I last wrote one of these articles in February. I think I knew at the time that they planned to release a new “season” every month. Somehow, March, April, and May went by without me writing anything about the game that last year I called the mobile game of the year. Well, better late than never. And, honestly, what better time to rejoin the game than Marvel SNAP in the Spider-Verse?
Heck, my wife just texted us all in the group chat not to make any plans for Friday because she wants to go to the movies as a family. I felt bad reminding her that I got invited to one last Conant graduation for the seniors this year. Aiden also wrote that he made plans with friends for Friday. Oh well, she said, there’s always Saturday. The movie she wanted to watch? Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
I wrote a quick blurb about the four new locations in Quantumania. Since they only released two new locations this time, I have some more room to discuss each one. As we will see with the card release, movement is the theme of this season. This location fits right in with that. I have a move deck that I play for fun sometimes. Hitting this location with a Multiple Man gives me the warm and fuzzies all over.
Now, this thing just looks bananas. If you get this one as the first location, that’s five turns of things getting moved. I suppose you can play around it by focus firing on this location, but that leaves the other two wide open unless you have cards that make cards like Sinister. I get the feeling that before long, unless I’m playing my move deck, this will be one of those locations that I grumble about when I see it.
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On Reveal: Transform the highest-cost card in your opponent’s hand into a Pig, keeping its Power and Cost.
Okay, I admit to not understanding the functionality of the Spider-Ham card. Does it remove all effects from the card and just retain the power and cost? If so, then it acts like a polymorph of sorts and I can see that being a fun way to mess with your opponent. Silk plays like a reverse Juggernaut and can work to free up some space if you painted yourself into a corner by placing too many cards in one location. Ghost Spider is going right into my move deck for sure. And Spider-Man 2099 feels a bit too expensive, but with Ghost Spider can really put a crimp on your opponent’s late game.
Marvel SNAP in the Spider-Verse feels a bit less than previous updates. Four new cards matches up with what we’ve seen in the past. But, as I said to a friend, unless they start releasing different versions of cards, they have to be running out of characters to add to the game. Then again, I just Googled “How many Marvel heroes are there?” and it gave me the answer of over 80,000. So, there’s that.
The update only provides two new locations compared to the four from Quantumania and three from the Nimrod seasons. However, the last two updates only gave two as well, so maybe they run out of locations far before characters. One big update that I don’t care all that much about but other players do according to this article, is the Conquest mode. Who knows? Before long, I’m sure I will join you all there, SNAPers.
I gave a first impression//preview of all of the new stuff in Battlegrounds at the beginning of the month. Even though I wrote it within a week of release, Blizzard still put out an emergency balance patch because the new Undead tribe came out a bit too spicy. At the time, I only played enough to know that much and that, as a consequence, the reworked hero Putricide followed in that OP-ness. So, after having played quite a few more games, I return to give a Battlegrounds February 2023 second impression.
I come into this article without much of a plan, to be perfectly honest. Is this a list of the strongest tribes? Doubtful. When have you ever known us to give tier or meta lists? What about my impressions of the game mode and thoughts about the longevity going forward. Getting warmer and I might include that as a bonus. Let’s just go with the obvious 2 Generations Gaming standby of my favorite new minions.
Favorite New Minions Honorable Mention
I picked these minions as either situational minions or ones that I think might be good if I ever figure out the situation for them. I actually end up taking General Drakkisath often. It gives two triggers for two of my favorite minions, explained below. Twitch chat loves Felemental. I see how repeated triggers might be beneficial. I always feel like I’m losing tempo though when I play it. Maybe the game offers me at the wrong time. We all know that I think these games have it out for me. I only take Deathswarmer when I think that I might go Undead.
Sinrunner Blanchy falls into the category of “haven’t figured out the situation yet”. What makes me laugh is that it should be easy. Beast and Undead both have numerous buffs available. And, yet, I continue to field a 4/4 with reborn and no buffs to be reborn with. Finally, Titus Rivendare only drops into this territory because it requires a very specific strategy. They reworked him so that multiple copies give extra triggers. But, let me show you the dumb build that got me second place.
Favorite New Minions 10 through 6
10 – Ghoul of the Feast – I probably rate this one too highly because I generally like to go Menagerie with my builds and this one ticks that box for me. But, if you’re here, it isn’t for my strategic analysis.
9 Possessive Banshee – This one buffs the Eternal Knight and the Horsie. But, as mentioned, I almost never get to take advantage of the best buffs on the horsie. If I ever get that one to work, though, you all will be the first to know.
8 Eternal Knight – Speaking of Eternal Knight, I always take the first one in hopes of getting the second one or the Banshee. Playing one without either of those cards just feels bad.
7 Blazing Skyfin – I love these minions that trigger based on other mechanics. Murlocs alone have an almost monopoly on good battlecries, so if I see this one early in the game, I pick this one without hesitation.
6 Colossus of the Sun – A larger Bronze Warden with the Undead tag? That fits so nicely in with my menagerie builds. Plus, the few times I run undead, he gives me the warm and fuzzies.
Favorite New Minions 5 through 1
5 Mecha-Jaraxxus – I remember when Chris first encountered Jaraxxus in game. He texted something about his opponent turning into a demon something or another and then he swore. He swears a lot when playing Hearthstone. I never got the Mecha-Jaraxxus skin. I guess I make up for it by picking this card every time.
4Cyborg Drake – Second only to my enjoyment of menagerie is divine shield build. This card fits right into that build. Not much more needs to be said.
3 Felstomper – Like many of the six drops, I don’t encounter Felstomper very often. But, the couple of times I played him, the game went well and I enjoyed the hell out of it. See the silly build above. Plus, just look at that art. How can you not smile when you see that?
2 Thorncaptain – Dear god, that one drop makes me giggle. I pick it every single time, often double it, and then hold on to both copies for way too long in the hopes of a triple. But, that’s the exact janktastic gaming you come to the page to see.
1Magmaloc – This comes as no surprise if you read my other article earlier in the month. They nerfed him down to a 4 drop and I think they nerfed his drop rate. But, I still force him into every single build as soon as I see the card.
I think I adequately figured out this Battlegrounds February 2023 second impression article. It truly captures the essence of our page. Just enough strategy to make you wonder. A heaping helping of jank that makes you wonder the other way. Thanks for reading. Another update tomorrow.
Battlegrounds February 2023 minion pictures taken from the main Hearthstone page.
We last covered Marvel SNAP as our mobile game of the year at the end of last year. I think they either just released the new “season” at that point, so we went a couple of months without any real news about the game. Marvel Studios obviously considers the new Ant-Man and Wasp movie to be the launching point for Phase 4?5?6? and worked a deal with the game to promote it. As a result, when I opened it today, the game greeted me with Marvel SNAP in Quantumania.
I struggle with a way to properly preview a game like Marvel SNAP. I see people online sometimes denigrate it for the simple game play as too easy. While I admit that sometimes it puts me off that they took any “difficulty” even from a game like Hearthstone, I appreciate the quick games. But, without an actual set “release” and no way to craft cards yet, the game gives no guarantee that you will play with any of the new cards. Nevertheless, I already bought the season pass plus (14.99, the additional 5 bucks gets you 10 levels on the track) so let’s just dive in.
Love them or hate them, Marvel SNAP remains committed to the concept of locations. Granted, they need something to add another level of strategery and I like most locations, but some are just gamebreaking and, as always, I feel like those ones always favor my opponent’s deck. Enough whining, what do we have?
Camp Lehigh: Gives each player a 3 drop in hand. As someone who already draws 3 drops at an alarmingly high rate, this one is a pass for me, dog.
Quantum Tunnel: Playing a card here swaps it out with one in your deck. This seems hella fun and prime for shenanigans.
Quantum Realm: When you play a card here, set it’s power to 2. Either they have a combo in mind that I haven’t considered, this is troll, or you can steal a win from big decks because they won’t want to play here.
The Sacred Timeline: First to fill this one gets a copy of their opening hand. When played with MODOK (more below), this opens the game for all sorts of ridiculous combos.
Featured Card (MODOK)
On Reveal: Discard your hand.
Oh great, more disco decks to deal with on the ladder. I now have a dumb trigger every time I see Apocalypse discarded from a hand. I don’t have a reliable way to play around that stupid card. Oh well, time to research control options. I already have Cosmo and Armor in my deck. Might as well go full lock down and find a card that prevents discards.
On Reveal: See your opponent's turn and replay the turn (without Kang)
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I doubt I will ever play Ghost, but who knows? At least in my most played deck, my Ongoing, I need to flip first especially with Cosmo and Armor. Armor made more than one destro deck retreat by himself. Kang seems like an autoinclude in almost every deck. Who doesn’t want a late game do over? Speaking of disco tech, I like Stature. 1 cost, 7 power? Quite versatile, for sure.
In addition, Marvel SNAP in Quantumania give us variants (no more pixels, please, most of those are just bad), bundles (I saw some one person saying the price points in this game are off and based on the first bundle, it seems way overcosted), and some ideas of how to utilize the “Battle Mode” against your friends with weird rules. I love this game and I love what I see from this update. See you out there, SNAPers.
Hearthstone Trial by Felfire just proves that someone at Blizzard is a frustrated poet. And that they want the entire world to know it.
Hey, I’m not one to cast aspersions. After all, I have written my own version.
What is all of this rhyming about? Keep reading and you just might find out.
Free: Normally there is a fee. This time, the adventure is free. I am glad there is no charge. I didn’t want to pay 20 large. sure, I could have used gold. However, using it for that instead of packs gets old. And so, I played. And discovered the true prize is the friends I made.
Packs: Actually, the adventure comes with a quest. And, what is there in that chest? For your trouble, you get three free card packs. They can be won without any hacks. Simply complete Chapter 1. There, now you are done.
Variety: There is a variety of fights. It isn’t all about might. Sure, some are a race. That require you just to go face. Others require a different tact. And, that is just a fact. Against one boss a fatigue strategy works well. After drawing his last card he faces the death knell.
Length: Even though this adventure is free. There is plenty in Outland for you to see. Four rounds of four bosses. Be careful for some may cause losses. Then, at the end. You face off against one who was a friend. In order to escape Outland, you must take a stand.
Reward: Other than the cards, all you get is a card back. Compared with other adventures, that’s kind of wack. Again, I realize that it’s free. But it just seems like to me–that they could give more. Instead they put a bundle in the store. Like a sucker, I paid. But it included some packs, so better decks can be made.
Overall Trial by Felfire is fun. Even if you don’t do the adventures, you should try this one. The story is decent. You won’t be sad you went. To the plane of Outland. Just make sure you have a plan. You wouldn’t want to get lost. And captured by some demons and tossed–into a pit of despair. Or maybe they’d just set fire to your hair. So pay my warning fair heed. And get on over to this adventure via your trusty steed.
Aiden recently let me know that I could download Minecraft Story Mode and play through at least the first episode for free. I was under the impression that it cost money. That’s the only reason that it has taken me this long to try the game. Although I haven’t played much Minecraft in any form over the last month or so, I remain addicted to the game. Because, every time I do sit down to play it, I lose several hours to whatever silly job I end up creating for myself.
I have yet to play any of the “story mode” games. I’ve been introduced to the Guardians of the Galaxy one and find it intriguing because I enjoy the movie and comics so much. I even went as far as to download the Walking Dead one. None of them, though, have enticed me enough to load up and start playing. Until Minecraft. Because we need some filler/an easy topic to get back into the podcast, I’ve played and written about the main game on more than one occasion, and I just discovered that part of it is free, join me for my introduction to “story mode” with one of my favorite games of all time.
Voice Acting – The first thing that I noticed, and I’m sure this was intentional, is that Patton Oswalt does the voice of the main character. I didn’t recognize any other voices and I’m a little surprised that Patrick Warburton didn’t voice any characters, but hearing Patton’s voice as one of the first things in the game has gone a long way to increasing my enjoyment of the game.
It’s Minecraft: I know that I was using this old trope quite a while to illustrate the good in these articles. However, I haven’t used it much recently, so I feel safe resurrecting it now. The game is recognizable as Minecraft, even if you aren’t performing many of the same actions as in the main game.
Decent Story: The story isn’t great, by any stretch of the imagination. It was interesting enough, though, to keep me playing. First, I wanted to see how the building competition might end (as I expected, but a twist to make it worth the wait), then when the pig ran away, I really wanted to chase after it, and now I want to see what happens with the Wither skull and diamond trade.
Funny: It is genuinely funny, too. Both Aiden, who heard some of the dialogue and me, as I played through it, laughed at more than one part. It isn’t side splitting, but there is humor and it is welcome.
Choose Your Own Adventure: The game tells you that your choices matter. It also helpfully reminds you at times that a character will “remember” your choice for later in the game. I don’t know exactly how true that is since I’m only part of the way through the introduction, but it is valid enough that I consider my choices before making them. I could go back to play through again, similar to how I used to read the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books until I got the best and the worst ending, but right now I’m treating it like a game, taking it seriously, and considering the circumstances of my choices.
Voice Acting: How can this be both good and bad? Well, as I already mentioned, other than Patton Oswalt, I didn’t recognize a single voice. That’s not necessarily bad, but at least one of the voice actors seems to have taken a class at the Resident Evil school of voice acting. It’s not awful, but it isn’t good, either. It is just bad enough that when you hear the voice, it takes you out of the story for a moment as you realign and try to fit this bad into something that overall is actually decent to good and might become great later in the game.
It isn’t Minecraft: Wait, you are probably thinking, now you are just talking in circles. While that might be true, let me explain. It is recognizable as Minecraft due to the graphics and overall feel of the game. However, and I’m not saying that it is trying to be, it isn’t anything like Minecraft in terms of gameplay. Sure, you mine and you craft, but those are accomplished only to advance the story and only by rapid pressing of a single “button”. Overall, it’s just not that engaging and doesn’t add much to the game other than make it more game and less of a movie.
The graphics: Again, the game knows what it is and it has been successful in spite of the fact that it uses blocky, retro style graphics during a time when games are becoming more and more realistic and pushing for realism to add to the appeal of virtual reality. But, seriously, the graphics are not just retro, they are retro in 3D. Sometimes the style is just jarring and I wish for slightly better aesthetics. But, I know it won’t ever happen, so I’ll just keep complaining about it. That’s what we old guys do, right?
It’s not quite Minecraft, but it’s close enough. It’s named for its story, which isn’t great, but is just good enough. Some of the voice acting leaves quite a bit to be desired, but Patton Oswalt makes up for all of that. Minecraft Story Mode isn’t a great game by any measure.
What it is, though, is a good enough game. It does just enough right to make me want to finish the first episode. We will see if I can continue to forgive the not so great and keep playing once it isn’t free anymore. I get the feeling that I might end up just buying it. That will most likely lead me back down the rabbit hole of the main game and both will feed one another.
(Editor’s Note: I’m pretty sure we’ve done an article on Minecraft for mobile before. However, I’m sure that there have been many updates since that article. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve fed this particular addiction. What could go wrong?)
I loaded up Minecraft on the phone earlier today. I’ve been keeping an eye on the updates that have been happening in recent weeks. For a while there, it seemed like they were coming in rapid succession. It might have just been because they were working so hard to get all of the versions compatible.
Ever since (and maybe even before) Microsoft acquired (invested in?) Mojang, there has been a push to make Minecraft cross platform. They’ve already experimented with the idea. The boys and I played on a “cross platform” version of the game. They played on their Kindles and I played on my computer on the Windows 10 version. I put “cross platform” in quotes because Windows 10 is Microsoft’s attempt at merging their mobile and PC markets with the same operating system.
Now, however, I’ve heard that they’re talking about allowing players to play simultaneously on PC, Mobile, and XBox One. There were rumors that Playstation would be included, but those have been tempered. Because Microsoft owns XBox and Sony is a direct competitor. I still hold out hope that Minecraft can be the game that overcomes the console wars and gives us our first truly cross console game.
One of the roadblocks to bringing the three other platforms together was that some platforms didn’t allow for infinite worlds. Another was that the non PC versions were often several update cycles behind. As I mentioned earlier, they seemed to be working hard to remedy both situations through an intense series of updates earlier in the year. From what I was able to see on the mobile version, at least, they were successful.
The best thing that I can say about the mobile version is that it is much closer to Minecraft that I recognize. The last time I played it, there was much missing from the game. It didn’t impact playability, necessarily, but it did obviously limit the options in the game. The first improvement I noticed was the opening menu. It is much more user friendly. Also, infinite worlds!
That might not seem like a huge improvement. Even the old worlds are huge. However, there were a few times, mostly during multiplayer games with the boys, that we mined up to the edge of the world. It takes you out of the fantasy a bit when it happens. Plus, one of our borders was on the ocean, which is doubly annoying because there could have been a water temple down there! Alas, that’s not something that we have to worry about anymore.
The other great thing about the game that I noticed was that opening your inventory automatically shows you the items that you can craft based on the items that you’ve collected. Then, you can just click on that item and it will automatically add the items for the recipe. Again, it is a small improvement, and some more traditional players might not even consider it an improvement, but I love it. The first thing I do on the PC version is I download an addon that does something similar to this. It just saves the time of not having to alt+tab to a browser and look up recipes.
There are other cool things. Addons, as you can see in the screenshot above, have been added. The nether is more than just a new dimension. The last time I played, the nether was there, but the only mobs were Zombie Pigmen, so it wasn’t very interesting to explore. Now, everything is there. Ghasts, Blazes, those little hopping things, firebats, fortresses! It’s going to be a ton of fun playing this game.
The only bad thing that I could find about the game is that the controls are still super awkward. I don’t have a bluetooth controller for my phone, so I have to use the touch controls. While they lend themselves to an easier crafting experience, the mining and moving leaves much to be desired. I can’t cont the number of times that I’ve accidentally started combat with a farm animal instead of cutting down a tree or mined the wrong block because of the controls. It’s a minor annoyance, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it at times made me not want to play the game until I’m able to get a controller.
I know that the game is known for and defined by it’s blocky graphics. And, I’m usually a sucker for old school games with terrible graphics. But, the graphics in this game are really awful, even by the campy standards that should allow for bad graphics. I mean, honestly. The basis of the gameplay is simple. The graphics are terrible. Why is this game so popular?
I know that I mentioned earlier that having the nether in the game was a good thing. That’s true in the context of making the games compatible for cross platform play. However, having lost many a game and too much inventory to even count when I made a misstep and fell off of a cliff into a pool of lava that I twitched a little bit when I set up the nether portal and took the trip into that burning hellscape, even though it was on creative and there was no chance of me dying.
I said earlier that I might not play again until I am able to get some kind of controller for the phone. I might even have to get a tablet for the bigger screen. I doubt that I’ll ever go through with it. First, that requires spending money, something that I’ve only done on beer and comics the last 3 months. Second, having played the game again, I realize just how much I enjoy the game.
I can and often do already play the game on the computer. There’s no reason to abandon that for a game with inferior controls. Of course, in less than a month, I will be back at work and not in front of a computer most of the day. Well, I might be in front of a computer most of the day, but my employers would frown upon me playing Minecraft instead of illuminating people on the wonders of math and physics. If I could port my PC worlds to the phone…
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