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Mulligan

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A mulligan is an optional process by which any player may attempt to draw a superior hand before starting the game. For sanctioned play, the mulligan process is exactly defined in the Comprehensive Rules.

Description[edit | edit source]

Any player dissatisfied with their hand, for any reason and without being required to reveal that hand, may return his or her hand to their library for an opportunity to draw a new one, after shuffling.[1] [2] [3] [4] The choice to take a mulligan is made after the starting player is determined, but prior to any other action. Players may take multiple mulligans, until either they are satisfied with their new hand, or they draw a hand of zero cards.

In most cases, sanctioned play requires that players use the "Paris" mulligan, which states that the player draws a hand of one fewer card each time he or she takes a mulligan. Starting with the Battle for Zendikar prerelease, and additionally at the 2015 World Championship, the Paris mulligan will officially be replaced with the "Vancouver" mulligan.[5] The Vancouver mulligan is identical to the Paris mulligan, with the addition that, after all players choose to keep a hand, any player with fewer cards than their starting hand size may scry 1.

Multiplayer games and the Commander format utilize slightly different mulligan processes.

One card, Serum Powder, interacts with mulligans.[6] Abilities that may be used while a card is in your opening hand, such as the first ability on Leyline of Anticipation, may be used after all mulligans are completed.

Mulligan variations[edit | edit source]

Paris mulligan[edit | edit source]

The Paris mulligan is the process currently enshrined in the Comprehensive Rules for most gameplay. To perform a Paris mulligan, the player returns his or her hand to his or her library, then draws a hand of one fewer card.

Vancouver mulligan[edit | edit source]

The Vancouver mulligan will replace the Paris mulligan in the rules update for Battle for Zendikar. Much like the Paris mulligan, to perform a Vancouver mulligan, the player returns his or her hand to his or her library, then draws a hand of one fewer card. Unlike the Paris mulligan, once all players keep their opening hands, each player with fewer cards than their starting hand size may scry 1.

Multiplayer[edit | edit source]

In games with more than two players, the first mulligan for each player is "free". For the first mulligan only, players draw as many cards as their starting hand size. Subsequent mulligans consist of one fewer card each time, as usual.

Partial Paris (Commander)[edit | edit source]

The Commander format utilizes the Partial Paris mulligan. Unlike other mulligans which return the entire hand to the library, a Commander player may exile any number of cards from his or her hand and draw one fewer card than the number exiled. This process may be repeated, as with other mulligans, but the cards exiled by this process are not shuffled back into the library until the player chooses to keep their opening hand.

The stated objective of this mulligan process is to strike a balance between protecting players against starting hands with few mana sources, and protecting other players against combo decks which might abuse lenient mulligan practices.[7]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Magic Origins (July 17, 2015))

103.4. Each player draws a number of cards equal to his or her starting hand size, which is normally seven. (Some effects can modify a player’s starting hand size.) A player who is dissatisfied with his or her initial hand may take a mulligan. First, the starting player declares whether or not he or she 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 his or her hand back into his or her library, then draws a new hand of one fewer cards than he or she had before. If a player kept his or her hand of cards, those cards become the player’s opening hand, and that player may not take any further mulligans. This process is then repeated until no player takes a mulligan. (Note that if a player’s hand size reaches zero cards, that player must keep that hand.)

  • 103.4a In a Vanguard game, each player’s starting hand size is seven plus or minus the hand modifier of his or her vanguard card.
  • 103.4b If an effect allows a player to perform an action “any time [that player] could mulligan,” the player may perform that action at a time he or she would declare whether or not he or she will take a mulligan. This need not be in the first round of mulligans. Other players may have already made their mulligan declarations by the time the player has the option to perform this action. If the player performs the action, he or she then declares whether or not he or she will take a mulligan.
  • 103.4c In a multiplayer game, the first time a player takes a mulligan, he or she draws a new hand of as many cards as he or she had before. Subsequent hands decrease by one card as normal.
  • 103.4d In a multiplayer game using the shared team turns option, first each player on the starting team declares whether or not he or she will take a mulligan, then the players on each other team in turn order do the same. Teammates may consult while making their decisions. Then all mulligans are taken at the same time. A player may take a mulligan even after his or her teammate has decided to keep his or her opening hand.
  • 103.4e The Commander casual 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. Once a player keeps an opening hand, that player shuffles all cards he or she exiled this way into his or her library.

History[edit | edit source]

Magic was originally published with no mulligan rule, because some of the original playtest group believed the concept would reward poor deck building. Various informal mulligan rules existed in the period following the game's release.

The first official mulligan rule was instated by the DCI in 1994. That rule allowed a player with an initial hand consisting either of all lands or no lands to reveal his or her hand, shuffle it back into their deck, and then draw a new, full hand of seven cards. This process was allowed only one time per player.

Dissatisfaction within R&D with that rule led to the testing of an alternate mulligan process, suggested by Pro Tour player and later Wizards of the Coast employee Matt Hyra. That mulligan process, now known as the Paris mulligan, was first tested at Pro Tour Los Angeles and a smaller gathering in Boston, before being accidentally included in the tournament rules for the April 1997 Pro Tour Paris. Despite its earlier uses, the name "Paris" stuck instead, for no very clear reason.[8]

The newest default mulligan rule was introduced for testing at Pro Tour Magic Origins.[9] The process is identical to the Paris mulligan, with the addition that any player who keeps an opening hand with fewer cards than their starting hand size may scry 1. Like the previous mulligan rules, this mulligan is intended to reduce the frequency of "non-games", where the winner is effectively determined by the contents of the players's opening hands. It also fulfills a secondary goal of accelerating tournament play, because the scry option increases the likelihood that a player will keep an opening hand after fewer mulligans, and thus fewer shuffles.

The new mulligan rule is considered a success, and will be implemented as the official default beginning with the Battle for Zendikar prerelease.[10] Like the Paris mulligan, this rule has acquired a name, the "Vancouver" mulligan, from the Pro Tour at which it was tested, Pro Tour Magic Origins, which took place in Vancouver, British Columbia.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ted Knutson. (September 16, 2006.) "Mulligan’s Island", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Reid Duke. (January 26, 2015.) "Mulligans", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Reid Duke. (June 15, 2015.) "Mulligans Part II: Limited", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Reid Duke. (June 29, 2015.) "Mulligans Part III: Constructed", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Aaron Forsythe. (August 20, 2015.) "New Mulligan Rule Starting with Battle for Zendikar Prereleases", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Aaron Forsythe. (February 27, 2004.) "The Mulligan and the Mox", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Commander rules
  8. Mark Rosewater. (February 23, 2004.) "Starting Over", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Helene Bergeot. (June 29, 2015.) "Changes Starting with Pro Tour Magic Origins", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Sam Stoddard. (August 7, 2015.) "Mulligans", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Aaron Forsythe. (August 20, 2015.) "New Mulligan Rule Starting with Battle for Zendikar Prereleases", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]