iirc the "odd number rule" is attempting to negate the first strike advantage with the second player being able to have the final say on stage pick, but for the case of not forcing auto-strike, the second player is already essentially forcing the first player the choose between the previous stage and a counterpick stage, when he had had the option of simply forcing the counterpick stage.

Like, say game 1 was won on BF. Then it'll either be

or

BF FD YS PS FoD DL, P1 picks first

If for some reason P2 did not force auto-strike, it stands to reason he wants BF to remain a possibility. There shouldn't be any

**logical**reason to P1 now striking the stage he just won on, so progression should be similar...

OR

BF

In both cases P2's proposed "counterpick" should be identical, and the only difference should be that P2 willingly gives P1 the choice of either P2's "counterpick" or returning to the previous stage.

Of course, to maintain this sort of balance, the stage list technically needs to have an odd number of both starters and counters, to ensure that the total number of stages is even. Conveniently, our current stage list does just that with 5 and 1.