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DjJoe's Rants

The Advantage to going Second

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I said this in a thread, and I want to just make it a blog because...well I just want it to get out there because I made the idea of it up on a whim and as I thought more about it I liked my own reasoning. This is an explaination on why going second isn't so bad, and is sometimes beneficial!



The advantage to going second is that you are able to respond to cards played and work strategies around the type of deck you are playing against. The first turn player, without a card effect, will not know what cards are in their opponent's hand or deck and is only aware of the active pokemon and any benched pokemon in play.It's easier to react as a 2nd turn player because hand sizes will be lower and you'll know more about the contents in your opponent's deck as they play them.

When going first, you're one turn ahead in everything except thinking strategies. You don't know what someone is playing until roughly their third card played in the game, so unless you can gain a significant advantage in damage, prizes, or field presence on the first turn, you are subjectable to tech cards lack of planning. As far as strategies, you are second to be able to play tech cards in your deck because you will not know what you are up against (unless your opponent tells you or floods the field with Pokemon during set-up).

Example: If you're playing against a Durant deck and they begin the game with a single Cobalion (which isn't a terrible start), the first turn player has no way of knowing it's a Durant deck. Playing a couple of dual balls, Pokemon Collector, or cards to draw could be detrimental to the game down the road, especially if Durant gets moving quickly.
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  1. Prime's Avatar
    If you're playing against any deck and it doesn't drop an energy on the first turn, nor do they play a supporter, you know instantly that they may not have a strong hand and may push harder for a quick (and weaker) setup than giving the extra time to setup a more solid bench.

    I can see where you're going with this. It's true. But then again, basics like Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem can be DCE'd (Pachirisu+Shaymin too), Expert Belted (or plus powered) on the first turn and possibly take a first-turn-KO without knowing what the opponent has in their hand.
  2. chrataxe's Avatar
    I can't agree with this reasoning at all. Most decks are pretty straight forward. MOST. You start Gothorita, Litwick, Cyndaquil, Eel, its pretty obvious where you are going T1. As for your example, you couldn't have picked a worse one. Your opponent probably isn't going to start with a Cobalion playing Durant. While I can see the advantages of playing it, its not a good tech to begin with. Even still, they will collector and Dual Ball T1. Then, your stuck going second, knowing what your opponent is going to do and not be able to do anything about it. And, if you go second and collector to set up as usual, if your opponent was wise, he would attach and pass T1, then collector/dual ball T2 while catchering up a Pokemon you wouldn't have put down T1 anyway.

    Either way, even if there were a better scenario in play, its not advantageous. Going first always means 2 things. You attach first energy (and second), and you evolve first...as well has getting to play 2 Supporters first and have the opportunity to KO something important before they can get it rolling. Its almost stupid to NOT play Donphan right now the way the T1 rules are. If you get heads, you almost always win, assuming your build can consistently crank out T2 Donphan. That means you win 50% of your matches without even playing them.
  3. djjoe227's Avatar
    That's only presently and the only example I could think of is a present example.

    Overall, the advantage to going second is there. With our current cardpool and the direction certain card development is taking, it is not the case. But it's still reasoning at some point, just not as often as possible.
  4. Shen's Avatar
    While this is somewhat true, unfortunately many people know what their opponent is playing before their match. This is a strong advantage maybe in the first few rounds, but after awhile decks start becoming known. It would be cool if people didn't share what others were playing. Still, many decks operate very similarly despite their match-ups, and by going off of what basics are on your opponent's field, you can formulate a successful strategy going first.

    Despite all of this, the argument is a moot point given a mulligan or in top cut (especially if you played the same opponent in Swiss). In top cut, there is no advantage whatsoever in going second in the 2nd and 3rd games. Even still, it doesn't outweigh going first at all. So while I do agree with you on some level, we still have a major issue with first turn rules.
  5. djjoe227's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Shen
    While this is somewhat true, unfortunately many people know what their opponent is playing before their match. This is a strong advantage maybe in the first few rounds, but after awhile decks start becoming known. It would be cool if people didn't share what others were playing. Still, many decks operate very similarly despite their match-ups, and by going off of what basics are on your opponent's field, you can formulate a successful strategy going first.

    Despite all of this, the argument is a moot point given a mulligan or in top cut (especially if you played the same opponent in Swiss). In top cut, there is no advantage whatsoever in going second in the 2nd and 3rd games. Even still, it doesn't outweigh going first at all. So while I do agree with you on some level, we still have a major issue with first turn rules.
    Before a match? Yes. But then again, who's fault is that? You can't blame the rules of the game on that front, but rather tournament structure. I'm not saying each game needs to be heavily fortified and all matches kept secret, but players should try to use some descrepency during a tournament to prevent leaks of techs, secrets, and strategies. It may not be applicable to our current modified constructed format, but do remember that the game is not strictly match/tournament based; there is Unlimited, Casual, Draft, and Fun Format styles of play.

    Also do not forget that it's not just the in-play basics. A good example is a lone Zekrom- you don't know if it's ZPS, ZPST, Eel, The Truth, Donphan & Dragons, and so forth. They all play similar, but their strategies are different. That is, to say, you only know of Zekrom; you don't know the Trainers/Supporters in their hand, and you don't know what they are capable of playing. By the time the second turn player goes, they can set up accordingly, knowing there are only 2 cards left in hand, what cards are in play, and what cards are in play in terms of likelihood of the next draw (Is there now less Junipers, PONT, or Junk Arm in the deck? etc)