Jori En, Ruin Diver

Pro Tour Hall of Famer likes drawing cards more than just about anyone, and today he’s showing us the new legend that helps us do just that! Plus, The Innovator has a few Nissa, Voice of Zendikar ideas as well…

Drawing an extra card every turn is a pretty sweet dream. A card with that kind of potential upside makes me interested in finding out more. However, doing so with “haste?” In that case, go ahead and subscribe me to your newsletter.

Jori En looks like some kind of a Scroll Thief that’s slightly bigger and doesn’t actually need to connect but asks you to put in some work. You know, play her way. However, the cards have a very important difference in basic play pattern.

When you cast a Scroll Thief-type creature (such as Jhessian Thief), you are risking the mana spent on casting it for the possibility of starting to get an advantage next turn. If your opponent plays an Ultimate Price or Silkwrap on it, you’re down a mana with nothing to show for it.

When you cast Jori En, Ruin Diver, you could be in for the same risk (Ultimate Price aside). However, if you cast Jori as a four-drop, you can draw an extra card by following her up with a one-cost spell like Wild Slash, Magmatic Insight, Duress, or even Tasigur, the Golden Fang. By turn 5, the world is your oyster. Your two-cost spell can even just be Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy or Soulfire Grand Master. Now Jori is a “must kill,” but even if they can deal with her, you’re up a card in the exchange (at no additional mana).

How many cards do you need to draw from Jori before she’s “worth it?”


Draw one card and have a 2/3, and you’re already doing something for three mana. That the 2/3 has the potential to draw extra cards so easily? We’re way ahead. It’s seriously easily to play Jori and draw a card that turn, and if we do, we’re killing it. That is a really good sign for her chances as a tournament card. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s even resilient against a surprising amount of top removal. Wild Slash, Ultimate Price, Kozilek’s Return? She’s no slouch.

In experimenting with Jori, the most straightforward home is a straight-up U/R Prowess deck, specializing in one- and two-cost blue and red cards:

If and when a U/R creature-land gets spoiled, the first thing to do is replace the Swiftwater Cliffs.

While we’re typically looking to play Jori on turn 4 so that we can draw a card immediately, we’d still usually rather play her rather than doing nothing. Remember to play her first, as she won’t trigger from being the second spell herself. Later, if you have Jori in play but no other spells in hand, there’s no shame in holding a spell to set up the double-spell turn. It’s usually going to be worth it firing off a Magmatic Insight, Tormenting Voice, or Treasure Cruise as soon as possible.

Abbot of Keral Keep is a fun one with Jori. To start with, that’s often two spells right there. Jori is also a pretty great way to draw a lot of extra cards to trigger prowess more often. Finally, and it’s a minor point, but both Abbot of Keral Keep and Jori En, Ruin Diver encourage you to play with proactive spells.

Of course, that said, Jori En, Ruin Diver can actually get real frisky in conjunction with a well-timed Disdainful Stroke. Follow it up with a Wild Slash and you can get a bonus card even beyond the first extra card you drew on your turn. That’s a non-trivial amount of mana, but if things get rolling, Jori En can draw two extra cards a turn, and it doesn’t take that many cantrips to fuel such a thing if you’re drawing two extra cards a turn.

As a sidenote on Disdainful Stroke, from the looks of things, Oath of the Gatewatch is going to increase the value of Disdainful Stroke a great deal. It’s not just the massive, massive buffing of Eldrazi-based strategies (so much so that the format is likely going to be largely warped around them the way it normally is around stuff like Siege Rhino and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy).

● Kozilek’s Return – Pressure to not play small creatures encourages more fatties.

● Goblin Dark-dwellers – A great creature that may encourage three-cost spells but leaves them vulnerable to a timely Disdainful Stroke

Chandra, Flamecaller – It’s not just that she’s a six-cost planeswalker, but also the sweeper ability pressures people to play less cheap threats.

Comparative Analysis – Surge cards can make cards that cost three to cast legal targets for Disdainful Stroke. That’s interesting and something to learn more about.

You can play Sidisi’s Faithful proactively more easily than a card like, say, Clutch of Currents. Sometimes you’re going to play Jori En on turn 4 and just want to play anything. At least Sidisi’s Faithful gets down and draws you a card. Besides, having a blocker isn’t the worst thing in the world, and there are going to be times where you just want to re-trigger your Tyrant of Valakut.

Tyrant of Valakut is definitely aiming real hard to hit the Surge ability. This makes it functionally a six-drop, making it hard to play very many. Regardless, the card is actually kind of sweet. Five-mana for a 5/4 flier isn’t impressive, but a Lightning Bolt when it enters the battlefield is largely better than haste. It’s a less hard hit, but it’s more of a sure thing against removal, and it can take out creatures like Mantis Rider (or Jori En, Ruin Diver).

Magmatic Insight is a little bit of an underrated card, anyway, but it’s particularly great with Jori En, Ruin Diver. It costs one, sure, but also, drawing that many extra cards is usually going to result in us drawing more land than we can use. It’s also a great way to up our spell count, in general, as there are a shortage of one-cost cantrips.

What about splashing white and going a more controlling route?

Again, replace the Swiftwater Cliffs with creature-lands (or at least more Mystic Monasteries!) Monastery Mentor is right up Jori’s alley, and the two of them together can take over both halves of the game (one’s dominating the table, the other off).

An alternative direction to go with Jeskai is a return to Jeskai Ascendancy. It’s not that Jori has all that much to do with the Ascendancy, although it is nice that you can loot away extra lands. More importantly, Jori is one more push in power, helping us potentially justify the deck. She’s also a three-toughness creature we can play to help mitigate our exposure to Kozilek’s Return.

Not that it’s likely to come up that much, but what the U/R creature-land ends up being, it’s potentially a combo with Jeskai Ascendancy. You can animate it, then start casting Wild Slashes (or Magmatic Insights, or Treasure Cruises, or whatever), saving a mana each time.

Another possible home for Jori is in Grixis, where we get to take advantage of Duress, Murderous Cut, and Tasigur, the Golden Fang.

Costing one is a super power!

More Swiftwater Cliffs action, but we also get to use the super cool Mirrorpool, which was born to copy Dig Through Time.

Kolaghan’s Command is pretty sweet here. It’s a great card in general, but it’s also just nice to be able to get back Jori later when we’ve got mana to really kick her into gear.

Kolaghan’s Command is also a fantastic combo with a great way to naturally cast two spells at once:

Goblin Dark-Dwellers is a fine two-for-one that will often turn into a three-for-one. That it triggers Jori by itself is already cool, but it’s also just a good card that asks you to play cheap sorceries and instants, which can often line-up with exactly what Jori wants you to do. It’s a small point, but the Dark-Dwellers don’t work with Radiant Flames, which is why Read the Bones is used here. An extensive analysis of Goblin Dark-Dwellers can be found here.

While countermagic can be a little tricky to use optimally with Jori, Duress is a perfect fit. It also works with Goblin Dark-Dwellers totally naturally. Besides, it’s kind of just a good card in the format and a mondo-combo with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.

Okay, what if we smoosh them together?

I really want to know what the U/R creature-land is. It’s kind of a big deal.

And not just so I can write out decklists like the following:

Jori En, Ruin Diver, is pretty sweet in a mostly red aggro deck. It’d be nice if there was a Lightning Strike or something in this set, but even just working with what burn we have, we can do some pretty cool stuff. The key is the interaction with dash.

Since dash creatures keep coming back to our hand, we’re easily going to be able to play two spells a turn whenever we want. It’s kind of funny to be drawing extra cards in a Zurgo deck, but we’re kind of doing all this stuff anyway, so why not get paid?

Before taking off today, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few Nissa, Voice of Zendikar lists (after unveiling the latest three-cost planeswalker in a preview article here).

It’s possible that we want to be even more token-centric–like Blisterpod levels of tokens–but I thought it’d be reasonable to start with a little more hybrid of a list, building on the R/G Landfall style of deck.

This card isn’t explosive as fast and easily as Goblin Bushwhacker, but at least the fail state isn’t embarrassing (a 2/1 haste for three). I could totally imagine ending up in a world where it’s just right to play four, but I’m trying to be careful about jamming too many three-cost cards in our deck at once. Even when we pay the Surge cost, we’re going to need three or more lands to cast it.

Another possible home is some kind of a Naya Superfriends deck, capitalizing on the printing of Chandra, Flamecaller, in addition to Nissa, Voice of Zendikar.

This isn’t the most natural fit for the Voice of Zendikar, but the extra blockers are good and we do have some tokens. Besides, Nissa’s +1/+1 counter action is just awesome with both sides of Hangarback Walker (as if the card needed the help).

Remember to be careful about playing both Nissas at the same time. Also remember to Radiant Flames for just two when you have a Warden of the First Tree you want to live (assuming Nissa, Voice of Zendikar didn’t already give it a +1/+1 counter).

Another possible home for Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and my personal starting point for the card, is in G/W tokens:

Let me know what card or cards you want covered next, and I’ll see you next year!