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In Hearthstone, both you and your opponent get an opportunity to mulligan (or redraw) some cards at the start of a match. My question is whether strategy is altered based upon seeing your opponent mulligan all of their cards, or perhaps none of their cards. For example, do competitive aggressive decks behave more aggressively when an opponent redraws all cards?

What can be discerned (if anything) by the fact that your opponent redraws cards at the start?

  • I've seen Trump on his stream decide what to mulligan based on how many cards his opponent mulligans. So, yes, I guess. – ken.ganong Jan 16 '15 at 16:35
  • This has an opinion behind it. Here's why. There a million different ways to play. They all work too. I mulligan because the cards exceed the mana curve. – Virusboy Jan 16 '15 at 16:51
  • I mostly meant if professional (or simply very skilled) players ever used this in their strategy. – BlackVegetable Jan 16 '15 at 16:56
  • perhaps an important tweak made recently - we can't see how many cards the opponent has mulliganned away until after we lock in our own mulligans, so you can't really mulligan based on knowing the strength of your opponent's hand anymore – ws04 Sep 4 '16 at 16:30
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The short answer to this question is yes, opponent's mulligans can tell you something. However, things that it will tell you can vary significantly, generally based on the class your opponent is playing. Firstly, decks tend to be either oriented towards the short game, the mid game, or the long game. For example, Zoolock is one of the most well-known short game decks, whereas an example of a long game deck would be Druid ramp. Using an example of warlock, with the current meta taken into account:

Warlock is generally the easiest to discern based on mulligan. If your opponent mulligans heavily, the most likely possibilities are:

  • They are playing Handlock and don't have a good hand.
  • They are playing Zoolock and started with no one-drops.

On the flip side, if they keep most, if not all their cards, the most likely possibilities are:

  • They are playing Zoolock and have at least 1 or 2 one-drops, ideally an undertaker.
  • They are playing Handlock, and have either a twilight drake in hand or a mountain giant, as well as one of their earlier cards or removal, including hellfire, mortal coil, ancient watcher + sunfury protector.

Keep in mind, there are other, less played warlock decks that could throw this off, but generally, per class, there tend to be two to three decks that 50-75% of the hearthstone population is playing.

Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to break down all possible scenarios, as information that might be derived from your opponent's mulligan is dependent on a number of things. The most key things to think about when deciding what your opponent's mulligan means, other than knowing what net-decks are common in which class:

  • What rank are you, and what is the 'deck to beat' at that rank?
  • What class is your opponent playing?
  • What class are YOU playing?
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    Ah, this is a nice summary. I suppose in general it makes sense to play more aggressively if your opponent had to mulligan many cards as they are less likely to respond as they'd like straight away. – BlackVegetable Jan 16 '15 at 17:09
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    @BlackVegetable That is generally a safe thought, again though, it depends on your opponent. A Mage that mulliganed aggressively will still likely have early game answers, due to, ya know, being a mage. – Waterseas Jan 16 '15 at 17:10
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    Nice comment about Warlock. If my opponent is Warlock and they do not mulligan and do not play anything on turn one, I always then assume that they are playing handlock. – ken.ganong Jan 16 '15 at 17:18
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    @Waterseas in general if you want to rank up in anything, you should default to giving your opponent credit... – HC_ Jan 16 '15 at 23:57
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    @BlackVegetable A good example of mulligans telling information is in the first minute of the Trump video today: youtube.com/watch?v=pHJ9Qz_lV2o – Waterseas Jan 29 '15 at 21:48

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