Judge – Fusion Strike
Date Reviewed: November 22, 2021
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Coming in at 6th-Place is Judge (HS – Unleashed 78/95; XY – BREAKthrough 143/162; SM – Forbidden Light 108/131; SM – Lost Thunder 209/214; SW – Fusion Strike 235/264). As you can tell by that list, Judge is indeed a reprint. Normally, this makes a card ineligible for a countdown from the latest set but Judge hasn’t been Standard-legal since September 10, 2021 (last day of the 2020 Standard Format). It has been long enough that, so long as Judge is good enough, it can make our countdown. You can see our thoughts on Judge over the years with the following Card of the Day reviews:
It is worth noting that the second of these reviews was for the Top 10 cards of 2010!
Judge is a Supporter that forces each player to shuffle their hand into their deck and draw four cards. Simply put, Judge is a precursor to Marnie. Where Marnie forces both players to bottom deck their hands, Judge has each player shuffle their hand into their deck. If you had something good in your hand, not bottom-decking it is probably a good thing. If your opponent had something good in hand, not bottom-decking it is usually a bad thing. This doesn’t make or break the card, though: any search effect can shuffle a player’s deck and a lot of those are Items, so keeping something on the bottom of the deck isn’t easy. Marnie definitely outperforms Judge by drawing an extra card, but giving yourself a four-card-hand still isn’t a deal-breaker. The why is slightly complicated.
One aspect of it is your own deck: you can build around Judge so going down to four cards isn’t a big problem. Indeed, with the right draw-until effects, it can be a benefit! That can be true for your opponent as well, but it is your copy of Judge and you control when it is used. The other strength of Judge (over Marnie) is how some card effects require both players have the same hand size. Of course, using Judge to sync hand sizes means you cannot play any of the cards you draw from Judge this turn, or else, you may only play as many as you can replace. In the past, though, Judge has been pretty important to the metagame for both its disruption and hand equalizing aspects.
Judge made my list, but only just: it was pick #15 of 15. As long as we have Marnie, I’m not sure we really need Judge, but I am happy to have it back. It would be a bit different if Judge Whistle gets reprinted. This Item lets you draw a card or add a copy of Judge from your discard pile to your hand. I also am drawing a blank on what cards currently reward you and your opponent having the same sized hand, and on the best search string to find such cards. I will mention that Genesect V might be a good partner for Judge (and Marnie): shrink your opponent’s hand while refreshing (and maybe shrinking) yours, with Gensect V’s Ability draw some more even after that.
Another reason Judge made my list, though, is because cards like Marnie and Professor’s Research don’t have any Regulation E printings yet. Which means, next rotation, they’re almost certainly gone from Standard. All of this together means I’m giving Judge a three-out-of-five in Standard. As for Expanded, Judge does just enough for me to round up to a three-out-of-five. The added competition it faces doesn’t offset access to Judge Whistle. I mean, every Supporter that goes to the discard in Expanded has access to VS Seeker, after all.
- Standard: 3/5
- Expanded: 3/5
Editor’s Note: On Vince’s list, he had Judge as his #1 pick.
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