Assassin's Creed Set Review - Budget

Alejandro Fuentes • June 29, 2024

Templar Knight by Daniel Correia

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied Colors and Shards | Enemy Colors and Wedges | Reprints | cEDH

They Made an Entire Set for Assassins?

I've never played Assassin's Creed before, but if the game's half as good as these cards, I'll have to check it out. It's strange looking at the cards, mostly because of the characters, who are very unusual for Magic. There's a mix of Assassins, Pirates, and historical characters? What is Leonardo da Vinci doing here? Is he an Assassin? I guess we'll just have to look at his abilities to determine whether he's going to be ending players in game. Let's see what the commons and uncommons of Universes Beyond Assassin's Creed have to offer.


Adéwalé, Breaker of Chains

Commanders with ETB triggers are usually something you want to avoid, as commander tax makes them difficult to use more than once in many cases. Even Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath got difficult to use once he cost seven mana. However, with Adéwalé, Breaker of Chains, it seems that Wizards has though about that. It's extremely easy to return Adéwalé to your hand from the graveyard, and his ETB even enables that game action. Pair him with a sac outlet and one Vehicle, and you've got yourself a value engine. Digging six cards deep every turn will get you to your best cards quickly. The rest of the deck should assemble itself quickly, just a mix of Assassins, Pirates, and Vehicles for them to ride in. The power of this commander is in insurmountable card advantage. 

Shay Cormac

This card feels like an absolute flavor win. As long as he's on the battlefield, nothing is safe. Your opponents truly have to fear the Assassin. Removing all protective abilities is brutal for some decks, like the Voltron deck trying to keep its commander safe, or the stax player trying to assemble a lock on the table. Then, there's the return of bounty counters, previously seen on Chevill, Bane of Monsters. Once again, it's a bit of shame flavor-wise that Shay doesn't incentivize your other players to hunt the bounty, but that doesn't diminish his power. Any removal spell makes him two +1/+1 counters bigger, and there's no one to stop you from equipping a Lightning Greaves and swinging with him after you've removed all the other threats. This commander gives you a payoff for playing the controlling game, one that might stop the game from getting boring. 

Bleeding Effect

Woah, did Odric, Lunarch Marshal just get a big upgrade? With the addition of black, this Odric clone now checks the graveyard instead of creatures on the battlefield, making it infinitely easier to put a ton of abilities. A Bone Shards pitching Zetalpa, Primal Dawn will give all of your creatures flying, double strike, vigilance, trample, and indestructible. That's a lot easier than casting Zetalpa for eight. The doors are wide open for extremely strong board states early in the game. Just keep in mind that Bleeding Effect only gives your creatures those abilities on your turn, unlike Odric. There had to be some downside.


Fall of the First Civilization

Fall of the First Civilization has three extremely potent abilities, but how you play it will make a big difference in the work it does. The first is some standard white card draw. You get two cards, but so does an opponent of your choice. This is strong, hopefully getting you ahead in card advantage while you donate some cards to a player who was falling behind anyways. The second ability is also very worthwhile, removing an artifact permanently. The third ability is where things get questionable. A board wipe? I just drew two cards, I want to play them out, right? And if I'm about to remove the majority of nonland permanents on the board, why did I need to remove a random artifact? Any board wipe on the third ability of a Saga is really awkward, as all it really does is slow gameplay to a halt for three turn cycles because everyone can see it coming. Thematically it makes sense, but gameplay-wise, this card is a drag. 

Templar Knight

We finally have one of these cards with the text "You may play any number of these" in all five colors! And this one looks really good. Where does it rank among the others? Needing five of them to activate the ability is a lot, more than Persistent Petitioners, but less than Shadowborn Apostles. Of course, the result of saccing six Shadowborn Apostles usually wins you the game, with a Razaketh, the Foulblooded. Does tapping five Templar Knights do something similar? Why, yes it does. There's no limit to the number of broken legendary artifacts you can find with this squadron. Kaldra Compleat comes to mind as a terrifying monster to cheat out. The big artifacts from Throne of Eldraine are also fun targets. The Great Henge is incredible in any creature deck, that's clear. What you'll want most, however, is a way to keep your very vulnerable Soldiers alive, so I would suggest Akroma's Memorial as first target, giving them prot-black and -red, as well as flying.  


Loyal Inventor

Tutors are always worth noting, and this one has a lot of potential. Loyal Inventor can fetch any artifact, which is a huge step up from Treasure Mage or Trinket Mage. In fact, I'd say this should probably be an immediate replacement for either of them, assuming you aren't just looking for multiples. Yes, it does have the downside of putting it on top of your deck, because most artifact decks won't be running a ton of Assassins, and most Assassin decks won't need a random tutor, but the versatility it can provide makes it worth it. At the end of the day, you're still getting a perfect draw, right?

Assassin Gauntlet

It's the line "Tap all creatures target player controls" that gets me to pay attention to this card. I cannot recall how many times the third mode of Naya Charm has won me a game. To be fair, tapping down all blockers is most effective in a deck that makes a wide board state, but Assassins are always desperate to connect, and this card guarantees that all of them do, for a turn. After that, it's a pretty typical looting card with an auto equip, but that's just some extra text. Trust me, your Assassin decks want the tap down. 


Roshan, Hidden Magister

For some reason, it seems like Wizard's way of helping under-supported creature types is to just turn random creatures into those creature types instead of taking the time to print real support. Take Outlaws of Thunder Junction, for instance. One of its main themes was the outlaw creature category, which consisted of Mercenaries, Assassins, Rogues, and Pirates. But for whatever reason, Laughing Jasper Flint gives all your stolen creatures the Mercenary creature type, incentivizing you to just play more cards that steal things rather than actually play outlaws in the deck helmed by what was supposed to be the outlaw kindred commander. It's the same deal for Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut, who just turns all your creatures into Juggernauts, so he can apply his other abilities onto them! Why even mention Juggernauts if there's literally no reason to play them? Here, it's a little more forgivable, because Roshan's ability is obviously meant to give the Assassin type to your face-down creatures, but he still seriously dilutes the Assassin kindred theme with that ability. Why couldn't it just specify face-down creatures and still leave the need to play actual Assassins? Now, he can just make what would've been an Assassin deck into a goodstuff deck with an Assassin-themed commander. 

The Revelations of Ezio

Now there's the Assassin kindred payoff I was looking for! A bit of removal and some reanimation make this card totally playable, even if the second ability is mediocre. As I always mention, multiple effects on a card always makes it good. You're getting a lot of value for just three mana here, even if it takes some time to show itself, and if you really want to take advantage of the reanimation bit, Thraximundar and Vein Ripper are some very large targets for the third chapter. 


Monastery Raid

Freerunning is a really strange ability that seems to be an exact copy of prowl. Yes, it's thematic, but it's painful that prowl and freerunning have to be separate abilities for two creature types that were already extremely similar to each other. Assassins are really just a kind of Rogue, for heavens sake. Now we have to remember what another ability does in this already overcomplicated game, and this is coming right after they remade morph into disguise, negating all the support that morph already had for no reason.

Game design irks aside, Monastery Raid has a lot of potential. It can be a worse Reckless Impulse, yes, but it can also be a better Commune with Lava. Either way you cast it, it's worth something, and because the cards can be cast until the end of your next turn, you have plenty of time to take advantage of them. 

Alexios, Deimos of Kosmos

Ooh, this card looks fun. Attacking every single combat, as in every single player's combat? There's an absolute load of Equipment that can take advantage of that. Even a simple Mask of Memory will allow you to sift through vast quantities of your deck. You'll need it, because you're gonna to be working overtime in the interaction and politics game to make sure Alexios doesn't get eaten alive by a Managorger Hydra on the other side of the board, but if you do manage to pull it off, this commander looks like a lot of fun. 


The Aesir Escape Valhalla

Okay, okay, I can get behind this card. Is it any good? Nope, but it looks interesting. First things first, you need something big in your graveyard. Easy enough with a card like Mulch. Then, you could put a potentially absurd number of counters on a creature. If you've got Draco in exile, that's +16/+16. For only three mana! Finally, you get both the card and the Saga back to your hand. It's a decent bundle of value, provided you have a good setup. Is it bad in decks with a reasonable curve? yes. But Commander's exactly the place where you'd play a deck full of 10+ mana value creatures. Why not give it a shot in one of those decks?

Viewpoint Synchronization

So, it's just a bigger Cultivate that can sometimes be cast for the price of Cultivate? I'm not seeing it. First of all, most Assassin decks won't even be in green. The few that are shouldn't bother running this anyways. If you want to cast it on-curve, you need an Assassin on turn one or two, and if your curve is low enough to consistently be getting that, you don't need this much ramp anyways. Just play Cultivate. You can always count on it, and it does more than enough. 

I'm Running Free!

Man, I didn't realize how small this set was going to be. What the point of the small design is, I'm not sure. It's not draftable now, and opening packs is going to be much less appealing thanks to the high frequency of doubles. Yes, it's much bigger than Aftermath, but is it big enough to be a success? I don't see why they didn't just fully commit, add 200 cards or so, and make a playable draft experience. Really, what do they get by making a set that's slightly too small? Big news: Wizards continues to make questionable choices with their product. Regardless of the technical details, I'm excited for the new cards. The designs are pretty good, for the most part. Which Assassins are you most excited to play?

Alejandro Fuentes's a nerd from Austin Texas who likes building the most unreasonable decks possible, then optimizing them till they're actually good. In his free time, he's either trying to fit complex time signatures into death metal epics, or writing fantasy novels.