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

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

@smmenen I listened to the VSL analysis (good stuff, tough breaks in the games as well) and the initial part of the London Mulligan on reducing variance. I think it will actually benefit Shops and PO. A 58% chance of hitting a single restricted card without Powder is very high and both Shops and PO have powerful cards that they can mulligan to if their opener is not a typical Shops or PO opener. PO has potential access to Timetwister, Tinker, Ancestral, Tutors, Mentor, Balance, Wheel, Windfall (which could get much better), any 1 of which could eliminate the disadvantage of mulliganing. Shops has access to Trinisphere, Chalice, and to a lesser degree Thorn, Sphere, Strip Mine, and Workshop as powerful cards that can enable degenerate openings and win games with fewer cards. Dredge and Survival both benefit as Bazaar decks, though for Survival finding Bazaar is neither necessary or sufficient to win and so the rule's change won't help as much. The decks that get hit the most are the control decks that generally don't operate well on few cards. The only card that really saves them on mulligans is Ancestral. BUG Fish and Blue Aggro-Control are both going to be impacted by the new rules change.

I think you are missing the forest for the trees in the middle part of your analysis.

While it's true that Shops has a (growing) number of restricted lock parts, a Shops deck is unlikely to mulligan more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find them, simply because modern Shops decks rely on cumulative pressure (both lock parts and damage) more than a single tactic to hold an opponent at bay, like it could do in the days of unrestricted Trinisphere.

Similarly, PO is not going to want to mulligan any more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find the titular card. PO requires a density of mana rocks and other perms to make PO payoff. Thus, it needs a larger starting hand in general.

Your math is correct, but you are applying it in a way that does not properly account for the context in which the mulligan occurs.

What really matters is the relative rate of mulliganing in the assessment of 'who benefits?'. It's possible that all decks will be more likely to mulligan to 6 as a result of the rule change. But I think both PO and Shops (as well as Xerox) will have a lower mulligan rate increase relative to the other strategies described in the podcast.

So, if PO and Shops were to increase their mulligan rate by, say, 5% under the London rule (such as from 1 out of every 5 games to 1 out of every 4 games), then Survival and Eldrazi's will be even greater (say, 8%, from 1 out of every 4 games to 1 out of every 3), and that's accounting for any imbalance in starting levels of mulligan rates.

last edited by Smmenen

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

I think you are missing the forest for the trees in the middle part of your analysis.

While it's true that Shops has a (growing) number of restricted lock parts, a Shops deck is unlikely to mulligan more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find them, simply because modern Shops decks rely on cumulative pressure (both lock parts and damage) more than a single tactic to hold an opponent at bay, like it could do in the days of unrestricted Trinisphere.

Similarly, PO is not going to want to mulligan any more aggressively (relative to other strategies) to find the titular card. PO requires a density of mana rocks and other perms to make PO payoff. Thus, it needs a larger starting hand in general.

The point of my post is that this dynamic potentially changes with the rule change. These decks can now potentially function as hybrids where "mulligan to restricted or broken cards (X,Y,Z)" is a much more viable plan B. You no longer have to keep a medium 6-7 on PO because you were a critical mass deck as now you can reasonably hope to mise a Timetwister, Tinker, Ancestral, or whatever. It's less true for Shops but I actually think that PO is a huge beneficiary of the new rule.

last edited by Guest

Has the new mulligan rule actually been implemented? I thought it was just an experiment?

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

Has the new mulligan rule actually been implemented? I thought it was just an experiment?

It hasn't even been tested yet. Mythic Championship London is only at the end of April.

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

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

Has the new mulligan rule actually been implemented? I thought it was just an experiment?

It hasn't even been tested yet. Mythic Championship London is only at the end of April.

Yeah, but as you can tell from the card evaluation threads, Vintage players like arguing about things when no evidence exists much more than they like talking about things when you can actually really on evidence, data, and experience. 😞

The mulligan rule will also be the mulligan rule used on MTGO for 3 weeks starting on April 10th.

Interesting talk.
I did not do any deep analysis about that but my fear is : what if people find out that mulligan agressively into hate is the best strategy under that mulligan rule ? It would lead in not very interesting games where the winner would be the one who found the hate in fewer mulligan than his opponent.

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

Interesting talk.
I did not do any deep analysis about that but my fear is : what if people find out that mulligan agressively into hate is the best strategy under that mulligan rule ? It would lead in not very interesting games where the winner would be the one who found the hate in fewer mulligan than his opponent.

This is why dredge under the London Mulligan is not so scary to me.

@albarkhane

A lot of people already do this against Dredge. They just happen to have 7-8 hate pieces so its pretty high odds, even under current mulligan rules.

What is interesting is we keep looking at decks that benefit from the mulligan rule and try to figure out if any of them will break it. I think realistically we are forgetting 2 things here:

1 - A deck that naturally wants to mulligans fewer time than it's opponents overall will still be in better position to win most games. It would still be better to play a deck that has good ratios in its decks that lead to naturally stronger opening hands on average. In this regard "fair decks" like Humans/hatebears might actually be the big winners with this new rule. Being able to keep an opening grip of 7 that has like 3 pieces of relevant hate and all the mana I will likely need is stronger than mulling to 4 for a single card that may be answered.

2 - Decks that specifically do not roll over and die to one magic bullet are very well positioned in the new mull rule because they not only benefit from having more consistency with the new mull rule, but they also do not have to worry about their opponent being able to abuse the new rule to hose them out. Think something like a control deck that has pyromancer as a win con, but also has blightsteel tinker vault key backed by counter magic. In a lot of ways this rule is going to help blue more than others because free counters will be at more of a premium to stop hate cards.

I really enjoyed the podcast. I'm cautiously pessimistic about the implications of the new rule. It seems to make the already overpowered Vintage decks even more powerful. And the counterargument is that "well it's okay if Deck B gets more degenerate because Deck C gets even more degenerate." I'd prefer movement in the other direction. Always-Finds-Bazaar v. Always-Finds-Leyline is not good Magic.

last edited by brianpk80

@Smmenen @CHA1N5

Steve, do you and Kevin have additional thoughts on the London mulligan now that we have some data and experience from MTGO? I have to admit that even with experience, I'm honestly having difficultly formulating a binary yes/no opinion as I think it has significant advantages and disadvantages for Vintage if implemented. Not that my opinion matters necessarily to the DCI, but I'm curious what other perspectives are out there.

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