Juzam Djinn – Arabian Nights
Date Reviewed: April xx, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 1.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of the most iconic creatures of early Magic, and a defining member of the “suicide black” archetype, Juzám Djinn offered an above-average body for a slight price. That said, a 5/5 for 4 was a force to be reckoned with in the game’s early days, playing well into the tendency of Djinn creatures driving hard bargains, and the ability of it to put up pressure early was unmatched and usually demanded specific answers (like Swords to Plowshares).
Unfortunately (or fortunately, seeing as how Juzám Djinn is a Reserved List card work four fgures!), the little black beater is largely outclassed in this day and age, thanks to lacking keywords. It’s seen a color-shifted version in Ravenous Giant, and an interesting twist on it in Plague Sliver (with the same stats, but as a Sliver). I’d say that you’re not completely unfounded in running the card if you want to flex your proverbial muscles, but there are better black creatures at its point on the mana curve, and it remains more an interesting snapshot of how creature power level has changed over the years.
Constructed: 1.25 (it can work, but you’re making your deck largely worse to run it)
Casual: 3 (setting aside its pricetag, it’s still efficiently costed for black)
Limited: N/A (Arabian Nights didn’t have Limited play available for it, and it’s not been a part of online reprint sets; it’s probably around a 3.5 or so, based on Ravenous Giant’s efficacy)
Commander [EDH]: 1.75 (if you’re running a four-mana 5/5 in black, Plague Sliver will be an upgrade over this in at least 69% of all cases you’d play this in)
At one point in time this was one of the best creatures in the whole game of Magic the Gathering. For four mana you got a 5/5 that usually won you the game for the small price to pay of taking a damage each turn. It fetched a pretty penny then because it was scarce due to the low print run of the set, and to this day can fetch over one thousand dollars (USD) on the secondary market for collector reasons alone. Wizards made a functional reprint of this card in one of the core sets a decade or so later and it saw, and still sees, little to no play as does Juzam in formats where he is legal. The icon artwork used to grace early Magic advertisements along with merchandise but today it is just a reminder of the past.
The card today is virtually unplayable because there are countless other options out there. It is just a collector’s piece now where it will grace binders like a piece of flashy jewelry. It is sad that so many early Magic cards that were once powerhouses are reduced to nothing but expensive eye candy.
Limited: 5/5 (good luck finding a draft for this set!)
Commander [EDH]: 1/5
There were plenty of cards in Magic that seem bad by today’s standards. Juzam Djinn both is and isn’t one of them; he reads very efficient, but recent sets tend to give you more in the way of abilities for four or more mana. Having said that, there is still some value in creatures that are simply big and scary and beat people upside the head, and he illustrates how that’s always been the case. Like many early black cards, he’s much less scary without Dark Ritual and other fast mana, though he’ll still get the job done in the right deck. If you want to try it yourself, you don’t even have to break the bank and face down the Reserved List: as James rightly points out, Ravenous Giant and Plague Sliver have much the same function (plus interacting with Kaldheim‘s tribal themes and hosing that Sliver deck in your group, respectively).
Constructed: 1/5 in current tournaments, 3/5 in Old School Constructed and similar
Limited: 3/5 (hypothetically – I don’t think Arabian Nights was ever really drafted)
Commander [EDH]: 2/5
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