Marvel Snap issues nerfs to Zabu and Silver Surfer today

The changes come via a stealth drop, so no need to update your game.

Second Dinner

A new season has kicked off in Marvel Snap and it hasn't taken long to get the first batch of balance changes. As promised for weeks, Second Dinner has addressed two cards that have been running wild for weeks. Both Zabu and Silver Surfer have had their effects and stats adjusted as part of a stealth update that dropped on Wednesday afternoon.

The changes were announced via the Marvel Snap Twitter account. Second Dinner's Glenn Jones offered an explanation for the changes on the Marvel Snap Discord channel. (Thanks to Out of Cards for the quick and helpful transcription):

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.

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’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.

Explanation of Zabu and Silver Surfer nerfs in Marvel Snap

Source: Marvel Snap on Discord

While these look like debilitating nerfs on the surface, our own resident Marvel Snap expert, Donovan Erskine, was quick to point out that Mystique's ability to copy Ongoing effects on Turn 3 make Zabu's lower cost a lot more appealing and potentially keeps Zabu decks viable. Meanwhile, Wong continues to terrorize the meta, meaning the Silver Surfer's effect can still wreak a lot of havoc, even with today's changes.

We'll continue to watch Marvel Snap as the latest season rolls on. Keep it on Shacknews for any further updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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