SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage

Those aren't mechanical/reflex-based in the same sense. I can forget how much I should mulligan without enhanced RNG, that in paper my beginning of combat doesn't happen without intervention, to present my deck to my opponent, and announce triggers, but realistically I'm not going to forget that I can't put ancestral recall in my legacy deck or that I should put 40 cards in my limited deck. Granted remembering what the normal number of lands in a 40 vs. 60 card deck is a slight annoyance, but not something I'm going get burned on. I'll grant you that the match structure could lend itself to different risk analysis though.

last edited by diophan

I play Alpha40, which uses no mulligans at all, and the player who goes first draws on their first turn.

It’s not hard to remember.

Also, I have always hated the scry mulligan in Old School. I wouldn’t permit it at all.

I don’t consider any paticular mulligan to be a “core” magic mechanic.

last edited by Smmenen

Ooh. I'm gonna have to listen to this tomorrow.

Finished the episode. This was good civilization.

Really, my only hope is that if the mulligan is adopted that they let the format practice, play, and adjust for a bit before using the b/r list to tweak.

@protoaddct said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

Still need to listen, wish your casts went on the feed at the same time as it's way to stop start to listen on my desktop.

You should subscribe to the MTG CAST feed of SMIP too. It usually goes up there way earlier.

@smmenen said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

I play Alpha40, which uses no mulligans at all, and the player who goes first draws on their first turn.

It’s not hard to remember.

Also, I have always hated the scry mulligan in Old School. I wouldn’t permit it at all.

I don’t consider any paticular mulligan to be a “core” magic mechanic.

Those are casual formats, Steve, it's way different than official, sanctioned formats. Differences between Limited and Constructed are so big that having 40/60 cards is inconsequential. That said, I also think that if it's necessary I wouldn't have issues with different mulligans for different formats, as long as it's a last resort only policy and that the formats with the different mulligan have something very distinct to remember which one(s) have it. For example, if it's only 1 format (like everyone gets Vancouver except Standard, or everyone gets London except Vintage) or if it's something like "all Eternal formats stay on Vancouver" - but just to show how confusing that could be, there are a LOT of players that think Modern is an Eternal format, so even that would be a problem hahaha

Finished it today. One thing Kevin pointed out is that we can't know how it will affect the meta because there are a lot of SB interactions we can't yet understand. For exemple: what happens to the Shops x PO matchup when Shops realizes it can now pack Leyline of Sanctity against PO as a 2-3 of and get it reliably to counter Hurkyl's? Montolio tried that on the VSL but when you get to look at 14-21 cards and keep Leyline + a good Aggro start things shift a bit right? Do we start playing Rebuild? I dunno and am very interested to see what happens.

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

@smmenen said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

I play Alpha40, which uses no mulligans at all, and the player who goes first draws on their first turn.

It’s not hard to remember.

Also, I have always hated the scry mulligan in Old School. I wouldn’t permit it at all.

I don’t consider any paticular mulligan to be a “core” magic mechanic.

Those are casual formats, Steve, it's way different than official, sanctioned formats. Differences between Limited and Constructed are so big that having 40/60 cards is inconsequential. That said, I also think that if it's necessary I wouldn't have issues with different mulligans for different formats, as long as it's a last resort only policy and that the formats with the different mulligan have something very distinct to remember which one(s) have it. For example, if it's only 1 format (like everyone gets Vancouver except Standard, or everyone gets London except Vintage) or if it's something like "all Eternal formats stay on Vancouver" - but just to show how confusing that could be, there are a LOT of players that think Modern is an Eternal format, so even that would be a problem hahaha

Magic tournament floor rules change regularly.

Players are expected to be up to date on countless areas of minutia, from errata to triggers to mulligan rules. I have lost games and received tournament penalties for applying out-dated rules in tournament contexts, because I was unaware of a relevant change, including the countless changes around triggers. I'm sure many players forget to 'scry' in Vintage games, especially old time players.

I'm not advocating that Vintage has it's own mulligan rule. But the idea that such an approach is too administratively cumbersome, inefficient, complex or challenging is not particularly convincing. Especially given the innumerable ways I've already listed in which formats differ or the innumerable rules changes over the years that players must adapt to.

While it's true that many rules changes are ostensibly universal across formats, the reality is that many rules have unequal effects across formats. The removal of interrupts from the game of magic basically only impacts Vintage and Legacy today.

Players already have to track numerous facets of game play. It's trivial for a judge to remind players at the beginning of a tournament what mulligan rule is in force, or whatnot. Just as they do about banned and restricted lists follow B&R changes.

The fact that there have been so many different mulligan rules in Magic - as covered in this podcast - illustrates that mulliganining is not a 'core' Magic mechanic.

People thought that separating the Type I and Type II B&R list was too administratively cumbersome, and it was done. Same with Type I and Type I.5. A separate Vintage or Legacy 'mulligan' rule is far less disruptive than, say, the removal of the stack during combat or changes in how optional triggers are handled.

@smmenen All I'll say is that I played Duel Commander for a while and it was a bummer that we had a different mulligan rule. When we all joined the same mulligan as everyone it became much better - it's just one less thing to remember, which is great. Automating the game's startup is great, actually. As I said, if they decide otherwise, I'm fine too so whatever 😛

Old School players prefer to play with mana burn, even though that no longer exists in Magic.

You guys touch on the fact that this mulligan rule helps all decks but helps some others much m ore. I wonder if when you sorta account for "inflation" in this equation if the real value of this change for some of these other decks is not net negative.

I can imagine that some decks on the edges of play actually lose viability because of this. Take Mono Red Blood Moon. The deck was not based off a mulligan strategy and really was about drawing multiple synergistic pieces like Moon, Mox, Ancient tomb or Mountian, SSG, Null rod and it already had a lot of redundancy of lock pieces in Moon, Blood sun, Null rod, alpine moon, Chalice of the void, etc. While the mulligan rule will occasionally let the deck trade in a dead hand for something with more play ability, the value of a good hand in that deck may now not be relevant enough against the value of a keepable hand in other list to the point where the list may be pushed out of viability.

I guess in addition to raising the chances for a keepable hand for most decks, this also raises the bar on the assumed power level of opening hands on average and does not do so with the same scale as the increase in keepers. The threshold may just be much higher if the format stays as is otherwise.

@smmenen said in SMIP Podcast # 88 - The "London" Mulligan in Vintage:

Old School players prefer to play with mana burn, even though that no longer exists in Magic.

SOME do. But anyway, the point you forget is that Old School, Alpha40, whatever, are casual formats. Those are usually rule-bending anyway, since that's the fun of it. So yeah, if you're going out of your way to play a restrictive high-complexity casual time-travelling format, you may as well learn new rules.

Anyway, I won't go too far on this, since I actually don't disagree different mullingan rules could become a thing in the future. I just think it should be a last-last resort.

One thing I don't think people have really touched on with this rule is that it is hard to go away from. This changes so many formats so dramatically that going to a less polarizing mulligan could severely cripple decks.

Here is the additional analysis you asked about in the podcast:

Probabilities of finding a Bazaar under the Vancouver system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 38.58% 41.45% 51.77%
4 86.50% 88.70% 94.18%

For the London system:

Bazaars\Powders 0 1 4
1 58.04% 62.14% 75.52%
4 97.18% 98.08% 99.57%

Methodology: I assumed you

  • keep any hand with at least one Bazaar
  • use Serum Powder whenever you draw it and do not have a Bazaar
  • under the London system, tuck any extra Serum Powders back in your deck before any use of Serum Powder.

Mathematica source code: https://www.dropbox.com/s/np0y0maooxln4cr/mulligan.nb?dl=0

last edited by evouga

@evouga Interesting. The only thing about this analysis is it does not tell me how often I will have 6 cards vs 5 cards, so on and so forth. We all realize that the new rule allows you get bazaar more often, but one of the things it does not tell you is how often you will see it earlier on vs once you have mulled into oblivion. I assume the fall off is a fairly straight forward curve but because of how powder works and how you get to decide what to put back first there may be a higher hand/deck quality issue to think about. If you powder after mulling to 5 for instance you get to save the 2 best cards in the mull which in the past you had no ability to do and there could have been situations where you literally cannot use powder.

Based on this it certainly seems as if Powder is a safe restriction all be it maybe a less than useful one to fix the issue at hand. The first copy only gets you .9% which based on that metric almost makes it feel less than worthwhile to begin with. With such a small % you have to start asking is using something like Street wraith does not provide more value overall to not only find your bazaar but to power your gameplan as powder is a blank card for the deck after the mulligan.

The subsequent powders are also such minimal gains that I'm not sure a restriction would be felt by the community writ large. Once again running a Gitaxian Probe and x Street wraiths could wind up being more viable to the decks functioning.

Truly if this mulligan change makes dredge the dominant deck you basically have 2 options, restrict Bazaar or Restrict 4-5 cards from the deck and see how it works out. I think I like the idea of a restricted list with Bazaar on it as opposed to owe with Troll, Powder, Dread Return, and Bridge on it.

Great point! Here are those curves. To keep the plot simple I limited the data to the three most interesting scenarios:

  • the status quo (Vancouver mulligan with no cards restricted)
  • London mulligan with no restrictions
  • London mulligan with Serum Powder restricted
  • London mulligan with Bazaar restricted

0_1552802998233_bazcurves.png

The x-axis is cumulative, i.e., the leftmost column is the probability of finding a Bazaar under any circumstance, the second column is the probability of finding a Bazaar and at least one other card in hand, etc.

One interesting result here is that restricting Serum Powder, and instating the London mulligan, would increase the overall chance of Dredge finding a Bazaar, but decrease the probability of Dredge having three or more non-Bazaar cards left over after mulliganing. Of course, since the London mulligan allows the Dredge pilot to sculpt that hand, having fewer expected total cards in hand at the beginning of the game may not impact the deck's performance much.

last edited by evouga

Thanks @evouga !

That helps put some of this in perspective..

@evouga This makes things hard because restricting Bazaar basically kills the deck (you can't play a deck that only gets to execute its plan 75% of the time) but restricting Powder does nothing (lowering from 99 to 98% is basically nothing).

last edited by fsecco

I would make the argument that Restricting powder may actually be pointless because people may stop using it all together. The % gained is so low that many decks may opt to use those slots for cards that give them better matchups elsewhere, like running main deck leylines or unmask or something.

That being said even the % are confusing because Serum powder fundamentally works different under these rules. Being able to see more cards and save the ones you want to keep in your deck before powdering may mean that even though your % gain on the mulligan is minimal your deck quality increase could be substantial.

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