Faithbound Judge – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: January 25, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This is certainly a unique effect. Conceptually, it’s also kind of funny that despite being described as a judge, you don’t seem to have to have an actual trial for this guy to attack – just time passing. Regardless, he is potentially the kind of threat that your opponent simply won’t be able to deal with, because he uses too many different ways to attack. That’s with the caveat that assumes he has time to do so: his disturb cost is so high that sacrificing him early won’t accelerate the curse victory in any significant way, and there are a limited number of ways to reduce that cost. I feel like most white decks in constructed will want something that has more options – as in, capable of either attacking or blocking early – but if there’s some kind of prison deck out there, he’d be worth trying in that. An early 4/4 blocker will hold off a lot of things, and some decks simply can’t get out from under the Sinner’s Judgment side.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
For when you want the verdict to be guilty and the sentence to be death, I suppose. Faithbound Judge, in its base form, is a decent enough blocker that, after three turns out, can start raining down punition on its own. And a 4/4 with vigilance is pretty nice, especially one that flies to boot. If you resolve it on-curve, it comes online as an attacker at the same time Serra Angel does, and the upshot here is that you’re getting a decent wall for a couple turns before. Of course, the caveat is that it’s good on curve; if you’re bringing this out later, even at three mana, Faithbound Judge is hardly the creature to turn around a dire board state.
The flip side, of course, is that it has a second act: for seven mana, it can return to play as a curse, marking someone for death after three turns. That sort of clock can be quite potent, and it’s in a color famous for its ability to draw out games in a pinch, but this still is seven mana to kill someone in three turns, and there’s little guarantee of you making it that long without this getting popped. You’re not spending another card to cast this half, though, and so it’s more of an upside to Faithbound Judge if the game runs long enough.
I think that the sum of the parts is sort of odd, but Faithbound Judge might have a home in a more defensive shell…if such a shell is one that can work. I do think that there might be things you can do with cards like Alrund’s Epiphany, but that’s mostly speculative on my part. All the same, a fairly unique effect on a two-for-one special is certainly worth looking at, and Faithbound Judge seems like a card that might be broken open with just a bit more care.
Constructed: 3 (you’re more playing this for the front side, which is merely okay)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
On the creature side you have a slow 4/4 blocker that can eventually attack for three mana value. Not really the greatest card, it takes too long to get it ready to attack and it doesn’t have a high enough power/toughness to really make it worth it. It can fly so it is a bonus in limited to block pesky 1/1 fliers. The real meat and potatoes for this card is when it is cast for the Disturbed cost. Enchanting your opponent puts them on a three turn clock otherwise they lose the game! Standard is too weak for defensive strategies but in formats like Commander you can almost certainly knock out your opponent in an Arcades type defense deck! It is better in 1v1 commander but if there is a strong player in a pod that is just dominating this card can help out if you’re in a jam!
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
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