Welcome to the weekly Glenn Jones’ Diary entry. Below are the most interesting, surprising, or otherwise important answers from the Ask-The-Team channel on the Marvel Snap Discord from the last seven days. The player base only had a few issues on their minds this week. The three main topics were the infinite leaderboard, the upcoming Mobius M. Mobius card, and the newly buffed Snowguard. I've put those questions into three groups so you can get a sort of "Glenn's Primer" on those two topics.
Topic #1 - Rank
Q: I've seen a lot of talk about MMR relating to the state of Rank and Conquest and how players are matched against each other.
Will there ever be a place to view ones MMR? Would be nice for players not hitting infinite to see how they stack against the competition
A: Your SNAP Points post-Infinite are essentially a player-facing analog for MMR.
Q:Is the new ranked system for infinite players similar to an ELO in Chess? Or is it done by its own formula(or something like that)?
I ask as I have hit Infinite earlier today and, after playing for about 2 hours, it didn't matter if I won or lost, big or small, my rank almost exclusively went down after each game.
A:We have our own formula, but it's similar to ELO in that you get more points/lose less points when playing opponents rated much higher, and vice versa for lower.
Today, dropping on the leaderboard after a game was more common, because players with strong SNAP Points were likely making Infinite rank during your games and jumping ahead.
Q: Is infinite ranking retroactive?
A: Your SNAP Points, which determine your standing on the Infinite leaderboard, use past seasonal data to calculate their value, in addition to the results of your most recent games.
Q: Are the current Infinity rankings by server region? Or is the ranking including all servers?
A: The standing is global. We're combining data from every region to calculate that value.
Topic #2a - Mobius
Q: How will Wave interact with the newly-announced Mobius?
A: Mobius's effect regulates how Wave's effect applies. If either player plays Wave while you have Mobius out, your cards that cost <4 won't be increased, and your cards that cost >4 will be reduced to 4 for the usual time frame. The reverse is true for your opponent; their cards that cost >4 won't be reduced, while their cards that cost <4 will be increased as usual.
Why does this work? Isn't Wave the "winner winner, chicken dinner" on priority for applying Cost increases and decreases?
Yes, she is. But Mobius doesn't add or decrease Costs. He prevents the application of effects that would cause Costs to increase or decrease (depending who the player is). He's just an on/off switch on whether something can take place at all, which isn't a layering issue like Wave vs. Death.
This is similar to Luke Cage's effect with Power reduction/setting. Luke doesn't change the Power of any of your cards, but he prevents effects that would decrease their Power from being applied.
Q: Since shadow king makes a pig token go to its base power of 0 does Mobius make a pig token in hand go to its base cost of 0?
A: Yes (if it's your Pig and your Mobius)
Q: Hey glenn i have asked you before about some interactions specifically the one with shadow king and cage where set in other games such as HS will bypass cannot be reduced. Here i want to ask why did you decide that negative will be negated by enemy mobius? I am curious because as someone that have played a lot of card games in the past it feels a bit strange for this interaction to work this way for both cases.
A: I think “number go down = number decrease” is an accessible heuristic. Learning exceptions like the way power-setting works in some other games is not. Just because players have internalized a weird rule for other CCGs doesn’t mean I want to make new CCG players do it for SNAP.
**I think Glenn makes an excellent point here. Just because something unintuitive has become commonplace among TCGs, it doesn’t mean Snap is going to follow suit.
Q: When I saw Glenn mention that Mobius could work with Wave, I was genuinely shocked, and I believe such a decision might shake the very foundations of the game.
Here, I'll provide two examples:
Assuming only you have Mobius, if you play Wave on T3 and Galactus on T4, how can your opponent stop Galactus from challenging the Power when they can't play high-cost cards? Doesn't this go against your initial intent when altering Galactus?
When both Mobius and Lockjaw are on the board after Wave, it means not only can you play a high-cost card after Wave, but you can also do the Lockjaw shuffle by playing a low-cost card. Is this really acceptable?
A: It wasn’t a decision, it was a given. You can rewire your house’s lights to ignore the switches, but why would you do that?
In fact, I’m not sure I would’ve created Mobius without Wave. I don’t really like making “tech cards” unless they also have cards to directly synergize with, such as using Echo to protect Wong or Armor to guard Attuma. Even if the use case isn’t common, it adds good texture to deckbuilding decisions.
One way Mobius + Wave differs from the cards you named is just that—they’re two cards. Drawing two specific cards happens less often than one, and is much easier to disrupt or plan around.
I’m not saying this combo isn’t impactful—I believe it is—but new cards are also supposed to have an impact.
**I tend to think the hand-wringing about the Mobius/Wave interaction is overblown. It’s probably good, but not overpowered. I think it’s important to note two things: 1) It’s not the return of the full combo with 0-cost Deaths after only a couple of triggers, this works differently 2)Death / Wave was not particularly strong in the season before it was patched out of the game. It had fallen behind the meta before that happened.
Q: With the addition of Mobius + Wave... isn't this bringing back Death Wave? Why bring that back now?
A: The issue with Death Wave was never the power level of that deck. In fact, I would say its strength was vastly overestimated most of the time, though it put on a good show. The issue was Wave constraining future design space.
But even so, this doesn't bring back the same deck. Even if you assume requiring Mobius + Wave is just as easy as only needing Wave (it's not), you can't take the same turns. Wave on turn 5 is a 4-Cost She-Hulk whether you have Mobius or not, and Death needs 8 destroyed cards to get to 0
Q: I have read the how the interaction works for MMM and Wave. I am curious how that interaction will affect cards like Death and She-Hulk? If I wave only on 5 with MMM on the board will She-hulk cost 4 or 2? or Does MMM not play into this interaction and Wave Trumps them?
A: In the specific case described above, She-Hulk will cost 4. Her reduction will apply, taking her from 6 to 4, then Wave will attempt to apply and set her to 4, which she already costs--your Mobius doesn't matter.
However, if you had passed with 5 Energy and your opponent had played Wave, She-Hulk's Cost would be reduced to 1. Then when Wave tried to set that Cost to 4, Mobius would cut in and keep She-Hulk at 1.
Q: Let's say that I am the only one with Mobius on the board. I have she hulk in hand, is it possible by floating energy she never returns to 6 cost?
A: No. Mobius manages the application of cost adjustments, and She-Hulk’s adjustment only lasts one turn.
Topic #2b - Snowguard
Q: Now that Snowguard gives you both the bird and bear, any chance that the bear's trigger will be updated to be able to retrigger locations that are turn dependent?
A: No, that's not what the card was intended to do. We prefer keeping those turn-locked.
Q: When playing Hawk on T5 she disables Limbo until the end of the Game and does not reactivate it but when i used that same thing on Bar with No Name the Location reactivated at the End of the Game is there an explanation as to why this works on some locations and on others not?
A: Limbo's effect is active during game turns and inactive during "scoring" at the end of the game. Bar With No Name is active during scoring, and Hawk doesn't affect scoring, only game turns.
Q: The hawk’s card effect generated by snowguard says “ignore all location abilities until the end of the next turn ( or the game )” How should this work? The effect means that if I use hawk in the last turn on nexus for example it will be deactivated for the entire game, is it right? Is there any particular interaction between cards like Dracula that triggers the effect at the end of the game?
A: Hawk deactivates the location until the end of the next turn or until the end of the game, whichever happens first. Once you get to the end of the game, the location comes back, cards like Dracula and Captain Marvel do their thing, then the game scores the winner using all active locations.
We added the "(or the game)" text in an attempt to clarify the outcome for people who thought playing Snowguard on turn 6 would last "through" scoring. It's been a mixed bag on that account, and I'm not sure we'll keep the text or what we'll change it to, if anything.
Topic #2c - Loki)
Q: Does Loki copy opponent's Agatha? I think it would be fun if he does!
A: He can, the likelihood depends on how many cards he’s copying.
**There has been a lot of discussion about how good Loki is. Should he be insta-nerfed? Does the community just need time to adjust and counter it? All I'll say is this: any card that can make Agatha fringe playable might be problematic.
Q: When I first read Loki, I presumed his ability would work like Morph, except transforming the cards in your hand into cards that started in your opponent’s deck. Flavor-wise, I think this matches Loki quite well, since not only he can shapeshift himself, he can transmute and empower objects and living beings with his magic. Since “replace” doesn’t specify where a player’s cards go or that new cards were created, this seemed reasonable to me.
However, given he works with the Collector, this seems to not be the case, and I wonder why.
A: We used “replace” to make sure no one thought the cards were discarded. If they were being transformed, we would’ve used that word, or perhaps Morph’s “become” phrasing. We do have “replace” indicating a new card on Bucky Barnes, and we expect to use it more in the future.
In addition to adding cards to hand having more synergy hooks, like Collector, it’s less confusing (does Quinjet work or not?) and creates fewer risks of strange behavior (we’ve had Gamma Lab bugs in the past).
Q: It is very disappointing to see all that base cards with white border instead of the different variants with animations. Was this on purpose?
A: We’ll make this QoL improvement in a future patch. Currently, Loki gathers the starting deck list in a way that “cleans” it, to avoid taking modifiers into the copies, but that also set the cards to the base variant.
Other Dev QAs
Q: Does Ravonna Renslayer look at the base power or the current power? If a card gets hit by Scorpion/Mr. Negative/The Peak and it gets under her threshold will it have its cost reduced or not?
A: Current Power, including modifiers.
Q: So removing the Soul Stone's ability to cantrip or draw a card after played was a surprising, but in my opinion a well-deserved, change in Thanos lists and archetypes.
Given that Thanos makes the deck inconsistent with the deck size increase, giving most of the stones cantrip effects lessens this inconsistency during gameplay. With now 4 out of 6 of the stones, instead of the previous 5 out of 6, can only draw cards, has the team ever considered making another cantriping stone draw an additional card, say the Mind Stone, to compensate for the lost consistency? And if so, what made you guys decide to just remove one draw from the deck instead of basically delegating the Soul Stone's draw ability to another card?
A: We wanted to nerf Thanos, not redistribute his strength. Moving the draw would mostly increase the variance, which wouldn't weaken him as much.
**I saw some concern about this nerf floating around social media. I think it's fine, the stones were perhaps still a bit too strong and this sets Thanos up to stay unchanged for the foreseeable future, I would imagine.
Q: Glenn: You mentioned that it's less likely to make more cards like Domino and quicksilver.
I understand that they serve a tutorial role, rather than competitive. The effect they have on delaying other card draws is well documented.
I was curious if that is a design space the team is interested in exploring - cards that WANT to spend more time in the deck before being played. Gaining power, having some game effect while in deck, etc.
Or is this just not that fun or intuitive? The Deck is less interactive than the hand or locations (for both players) - and you can't actually read card text for un-drawn cards - a bit strange for cards to be MORE exciting when you're not looking at it.
I know this already exists in cards like M'Baku and Angel, but their lack of popularity might signal that this is not an interesting road to explore.
A: I think cards that like spending time in the deck are totally cool, even if Angel and M'Baku are not where we'd like. As you note, the design space is more constrained. Cards that *keep* themselves in the deck are the problematic space.
**Something that I always see proposed in Twitch chats is that you could buff M'Baku or Angel by making them stay in the deck, like Chavez. The rest of chat usually realizes what Glenn implies here: they'd be problematically good. Hopefully we can get some type of creative buff to those cards though.
Q: Usually season passes would be released along side with movies or tv shows (ie the Quantumania season released along with Antman 3, spider verse season along with ATSV) how come the Loki season is releasing a month before the tv show comes out? Was it always planned for September and not October?
A: We had it planned for September before they announced the release date for the season. We basically were trying to guess when the season would launch. We couldn’t move it once they announced October so decided to have it be a build up to season 2 instead of out the same month.
As a general rule though we do try to hit the same month as big MCU beats whenever we can.
**I think this is awesome. What could be in store for the new Echo and Agatha Disney+ shows? Can we please get a season based around Deadpool 3? The Fantastic Four movie is quite a long way off but maybe we'll get some sweet F4 cosmetics!
Q: Glenn said regarding the Spider-Ham changes "As I've stated many times, we're never trying to prevent cards from seeing play--just find healthier rates and use cases. In this case, the intent was to reduce his generic strength and the frustrating pressure he could put on cards like Apocalypse and Living Tribunal."
So you really believe people will continue to play Spider Ham now? That he won't drop to next to no usage?
A: I can't see the future, but we felt he still had a place. If we're wrong, we can adjust him via OTA now that his effect is no longer so damaging to archetypes we want to support.
**Glenn got hammered a few times over the Spider-Ham change. I think it's too strong of a nerf, but Glenn was pretty patient in the face of a bit of over-the-top Spider-Ham indignation.
Q: We had Knull week 1 of spotlight caches and now we have him again. Looking at this month’s caches we also get Jean Grey, High Evo, and Kang again.
There are cards that still haven’t gone through spotlight cache rotation at all, such as Howard the Duck and Stegron. There is an in-game philosophy of rotating what was available (at least in the shop) so that players get the opportunity to see and acquire the cards they want on a fixed cadence, not having to worry that a card they want may never show up.
A: One of the main reasons for duplicates right now is availability of variants for cards that can go into the spotlight cache. If we do not have a spotlight variant for that card ready then we have to hold it until one is available. We are building out our variant pipeline further to get in front of the needs to keep the spotlight cache fresh and without undo gaps between highlighting specific characters.
**This is definitely disappointing, though surprisingly candid for a game company. It is pretty crazy that we already have a third Jean Grey spotlight simply because there's good art for her. I can tell you there's a lot more Jean Grey art to draw from than for characters like Ravonna Renslayer and Mobius M. Mobius. Players will rightfully lose faith in this system if this isn't corrected and if series drops don't return soon.
Q: Right now, the only cards in the game that can change a location to a specific one are Storm (turns location into Flooded), Rhino (turns to Ruins), and Magik (turns to Limbo). Do you guys plan on designing and releasing more cards that can set a location to an existing location in the game (or maybe even a new location debuted with the card)?
A: I’m sure we’ll make more, but we’re careful about them to maintain the positive impacts of location variance.
**Using locations as a way to increase RNG and therefore close the player skill gap is clearly highly valued by the team. Legion cut into that RNG and that's what makes him such a strong card. Perhaps that's why Quake is so restricted as well.
Q: First Living Tribunal, now Lady Deathstrike:
Buffing cards shortly AFTER they appeared in spotlights and without any information when they become available again feels really really bad.
Why did you choose to release the card less appealing just to buff her literally 2 weeks later?
A: If I could release every card balanced at the exact right rate, I'd definitely do that! But it's an imperfect science. We'll continue using live ops to correct misses high and low, so that each week players can trust the Spotlight Cache to have an impactful new card for them long-term.
**This has been an unfortunate pattern. I'm quite confident it's not intentional, but a lot of players disagree and ascribe malice to this. Either way they should really make an effort to avoid this happening too often.
Q: I am curious exactly what criteria SD uses to determine the cards that need tweaking in OTAs and patches. Most of the time, there seems to be a disconnect between the developers and the community. A good example of this is with the most recent OTA. Players were expecting a nerf to Silk and Iron Lad but were hit with a Captain Marvel nerf instead. Nothing was even done about the Mister Sinister, Patriot, Brood, Absorbing Man, Iron Lad combo.
A: The TL;DR is that players are great at identifying when they’re not enjoying an experience, but there are a lot of variables they may not observe or weigh. Combine that with the necessary temporal delay between fixes, and you’ll always have some dissonance.
We didn’t nerf Silk because two cards in that deck were already getting nerfs based on their overall performance being way too high—Captain Marvel and Legion—and we prefer not to over-nerf, especially cards we think are fair and cool, like Silk.
It’s easy to look at Silk, a card with a very high win percentage, and assume it needs to be nerfed, but that win% is a product of its play. For example, Sauron was the top card in the game when Shuri was hyper-dominant; Shuri-Sauron wasn’t even the best Shuri deck, but it was the only real Sauron deck while there were a lot of worse Shuri decks dragging her numbers down. Did Sauron need a nerf? Obviously not.
As for the Abs Man decks, that deck’s popularity exploded shortly after our last OTA was locked for localization and testing. We wouldn’t have acted on it even if we had an extra day, because just like we don’t over-nerf, we don’t want to immediately smack new decks that emerge before people get a chance to enjoy them and adapt.
**While this game has a faster balance cadence than any game I've ever played, the delay is definitely still noticeable. The balance with Loki, Ravonna, and Mobius is awfully tricky in my opinion, and the delay may make it even more difficult to nail. Do you lock in a change to Loki now, knowing that the metagame may evolve to handle him on its own? Do you wait to see what effect Ravonna and Mobius have first? Personally, I'm fine with letting things shake out on their own a bit with these three cards, but I'm getting the impression people are getting impatient with Loki mirrors already. Can Glenn and the balance team put their faith in a notoriously impatient player base to trust them? We shall see.
Q: Now that some time has passed it seems like the bounce archetype is dead. Anecdotally I haven’t seen any Beast/Falcon or even Hit Monkeys on the board for quite some time. Does your internal data suggest the same and do you think the bounce nerfs were a bit too heavy handed?
A: Bounce’s win percentage didn’t suffer a ton in the wake of the nerfs, though its popularity dipped a lot. This is a common phenomenon after a balance change.
The largest impact to its performance came about a week ago as players began using Wave a lot more, which combined with the nerds weakening t5 Hit-Monkey had a big impact.
Does that mean we consider the nerfs heavy-handed, or wrong? No, because things are constantly in flux and we adapt in suit. If the metagame is strong against Bounce for too long, we can buff it. It’s the same thing we did for Shuri with reverting some of Red Skull’s dings a while ago.
**This is further insight into how Glenn and the team handle nerfs. Player perception of the strength of a deck doesn't necessarily match reality, but at the same time, a few well-practiced die-hards can inflate the win rate of a nerfed deck and widespread play of a strong deck by everyone and their uncle can deflate a win rate. I think this has major implications for the balancing of Loki and the other cards this season.
That’s all for this week. I find it interesting that the community obsesses over the interactions and functions of upcoming cards. We’ll learn them pretty quickly after a card is released. We did it with Legion, and now it seems people can’t stop wondering about Mobius. Is it just a sign of community interest in a card, or is it an unhealthy obsession with needing to know everything as soon as possible? Also, let us know down below what your thoughts are on Loki and the recent Snowguard changes. Head to the Marvel Snap discord and ask a question to potentially be featured here.