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Pojo's Book Reviews



Judging Judgment, Part 1 - Constructed All-Stars

*  - I’d like to thank all who voted for me in the past in CCGPrime’s Writer’s War.  It is gratifying to know that I have the support of the readers here at Pojo, and uplifting to know that I’m not a total screw up at something.  Props to you all, and win or loose come Wednesday, I am grateful.  Consider this what you will, a premature concession or victory speech, but thank you all who voted, and to the site for pulling for me.  It’s really appreciated in a way.

I was ready to throw a fit last week.  Not over some mere incident with a person, not over some untimely break up with a girlfriend, or over a series of blown drafts that had accumulated to 5 straight lost drafts. 

No, I was ready to throw a fit over what I saw on the Judgment spoiler.

Now many people around me are saying how great this set it is, and broken so many of the cards are.  I’ve heard it likened to Tempest or Urza’s Saga in its greatness.

I beg to differ, as a matter of fact.  I liken Judgment more to Planeshift – a series of cards that are ultimately good, but have no place in any format.  There’s simply better stuff.  There were better black creatures than Phyrexian Scuta, many of the familiars fell just short of being considered decent, and gating turned out to hurt you a lot more than it helped, despite the lowered casting cost.

I think of Judgment the same way:  there are better creatures in Type II right now than most of the ones printed in Judgment, many cards in general cost too much, and a lot of the spells don’t provide enough bang for their casting cost in constructed.

Still, despite this set being labeled the “Green and White set,” it is all to clear from the spoiler that red got the best deal in Judgment.  Despite getting a lot of poop, red got perhaps the best cards in the set, and gained some dangerous cards that should never have been made.

Red gains in this set some things it should never have, namely card drawing.  Among other things, it gains a Wrath of God, a way to gain Threshold in almost one hit, a playable version of Kamahl, as well as other knick-knacks that will help any deck with red, as well as make a few other decks become plausible Type II decks with a chance of doing well in Type II. 

Could Sligh reemerge as a dominant archetype?  Most likely not, because the red cards in Judgment with the red cards in all other sets in Type II right now don’t make a fast Sligh-ish deck, but perhaps for something just as brutal. 

One of the cards that is getting a lot of hype right now is Browbeat (2R, Sorcery – Target player draws 3 cards unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her.)

Normally, I dispute a lot of this hype, dismissing the card as “not as good as it really looks.”  Not so with Browbeat.  Browbeat is awesome, and provides any deck with red the dangerous weapon of card drawing without playing black. 

It’s already bad enough that if an opponent lets it through, it’s 3 cards for 3 mana, but the fact that an opponent can take that away from you for 5 damage makes the card even better.

Much like Fact or Fiction, which made an opponent be torn over how to separate cards out so that you don’t get one thing, you can make an opponent worry.  Either option can be potentially devastating. 

Five life can be the difference between a win and a loss, but the deciding card could be in those 3 cards, and the game could still be over.

It is quite clear that Browbeat is going to be the card in the set to beat from red.  I may be going out on a limb right now, but I think that many decks in Type II will be made or broken by this card.

 If it doesn’t run it, it will have to beat it.

If it does run it, it will have to beat all other decks with it.

That’s what happened with Fact or Fiction during the IBC Season, because if a deck could not handle the card advantage, then it died, simple as that.  We will have a similar scenario in both Type II, and OBC in my honest opinion. 


Red also gained Breaking Point, adding to the new wave of “Wrath of God” type cards (1RR – Sorcery –Destroy all creatures unless a player has Breaking Point deal 6 to him or her.  Creatures destroyed this way cannot be regenerated.) 

Breaking Point joins Mutilate and Kirtar’s Wrath in block to give people three different options in which to try and screw over creature in one flash of mass genocide, but there are some subtle differences to Breaking Point besides its color that set it apart from the other two, and on a much broader scale, from Rout and Wrath of God as well.

For one thing, the possibility of making this card do nothing for a hefty 6 damage.  No other Wrath of God type card has ever provided you with an option to say no by other means than a Counterspell is a drawback to this card, unlike how the same punishment mechanic is an advantage to Browbeat.  This is so, because taking the 6 damage would not be detrimental to ones goals if they had a large creature horde, or a creature that you could not handle. 

A player in control of the board with creatures is better of taking damage to save his or her control of the board, then not taking anything, and saving the life, and risk loosing both to an opponent’s creature horde if they fail to draw favorably.

Another thing that sets Breaking Point apart form all the other Wrath of God spells is the fact that it drops for 3 instead of the usual 4, 5, or 6 mana.  The only major problem is that now Breaking Point is cost effective for red, making it fit into the usual 3 mana sphere of speed decks. 

I personally like this card, because I like the concept of a Wrath of God for three with a drawback, but not necessarily for red.  Whether this card will really see play is remaining to be seen.


Despite this set being the “Green and White Set,” Judgment doesn’t have a lot in the ways of groundbreaking cards for those colors, which is a huge difference for what Torment did for black.

Green-White does still gain the best creature in the set – Anurid Brushhopper (1GW - 3/4 - Creature-Beast – Discard two cards from your hand:  Remove Anurid Brushhopper from the game.  Return it to play under its owner’s control at the end of turn.)

Since Brushhopper disappears for two cards, he is virtually indestructible.  The worst an opponent can do to this guy is bounce him, and even then, they might not get that for fear of a counterspell. 

His size is also amazing.  Brushhopper makes Noble Panther (1WG, Creature-Cat – 1: Noble Panther gains first strike until the end of turn. - Invasion Rare) a useless card for G/W.  Brushhopper simply replaces Noble Panther in G/W decks right now, if there was one at all. 

Brushhopper, unfortunately, doesn’t make Green-White Beatdown a legitimate deck in Type II.  Like Breaking Point, it will be determined if any of the white cards in the set will be good enough to create a green-white deck of any sorts.  As of right now there isn’t, and judging by the spoiler, there won’t be.

Still, I would still expect to see Brushhopper in other decks besides Green-White.  He has possibilities in control as a creature to supplement Enforcer in a lot of decks.  I foresee it undercutting Call of the Herd in Enforcer-Go, because Brushhopper’s ability has a lot of potential, and can avoid a lot of the stuff that Elephant tokens just bow to.

Judgment is the first set to lack a special ability in a long while.  Instead we got Wishes and Incarnations.

The Wishes are all kind of extraneous cards for Type II, because Wizards ruled that you can only get the cards from your sideboard.  Some of them, such as Living Wish, might see play as a way to get such things as Spellbane Centaur, but other than that, there is really no need.

The Incarnations, on the other hand, are plenty good, with the worst one for constructed being Filth and potentially Glory or Genesis, and the best one being Anger.  Even then, Glory is not that bad, just ill suited for any deck with white that could arise, or is being played right now.

Anger is awesome, especially for the already existing green-red speed decks (with the exception of Frog in a Blender, which just sucks no matter what gets added to it in Judgment.)  Anger can be a potentially devastating card (3R – 2/2 – Creature – Incarnation – Haste, All creatures you control gain haste as long as Anger is in the graveyard.)

What Anger primarily does is lessen the time an opponent has to live by about a turn or two, because it gives all those creatures you played this turn, the ability to attack NOW!

It gives your opponent no chance to draw an answer, and it might potentially force a response from then that they may not want to do, such as chump block, or play a card drawing spell in response to try and draw an answer. 

Either way, Anger can potentially force a poor, desperate move from an already worried opponent, thus giving you the game.

Genesis is not bad, but is a lot like Glory.  Both take up mana that can be otherwise better invested in creatures or spells.  Both of them have cool abilities, but they eat of mana.  Glory’s ability needed to cost one less, and Genesis needed to return the creature to play instead of to your hand for them to be incredible.

Glory reads:  (3WW – 3/3  – Creature – Incarnation – Flying, 2W:  Target creature you control gains protection from a color of your choice until the end of turn.  Use this ability only when Glory is in the graveyard.)

Genesis reads: (4G – 4/4 – At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in the graveyard, you may pay 2G.  If you do, return target creature from your graveyard to your hand.)

Wonder is an okay card, but in constructed it’s kind of a dud, because the creatures you’d be playing for blue would either be flying already, or wouldn’t need it all that much (3U – 2/2 Flying, As long as Wonder is in the graveyard, all creatures you control have flying.)


One of my personal favorites in Judgment is Wormfang Crab (3U – 3/6 – Creature- Nightmare Crab – Wormfang Crab is unblockable.  When Wormfang Crab comes into play, an opponent chooses a perminant you control, and removes it from the game.  When Wormfang Crab leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner’s control.)

The reason why I like this card is because it is a BIG creature, and cheap at that.  Also, the way I read it, you can do something similar to the 3-Faceless-Butcher-My Turn-Will NEVER-End trick… although I cannot verify if that is how it works, or even if Wormfang Crab will read like it said in the Brainburst Spoiler.

If my twisted logic is right…. This is my take on how to make it so your turn never ends:  (Stupid as this sound, it’s just stupid enough to win… Also, people, don’t ever take this to a tournament, because people will try and hurt you severely if you won….)

-   You play Upheaval, and return all permanents to their owners hand, leaving four man floating
-   Now assuming that your opponent doesn’t float mana, you play Wormfang Crab.  He resolves, and your opponent has to choose a permanent – the only one being Wormfang Crab
-   Wormfang Crab leaves play, thus returning to play the card he removed, himself….. and it keeps going.

Let me say this – this is amazingly stupid.  Lord knows what I was smoking when I thought it up, and if you know this to be wrong, then by all means, correct via e-mail. 

Even without the pointless combo that may not even work, Wormfang Crab can be a potentially devastating card for blue, especially if a mono blue deck can ever be played (which I sincerely doubt.)  He’s a hard to kill creature, can’t be blocked, and kills Elephant tokens (a big thing for creatures these days).


Putting all that aside, Judgment does add a good amount to the format.  It adds viable counterspells to block, more good creatures, and some potentially evil stuff.

The big downside – it all cost so damn much.  Geez, so many good cards, and they all cost so much…  Mirari’s Wake, Crush of Wurms, Mist of Stagnation, Spelljack, almost all of the Wormfang, Treacherous, Phantom, and Gorger creatures!?!  What gives!

Still, don’t let that get in your way.  There are lots of cards, numerous ways to break them.  Take chances, and try different decks.  You never know, you might make something that can win in this format.

- John “The Happy Heretic” Hornberg

I can be e-mailed at HappyHeretic01@netscape.net for any questions, comments, etc.  Thank you for reading.  I will be back most likely later in the week with part 2-4 of this Series, so stay tuned!



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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