I’ll take a mulligan!
With increasing noise coming from all corners of the EDH rules committee (RC) that the Partial Paris will soon be extinct, let’s take a look at the reasoning and some alternative mulligans that could be used starting in January (the next rules update for Commander).
To begin, the Partial Paris consists of exiling X cards from your hand face down, then drawing one less, repeating this process until a satisfactory (or at least playable) hand is found. Once this process is complete, the exiled cards are shuffled into their owner’s library and play begins. The issue with the Partial Paris is that it allows a little too much hand sculpting for the RC’s tastes, and they are looking at something that will give you a “playable” hand, inasmuch as you can hit a land drop and play spells, without overly increasing card selection. It seems as if excess shuffling is also to be avoided.
In a recent article on the topic, Sheldon Menery enumerated some of the possibilities. I will say that a local tournament venue will be using the Partial Paris + Scry 1 for an upcoming event and hopefully this doesn’t break things too much. We tried this method in a few games and while it had hilariously silly effects in one game, overall it seemed fine.
I’ll go through the options as aggregated from various articles and suggestions, with my personal preference from limited gameplay with friends:
1) The “Gis” and “Gis Exile”: Used by the Rules Committee when they play together, consists in exiling your hand face-down and drawing a new seven, repeating the process until you get a playable hand. Exiled cards are reshuffled into your library. The exile version leaves the exiled cards in exile, making it a high risk, high reward sort of mulligan.
These mulligans were met with the cold shoulder locally. The potential for bomby, combo-driven openers was just too much of a risk and people prefer the cost of going down one card with Partial Paris. No one really wanted to lose seven cards to exile early on, and even less fourteen or twenty-one cards. We’re not likely to see this around our tables.
2) The “Three-Land Gis”: As with the other Gis options, you exile your hand and draw seven, with a few stipulations. If you do not have three lands, you reveal your hand and exile it, repeating until you have a three land hand. At that point, you reshuffle the exiled cards into your library. This sounds better than the “Land Tax” mulligan, but the downside is if you have drawn Maze of Ith and two lands, you need to keep that. I’d definitely at least give this a try, as it sounds fairly balanced.
2) The “Vancouver Mulligan”: Essentially an extension of the current mulligan: if you would mulligan, Scry 1 after you would have done so. Allows you a little library manipulation without too much of a bomby start. While I have no issue with this, I’d prefer it were not allied with the Partial Paris since that goes a little too much toward the hand-sculpting side.
3) The “Land Tax Mulligan”: Probably my favourite option, this would allow you to find three basic land cards, reveal them and put them into your hand. Afterward, you draw four cards and the game begins. It has the advantage of meeting the RC’s goals of starting with a playable hand; however, it’s been pointed out that you could do some silly stuff with Goblin Charbelcher[/mtg_Card] but that seems like a bit of a corner case to me. Missing a land drop is just demoralizing and this at least solves that issue.
4) The “Multi-Scry Mulligan”: You Scry X, where X is 7 – cards in hand. For example, if I were to mulligan to 4, I would Scry 3. The big disadvantage of this is you are stuck at four or five cards. In an more cutthroat metagame, getting hit with early discard would be crippling. The benefit is setting up your next three draws, which isn’t a small advantage. I’m cold to this one though, but it may just be my confirmation bias letting me know that more cards surpasses better selection.
Where do we go from here? If they don’t like the extra card selection from Partial Paris, their best option might just be to allow us to start with some basic lands in hand, or mana-producing lands without additional abilities. As pointed earlier, this could get silly with Charbelcher or my own [mtg_card]Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant so perhaps the best option is the “3-Land Gis”, where you run a chance of having to keep a hand with only one or two lands, but perhaps you also have Sol Ring or Solemn Simulacrum and can get there with a little luck.
In the end, there isn’t anything saying your local group can’t just keep with Partial Paris (or even Partial Paris with Scry 1 if you’re going all in) as long as everyone is agreeable to it. Interestingly enough, many of the suggested mulligans also incorporate the multiplayer “free seven” which is sparsely used around my play partners unless we’re being super casual. I look forward to January’s announcement, if only because it heralds change, and that has been something missing of late with the Rules Committee’s announcements.
In closing, some studious web users have found the Boros Commander from the new pre-cons:
Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas 2RW
Legendary Creature – Giant Soldier
Double Strike, Vigilance 3/3
Whenever you cast a creature spell with converted mana cost 5 or greater, you get an experience counter. This gets +1/+1 for every experience counter you have.
So fairly vanilla but will eventually grind you down, and we all know about the interactions between Double Strike and various equipment cards. Here’s hoping for some meatier stuff in the other enemy colour pairs, though.