marvel snap zabu

Marvel Snap’s Two Most Dominant Decks Have Been Hit With a Nerf

Down with the golden kitty and silver boy.

To say that the last two season pass cards we got in Marvel Snap were pretty damn powerful would certainly be an accurate statement. Silver Surfer fit extremely well in Negative decks, and allowed for an unpredictable power push on turn 6. Similarly, Zabu also enabled tons of disruptive combos with Absorbing Man and Spider-Man on the same turn, not to mention Darkhawk, Mystique, Moon Girl, and Rockslide.

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Second Dinner has since pushed out two card balance changes (without the need for a patch download) that tones both of these cards down. Here are the changes:

Zabu’s individual card performance was strong, but not amazing. It didn’t crack our Top 5 cards for most of January, which is usually where you find troublemakers. Zabu’s dominance only became apparent in evaluating its clusters, which is data that takes longer to surface. In mid-January we saw three distinct Zabu decks gaining steam near the top of our rankings on winrate, cube gain, and population. That was when we knew a change would be necessary, but the next patch was already locked, which brings us to today.
3/2 – Ongoing: Your 4-Cost cards cost 2 less. (minimum 1) 2/2 – Ongoing: Your 4-Cost cards cost 1 less. (minimum 1) Moving Zabu’s cost reduction from 2 to 1 reduces the potential Energy reduction of the cat, making it harder to hide game-winning amounts of Power until turn 6 or empty your hand for Dracula. It also breaks up the Spider-Man/Absorbing Man combo, which was stronger than we’d like. Sliding him down to 2-Cost hopefully refunds enough tempo to retain the fun of building around various 4-Cost cards. We expect Zabu decks to look a bit different, but still have competitive builds.

Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer’s change is oddly linked to Zabu’s. It’s been a Top 5 card in a Top 5 deck since release, but steadied and gained cubes slower once players adapted . . . until Zabu. During Savage Lands, “Sera Surfer” was an unlikely hero and the best overall deck. However, it also had positive matchups against over 75% of the field, which meant it threatened to become too dominant once we adjusted Zabu.
3/0 – On Reveal: Give your other 3-Cost cards +3 Power. 3/2 – On Reveal: Give your other 3-Cost cards +2 Power. This change aims to keep mostly the same Surfer decks viable, just weaker. We’re specifically happy to carry Power on Surfer himself, because it makes figuring out where he’ll be played more interesting for both players and lets us fine-tune his strength. Those gains unfortunately come at the expense of some cool Mister Negative decks we enjoyed seeing.

Both cards have been knocked down a peg for sure, but they’re absolutely still viable in Marvel Snap –they just won’t be as dominant as they used to be.

In the meantime, the new Into the Quantum Realm season is now live in Marvel Snap, introducing M.O.D.O.K. as the new season pass card. And so far, it’s pretty safe to say that M.O.D.O.K. is probably not going to be quite as polarizing as Silver Surfer or Zabu.

Marvel Snap is now available on PC and mobile devices.

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Zhiqing Wan
Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.