Jumping for Jori

Posted in Reconstructed on December 28, 2015

By Gavin Verhey

When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he dreamt of a job making Magic cards—and now as a Magic designer, he's living his dream! Gavin has been writing about Magic since 2005.

Welcome to Oath of the Gatewatch previews!

This set has a lot of awesome elements going for it. Support. Surge. And—oh yeah—that colorless mana symbol, just to name a few. I was on the development team for Oath, and I'm ecstatic about how it turned out.

In addition to all the mechanics in the set, though, one thing we tried to do is make sure there were cards that just did their own, awesome things. Even if some of the splashy elements weren't quite what you were looking for, there would still be something to tickle your fancy.

We also wanted to hit up a few notes like printing characters you've seen in flavor text, since who knows when we'll be back to Zendikar again.

This is one such card. People of Earth: prepare to go exploring with Jori En, Ruin Diver.

You've seen quotes from Jori En on cards such as Horribly Awry and Coralhelm Guide—and now here Jori is in the flesh!

Let's take a closer look.

As a three-mana creature, Jori can get down on the table early. Good news, considering you will want to start triggering that ability as soon as possible! And while Jori isn't exactly built for beating down, the stats are at least reasonable for poking some damage through or staving off some small ground creatures.

But let's get to the meat and potatoes here: that ability. In a way, Jori En is like a sideways surge card—all of your second spells are better with Jori around. However, you don't have to pay any extra mana or anything! As long as you keep casting two spells a turn, it's just a stream of free cards!

Now, one way to do that could be to build a surge deck with a lot of cheap spells and surge cards. But that's far from the only way, and today I want to look at some of the other ways you can make Jori En work for you.

So, how can we maximize Jori's ability to help us draw an extra card every turn? Well, take a deep breath. We're about to dive on in!

Let's start off by looking at Standard.

Enjoring Standard

When I think of playing blue and red together in the current Standard, in a deck that would be playing a lot of cheap spells, the deck that immediately comes to mind is Jeskai.

A kind of tempo-style Jeskai deck with Monastery Mentor has been on-and-off the radar for a while—and perhaps Jori is the last tool it needs to break through. If your opponent lets you untap with it, you're certainly going to start drawing two cards a turn in short order.

Check out this take on Jori En:

Gavin Verhey's Joriski

Download Arena Decklist

Full of one- and two-mana spells, as well as ways to keep your chain of spells going, such as Jeskai Ascendancy and Abbot of Keral Keep, this deck works perfectly with Jori—almost without trying.

This deck wants all of these cheap cantrips for Monastery Mentor, and to fill up the graveyard for Treasure Cruise, anyway, so it fits into the package smoothly. It's a deck that has so much tempo you could practically call it a time heist—and yet, any three-drop you cast from this deck is essentially a must-remove!

If your opponent stumbles at all, this is a strategy that can really take advantage of that and begin to steamroll them. It is also incredibly versatile: against aggressive decks you can take a more controlling bent, while against control or midrange you can play a tempo game of staying ahead on cards while posing threat after threat.

And with surge focused in blue and red in Oath of the Gatewatch, there might be a few other cards that fit into this strategy too. I'd keep your eyes open as Oath previews continue, to see how a deck like this might pick up even more!

Commanding Jori

Of course, you can't see a legendary creature without at least thinking about Commander. And Jori is no exception as a build-around option!

Commander is full of plays that let you cast multiple spells in a single turn. Between cantrips like Preordain and Ponder, artifact mana that you can tap right away to cast other spells, and just plain 'ol shenanigans like Grinning Ignus, casting two spells each of your turns—and some of your opponents'—is a cinch!

Check out my first take at Jori En for Commander:

Gavin Verhey's Jori-En-Kor

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Jori En, Ruin Diver
Enchantment (3)
1 Outpost Siege 1 Rhystic Study 1 Future Sight
99 Cards

There are definitely a few mechanics that work well with Jori En. Suspend is excellent, since it provides your first spell for free in your upkeep, meaning that if you cast anything you're good to go. But even better than suspend is cascade, which is two spells in one on its own! Thanks, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer.

There are lots of other ways to make sure you have a fistful of cards as well. Cards like Trinket Mage help set up another spell with ease, finding something like Sol Ring that can trigger Jori cheaply. And with cards like Engineered Explosives or Everflowing Chalice, you can even just play them for zero to "cycle" them away if you want to!

And, of course, Sensei's Divining Top is even more disgusting than normal as a one-mana artifact you can keep putting on top of your deck to help out Jori En every single turn.

This Commander deck looks like an absolute blast to play, and has many of the things I love doing in Commander. Once Jori En is in your hands, give your spin on this deck a try!

Bringing Jori to the World

Something I love about Jori En, Ruin Diver is just how flexible of a card it is. It fits well in any deck with a lot of cheap spells—which is quite a lot of them!

I didn't even begin to touch Modern today, but who knows if Jori might have some applications there as well. Speaking of cheap spells, that is a format ruled by cheap interaction. Lightning Bolt, Gitaxian Probe, Serum Visions...the list goes on. Playing Jori into an immediate Gitaxian Probe means that Jori was already card neutral and can only go up from there! That's something I'll leave in you wonderful brewers' hands.

There's plenty of excitement to come out of Oath of the Gatewatch—and Jori is just the beginning. No matter which format you're looking at, there's something fun for it to do. Jori En is one of my favorite cards in the set, a card I would even first-pick in Limited when I probably shouldn't just because I want to try and make it work. I hope you have fun building with it!

In the meantime, while you're waiting to get your hands on some copies of Jori En for yourself, feel free to send me any thoughts or feedback you might have! You can always reach me by sending me a tweet or asking me a question on my Tumblr.

I'll be back next week with a look at another rare (and rather exciting) preview card. Talk with you again then!




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