MTG’s Assassin’s Creed crossover set is wonderfully brutal

Prepare to get deathtouched to oblivion.
mtg assassin's creed

Many of the assassins included in the MTG x Assassin’s Creed Universes Beyond set have Deathtouch. Thematically, it makes a world of sense. Of course assassins are deadly, and with a Hidden Blade, their touch is lethal. In gameplay, it makes rounds incredibly brutal, as blocking means instant death for your creatures, and health being whittled down at impressive speed.

As a complete package, this set is one of the more powerful Wizards of the Coast has released. Individual assassins – including Ezio and Arno – are incredibly efficient cards to play, because they have Deathtouch, and additional assassin-buffing mechanics that strengthen your armies at instant speed.

Take Arno Dorian, Legendary Creature – Human Assassin. On his own, he has Deathtouch, so he can destroy high-powered cards with a touch. He also buffs other assassins you control by +2/+0 as a permanent effect, and has the option to Disguise if you’d like to surprise other players at a later stage of the game. Ezio, Blade of Vengeance also has Deathtouch and whenever an assassin you control deals combat damage, you may draw a card.

Many of the assassins have incredibly useful, high-powered abilities that interrelate like this, so if you’re planning a deck of assassins, they’ll all buff each other, provide card draw, and allow you to decimate your opponents every turn. In addition, a number of Sagas also provide similar impact – The Revelations of Ezio Saga allows you to destroy creatures on one turn, buff your assassins, and then resurrect an assassin from your graveyard. The Aesir Escape Valhalla Saga allows you to exile permanents, place +1/+1 counters, and also repeat this process as the saga is returned to your hand.

Read: Getting into Magic: The Gathering as an adult has reshaped my brain

assassin's creed mtg
Image: GamesHub

Cards like Excalibur, Sword of Eden are also frankly wild by design. This 12 generic mana sword (with alternative cost) allows you to buff an equipped creature by +10/+0 and gives them vigilance. You will have to wait until you’ve boosted your available mana, but that’s a lot of power to hand to one creature.

In want of an Assassin’s Creed Commander

It feels a lot like the Assassin’s Creed Universes Beyond MTG set is designed to be a powerful, hard-hitting standalone set – but that it may be overpowered when integrated back into the “main” world of MTG. If you’re going to make an Assassin’s Creed set, it makes sense to create powerful, hard-hitting creatures. But it does mean these cards will likely cause headaches for other players.

It may be for this reason the Assassin’s Creed crossover only comprises boosters and starter decks. A lack of Commander Decks does feel distinctly strange – particularly given Edward, Arno, and Ezio would all make for very strong commanders, and some cards do have Commander-themed flavour text. You can certainly build your own Commander Deck from the cards present, but that’s not quite the same as getting a precon to aim at your friends.

There are obvious complications with building out a fuller Assassin’s Creed set – historical realism is prevalent in most game, and there are few “creatures” beyond Eivor’s realm. But it does feel like the wider world of Assassin’s Creed could have been mined for more cards.

assassin's creed mtg gameplay
Image: GamesHub

A want for more comes from an appreciation of quality. The Assassin’s Creed crossover cards are beautifully illustrated, well-designed, and hard-hitting. The showcase cards are particularly good-looking, and the special foil etched variants in booster packs are worth salivating over. As mentioned, cards are also very powerful, and for that reason, Assassin’s Creed is likely to be a coveted set in future. While booster packs only contain seven cards, there’s a high quality to each pull – I was never disappointed by what I found inside.

But suffice to say there’s feels like a missing opportunity in not expanding Assassin’s Creed further. An Edward Kenway Commander Deck could be filled with pirates and assassins, and ships (Vehicles) that can be buffed with clever strategy. An Ezio Commander Deck could be themed around deadly missions and espionage, with assassins and spies romping through Renaissance Italy.

For as popular as Assassin’s Creed is, it feels like it deserves a much larger set, to celebrate its history, its fandom, and its fleet of deadly assassins. Here’s to hoping this set proves popular enough that its biggest ideas are eventually revisited.

Magic: The Gathering – Universes Beyond Assassin’s Creed is available now. You can learn more about the set on the MTG website.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.