Judith Speaks, and the world trembles

One of the things I try to keep an eye on is when we get cards that do something new. We’re getting a whole lot of Clue goodness and investigation, but one of the rares in Murders at Karlov Manor does something we really haven’t seen before:

This is Judith’s second card, the first being the Scourge Diva, definitely not someone to mess with. This time, she costs more mana but brings a truly gamebreaking set of abilities. Giving any instant or sorcery both deathtouch and lifelink is busted right in half, and whenever we get a new legendary creature like this, I think, “Would I build this deck? Would it be fun?”

My answer: Heck yes.

So today I want to go through a first pass of things that might take off if Judith gets her 15 minutes of fame. We’re going to have to be quick here: the set drops February 8, and the first decks should be getting built not long after. If she gets popular, it won’t last very long, and I’ll want to move these out quickly. I’m imaging that this will be a fad, not a long-term crazy popular Commander.

Let’s talk cards!

For each card, I’ve listed the current lowest price and the current highest price. 

First of all, there are around a dozen spells that cost from one to four mana that will deal one damage to each creature you don’t control, and I would start with every single one of those. Some are rares, like Impending Flux and might really take off. Most are commons and cheap, and it’s hard to predict which common foils could jump in price. I’m expecting small movements there, nothing huge, but I think we’ll see a lot of common foils go from ten cents to a dollar.

Disaster Radius (Bulk to 75¢) is another card with uneven applications. It’s tougher to use, given the mana cost and the creature requirement, but I’ve no doubt of its potential. Plus, it’s a single printing foil released in 2010. 

Volcanic Vision (Bulk to $2.50) – There’s not a lof of ‘get the instant or sorcery back’ in mono-red, but we get that regrowth effect on top of damaging everyone else’s stuff! Again, only one foil for the perfect card means there’s value to be gained.

Searing Touch (50¢) and Fanning the Flames (50¢) – These two are the star of the show. Buyback is exactly what Judith wants anyway, being able to recast spells over and over again. Slaughter and Evincar’s Justice, plus Lab Rats, should all bump a little but these two that deal damage are going to be tremendously flexible, dealing lifelink/deathtouch damage or giving you a 2/2 to go with the damage. 

Blasphemous Act ($2 to $22) and Chain Reaction (50¢ to $10) – Both of these will end up killing Judith because they damage all creatures, but since the spells gain lifelink, it’s reasonable to think that you’re going to gain a boatload of life as a result. Sometimes you need a grand finale, baby!

Chain Reaction has been printed a bunch of times, but its only foil is from Worldwake, a small set in 2011. The supply is miniscule and I won’t be shocked to see $20 or $25 for the foils. Blasphemous Act is a card with a boatload of printings, and the Secret Lair version is just awesome in the horror movie-esque frame. 

If you want to play more ‘damage all creature’ spells, you’ll need a little protection for Judith:

Mithril Coat ($9 to $60) – The fancy versions of this are under a lot of pressure, because the Coat is so so good at protecting any Commander who needs to stay in play. That’s most decks, so get your personal copies now.

Darksteel Plate ($7 to $14) and Hammer of Nazhan ($8 to $10) – Plate has seen a few printings, but these are close to the same card, and considering how much mana you need for Judith and how the deck needs her to be in play, a little insurance goes a long way.

Once you’ve gained a bunch of life, now what?

Well of Lost Dreams (50¢ to $120) – This is a great way to pay off the big lifegain into some extra cards, and we might even see some serialized cards get bought.

Aetherflux Reservoir ($10 to $300) – What to do when you’re at 94 life? FIRE THE SPACE LASER!!

Solphim, Mayhem Dominus ($10 to $32) – A lot of your spells will deal one damage, and while it doesn’t matter much if that’s got deathtouch, it’s also got lifelink. So you really want to gain that extra life and deal that extra damage to players. We’ve got a few ways to do that, and Solphim can get indestructible pretty easily here. Oil-Slick versions would be my first stop.

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell ($2 to $17) – If damage is good, more damage is better. We ought to see bumps in Fiery Emancipation and City on Fire as well.

Toralf, God of Fury ($3 to $6) – This will be terribly fun with spells that deal more than one damage.

Brash Taunter ($3 to $6) – I will enjoy ending a game with this card. Only one fancy foil version to target!

Stuffy Doll ($1 to $11) – The only problem here is, there’s more than one foil and so it’ll be hard to know which to target.

Fire Servant (50¢ to $8) – An uncommon from 14 years ago, there’s a deeper stock on the Premium Deck Series but those foils are kinda slick and ugly. I’m surprised that there’s never been additional copies printed.

Neheb, the Eternal ($7 to $32) – If you’ve dealt a lot of damage in the first main, would you like a boatload of mana in the second main?

Blood for the Blood God! ($3 to $8) – Surge foils from 40K are getting targeted intermittently, but really, there’s no card more perfect for this deck. Lots of things have to die, but you’re built to do that. Then this will dome your opponents and refill your hand.

I’m already at my word count, and over by a fair margin, so here’s a group of cards that reward you for making sure there’s no other creatures in play, or for doing lots of killing. I don’t think these are must-includes, but they are high on the list of cards I’d put into the first draft of the deck. We’ll see what EDHREC says in a few weeks.

Painful Quandary ($1 to $10)

Mogis, God of Slaughter ($7 to $18) – SL copies are likely the winner here

Kaervek the Merciless (bulk to $2.50) – foil-etched are your best bet

Tergrid, God of Fright ($7 to $14)

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger ($2 to $140)

Massacre Wurm ($2 to $14)

Crimson Honor Guard (under 25¢) – no foils available

If you build a Judith deck, reach out to me on Twitter or in the ProTrader Discord, let me know how it plays!

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.