A scant few hours after the news broke that The Russo Brothers and a host of other big names would be working on a Magic: The Gathering animated series for Netflix, WotC announced a big rule change for the collectable card game.
Out goes the current Vancouver mulligan system and, from the Core Set 2020, in comes the London mulligan. This effects competitive play.
The new rules have players take turns deciding on whether they want to mulligan their hand at the start of the game. A mulligan is a do-over. If a player chooses to mulligan, they return their cards, shuffle their deck and draw back up to their hand size. They then need to discard as many cards as they have decided to mulligan.
In other words, if you get a rubbish hand at the very start of the game, you can get fresh cards but it’ll cost you.
Here’s the exact wording of the rules;
103.4. Each player draws a number of cards equal to their starting hand size, which is normally seven. (Some effects can modify a player’s starting hand size.) A player who is dissatisfied with their initial hand may take a mulligan. First, the starting player declares whether they will take a mulligan. Then each other player in turn order does the same. Once each player has made a declaration, all players who decided to take mulligans do so at the same time. To take a mulligan, a player shuffles the cards in their hand back into their library, draws a new hand of cards equal to their starting hand size, then puts a number of those cards equal to the number of times that player has taken a mulligan on the bottom of their library in any order. Once a player chooses not to take a mulligan, the remaining cards become that player’s opening hand, and that player may not take any further mulligans. This process is then repeated until no player takes a mulligan. A player can take mulligans until their opening hand would be zero cards.Magic
Wizards of the Coast have introduced the London mulligan so that players aren’t stuck at a randomly generated hopeless disadvantage at a competitive match. Yet, at the same time, there is a disadvantage to taking the mulligan.
As there’s a penalty to the mulligan, Wizards of the Coast hope that this will reduce the amount of barely playable decks being brought to the game, decks that rely on unlikely but possible starting draws.
Changes to rules in a game as competitive as Magic: The Gathering will always cause debates and howls of protest. Wizards have worked hard to reassure fans that they’ve thought carefully about this and you can read more over at the official Magic site
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