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It’s one of the most tension-wrought moments of any Magic game: dealing out those first seven cards of your deck, picking them up, and looking at your opening hand. You start asking yourself questions: Is this keepable? Should I really hold onto 6 lands and 1 spell? What if the spell is a 3 drop? Should I mulligan?
That last question is one that plagues so many Magic players all over the world, and is something we’re going to tackle today in our first episode of Tolarian Tutor. In this video, we’ll be going over what mulligans are, when it’s appropriate to mulligan, and what hands to look out for given certain deck archetypes.
At the beginning of a Magic game, you and your opponent both draw an opening hand of seven cards. You then have the option to shuffle it back into your deck and draw another opening hand, minus one card. This is called a mulligan. If you're still not satisfied, you can shuffle in your 6 cards to draw 5, and so on. If you mulligan, you get to scry: look at the first card of your library, and either leave it at the top to draw during your turn, or put it at the bottom of your library; after you decide to keep a hand.
The first thing to understand is that you, the player, actually *get* to mulligan in Magic. You’re given the opportunity to “reset” your hand with a slight disadvantage and the key word is *you*. This is *your* choice to make, so when do you make it?
When we take a look at our opening hand during FNM or at the kitchen table, here’s the thought process that many of us run through:
I want more than 1 land.
I don’t want to have more than 5 lands
I’d like to have 2 to 3 lands.
I want to be sure that I have at least two colors of land in my hand if possible (assuming I’m playing a multicolored deck)
If not, I’ll mulligan!
But what else should I be paying attention to (other than a lands to spells ratio) that might signal a need to mulligan?
When you build a deck, you should have an idea of what it wants to do. Part of deckbuilding is just having a concept and trying to execute it. Therefore, you want your opening hand to work towards that goal, no matter what.
When looking at your hand, make sure you have things to do with your mana that help your deck reach its goal. Magic currently favors a proactive approach where most cards on the battlefield work towards ending the game, either through combat, direct damage to your opponent or spells like Approach of the Second Sun.
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.) Then, beginning with the starting player and proceeding in turn order, any player whose opening hand has fewer cards than his or her starting hand size may scry 1.
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