In Second Dinner’s mobile card game Marvel Snap, one card seems to draw curiosity more than any other: Agatha Harkness. Part of this may be due to the character’s growth in popularity stemming from her role in the Disney Plus series WandaVision, which led to the creation of spin-off series Agatha: Coven of Chaos, set to release in winter of this year. However, it’s far more likely due to her card’s crazy unique ability that sees her play your cards for you.
Marvel Snap creator Ben Brode knows how special the Agatha Harkness card is, too, going so far as to say the team was “terrified for years of this card.” But that uncertainty and instability is actually the entire point. Brode spoke to Eurogamer about the need for collectible card games to avoid making players feeling like they’ve seen it all before.
“You need something that blows their mind and makes them think: ‘Hold on! Anything could happen in this game! I don’t know what to expect! What else do these cards do? I have to see all of these cards now! This is wild!’” Brode told Eurogamer.
Those who have been playing Marvel Snap since the game launched in October 2022 have likely had that incredible moment where they first encounter this card’s ability and realize what’s happening. What might be more surprising, though, is that Brode actually doesn’t want you to play the Agatha Harkness card, and the reason lies in how the witch works.
It turns out, Agatha Harkness only has one thing on her mind: playing herself. If there’s enough Energy to play her 6-cost card, she’ll play herself. However, that typically doesn’t happen until the very end of the game. In the meantime, she’ll play the game for you entirely randomly. That’s right. There’s nothing else to it but complete randomization. This news stunned Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan, who asked Brode to clarify.
“Completely randomly,” Brode responded. “She will take a random card, play it to a random location and do it again and do it again until she’s out of mana. That’s it.”
Donlan confessed that he tried applying more logic to the Harkness card than the card itself was employing, a mistake he’s likely not alone in making.
“So one of my theories has been that there’s a quirk with her because she doesn’t know how to play Medusa, who only makes sense if you play her in the middle location,” Donlan told Brode. “Agatha plays Medusa all over the place. But it turns out I’m reading absolutely everything into that? Was that the plan from the word go? Complete randomness?”
Brode’s advice? Don’t rely on Agatha at all. But if you do put your faith in her, maybe don’t pair her and Medusa up in the same deck.
So if you’re not supposed to actually play Agatha, you may be wondering, why have her at all? It’s all part of that central goal of keeping the collectible card game unique.
“I would rather you don’t play Agatha, actually. I’d rather you be making hard decisions and try and puzzle out the right play. But we want there to be this really unique thing in the game,” Brode explained to Eurogamer.
And the real magic of the card comes from being on the opposing side of her, discovering at the end of a match that it was Agatha you were playing against all along.
“So this card was not Agatha to begin with,” Brode reveals. “It was Adam Warlock once upon a time. […] But then WandaVision came out. And there’s a moment—this is a spoiler, I’m sorry. But there’s a moment in WandaVision, where there’s a character who suddenly reveals that she was the bad guy all along.”
And, well, you probably know how the song goes.