Hearthstone - Does Winning The Coin Toss Hurt You?

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By alexander_hinkleyDate: Dec 28 2015 Views:


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Does winning the coin toss in Hearthstone actually hurt you? This is a question I have quietly pondered ever since I started playing and realized that there may actually be more benefits to going second in this game.


When you go second in a card game, one of the intangible benefits you receive is that you are able to respond to what your opponent is doing and disrupt their plans before they can do the same to you. Although your opponent is setting the actual gameplay tempo, you’re the one setting the information tempo because you will be the first one in the game to learn what deck your opponent is playing and perhaps even what their strategy will be based on what they have played. For example, if your opponent goes first and ends up playing a Mechwarper on turn two, then it’s a pretty safe assumption you are going up against a tribal mechs deck and can plan out your strategy accordingly. On the other hand, he has no idea what you’re playing yet.

In Hearthstone, going first can actually be detrimental to your well-being early game. There aren’t all that many one drops in most people’s decks and there are even fewer playable one drops that become anything more than a mere annoyance (some exceptions to this are Mana Wyrm and Northshire Cleric which are both very problematic minions to see on turn one).

Most of the time, your opponent is just going to pass. Now is your chance to take the tempo with the Coin. You can actually play a two mana card on turn one if you use the Coin. Not only are there a multitude of dangerous two-costed creatures, but your opponent will also have one less card in which to muster an immediate response compared with if he had played something turn one and you responded to it. Dropping a turn one Mechwarper, Whirling Zap-O-Matic, or Sorcerer's Apprentice using the Coin can all be really good openers. Under this scenario, this means that not only did you start the game with an extra card compared to your opponent, but now you’re ALSO setting the tempo because you were the first to play something. It’s the best of both worlds!

The subject of whether winning the coin toss helps or hurts you has been discussed amongst players on forums for years, with no real consensus reached. There are no official statistics to be analyzed but many players using third-party stat tracking software have reported a pretty much equivalent win ratio between when they play first or second, some with a slightly higher win rate for when they play first (we’re talking one percent or less so it’s not really statistically significant).

The main benefit of going first is that you are always one mana ahead of your opponent so although going first can actually hurt you early on, it supposedly helps you more late game because you can drop your bombs one turn earlier than your opponent. For example, if you drop Dr. Boom then your opponent drops his Dr. Boom the next turn you’re in a much better position overall.

Even this scenario doesn’t always hold true, however. If the player going second doesn’t play the Coin right away, they can use it later to drop one of their bombs a turn before they otherwise could have, and perhaps even before the player going first does (such as a turn six Dr. Boom). This still places the advantage with the player who lost the toss since it’s his decision when to ultimately pop the Coin.


Not to mention the fact the Coin itself counts as a spell for some reason and works in conjunction with stuff like combo requirements for Rogues, beefing up Mana Wyrms and Mana Addicts, drawing a free card if you have a Gadgetzan Auctioneer, or even turning into a free Fireball if you happen to have Archmage Antonidas out.

Some players like to go second and others like to go first. It’s mostly personal preference and based on what class you’re playing and what type of deck you’re playing. Rogues definitely benefit from going second the most due to the aforementioned combo benefits, though.

There is a very simple solution to the conundrum of the Coin which I don’t know why Blizzard hasn’t enacted yet: make it so that whoever wins the coin toss simply chooses whether they want to go first or second. If you win the dice roll in Magic: The Gathering, you get to pick what you want to do. If you win the coin toss in a football game your team chooses whether they want to kick or receive. You don’t get STUCK with something you don’t want. WINNING the coin toss shouldn’t ever hurt you. Let players choose. Problem solved.

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