Marvel Snap Is Going Down The Forbidden Path That Deceives F2P Players

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a pay-to-win game.

Story Highlights

  • Marvel Snap has become increasingly volatile, with more focus on in-game purchases.
  • Free-to-play users are struggling to keep up with competitive players.
  • The weekly balance patches and new cards coming in make it chore-like to stay up to date.

When Second Dinner came from humble beginnings and launched Marvel Snap, it was a love letter to card-game enthusiasts. The title had excellent gameplay, solid progression, and, most of all, a chance for free-to-play users to compete with whales that often dominated the scene. For months, the dev team gave tons of content to the fans who could earn it via fair means without opening their wallet.

However, as the title and its stream of new releases grow, I’ve started to pick out some details that bear resemblance to the very reasons that have earned mobile games their infamous reputation — paywalls. Seeing them go down this controversial monetization road was somewhat expected but is still extremely disappointing, especially since I’m a Marvel Snap fanatic, and I want to see this game grow and thrive.

How Marvel Snap Went From Accessible To Demanding

Back when Marvel Snap was still the new kid on the block, you barely ever saw new cards coming in, and the ones that did immediately told you if they were good or not. Most of these high-tier cards, like the original Zabu, were part of the Season Pass, which was still accessible to some degree.

To keep things interesting further, tons of Gold Bundles were released every now and then, featuring exquisite variants and even exclusive cards to complete your inventory. Alas, that time is gone, and now the cash-heavy behemoths like Thanos rule the rounds.

The Blob-Thanos meta is easily the worst this game has seen.
byu/Ottomatic44 inMarvelSnap

The economy has deteriorated massively, favoring long-term players in terms of card acquisition. Even the new cards coming in are consistently more expensive, so even the non-F2P players are forced to spend more. However, the biggest crime, in my opinion, was the reduction of Gold Bundles. Without them, I, as a F2P player, view The Shop as an extra tab that wouldn’t bother me if it disappeared the next day.

The Weekly OTAs Are Becoming A Massive Problem

Another reason why Marvel Snap has become less beginner-friendly is the balance patches (or OTAs) released each week. Now, there’s nothing wrong with balance patches; in fact, they keep the game fresh and shake up the meta. However, my major concern is how Second Dinner is deceiving free-to-play players by strategically scheduling OTAs moments before or after a much-awaited card comes to Spotlight Caches.

Spotlight Caches, as you know, are the only way for free-to-play users to get new or rare cards. There are also Collector’s Tokens, but from a free-to-play perspective, you might get a rare card once every six months with that route if you’re lucky. As such, when a prior datamine shows a powerful card is coming to the caches, we, the humble community, start saving up our hard-earned Spotlight Keys for them.

spotlight caches marvel snap
Spotlight Caches and Spotlight Keys in Marvel Snap

Now, imagine you get a powerful card, and the next OTA botches its stats and makes it unusable — pretty shocking, isn’t it? This issue is becoming much more common than you might think, with popular examples like Loki and Annihilus getting the same treatment. 

Take a recent example from my experience; I was so thrilled to get DarkHawk from the Spotlight Caches when he was a 4/0. I saved up my Spotlight Keys for him, and when I got him, a balance patch within the same month nerfed him significantly. I was absolutely gutted and, like most players, wished I never got him in the first place.

YouTube video

It’s becoming tough for me, as a veteran player, to recommend cards to new players now. Instead of knowing what’s good and bad, the Marvel Snap meta is becoming more of a gamble. And if you’re a free-to-play user, how insecure would you feel knowing your hard-earned reward could get manipulated the next day?

Bring Back Gold Bundles And Cut Back On The Progression

You’ve heard me complain and discuss the monetization issue for some time, so is there any solution? While it’s clear that Marvel Snap’s initial innocence might be long gone, there are some measures Second Dinner can take to prevent it from becoming the next Diablo Immortal of card games.

Firstly, please bring back the Gold Bundles — we’ve waited long enough.  Make enticing, cost-effective Gold Bundles that feature Collector’s Tokens, Credits, and a good Card Variant once in a while. Let’s be honest: Nowadays, finding a gold bundle is rarer than winning the lottery, and even if it does appear, the price-per-value is plain insulting.

gold bundle marvel snap march 2024
The recent Black Panther Gold Bundle which was criticized by the community

Next, ease up on the progression by either reducing the number of new cards coming to Marvel Snap or making it easier to get Spotlight Keys. I find it extremely challenging to keep up with every new release and pray that my next Spotlight Key gets me the newest card instead of a variant or something weak, and I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that.

The Power Creep with recent updates has also made the original free cards feel obsolete and somewhat underpowered.

Am I the only one who thinks power creep has set in hard recently?
byu/JackAM_ inMarvelSnap


With all that said and done, I truly want Marvel Snap to succeed as a game since I think it’s arguably one of the best card games of the last decade. The developers are still somewhat trying to excite their free-to-play users with limited events that don’t force you to open your wallet, like the X-Men vs Avengers event; still, though, it’s not enough.

I do understand that the moves they take are increasing their profits tenfold, but actively discouraging their fanbase will negatively affect them in the long term. It’s more like a bubble that’s constantly getting larger and larger, and when it pops, it might be too late.

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Daniyal is a Guides Writer and Editor at eXputer with over one year of experience in content writing. He's had a passion for tech and gaming for more than 15 years. Ever since his first console, the PS2, he's constantly branching off to different genres, and his go-to at the moment is the Souls experience pioneered by FromSoftware, which is evident by his 1,500+ hours of game time on Elden Ring. You can learn some more about Daniyal's gaming journey on his Steam & Xbox profiles.

Experience: 1+ Years || Mainly Covers Guides || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

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