This morning, Wizards of the Coast announced that it would make the London Mulligan the official mulligan rule with the release of Core Set 2020 in July. It will come to MTG Arena in a test event on June 7 and then to all MTG Arena and MTGO events on July 2, coinciding with the availability of Core Set 2020. It will then come to all tabletop Magic on July 5 at Core Set 2020’s prerelease events.

The new mulligan rule allows players to draw seven cards every time they mulligan. When a player is satisfied and decides to keep their hand, they put one card from their hand back on the bottom of their library for each time they chose to mulligan, and will no longer scry after mulliganing. It was first announced in February and was dubbed the London Mulligan because it was tested at Mythic Championship II London.

A Better Mulligan Rule

In their announcement, Wizards says that the London Mulligan is another step towards trying to make mulliganing in Magic less harmful to players. With the current mulligan rule, “[a] player who mulligans once against an opponent who keeps seven cards, in general, is at more of a disadvantage than we’re comfortable with,” Senior Game Designer Ian Duke says. “The situation gets even worse for a player who mulligans two or more times more than their opponent.”

In their testing, Duke says that Wizards was very happy with the way that the London Mulligan played out. It helps create more competitive games of Magic by “[closing] the gap between a player who mulligans and an opponent who doesn’t, and…greatly [reducing] the number of games where a player’s deck and strategy simply don’t function at all.”

Potential Dangers

However, according to Duke, there are dangers to strengthening mulligan rules. “A mulligan that’s too strong…could make too many games play out the same way,” Duke says. “There’s also a risk that combo decks could abuse a very strong mulligan to much more reliably assemble a combo early in the game. Or that aggressive decks always having their best draw, or control decks always having the right answer, [which] could change metagame balance too dramatically.”

But Wizards doesn’t think those concerns will be true for the Standard or Limited formats and believes that the Modern format appeared to be healthy when using the London Mulligan at Mythic Championship II. The Legacy and Vintage formats are still a concern, according to Duke, but he says that the formats were able to adjust extremely quickly while the London Mulligan was being testing on MTGO before Mythic Championship II, giving Wizards confidence that they will successfully adapt to the new mulligan rule.

Wizards won’t make any preemptive bans despite the fact that the London Mulligan has the potential to have a big impact on eternal formats. Instead, they are going to let each format’s metagame adjust to the new mulligan and then reassess if any cards need to be added to the Banned and Restricted list.

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