Firstly good to see you agree that picking is a skill.
Picking is a skill, but the results are not only skill, so its there, where I think you are not understanding.
Then your post begins to confuse itself. If you read the OP which you quoted so we must assume you did. You would have read that the players skills are matched therefore the determiner is 3/4 of the time picking, which you identified as a skill.
I took in consideration that their skill is matched(doesn't mean they have the same skill level though). The OP is saying that the average result of closed skilled players, which one of them have better starting locations is; 3/4 that he wins. (OFC if I am understanding correctly) Thus I replied that I agree with him.
There is no confusion there, the only confusion I see is the lack of understanding you seem to have between skill and the end result which incorporates skill(not only).
When you have limited time? That's nit picking at the best of times we must assume that all is equal otherwise any comparison is skewed. I may as well say when one player is blind it's highly possible they won't pick the best locations.
Skill can only take you at a certain place, there are other things involved in a game. Its very rare to find a starting location that its best for fighting from start, its good for expanding in minimum turns as possible, it can be defended easyly and it won't be picked up by your opponent too. Unless you find 6 (how many territories u start with x2) like this in the map, which is highly unlikly, skill is not the only factor involved. (even to find 1 is hard when players are good)
NOTHING is equal when random luck is involved. 1 Single lucky move may determain the end of the game. (eg having enough army to defend only 1 side and not all sides and thus you need to guess which side he will attack from)
In 5 min is hard to find the best location in the map when you take everything under consideration, skill on its own is not enough, you need experience in that particular map and also luck. Eg if a location is good to grow but its bad for an early fight, you could take the risk, because you need to grow faster then your enemy to avoid not loosing in the longrun. (thats one strategy). eg. if a starting location is good for an early fight, you must be lucky to find an enemy right next to it else you will end up using it only as support since its not the best location to expand from(assuming).
When the starting locations are given randomly? How is this relevant to your post discussing picking as a determining skill between equals? I don't think you thought that one through.
As the OP stated, he included random picking, you should read what the OP said first before jumping to conclusions, and assuming ppl don't think it through.
whether it be random or player selected starting position.
when you have previous experience ... Experience is a determiner of skill, skill often comes from experience it is certainly honed by it.
Exeprience is knowlege, I might have exeprience and choose not to learn anything from it, on the other hand if you use your experience you gained and try to improve then you are most likly to gain skill. I could loose a million game against you and gain all the exeprience how you play yet if I don't try to counter your moves and keep doing what I used to do I will never gain skill against you.
Now when i said player experience i was meaning player exeprience in the current map which has nothing to do with player experience in general, it has to do with how much turns you need to get cerain bonuses, what would be the enemy level at a particular time if you haven't encountered him yet, you need map exeprience , you could have played a million games in other maps, but if its the first time you play in this map its like you are a noob in this map.
This counts most when it comes to pick starting locations.
When both pick the same spot certainly you are correct luck becomes an element therefore the skilled picker learns how to counter-pick also a picking skill. Sez would call it risk management.
Yep counter picks are used, yet you can only have a limited ammount of those since a counter pick is like wasting one of you picks just to screw the enemy picks, its usually done when you have 3 locations to pick since you need a 1 location away from the fight. So at most you can have 2-3 counterpicks with 3 and 4 locations, yet the enemy still has the better picks and if he is as good as you are(like as the op said) he would have counter picks too so its highly possible that his counter picks will back him up against you 2 vs 1.
Well things start to get messy here, yet one can say that counterpicks are effective mostly if you can back them up with solid starting locations. To get those you need some luck(enemy does not land next to them with a better fighting positions)
Also to have counter picks in a map requires some time to think about it, considering all the factors involved, this time sometimes may acceed the time limit for the turn.(where if you had map experience this would take seconds)
Here we are assuming that both players have aprox same level and its a 1 on 1 game.
Also I am in now way saying that things will allways go this way, just expanding on possible situations one must take care of when making picks.
Things start to get more complex on 2 vs 2, where 2 on 1 can be fatal in a game even if he had best picks.
As what I said in my original post, there are exceptions, but in general best picks in the OP post result in winning the game.