After careful discussion with and testing by Magic R&D, and after considering feedback from the Magic community, today we present a new mulligan rule, explain the reasons for the change, and announce when and where it will go into effect.
Also, after considering feedback from the community and further discussions following Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, we have some updates to share regarding the layout of a player's board and the monitoring of video coverage.
Mulligan Rule Update
Whether it is at Friday Night Magic or the Pro Tour in a feature match, the number of games of Magic that had no interaction due to unfortunate mulligans was larger than acceptable. Magic R&D has looked at ways to reduce the frequency of such non-interactive games.
After multiple tests, and after listening to feedback from the Magic community on ways to increase the number of interactive games of Magic with a mulligan rule, we are introducing the following change only during Pro Tour Magic Origins for the time being:
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.
The key change is that last sentence.
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.
In the event a player takes a mulligan, after they have finished and have kept their hand, they may look at the top card of their library and choose to put it on the top or bottom of their library.
This rule will make its debut at Pro Tour Magic Origins, which takes place July 31–August 2. This is the only tournament during which this rule will be in effect for now. After the Pro Tour, we will have more information regarding when this rule will be implemented everywhere else.
Judges and Video Coverage
In recent months, we have been following feedback from the community regarding the speed at which we address rules violations noticed in the video coverage. Starting with Pro Tour Magic Origins, we intend to take further steps to address these instances.
The Head Judge can now review video of matches to aid in an investigation of any rules violations that may have occurred during the video coverage for Pro Tours, the World Championship, and the World Magic Cup. The decision whether to use video as part of an investigation rests solely with the head judge.
Additionally, dedicated members of the judge staff will be stationed to watch matches that are broadcast live as part of the video coverage for Pro Tours, the World Championship, and the World Magic Cup. In the event a plays happens which is a rules violation, the judge stationed to watch the broadcast will have the ability to stop play and inform the head judge. The head judge can then use any video evidence to conduct his investigations.
Card Layout in Video Coverage
Finally, starting with Pro Tour Magic Origins, we will be enforcing how players in the video feature match area at professional-level events—including all Pro Tours, Grand Prix, the World Magic Cup, and the World Championship—lay out their boards to one specific format. This change is being made to ensure a consistent layout of elements in a game of Magic, which leads to a more positive viewing experience that makes it easier for all viewers to follow the game.
The full details of how their cards must be laid out on the table in the video feature match area can be found below:
- Creatures must be in front of lands, and nothing can be behind lands.
- The library can be on either side of the play area (left or right).
- The graveyard must be adjacent to the library (player can choose which side of play area both are on).
- The exile zone must be near the library/graveyard and must be distinct from the graveyard.
- If a card is exiled by a permanent in play, the exiled card must be placed in proximity to the exiling permanent such that it is obvious that the two are associated.
- All untapped cards in play must face the controller of that card.
This layout will only be enforced during matches in the area where video recording is taking place. This layout change will not be enforced outside of that, however we strongly encourage players to use this layout when playing their matches in an off-camera area. It is not only good practice for when you are under the feature match camera, but also encourages a regular layout among all Magic players, which improves everyone's ability to understand what is going on in a game when observing the gameplay area.
We believe these changes will further our goal in maintaining the integrity and experience of tournament Magic, and we are always evaluating and considering feedback and discussion within the Magic community to further improve the experience we deliver.