Welcome back! Today we’ll be going over a minor update to the pre-game procedure. Since Pro Tour Magic Origins in Vancouver, we’ve been using a ‘new’ mulligan procedure commonly referred to as the Vancouver Mulligan (much as its predecessor was sometimes known as the Paris Mulligan): a player who is dissatisfied with their hand may shuffle it back into their library, and draw one fewer card. After both players have settled on a hand they’d like to keep, any player who has fewer cards than the “normal” starting amount (typically 7!) is permitted a “scry” of sorts; it’s not technically the Scry keyword, but it functions the same: Look at the top card of your library, and you may either put it on the bottom of your library, or leave it where it is. This is intended to help ‘smooth’ out games where a player needs to mulligan.
Previously, all errors with mulligans were covered under Game Play Error – Mulligan Procedure Error in the Infraction Procedure Guide (or IPG). However, recently it was decided that the “scry” portion of the mulligan fit better in Game Play Error – Hidden Card Error (HCE) instead! So, let’s say that you’re playing in a Competitive event such as a Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier, and you take a mull to 6. You go to check out the top card of your library for your scry, and you accidentally pick up two cards! The fix for this is really easy- you reveal both of the cards to your opponent, and they choose which of the two cards is the “extra” to be shuffled into your library. You’ll be given the penalty of “Warning” (doesn’t do anything by itself, but the third Warning you get for the same kind of Game Play Error will be upgraded to a Game Loss!). Then, you finish performing your ‘scry’ action with the one card that’s left.
Similarly, let’s say that you don’t mulligan at all, and then look at the top card after your opponent has finished their mulligans (perhaps it’s Round 6 and you’re a little fried from playing Magic for the whole day- it happens). It’s the same infraction, penalty, and fix- GPE – HCE, Warning, and reveal the cards you looked at to your opponent, who picks the ‘extra’ to shuffle away. In this case, you only looked at one card, and that one card is the extra, so your opponent gets a little information and the card is shuffled away.
Finally, what happens if you mulligan (or not!), and then have a brain-fried moment and draw when you’re on the play? You guessed it- that’s a Game Play Error – Hidden Card Error! You put a card from one hidden zone (your library) into another (your hand) when you weren’t supposed to. You’ll get a Warning for this as well, and your opponent will look at the zone with the offending card (in this case, your entire hand!) and choose which of the cards there is the one that shouldn’t be there, to be shuffled into the random portion of your library. Note that I say RANDOMIZED portion- if you did take your mulligan to six and put your scried card on the bottom before you drew the card you shouldn’t have drawn, that card will still be on the bottom- we’ll shuffle the card your opponent chooses into the rest of your library, and then put your scried card back on the bottom.
It is a bit rough, but that’s to help remove the incentive for “accidents” that benefit a player too much (and in The Wayback Days, this would be penalized with a full on Game Loss, rather than just starting at a disadvantage). Plus, this infraction can just be avoided with diligence! A tip from us: when drawing cards, or scrying, pick the card up and drag it (gently!) face-down across your playmat just a little bit; if you’ve accidentally grabbed too many cards, the friction should pull the ‘extra’ away, and it can be very easily fixed because you haven’t SEEN any of these cards! It helps to avoid feel-bad moments and penalties very well.
Today’s Tournament Tip was written by Trevor Nunez