Marvel Snap’s Hated Leader Card To Be Less Powerful After Nerf

Marvel Snap’s latest round of balance changes hasn’t officially been released yet, but following a last-minute delay and leak, the info is out there. And players have begun debating one nerf in particular involving the controversial Leader card. For many, the leaked nerf details aren’t enough. There was so much chatter around this change that Marvel Snap boss Ben Brode had to address it and the card’s future on Twitter.

Released last year, Marvel Snap is a fast-paced digital card game available on Steam and mobile devices that stars superheroes and villains. Matches are fast, decks are small, and each time you play the game feels a little different as randomized zones can completely shake up a match. We here at Kotaku thought it was one of the best games of 2022.

But even a great game has its problems. And one issue in Marvel Snap as of late has been the controversially powerful Leader card that—thanks to its ability to copy all cards your opponent played this turn—-can basically steamroll over most decks in the final moment of a match.

People have been waiting for a balance change for a few weeks now, with many hopeful that The Leader would get tweaked to be less powerful. We were supposed to get a patch with balance changes on January 4, but at the last minute, an issue delayed it. However, likely as a result of the last-second delay, the details of the patch leaked via Marvel Snap’s Korean community team and quickly spread across the web. While the patch notes contained a few different nerfs and card buffs, The Leader’s minor balance change—-only removing one point of power from the card—-was considered not enough by players.

In response, Marvel Snap boss Ben Brode discussed The Leader nerf on Twitter, providing more context for the small nerf and clarifying that the team has more plans to tweak the card in the future, it’s just still trying to figure out what to change. But those changes are coming, eventually, and this first, smaller nerf is just step one towards balancing Leader.

Meanwhile, if you are someone who likes running Marvel Snap decks with the various Guardians of the Galaxy characters, good news: Groot and Drax are getting small buffs to their base stats to make them more viable and less of a gamble. It also appears, via the leaked patch notes, that artist credits are finally being added to the game in the next update, too. Of course, these leaked patch notes aren’t official yet, even if Brode is responding to one part of them, so keep that in mind. As for when to expect this delayed patch, Brode explained on Twitter that the wait shouldn’t be longer than a week, so it could go live around January 10 or 11.

Update – 1/10/23, 11:42 a.m. ET: After its patch notes leaked last week, the latest Marvel Snap update is now live following a small delay. 

Fish Play Pokémon Scarlet And Violet, Commits Credit Card Fraud

A Magikarp scams someone by acting as the IRS. There is also a phone?

Image: Nintendo / PNGWing / Kotaku / designer491 (Getty Images)

A YouTuber created an alternative Nintendo Switch controller for their pet fish, which allows them to play video games on livestream. That fish managed to spend real money on some digital purchases while trying to beat a gym leader in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet (h/t: GamesRadar). And all of this happened because Scarlet and Violet are so buggy that they can sometimes cause the game to crash to the home page.

Mutekimaru Channel is a popular Japanese YouTuber who streams fish playing video games via an assistive device—an initiative that was intended to help viewers stay home during the pandemic. When a fish swims over a certain area of the “controller,” the game registers it as a specific button input. It’s not just one fish playing Pokémon either. The owner of the channel rotates fish every twelve hours in order to keep them healthy.

If the entire story stopped at “a fish was playing Pokémon on stream,” then I would have been suitably impressed. But no, the fish took things a step further. Not only have multiple fish managed to travel through towns and the wilderness with a specialized controller, they have even managed to spend its owner’s real-life money. I’m a little afraid to think about what else these fish might be capable of. Armed robbery?

ライブ配信でペットの魚にクレジットカード情報を公開され、挙句の果てに決済されてしまった件について

Normally, only one fishy gamer is allowed into the Switch tank at any given time. Once the owner walked away from the game, multiple fish took over and planned their nefarious heist.

The fish had been in the middle of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, but the game crashed due to its infamous performance issues. Once the fish was taken to the main Nintendo Switch home page, they managed to open the eshop, where its owner’s credit card information had been saved (and doxxed as a result).

The fish added 500 yen into their owner’s account. Then it used the resulting Nintendo gold coins (a loyalty reward from digital purchases) to buy a golfing cosmetic from Nintendo Switch Sports. According to Sora News 24, the owner intends to request a refund from Nintendo.

Be careful out there, gamers. Not only can hackers and other unscrupulous types get your credit card information, so can common pet fish. So don’t put your credit card number on shared devices!

Marvel Snap’s Most Hated Card Just Became Less Annoying

Today’s big Marvel Snap update added the much-requested (and much-delayed) battle mode for friends. But it also made some changes to a few cards, including a surprise buff for Wolverine and a much-needed nerf to The Leader, a card many claimed was too OP and unfair in its previous state.

Released earlier today, the free-to-play card battler’s latest update finally adds the ability to challenge friends and specific players in non-ranked matches. And while the feature is a bit barebones at the moment, in my early testing it works a treat; it’s been a blast playing friends and testing decks against them. But this new Marvel Snap update also brought with it some other tweaks, including new balance changes.

The big news: The Leader finally got a decent nerf to his powerful ability that let you copy all the cards your opponent played in the round. While he still copies some cards, he’s been limited to just the opponent’s zone to the right of him. This small tweak means you’ll have to be more strategic when using Leader. Early reports seem to indicate he’s still useful and powerful, but not as overly dominant as before because now you have to correctly predict where your opponent is likely to play powerful cards. To help offset this new change, dev Second Dinner also gave Leader a small power boost from six to seven. Funnily enough, this reverses the last minor nerf The Leader got.

While there were counters to The Leader and his strong endgame ability, it was still a really annoying and unfun way to lose a match. And as it became a popular way to win, you’d sometimes lose against this combo multiple times in a row. Hopefully with this change that won’t be the case anymore.

Read More: Marvel Snap’s First Three Explosive Months: The Ben Brode Creator Interview

There’s more good news for players who love Wolverine: The card is getting a very good buff. The grumpy mutant’s ability to return to the field after being destroyed or discarded was solid, but his stats never felt amazing, even with a slick ability like that. And according to Second Dinner and its data, nobody was really playing Wolverine in Snap. So to fix that, he’s been given a new ability. Now, when he gets destroyed and returns he comes back with +2 power. And it reads like that can happen multiple times, meaning this card could become a useful part of destroy-focused decks.

I’ve seen some players upset that other cards, like Zabu and Silver Surfer, haven’t been nerfed yet, and while I agree these cards likely need some tweaks, I do appreciate how careful Second Dinner is being with its nerfs. I’d rather it not do enough and try again, than make huge sweeping changes that utterly destroy cards and decks that people love overnight.

The Gathering Card Keeps Breaking Records

The most sought after Magic: The Gathering card looks relaxedly dignified to people who don’t play the game, displaying a stretching flower the same color as an overripe blueberry and its name in muted gray text: “Black Lotus.” A novice could appreciate the card, the art provided by deceased, renowned Magic illustrator Christopher Rush, but a collector can look at the understated flower and know its expensive truth. How expensive? Well, it broke two public auction records this month.

Right in a row, too. On March 16, a PSA 10 Gem Mint Alpha (Alpha means it was part of the initial print run in 1993) Black Lotus sold for $540,000 at a PWCC Marketplace auction, along with a case signed by Rush, and then an Artist Proof (a white-backed card printed solely for the artist) Near Mint/Mint+ 8.5 copy, also signed by Rush, went for $615,000 on Heritage Auctions on March 24. Both destroyed Black Lotus’ previous auction record, $511,100 in 2021, and all three prices look obscene next to fans’ personal anecdotes about buying the card for a couple hundred dollars twenty years ago.

According to Professional Sport Authenticator’s website, there are only six Gem Mint 10 condition Black Lotuses in existence, and 41 Near Mint/Mint 8 copies. Though, that number is much smaller for signed, Artist Proof Black Lotuses, which rapper Post Malone admitted in 2022 to purchasing for $800,000.

A Magic: The gathering card is displayed.

Image: Heritage Auctions

“It was an artist print, Chris Rush-signed Black Lotus,” he reasoned.

In the case of this month’s most recent record-breaking auction, the Artist Proof card also came from Rush’s former agent Jeff Ferreira’s personal Magic collection.

Heritage Auctions boasts about it in its description of the Black Lotus: “The rarity of the card cannot be understated, as the copies known to exist in the community is incredibly small,” the auction house says, “and for any copy, much less a signed copy, to come up for public auction is unheard of.”

“Do not miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of Magic: The Gathering history,” Heritage continues. Ominous.

The card’s owner is currently accepting offers over $922,500, if you’re interested. Otherwise, some other items from Ferreira’s collection are still available for bidding, including a Near Mint 7 Black Lotus (accepting offers above $22,500) and an acrylic Black Lotus painting made and signed by Rush in 2014 (accepting offers above $11,250). Who even needs to buy a house?

 

Rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! Card In The World Will Be Sold After 18 Years

The rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! card in the world will finally be sold this April. Only one copy was ever printed, and it’s been in the hands of one owner since 2005. Now, the owner is finally ready to part ways with it after 18 years.

Tyler the Great Warrior was originally created as a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that helps fulfill the wishes of children with “critical illnesses.” Tyler Gressle had been battling a rare liver cancer that only had 200 cases in the entire country. “I wanted a Porsche, but I wasn’t old enough,” he told Yu-Gi-Oh! content creator Alex Cimo in a YouTube video. “[They said] that if you were 16, yeah sure we’d make it happen. But because you can’t drive, you can’t have one.”

The Rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! Card in History: The Story of Tyler the Great Warrior

Gressle got the next best thing: A custom Yu-Gi-Oh! card based on Dragon Ball Z. He was flown out to New York to meet series creator Kazuki Takahashi and the voice actors for the anime. Takahashi created two sketches based on Gressle’s favorite character Future Trunks, and he was able to choose his favorite. He watched the card printers stamp out his card, which was immediately put into a glass case and never removed until it was recently taken out to be graded.

Tyler the Great Warrior scored a near-mint because of some creases that occurred while it was sitting in its original storage case. But it’s signed by the Yu-Gi-Oh! creator (who passed away last year while trying to save people from drowning) and is the only one that exists in the entire world. “As far as I know, nobody’s touched it with their bare hands,” said Gressle. He never considered selling the card, since getting it was a cherished memory. It was only recently that he changed his mind.

“I want to part with the card now after so much time, one, because I think the anticipation has really been killing some really avid collectors,” he told Cimo. “I’m not getting any younger, I want to start a family, I want to own and operate my own business and also help my community as well as travel and see my brother in Switzerland.”

The auction organizers don’t have a starting bid in mind, according to a representative of Cimo’s channel, and they don’t have any idea about how much the card will sell for either. “We are in uncharted territory here as there has never been a 1/1 Yu-Gi-Oh! card publicly sold,” Cimo’s representative told Kotaku over an email.

The interview has some incredibly wholesome supporters for a YouTube comments section. Many fans heard rumors about Gressle and his card, and they were happy to learn that he beat cancer. “Bless him for letting it go, I understand the idea of releasing yourself to pursue your future,” said one commenter. “It’s so great seeing Tyler looking forward in life to more, and the fact that he’s willing to part with the card to bring someone else joy is just such a beautiful full circle,” said another. “Regardless of if he’s in possession of the card or not, he will always be Tyler the Great Warrior.”

The card will be auctioned on eBay on April 19.

After Much Controversy, Nvidia Adds A Budget PC Graphics Card

An Nvidia 4070 card flies through hyperspace to a store near you.

Image: Nvidia

Last year, Nvidia launched beefy, expensive power hogs with the GeForce RTX 4080 and 4090 graphics cards and canceled the only real budget option over its own confusing naming conventions. Today, compromised performance in exchange for big savings is back on the table thanks to the 4070, a $600 card that promises plenty of bells and whistles if you’re willing to forgo 4K graphics.

Nvidia is calling the GeForce RTX 4070, which goes on sale April 13, the “ideal GPU” for those who want to play the latest blockbuster games at 1440p resolution, a respectable mid-point between standard HD and 4K. The company says it can hit that benchmark while still supporting ray tracing, DLSS 3, and high frame rates. “The GeForce RTX 4070 with DLSS 3 is on average 1.7x faster compared to last generation’s RTX 3070 Ti with DLSS 2,” it claimed in an April 12 announcement. “It is also 20% faster on average in traditional games while reducing average gaming power consumption by 23%.”

Screenshot shows Nvidia 4000 series spec comparison.

Screenshot: Nvidia / Kotaku

Digging a bit more into the comparisons, the 4070 is over $200 less than the next cheapest option, the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, and still $100 less than the last generation GeForce RTX 3080. At higher resolutions, the 3080 still appears to have an edge, but early reviews suggest Nvidia’s latest budget option will get players more bang for their buck if they’re willing to settle for 1440p. It’s also the smallest 4000 series card yet, which might come as a relief to anyone not looking forward to upgrading their PC case in order to accommodate Nvidia’s existing behemoths.

When the company first revealed the 4090 and 4080 cards last year, CEO Jensen Huang said $1,200 was the new normal for high-end gaming GPUs. Making matters even worse, a “cheaper” $900 12GB RTX 4080 option immediately got canned, with Nvidia launching the SKU just weeks later because while it was considered too “confusing” to have two different GPUs both using the “RTX 4080” name. It ultimately resurfaced in January in the form of the weaker RTX 4070 Ti, but the new base RTX 4070 card brings the price point down even further.

Graphics card prices spiked during the early part of the pandemic due to supply shortages as well as the rise of crypto mining operations. Both of those issues have subsided, but prices remain high as manufacturers chase new benchmarks. For now at least, the lag in demanding new blockbuster games this hardware cycle has given players some breathing room. We’ll see how much longer that lasts with Starfield and other big games on the horizon.

               

Marvel Snap Card Was So Broken, They’re Giving It To Everyone

Kitty Pryde morphs through a wall in her Marvel Snap card art.

Image: Second Dinner

Kitty Pryde, the Ultra Rare Marvel Snap card that was disabled just two days after its release on March 28, is being redesigned and disseminated to all players, developers said on the game’s official Discord.

“Shortly after the card was enabled on live servers, we saw reports of some game-breaking issues,” Marvel Snap Discord admin Gozz shared on behalf of developers. “We’re reworking Kitty’s design to satisfy her existing gameplay […] goals in a simpler way.” Namely, the card’s previous ability to add +2 Power when returned to your hand is being switched to +2 Power when it returns to your hand and, notably, at the start of each turn.

All Kitty owners—whether they bought the Kitty card for the difficult price of 6,000 tokens or those who received it in a Collector’s Cache—will receive 8,000 tokens “for the inconvenience” and a Kitty Pryde Base Avatar. But all Snap players will receive the reworked card for free once the game’s May patch lands on “approximately” May 9, Gozz said in the statement later posted to the Marvel Snap website.

“The integrity of our card releases is important and must hit an acceptable bar that creates trust,” he continued. “We learned a lot through this process and will improve the quality of future releases.”

Until then, Snap players have this month’s update, which rolls out today, to look forward to.

According to patch notes Gozz and developers posted to the Snap Discord and site, some highlights include Ultimate Variants receiving their own rotation, new game board art and effects, and bug fixes that prevent Android crashes when switching language options, among other quality-of-life improvements and balance changes. The game will also no longer reward players with Season Pass XP once they surpass 10 hours of gameplay in a day, perhaps to encourage you to shuffle a deck offline.

 

Rare ’90s Pikachu Pokémon Card Sells For A Wild $300,000

There’s a lot you can do with $300,000: buy a couple Teslas, invest in some stocks, get a PS5 or Xbox Series S/X (or a few of them). It’s an amount of money some people will never see in their lifetimes. Yet, someone with the cash to burn took their $300,000 and bought a super-rare Pikachu Pokémon card at an online auction. Spend it if you got it, I guess.

Pokémon cards are collectible and playable cards part of the series’ trading card game (TCG). While some have fetched high prices before, including one from July 2022 that YouTuber Logan Paul spent $5 million on to turn in an NFT (yuck), most are just your standard printed art on cardstock. That’s not to say folks don’t go buck wild for a limited-edition card, as evidenced by Japan recently running out of the things thanks to a new double-set pack that featured a rare Grusha and Iono. And while there was one auctioned off for almost half a million dollars earlier this year that seemingly nobody bid on, there’s another card with an equally eye-popping price tag that seems to have actually sold.

Read More: These New Pokémon Cards Are Making People A Fortune

The ‘extraordinarily rare’ Pokémon card is now someone’s centerpiece

Dexerto reports that a high-graded Pikachu Pokémon card ran someone’s wallet $300,000 on the multi-national auction house Heritage Auctions. The card itself, a 1997 Trophy Pikachu issued to the third-place winner during the TCG’s first-ever tournament in Japan, is extremely rare. According to the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), a site that authenticates and grades cards around the world, less than 100 of these cards were ever printed. On top of that, the PSA graded the Trophy Pikachu Pokémon card an NM-MT 8, meaning it was in damn-near-perfect condition. So, unless you attended and placed high in that Japanese tournament, you ain’t getting one.

Less than 100 of these super-rare Pikachu Pokémon cards were ever printed.

In a press release announcing the news, Heritage Auctions’ trading card games consignment director Jesus Garcia said that, though the team was confident the card would do well, the price it sold for exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“This card was not in the booster boxes that were offered at the time,” Garcia said. “It only was available to trainers who finished third at the First Official Pocket Monsters Tournament in Chiba, Japan, in 1997. It is an extraordinarily rare card [that] now stands as a centerpiece in the winning bidder’s collection.”

Kotaku reached out to Heritage Auctions for comment.

Read More: This May Be The Biggest Pokémon Card Theft In History, And It’s Causing Drama [Update]

You could buy the card from the person who scooped it up from the Heritage Auctions, but according to the site, your offer would have to start at $450,000. However, there is a warning message attached saying that the “owner’s willingness to entertain and respond to offers has not yet been verified.” And at the moment, the number of offers pending is labeled “not applicable.” For now.

 

Japanese Pokémon Card Store Bans Adults From Buying Them

In the wake of Pokémon cards totally selling out in Japan, it appears that one trading card store in the country’s Akihabara district has adopted some drastic measures: Bar adults from buying cards so kids can enjoy the hobby.

Read More: Japan Has Completely Run Out Of Pokémon Cards

Pokémon cards have always been popular and widely sought after, but as of late it seems like things have really exploded. Internet celebrity Logan Paul gladly spent millions of dollars on the cardstock collectibles (even if some of them were fake). One person allegedly stole tons of the things just to resell them at a local shop. There are also the occasional few who lay down hundreds of thousands of dollars on the rarest of cards, although sometimes the online sale absolutely flops.

And with the new Clay Burst and Snow Hazard packs that include Special Illustration Rare cards of Scarlet and Violet gym leaders Grusha and Iono, the quest to obtain Pokémon cards has become even more difficult. The new packs caused the recent card drought in Japan, as adults lined up outside Akihabara shops to buy the new packs and resell them online for a tidy profit. Capitalism, baby. Now it seems a retail store in Japan’s bustling shopping district is limiting the sale of Pokémon cards to junior high schoolers and younger to help prevent the olds from snatching them up during their lunch breaks or graveyard shifts.

Japanese kids get their own Pokémon card section

Hareruya 2, the self-proclaimed world’s largest Pokémon trading card specialty store in Akihabara, tweeted on April 30 that it will have an allocated section of Pokémon cards specifically for young adults. According to a translation of the tweet, this special allocation will run out as soon as each pack is sold out at the end of the day, with each customer only able to purchase 10 packs per day. Adults, including guardians and parents, are barred from buying these cards and the store will reportedly check IDs to confirm age.

In an interview with the Japanese news site Livedoor (that Kotaku translated thanks to Japanese resident and freelancer writer Diamond Feit), store manager Sho Watanabe explained the decision behind creating the kid-friendly sale section:

“Many shops exhaust their entire stock [of Pokémon cards] as soon as they go on sale, and people active late at night or early in the morning always seem to buy [the cards],” Watanabe told Livedoor. “By allocating half our stock for general customers, shops can continue to sell [the cards] to students and young children. Selling [goods] to children not only pleases them, but their parents as well. [We] feel this method of sales enables us to satisfy the greatest number of customers when the items are in such limited supply.”

As Kanda University Ph.D. lecturer Jeffrey Hall suggested on Twitter, Hareruya 2’s goal seems to be preventing the resale of the Clay Burst and Snow Hazard packs, which went for thousands of dollars when they dropped on April 14.

Kotaku reached out to Hareruya 2 and The Pokémon Company for comment.

Read More: The Most Wanted, Valuable Cards In Pokémon Scarlet & Violet TCG

It’s deeply funny that a hobby primarily aimed at kids has become so dominated by adult capitalist brain worms, to the point that a store has to remind adults that kids like to collect and play with Pokémon cards, too. Kids should be entitled to enjoy things, so I don’t know, calm down and let them? Or at the very least, give them an opportunity to score some of the same cards you’re vying for.

 

The Great Pokémon Trading Card Game Migration Is In June

Pikachu is seen walking in front of a computer and phone playing Pokémon Trading Card Game Live.

Image: The Pokémon Company

The Pokémon Company is officially migrating its online trading card ecosystem to its new app, Pokémon Trading Card Game Live, on June 8. This means if you’ve been playing the digital card game on Pokémon Trading Card Game Online, which has been the platform for official online play since 2011, you’ll have to make the switch at the beginning of next month, as the original app is being completely removed from digital storefronts the same week.

Pokémon Trading Card Game Live has been in beta since November, and if you’ve already been playing the game over there, not much will change when the full game launches next month. But if you’ve been holding off on making the switch, you’ll have to once the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online app is delisted from mobile and desktop storefronts on June 5. Players have had a bit of time to make the transition, and The Pokémon Company stopped adding new cards and packs to Online back in March. So anyone using it hasn’t been able to play with cards from the recent Scarlet and Violet packs, though they will be supported in Live. The Online app will continue to support Versus Ladder reward tracks and bug fixes up until its sunsetting in June.

In the meantime, anyone who logs into Pokémon Trading Card Game Live between now and launch day will receive commemorative accessories, including a coin, card sleeves, and deck box all featuring the Global Beta logo.

All of this follows some controversy surrounding the transition between the Online and Live clients. Both apps use the same online profile, so transferring from one app to the other isn’t that difficult, but Live has come under fire for drawbacks compared to Online, including a loss of in-game currency when transferring and a general lack of feature parity. On top of this, booster packs have fewer cards in Live than they did in Online, which The Pokémon Company has deemed “optimal” for the game’s economy. But warts and all, this is the game online Pokémon players will have to use come June. Hopefully the bugs in the beta are ironed out, but most of all, hopefully some of these changes will be reverted to give folks a better version of the Pokémon Trading Card Game instead of a substandard one.

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