Hello!

Welcome to the 8th edition of Keep or Mulligan. This time I’m joined by Gold Pro (hopefully soon to be Platinum) and globetrotter Christian Calcano, thanks a lot for the help! I tried to include some Doran hands since I had Calcano as a guest, but I couldn’t bring myself to pretend Doran is a real deck, so we’ll have to make do with other decks:

Hand #0

You’re playing UR Delver in Modern. You’re on the play and this is your opening hand:

Keep or Mulligan?

My Solution

Keep! :}

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Calcano’s Solution

Keep.

I see what you did there. Well I’d snap-keep obviously, you can’t even possibly draw a 4th Sulfur Falls so the rest of your lands come into play untapped :p

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Hand #1

You’re playing Modern Junk against Splinter Twin. It’s game two, and you’re on the play. Your hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

My Solution

Keep.

The key to this hand is that you’re playing post-board, and most Twin decks become a lot less focused on the combo against Junk after game 1—some people take out all of their Twin pieces, some people leave in one or two, but it’s rare that someone has a dedicated combo deck against you post-board. As such, you need to treat them as a fair deck, not as an unfair one, and this hand is good against a fair deck—Tarmogoyf, Ooze, and Rhino are all good against someone trying to play UR Control. Blood Moon is going to be an issue, but you at least have a Heath, so you could hope to draw a discard spell, a basic, or a fetchland in two draws, so I think it’s fine. If this were game one, I would not keep this hand, because you need some sort of interaction, but game two I think it’s a keep.

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Calcano’s Solution

Mulligan.

This hand just doesn’t interact with them at all. You have neither a discard spell nor a removal spell which are very important in this matchup. You also have no answer to Blood Moon with this hand which just shuts you out of the game completely. I’d mulligan and hope for any combination of an early creature (because Rhino is too slow) and a discard spell or an Abrupt Decay.

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Hand #2

You’re playing the Red/Green Dragons list from GP Shanghai:

You’re on the play against an unknown opponent. Your opening hand is:

Keep or Mulligan?

My Solution

Mulligan.

This hand is just too slow. You are on the play and you have powerful plays, but I think you need some sort of early action. Against an aggressive deck, you might be overwhelmed before you can play a single spell—your Dragons are good, but they aren’t good at catching up if you’re very far behind. Against a control deck, you will be too clunky and give them all the time in the world to answer your Dragons. This deck beats control by pressuring them into reacting and then playing Dragons—they can easily answer one or two of those if you aren’t doing anything else.

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Calcano’s Solution

Mulligan.

This hand is just too slow to keep in the dark. I can’t think of a matchup where I’d feel comfortable with this opening hand. Mono-Red would just run over you if you kept this hand. If this hand had a Temple though, I think I’d lean more toward keeping it since you get to fix your draw for turn 3 (you’d want to wait a turn to play it to see what you’re up against).

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Hand #3

You’re playing UW Control (seen in this video) against an unknown opponent, on the play. This is your opening hand:

Keep or Mulligan?

My Solution

Keep.

This hand might not be ideal, and if I knew my opponent was playing Mono-Red I would mulligan it, since it lacks interaction, but against a random opponent I think this is what you signed up for. You have two Temples to search for interaction, a fetchland to fuel your Dig, and two lands that gain life, so it’s basically the perfect mix. You’re also on the play, so you will get to Dissipate something before it’s too late. On the draw, I would not keep this hand, since Dissolve becomes much worse, but in the dark on the play I think this is a keep.

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Calcano’s Solution

Keep.

You have perfect mana plus 2 life-gain lands, you have 2 scry lands to smooth out your draws, the hard counterspell on turn 3 (which is amazing against the megamorph deck and Deathmist Raptor), and you have Dig Through Time to find the cards you need for the particular matchup and advance your game plan. Easy keep for me.

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Hand #4

You’re playing Dragons of Tarkir Limited, and your deck is midrange black/red. You’re more control than aggro, but you don’t have any super powerful bombs for the late game. Your deck is not good, but you have a decent number of cards that you wouldn’t mind sacrificing for exploit (two Dragon Fodders among them). You’re on the play against an unknown opponent and this is your hand:

Keep or Mulligan?

My Solution

Mulligan.

If you’ve followed any edition of Keep or Mulligan, you probably know I mulligan this hand without second thought. The reason I included it was because someone on our team *cough*Paul Cheon*cough* had it in a draft, and kept, which prompted a discussion about it. Paul’s reasoning was that his deck was so bad and the Butcher so good in it that he just wanted to mulligan and hope to draw enablers, at which point the hand would be good.

I disagree because Butcher is not that good, even if you do have enablers—they could just play a bigger creature and then you’re in trouble even if you do draw one of your Dragon Fodders or early drops. There are some cards that would make me keep a hand that has two 5-drops, but Butcher is not one of them, and especially two Butchers, which means that if you fizzle you’re going to double-fizzle.

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Calcano’s Solution

Mulligan.

This hand is not only too slow, but it makes you prone to mana flood. With no good late game you need to have something in the early/mid game to get you going. Also the lack of good late-game spells means that it’s actively bad for you to draw lands since there’s nothing you’re looking to cast for 6+ mana.

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That’s what I have for today. Thanks again Christian Calcano for the valuable input!

As always, if you have any hands you’d like to submit for Keep or Mulligan, please leave them in the comments.