The War Report: The London Mulligan

Earlier this week it was announced that all formats would be updated to a new mulligan rule, the London Mulligan. This replaces the long standing Vancouver Mulligan rule, and all of this probably sounds like nonsense to a non player. Let me first explain what a mulligan is, and then we can jump into the differences between the two rulesets.

A player may “mulligan” if they are unhappy with the first set of seven cards they draw before the game begins. To mulligan means to shuffle your current hand into your library and then draw that many cards again. It’s a way to combat the random mechanic that stems from having a deck of cards with which to perform actions. However, there are caveats to a mulligan — you’ll rarely get to simply draw seven new cards and this is never an unlimited action, or else we’d have games that are over before they start because some decks can end a game with a “God hand.”

The Vancouver Mulligan has been around for a while. When a player is unhappy with their starting hand, they may shuffle those seven cards back into their deck, draw six new cards, and then Scry 1. To Scry, you’ll look at the top card of your library and either leave it there or put in on the bottom of your library. It’s a strategic way to control your next turn, but you’ll still be down a card which kind of sucks.

The newly minted London Mulligan is a little bit different. After drawing your first seven and being unhappy with the result, you can then shuffle those cards back into your library. This is the same as the prior iteration, but it changes from here. Instead of picking up six cards, you still get to pick up seven, and instead of a Scry, you’ll put one of the cards in your hand on the bottom of your library. It’s a similar mechanic with a similar result, but the card selection is greater from your hand rather than from the top of your library, and you essentially get to weed out unneeded cards.

I don’t play Standard, Modern, Vintage or Legacy at this juncture, and because Wizards of the Coast cannot change the rules for Commander without the EDH Rules Committee’s blessing, their official announcement that I linked to above doesn’t cover EDH. Thankfully, the Rules Committee is already on top of things, and has said that this will be adopted by them as well!

This is great news, because I think that cEDH decks in particular, but also decks of all power levels will benefit from this change. It doesn’t seem like that much of a change but I think you’ll be able to find more consistency for your combos and just having enough land to do things during a match with this new Mulligan rule. Not only do you get more card selection power, but you’ll find better performance for all decks, particularly those that need the help with their early curve.

This change doesn’t go live for all formats until the release of Core Set 2020, but that does occur next month so we’ll be testing out these new mulligan rules sooner than later. The rest of the year is looking really good for MTG — Modern Horizons is at our doorstep, the Core Set should bring some new spice with it in July, and then we get the new Commander sets in August. This summer is going to be lit!