Long-demanded and long-expected nerfs to Zabu and Silver Surfer have finally happened in Marvel Snap. It seems that everyone and their grandmothers (except ones working on Marvel Snap balancing and card design, obviously) knew from the start that Silver Surfer and Zabu would define the meta upon just glancing at their stats and effects. The community has suffered two months of Silver Surfer combo finishers and a month of Zabu’s reign. Zabu’s hopefully no longer the king of the jungle, and Silver Surfer will hopefully surf away into another universe so that healthier decks can (once again, hopefully) emerge.
How Did Silver Surfer and Zabu Get Nerfed?
If you follow the Marvel Snap tag and read my rants, deck ideas, and content updates, you have probably stumbled upon this:
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Zabu got nerfed in a way that it costs 2 Energy now, but it provides a 1 Energy cost reduction (cannot be lower than 1)
I haven’t expected them to reduce the cost of Zabu, but I did expect that the cost reduction nerf will happen, and it seems I was (partially) right about this. Setting Zabu to 4 Energy would probably outright kill it, and on the other hand, this allows Zabu to survive by playing Mystique on Turn 3 as a follow-up to copy Zabu’s effect and basically reach the pre-nerf state on the board. It’s far-fetched and you won’t do it every game, but we as a community will make a deck that works out well, to prolong the degeneracy of these two cards.
Silver Surfer took a nerf for which I was once again, partially correct. It indeed will just grant +2 Power instead of +3 Power as I suspected, but I didn’t predict them giving him 2 Power now. These are some great crutches for Silver Surfer which allow him to keep existing in the meta in some capacity that we are yet to see. I failed to foresee that this +2 Power addition eliminates Silver Surfer + Mr. Negative combo. Brilliant move. Why wasn’t it done on release?
Here’s a Developer Note from their official Discord:
My Take on These Nerfs and the Genesis of these Culprit Cards
I don’t know… I just… refuse to believe that these two cards were not properly tested before release. As mentioned, everyone spotted these cards as format-defining as soon as their previews saw their first rays of sunshine. Why couldn’t the people behind Marvel Snap identify this as well? Not even after playtesting? Come on.
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It certainly makes you wonder what the purpose of it was. To provide attractiveness to the Season Pass? Fear Of Missing Out? Or even worse, pressure? Because let’s face it, these two cards were pay-to-win through and through. You either run these, or you run a counter deck (good luck drawing the counters on time and playing them in properly before it’s too late).
Naturally, the common excuses in the Discord discussions were “it’s digital goods, you don’t own these cards, they have the right to change them at any time or terminate the service altogether, they need to balance the game, you have used the card for long enough, you got your value out of the season pass, etc…”. Yes. Everything is legitimate. You are correct and legally clean. But that doesn’t build trust with the customers, and then they leave.
Yes, nerfs to Zabu and Silver Surfer were needed. What was more needed, is for them to come out more balanced and not blatantly overpowered from day one. Hopefully, the Marvel Snap team does better in the future. The situation should be monitored to see if the same thing happens again in the future.
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So, in my very direct, straightforward, and unhinged opinion, it’s either:
- a) The developers underestimated how powerful these cards could be in the overall meta and, after extensive testing, decided that a nerf was inevitable.
- b) The new cards were overpowered as an incentive to purchase them, but later balanced to better fit the meta – the usual move we see in many other GaaS games these days.
I really do not see a third option here, but either way, it rubs me the wrong way.
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At any rate, my trust in this game has been (mostly) shattered, and I am not feeling enthusiastic to buy the current, new Season Pass at all. Thank you for surviving my rant. I did it for the good of the game because I really like it, and I want it to succeed. But if such mishaps keep happening, I fear the worst fate might come.
Check out the rest of the Marvel Snap coverage under the game tag below if you wanna see more news, decks, etc…