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Which cards should never appear in the starting hand? - Survey Results

February 11, 2021 · 4 min read

We asked players if any cards should not appear in the starting hand. Here’s what they say.

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Survey: Starting Hands

Introduction

Clash Royale currently has two cards that does not appear in the starting hand:

  • Mirror was removed from starting hand on 2018-06-20 in a balance update for logical reasons: it prevents player from using it as their first card.
  • Elixir Collector was removed from starting hand as a nerf in balance change on 2018-05-12, when the meta was dominated by Elixir Collector first-play that gave significant advantages to the player being able to play the card first.

Should there be more cards placed in this category? Should there be none? We asked for your opinions on Twitter, Reddit r/ClashRoyale, Reddit r/RoyaleAPI and RoyaleAPI Discuss and this is a summary of your responses.

The responses can be grouped into 3 categories:

  • Specific cards mentioned, with supporting reasons.
  • No cards — even Mirror / Elixir Collector — should be excluded from starting hand.
  • Conversation evolved into the discussion of “Fixed Starting Hand” and “getting starting handed”. Although our intent for this survey was not really about this topic, enough of you have talked about it so we will explore a little bit about this on this post.

Cards: Logical Reasons

A few cards were mentioned with the same reason given for Mirror — that they provide no value in the starting hard as they cannot be played:

Clone

Freeze + Rage

The freeze Freeze Spell and the rage Rage Spell were mentioned because players don’t see them being useful for the start of the game.

However, we could argue that Freeze and Rage technically have value in the beginning of the game as they can both be used as defensive spells on clutch.

In fact, players have discussed some peculiar usage of Rage as a defensive spell:

Cards: Strategic Reasons

A few cards — specifically, win-conditions — were mentioned because they give a significant advantage to the players who are able to play them in their starting hand. In a mirrored matchup, the player who has the card in their starting hand are more likely to win than the player who does not.

golem Golem, lava-hound Lava Hound, etc.

The problem with these suggestions is that once too many cards are banned from the starting hands, then some decks might not have enough cards to play at the start.

All cards should be allowed

Some players feel that all cards should be allowed.

Eric is a long-time player and analyst of Magic The Gathering, so we trust that he knows about card games very well.

Fixed Starting Hand

Although our original intent for the survey was never about “Fixed Starting Hand,” this topic nevertheless came up as many players think that it is the only solution to prevent “getting starting handed”.

We’ve also received some suggestions on how one might fix this problem — a topic that often get discussed by players in the esports community but is far less common for casual players.

Game Mode

The idea for Fixed Starting Hand has been around for a long time. Supercell even implemented it into the live game. You can create a Fixed Starting Hand game via friendly battles:

  1. Select “Friendly Battle”
  2. Long-Press “1v1” and you will get the option to select “Fixed Starting Hand” in the battle options

What most players don’t realize is that the Clash Royale team has already done some player testing internally and has found that while Fixed Starting Hand is theoretically more “fair”, it makes the game much less fun because of the removal of variance.

Seth’s Perspective

During the All Stars World finals (2020-12-20), Seth from Supercell (@Seth_Supercell) talked about how he felt about Fixed Starting Hand.

Here are some highlights if you don’t have time to listen to the full interview:

I think that part of what makes card games interesting is the adaptability. I think people focus too much on mechanical skill and timing as the only elements in the game, but I think one of the strongest aspects of card games in general is the adaptability. When you don't have the exact cards you need in the right situation, how can you gain control of the ship and stabilize everything?

Tons of games — Magic the Gathering, Poker, etc — have way more variants, way more volatility than Clash Royale and yet the best players consistently rise to the top. I actually think clash Royale and maybe a little bit too set and fixed in its ways, and I think that fixed deck order would be too much and move it too far in the other direction.

I would rather eliminate volatility and variance by having more games in a match than by making every game the same… In terms of keeping the game where the better player usually wins, let’s do that with Best-of-5s than trying to make every game really predictable.

Eric felt the same way:

Testing with Real Players?

Some players are not convinced by these arguments, however. This topic invariably shows up on Twitter every now and then, with players asking for the mode to be tested in a global scale, via a special challenge or global tournament.

Have you played the “Fixed Starting Hand” mode? Do you think that you would enjoy it if there’s a challenge using this mode? Join the discussion and tell us what you think on Discuss.

Discuss

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Author: SML
SML is the Founder of RoyaleAPI.

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