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Why is Juzam Djinn So Expensive in Magic the Gathering?

Juzam Djinn is one of the most expensive cards in the Magic the Gathering trading card game. This is because it’s from the game’s first ever expansion, Arabian Nights, and is also on Magic’s Reserved List. This list was created to promise collectors that certain cards would never be reprinted, in order to protect the long-term value for collectors. 

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. There also simply aren’t enough copies of the most desirable cards on the open market to keep up with the demand. 

Today, a single copy of Juzam Djinn in lightly played condition sells for a price high as $2,000 USD with professionally graded copies in top mint condition fetching $7,000 USD or more! 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 some other reasons, too. 

Juzam Djinn is Expensive Thanks to 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, even then, there were simply better and more efficient threats such as Hypnotic Specter and Serra Angel. That being said, during the summer of 1996, four copies of Juzam Djinn found their way into a Necropotence deck!

However, in the Old School Magic format, people have still found a way to make Juzam Djinn a key card. Over the years, the 93-94 format (the other name for the same format), the Black Djinn has found its way into a number of strategies. One is Grixis Control, such as this 1997 list on Eternal Central, which plays two copies of the Djinn. Another deck called Turn One Terror, profiled on Vintage Magic, plays the full four copies of the Juzam Djinn. 

The most recent Old School Magic deck I can find that played Juzam Djinn is a Deadguy Ale list from November 2023. It plays four copies, along with four Hypnotic Specter, and three Singer Vampire. That’s a lot of firepower! It’s a pretty popular archetype that can sometimes win the whole tournament, and such decks typically play three or four copies. So the Djinn is definitely still alive and well in the most recent Old School Magic tournaments!

Overall, 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. But, it’s also a favorite of both serious Old School Magic collectors and non-sanctioned tournament players, as recently as 2023! 

While it’s not the most expensive card in Arabian Nights, Juzam Djinn is still one of the most valuable. It’s still as cool looking as ever. Apparently, it’s still dealing a lot of combat damage in Old School Magic, too!

Have you ever played Juzam Djinn?

Updated 12/19/23

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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