Explore: 2nd player's advantage

Would be devs kind enough and publish the win / loss ratio for going 1st & 2nd?

With years of experience in similar card games, I am quite sure Explore is providing unfair advantage to 2nd player. This is most visible with sandy rush, obviously. Getting an extra prairie & 2 faeria? You are basically giving them half the win straight up.

There is no fog of war, which is the source of biggest 1st player advantage in board-based games liked this.

Simply granting extra land or 2 faeria would be enough. Possibly allow player to choose.

In previous game I played / VIP’d / worked for, Duel of Champions, this was pretty much the solution developers after two years of gathering data settled for. (Except it also had a third option of drawing a card.)

(I can list some other examples if people get too angry…)

I definitely prefer going second. There’s quite a few advantages - elementals, dark stalker, etc. But that’s just my typical builds. Players with lots of very-first-turn collectors are better off starting first.

IMHO when thinking about this you need to try to make the advantage on even turns match that on odd turns. In other words, each turn should have an equal advantage (or as close as you can get) over the previous turn, regardless of whether it’s an odd or even turn.

So when you say getting extra prairie and +2 faeria - that’s only for even/second-player turns. The next turn the first player gets an extra card, prairie (-1 + 2 prairies = +1, ignoring other powerwheel options for now), and +1 faeria (-2 +3 = +1). So the mean difference is 1 faeria (player 2) vs 1 card (player 1).

Obviously there are other gameplay factors to consider, e.g. exponential growth issues (who gets the faeria 1st? usually the 1st player).

With yellow rush, it does feel slightly easier to defend going 2nd, I’ll agree. But again, that’s probably partly my decks. (and a first-turn 2-prairie neutral harvester opening puts you in front). And different matchups will have different first-vs-second biases. Early-game builds (e.g. rushes) will have more variability in these biases.

[quote=“Uraxor, post:1, topic:7176”]
In previous game I played / VIP’d / worked for, Duel of Champions, this was pretty much the solution developers after two years of gathering data settled for
[/quote]I don’t think you can derive balance info like this from other games though. It’s apples and oranges. It’s like trying to balance chess pawn movement using checkers data. (I’m not saying experience doesn’t count, just that observations from one game don’t translate to the other directly).

It’d be interesting if they’ve been collecting stats and can tell us. I would be very surprised if it were more than 2% from the middle.

You’ll never get it 100% perfect though.

[quote=“Uraxor, post:1, topic:7176”]
Simply granting extra land or 2 faeria would be enough. Possibly allow player to choose.
[/quote]I’d be surprised if that were true. That seems way too big of a nerf.

If second really is better, my solution would be to make explore cost 1F or 2F (still get 2F back when played), and the cost goes down by 1 every turn in your hand or deck. So in 1 or 2 turns it’s the same explore we have now. That’s slightly complex, but any balance idea needs to be worth less than 1F IMHO.


I agree. Explore also gives event sinnergy (pew pew, yellow events, dark stalker)

Thanks for engaging in a constructive way :slight_smile:

What you say implies that the mean difference benefits rush decks a lot. Going 2nd, they set the tempo (faeria >> card, in a quick game you won’t run out anyway) and starting player has to react to them. He has two options - direct clear or deploy. However 2nd player doesn’t care as his Haste creatures have already done their job. Direct clear sets the starting player a turn behind, while deploy sets him two turns behind.

How often have you seen 2f neutral harvesters played? I have to say, I have yet to meet them. They suffer from being very easily removed, imho. (Thought I’d love to get back to Fortune Hunter, he was fun early on.)

As for the percentage, I’d be surprised if it was so little. I’m guessing ~3-4% is where we are at (in favour of 2nd). I am pretty positive they have the data, you need this kind of information for game balance.

You are right experience doesn’t translate directly - it’s linked with your proposals, which I am sure make more sense here as my experience is still rather fresh.
Even though I believe that allowing player to choose from draw a card / get 2f / create a prairie would leave the card potent enough.

Another thing to take into consideration is that when you play a deck based on champions or 3 wishes, you’ll always want to play 1st, as you’ll be able to retaliate before one more of opponent’s turns, which is often decisive. I can say that I have ~7% more winrate when beginning with my three wishes deck, elementals in hand or not.

[quote=“Uraxor, post:4, topic:7176”]
faeria >> card
[/quote]Depends on the deck. If you get a bad draw then cards are more important. Or the extra card could be a taunt creature, or a cheap removal. I’d say I think cards are more important for me, as I draw more than I +1 when being rushed - usually because I have less creatures than most decks.

[quote=“Uraxor, post:4, topic:7176”]
starting player has to re[a]ct to them
[/quote](I assume that’s what was meant)
Opponent has to react regardless of who starts. But reacting is harder if you went first and went sideways, sure. Still, you’re reacting with 6f. There’s so many variables and circumstances that I think it’s not very useful attempting to gauge it without stats. We’ve already seen lots of confirmation bias in mulligan redraws so I’m pretty sure we’ll get lots here too.

[quote=“Uraxor, post:4, topic:7176”]
How often have you seen 2f neutral harvesters played
[/quote]On very-first turn? 1-2f about 10% of the time perhaps - often green ones. 3f perhaps another 15%. I’m not counting, but I’ve done a fair bit of going-second-turn-1 sniping. Yes, they’re very easily removed, but the removal costs about the same as the creature.