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whisperni

Is there really a first turn advantage? Part 2 with fun new rules action.

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I was grateful for the response I received from my last study and while I had hoped it would catalyst into a few other studies to support my initial tests I was at least grateful to hear about Wizkids attempting some changes. It excited me enough that I decided to recreate the same test that I conducted previously but with the new 3 dice first turn rule tested by Wizkids.

This updated rule is as follows:

The player who goes first would only roll 3 dice on their first turn, beginning the game with the 4th Sidekick die out of play (in transition).

To makes this as equal as possible I redid my entire first study with only this change. The requirements for my study are as follows.

I used 4 different decks to test first turn advantage
I tested each deck against itself and the 3 other decks 100 times going first
I tested each deck against itself and the 3 other decks 100 times going second
The decks had to be played by equally skilled players. Namely I played myself which is as equal in skill as I could make players.

The 4 decks I used in this study were some of the top decks from US Nationals.
1) The Canadian National Champion Deck (Won US National Championship)

Basic Actions
Magic Missile
Cloudkill
Character/Action Cards
4 x Elf Thief: Lesser Harper
3 x Prismatic Spray
3 x Dwarf Wizard: Paragon Zhentarim
3 x Half-Elf Bard: Master Lordsí Alliance
1 x Mr. Fantastic: The Invincible Man
4 x Clay Golem: Greater Construct
1 x Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants
1 x Parallax: Source of Terror

2) The UK National Champion Deck (2nd at US National Championship)
Basic Action Cards
Imprisoned
Magic Missile
Character/Action Cards
2 x Hulk: Green Goliath
2 x Breaker the Magical Warrior: Mana Break
3 x Dwarf Wizard: Paragon Zhentarim
3 x Half-Elf Bard: Master Lordsí Alliance
2 x Oracle: Master Investigator
3 x Constantine: Hellblazer
1 x Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants
4 x Elf Thief: Lesser Harper

3) The Vicious Struggle Deck (Top 8 at US National Championship)
Basic Actions
Vicious Struggle
Resurrection
Character/Action Cards
1 x Luke Cage: Knuckle Up!
1 x Silver Surfer: Sky Rider
4 x Kobold: Lesser Humanoid
4 x Constantine: Hellblazer
4 x Captain America: The First Avenger
4 x Oracle: Master Investigator
1 x Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants
1 x Parallax: Source of Terror

4)Mask Ring Team (Top 4 at US National Championship)
Basic Actions
Resurrection
Distraction
Character/Action Cards
4 x Morphing Jar
4 x Elf Thief: Lesser Harper
3 x Constantine: Hellblazer
3 x Babs
2 x Lantern Ring
1 x Parallax: Source of Terror
1 x Professor X: Recruiting Young Mutants
2 x Oracle: Master Investigator

Round 1a - The Canadian National Championship Deck Going First

The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 63 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 55 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 89 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. Mask Ring Team = 68 wins out of 100 games

Results: The Canadian National Champion Team is still strong with a 68% win rate going first

Round 1b - The Canadian National Championship Deck Going Second

The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 37 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 48 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 42 wins out of 100 games
The Canadian National Champion Deck vs. Mask Ring Team = 45 wins out of 100 games

Results - The Canadian National Championship Deck holds it own with a 43% win rate going second.

Round 2a - The UK National Championship Deck Going First

The UK National Champion Deck vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 52 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 47 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 71 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. Mask Ring Team = 63 wins out of 100 games

Results - The UK National Championship Deck win ratio drops to a 58% win rate going first.

Round 2a - The UK National Championship Deck Going Second

The UK National Champion Deck vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 45 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 53 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 41 wins out of 100 games
The UK National Champion Deck vs. Mask Ring Team = 46 wins out of 100 games

Results - The UK National Championship Deck still has a strong win rate going second with a 46% win rate.

round 3 - The Vicious Struggle Deck Going First

The The Vicious Struggle vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 63 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 59 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 63 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. Mask Ring Team = 72 wins out of 100 games

Results - The Vicious Struggle Deck still has a strong first turn win rate at 65%

round 3 - The Vicious Struggle Deck Going Second

The The Vicious Struggle vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 11 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 29 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 37 wins out of 100 games
The The Vicious Struggle vs. Mask Ring Team = 31 wins out of 100 games

Results - Vicious Struggle has a win rate of 26% going second

round 4 - Mask Ring Team Going First

Mask Ring Team Team vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 55 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 54 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 69 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. Mask Ring Team = 59 wins out of 100 games

Results - Mask Ring Team had a 59% win rate going first.

round 4 - Juniors Mask Ring Team Going Second

Mask Ring Team Team vs. The Canadian National Champion Deck = 32 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. The UK National Champion Deck = 37 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. The Vicious Struggle Deck = 28 wins out of 100 games
Mask Ring Team vs. Mask Ring Team = 41 wins out of 100 games

Results - Mask Ring Team had a 34% win rate going second.

Final Results

Overall from all four decks.
If you go first you would have a 62% chance to win
If you go second you would have a 38% chance to win

So what changed between this test and the first test I provided.

1) With these 4 decks and only the change of the first turn ruling we see a significant shift in first turn advantage. A change of almost 13%.
2) Why is there a change? The 3 dice rule really hurt decks because they had a much harder time rolling their ideal first turn. If they did not roll perfectly they could not PXG properly into their 3rd turn advantage. They still had an advantage and in cases where they rolled the 3 die into the energy types their deck needed for their first turn then there was almost no change in the outcome of the victory. It was only in games where the first turn player flubbed their first turn roll that anything changed, but the poor rolling was much more frequent with the 3 die rule.
3) At the end of the day, though a step in the right direction this change alone did not even the decks to a point that the better deck won or the win ratio evened out to 50-50 with equal strength decks. Each deck won more going first than going second.
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Comments

  1. Drakolich's Avatar
    Thanks again for posting your results this is really helpful. I was figuring it would shift a little but I also doubted it would even things up.

    What's worse is the teams you used for the testing weren't even designed with the rule in mind. I've been building teams with the rule in mind just to see and I've pretty much found myself right back to the same numbers you had in previous testing.

    While this rule is definitely a step in the right direction I think were going to need to see some errata's on cards that are the worst offenders. Cough* Paralax Cough* :P

    Keep up the great work
  2. whisperni's Avatar
    Thanks, I actually think some of the biggest problems is that whoever denies the other deck the ability to ramp first has such a huge advantage. This has not changed with the last set, if anything it is worse with the introduction of Rip hunters. Rip hunters allows the first player to buy elf thief turn one and put it into prep. Denying the second player the ability to ramp even on their first turn. Yes you can constantine turn 2 as second player but you are already a second full turn behind at this point. You went second and you lost your first turn of ramp just because you went second.
  3. Jwannabe's Avatar
    You are pretty much the best for doing all this. It's extremely encouraging.

    The next shift in data will be to see if there is a first turn advantage after the first purchase for these team are rethought. The teams were initially built with the premise of having more energy available, and will now adjust.

    Having a 1 cost morphing jar available to mask ring will certainly help and I think rip hunters also shifts some of these teams.
  4. The0retico's Avatar
    Thank you very much - you are what the word "computer" used to stand for.
  5. GNGJ's Avatar
    Wow! That is a lot of games! One thing I noticed are the outliers created by the VS team games. I wanted to see what would happen if the VS team was eliminated from your study. The results are a bit more significant: Can Nats team won 62% going first and 43.3% going second; UK Nats team won 54% going first and 48% going second; Mask Ring team won 56% going first and 36.6% going second; The Overall rates are 57.3% going first and 42.6% going second.
  6. BenSaidScott's Avatar
    Out of interest I'd like r your thoughts on how you played these decks. One of the things I liked about my UK mats deck was how adaptable it was to bad rolls, so much so that I'm not sure what my optimal opening move is. I'd like to hear your thought on that.
  7. whisperni's Avatar
    Well my second buy is almost always oracle turn 2. Imprisoned turn 3 unless I am steam rolling then I go bard turn 3. Turn 1 is either Constantine or elf thief half based on rolls half based on if I went first or second. If I went first I lean towards elf thief because turn 3 elf thief and oracle just destroys so many opponents. If I go second I tend to go Constantine to counter them while I wait for imprisoned. I only buy breaker if my opponent buys imprisoned. Dwarf wizard I tend to only buy in the mirror match or if I need to counter their dwarf wizard. Hulk I buy like 1-2 times in 100 games.
  8. BenSaidScott's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by whisperni
    Well my second buy is almost always oracle turn 2. Imprisoned turn 3 unless I am steam rolling then I go bard turn 3. Turn 1 is either Constantine or elf thief half based on rolls half based on if I went first or second. If I went first I lean towards elf thief because turn 3 elf thief and oracle just destroys so many opponents. If I go second I tend to go Constantine to counter them while I wait for imprisoned. I only buy breaker if my opponent buys imprisoned. Dwarf wizard I tend to only buy in the mirror match or if I need to counter their dwarf wizard. Hulk I buy like 1-2 times in 100 games.
    Did getting to the Oracle pose any problems with the new rule? I'm surprised you went for Imprisoned turn two I would normally wait a few more turns than that, the same with Bard.

    Aside from that I'm glad you found the same as I did with Hulk. I have changed him out along with Magical Missile as I felt that I never really went for him. Do you have any suggestions for what I might include instead?