Magic The Gathering – Assassin’s Creed Hands-on Preview

During Summer Game Fest 2024, I took a welcome screen break, tried something different from my electronic gaming binge, and picked up a hobby I hadn’t taken up in years. It combines two mechanics that really would work well if put together, and that is Magic: The Gathering and the ever-popular Assassin’s Creed franchise from Ubisoft. Just the concept got me excited to think about it.

Starting the session, I told the Wizard of the Coast rep that the last time I played Magic the Gathering was way back in Tempest. Besides giving out my true age, I realized that not a lot has changed by way of Magic The Gathering mechanics and playstyles. Without getting all technical with the fancy one-turn wins and meta discussions, sitting down and playing this themed concept was actually the break I’ve been looking for.

Magic The Gathering Royal Assassin

As a traditional black-blue player back in the day, one of my favorite cards in this new set is the Royal Assassin. Combined with my trusty Icy Manipulator, I can destroy quite a bit of my opponent’s creature cards. And if he’s not careful, I can always animate the dead and have these creatures fight for me instead. Kill-and-control has always been my favorite strategy.

Seeing the Royal Assassin back in its full glory with the Assassin’s Creed set has been a dream come true and seems to fit the theme quite nicely, so players looking to form a similar strategy won’t need to look further.

Magic The Gathering: Everything is Permitted

The big mechanic that this new Magic the Gathering set will introduce is Assassin’s Creed’s Freerunning mechanic. What that means is that you can cast a particular spell if one of your assassins has dealt combat damage to another creature or player. For example, if I control Ezio and we have dealt combat damage this turn, we can cast Brotherhood Ambushers for a reduced cost.

Magic The Gathering Brotherhood Ambushers

As a 6/3 assassin, this will give you some combat advantage in the next turn. Since many of the assassin sets involve sneaky attack damage, either with an equipment-themed deck or a stealthy swarm deck, the freerunning mechanic adds speed as an advantage for your deck.

Equipment Valhalla!

While freerunning was not a mainstay in the deck that I got to play, I quickly observed that the deck used equipment cards as its main theme. Equipment cards are artifacts that you can equip with your creatures to provide their artifact benefits. It costs mana to equip these artifacts onto a creature, but even if the creature is destroyed, the equipment remains until that specific equipment is destroyed or disenchanted.

The key to victory with this deck is to quickly set up my Bureau Headmaster, which reduces casting costs to cast the equipment cards into play and also equips them onto characters. If I got a set (four) of these creatures out, I could freely cast legendary equipment and gear up my assassins for quick kills!

Magic The Gather Headmaster

Finally, to finish my opponent off, I was able to cast my Legendary Assassin Eivor, Battle-Ready to lead the charge of my assassins for a final attack. With Haste and Vigilance, Eivor, Battle-Ready is a standard finisher card that does not tap to attack and can attack when you cast him. (For Magic The Gathering newbies, when you summon a creature, they are affected by Summoning Sickness and cannot attack when they are cast normally.)

Magic The Gathering Eivor, Battle-Ready

The new Assassin’s Creed cards that are part of this new Magic the Gathering set look to bring some aggression into play, with speed and setup as part of their core features. True to its theme, it remains easy to pick up and play, but will also require some serious deckbuilding to get the most out of it.

Magic The Gathering: Universes Beyond — Assassin’s Creed set is scheduled to launch on July 5.

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