Magic The Gathering Just Made a Major Change to How the Game Is Played

Wizards of the Coast has announced a major change to the rules of the Magic: The Gathering that will be implemented across all formats of play in both physical and digital competitions beginning with the release of the Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2020 Core Set this July.

At that time, Magic: The Gathering will implement the use of the "London" mulligan system, replacing the "Vancouver" mulligan currently in use. The London mulligan was tested at the Mythic Championship II event and on Magic Online. Wizards of the Coast finds that the "London" mulligan gives players who choose to take a mulligan a better chance of competing with an opponent who does not than the "Vancouver" mulligan or the "Paris" mulligan that was in use before that.

The announcement was made today on the official Magic: The Gathering website. Here's the official text of the new mulligan rule:

"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."

In more general terms, this means that players will be able to redraw seven cards after taking a mulligan. They will then discard one card for each mulligan they've taken, leaving them with six cards after their first mulligan, five after the second, etc.

Wizards of the Coasts' goal in changing its mulligan system is to minimize the amount of "non-games" that take place at competitive events. Starting out with one additional card in hand, especially if a player is playing first, can be a huge advantage that can be tough for a player who took a mulligan to come back from (though still less disadvantageous than playing with a truly bad hand, such as one with all or no basic land cards). Data acquired from the games played at Mythic Championship II and during the Magic Online event show that players who take a "London" mulligan fare better than those who take a "Vancouver" mulligan, which would have them draw one less card for each mulligan and then Scry 1 (look at the top card of their deck and choose to leave it or move it to the bottom of the deck).

The hope with the "London" Mulligan is that by choosing the weakest or least-desirable starting hand card out of seven to place on the bottom of their deck, players taking a mulligan will have a stronger starting six card and a better chance at achieving victory.

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What do you think of this change to the rules of Magic: The Gathering? Let us know in the comments. The "London" mulligan rule will be tested on MTG Arena during a special event beginning June 7th. It will formally be adopted on MTG Arena and Magic Online on July 2nd as Core Set 2020 cards become available in those digital formats. It will be adopted for tabletop play during Core Set 2020 prerelease events on July 5th and be added to the comprehensive Magic: The Gathering rules on July 12th.