Good deck construction minimizes luck. I am about to enter my first tournament (Pauper). In addition to testing my deck against other decks in actual games, I simulate initial hands and first few cards using deckbox.org to help to fine tune it.

It is clear from simulation that I would have to mulligan at least a quarter of my hands. I would assume that beyond a certain mulligan percentage, a deck cannot possibly be competitive in a Pauper tournament.

While there may be special cases where a mulligan does not confer much of a disadvantage, let's assume for the purpose of this question that this deck is average in the sense that each time the initial hand is decreased by a card, it hurts chances of winning quite a bit.

Beyond what percentage of hands requiring mulligan would a deck be considered non-competitive? If someone has actually studied this question statistically, please provide a link to the study.

  • 1
    I don't think this quite answers your question, but it's a bunch of useful detail-oriented math: channelfireball.com/articles/…
    – Alex P
    Apr 6 '15 at 5:42
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    My thoughts are that this question will have to be answered experimentally instead of mathematically. On that note, I asked another related question. Hopefully the answer to that one will provide a basis for answering this one.
    – Rainbolt
    Apr 6 '15 at 15:47
  • @Rainbolt I agree that tabulating the info from tournaments would asking the question. I hope your question gets answered and that mulligan data is included. Though a completely different game, I recorded data for the game Cosmic Encounter when I was a teenager and was able to answer the question, "Which powers are best" with real data. This MTG question is answerable if someone has collected data.
    – Joe Golton
    Apr 6 '15 at 16:16
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    On the other hand, it does depend on the deck: a deck that mulligans more often than average isn't necessarily worse. So while tournament data (restricted to top N places to avoid bad players/bad decks?) might get you a general idea, it's definitely helpful to have answers that think through some things as well.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 7 '15 at 0:03
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    As stated, I think this question is too broad - it depends too much on many different variables, including the power of individual cards, the power of cards in conjunction with other cards, how that changes with matchups, etc.
    – Hao Ye
    Apr 7 '15 at 0:03

It really depends on the format, your deck, and the current meta. It also depends on why you're mulliganing:

  • If you need to mulligan due to land percentage (too many/few), you need to fix your deck.
  • If you need to mulligan because you have no creatures, it might be an issue, but that depends on how much you need them [Which in turn depends on what kind of deck your opponent is running]
  • If you need to mulligan because you don't have a certain card in hand... How important is that card? [It's probably OK to mulligan for a one-drop Enchantment* or a Layline (Which aren't pauper-legal), as long as it's worth losing the Card Advantage]

The best way to test it is to just build the deck, and see what happens.

*I have one Modern deck that sometimes has to mulligan down to three or two cards in hand.
As long as I'm not up against an aggro deck, I can still win with an opening hand of [Island, Quest for Ula's Temple].

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