Nice analysis. I am also playing for work primarily (I am a designer for Legends of Runeterra). I largely agree, although I will say one cost to the game is that errors seem highly visible after the fact so it risks making you feel stupid more than one would like (perhaps this is just me lol). But I agree that the core design is quite solid.

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1. “Tier 3 game” is a weird way to put it. I and my family consciously call mobile games “time wasters”, and we share most of your reservations about them in general. But within that genre, Snap is best in class. It does a great job (in my opinion) of dodging the worst excesses of others of the same type, and has great core gameplay. It’s an S-tier game in an F-tier genre; I think splitting the difference and calling it “tier 3” obscures both of those important facts.

2. By rank 50 or so, people have nearly all figured out when to snap vs. retreat. I remember the heady early ranks too, but it doesn’t last. I stalled out around 50 for a bit, then netdecked some refinements to my Kazar deck and started making progress again.

3. Agreed that the random unlocks can leave you without staples, which can suck; I pity anyone opening Elektra late. With that said, there are several reasonable buildarounds and you’d have to get really unlucky not to hit something to work with by the time the starting cards fall off. (And some of then stay relevant all through pool 1!)

4. I think you’re overrating iron man. He needs more resources committed in the lane you play him in to be worth anything, but if you commit those resources, you risk being “win more” in that lane while losing the others. He’s decent, playable, can steal a lane sometimes; but by no means is he an autoinclude.

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I played this game hard throughout the closed beta, hit infinite every season, completed my collection of cards, and tracked all of the information shared by the devs until recently. If anyone has questions about how the game has changed, or what it's like at the top of the ladder, I'm happy to answer.

I think the review was generally fair, I just want to to add some details/context to it for anyone interested in continuing to play:

(1) The highest value use of gold (by a very long ways) is to refill your daily missions. You can only do this a set number of times per day. They will likely introduce new, gold-dependent means of card acquisition so saving it is a viable option too, but I'll personally be very surprised if anything ends up being higher value for this currency than refilling missions.

(2) The tension around card acquisition being slow and untargeted has been real in the community at least since the start of the closed beta. The perspective of the developers is that they wanted to simulate the experience of old school TCGs where no one had all the cards. IE, they intentionally want you to be limited in your deck building options and for those options to slowly expand over time. Zvi pointed out that matchmaking is done in part by how many cards you and your opponent have unlocked, but because the order is random, you'll have different collections that are just of similar size. I personally really love this because I feel like it adds another layer of competitive strategy with deckbuilding. Once you're a bit into the collection progression you can't really just google "best deck in marvel snap". You have to figure out how to mix and match the pieces you've gotten better than your opponent can mix and match their pieces. Yes, sometimes they'll have gotten lucky and be able to build a much better deck, and yes sometimes you'll be frustrated that you're missing a critical piece, but overall I appreciated this aspect of the game.

(3) If you want to spend money to support the devs, or just spend a little money for the maximum benefit, I recommend the season pass. For $10 a month you get a good chunk of gold and a card that is exclusive to season pass purchasers for a month after that season ends. Thus far it hasn't been a game defining card, which I think is a very good thing, but they have tended to improve or even unlock additional deck archetypes.

(4) Now I am going to tell you dark magic that I shouldn't tell you, but if wielded successfully it counteracts all of the negative effects of the game as described by Zvi, and then introduces a new one that likely removes any pleasure you derive from the game. You've been warned. There is a card called Agatha Harkness. It is not a very good card, as it automatically plays cards from your hands each turn, relegating you to only decide whether or not to snap each turn. It also steals the boosters you get at the end of the match that usually go to a random card in your deck. They will always go to Agatha. Now the fun part. If you use an automated clicker/tapping app you can set up a sequence that ends every turn, tries to snap every turn, and automatically starts another game after that one ends. You'll lose most of your games and rapidly lose cubes/rank... but if you happen to be at a rank floor, like the one at infinite (rank 100), this is irrelevant. The result: Agatha can complete every daily mission for you while you're AFK (read as: asleep) if you give her a mildly intelligent deck. The second order effect: Your ELO will tank so hard that you'll only ever play the other 10 people who figured this out and bots, and this carries over into the next season. You can also throw games for boosters if you don't care about your rank by just swapping out Agatha and putting whatever cards you want boosters for into your deck. I really recommend against doing these things because of how they'll warp your matchmaking experience, but now you know. If you only care about numbers, this warped matchmaking experience is actually an upside, as you'll be playing mostly against bots when the new season starts and you can climb back to infinite very quickly... so that you can go back to letting Agatha play the game for you.

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Some sites say you’re mostly matched against bots until somewhere in the 30-40 range which would explain why play gets less stupid around then.

Seems to be true - I was slowly climbing in the 50s and then was dropped to 20 when the season ended and suddenly winning every game again, even though everyone else should have dropped with me.

Feels lame that it doesn’t tell you you’re playing bots and also the rank of your opponent or how the matchmaking works. It matches by collection level but maybe also some kind of hidden rating who knows.


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Playing Snap for the past few weeks I haven't found myself tempted in the least to spend money on anything aside from the season pass. I love that the daily stuff refreshes at 10 pm EST, that's a good time to relax on the couch and play a bit until I clear the daily missions and rank up a bit, then mostly put it away until 10 pm the next day.

I play an ongoing deck with Kazar, Klaw, BM, and Onslaught. I strongly prefer Klaw over Iron Man because of the unpredictability, I win a lot of games because the opponent doesn't think I can add +6/12 to a location I already have 4 cards in and doesn't defend it. BM does the same thing by adding +4/+8 to a full location. Iron Man is the opposite: it fortifies the locations where you are already powerful, and in a very predictable way.

I agree that Snap-bluffing isn't really a thing. I often snap early if I have a good early hand and Vatu assures me of auspicious locations, or if the opponent made a really dumb move — almost no one retreats on turns 1-3 and if I snapped early instead of turn 5-6 the opponent will usually stick to the end even if they're hopeless at the start of turn 6.

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