Friday, December 16, 2022

Yeah, I’m On That Marvel Snap Thing Too

I know everyone else is playing it and talking about it. But also I am too, and with Twitter gone and my one RL friend playing it largely unable to, I’m going to nerd out about it here.

I’m not going to explain the game much because there are plenty of three paragraph chunks in Internet stories about the game you can read. It’s a collectible card game. There are a couple of things that would be helpful for you to know, though.

It’s a freemium game, so you can spend money on it, but doing so is optional and… also kind of stupid? There are three currencies in the game. One is very useful and shockingly plentiful. One is premium, trickles in slowly from free play, and is 100% cosmetic. I mean, you can use it to speed up timers but lI can’t imagine why you ever would? The third lets you collect cards a certain specific way but the size of the card pool relative to the rate of free play acquisition means you’re only wanting to pay money to speed things up if you’re one of THOSE people and who’d want to be that?

Also, the game is built around change. Locations and cards are constantly shifting the dynamic, and it’s more about being able to respond to the changing situation with a variety of flexible tools. Having or not having one card isn’t going to break you or ruin your day.

My main deck is, in classic CCG style, built around
  minimizing the disadvantages used to balance a couple of high power cards - Ebony Maw and Infinaut.

Ebony Maw is an early game heavy hitter, but once you put him down, you’re done playing cards at that location. So I’ve built in cards that boost a location without  playing there (Sunspot, Ironheart, Dr. Doom, Thor/Mjolnir) and Goose, who limits the opponent’s ability to come back from the power deficit Maw creates.

Infinaut, meanwhile, has the highest power in the game, but to play him, you have to skip Turn 5, which is a key tactical turn to set up the endgame. So, again, some late game cards to bypass that like Jubilee and Dracula, plus Sunspot, who’s nice to have on the board if you do end up not playing on Turn 5. 

Dr. Doom also acts a s a very different situational finisher from Infinaut - low power in all locations vs. high power in one. By Turn 4, I usually know which way I both can and need to go to win.

The rest of the deck is fleshed out by the 2-power utility duo of Okoye and Scorpion, who don’t help with the theme but are good value, and Scarlet Witch, who’s critical for the handful of locations that will ruin my fucking day.

It’s surprisingly effective. It’s vulnerable to card-killers like Electra and Killmonger, but those don’t get played a ton. It’s vulnerable to any insane synergy deck that hits the specific sequence of events required to trigger the synergy, but so is every deck.

But it’s also fun to play. It’s full of good choices like Jubilee vs. Dracula on Turn 4. If the heavy hitters are already in my hand, pick Dracula and get their power without having to play them. If I don’t have them yet? Odds are pretty good Jubilee will pluck them out. And because it’s not really built around a particular in-game ability, the opponent has a tougher time predicting what I’m going to do because I’m not trying to do one thing.

I’d love to find better utility cards to replace Okoye and Scorpion with - ones that really tie into the way the deck works andcomplement that - but right now I’m not sure they exist. You could maybe make an argument for Lizard or Angela or both, because of their higher power / power potential, but Lizard might lose key power when I think I’ve locked a position down, and Angela requires the play of other cards which Ebony Maw stops. 

Anyway, it’s a lot of fun, and while the first major update did seem to try to change things so that purchases were more… compelling, it didn’t really do much. We’ll see what the future holds.

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