Marvel Snap gets long-awaited battle mode and live balance changes

Ironheart from Marvel Snap
(Image credit: Nuverse)

Marvel Snap, the eminently snackable and streamlined card game that is what some of Hearthstone's creators did next, today receives probably its most-requested feature: a battle mode that lets you play against friends and choose opponents. Until now, Snap has paired players up based on ranking and skill, and there was no way to play with buddies, which does rather stop you from showing off your shiniest variants to buddies.

The battle mode launches with cross-region matchmaking, per Second Dinner's Ben Brode, who also adds "Here we gooooo", while principal designer Glenn Jones offers an update on, well, updates:

"The new patch includes balance changes, but not to Surfer or Zabu," said Jones. "They started overperforming after we locked the changes a few weeks ago. Fortunately we now have the ability to adjust balance without a new patch, and we are planning to adjust those cards in a week or so."

So, not only does Snap finally have the mode folk wanted, but from hereon in the developer will be able to live-tweak card properties as and when required. This does get interesting when you get into the weeds of it, because often perception of a card's power is distinct from what the stats show, but it will be another thing for people to froth about when Second Dinner simply won't make any changes to Killmonger.

The battle mode does work differently from standard play. Players share battle codes to pair up, which puts them in multipleback-to-back games with the same deck: Each player starts with 10 Health and after each game the winner deals damage to the loser, which can be increased by snapping during the match. The matches continue until one player's health is zero, and Second Dinner says the mode will receive more features in coming months.

Marvel Snap has been on a bit of a journey since launching in beta last summer: The last major update before this added artist credits for the game's card art, which is one of the big selling points and was long-overdue. The general sense of the game is that it offers super-speedy and fun card battles, yoked to a super slow and grindy progression system. But being able to sort out your own Marvel Team-Ups in battle mode is something this has felt like it needed from the start, and I'm looking forward to showing off my absolutely filthy Spider-Man villain deck to all my buddies.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."