Well let me start of by saying that Solemn Judgment is an exceptional card which was really neglected when first released because no one really wanted to use up half their life points to negate one card. Which was really true because in the beginning ones mentality was to protect their life points not waste them in such a matter where you sacrifice half of them in order to stop one card. Over time with new combos and strategies like swarming and OTK's its true potency was observed. To the point where it was so good it is limited to one now. We can say that it was a misunderstood card at first which rose up to the ranks of the limited cards.
The card itself can really be of great help because if your about to win the duel and your opponent has a set magic or trap then activating Solemn Judgment is a win-win scenario. Solemn Judgement is a card meant to be used wisely not something to waste because if one can anticipate something that can give you the upper hand greatly then go for it.
Strategies and game play:
Well like I stated earlier Solemn Judgment goes well with OTK's and swarming. Also if your opponent summons a really strong monster that can actually wipe you out then you activate it when he summons it. Or in a swarm situation if your about to wipe out your opponent and he has something like Mirror Force or Scapegoats then you can activate Solemn Judgment and win the duel. You can also negate the Special Summon(Certain Restrictions Apply), Normal Summon, and Flip Summon(Negating the effect it carries) of a card.
Combos with other cards:
You can use Solemn Judgment with "Meltiel, Sage of the Sky" to gain back life points or you can gain a quarter of your life points back with "Life Absorbing Machine." A good card to follow up with after you use this card is Megamorph, as your Life Points will probably be lower than your opponent's after using this card. Another good follow up card is D.D. Crow to remove whatever card you just destroyed. This will all but cripple most decks focused on a particular card.
Ways to counteract it:
Well the obvious would be Dark Bribe or if you want to just be a teaser you can Solemn Judgement your opponents Solemn Judgement. Talk about an eye for an eye right? Also Trap Jammer or Royal Decree are a Solemn Killer.
Strengths are that it can give you an upper hand in swarming the field an attacking directly. Change momentum in a play that could lead to your defeat like Last Turn or Crush Card Virus. Also negate Dark Armed Dragon, Judgment Dragon, Cyber Dragon, The Fiend Megacyber, Dark Necrofear, Gladiator Beast Gyzarus, Elemental Hero Storm Neos, etc.
Lets just say that the 911 of Yu Gi Oh when you know you have the upper hand in the game.
The worst of all is sacrificing all those life points in vain. Also Solemn Judgment cannot negate a Special Summon if it results from the activated effect of a monster card, like Mystic Tomato, Light and Darkness Dragon, Van'Dalgyon the Dark Dragon Lord, Marauding Captain, Lonefire Blossom, etc. Solemn Judgment does not target the card it will destroy. You cannot negate the Special Summon of a monster after it is Special Summoned with a Spell or Trap Card, but you can use Solemn Judgment to negate the activation of the Spell or Trap Card. Solemn Judgment can be used to negate the Synchro Summon by "Urgent Tuning", but only if "Urgent Tuning" is Chain Link 1. Otherwise, you miss the timing since you are in the middle of resolving a chain.
DB2-EN073 Dark Beginning 2(SR), MRD-127 Metal Raiders(UR), CP01-EN008 (R) Champion Pack: Game One,GLD2-EN044 (GUR) Gold Series 2
Artwork and aesthetics:
The art reminds me of Moses and the Red Sea, when I saw it I had to call it the Moses Card. But yes I can see the relation between the card and its effect like it showing the authority to halt something.
9 because even though rulings for the card have rising over time the card itself is a real wild card that can change the course of the duel in an instance. Other than the life point drained its good.