Another Day, Another Set, Another Site

What else can we say? NATE HEISS IS WRITIN’ FOR US! And he starts off with his take on Judgment – if you are looking for something to base a deck around or just want to know the good cards to trade for, let Nate fill ya in.

Let me introduce myself:

I have been a Magic player since the dawn of The Dark.

I have finished highly in a few major tournaments, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

I write about Magic – a lot. I have probably written more on the subject of magic than I have as homework for my university.

I write a lot of strategy and”self-improvement” articles, but these days I just shoot from the heart – or the top of my head…Whichever is closer to the keyboard at the time.

I am a student at the University of Pittsburgh in Business Marketing and I graduate this December. Yay.

I have been a member of team CMU since before people had to ask what CMU stood for.

Oh, and unless you have only read StarCity for the past few years, you probably already knew all of this.

Oh, and – hi.

Now that those ugly formalities are out of the way, you are probably wondering where the article is – you clicked on this thing for a reason, right?


As far as set names go, Judgment is just a tad more inviting than set names like Torment and Apocalypse.

“Mom, can you give me some money so that I can buy some Judgment or Torment? Oooh, I want some Apocalypse!! Pleeeeeeeeease!!”

And we wonder how Magic gets an ominous reputation.

Whenever I am at a tournament in some sort of convention center or hotel, I always feel bad for the people in the elevator. Imagine a scenario where three Magic players are in an elevator and one dude from the health convention in the next hall steps in. The poor sap would probably have these thoughts immediately running through his head.

“These guys are certainly not from the health convention”

“What does his shirt say?”

“He is Shocking a Mother (of Runes) by Poking it first with his TIM??”

“I’m scared”

When taken out of context, Magic talk can be a very hilarious (or scary) thing. Next time your buddies are discussing a match, tune out the meaning and listen to the words – you won’t regret it.

Judgment – right.

White and Green, Green and White. I will now list a few of my favorite cards from Judgment along, with some insight on each. I know many of you are probably sick of seeing what some random writer thinks of a set – but I haven’t done up a set like this in ages. If you are looking for something to base a deck around or just want to know the good cards to trade for, this will be extra helpful.


Card Name: Anurid Brushhopper

Mana Cost: 1GW

Type & Class: Creature – Beast

Pow/Tou: 3/4

Card Text: Discard two cards from your hand: Remove Anurid Brushhopper from the game. Return it to play under its owner’s control at end of turn.

Flavor Text: It’s so tough it can frighten itself into hiding.

Artist: Arnie Swekel

Rarity: R

Card #: 137/143

This card is great – probably one of the best in the set. It’s basically indestructible and works in conjunction with the Madness and threshold mechanics. It doesn’t seem fair that when they try to kill your Brushhopper they end up staring down an Arrogant Wurm and a Rootwalla instead. While White does not have much to offer in the ways of Threshold and Madness, some of the new Judgment cards will fit the bill, like Nantuko Monastery.


Card Name: Battle Screech

Card Color: W

Mana Cost: 2WW

Type & Class: Sorcery

Pow/Tou: n/a

Card Text: Put two 1/1 white Bird creature tokens with flying into play. Flashback-Tap three untapped white creatures you control. (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Randy Gallegos

Rarity: U

Card #: 3/143

And Wizards said,”Let there be White Weenie!”

And there was.

I don’t know about all of you folks, but I plan on playing White Weenie in Constructed for awhile – or at least White/Green Weenie. This card is just sick with Divine Sacrament. If you look at this card and the Brushhopper together, a very savage deck should start to form in your head.

Card Name: Benevolent Bodyguard

Card Color: W

Mana Cost: W

Type & Class: Creature – Cleric

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: Sacrifice Benevolent Bodyguard: Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.

Flavor Text: ”My destiny is to save others so their destinies may be achieved.”

Artist: Roger Raupp

Rarity: C

Card #: 5/143

Continuing with the insane White Weenie deck theme, there is this little buddy who some of my teammates have compared to Mother of Runes. Well, it’s no momma… But it is pretty darn good. Basically, it lets you play a beater on turn 1 that will protect your good creatures from a nasty kill spell later on. It’s like a Counterspell with legs!

Card Name: Fledgling Dragon

Card Color: R

Mana Cost: 2RR

Type & Class: Creature – Dragon

Pow/Tou: 2/2

Card Text: Flying. Threshold – Fledgling Dragon gets +3/+3 and has”R: Fledgling Dragon gets +1/+0 until end of turn.” (You have threshold as long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Greg Staples

Rarity: R

Card #: 90/143

Back in the day at Team CMU we had a very strict motto, and it went like this:


That, my friend, is the sound of a fire breathing Shivan Dragon taking a big chunk out of your precious life total – and now you can recreate this wonderful feeling for a mere four mana. Having trouble getting Threshold? Why? I mean, you are a red mage… And you do play burn spells, right? While this may not always come down on turn 4, I suspect many a Fledgling Dragon will grow up before the match is over.

Card Name: Genesis

Card Color: G

Mana Cost: 4G

Type & Class: Creature – Incarnation

Pow/Tou: 4/4

Card Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, if Genesis is in your graveyard, you may pay 2G. If you do, return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.”

Flavor Text: ”First through the Riftstone was Genesis – and the world was lifeless no more.” – Scroll of Beginnings

Artist: Mark Zug

Rarity: R

Card #: 117/143

This was a tough call – but in the end, I feel that this card will eventually create a sick and powerful archetype that we will hate until it rotates out. Imagine this guy with Flametongue Kavu or any other sickly overpowered creature. This card easily gives green something it usually doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have – lasting power. I suggest throwing one or two copies into any Green beater deck; at the very least, it is a monster.

Card Name: Phantom Centaur

Card Color: G

Mana Cost: 2GG

Type & Class: Creature – Centaur Spirit

Pow/Tou: 2/0

Card Text: Protection from black. Phantom Centaur comes into play with three +1/+1 counters on it. If damage would be dealt to Phantom Centaur, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Centaur.

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Carl Critchlow

Rarity: U

Card #: 127/143

This card has already been likened to Blastoderm, but with a less certain lifespan. It is very hard to kill, and the power and toughness is a bargain at four mana. The pro-black is a nice (but unnecessary) touch, but it is sure to piss off many Psychatog players for the next year or so.

Card Name: Sylvan Safekeeper

Card Color: G

Mana Cost: G

Type & Class: Creature – Wizard

Pow/Tou: 1/1

Card Text: Sacrifice a land: Target creature you control can’t be the target of spells or abilities this turn.

Flavor Text: ”How could someone so small cause so much trouble?” -Nomad sentry

Artist: Pete Venters

Rarity: R

Card #: 133/143

Olle! Mr. Rade’s card has finally seen the light of day – and it was worth the wait. This guy is right up there with Wild Mongrel and Wild Dogs as the potentially best Green attackers ever. Just think about it – this card forces your opponents to beat your creatures with their creatures. Head-to-head competition with Green creatures is scary. Any removal spell will just be countered and waste their entire turn.

Card Name: Solitary Confinement

Card Color: W

Mana Cost: 2W

Type & Class: Enchantment

Pow/Tou: n/a

Card Text: At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Solitary Confinement unless you discard a card from your hand. Skip your draw step. You can’t be the target of spells or abilities. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you.

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Scott M. Fischer

Rarity: R

Card #: 24/143

This card screams”try to break me!” – and I am sure it will not take long for a reasonable deck to evolve around this soft lock. As long as you can draw extra cards (Jayemdae Tome is a slow but reasonable way, but regular card drawing spells are probably better), your opponent can never hurt you. Add countermagic to guard against Disenchant effects and voila! A deck is born.

Card Name: Mists of Stagnation

Card Color: U

Mana Cost: 3UU

Type & Class: Enchantment

Pow/Tou: n/a

Card Text: Permanents don’t untap during their controllers’ untap steps. At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player untaps a permanent for each card in his or her graveyard.

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Mike Ploog

Rarity: R

Card #: 48/143

Another”break me” card. This one is a bit more difficult to maneuver into a lock, but it may finally give those”remove cards in target graveyard” cards a use. If the deck is made correctly, this card may be the next Stasis. I am jumping for joy – really… No.

Card Name: Quiet Speculation

Card Color: U

Mana Cost: 1U

Type & Class: Sorcery

Pow/Tou: n/a

Card Text: Search target player’s library for up to three cards with flashback and put them into that player’s graveyard. Then the player shuffles his or her library.

Flavor Text: ”The best foresight is hindsight.” -Empress Llawan

Artist: John Avon

Rarity: U

Card #: 49/143

With Flashback all over, this card stinks of Ancestral Recall… But it is both better and worse at the same time. The fact that you will most likely get the same three cards all the time is good, but it also means that it will not get you out of manascrew (they should have made flashback land – ha!). It seems tempting to dig up some Deep Analyses and Roar of the Wurms – but this much is easy to say: We will have to take a second look at every Flashback card with this baby in mind.

Card Name: Wormfang Drake

Card Color: U

Mana Cost: 2U

Type & Class: Creature – Nightmare Drake

Pow/Tou: 3/4

Card Text: Flying. When Wormfang Drake comes into play, sacrifice it unless you remove a creature you control other than Wormfang Drake from the game. When Wormfang Drake leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner’s control.

Flavor Text: n/a

Artist: Thomas M. Baxa

Rarity: C

Card #: 57/143

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a superstar but it reminds me so much of Serendib Efreet and gives me that eerie feeling that Blue Beatdown is going to make a comeback – which would mark the first time since Skies that there would be a decent Blue tempo deck. Maybe I am crazy, but then again, Nightmare Drakes seem like a pretty fearsome creature type to base your deck around!

That wraps up my Judgment review. I purposely left out a lot of interesting cards because I didn’t want to make this any longer than it really needed to be. Certain cards look good but from experience, I know they just won’t see any play. Some cards, like the Wishes, are too fresh to Magic to really gauge. Either way, it will all come clear soon. Judgment is upon us.

May all your Fledgling Dragons grow strong,

Nate Heiss

Team CMU

[email protected]