Another OTA balance change for MARVEL SNAP dropped today, bringing with it two buffs to cards the developers thought weren't seeing enough play, two nerfs to cards considered too prevalent, and the removal of certain locations from the game. They also shared their plans for the future of OTA updates and balance cadence.
We'll show the changes, then share our thoughts on what they mean for the game.
May 25 - OTA Balance Updates
Quote From MARVEL SNAP
We’re back with another set of OTA balance changes! You’ll see below that we’re once again making four small adjustments to the cards, but we also have another change for our set of locations as well as an update on the future of our approach to OTAs.
- [Old] 5/8 - On Reveal: Your opponent must discard the lowest-Cost card in their hand.
- [New] 5/7 - On Reveal: Your opponent must discard the lowest-Cost card in their hand.
- This one wasn’t on any of our bingo cards to start the year, but here we are. Black Bolt ascended to the top of our individual card leaderboards a couple weeks ago, and has remained there unchallenged ever since, with a frankly shocking average number of cubes won per game when drawn. However, his discard effect makes him the sort of card we don’t want topping that list. Furthermore, the deck he was fueling has also been quietly outperforming the field by a margin as high as Shuri or Thanos in their prime. While its game plan may feel more fair, it also has almost no bad matchups. Since the metagame hasn’t shifted to effectively contest this deck, we’ve decided Black Bolt’s day in the sun is over.
- [Old] 5/7 - Costs 1 if your opponent discarded a card from their hand this game.
- [New] 5/6 - Costs 1 if your opponent discarded a card from their hand this game.
- Uh, ditto? We have seen the numbers on the Black Bolt/Stature deck soften a little bit since our Wave change, which has been most impactful by turning a good matchup into a bad one. However, it’s still clearly the best deck, and our playtesting for some future decks also indicated that this change would be merited down the line. So, we’re making it now in order to ensure we see this deck fall from its lofty perch.
Negasonic Teenage Warhead
- [Old] 3/4 - After ANY card is played here, destroy this card AND that card.
- [New] 3/5 - After ANY card is played here, destroy this card AND that card.
- We hemmed and hawed a bit over whether to release Negasonic as 3/4 or 3/5 to start, and since then the data’s made it clear that we were too cautious. This change won’t make a huge difference–she often doesn’t wind up contributing her own Power to a location–but it does let her take the lead in some spots where she might previously have merely drawn, forcing your opponent to commit a card there to take it back. We did briefly debate exploring what she might look like as a 2-Cost card, but ultimately decided that might make her a little too strong as a counter to our weakest 6-Cost cards, the ones that only contest a single location.
- [Old] 2/2 - Ongoing: Cards you play here are not revealed until the game ends.
- [New] 2/3 - Ongoing: Cards you play here are not revealed until the game ends.
- The majority of Invisible Woman’s play has been supporting the combo lines in Hela decks and acting as a pseudo-Cosmo to protect Ongoing-based buff decks from being single-handedly defeated by Enchantress. We believe she has the potential to be an interesting occasional player in some other decks, and this stat buff may provide her with that opportunity. We did consider the potential impact to Cerebro-2 specifically, but we’ve given that deck a couple of recent buffs and expect it may benefit from more down the line. Plus, there’s always Cerebro-3.
After some internal discussion of our goals for the location pool, we’ve decided to continue adjusting some of our most restrictive locations. There are meaningful gameplay and deckbuilding benefits to having these locations, but there are also diminishing returns to having many such locations that restrict play so harshly and similarly, especially two or more appearing in the same game. So, rather than further reducing the frequency with which these locations appear, we’ve decided to thin the ranks. As of today, we’ve temporarily removed the following three locations from the game:
- Plunder Castle
We’re taking them back to design, where we’ll be finding brand new effects to implement for each one. Once those are playtested and approved, we’ll reintroduce them to the game. We’re not 100% sure what that will look like yet, but you can expect to see them return in the next few months.
The Future of OTA Changes
This last month has been a lot of fun for the design team! The metagame has featured a diverse spread of interesting decks, even given the recent dominance of Black Bolt/Stature. We’ve appreciated the community’s positive reaction to our OTA balance philosophy as well as the changes themselves.
With the conclusion of this May trial, we’ve decided to continue making regular OTA updates to the game, at a slightly less frequent cadence. Rather than making balance changes on all three of the weeks between patches, we’ll be taking the week in the middle off. There are two primary contributing factors to this decision: 1) putting together these updates on tight deadlines was a bit more stressful than we’d like each week, and 2) having two OTA weeks in a row always meant we got little to no insight from the first week when locking in changes for the second.
To illustrate the cadence, it’ll look like this:
- Patch week (usually Tuesday)
- OTA week (Thursday)
- Off week
- OTA week (Thursday)
- Patch week (usually Tuesday)OTA week (Thursday)
We hope you’re as excited as we are for the ongoing balance future of Marvel SNAP, and we’ll see you again on 6/8!
Extremely Vital Insights That Everyone Will Be Talking About Tomorrow
In our opinion, these are the most impactful changes since the Enchantress buff - nerfing the Power of two cards that had teamed up to create a pretty good deck at high Collection Levels while also removing from the game some of the most annoyingly restrictive locations. Also, there were buffs.
We'll start with the nerfs, and since the two cards in question are rarely seen in decks without each other, we'll take them together.
Black Bolt and Stature flew under the radar for the longest time - neither was seriously considered to be very good. Then Black Bolt got an extra point of power, enterprising brewers started toying with the synergy, and all of sudden they became an incredibly solid one-two punch that formed the backbone of a variety of good decks. Nerfing the Power of one might have kept the pair around, although at a lower frequency; by nerfing both, Second Dinner has all but assured that only the most dedicated Stature Stans will continue to play with that synergy.
Buffing Negasonic Teenage Warhead makes it a bit more imperative to attempt to answer the 3-Drop, but we think it's unlikely to change the card's current state.
Like the devs said, buffing the Power of Invisible Woman makes it an intriguing option for Cerebro 3 decks, and is a slight buff to Hela decks. People willing to experiment might find a new favorite deck, but we don't think this will cause a huge swing in the meta.
All three locations they removed were often responsible for non-games that punished players who didn't have the right deck; both Sandbar and Plunder Castle were incredibly punishing if you happened to be playing a deck that couldn't put cards there. We didn't mind Milano, but it did create less-than-appealing games where both players had to pile in on turn 5 or hope they could swing the other locations in their favor. We'll be glad to see them reworked - hopefully the developers continue to rework un-fun locations (*cough* Dream Dimension), since we'll be getting an OTA change every other week from here on out.
How do you feel about these balance changes? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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