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A Complete Review of Judgment

It's still early, but there is already a complete spoiler for Judgment circulating. Apparently, it got out because the Magic Online people forgot about keeping it secret while they were adding the cards to the game.

In case you don't know, Magic Online is intended to be an online version of Magic: the Gathering, set up by Wizards of the Coast. As far as I've heard, it plays very nicely, but the big drawback is that the intended pricing structure is insane. To play it, you'll have to buy virtual boosters at retail prices, which is more than what most players pay for their cards, because they can easily be bought online for less than retail.

Judgment poses an interesting problem as far as spelling is concerned. Both "Judgment" and "Judgement" are acceptable spellings in the English language and I'm not sure which one Wizards of the Coast decided to use. It could be a hassle when searching for the new cards on eBay.

Anyway, on with the review. If you've read my other set reviews, you know that I will comment on any aspect of the card that springs to mind, but I will only mark it based on what I, as a casual player, think of the card. Ratings go from 1 for the cards I'll only use as drink coasters to 5 for cards that are going to give my friends nightmares because of all the devious decks that I can build around them.


A quick tally of the card ratings in Judgement:
  • 1 star: 19 cards
  • 2 star: 32 cards
  • 3 star: 33 cards
  • 4 star: 45 cards
  • 5 star: 14 cards
If you compare this to Torment, Judgment comes off slightly worse. Torment had a bigger concentration of 3 and 4 star ratings, but Judgment has three more 5 star cards, which somewhat makes up for it the extra 2 star cards it has. A quick calculation learns that Torment cards had an average of 3.08 stars and Judgment cards an average of 3.02. Not a big difference, but it would suggest that Judgment is slightly less good than Torment.

But it isn't. Not as far as I'm concerned, anyway. I've come away with a very positive feeling about Judgment, possibly because it encourages defensive decks. It completely reset the standards when it comes to lifegain decks, even giving them a very playable in-theme victory condition.

There is the matter of flavor texts. I've been going on about them for a while now, and Judgment doesn't bring any improvement. Flavor texts still largely consist of unimaginative posturing on the level of "I'll get you next time, Gadget! Next time!", illogical sayings/expressions/writings and pun after pun after pun. I actually don't mind the puns, they're usually good for a chuckle, but there are some I have to read twice before I realize it's even supposed to be a pun. That just leaves me with the uncomfortable feeling you get when a relative tells you a bad joke and you feel obligated to laugh at it. I wish Wizards of the Coast would just hire a professional writer to write flavor texts. That won't cost much, considering writers are used to being underpaid and hungry.

In summary, Judgment looks like another solid set. It's a bit heavy on the hosers, but I can live with that. It'll be interesting to see how the wishes play out. They should be at least as popular as the various tutors, because they act as tutors without needing to have the cards you'll want to tutor for in your deck.

Have fun!
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The Complete Encyclopedia of Magic the Gathering

For the first time ever, all the existing Magic the Gathering cards are recorded in a single 720 page book. With over 7,200 card pictures, The Complete Encyclopedia of Magic the Gathering is a must for any collector, trader and art-admirer.


Onslaught continues the story of Kamahl, who struggles to cope with what it means to be a druid. At the same time, he has to help his sister, Jeska, who has been transformed into Phage, a being that can kill with a mere touch. At the same time Ixidor, an illusionist with the ability to shape reality is out to kill Phage for killing his one true love. Who will find her first?

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