Mulligans

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I really dislike the current mulilgan system as it increases the chance of you drawing an even worse than you put back. Opening with a one-lander, and mulliganing, you have an even lower chance of drawing a keepable number of lands.

Plus starting with 6, 5, or 4 cards narrows your options so much that there is no strategy involved. With a 7 card opening hand, at least you get a few options each turn of which cards to play. When you are down to 5 cards, one being a land, you pretty much pray you topdeck extra lands to continue to be in the game.

Proposed change:

. Each player puts any number of cards from their hand on the bottom of their library, and draws that many cards. This can only be done once.

Decreases extra shuffing, doesn't force you to start with less than 7, and allows both players to equally sculpt better opening hands.

Now there are a few disadvantages to this rule, mainly being that it might make some decks too consistent and eliminate the "luck" factor of getting a bad hand. personally, I dislike that the opening hand has so much power over the game in the first place, and being able to lessen this strangehold would be a wonderful thing.

But let's hear others opinions, and has a similar idea been proposed? The mulligan system is what I feel the weakest part of competitive Magic at the moment, and which can stand to be fixed with the least harm done to the rest of the game.
that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks
proud member of the 2011 community team
that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks

Red aggro decks have not been highly competitive decks in a long while, I doubt this would change things too much. Plus, it would allow for the other player to draw into their hate easier (Circle of Protection, Leyline, Life Gain)

It is similar to how EDH does it, but with this proposal you don't need to shuffle anything into the deck, and you don't draw 1 less card than you shuffled in.
that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks



No, the commander mulligan rule is different.


903.8. The Commander variant uses an alternate mulligan rule. Each time a player takes a mulligan, rather than shuffling his or her entire hand of cards into his or her library, that player exiles any number of cards from his or her hand face down. Then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the number of cards he or she exiled this way. That player may look at all cards exiled this way while taking mulligans. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.


 
that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks



No, the commander mulligan rule is different.


903.8. The Commander variant uses an alternate mulligan rule. Each time a player takes a mulligan, rather than shuffling his or her entire hand of cards into his or her library, that player exiles any number of cards from his or her hand face down. Then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the number of cards he or she exiled this way. That player may look at all cards exiled this way while taking mulligans. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.


 

That's a good rule, but I think it would be a lot easier to just put the cards on the bottom of the library rather than shuffling them in. Why shuffle when you don't need to?

that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks



No, the commander mulligan rule is different.


903.8. The Commander variant uses an alternate mulligan rule. Each time a player takes a mulligan, rather than shuffling his or her entire hand of cards into his or her library, that player exiles any number of cards from his or her hand face down. Then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the number of cards he or she exiled this way. That player may look at all cards exiled this way while taking mulligans. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.


 

similar in concept ;)

proud member of the 2011 community team
that's how Commander handles mulligans, so there is a sorta precendent

but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks



No, the commander mulligan rule is different.


903.8. The Commander variant uses an alternate mulligan rule. Each time a player takes a mulligan, rather than shuffling his or her entire hand of cards into his or her library, that player exiles any number of cards from his or her hand face down. Then the player draws a number of cards equal to one less than the number of cards he or she exiled this way. That player may look at all cards exiled this way while taking mulligans. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.


 

That's a good rule, but I think it would be a lot easier to just put the cards on the bottom of the library rather than shuffling them in. Why shuffle when you don't need to?


You only shuffle them in at the end, in case that's the misunderstanding here, not once for every mulligan. But in any case, if you start the game knowing not only what's in your hand but potentially ten or more cards on the bottom of your library, that's a LOT of information about the odds of any given other card coming up in the rest of your deck. I think shuffling the rejected cards back in is good.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011

I'll point out that EDH uses a different mulligan rule mostly because shuffling a large deck is tedius.


As for the proposed change... it could work. It would make decks more consistant, allowing you to cherry pick a better hand. It would make things more fair, in that both players would start with the same hand size. And it would make combo decks stronger.

… and then, the squirrels came.

I'll point out that EDH uses a different mulligan rule mostly because shuffling a large deck is tedius.


As for the proposed change... it could work. It would make decks more consistant, allowing you to cherry pick a better hand. It would make things more fair, in that both players would start with the same hand size. And it would make combo decks stronger.


That's exactly what I thought too. The only problem is making combo decks stronger.

Which could be solved by bannings or by printing better hate.
but I think for competitive play this makes decks too consistent, especially red aggro decks

Uh, no. The least consistent decks would benefit the most from the proposed change. The linear aggro decks (like rdw) are constructed with a great focus on consistency. A considerable part of their diet is opponents who stumble.
I kinda like the proposed change, but there's one big exception:

Unless you drew a perfect hand, there is no reason to ever turn down this type of mulligan. If you're looking to "fix" the issue of getting mana screwed, I suggest the following house rule:

At the start of the game, each player searches for any amount of lands, then puts them into his or her hand. Then, that player draws until he or she has seven cards. If desired, mulligans can be taken according to the Commander rules.

Obviously, this is going to massively impact how you build your decks. However, decks are built with the opening hand draw in mind, so to take the focus off the opening hand is to completely shift the paradigm that guides Magic.

Love it or hate it, you've got to consider your opening hand when you build a deck.
If you're looking to "fix" the issue of getting mana screwed, I suggest the following house rule:

At the start of the game, each player searches for any amount of lands, then puts them into his or her hand. Then, that player draws until he or she has seven cards. If desired, mulligans can be taken according to the Commander rules.

Obviously, this is going to massively impact how you build your decks.

To say the least. Hello, four-land aggro decks!

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Oh, definitely! But it's the best I could do under the circumstances

House rules should generally come with a gentleman's aggreement to not abuse the loopholes. If the OP's group can't agree on a rule that won't be abused, hopefully they will appreciate the thought process behind the current ruleset.
I kinda like the proposed change, but there's one big exception:

Unless you drew a perfect hand, there is no reason to ever turn down this type of mulligan. If you're looking to "fix" the issue of getting mana screwed, I suggest the following house rule:

At the start of the game, each player searches for any amount of lands, then puts them into his or her hand. Then, that player draws until he or she has seven cards. If desired, mulligans can be taken according to the Commander rules.

Obviously, this is going to massively impact how you build your decks. However, decks are built with the opening hand draw in mind, so to take the focus off the opening hand is to completely shift the paradigm that guides Magic.

Love it or hate it, you've got to consider your opening hand when you build a deck.

That would be lovely, but I think that might be too format warping (no, it would in fact be too format warping). Still, I had certainly considered this.

The rule I proposed could realistically be enforced without creating decks that only use 4-5 lands and the rest nonland.

Anyhow, I think this is something wizards needs to work on if they want the game to be even more new player friendly. Getting rid of land screw forever might get veterans too disgruntled, but if we remedied it just a bit, it could benefit everyone.

And this would not be for a house rule - I am serious about having something like this enforced on the large scale, if enough people are down for it of course.
I like the proposal in the original post, with the small tweak that there should be a shuffle after the mulligan.

This new mulligan would decrease variance, but not universally -- for instance, with the current system it is possible to see up to 28 cards in your deck. With the new system you would only see 14. This would make it harder for e.g. Dredge to dig for a Bazaar. I don't think that's a bad thing.
I like the proposal in the original post, with the small tweak that there should be a shuffle after the mulligan.

This new mulligan would decrease variance, but not universally -- for instance, with the current system it is possible to see up to 28 cards in your deck. With the new system you would only see 14. This would make it harder for e.g. Dredge to dig for a Bazaar. I don't think that's a bad thing.



Why do you think there should be a shuffle afterwards? I think minimizing the amount of times players need to shuffle is good when we have formats like legacy and modern where you are shuffling many times per game via tutors and fetchlands.
I don't like the idea of players knowing (and needing to remember) up to 13% of their deck when the game begins. It also creates feel-bad moments such as making the decision to keep your late-game bomb in hand, or shipping it to the bottom of the deck with little hope of ever seeing it this game.
I like the proposal in the original post, with the small tweak that there should be a shuffle after the mulligan.

This new mulligan would decrease variance, but not universally -- for instance, with the current system it is possible to see up to 28 cards in your deck. With the new system you would only see 14. This would make it harder for e.g. Dredge to dig for a Bazaar. I don't think that's a bad thing.



Why do you think there should be a shuffle afterwards? I think minimizing the amount of times players need to shuffle is good when we have formats like legacy and modern where you are shuffling many times per game via tutors and fetchlands.

because otherwise you know which cards are at the bottom of your library
proud member of the 2011 community team
I'm less concerned with a decrease in variance (as evouga said, you see fewer cards) and more so with the lack of reason to ever decline a mulligan. If we're thinking about cutting down the amount of time a player spends considering their hand before the game starts, we must take into account the fact that there is no drawback to redrawing any card that you don't like.
I don't like the idea of players knowing (and needing to remember) up to 13% of their deck when the game begins. It also creates feel-bad moments such as making the decision to keep your late-game bomb in hand, or shipping it to the bottom of the deck with little hope of ever seeing it this game.



You don't have to get rid of the bomb if you don't have to. You can always ship away other cards in exchange for new ones, and still keep the bomb if you feel that you must do so. Plus, in 4-of constructed tournaments, this would not nearly be as big of a deal.

I'm less concerned with a decrease in variance (as evouga said, you see fewer cards) and more so with the lack of reason to ever decline a mulligan. If we're thinking about cutting down the amount of time a player spends considering their hand before the game starts, we must take into account the fact that there is no drawback to redrawing any card that you don't like.



The point is that there is no reason not to mulligan. Rather, mulliganing under this system adds to the game by selectively choosing which cards you want to start with and which you don't. So, no, there is no reason not to choose and swap out at least 1 card, but I don't find this to be a bad thing. If you have any doubts, test it out for yourself and see.
You don't have to get rid of the bomb if you don't have to. You can always ship away other cards in exchange for new ones, and still keep the bomb if you feel that you must do so. Plus, in 4-of constructed tournaments, this would not nearly be as big of a deal.

Yeah but if you're, say, UB Control, keeping an opener with Grave Titan is basically keeping a six-card hand. And yet throwing it to the bottom hurts because you're probably running maybe two copies.
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I like OP idea but needs to be shuffle.

Main reason is knowing where cards are can altar playing/thinking. While it seems a little of relavence there is cause to worry about that. Cards like Cellar Door and any card in the future that would utalize that design space would be screwed.


It might make the descision easy for someone to shuffle their library for whatever card reason they might have if their I win card on botton. I'd like to see some sort of rules change on mulligans as well.

I feel sometimes that a game is determined by 2 things. Starting hand luck and who goes first. I wish it was more strategy based and less luck based. What a different game it would have been if lands were a seperate piece rather than part of library. I mean theoretically it doesn't even make sense with story idea behind magic. I draw my mana from lands yet lands are inside my spellbooks? Too bad it is way too late for them to redesign that portion.

So rampant growth would = you may put a basic land card from your land resource pile into play tapped. weird huh? If mana screw/flood didn't exist?
I like OP idea but needs to be shuffle.

Main reason is knowing where cards are can altar playing/thinking. While it seems a little of relavence there is cause to worry about that. Cards like Cellar Door and any card in the future that would utalize that design space would be screwed.


It might make the descision easy for someone to shuffle their library for whatever card reason they might have if their I win card on botton. I'd like to see some sort of rules change on mulligans as well.

I feel sometimes that a game is determined by 2 things. Starting hand luck and who goes first. I wish it was more strategy based and less luck based. What a different game it would have been if lands were a seperate piece rather than part of library. I mean theoretically it doesn't even make sense with story idea behind magic. I draw my mana from lands yet lands are inside my spellbooks? Too bad it is way too late for them to redesign that portion.

So rampant growth would = you may put a basic land card from your land resource pile into play tapped. weird huh? If mana screw/flood didn't exist?

Yes I suppose adding shuffle afterwards to the original idea couldn't hurt if you guys think it would cause problems.

I agree that its too late to change how lands work. In Kaijudo TCG any card can be played as a land, which opens up a whole new strategy as well as eliminates mana screw. Unfortunately, it lacks some of the other interesting aspects that Magic has.

I think something akin to a "land deck" would have been interesting, but that would have changed the game completely for better or for worse. We can't change that ever, but if we could at least change how the opening hand worked, and prevented mana screw that way, we could fix the game at least slightly.
mana screw is part of the game

the only thing I don't like about Magic's mana system is the price of good lands ;)
proud member of the 2011 community team
mana screw is part of the game

the only thing I don't like about Magic's mana system is the price of good lands ;)

I agree about good dual lands. They should never be rares IMO. They are too vital to each deck, and should be common/uncommon. 
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