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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Umezawa's Jitte
Image from Wizards.com

Umezawa's Jitte
- Betrayers of Kamigawa

Reviewed June 17, 2014

Constructed: 4.50
Casual: 4.00
Limited: 4.80
Multiplayer: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 

BMoor

Umezawa's Jitte

I'm sure you've heard of this card, even if you've never seen it in action. This one card is the entire reason people had any interest in buying the monoblack preconstructed deck from Kamigawa-- because it had a copy of this card. At its peak, a single Jitte sold for $60 on the secondary market, while the precon deck sold for around $20 retail. Why was the Jitte so obscenely powerful?
Well, like yesterday's card, it just needs to be on a creature when that creature deals combat damage for its ability to trigger-- it doesn't actually need to stay on the creature. Its ability gave you two charge counters on the Jitte, which could be spent in any amount at instant speed whether or not the Jitte was equipped and without further mana investment. You get a choice of three different effects, one of which can buff the equipped creature in response to direct damage or combat tricks, and the other two work just as well when the Jitte is unequipped and one of which is removal. All that for the low, low price of two and two.

I suspect the environment into which it was printed also had an effect on the Jitte's power-- no card exists in a vacuum. The previous block, Mirrodin, was heavily-focused on artifacts and had a lot of artifact enablers, with a very fast dominant archetype (Affinity) and very few answers to noncreature artifacts. The Jitte's own native block, Kamigawa, was a much slower block with no real focus at all on artifacts (and subsequently, no more answers to them than any other block) and a strong emphasis on mechanical synergy that resulted in cards being made to compensate for the "ability" to work in such a deck. Eye of Nowhere is a classic example-- it's effectively Boomerang, but it trades away Instant speed for the Arcane subtype, which has no benefit at all unless you have other cards that care about Arcane. The Jitte, by contrast, does not require any such synergy to operate, only needing a few cheap creatures to be equipped to in order to amass charge counters (or even a few Mirrodin cards to place charge counters directly on it) to do its work. As a result, the Jitte was easily slotted into Mirrodin artifact combo decks and dominated Standard.
Modern artifact design shows the lessons WotC learned from the Jitte. Equipment is rarely as cheap to equip as it was in the days of Mirrodin; "Equip [0]" is incredibly rare. Most Equipment is far more focused on enhancing its wielder. Newer Equipment almost never has its own activated ability independent of the presence of a wielder, like the Jitte did, but plenty of it grants its wielder new activated abilities. I doubt we're going to see a new Jitte anytime soon, or an environment that conspires to create one.

Constructed- 5
Casual- 3
Limited- 4.5
Multiplayer- 3

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Umezawa's Jitte
 
In the context of Baldur's Gate II, there used to be jokes and raised eyebrows about some of the weapons your character could use and the quest rewards he or she could obtain. Many gamesmasters in Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder would never let you get your hands on a weapon like Umezawa's Jitte (though it seems like it would fit in pretty well in Throne of Bhaal). It's one of the few equipment cards whose benefits are relevant against both creature decks and control decks. It was the sole reason that the oddest sorts of creature decks flourished during the Kamigawa era, and the sole reason that they packed the first Ravnica block with a vast assortment of "Sacrifice a creature: X" effects to prevent combat damage. And they still had to ban it in Modern.
 
Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 5/5
Multiplayer: 4/5

Paul

Magic The Gathering Card of The Day: Umezawas Jitte
 
I am not saying Jitte is the best card ever printed, but I am not not saying that. This card is a multi format all star and formats have been affected by its presence since its release. Jitte provides tons of value and is flexible in its applications, In legacy right now this card sees play as a part of a Stoneforge Mystic package it murders creature based decks. It’s a powerful card in casual and multiplayer as well the choices offered by it and its clear sheer power and repeatable effects and cheap mana cost make it a recurring threat. In limited this would be more than a bomb, a card that can absolutely shut out games, Overall this card sees legacy play and is without a doubt the best equipment ever printed.
 
Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 5.0
Limited: 5.0
Multiplayer: 4.5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Umezawa's Jitte which is a two mana Legendary equipment from Betrayers of Kamigawa with an equip cost of two that gets two charge counters whenever equipped creature deals combat damage. 
With three effects to choose from there is always a benefit to having charge counters available and two from every damage dealing attack can majorly impact a game.  -1/-1 on two target creatures or -2/-2 on one, up to +4/+4 until end of turn, four life gain, or part of two effects is enough flexibility to get it banned from Modern which leaves it to the Casual and Commander decks to make use of it.  In any format this is legal in the Jitte is a powerful and versatile threat that can offensively or defensively, particularly on a creature with Vigilance, shift the game's focus to the effect has on it.
 
In a Limited format with this it is an easy first pick in Booster as the value alone makes it an obvious choice, though it is highly playable in any color build and can often win games with minimal support.  Every Sealed deck should include this and it gives some added value to the already useful in format creatures with low casting costs and combat effects like First Strike, evasion, or Vigilance.
 
Constructed: 4.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 5.0
Multiplayer: 4.5

Mattedesa

Deck Garage

Umezawa's Jitte
 
There's a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip where the family is traveling. They come to a bridge that has a sign displaying its weight limit. Calvin asks his dad how they know the weight limit of the bridge. His dad replies, "They run bigger and bigger trucks over the bridge until it breaks. Then they weigh the last truck and rebuild the bridge." Mom looks at him scornfully and says, "If you don't know, just say so!"
 
It's my belief that when Wizards wants to try something new with Magic, much like Calvin's Dad's story, they push the power level higher and higher until it breaks - then they know the limit. This was the case with the jitte. Equipment were still relatively new in Magic, and they wanted to see how far they could push it before it was too powerful. Let's just say they've never printed a more powerful equipment, and I doubt they ever will.
 
But why is it so powerful? Costing only 2 to cast and 2 to equip, it's not hard to cast it and equip it all in one turn, catching an opponent by surprise. Next, it gets TWO counters any time the equipped creature deals combat damage. It doesn't have to survive combat, it just has to deal damage. 
 
Then, with three options of how to use the counters, it can almost always meet your need. With the +2/+2 ability, it makes blocking very tricky for your opponent. If they don't block, you pump up the unblocked creature for at least 4 additional damage. If they do block, you can use the +2/+2 ability OR the -1/-1 ability to kill the blocker. Finally, if you are behind on life, you can gain an additional four per turn you use this.
 
Don't forget, on top of all of this, that the counters go on the jitte, not the creature it equips - which is unusual. This makes it even stronger because you can attack into bigger blockers - even if you know your creature probably won't survive - just to get the counters. Also, the jitte doesn't have to be equipped to use the counters on it. Did a board wipe just knock out all your creatures, and now an opponent plays a hasty creature coming at you? Just remove the counters from the unattached jitte to give that creature -2/-2. 
 
Is the jitte TOO powerful? There are varying opinions on this, but in my opinion, yes. Early on in my days of playing standard, when this came out, I silently protested it by refusing to run it, even when most of the competitive decks ran it. Needless to say, I didn't win very often. Refusing to play one of the best cards in the format doesn't add up to wins!
 
The only thing that keeps this card from being a 5 across the board is the fact that so many people view it as being over powered. In casual formats, you can make some people really not want to play against you if you make a habit of playing this card. 
 
Constructed: 5
Casual: 4
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 4


Michael Sokolowski

Welcome back to Weapon's Week!
 
Today's weapon: Dagger
Trivia: A jitte is a type of defensive Japanese weapon that, similar to a sai, could catch and trap a blade after you blocked or parried. This could also help in disarming opponents, and was commonly used by palace guards.
 
Remember how yesterday's weapon rewarded you just for attacking your opponent? Well forget all that, because today's card does that job even better.
 
Meet Umezawa's Jitte, a legendary piece of equipment from the way back days of Kamigawa.
 
Umezawa's Jitte is much more powerful than you might think at first glance. You almost have to see it in action to really appreciate it, there's more than meets the eye. I think the reason people might underestimate it is they focus too much on the first line and not enough on the second. Looking at the first line, you'd see that you pay 2 mana to cast this, 2 mana to equip it, it doesn't buff the creature in any way, and after it attacks (and maybe dies) the jitte gets... charge counters. And then you have to spend the charge counters for more stuff to happen.
 
But take a look at just how powerful the things you can buy with your charge counters are.
 
You can grant you guy +2/+2 for the turn, or you could give an opponent's creature -1/-1 for the turn. Or you could gain 2 life I suppose, but let's just pretend that option isn't even there.
 
Oh, and you get 2 of these charge counters. Every time an equipped creature deals combat damage. Any kind of combat, to creature or player. And the charge counters stay on the Jitte, not the creature, so they persist even after the equipped thing dies. With an equip cost of just 2, it's also pretty easy to throw onto something to attack (or block) with.
 
Let's say you're able to get 2 attacks off with this. Which is very easy to do. Get this onto something around turn 3-4, it swings and say takes something out but also dies, turn 4-5 you equip it onto something else and also deal damage somehow. All very easy to accomplish. I'd even use this example with 3 hits because I think that's reasonable, but let's start with just 2. With just those two simple combats you now have 4 charge counters on Umezawa's Jitte. With just that, you could give one of your guys +8/+8. Or give an opponent's creature -4/-4, which you could also read as "Destroy target opponent's creature with toughness equal to or less than your charge counters." Or some combination of both! Give your guy +2/+2 and take out an annoying 3/3, get +6/+6 and take out a 1/1 token that could block you. And the attack you use your +X/+X buff on will only serve to grant you even more charge counters for later use. Umezawa's Jitte doesn't even need to be EQUIPPED to something to use the -1/-1 ability, so you could hold your 4 charge counters back, swing and lose the creature, and use your now -6/-6 potential to kill a really big guy. Or three 2/2's. Maybe even save some counters if said big guy already took some combat damage.
 
Umezawa's Jitte is also ripe for exploitation. Unblockable, flying, etc can help keep your guy alive so you don't need to worry about paying that 2 mana equip cost every turn. But the thing is, even if you DO have to pay it again every once in a while, you're paying 2 for a likely +4/+4 or -2/-2. The versatility alone adds a lot of value. It could help keep your guy alive in combat or against burn, deal some extra damage when swinging in for the kill, weaken an opponent's creature juuuust enough so that when he blocks his guy will die but yours will survive. So much potential, and the best part is its reusable. No wonder they made this thing legendary.
 
Really fun in casual, but even viable in constructed I feel. Extremely powerful in limited as well, although that advice may be about 10 years too late.
 
Join us tomorrow for even more Weapons Week!
 
Constructed: 4
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 4


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