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

Our podcast went live Monday, but it's still not up on EC yet. @JACO

So as you don't have to wait another minute longer, you can listen on MTGCast.

http://www.mtgcast.com/podcasts/so-many-insane-plays/posts/episode-88-the-london-mulligan-6c46fa2c13

Kevin Cron and Steve Menendian analyze the London Mulligan for Vintage, including its impact on individual decks, pregame procedures, matchups, and the metagame.

Contact us at @ManyInsanePlays (https://twitter.com/manyinsaneplays) on Twitter or e-mail us at SoManyInsanePlaysPodcast@gmail.com.

0:01:00: Announcements
0:02:40: VSL Updates
0:25:40: The London Mulligan announcement and general impacts
0:58:00: Mathematics and specific impacts
1:51:15: Predictions and likelihood for implementation

Links:

last edited by Smmenen

Half way into this episode.

Incredibly well reasoned thus far. This is one of the best episodes in my opinion.

As a necromancer, this mulligan proposal has me a little worried. But it is also possible that dredge dies not gain so much that it becomes problematic.

last edited by Winterstar

Need to find time to listen, but I'm really not sure that step 1 is "restrict Bazaar" as mentioned in Frank Karsten's article on the subject and from a lot of people on twitter (who probably don't even play the format). Dredge has a lot of space to attack before going after its core enabler - you could restrict Golgari Grave-Troll like in Modern, which would slow the deck down a bit, or Narcomoeba, which would slow the deck down a lot, or Cabal Therapy, which would limit interaction/disruption. If a deck becomes more consistent, then you can balance that out by making it less explosive or disruptive. I think any of these approaches would be preferable to nuking the archetype. Unless people do not feel that Dredge should be a part of Vintage, but that's a very different discussion and the London mulligan is a just an excuse to that end.

Looking forward to being able to listen to this.

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.

As for restrictions, I truly believe if you are talking about restricting Bazaar then you need to put shops on the table as well. While it is more marginal Workshops will also absolutely gain percentage on its better/playable hands.

The way they have handled workshops is to restrict everything but shops to at least force play variance, so I think with dredge, should it need restrictions the first and most obvious culprit would probably be Serum Powder and then some of the enablers like Dread Return, Maybe troll, maybe Bridge. I don't really want that to happen, but it feels healthier for the format than killing a pillar and forcing the list into playing mana and casting cards and fundamentally changing the nature of how it works

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

the first and most obvious culprit would probably be Serum Powder

I've seen comparisons of the odds of finding Bazaar now vs. under the London mulligan system, but has anyone run the numbers on finding it using London mulligans but with Serum Powder restricted?

As you'll discover, when you all find time to listen, Kevin and I like the new mulligan proposal, and think it will help, not hurt, Vintage.

Thanks for the episode. As @ChubbyRain alluded to above, it's nice to have a level discussion about this instead of forecasting the sky to fall.

I do have an objection to Stephen's comment at the end that, paraphrasing "it's almost inevitable and surely beneficial to have different mulligan rules for different formats". Having the mechanics of Magic be constant is a principle that should only be violated as a last resort. Avoiding "gotcha" moments where the way one usually plays Magic forces them to make an error should be avoided. Most of us have missed the ability to scry after mull'ing when that rule was first introduced. Me playing BO1 on Arena assuredly messes with my ability to mulligan in paper without "enhanced" Arena RNG. Hell, I play almost exclusively on modo and the mechanics of having to deal with physical cards is already an extreme distraction for me when playing in paper. WOTC benefits from encouraging transitions across platforms and formats being as seamless as possible. While this can and is violated, the reasons for it need to be extremely compelling.

last edited by diophan

I think Kevin shares your view, but think about all of the rules in Magic that are different between formats:

  1. The minimum number of cards per deck (40 v. 60 v. 100)
  2. the size of sideboards (limited allows more than 15)
  3. the list of permissible sets
  4. Banned and Restricted Lists
  5. match structure (best of 1, best of 3, best of 5)

Why not mulligans?

Your point, about administrative efficiency and simplicity, was not good enough reason to require Type 1 and Type 2 to share the same Banned and Restricted list, and they were eventually unbuckled. Same with Type 1 and Type 1.5 (although slightly differently). Those, too, were unbuckled.

If different mulligan rules serve different formats, I see no reason that couldn't be accomplished for the same reason that different deck sizes, match structures or B&R lists do.

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.

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