There are many ways to determine the best starting word in the 5-letter word game Wordle. Frankly, picking any reasonable word with 5 different seemingly common letters is a good start. But if you want to optimize your game play, there are strategies...believe me.
Best 1st word to eliminate the most possibilities.
Matt Rickard used this method to determine the best first word. His crude calculations showed that a first guess of SOARE left 219 possible solutions, on average. While staring with JUJUS or FUFFS left more that 1,000 possible solutions. Matt's analysis focuses only on the 2,315 words that were "approved" by Josh Wardle's wife.
Green Tiles Strategy 🟩
🟩🟩 are very helpful in the first round. The most likely letters to get the green tile from the graph shown are
- E as the 5th letter
- S as the 1st letter
- Y as the 5th letter
- E as the 4th letter
- A as the 3rd letter
- A as the 2nd letter
- O as the 2nd letter
- R as the 2nd letter
- I as the 3rd letter
- T as the 5th letter
Looking at position specific
- 1st letter - S (16%) then T (12%)
- 2nd letter - A (13%) then O (12%)
- 3rd letter - A (13%) then I (11%)
- 4th letter - E (14%) then N (8%)
- 5th letter - E (18%) then Y (16%)
SAAEE would provide the best chance for each position.
SAREE gives you the best chance to green tile the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th.
SOARE gives you the best chance to green tile the 1st, 3rd, and 5th.
Downside of SAREE is there are only 4 unique letters with a double EE and only about a dozen common words end with a EE. This analysis provides SOARE as good solution again. It also helps to recognize why STORY and SAINT are reasonable starting words.
If all else fails, check out FirstWord.com and try out your go-to first words.
Personally, I was stuck on AMINO, EMAIL or POINT as my first word. AMINO and EMAIL because they each had 3 vowels. But after using FirstWord I found that:
AMINO ranked 5,851 out of 12,974
EMAIL ranked 2,612 out of 12,974
POINT ranked 2,147 out of 12,974
Using FirstWord.com it shows that order matters somewhat. From the previous example, SAINT was recognized as a good starting word. This is based on the chance of getting a valuable green tile 🟩.
Below are a couple examples of the difference as calculated with FirstWord. The value of the green tile and the overall speed of success can be shown with the letter scramble below. 👇
- #116 - SAINT
- #865 - SATIN
- #1040 - STAIN
- #1645 - TAINS
- #1 - SOARE
- #15 - AROSE
- #14 - CRATE
- #22 - TRACE
- #92 - CATER
- #164 - REACT
- #5 - STARE
- #87 - TASER
- #172 - TARES
- #330 - TEARS
- #361 - RATES
Hopefully this summary of the reasons that some words are good was helpful. The 🟩helps is nearly 5x better than a 🟨.
Whatever you choose for your first word, just try to have fun and get a 🟩 or 🟩🟩 with your first word!