Welcome to another Keep or Mulligan! This time I’m going to use hands from PT Dragons of Tarkir last weekend. I’ll include my solution and what the player actually did at the PT.

Hand #1

You’re playing the third round of Draft at the PT. Yours is a good UG deck, powerful and with a good curve (you have multiple 2-drops and 3-drops). Your opponent is playing an aggressive red/black deck. You’re on the draw. You mulligan your opening hand and this is your 6-card hand:

Keep or Mulligan to 5?

Solution

Mulligan.

I think this hand is appealing since you know you’re not going to have mana problems (which could definitely happen on a mulligan to 5), but ultimately you need to have a decent curve, and you’re on the draw against a black/red deck. Of course, it’s possible to keep and draw 2-drop 3-drop, in which case the hand is quite good, but I think your chances are better on a mulligan to five, even if some percentage of the time you’re just going to brick and die.

If I were on the play, I think I’d keep this hand. I’ll be less under pressure (so if I draw one spell I’ll likely live to play Ambush, for example), but also because being on the play would make a mulligan to five more dangerous, since the chance for bricking would be higher. On the draw, however, I like mulliganing—but I think it’s close. The player kept this hand at the PT.

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Hand #2

You’re playing the Esper Dragons deck that TeamCFB played. You are on the play against GW Devotion, it’s game 1, and your hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

Solution

Keep.

I think this hand is normally a mulligan—you need blue mana and you’re slow and clunky—but I think you should keep it against Devotion since they give you a lot of time and Crux of Fate + Ojutai is very powerful against them. This hand has everything I want against a Devotion deck except for lands, and that’s a matchup that gives me time to draw lands. As soon as I draw a blue source, I’d expect that to bring me another land, hopefully a Temple that will find me my fifth land. It’s OK if they all come into play tapped, because there isn’t a lot of pressure coming from them, and Crux will undo everything they have played so far, while Downfall is there to make sure you have an out to Whisperwood Elemental. Against an unknown opponent I would never keep, but I think that against Devotion specifically it’s correct to.

The player at the PT was me, and I kept the hand. As it turns out, my opponent was actually playing GW aggro, not devotion like I first thought, but it worked out fine anyway.

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Hand #3

You’re playing RG Devotion against Esper Dragons. You’re on the draw game three, and your opening hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

Solution

Mulligan.

I think this hand is just too clunky to be kept on the draw, and it’s only going to be good if you draw two lands in three turns. The UBw deck has multiple 2-mana answers, so it’s likely that your development will be stalled even if you do hit, and even Caryatid could just randomly get hit by Silumgar’s Scorn. That’s a problem with mana-light, Elf-heavy hands—you have access to the mana (there are four mana sources in this hand), but it takes you a long time to set it up if you brick, and it leaves you vulnerable to any interaction.

You are also lacking your good cards in the matchup (Xenagos, Nissa, Courser, Elemental somewhat), so even if you do hit and they have nothing, the payoff is not that good—it’s just a turn-3 Polukranos, which is easily answered. At the PT, the player kept this hand.

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Hand #4

You’re playing the Esper Dragons deck that CFB played. You are on the draw against an unknown opponent. Your hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

Solution

Mulligan.

Against a random opponent, it’s just too risky to keep this hand. Sure, if you lead with Temple and find an untapped blue source, then the hand is quite good, but if you miss, then you’re going to be too far behind, and counterspells really do not work if you are behind. Even if you hit another tapland that’s very likely not good enough against a lot of the format. I’d rather mulligan and take my chances with 6 cards. At the PT, the player mulliganed the hand.

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Hand #5:

You’re playing a URg draft deck, splashing for the 6/4 Atarka. You are on the draw against a GW aggressive deck. Your hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

Solution

Mulligan.

I think this hand is just too slow against an aggressive strategy on the draw—having your first play be a draw spell on turn four is just unacceptable and I think you need to mulligan for early action. For me to keep a hand like this, I either need a real 4-drop that blocks or my 5-drop has to be something that gets me back in the game (something like End Hostilities). Even if I did have a 4-drop, I’d still be worried about just falling too far behind before I could do anything. As it stands, neither of those are true, and I think this is a mulligan. At the PT, the player kept.

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That’s what I’ve got for today! If you have a hand that you think is interesting and would like to see featured in the coming weeks, just leave it in the comments and I’ll take a look. I haven’t used submissions this week, but I’ll use them next week.

Some conditions:

  • You must be playing a competitive deck, because I want other people to be able to relate and I also don’t have enough experience with all the rogue decks to be able to have an opinion. The format must be Standard, Modern, Legacy, or Limited. If it’s Limited, I’m going to need a good explanation of the deck.
  • You must give me all the relevant information—what you’re playing, format, which game it is, sideboarding or not, play or draw, whether you know your opponent’s deck or not, whether there is anything unusual with your deck list (I don’t need the whole deck list, I just need a general idea of what’s going on that might impact the decision).
  • The hand has to be at least interesting. Don’t submit a 0-land hand that’s obviously unkeepable, for example, and don’t submit a hand that is clearly great but “didn’t get there.” Something you’re genuinely unsure whether you should keep or not.