Promotional Intuition: A Lesson On When Short-Run Promos Get Out Of Hand


Sometimes, promos get a tad out of hand.

As previously noted, judge cards are those special Magic: The Gathering cards given to judges for officiating events. Sometimes it's a card with alternate art, sometimes it's a neat reprint, you get the idea. They're also always foil (and sometimes the first and only time a certain card becomes available as a foil).

When these cards go on the secondary market, they tend to be worth a bit more than their commonly-available counterparts thanks (mostly) to their scarcity. This almost always this can mean a few extra bucks to maybe a few hundred. And then there's a handful that just go bonkers.

For example, check out the case with the judge promo version of the Tempest card Intuition.

Originally printed in 1997, Intuition is a reserved list card (at one time, reserved list cards could be reprinted in foil if that card never had a foil version) that can be quite key in certain decks. It's a rare costing two generic plus a blue that lets you search your library and reveal any three cards with the opponent choosing which of those cards you get to put into your hand.  Whether it's three of the same card or three rock-and-a-hard-place options, it's a powerful card, to be sure. 

Let's flash-forward to 2003. We're going from Clinton to Bush. From the Grizzlies playing in Vancouver to Memphis. Bond going from Brosnan to Craig. Judge gifts have been going for a few years, and this time around one being offered was a foil copy of Intuition -- the first and only time the card would ever be printed in foil.  And, being a judge-exclusive promo, it was a rarity on top of a rarity.

Usually, promo cards such as this one can be expected to cost a little extra on the secondary market. This time around, though, Wizards of the Coast and the DCI inadvertently created a little juggernaut of a card that served more as an investment rather than something to be played, despite Intuition being an important card in a number decks of the day (and today).

Today the card can go for more than a thousand dollars (versus the normal printing's price tag of just shy of $200). And, while other judge cards can also go for high amounts (there are currently three other judge promos worth more than $1K each -- Wheel of FortuneSurvival of the Fittest, and Gaea's Cradle), the judge promo version of Intuition was a card that kind of set the alarm bells to ring at Wizards as far as what types of cards judges should be awarded in the future -- not that they haven't pushed the envelope from time to time since.

Wizards of the Coast ended their judge program in 2019, but that doesn't mean the judge promos aren't still rolling out as it was replaced by the Judge Academy -- a third-party judge accreditation service.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.