Quick stats: What’s your bid?

This is the first article in the “Quick Stats” series. The aim of the series is to provide relatively short articles focusing on a specific topic.

How important is the bid actually? This article will look at this question with the help of the 15.000 match results already uploaded to List Fortress.


  • This article looks at the actual “win rate” – not the normal “percentile performance in tournaments” that you find in my other articles.
  • Since I expect this effect to not be heavily meta-dependent, I have used all available historical data.
  • All match data with both players having the same bid have been omitted from the analysis.


Looking across all data – the effect of the bid is actually quite small. The player with the bid wins just 50.1% of games.

So as an overall strategy for non-ace players (see below) – a bid is necessarily a winning strategy.

Aces vs Aces

No archetype chases the bid more than aces – and they will be the main focus of this article. Using a quick definition of an “ace squad” (Avg. initiative > 5.0), we can look for matchups where two “ace squads” face off against each other. From the 239 matchups of that type in ListFortress – we find that the one with the bid wins 59.8% of the time. (matchups with equal bid on both sides are ignored, as we can not know who won the roll)

Note: The baseline win-percentage for an “ace squad” matched against “the field” is 50.8%

Per Ace (vs aces)

It stands to reason that some aces are more dependent on the bid than others – so let us look at all the I6’s. We will still look at matchups vs other aces (avg. initiative > 5) – but I will include all squads with the listed ace (even if he flies alongside low-init generics, as we will assume that the I6 ship is the “end game ship”). The first number below is the win-rate with the bid, the second when they don’t:

  • Soontir – 68.5% / 41.6%
  • Vader – 67.5% / 46.7%
  • Quickdraw – 59.6% / 44.6%
  • Wedge – 58.7% / 57.6%
  • Poe – 58.2% / 44.4%
  • Han Solo (Rebel) – 57,9% / 54.1%
  • Anakin (Aethersprite) – 57,4% / 43.4%
  • Fenn Rau (Fang) – 50.0% / 47.5%

The remaining I6’s, i.e. Sun Fac, Midnight, Fenn Rau (Rebel), Anakin (Y-Wing), Dengar, Han Solo (Scum), Han Solo (Resistance) did not meet the requirement of having at least 30 matches vs other aces that I decided on for this analysis.

It’s clear here that the bid matters more for some aces than others – Soontir, in particular, goes from first to last place in win-rate depending on whether he has the bid. Others (Wedge, Rebel Han, Fenn Rau) are almost unaffected by winning the bid or not. This may be due to them being popular (and effective) in low-bid archetypes, such as “Rebel Beef” for Wedge.

Difference in bid for ace vs ace

Staying with the aces vs aces matchups, how much does the higher bid brought by the lower-bidding player matter to the outcome of the game? Lets look at the difference in bid for two aces lists: (Number is win-rate for the player with the deeper bid)

  • 1-2 points – 55.6% (Only 27 games)
  • 3-5 points – 64.4%
  • 6-8 points – 63.0%
  • 9-11 points – 56.8%
  • 12+ points – 46.4% (Only 27 games)

I’ve clustered these to ensure enough games in each group, but if we accept the data for 1-2 points as being an outlier, we can see that win-rate does fall as the differences in “actual value on the table” becomes bigger – and at the top the higher bidding player actually loses the advantage he gained by having the bid. (though the top might also be an outlier – the effect is still visible with the middle three datapoints)

But what about initiative 5?

There are plenty of good I5 “aces” in the game – so how important is the bid for them? Lets look at it from a few angles:

  • In matchups where the highest initiative on both sides is I5, the list with the higher bid wins 54.1% of the time
  • Playing against aces (avg. initiative > 5), the lists with a maximum initiative of I5 have the benefit of the bid – they win 47.5% of the games when controlling the bid, against 46.6% when the “true ace squad” controls the bid.

So how much should I bid?

I would suggest you use Bidding chart at the bottom of PBM’s “Bids” page. It works like this:

For each pilot in your squad you look at the column corresponding to it’s initiative. You can then move down the values and see your percentual chance to move last in an average game. This tables automatically factors in that at equal bid-level you will have a 50/50 chance of winning the dice roll.

For more complicated questions like “I have a list with an I5 and two I6’s – how much do I have to bid to ensure that I at least move after their I5?” it gets a bit harder to figure out the right answer. You can consult the top chart – in this case probably the “5-6” line (as the squad you worry about likely has an average initiative between 5 and 6) and see how that curve looks.

Check back often – the data is refreshed daily – and at the time of writing the meta is very much in flux.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed reading this “Quick Stats”. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for another area where list-statistics could be interesting – please leave a comment below.

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