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Pojo's Pokemon Card of the Day


Top 10 New Pokémon Cards of 2010
#7 Judge

HS Unleashed

Date Reviewed: Jan. 6, 2011

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Modified: 4.00
Limited: 4.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being the worst. 
3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating.

Back to the main COTD Page

Combos With:

Baby Mario
2010 UK National

#7 Judge (Unleashed)


If you compare this year’s top 10 with the list from 2009, you will see that the Pokémon released this year can’t really compare to the near-broken, format-dominating beasts like Dialga G, Garchomp C, and Luxray GL that we got back then. To make us feel better (I assume), we have been given quite a few completely brilliant Supporters.


Judge might not be the best and most staple of them, but it is my personal favourite. The hand disruption it offers is the best in the game in my opinion because it isn’t vulnerable to Power Spray (like Let Loose Giratina) and doesn’t rely on coin flips (like Cyrus’s Initiative). True, it is more difficult to use now that the player can’t restock their hand with Claydol (other draw cards are available), but it’s still a very effective way of breaking the Cyrus chain that SP decks depend on, shuffling back cards that your opponent has just searched out (such as Legend pieces), or just generally cutting their options by reducing their hand to four.


This is a card that takes skill and practice to play correctly, now more than ever, but it’s still a potent weapon, especially when combined with Spiritomb AR (to lock any Trainers they draw), or Mesprit LA (so they can’t recover with Uxie). If you do run a deck that has some Pokémon-based draw support (Ninetales HGSS, Magnezone Prime, even Nidoqueen TM), then you would be silly not to run Judge. It’s also essential for any hand disruption deck like Sablelock or (more obscurely) Weavile/Houndoom.


Basically, Judge is a card that can wipe the smile off the face of any cocky opponent who thinks he’s holding a god hand. Fear it when it is played against you, and learn how to abuse it yourself.




Modified: 4 (the best disruption card since Rocket’s Admin)

Limited: 4 (who hasn’t had a hand they wanted to discard in Limited?) 

conical #7:
1/6/10:Judge(Unleashed)- #7 Card, 2010
Don't you Judge me, man :/
Today we have the premier disruption supporter in the format. For a while, this card ended Gyarados, keeping them from recovering as easily off a Gyarados KO. It was also a large part of Sableye-based disruption decks, lowering their hand size before reducing it further by Impersonating a Cyrus' Initiative.
Sableye isn't as widely seen now, but several decks still benefit from this card, especially newer cards like Magnezone Prime and Yanmega Prime. Any deck based on disruption should be using this card.
Modified: 4/5
Limited: 4.5/5
Combos With: Cyrus' Initiative


Judge, from HS – Unleashed actually scored higher, all the way as my number three slot.  I blame Bondi, as he’s my main opponent and he really loves the card.  Despite being so fond of it, the review will likely be pretty short.


This is a shuffle and draw Supporter, very similar to an older Supporter known as Desert Shaman.  The main difference is that this has each player draw a flat four cards, while Shaman had each player draw up to four.  Pokémon has long been known for large hand sizes, and even though this latest format doesn’t get hands quite as large as some past, four cards will usually be shaving a card or two off the average hand size.  It disrupts any searched for cards that aren’t being dropped again instantly, as well as cards you’ve returned to hand, such as with Seeker.  All these little annoyances, and the fact that a well made deck can usually drop its own hand low enough to benefit from shuffling said hand in and drawing four cards, make it a good, solid card.


Skillful plays early game and specific combos make it a great card.  Mostly the former, but if you are running a deck where you need to force your opponent to draw cards (like Gengar if/when we get Lost World) or Yanmega Prime (to synch up hands and kick its Poké-Body into gear).  As neither of those two are huge decks right now, hopefully you realize that it is mostly the “skillful plays” early game.  It is incredibly vexing when an opponent does this every turn or every other turn, following up any attempts at long term set up you make.  Once is bad, and easy enough to work into many decks.  If your deck can function with several copies of this, go for it: I’ve seen first hand how effective it is.




Modified: 4/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Combos with: Gengar (HS – Triumphant), Yanmega Prime


Good morning, Pojo! Today we continue our Top 10 Cards of 2010 by reviewing a Supporter card from the HS Unleashed expansion that most players dread seeing. Today's Card of the Day (and #7 on our list) is Judge.

Judge has a very basic effect: Each player shuffles his or her hand into their deck, and then draws 4 cards. For pure hand refresh, things like Cynthia's Feelings, Professor Oak's New Theory, and even Copycat are generally better, although this is not the reason why most people use Judge. This card, unlike the others, is generally used to mess up the opponent much more than simply using it to refresh your hand. Smeargle UD is very commonly played right now as a support Pokemon, as your opponent will hope to use a critical Supporter such as a Pokemon Collector, Cyrus's Conspiracy, or even something like Twins from your hand. With Judge as the only Supporter in your hand, your opponent will then be forced to draw into a new hand, with the likely result of really disrupting their game plan. Another great use of Judge is to use it after your opponent returns one of their Pokemon to their hand, as then you can Judge to shuffle away the Pokemon in question. Of course, if you find yourself in a bind, Judge can also be used to refresh your hand as well, and although 4 cards isn't necessarily great, it can certainly help, especially if you get that one crucial card you need, or a Uxie LA.

Modified: 4/5 Judge has great use as an offensive and defensive card for reasons explained above, and this explains why it definitely belongs on our Top 10 List. If you've ever been on the giving or receiving end of this card, you know how disruptive it can be.

Limited: 4/5 Trainers and Supporters are always great to have in Limited, and Judge is no exception. It's great if you can shuffle away a bad hand, and if you somehow know what is in your opponent's hand and can disrupt them, more power to you.

Mad Mattezhion
 Professor Bathurst League Australia
Judge (HS Unleashed)
Here we have a card I really disliked when it was released, and dislike even more now.
Judge is used for 2 things: shuffling your hand into your deck for a fresh set of cards, and for making your opponent want to smack you. Typically, 4 cards are considered a small hand in Pokémon, so you only play Judge for pure hand refresh when you are in dire straits. The focus tends to be on the second use for Judge, which is scrambling your opponent’s hand and making them draw 4 cards.
Note that the wording for this card is very specific: most other cards that shuffle your opponent’s hand and make them a new hand have the clause ‘up to’ in their wording, which means your opponent can draw ‘up to’ the number of cards stated. If they so choose, they can draw less than the amount stated, or even choose not to draw any cards at all (though they can’t avoid shuffling their old hand away). Cards with the ‘up to’ clause include Giratina PT (the version with the Let Loose Poke-power) and Looker’s Investigation.
The best use for the omission of this clause is to force your opponent to draw cards so that you can use their own cards against them. Smeargle UD, Gengar SF and Gengar Prime all punish your opponent for having specific cards in their hand, but if this is the angle you are playing then you may well do better playing Spiritomb TM, which has also omitted the ‘up to’ clause and forces your opponent to draw 6 cards instead of just 4. True, there is the problem of bench space but Seeker takes care of that and Trainer locking (the cornerstone of VileGar builds) will prevent your opponent from playing Power Spray to stop Spiritomb.
Since better options exist for forcing your opponent draw different cards than the ones they have, the main reason people use Judge is to disrupt the opponent by forcing them to draw a smaller hand.
Previously I have said I don’t like Judge and the reason is that, mathematically, you are getting the worse end of the deal. Since your opponent is getting 5 cards (if you include the card they draw at the start of their next turn) and they are able to play a Supporter, while you only get 4 cards to continue your turn and you have already burned your Supporter use for the turn they are left in a better position than you, which is hardly the goal of disruption. The only advantage to you is that you know a hand-scramble is coming, so you can build your deck and your field to prepare and recover better than your opponent can (unless they are trying to pull the same stunt, in which case the battle will be very interesting).
Judge would be a very mediocre card if it wasn’t for the number of options for maximising on your opponent’s discomfort at losing their hand while pretty much ignoring the loss of your own hand. Sableye SF is central to this, and without that pesky little Ghost/Dark nightmare Judge would never have appeared on this list. Put simply, you can either play Judge from your hand and then impersonate a card like Team Rocket’s Trickery or Cyrus’ Initiative to further reduce the size of your opponent’s hand, or you can use Impersonate to get out Judge at the very start of the game to mess up your opponent’s game plan when they haven’t built up their field to get around such disruption.
Combine the above methods with cards like Slowking HGSS and Chatot G to control your opponent’s top deck to prevent a lucky recovery, and you can permanently keep your opponent off balance until you are ready to stop disrupting and start dismembering your opponent’s poor Pokemon.
So if Judge is so good at starting a chain of disruption and destruction, then why do I think it doesn’t deserve a spot in the Top 10? Because Looker’s Investigation does all of the above tricks better, especially when combined with some kind of lock (Poke-powers, Trainers or otherwise) since you can look at your opponent’s hand to decide whether or not a refresh would help your opponent more than it hurts and you can scramble your opponent’s cards while leaving your own hand intact. Also, if you have some kind of intimidation in play (Gengar Prime and Gengar SF fit well here) you can convince your opponent that drawing less than the full 5 cards is worth it, meaning an even smaller hand than Judge would give.
Judge may be good for starting the disruption but I have never had it successfully used against me and I consider Looker’s investigation to be superior in almost every way. In the end, I just don’t like double-edged swords that you can’t guard yourself against, even if they mess up your opponent. You can never be sure that playing Judge won’t hit you harder than it hits your opponent.
Modified: 3.5 (I pray for the day that someone can use Judge against me properly and change my mind about this card, but in the mean time I say it is only just above average)
Limited: 4 (with all of the draw supporters in this format, you can really mess around with this card. And yelling “JUDGE” when you play it is just so satisfying!)
Combos with: Sableye SF, Chatot G, Slowking HGSS, that twinkle in your opponent’s eye that means they have a great setup coming.

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