Getting into the Arabian Nights Expansion in the Modern Age.

The infamous Juzam Djinn had made himself known to me probably by the time I was ten or so. I don’t remember exactly how I became aware of the Djinn but I was also aware of his status and reputation. It had that kind of power. It has that kind of power. However, it became known to me not in 1993 or even 1994 but sometime in 1998 or 1999. At the time, Juzam Djinn, in my mind, was the best Magic card out there. I knew that the Black Lotus was the real “best” but I didn’t understand how an artifact that can’t attack could be such a good card.

I also had no clue that used together, Juzam Djinn could be put out on turn one. It wouldn’t actually be until getting into Oldschool Magic recently that I would learn about “land, Lotus, Juzam”.

The power of Juzam Djinn was easier to grasp than the Lotus because he was a 5/5 creature, but like the Lotus, I still didn’t totally get it. The upkeep cost of 1 damage during made me question whether it was actually a good card. Why would anyone use a creature that damaged its controller?

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The Magic Encyclopedia has been a valuable resource for learning about all the old school cards

I figured I just didn’t know enough to understand its brilliance. One thing I did know, however, was the art was awesome as hell.

Sometime in the late 90s my brother and I got a Scrye magazine to see the value of our Pokemon cards. It also had cards lists and values for Magic sets all the way back to Alpha. We were drawn to the Arabian Nights set because the majority of the cards were valued above a dollar with a few expensive ones. We noticed it listed a card called “Juzam Djinn” for a large chunk of change. I don’t remember if I knew about Juzam by this time or not. And I don’t remember how much it was valued at the time either. However much it was, it was enough for my brother and I to be in awe at how much a single card could cost. Also, I’m sure it was much less than what I just paid for a Juzam.

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Got my first one! Now to buy three more…at some point.

We devised a plan to get this Juzam Djinn-because we decided we needed it. We knew Newbury Comics sold Magic cards. We’d go there and buy as many Arabian Nights booster packs as we could afford and hope to pull the infamous Djinn. At the very least we’d get some valuable cards even if we don’t pull a Juzam. We went and asked the guy at the counter if he had any booster packs. He laughed. He told us that no one’s been able to buy any Arabian Nights packs for many years. I think we ended up just buying some Sixth Edition packs or something.

It’s funny to me now that we assumed there would be an abundance of Arabian Nights booster packs. If it were 1993 we would have run into the same problem.

Like most of the early sets, Arabian Nights sold out virtually instantly. The entire state of Montana only received one Arabian Nights booster box when the set was released.

Fast forward to 2016. I just bought a heavily played Juzam Djinn and it’s not only the first time I’ve held one, it’s also the first time I’ve seen on in real life!

I like to assume he’s been played in many games. I’m personally very happy playing with heavily played cards. I don’t necessarily desire mint cards as I’m not much of a collector. I buy cards because I want to play with them.

Since I’ve gotten into the 93/94 format last spring, I’ve learned a lot about old Magic cards. Playing and seeing most of the 93/94 cards during this time has been a first for me. It has felt like I’ve stumbled upon a treasure trove. And I think I absolutely have.

Another thing since getting into the format is I’ve realized just how awesome the Arabian Nights expansion is. There’s a lot of great cards and I really love the flavor and art of the set. Many of my favorite cards are from Arabian Nights. The more I play Oldschool Magic, the more I love Arabian Nights. It’s been exciting looking through the Magic encyclopedia at the set. So I wanted to write a post on it.

Getting into the Arabian Nights expansion in the modern age is obviously much different than getting into it in 1993. Though I was unaware of the majority of the cards in the set, I have access to the internet. Every card is on the Wizards website. In 93 and 94, no one knew what the card lists were. Wizards intentionally didn’t release the information. It’s strange to think about experiencing Magic in that way; all the unknowns. People would hear about powerful cards through the grapevine without being able to google the card info on their phones.

Before I finish, I want to look at some of my favorite cards that I’ve played with from the set so far.

Flying Men

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Awesome art. Awesome flavor. And a great card to play on turn 1. It gets even better if Unstable Mutation is played with it on turn 2…Another awesome AN card.

Ali from Cairo

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Such awesome flavor and art. Ali from Cairo is one of my favorite cards because it’s so Arabian. I wonder if he was reprinted today if he’d be a planeswalker. Anyways, I would love to build a R/U deck and play Ali with a Spectral Cloak. Throw some Djinns and Flying Men in there and I’ll have a primarily AN deck! It may not win all the time but it will be fun for me!

City of Brass

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Another awesome looking card. Any card that can produce mana of any color is great. Even if it does 1 damage to you. I only have one of these so far but working towards a playset. Some of my favorite altered cards have been Cities of Brass.

Army of Allah

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A card called “Army of Allah” could never get made today but 1993 was a different time. And it’s a good thing because this card is awesome. It’s a staple of the white weenie deck. If you have a bunch of small creatures out and attack with all, you can do serious damage, even if some are blocked. This is also useful with Moorish Cavalry because of the trample.

Erg Raiders

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Erg Raiders is a pretty good card. At its mana cost it Black Knight may be the better choice but I think Erg Raider’s flavor trumps Black Knight. The art is so cool.

Nafs Asp

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Nafs Asp is a great card to put out on turn 1. It either ties up your opponents mana or does an extra point of damage. Either way, it’s good for you. The fact that the art depicts a cobra and a clay pot is perfect for the Arabian theme!

 

***

There are a bunch more awesome cards but I’ll save others for another day. I’m sure I’ll end up talking about Arabian Nights again as I still have more to collect and play with. Of all the old school sets I’ve recently gotten into, Arabian Nights has been my favorite. It has some of the most powerful (and most fun) cards.

I wrote this post mostly for my own fun. I just wanted to talk about Arabian Nights. However, if anyone ends up reading this post, leave a comment below and tell me your favorite Arabian Nights card(s), or even your experience of getting into the set!

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