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Pojo's Yu-Gi-Oh Card of the Day

Solemn Judgment
Super Rare

Pay half of your Life Points when your opponent either activates a Magic or Trap Card or summons a monster (including Special Summon) to negate the action and destroy the Magic Card, Trap Card or summoned monster.
Card Number - DB2-EN073

Card Ratings
Traditional: 4.00
Advanced: 4.90 

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

Date Reviewed - 12.30.08

Back to the main COTD Page


Dark Paladin

Continuing this week, I start by wishing Otaku a very Happy Birthday!
Does anybody else want some cake? Anyway, today we review Solemn Judgement, and I'll briefly point out that it is acceptable to spell "Judgement" with or without an e "Judgment."

Solemn Judgement is one of my favorite Trap Cards, just behind Mirror Force, and people play three Solmen Judgements these days in their Deck for a reason. For a while, it was one of those cards, that despite being good, didn't see much play because of certain text..."Pay half of your Lifepoints."

It's an amazing Trap, even though early in the game that cost can be high. You are allowed to negate anything, unless a Solemn or something of sort is chained to your own, which is unfortunate.

I have always loved Solemn Judgement simply because of how versatile it is. It can save your life at any point in the game, especially if your opponent hasn't sprung any deadly cards yet and you know what's coming.

I'm actually surprised Solemn Judgement isn't Restricted or even Banned. It would certainly force players to think outside the box for a while and use something else to try and slow down or stop your opponent.


Traditional: 4/5

Advanced: 5/5

Art: 5/5
Mr. Random The second card in this week is Solemn Judgment. This card is awesome and can shut down mostly everything except for Gorz, D.D. Crow and Honest. This will stop any of your opponent's big plays. It is great for any deck. The lower your life is, the cheap the cost will be. Even at 8000 life points people don't mind playing Solemn. As everybody already knows, this card is great and should be played in all aggressive decks.

Traditional: 5/5
Advanced: 5/5


Solemn Judgment is my favorite card, and back when I regularly played it was a common sight in my deck.  It was often my “Reviewer’s Choice” pick.  I did eventually give up running it in the main deck and may have even given up running it from my side deck: I don’t recall exactly because quite frankly that was when I really lost interest in competitive play.  So it was with mixed feelings when I started paying attention to this game again and I saw Solemn Judgment not just being side decked by fans of the card but being run even in the main deck by competitive players.  Solemn Judgment has always been a good card: negate all but a few “from hand” effect Monsters  Yu-Gi-Oh has always been a game that rewarded versatility in card function, and you don’t get much more versatile than that.  Unlike so many of the top cards that I lament about being overpowered, Solemn Judgment comes with what might be the perfect balancing cost, at least for a card such as this: half your current Life Points.  Rarely is this card not somehow helping you out.  Either you negate something for the win, negate something to avoid losing, or you’ve baited out some removal with it.  There are a few key circumstances I can think of when this card is “bad”, but what are they?  Pretty much when this is down to protect something, and both are nuked by an effect at the same time… and you can’t negate that effect because doing so means you can’t survive or negate some lethal option you know will follow it up.  Or if you set one early game and it gets tagged by Nobleman of Extermination.  There are many times when a different card would be better, but nothing as versatile.


What really concerns me is why this card is so good right now. Yu-Gi-Oh has degenerated to a state where once again the game is about swing.  Far too often you have to negate your opponent’s card because if you don’t, they have a game winning combination.  Not a skillful winning combination that their deck had to be based around and they had to out duel you for at least a few turns to pull off, but of a virtual auto-win from drawing into the appropriate “just don’t play them stupid” power cards.  Quite literally formulaic plays of


Field Clearing Card A + Special Summon B + Normal Summon C = Victory D


Card A doesn’t have to be a Heavy Storm or a Lightning Vortex so don’t think we are talking about just two cards out of 40, nor do we need both.  Why?  Because most of the time players don’t want to over commit to the field because of the fear of mass removal, and so we tend to go for a minimalist approach: one Monster in play and/or an S/T.  As such a piece of one-for-one removal is often enough for the formula to hold true.  Likewise, Special Summon B can include cards like Brain Control giving you an opponent’s Monster (not technically a Special Summon) or a Monster surviving longer than expected, as that is likely due to it being spared while an older Special Summon or floater was destroyed instead.  The fact that separate turns of effort can stack but don’t have to makes the situation worse, not better.  Normal Summon C is worth mentioning because it is often combined with parts A and B and because it adds the damage needed for a win.  No, you won’t usually score a true OTK with this.  You may end up having a combo that stretches out over multiple turns, and most of the time the damage isn’t going to be 8000 points.  When I normally rally against OTK decks, I point out that technically a OTK, like a monopoly, isn’t inherently bad.  Final Countdown and Destiny Board are OTK decks, and I don’t have a problem with them.  The reason is that in order to succeed with them reliably, you have to build your deck around them and even if you just add them to a deck for the occasional win, well you really can’t: Final Countdown has a high enough cost that a deck that raises its win ratio with it technically is structured for it even if it wasn’t intentionally designed that way. Destiny Board is a minimum of a five slot investment and slowly erodes your S/T Zones, again making it require focus to work in a deck.  Likewise, a business with a monopoly could theoretically do everything “right”: generate its income by the scope of its sales turning the fractional profit into something worthwhile and just choosing to be “good” people and work as diligently to ensure all the things competition normally forces a company to provide, like product innovation.  Instead the “swing” I speak of comes from cards that are “must runs” with few exceptions, and when they aren’t a lucky, literal OTK they just build up over the general use of themselves over the turns instead of a “true” combo.


That isn’t a good way to win, and shouldn’t feel very rewarding.


So Solemn Judgment itself becomes a veritable must run because you need something that can ruin these serendipitous combos.  Otherwise you have to hope for the luck of it being spread out over at least two turns so you can use your own overpowered cards for a defense equally lacking in skill.  It is always worth half your LP to win or avoid losing if the alternative is not winning or a certain loss, respectively.


Now, this still doesn’t answer the question of why this is my favorite card.  First, I enjoy the imagery.  The Japanese name is something along the lines of “Declaration of God”.  The art is relatively appropriate to that: while I don’t believe God is some old white guy with long hair and a beard, it’s a common image used for Him (especially in western cultures).  The effect actually does match up to what I really believe of God: negate almost anything for half your Life Points: a price asking of yourself that you can always pay, but always have to think about.  Not 100% accurate, but if this card matched up to what I believe of God 100%, it’d be utterly broken.  Unless you’re new to the game, you should also know how fun/devastating it is to hear those three little words: “God says ‘No.’”.


No, I am not quite done yet.  I have to get all my writing out of my system.  So let me tell you how I got my three copies of this card.  The first was a lucky pull/find: a local gas station had Metal Raiders boosters, when the set was still the latest available and only a few weeks old, only $2 a booster… so I bough nearly a whole box (that is all they had and four or less packs had been bought from it before me).  No Mirror Force, but in the long run I am much happier to have pulled this instead.


Copies number two and three were obtained by what almost seems like divine intervention.  Literally the first official, sanctioned, weekly YGO tournament was happening.  I kept talking to and making sure it would occur just late enough I could make it from my last class of the day to the store, which was just on the other side of campus, so I could play.  I’d been a regular patron of the store, Mayhem Collectibles, for years as a comic book geek and had shifted to TCGs.  I arrived a minute or two before the tournament was scheduled to begin and… it had already started.  Yu-Gi-Oh attracted a lot of younger players and since it was a school night, the store owner didn’t want to keep them out too late.  He didn’t like starting without me (he knew I was coming) and felt bad about it, so he gave me a pack of the then brand new set Magic Spell Ruler.  I’ll be honest, I was no where near as grateful as I should have been at the time.  From it I pulled… Toon Mermaid, 1st Edition!  Since the set was so new I managed to trade it for the last two copies of Solemn Judgment I needed, and helped me remain competitive and winning and at least the occasional local event until roughly the era of Chaos Control.




Traditional: 3.5/5

Advanced: 4.5/5

Art: 3.5/5

Anteaus Solemn Judgment

I don't know about you all out there, but I'm pretty sure that this is currently one of the best cards in the game right now. The ability to completely counter anything that your opponent brings out is an amazing concept, and a lot of duelists are latching on to the card for obvious reasons. The halve-your-lifepoints cost is pretty steep, especially in the early game, but late-game this card is a beast, mainly because you're only going to be paying at most 1000 LP to negate a card that your opponent brings out. Simply amazing.

Traditional: 5/5
Advanced: 5/5

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