We have a new mulligan rule. It’s sweet!
There does come with it one downside, though. Historically, some players take a mulligan by pulling cards off the top of their library to “see what they would have drawn,” and that’s not compatible with the new mulligan system. I used to joke with players “Don’t take the Forbidden Look; if you were supposed to do that, they wouldn’t call it the Forbidden Look.” Now, that’s true.
It’s too easy for a player to look at their mulliganned hand, then look at the top card of their library without saying anything. If its what they need, keep. If not, well, I was mulliganning and just looking. So, how do we deal with this?
If someone looks at the top card of their library without previously announcing an intent to mulligan, they are committed to keeping their hand. This is how a lot of people are likely to signal their intent to keep, and we shouldn’t be worried about people who look technically a little earlier than they should (officially, both players need to finish mulligan decisions before anyone looks).
If they shuffle their hand into their library after looking, treat it as Improper Drawing at Start of Game. However, since we can’t directly remove cards from their hand, we do the next best thing and have them mulligan to one less than they were going to. Most of the time, that means their mulligan from 6 to 5 will be to 4 instead.
I think players will adapt pretty quickly to this situation, and most mulligan-plus-looks will be fairly obvious – verbal communication, clearly picking up multiple cards from the top – and judges can help encourage and teach good behavior. We obviously won’t be this strict at Regular REL, but it’s a great place to teach your local players how to mulligan the new way properly. And explain why it really is the Forbidden Look.