17, Aug, 23

Disappointing Premium Judge Cards Anger MTG Community

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Article at a Glance

Thanks to Wilds of Eldraine’s spoiler season starting up yesterday, new cards have absolutely dominated the MTG space. Even though the new set is getting the majority of players’ attention, its not the only new cards showing up over the past week. We’ve also seen some incredibly high profile premium MTG cards spoiled. Some of which are likely to be worth thousands of dollars!

Some of the more heavily anticipated spoilers that tend to retail on the expensive side are Judge Promo cards. These don’t generally retail in the neighborhood of thousands of dollars, but they are noticeably more expensive than other copies of the card they resemble.

These being expensive is important for more than just one reason. Unlike traditional MTG cards, you cannot find Judge Promotional cards in normal MTG packs. These are given to MTG Judges as thanks for the hard work they do to keep Magic events running. Unfortunately, the latest Judge Promotional cards have met a massive amount of pushback. The community at large is disappointed.

The Owl Lands

In the past, Judge Promotional cards have offered incredible reprints to cards like Chalice of the Void, Gaea’s Cradle, and Mana Crypt. Not every single Judge Promotional card is a homerun like the given examples above, and community response to the newest MTG Judge Promo cards suggests that these may be some of the worst the game has ever seen.

As seen above, the newest Judge Promotional cards revealed are simply basic lands. Offering one of each type, the ‘owl lands’ all feature “owls incorporated into the art of all five basic land types.” The insignia of the Judge Academy is that of an owl, so it does make sense.

Basic lands, at their cheapest, have absolutely no monetary value attached. These are game pieces needed to play Magic for the most part and are provided in bulk as a necessity at most Limited events.

Because lands are so crucial to MTG, full-art foil basic lands can fetch surprising premiums. With players getting new full-art treatments for these cards every MTG set nowadays, they certainly feel a lot less special than when they were Zendikar-exclusive affairs.

“Really? After all we did for the community and to keep competitive play running? I don’t really mind for super expensive cards, but basic lands when every set has some super fancy basics? Good luck with subscriptions next year”


As pointed out by Twitter user Heavy_Plays, a comparison to the Judge promotional cards for Q1 and Q2 for the same year can help reveal just how underwhelming these new Judge promotional cards are. Painter’s Servant and Mycosynth Lattice see play in Legacy as a way to mill your opponent out and shut off all their cards respectively. Retrofitter Foundry also sees Legacy play as a powerful artifact that is capable of dishing out a lot of tokens. Grindstone combos with Painter’s Servant to mill out libraries, and Sword of War and Peace, while likely being the most underwhelming option here, will have some Commander players interested. All of the sword cycle does.

The basic lands? They’re basic lands. That’s it.

Community Opinion

The above tweet is just an example of the majority of the hundreds of quotes complaining about this choice. It is very clear from the contents of the replies to the initial tweet that Magic players are not pleased with the latest selection of Judge Promo cards:

“These are cool, but should be in addition to some actual staples as Judge Promos. Promos cost WotC next to nothing to produce, beyond commissioning new art. Judges are the backbone of the competitive scene, and have kept Magic alive. Wizards, show them some respect, please.”


“I’m always grateful to have judges at Magic events. They’re what makes the games go smoothly. If I’ve had a difficult call, even if it’s against myself, I’m always sure to thank the judge(s) involved in resolving the issue. You guys are under-appreciated. I hope things improve.”


These Could be Just What was Needed

A mass majority of the community is upset in regards to Magic’s newest Judge Promos, but every card has its fan. Basic lands have been incredibly expensive in the past – just look at our article talking about the most expensive land cards.

While a lot of the pushback for these promotional cards is linked to a simply underwhelming impression, the cards themselves could still end up being rather expensive. Some players expect each of these cards to be worth as much as $200. That said, a majority of the feedback would suggest otherwise.

It’s tough to tell for now, but the potential is definitely there. These promos could end up being just fine, but their underwhelming initial impact on the MTG community is not to be understated.

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