When it comes to building any style of Marvel Snap deck, there’s always that nagging feeling that you might be including one or two cards out of habit, rather than necessity. But when Kotaku spoke to the game’s creator, Second Dinner’s Ben Brode, we learned that the cards we ought to be leaving out, and the ones we should be swapping in, were incredibly surprising.
Since Marvel Snap’s release almost three months ago, Second Dinner has been accruing an enormous volume of player data. Every game, every deck played in those games, and the cards that are winning and losing them, it turns out is logged in their systems. So when we asked Ben Brode, the former frontman of Blizzard’s Hearthstone and project lead on Marvel Snap, which cards he thought most over and underrated, it was to this database that he turned to give the most accurate answer.
I was motivated to ask by my concern that the big-name cards I’d chased so long might not be the victories I’d hoped. I’d been beaten by Wong so many times before I unlocked the card, for instance, that I feel compelled to include it. But what if its undeniably useful abilities don’t click into place often enough for it to be a worthwhile space in a 12-card deck? Was I falling into traps, assuming the most alluring cards to be the most effective? It seems I needn’t have worried…about that, at least. Because it turns out the most overrated card is less overt.
Brode’s method to find the answers was to pull up what must be the most extraordinary treasure-trove of data, and search for the card that appears most frequently in the decks that lose the most often. With a sample size of what must be hundreds of millions of games, the result would be pretty convincingly a poor choice. And it worked out, that card was Shang-Chi!
Shang-Chi is, or at least I assumed was, a superb griefing card. Its ability is to destroy any opponent cards at the same location with a power of 9 or higher. Which means, played in rounds 5 or 6, you can absolutely devastate an opponent’s high-scoring location. That Devil Dinosaur pulling in points for all the cards in their hand, or pesky Magneto with its 12 power, is obliterated. Great, right? Well, seemingly not so much, given that Shang-Chi is found in the most losing decks, according to Second Dinner’s database.
So what about at the other end? Which is the most underrated card? By the same method, this time looking for the card that appears the most infrequently, but wins most often when it does, Brode revealed that Snap’s most undervalued card is Human Torch!
Human Torch?! But…it seems like one of the most bland cards out there! The 1-cost, 2-power card doubles its power every time it moves, and sure, it’s in my “moving” deck, but I’ve yet to figure out how to make its power-doubling particularly effective. Yet, the data doesn’t lie.
There’s no question the card is underrated. On top fan site, MarvelSnap.io, Human Torch doesn’t appear anywhere in its list of the top 100 most played cards in all the most commonly played decks.
Second most underrated? Multiple Man, the 2-cost, 3-power card that leaves behind a copy of itself each time it moves. Oh my goodness, should we all be switching to move decks as our primary? In fact, added Brode, Multiple Man (who appears in 96th position on MarvelSnap.io’s list) gets used a tenth as often as Cosmo, and yet has “a significantly higher win-rate.” Then again, who doesn’t hate playing against a Move deck?
Which all throws everything high into the air. Up is down, cats are sleeping with dogs, and Human Torch is vastly better than Shang-Chi. We’re all probably playing this game entirely wrong.