The London mulligan rule is one that has been the topic of much debate in the Magic: The Gathering community, but it will become official for all formats starting with the release of Core Set 2020.
For those who are unfamiliar with how the mulligan rule works, here’s a quick primer. Instead of shuffling your hand into your deck drawing six cards, you instead draw seven again. If you decide to keep your hand, you then put a card from your hand on the bottom of your library. If you choose to mulligan again, you draw seven still, but then put two cards on the bottom. Effectively, for every time you mulligan you put another card from the new hand back in the deck. You do not get to scry whatsoever.
This new mulligan rule has been tested a couple of times, at both paper events and on Magic Online. Now, the rule will come into official effect essentially on July 5 for Core Set 2020’s prerelease event, and then for the rest of Magic on July 12. MTG Arena and Magic Online will start using the new rule on July 2.
Why the change?
The new rule is designed to reduce the number of non-games that occur. This helps Limited and Standard the most, helping players to avoid getting stuck on unplayable hands. The London mulligan keeps games more balanced; even when one player doesn’t mulligan and the other goes down to five cards, there will still be an actual game instead of just a steamroll.
What this means for Magic as a whole
Standard and Limited are the two formats that stand to benefit the most from the new rule. No longer will going down to five be practically a death sentence in those formats. Modern and Legacy are a bit more tricky. While the London mulligan does help decks not to brick, it also allows combo decks to mulligan aggressively. Neoform Griselbrand decks can mulligan down to four cards with no fear and still win the game on turn 1, as long as their combo pieces are somewhere in the seven cards they see each mulligan. In turn, decks can mulligan for silver bullet sideboard cards, such as Leyline of the Void or the upcoming Force of Negation. Legacy is a bit tricky, but the same general rules apply. Combo decks get more consistent, while fair decks must mulligan to try to counter them with cards like Force of Will.
Pauper will be a bit of a tossup. There are some combo decks in Pauper, but thankfully they usually require an amount of setup. Unlike Modern and Legacy, it’s quite a bit harder to combo off on turn one. This means trying to find cards like Foil isn’t essential, but it’s good it exists in the format nonetheless. Expect an increase in combo decks overall but for them to not completely dominate the format.
What do you think of the new London mulligan rule? Is it great for formats, or are you worried that it could become degenerate? Let us know down in the comments below!