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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

 Judge

- BREAKthrough

Date Reviewed:
December 8, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 3.25
Expanded: 2.75
Limited: 5.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

OH GEEZ I OVERSLEPT, WHAT'D I MISS?! 

"Heavy Boots." 

...oh. Never mind then. 

So for today's card, we take a look at Judge. This card actually is a reprint of a card from the Unleashed set back in HGSS times, though with updated art. The effect remains the same; both players shuffle their hands into their decks and draw 4 cards. It's kinda like if N and Colress met in the middle, and N was all like, "Alright, we need someone to even out my ability to reduce the opposing hand to nothing with your ability to increase the player's hand all while not being overbearing on either side." 

Judge is a pretty...fair card. 4 cards isn't a lot to pull out wacky combos with various Item cards without extra draw power (which if Sycamore is one of those 4 cards makes this whole thing a bit moot) while at the same time not being too restrictive to limit play. It's a bit of luck and a lot of disruption, since both players start out with a whole new hand.  

So I'd say it's a fair one-off in some decks, maybe more if the idea of disrupting the opponent's strategy is big enough for a player to run over other valuable Supporters. Use it more like you would Sycamore to avoid the negative mishap, and things will go smoothly for you! 

Rating 

Standard: 3/5 (a fair draw card with good disruptive potential, just competing for deck space) 

Expanded: 2.5/5 (we've got N for disruption and Colress for draw power stuff, so...I'm gonna say "eh?") 

Limited: 5/5 (draw is draw is draw, even if it is reshuffling) 

Arora Notealus: You'd think there'd be more of a presence with judges in the games. Sure, in the anime, you'll usually see them in Pokemon Contests and Gym Battles, but judges in the video games usually only show up for the competitions. Then again, I suppose you don't really need someone on the side going, "FOUL!! You can't use Thunder Armor in a single battle!" 

...seriously, though, Thunder Armor. You look it up. 

Next Time: FISHING!!


Otaku

Time for Judge (HS: Unleashed 75/95; XY: BREAKthrough 143/162) to be put on trial!  This is a reprint of a Supporter first seen in the HS-block, with an effect that forces each player to shuffle his or her hand into his or her deck, then draw a new hand of four cards.  Trainers are a major part of all competitive decks with your once-per-turn Supporter being the driving force of set-up, give or take Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) for an alternate means of draw power and a few non-draw Supporters because of their potency in other areas (like Lysandre or Hex Maniac).  Thanks to VS Seeker (and to a lesser degree Battle Compressor) it is a great time to be a Supporter, even if said simple combo is vulnerable to Item lock. 

Four cards is not a lot compared to what other Supporters can draw for you; it is one less than Shauna, a card that is mostly used by those with nothing better, though in Standard play that has meant the occasional appearance in something meant for competitive play due to the lack of Colress, N and a few others Expanded still enjoys… or (rarely) for a particular deck’s need of a stable shuffle-and-draw Supporter (as opposed to all the variable ones).  Professor Birch’s Observations is the chief rival of Shauna under such circumstances (and usually the one I favor) because on “heads” it shuffles and draws a very good seven cards… but on “tails” is only draws four.  Judge is not the card you want when you’re trying to dig for something or just need raw card advantage.  The four cards it leaves the opponent with is the effect of the Item Red Card; this is useful less for control and more for disruption as it gives your opponent four chances (five including his or her next draw) to get something to jumpstart his or her deck/hand again.  Still decks are packed quite tightly and it is quite possible to draw dead, hence why we gladly trash our hands with a card like Professor Juniper or Professor Sycamore to draw seven.  So you can think of Judge as either “Shauna Minus One Plus Red Card” or “Professor Birch’s Observation On A ‘Tails’ Plus Red Card”.  So is that any good? 

Red Card isn’t amazing but it is about as potent as I want to see in terms of hand control, at least in a format where so much is riding on you being able to refresh your hand from your hand each turn.  Obviously it would be better for you if the card drew more for you and less for your opponent but we know where that leads: Ace Trainer.  If you need yet a third clunky, comparative way of describing Judge it can be “Ace Trainer Evened Out But Without The Prize Requirement”.  If you are running a control strategy (especially one that still takes Prizes), Judge is a must.  If you want to rely on an attack like “Instant Freeze” on Glalie-EX, which for [WCC] does 100 more damage (base damage of 50) when both players have the same hand size, again it is a must.  In Expanded N does almost everything Judge does except be “stable”, and outside of the previous two exceptions, I can’t think of a good reason not to just go with N even though it can be better or worse than Judge. 

In Standard, I am thinking a single copy is probably a loose staple just because we still don’t have that third major draw Supporter.  To be fair we only do in Expanded (and did in the previous Standard format) because we had enough combos for Colress to pay off more often than not; it was never the equal of Professor Juniper, Professor Sycamore or N.  With the other options being Shauna or Professor Birch’s Observations, building your deck to accept a four card hand while messing with your opponent might be the right approach.  There is of course the re-release of Skyla as well, but even when Skyla usage was at its height it still seemed like we wanted just one more draw Supporter so still, at least one copy of Judge is probably a really good idea in Standard.  If you need more, there is (or at least was) a budget deck I’d run into somewhat regularly on the PTCGO in Standard, built around Metagross (XY: Ancient Origins 50/98) and its “Machine Gun Stomp”.  The deck relied on draw power that didn’t mess with your hand (so no shuffling, drawing or requiring your hand be below a certain size), allowing Machine Gun Stomp to reach OHKO levels.  Any effect that shuffles the opponent’s hand away tends to ruin it so N meant it was a no go for Expanded, but in Standard, it could be surprisingly effective. 

In Limited play any draw power tends to be precious and potent; even though you (and your opponent) are more likely to be at the mercy of your four card hand, it beats relying only your manual draw for the turn.  This greatly inflates its score but at the same time, it communicates the truth that if you pull this, you run it!  I also think the disruption is more effective here; of course they are less likely to draw into their own Supporter to rebuild their hand there is also how you just don’t usually have to worry about hand disruption here, unlike in Expanded or (to a lesser extent) Standard play.  Maybe that is why it is not in either of the Theme Decks released alongside XY: BREAKthrough? 

Ratings 

Standard: 3.5/5 

Expanded: 3/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: Judge isn’t a mind-blowingly awesome kind of card but it is pretty solid overall, aided by the lack of competition in Standard.  It isn’t the greatest itself, rather the Supporters that are clearly better than it are already going to be in your deck and this is just filling in the last bit of your Supporter count.  Certain specific tactics will appreciate it more, so even where it is crowded out for general usage Judge warrants a good, solid score.  XY: BREAKthrough has a lot of cards that are good-but-not-great and if Judge hadn’t been a reprint, it would have made at least my own Top 15, probably somewhere in my Top 10.


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