In the beginning when I first started to play, there were a large number of people who refused to play the Juzam Djinn because it damaged you 1 point per turn. Really. It doesn’t take a mathematics major to figure out that if you are getting pinged for 1 per turn, you’ll last 20 turns while your opponent has to deal with a 5/5 creature which will annihilate them in 4. This in itself wasn’t the main reason that this card was so overpowered. It was because it was black and it cost only BB22. Dark Ritual allowed you to take this out on the second turn if need be. Certainly scary stuff.
Card Name: Juzam Djinn
Set: AN, not reprinted
Card Cost: 2BB
Card Type: Creature — Djinn
Artist: Mark Tedin
Text: Juzám Djinn does 1 damage to you during your upkeep.
Rules Text (Oracle):At the beginning of your upkeep, Juzám Djinn deals 1 damage to you.
In my group of friends, there weren’t too many Juzam Djinn’s running around or at least people didn’t play them. It was in fact thankfully a rare, so the few people who had gotten chances to buy Arabian Nights packs at a dollar and a half a piece didn’t necessarily get one in every pack. (cont. below)(cont. below)
For me this card was particularly scary because it didn’t limit you to playing mono-black. Because the per-turn sacrifice was life instead of black mana like a lot of other spells, once you got this bad boy out your lands weren’t being held hostage by upkeep costs. This mean as long as you could pay the initial 2 black mana you could play black as a side color. Of course it was definitely easiest with Dark Ritual, but Birds of Paradise, Black Lotus, or Mox Jet would help bring him out.
I particularly liked Black-Green-Blue decks that used the Juzam and Blue magic to counter attempts to damage him. Cloning him wasn’t such a good idea as there’s a big difference from getting pinged for 2 points per turn and 1 point per turn. Green was good for speed mana to help summon him. When the Dark came around, I used Elves of Deep Shadow quite a bit even though it pinged you when you tapped for black mana. Of course Fastbond would do something similar.
One thing I didn’t like him about him is that he didn’t have any other ability like Trample. Thus, you needed to make every round with him out count since you were getting hit for the 1 per turn. It did no good if your opponent blocked the Juzam with his Shanodin Dryads and Llanowar Elf two turns in a row. It WAS nice that he couldn’t be Terrored and was out of range of Lightning Bolt.
Nowadays, the Juzam Djinn is astronomically expensive. New players will have little luck trading to get one at a price of between 100 and 175 dollars. It’s no wonder they never brought him back though because he is certainly overpowered and tended to be a game breaker…