One of the most expensive cards from Magic the Gathering’s Arabian Nights expansion, Juzam Djinn on Magic’s Reserved List. This means it can’t ever be reprinted, making it a chase card for collectors. Today, a single copy of Juzam Djinn can sell for a price high as $2,000 USD with professionally graded copies fetching over $3,000 USD! Besides the fact that no more copies Juzam Djinn can ever be printed, however, it’s one of the more sought after Reserved List cards for a number of reasons.
Juzam Djinn is Expensive Thanks to Both Collectors and the “Old School Magic” Format
Part of what caused Juzam Djinn’s price to skyrocket was the creation of the casual “Old School Magic” format. It uses cards from only 1993 and 1994 set releases, and despite not being a Wizards of the Coast sanctioned format, it’s garnered quite a following by early adopters of the trading card game. While Juzam Djinn isn’t the best card in that format, it doesn’t keep people from shelling out thousands of dollars on a play set. That’s even if you can find enough copies for sale at any given time.
Even back in the day, Juzam Djinn was more popular for his incredible Marc Tedin art than his actual playability. By today’s standards, Juzam Djinn is very much outclassed. In early Magic, he wasn’t exactly a boss monster in the way that Shivan Dragon or Nightmare was. Still, everyone who played Black wanted to have this card.
For a mana cost of 2BB, Juzam Djinn gives you a 5/5 that deals 1 damage to you during each of your up-keeps. In the early days of Magic, this was a really massive creature. So, it was certainly worth taking that 1 extra damage with just how big this guy is. You could often play this guy on Turn 2 with a Dark Ritual. That early in the game, Juzam Djinn was a significant threat that was hard to deal with.
Probably the best way to deal with a Juzam Djinn was to simply use burn spells to tear him down. Unfortunately, you’d have to play two Lightning Bolts in a row, or deal damage to him in combat and Bolt him for the rest. Otherwise, the best targeted creature removal you could cast at the time was either Swords to Plowshares or Terror. The former is strong for a single White mana, but casting it gave your opponent five extra life points, which isn’t a bad trade for the Djinn. Meanwhile, Terror was much like the modern day card Doom Blade, unable to affect Black creatures. In some cases, it was best to cast a board-wipe such as Wrath of God to deal with him.
Since it was so hard to answer, Juzam Djinn was certainly a big threat in early Magic, even if it wasn’t one of the better options to actually play in a deck, thanks to his drawback. Despite not being even the best Black creature you could play, he was one of the coolest to collect and was certainly playable. If you were playing with cards from the Power Nine, such as Black Lotus and Mox Jet for fast mana, the Djinn was certainly quite a threat if you could play it on early turns. But, in decks that played power, there were simply better and more efficient threats such as Hypnotic Specter and Serra Angel. In the Old School Magic format, which lacks those iconic busted cards, there’s more incentive to play a Juzam Djinn in a serious deck, as there were few better options for top-end threats back then.
Juzam Djinn carries such an expensive price for several reasons: he was an early iconic creature with a reasonable mana cost to cast, with great art drawn by the legendary Magic artist Mark Tedin, and is a favorite of both serious Old School Magic collectors and non-sanctioned tournament players. There also simply aren’t enough copies on the open market to keep up with the demand. Arabian Nights is understandably a very popular target for high-end Magic collectors, being the first ever expansion set to be released after the debut Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited sets. It’s not the most expensive card in Arabian Nights, but it’s one of the most valuable, and it’s still as cool looking as ever.
Have you ever played Juzam Djinn?