A 5/5 that comes down cheap, and slowly bleeds
you. Definitely worth it, since you're losing 1
life while your opponent is taking 5 damage or
chump blocking each turn. Of course, there are
ways for an opponent to turn the tables on you.
A high-toughness Wall will block the Djinn every
turn, at which point you're paying 1 life each
turn to force him to use his best blocker, while
another creature gets through. I'd call that a
fair trade-off. A Pacifism or other neutralizing
card that doesn't remove its target from play
would be especially damaging, if your opponent
has them. These days, most such removal exiles
its target, in order to deny you the ability to
sacrifice it for a benefit.
Juzam Djinn is an interesting example of how
Magic has changed over the years. Today, a 5/5
with no evasion or other combat-relevant ability
and no way to deter kill spells is only
moderately scary. (When Juzam was printed,
"being a black creature" was almost as good at
stopping kill spells as hexproof.) There's also
far more mana rocks in circulation, so even in
Mono-Black you can get a 2BB creature out on
Turn Three if your deck is built for it. (Then
again, Dark Ritual could put a Juzam in play on
Turn Two...) Losing 1 life per turn isn't nearly
as big of a drawback as it once was either,
since black now gets more lifelink and life
drain effects. It's still a beast if you can get
it out early, but it's hardly the Stuff of
Legends it once was. Heck, Plague Sliver in Time
Spiral block only saw play because it was tech
against Sliver decks.
This guy. This is the guy. You know all those
5/5 creatures for four mana and some
disadvantage (or, in Rumbling Slum's case,
advantage) we've played with over the years?
None of them would be here if not for this guy.
And I'd like to think the fact that most of them
are fairly strong is also following in Juzam
Djinn's footsteps: the regular damage each turn
can add up, but his power and toughness beat an
awful lot of creatures, even if you don't get
him out on the first turn with Dark Ritual. If
you're not used to creatures with obvious
disadvantages after seeing the Theros block,
always remember two things: five is a larger
number than one, as in he deals more damage to
other things than he does to you; and five is a
larger number than four, as in the comparison
between his power and his mana cost. That's just
math. You can't argue with math.
Welcome back readers todays card of the day is
one of the most iconic Magic cards of all time,
once the face of Magic this powerful creature
personifies black perfectly, a downside or
drawback in exchange for power. Outside of this
cards historical applications there’s not a
whole lot to this creature, this card has been
outclassed several times over due to the
increase of power of black creatures and
creatures in general. Once fearsome this
creature has fallen by the wayside, outside of
casual play and limited environments its
contained in this creature is simply outclassed
and remains more of a relic of the glory days of
Magic, a nostalgic but still playable card.
Today's card of the day is Juzam Djinn which is
a four mana Black 5/5 that deals one damage to
you during your upkeep steps. This was a very
powerful creature in the earlier days of Magic
as it was well above the mana curve and had the
support of Dark Ritual to get it into play
earlier. Several recent creatures in Black can
do more in the right deck, sometimes with no
drawbacks aside from an entirely Black mana
cost. There are still a few decks where this
will find a slot as it is strong for the color
and doesn't demand a great deal of support.
In a Limited format with this available it is
a solid threat for the cost, even with the loss
of life, and can be a worthwhile first pick in
Booster. For Sealed it depends on the pool as it
can help push the deck into being at least half
Black, but is not strong enough in the late game
to carry a deck by itself.
Juzám Djinn was released during 1993 in the
Arabian Nights set - the very first Magic: The
Gathering expansion set ever, coming down after
Alpha, Beta and Unlimited, but before Revised.
How good was the Djinn back then?
It was one of the best creatures in the game.
You're looking at a 5/5 for 4 mana. Not only
are you looking at a 5/5 for 4 mana, you're
looking at one from a time where Hill Giant was
a thing. Not only was Hill Giant a thing, but
there were these fun little cards called Dark
Ritual and Sol Ring which could help you cast
Juzám Djinn on turn 1.
Now, though? It's still actually good. I
don't think anyone will ever really complain
about a 5/5 for 4 mana. Unless it has some
ridiculous downside. And you know what? Taking 1
damage every turn isn't a ridiculous downside.
Black is well known for paying life in exchange
for more power, and with an early 5/5 you should
be able to dish out more hurt to your opponent
than you take from paying the price for power.
Plus black has plenty of Drain Life effects to
help keep you in the game.
Would you still play it now, say in
constructed or casual, assuming you could get
your hands on one? Well, you COULD. It's not a
bad card, in any era. All that's really changed
over time is that there is now more competition.
Juzám Djinn isn't the only 5/5 for 4 mana in
black anymore. Now you've got things like
Phyrexian Scuta and Plague Sliver and Abyssal
Persecutor and of course by far the most
powerful, the mighty Phyrexian Obliterator.
It's almost as if Juzám Djinn was giving us a
sneak peek at the "power creep" that would take
place in the future. A card before its time.
Juzam Djinn is one of the most iconic cards in
Magic for multiple reasons. When he was first
printed, a 5/5 for 4 mana was unheard of, even
with the drawback of 1 life per turn. Take a
look at the Magic: The Early Years and see what
kind of power 4 mana usually gave you. Bog
Wraith. Giant Spider. Hill Giant. War Mammoth.
The Djinn outclassed everything else you could
do for its cost, and even at a higher cost,
there weren't many creatures that could face
down a 5/5 and live. Even today, while it might
not be the powerhouse it once was, you could do
a lot worse.
Secondly, the Djinn was one of the first cards
that helped us see that life could be a
resource. Some players looked at it and saw the
damage it did to its controller and thought it
was terrible. Smart players recognized that it
was a small price to pay for the havoc it could
cause when it turned sideways.
A third reason it was so iconic was because of
the art. Along with Shivan Dragon and Serra
Angel, the menacing smirk of the Djinn became
one of the faces of Magic. Players would see his
image and know it represented Magic.
Constructed: 4 (5 back in its heyday)
Casual: 4.5 (who could ignore the cool factor of
slapping him on the table?)