First or Second?

On July 31, 2014 by Kyle Schrader

A watershed event occurred on July 14, 2014 when the new ruling came into effect that made it so the player going first no longer not draws for his/her turn. This makes the coveted first turn much less desirable in a game were card advantage is key. We asked some our members for their input on this landmark change:

In Game 1, I always want to go second because hardly any deck can make up for the minus 1 in the first turn. Also, since they start with 5 cards, it’s more unlikely that they open one of those plus-cards. For example, you have 3 Mathematican in your deck that would give you a plus 1 chances you open at least one of them with a opening hand of 6 are about 39,43% – so a bit above every third game. If you go down to 5 cards chances will decrease to 33,76% which is more or less exactly every third game.

I’m still not sure if this also applies to 2nd and third games because if an anticard like Dimensional Fissure can kill your whole deck, you might want to make your first turn without being interrupted by said card.

Peter Gross, VP Europe


Going first won’t work anymore for combo decks because they rely more heavily on getting a certain combination of cards and you have a lesser chance to get these combination with just 5 cards. First Turn Kill decks are now nearly impossible because of that.

Also, if you play a normal deck and set up your board then your opponent will always have one more card to break it. This means that the start player is always playing from behind. It’s sounds logical to go first with an anti deck to interrupt your opponent’s plays but its not working out because they have more resources to deal with your board.

The only decks which won’t suffer too much from going first are those which have cards like Elemental Hero Stratos which nets you a +1 when you summon it. They can equal the disadvantage of going first.

Overall I would choose to go second if I win the dice roll from now on, unless I find a deck which can do unfair stuff turn 1.

Claudio Kirchmair, President


Game 1: Go second (Pray your opponent doesn’t open the nuts and go HAM). Just act like every time you don’t know what your opponent plays – if you know – well – see next step!

Game 2/3: It depends on what you are playing against and which deck you are playing. For example, I would not let an Eswarm player go first vs my Lucksworn Rulers – yeah, people love to open nuts against me, same goes for Bujin. The rest: Go second.

Mike Nguyen, Past-President (06-10)


I made a little chart for you for Game One (Above). Of course, it’s not always the same way.

Soner Güngör, Player


I don’t know yet which is better, because it depends too much on the deck that you play. For example, with Infernity, I will start for sure. I’m trying to start every time with other decks; sometimes if you have a nice start, it is enough, but other times drawing 5 is a lot worse.

Luca Chetoni, Player