Is there ANY advantage to going first anymore?

In every game I’ve played recently, the second player advantage is overwhelming. Counter-deploying has always been an advantage, however minor, of going second. You get to see where your opponent is placing pieces, and deploy to best deal with what’s coming on each side of the board. Scoring first has also traditionally been in player two’s favor.

But Steamroller 2024 has made some fundamental changes which (from my perspective) give player one nothing at all. Changing deployment distances was big, and the asymmetrical scenario elements generally amplify player 2’s advantage. Lastly, I don’t recall how it worked in Steamroller 2023, but I’d thought that whoever had won the die roll could either chose who went first, or chose sides. In Steamroller 2024, player two always chooses sides.

Does everyone agree that they went just a bit two far with player two advantage? And is there ever any remaining advantge to going first?


Second player has definitely gotten a boost in SR24, though I haven’t played it enough to have a good sense of whether it’s too far.

Roll off has been winner picks either going first or going second for as long as I can remember, with whoever goes second picking their table edge. I don’t believe that has changed.


Second player has definitely gotten a huge boost from previous steamrollers. But its important to keep it in context.

Here are the winrates from 2023:

And here is so far in 2024:

So yes it is better to go second more often than not now, but so far the winrates dont suggest they’ve gone too far.

The issue I see is that currently (in most scenarios) it isnt much of a choice when you win the roll. 2nd is just better. I’ve advocated for 1st player getting to choose table side to help make it an actual decision.


Choosing either 1> who goes first or 2> table sides would be a nice balance fix.

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A flat percentage breakdown of one statistic rarely tells the full story.

What is the breakdown for the type of victory? It could very well be the case that one player is advantaged for assassinations and the other is for scenario.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. If so, its a good natural balancing factor. The bigger concern I’d have is if certain scenarios have large disparities.

For example if 3 scenarios have a 75% win rate for fiest player and 3 have 25%. Overall it would even out but it wouldnt be where you want to be balance-wise.

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That is a good point as well.

What’s the first player/second player win rate when broken down by scenario?

(I lack the time to try to figure out Longshanks well enough to calculate this stuff.)

I’m not the strongest player, but I often find myself still wanting to go first with my Orgoth and Legion. Perhaps that means my lists aren’t right for SR 2024, but I think there are still shooting resistant armies that want the extra board presence offered by going first.

Honestly, the 51/49 split between first and second player in the longshanks data is super close for a game like warmachine. Any changes at this point are much more likely to make things worse. There is a caveat to that if there’s a wide divide on 1st player advantage for specific scenarios, but then it would probably be best to simply adjust objective locations.

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Grabbing table position as first play can still be very good.

Also getting your upkeeps out, and being able to bring your ambushers on what seems like quite early compared to quite late.


Came back to post this.


Can you break that down by scenario?

I wonder specifically about Invasion, Payload, and Two Fronts.

I am not exactly sure on how to see that specific % breakdown, but I can post this.

That doesn’t really help. Longshanks must have the data, but maybe it just isn’t accessible through your options?

People paying for accounts should push for richer data analysis. Aside from just being neat, it can help the community provide feedback to PP about scenario design.

I went ahead and did it manually for the biggest recent tournament (Bokur Brawl Team Tournament).

Battle Lines: 1st player won 26/33 games:
78.8% winrate

Payload: 1st player won 23/40 games:
57.5% winrate

Two Fronts: 1st player won 22/42 games:
52.4% winrate

Wolves: 1st player won 25/41 games:
61.0% winrate

Recon: 1st player won 22/42 games:
52.4% winrate


And here are the stats for Welsh Masters:

Battle Lines: 1st player won 16/25 games:
64.0% winrate

Payload: 1st player won 14/28 games:
50.0% winrate

Two Fronts: 1st player won 13/26 games:
50.0% winrate

Wolves: 1st player won 14/28 games:
50.0% winrate

Recon: 1st player won 12/27 games:
44.4% winrate

Invasion: 1st player won 12/25 games:
48.0% winrate

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interesting. Not a huge sample size but besides Battle Lines and Recon that’s not a terrible spread.