It’s been quite a year for the card battler Marvel Snap (Free), which is still one of my favorite mobile games. There have been a bunch of interestingly-themed seasons, sometimes connected to the MCU and sometimes just doing their own thing. Plenty of cool cards have been added to the game, the PC version was officially launched, and countless new features have been implemented. But how to end 2023? Some Spider-Mans? Maybe a holiday-themed affair? Hey, it’s been at least a few months since the last X-Men event. Let’s do one of those! It’s time for the Hellfire Gala.
As usual, Second Dinner’s Ben Brode has an X-tremely entertaining video up explaining all the ins and outs, but some of you don’t have time for comedy or can’t afford to laugh in the middle of a meeting so I’m going to go over the main points. Do give that video a watch if you have a chance, though. It has a really cool animation at the front of it. It will X-ceed your X-pectations, I promise. I’d like to say I’m done with that gag, but we both know that’s a lie.
The Season Pass card this time around is suitably the leader of the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw. This Series 5 fancy lad is a 3-Cost 4-Power card with an ability that gives him +2 additional Power anytime he permanently gains any Power. With that Cost and his ability, he’s a natural partner for Silver Surfer. I imagine people will find other inventive uses for him, too.
Next we’ve got Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. She’s a Series 5 card with 1-Cost and -1-Power. Minus Power? You know there are going to be shenanigans with her ability. And indeed, her On Reveal ability afflicts the lowest-Power card in each player’s hand with -3 Power. Oh, what you could pull with this one. Just think of the Goblin rudeness. It’s going to be off the charts. You can also make your Annihilus count that much more. I expect to be seeing a lot of Selene.
Forget the third Summers brother, we still haven’t had the second one… until now. Havok joins the fray, and he’s a Series 4 2-Cost 0-Power card with quite the interesting ability. After each turn, you lose 1 Max Energy and this card gains +4 Power. That means he could bulk up to a potential Hulk-smashing level of Power… if you’re willing to pay that price. The video mentions pairing him with Ravonna Renslayer or Mr. Negative, and yes, that sounds mighty effective.
Back to the baddies, and there aren’t many bigger than Blob. He’s a Series 5 card, and his stats are 6-Cost and 4-Power. Like the rest of the cards we’ve seen so far, he’s got a tricky ability to make up for those seemingly weak stats. In fact, he’s got two. First of all, he has the Ongoing ability of not being able to be moved. Yes, that tracks. I can think of lots of ways that could be used. Blob also has an On Reveal ability. Your entire remaining deck will be merged into him, and he’ll gain its total Power. Wow… that could be something. Keep those Shang-Chi cards around, I have a feeling they’ll be more important than ever. Darkhawk, you had your time.
New locations! First is the White Palace. When it is revealed, it triggers a White Queen-style effect. Both players will copy the highest-Cost card in their opponent’s hand. Sounds chaotic. Then we have Castle Blackstone. The player that is winning at that location gets +1 Energy per turn. A nice compensation for Havok, and useful for ramp-up decks to be sure.
There are also plenty of Hellfire Gala variant cards up for offer, showing various characters dressed to the nines. Professor X, Sebastian Shaw, White Queen and more have some great threads to X-hibit, and I’m sure everyone is very X-cited to add them to their collections. Captain America, Black Panther, and Bishop are looking particularly dapper if you ask me. Doctor Doom… might be overdoing it, but such is the way of Victor von Doom.
Finally, some new features. Albums give you a wide variety of new emotes to use, and they are pretty hilarious. I hope we have one that expresses “knock it off" to deal with those people that spam “Snap?" all the time. Jerks. The other exciting feature is the new Deck Builder. All you do is put at least one card in, hit Auto-Fill and the game will create a competitive deck around what you have. That sounds pretty cool.
That’s it for the Hellfire Gala season. We’ll have our December deck building guide ready to go in a day or two, so do look forward to that. What do you think of this season? Any new cards here that tickle your fancy? And hey, Ben? You’re always invited to the TouchArcade Gala. It’s a little less fashionable, but we have lots of weird handheld gaming devices you can play games on. Happy Snapping, everyone!