As we approach the global release date of October 18th, Second Dinner just put out their largest balance patch to date yesterday, September 20th. Following you will find thoughts and commentary on everything that was changed....and added! At the bottom of this article, there will be information that has been data mined from this patch. If that is something you are not interested in reading, you may want to turn away around where I begin discussing locations!
Check out 2 types of highlights of the new categories or view them all at our Variant List:
Now onto balance changes! As a general heuristic, I view 1 mana as roughly equivalent to 2.5 power for a good card, and 2 power for an acceptable card, competitively.
Blue Marvel received a nice buff, moving from a 6/4 to a 5/3, while keeping his original ability. As previously mentioned, 1 mana is more valuable than 1 power, so this is decidedly a buff. Negative Seratonin is potentially interested in adding this, as are plenty of other decks, especially if he was competing vs other 6 cost cards.
Jessica Jones went from a 5/8 or 5/10 to a 4/4 or 4/8. Based on the numbers I've given thus far, a 4/4 is clearly worse than a 5/8, but a 4/8 is better than a 5/10 very slightly. If there were no further context to be applied here, it would be fair to call this a wash. However, not playing a card into a specific lane on turn5 is far less punishing that not playing a card into a specific lane on turn-6. Why, you might ask? Mainly due to the fact that your opponent has perfect information when turn-6 comes around. Them having that information on turn5 is not that important, because both players still have turn-6 to react. Additionally, Jess is now a great followup to a turn3 Storm now. She is very much a playable card worth considering now.
Generic power gains.
Spider Man gained 1 power.
Aero gained 2 power.
Abomination gained 1 power.
Black Bolt gained 1 power.
Red Skull gained 1 power.
Agatha Harkness gained 1 power.
Hulk gained 1 power.
Onslaught gained 1 power.
Spectrum gained 1 power.
Klaw gained 1 power on his ongoing ability, not on his body himself.
Gamora gained 1 power baseline and 1 additional power on her On-Reveal.
These changes fall into this category of it's easy to underrate how much a simple power gain can help a card out.
While this was obviously a buff for Spider-Man. I personally think Cerebro-2 was the only deck he was worth running in before this patch, and he has been shoved out of said deck. One could try a Cerebro-3 now, and have a Spider-Man into Professor X followup, but it is not clear to me how good that is. Potentially worth noting that Onslaught lost his Cerebro-6, as Spider-Man lost his Cerebro-2, but Cerebro-6 had significantly worse stats than Cerebro-2.
I think Klaw and Gamora are the most relevant of these. Klaw is helped in an area that coincides with why we put him in the deck. Gamora just ended in a solid place where her final ratio is 5:12, which is close to 1:2.5. The others are surely good changes, but nothing too exciting to me.
Spider Woman kept her same ability, but had her stats changed from 4/4 to 5/7. To start, this is better than the 1/2.5 ratio that I mentioned at the start, so already good. But it is worth mentioning that ratio assumes you are spending your mana when available and is the return desired for that mana spent. Spider Woman's ability wants to occur later in the game, as it gets more powerful when there are more opposing units in lane. This is of course obvious, but the reality is that playing her on turn-5 will, on average, give her more targets to hit. So we are likely getting better than the 1:3 ratio that is present on her stat line. Past that, if ever desired, she curves well with both Wong and Odin, though it's surely a bit overkill to play all 3 cards in the same lane!
Ronan got more expensive by 1 mana, but also got his bonus increased to +3 per card in opponent's hand instead of +2. Generally, this will beat the 1:2.5 ratio, as you are not wanting to play Ronan in a meta or deck that expects your opponent to empty their hand. So in something like a Sandman deck, this was a buff for him. Being limited to 1 card per turn mitigates the mana cost increase.
Additionally, in a traditional MrNegative deck, he now has 1 additional power base and more than that from whatever cards remain in opponent's hand. Seeing as a traditional version of such deck generally does not play out their full hand, the downside of +1 cost otherwise is generally immaterial.
Thor went from a 4/6 to a 3/4. Mjollnir remained the same. Losing 2 power for a reduction of 1 mana cost is generally good, but this change means we are more likely to draw Mjollnir, and thus more able to build around it as a win condition (using things like Wong or Odin). Furthermore, the final ratio went from 4/12 to 3/10, which is quite significant.
Professor X got a change that is appreciated, but nothing too crazy. Long story short, If you play him with initiative, and your opponent plays a goblin, said goblin will NOT switch sides.
Of all the big nerfs people were expecting, this was the only that got hit. He went from a 4/4 to a 4/1. I personally am a big fan of this change. Does that mean I think that everything is perfect? Nope, not at all - but I am a fan of a moderate change and giving it time to see how it works out. I think this will impact Negative Seratonin in a decent way, as the goal of that deck is to play efficient cards with some powerful multiplicative (doubling) scaling thanks to Iron Man and Mystique.
On the other hand, I think that a more pure/traditional Mr. Negative list will not hurt as much. When they are looking to curve Psylocke into Mr. Negative on turn-2 and 3, they are looking for big flashy plays, not consistent power. This again leads to believe that this is a good initial nerf to the card.
LadySif had a rather simple change with multiple cascading problems for her. First off, at 3 mana, she can no longer be played alongside Ghost Rider on turn6. In my opinion, this basically killed said combo. Furthermore, she is now 1 turn slower (and with more card conflict) in an Agatha Harkness deck. Said deck wanted to get Agatha out of their hand as soon as possible, so that the player could take back over. Sif being a 2-mana card helped this a lot. Finally, she also now conflicts with 3-mana discards in a discard shell, be that Apocalypse, Morbius, or Hela. I don't even play her in any real deck before the patch, and still dislike this particular change.
Arnim Zola had a small change that makes him function more as many people would expect, while at the same time nerfing a small corner case. In all honesty, unless you tried to abuse this, it is not really a nerf for your playstyle. Playing him as intended was untouched. The change is that if he fails to destroy a card, copies are not created, whereas prior, they were. If you weren't trying to high-roll him in an Armor lane, again, this does not impact you.
Other Card Changes
Ultron used to put his robots into the adjacent lanes. Now, he puts them into all the lanes, regardless of where he is played. This is generally a buff, on the chance that he cannot be played in the mid lane...but it also means we no longer have the option of only filling 1 lane. I don't think anyone who puts him in a deck sees this as a downside, but I'm not comfortable calling this a no-questions-asked buff.
DevilDinosaur used to be a 4/0 and now is a 5/3. Using my prior stated ratio, gaining 3 power for 1 mana is technically a buff, but it's now worse in Mr. Negative decks (a main place it was found), and harder to pull off in Big-Hand style decks. He is harder to copy and play 2 of with Moon Girl and past that, if we look at his final mana-to-power ratio, pretend we had 6 cards in hand (+12 power), he went from 4/12 to 5/15, with the same ratio. If we ignore everything else, this means he's the same with 6 cards in hand, worse with 7 cards in hand, and better with 5 or less cards in hand...but ultimately, saying the same will almost always perfer the cheaper option. Ability to play Dino + Agent 13 on turn-5 for example is a benefit.
If one goes to reddit, or watches some videos, you may see people saying Baron Mordo got buffed. In a vacuum, this is technically true. In reality, it is not. He went from terrible to terrible. This reminds me of an old conversation in Hearthstone...
This is not a good tool in a disruption deck, or a good card at all basically. For those that followed Hearthstone in the past, this is the Fel Reaver debate all over again. Fel Reaver reads "Whenever your opponent plays a card, remove the top 3 cards of your deck." The relevant point here is that unless they run out of cards fully, you had no knowledge of their top card, and thus it basically did nothing. Yes, sometimes you'd see a great card be removed, and that felt great...but other times, you'd actually remove cards and help them get to the card they needed - at the end of the day, it was just a wash.
Moving back to SNAP...Pretend for a moment that this said "put the top card of your opponents deck on the bottom of their deck" - it's similar to Fel Reaver and basically makes the top card unavailable. In your average game, 9/12 cards are drawn. This effect just means your opponent draws 1-8 and 10 rather than 1-9. Since the deck was shuffled, there is no reason to think this does anything. You denied access to card 9 and provided access to card 10. If Magik is played, just change that to cards 10 and 11.
Now, if we actually are a little more realistic, this effect is worse than that, because it does draw them the card and give them access to it. Perhaps that means they draw their inverted Iron Man on the final turn as a 6/5...yea, it costs 6 instead of 0 now, but imagine other times where Mordo hits their Angela on turn4 or something and then they draw the 0/5 Iron Man on the final turn, only BECAUSE of Mordo. And let's be real, a 6/5 Iron Man (with perhaps a 0 mana Mystique in hand) is still generally good. The option remains there.
I've already witnessed a significant number of games where he helped the player hit a card they otherwise would never have seen, and past that, sometimes he just draws the player a 6-cost card anyway while also giving them access to another card either at all, or a turn earlier. Doing this on 2, hoping to hit Mr. Negative will just as often cause your opponent to draw him as their turn-4 instead of turn-6 draw.
The timing on this has been moved from start of turn-4 to end of turn-3. Ultimately, it is not a real change, and was done simply for clarity.
This is just a rename of Klyntar, nothing special.
New data-mined cards and locations!
(Sorry, there's no image for this yet)
Cost: 6 Power: 0
Ongoing: Knull has the combined power of all cards destroyed this game.
Solid payoff for a destroy deck. That said, it does not work well with Destroyer due to the timing of the destructions. It also has some tension with The Hood's negative power. But a Deadpool or Venom based deck will be quite happy with it, I believe. We'll just have to wait and see! Final note, it is based on destructions on both sides and is an ongoing effect, meaning Rogue can steal it, Enchantress can remove it, and if there are destructions after it has been played, it will grow...oh, and lets not forget that Mystique is a card...
Cost: 1 Power: 4
Ongoing: Can't be Destroyed
Hmmm.... Seems insanely strong for a 1-drop, and I honestly don't think this will release as a collectable card in the current form... Oh, see location below...
Description: Each card in your hand swaps its Power and Cost.
Have to say, I'm not a fan. I'm a big location lover, but I love it when they create interesting scenarios to react to. This will just complete mess up some decks, and give other decks a free Mr. Negative effect turns early.
Description: When you play a card here, shuffle 3 Vibranium into your deck.
Interesting. Shuffling something that can't be Killmonger or Carnage killed is cool. It leaves the player with Agency, and drawing these may be bad for your deck, but nowhere close to rock-bad. As such, it won't feel quite so bad. The player will feel they have a chance still even when a couple of these are drawn.
Description: When you play a card here, double its Power.
Another location for people to love their Shang Chi. Not much else to say.
Description: The card(s) here with the highest Power have their Power doubled.
I like these sorts of locations. Again, it gives players agency on how much do they want to play for this? Seems quite likely that grabbing this benefit will win the lane, and will put one far ahead on tie-breakers.
Description: Draw 3 cards. Destroy both decks.
Alright, this one is crazy and I think I like it (I reserve the right to change my mind once playing with it). Full player agency is granted. If revealed on turn-1, that means both players will have 7 cards. Turn-2 will be 8 cards, and turn-3 will be the normal 9 cards. That said, you know all of your draws when the location is revealed, so you can start planning ahead with no RNG on the draw. I really want to emphasize that these cards were going to be your next 3 draws. Getting them all at once does not add more randomness to the game, but rather let's you have full information for turns3-6 as you make your plays.
I write a lot, sorry to people who don't like that! :)
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