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One Card: Draw Ten.
The card I’m talking about today is Balance of Judgment. It’s a card featuring artwork that could be on a Solemn card (It’s the same guy from Solemn Judgment & co.), but this card doesn’t counter anything – instead, it can draw you a lot of cards.
What does it do?
The majority of people skip over one critical point of the effect. Balance of Judgment lets you draw cards until you have the same amount of cards as your opponent. However, crucially, it ignores the amount of cards in the opponent’s hand. This is most likely the reason it hasn’t seen any real play.
As a result of this, in order to gain the maximum potential of this card, our opponent needs to have a lot of cards on their side of the field. If we’re going against a deck that can create a huge board turn one, like SPYRALs, Balance of Judgment just might be able to give us a big advantage over our opponent. The SPYRAL deck can put about ten cards on board at once. It’s common to see a field full with 5 monsters in the Main Monster Zone, a monster in the Extra Monster Zone, a Field Spell Card, and at least 2 cards in the backrow.
That’s 9 cards on our opponent’s field.
After drawing, we can set some card, pass the turn, and then flip our Balance of Judgment.
Our card count is 6, and our opponent’s is 9, so that means that we draw 3 cards straight away.
For now, we’ll ignore ways to lower our card count, such as playing Foolish Burial.
If our opponent were to activate a spell card,allowing us to chain Judgment, they’d have another card on the field.
– That lets us draw 4 cards with just one trap!
Technically, we can draw up to twelve cards (7 monster zones if the opponent has Extra Linked us, plus 5 s/t zones, plus a field zone, minus our own judgment). That’s not going to happen often, but it does reveal the massive potential of the card. Drawing 12 cards in one instance most certainly could turn a game around.
So, what’s the problem?
Luckily, in the previous example, SPYRAL decks typically don’t have too much negation. Their main form of negation – Trigate Wizard – doesn’t come out for a while. That means that they likely won’t have much of a response to our Balance of Judgment.
However, decks like Paleozoic, which thrive off of Negation Bosses (specifically Toadally Awesome) will be more than happy to negate Balance of Judgment, even though Paleozoics typically fill their field with monsters and backrow.
Another card that can throw a spanner in the scales is Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. This card exclusively can negate our draw cards and one-for-one our Balance of Judgment. Nevertheless, it should be noted that just because a card can be negated by Ash Blossom, it doesn’t mean that it’s unplayable. Ash blossom can negate over 1600 different cards. A lot of the time, you’d prefer your opponent to negate a Balance of Judgment over something like Terraforming, or any other search card integral to your strategy.
Finally, it’s a Trap. Trap cards can be destroyed by an End Phase Mystical Space Typhoon, they don’t impact the board quickly enough, and notably, your opponent could simply OTK you before you get a chance to use the cards you draw off of Balance of Judgment. On top of this, it’s only useful if you’re losing the game. However, there are a number of synergies which can mitigate this card’s downsides.
Synergies – Opponent
Firstly, giving our opponent more cards can be used to help us achieve bigger draws. These can include:
The Ojama traps are far past their prime. Before they could be used to clog up boards, but now, your opponent can simply use them as Link Material. The same goes to Black Garden, which (Especially with Frogs) can easily summon 5 tokens to the opponent’s field. With Balance of Judgment, we can summon a bunch of frogs, give our opponent 5 tokens, and end with an XYZ and some backrow. If our opponent already had some spell/trap cards set, we can flip Balance of Judgment and draw a whole new hand of cards! Even so, out opponent can simply drop a free Firewall Dragon off of all the tokens we’ve given them.
However, card quality comes into play here. If we’ve set up correctly, we should already have an out to our opponent’s Firewall Dragon. Maybe we have Paleozoic Dinomischus set, who can remove the firewall as if it were a Russian Hacker. We even make tokens off of the Black Garden! On top of that, we can easily draw 3+ cards mid-game with our Balance/Garden combo. Three cards (Plus a paleo summon) is a fair trade for one Firewall Dragon. Even so, it’s a lot of hoops to jump through for a “fair trade”, which doesn’t really make the token generators too viable.
Kaijus are an inherent -1. We lose a card just by summoning them, and our opponent doesn’t lose anything. This makes them suitable for Balance of Judgment fodder. Balance could be a useful method of mitigating Kaiju costs.
None of these are exceptionally viable, but since a lot of people mention them when talking about Judgment, it’s important to know your options.
Synergies – Self
These cards make the user lose cards temporarily, in order to make flipping Judgment easier.
Mermail decks are pretty all-in. Either you make a huge board, or you lose. By activating Mermail Abyssmegalo‘s effect to Special Summon itself, we inherently lose 2 cards. Usually that advantage is gained back later, but by chaining our Balance of Judgment to his activation, we can redraw the advantage that’s only temporarily lost. Again, it’s slow, but it could be critical in raising the power potential of the Mermail deck.
Once more: Darklord decks throw away a lot of advantage as a cost, only to regain it once the effect resolves. Darklord Ixchel, Darklord Nasten, and Darklord Amdusc all discard 2 cards from the hand in order to do something. Similar to the Megalo example, we can chain Balance of Judgment to act as a Pot of Greed or better.
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring has already been mentioned in this article. It’s a good card, but it along with Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, and Effect Veiler are all temporary -1s. If our opponent is already beating us on card advantage, we can drop one of these cards – as we usually would – and then chain Balance of Judgment for some extra advantage. Swift Scarecrow can also be used as a -1 and as a way to stay in the game until you can use the cards you draw off of Judgment.
Troll of Judgment
Chain Burn. Exodia. Deck Out. All of these “troll” strategies can thrive off of a single Balance of judgment, since they generally never care too much about Card Advantage. Any deck which relies on an “Alternate Win Condition” to succeed isn’t going to try to out-advantage the opponent. This means that these decks often have only a few cards left on board after an opponent’s turn – the perfect time to activate Balance of Judgment!
For example, in a Chain Burn deck, your typical turns consists of you flipping 4 or more spell/trap cards, all at once. Unless any of those were Accumulated Fortune, you possibly just went -4. Of all of the previous strategies, this is the clearest way to lose out on as much card advantage as possible – the perfect opportunity to reveal the Balance of Judgment and draw a fresh hand of cards.
Exodia decks, although typically associated with Card Draw, generally aren’t the best at keeping Card Advantage. This is simply because cards like Dark World Dealings, or Hand Destruction, are -1s. You play the Dealings, you draw a card, then you send both dealings and another card from your hand to the graveyard. It’s useful in Exodia builds, since it digs you one card deeper into your deck. However, it’s still a loss to card advantage. Again, this is actually a benefit – Judgment will let you redraw any advantage that you’ve lost, while at the same time doubling the effectiveness of your Dark World Dealings!
Finally, most “Troll Decks” play a plethora of protective cards – Waboku, Threatening Roar, Quaking Mirror Force, Swift Scarecrow – All of these cards protect you for a turn, but are all losses to card advantage. Once more, Judgment can fill your hand full of whatever you need, whilst having synergy with your useful negs. It’s even possible to activate multiple Waboku-style cards in the same turn, and then flip the Judgment – Essentially, this tuns all of your potentially useless protective cards into Jar of Greed, which could easily be a more beneficial card at the time.
Generally, unless you’re playing an atypical deck which totally abuses Judgment (Chain Burn, Exodia etc), you want to keep Balance of Judgment in the side, to be used against decks which commit to the board way too much. SPYRAL, Paleozoic, Pendulum decks which flood the board and have scales, anything that plays Card of Demise – All of these decks provide setup for your Balance of Judgment.
Alternatively, if you know that your opponent is playing Evenly Matched (A card that a lot of people are speculating to be heavily played), Balance of Judgment can be used to regain all of the advantage that you lose from running into the Evenly Matched! In that example, we could attempt to force through an OTK. If our opponent flips their Evenly Matched (or, alternatively, plays it straight from the hand), we can very easily recoup enough cards to OTK again.
Note that another card which is seeing a LOT of play at the moment is Scapegoat. This oldschool quick-play is used to generate four tokens – even better for us, compared to us flipping a nonbo Ojama Trio. Before your opponent makes a Firewall Dragon with the tokens, you can flip Judgement for a massive change in card advantage.
Balance of Judgment is a card which has been overlooked for a very long time. Maybe it’ll never see play at all, maybe it’ll be broken in some future format, and maybe it can be used to counter the SPYRAL matchup right now – who knows! It’s certainly worth trying out, since it’s a high potential card. I feel like there are enough downsides to restrain it from being overly used proactively, but in a metagame full of Evenly Matched and SPYRALs, it might be a side worth considering.
Until then – Stay Groovy!