify calculating his future Power. However, this has proven a bit confusing in comparison to similar cards, and also unnecessary given Morbius is often played very early in the game and isn’t very hard to calculate. We’re reverting this change, but we expect to add future functionality to Morbius and all cards with Ongoing buffs to their own Power that communicates their Power, in order to make these cards simpler to play with.
- Knull: Knull’s Power still updates in-hand, but no longer updates in-deck.
Developer Comments: The future improvements discussed above will also apply to Knull, but until we make them he will continue to function differently relative to Devil Dinosaur and others. The reason for this is that it’s very important for Knull players to be able to quickly and precisely calculate his Power while making endgame decisions about their 6-Cost card. As a placeholder adjustment, Knull will no longer update his Power in your deck, so his functionality with Mister Negative will be the same as his fellow Ongoing cards. Notably, he will use his potential Power for effects like The Peak location until we’re able to make our desired improvements–that’s a trade we’ve decided to accept for improving the general use cases of Knull.
- Widow’s Bite (text-only): While this is in your hand, cards in your deck cannot be drawn. -> While this is in your hand, you can’t draw cards.
Developer Comments: Widow’s Bite inaccurately described its in-game effect. While we considered updating the effect of Widow’s Bite to only prevent drawing your own cards and effects like Cable from drawing your cards, we ultimately decided it was a better experience to just simplify the text and keep the current effect rather than create these edge cases.
- Cards created by Sacred Timeline no longer retain power/energy alterations when copied to the player’s hand.
- Fixed an issue that would cause some players, who had not played for several months before updating to the latest build, to see Battle Mode as locked.
- You can no longer see un-owned cards’ abilities when toggling the artist view in the Collection.
- You can no longer click objects behind the Retreat UI.
- When inbox messages are long, characters no longer disappear.
- Fixed another instance of Attilan VFX getting stuck on screen when it activates.
- The end of round UI/VFX now plays in the correct order when an opponent retreats.
- SFX now appear when collecting a card from a Collector’s Reserve.
- Clicking Gold/Credits from within the card detail view now take you properly to the shop.
- X-Mansion and Nova Roma now have text when they’re featured on the Carousel.
- Jessica Jones’ VFX should move with her now when she moves to another location.
- The Raft’s card VFX no longer goes towards the player who did not receive the card.
- Fixed an issue that would cause card descriptions to disappear when focusing a card in Fast Upgrade then one in the Collection screen.
- Cards that lose their ability due to Leech no longer get that ability back if they’re pulled back in play by another card.
- Daredevil VFX no longer gets stuck on screen if a player retreats during turn 5.
- Claimed text UI banners no longer overlap with Season Caches.
- Increased the size of some fonts in Thai that were too small in certain UI elements.
- [PC] Collection Sort/Filter options no longer disappear when resizing the client.
- [PC] Improved the scroll on the Collection Level Track
KNOWN ISSUES LIST
- Marvel Snap can crash on some Android devices when switching languages.
- If Morph spawns randomly (eg: via X-Mansion) and copies Kang, there is an infinite loop.
- It can be difficult to interact with the emotes in-match on some devices.
- The Season Pass spotlight card text is too large in some languages.
- Set as Favorite icon overlaps with the text icon in some languages.
- The Series 3 Token Shop does not display properly when you have collected all Series 3 cards.
- If you have the Series 3 card focused when the shop rolls, the screen will be blank for a moment.
- Tapping duplicate Kang’s in play while the turn is rewinding will cause that card to disappear.
- Banner VFX displays the wrong turn timer when Kang rewinds time.
- It can be hard to add or delete letters in the deck name on Android.
- Spotlight cards in the Season Pass UI can only be focused by tapping on the lower-left of the card.
- Reconnecting text doesn’t show all the time when Reconnecting to a Friendly battle.
- Credit/Gold deep linking does not navigate to the shop from the Reward/Mission detail view.
- Two players snapping on the same turn can cause the displayed energy pips to be incorrect.
- Several UI elements display with empty info for a brief moment when switching to the shop screen.
- Sandman and Electro may not visually show the power on a location if the location is locked down.
- Some text is hard to read/missing in Russian language.
- [PC] The Carousel can be hard to scroll.
- [PC] Switching languages after switching between Windowed and Windowed Fullscreen can cause text elements to disappear in the UI.