magic the gathering assassin's creed

Assassin’s Creed And Magic: The Gathering Are A Match Made In Valhalla

Requiescat in Pace, my wallet.

It can be easy to feel skeptical toward a big IP crossover. Seeing a world or characters you hold in high regard being slapped onto another product in an effort to siphon a bit of extra cash from its fandom is a phenomenon that’s become more and more common, and for Magic: The Gathering fans stretched thin by the pace of new releases the temptation to write off another Universes Beyond set could certainly be there.

I’m here to tell you, though, Magic: The Gathering – Assassin’s Creed is legit.

After smashing through a handful of games at an early launch event courtesy of Wizards of the Coast, there’s no doubt that the MtG team has absolutely nailed the assignment with Assassin’s Creed’s Universes Beyond set, both for Magic players and AC fans. It’s a refreshingly tight set, both mechanically and in overall size, and the synergy between the themes of Ubisoft’s mammoth video game franchise and the mechanics of play is gorgeous.

My time spent playing these first games with Assassin’s Creed consisted primarily of the new set’s two starter decks, available together in an affordable Starter Kit that I’d highly recommend for anyone new or returning and enticed by this crossover. One, a Red/White deck starring Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla’s lead, Eivor, and another a Black/Blue deck with everyone’s favourite, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. I also took the opportunity to cycle in a few neat cards I’d pulled in some Beyond Boosters but for the most part I was working with the prefabs on hand.

Surprisingly, as someone who usually leans toward the other three colours, the blue/black Ezio deck (named Brotherhood Agents) was a highlight. Thematically, it leans more toward the stealth and subterfuge of the “classic” AC games versus the red/white deck, Ancient Arsenal’s, more strongarmed approach, and plays a lot with the new Freerunning mechanic introduced in this set. Freerunning essentially allows a player to cast a spell for a reduced cost provided an Assassin or commander they control had dealt combat damage to a player in the same turn. In this deck featuring a lot of agile Assassins and means to kneecap and opponents’ line of defence, I managed to turn a game around in my favour even when I was struggling to pull enough lands to support what I had in-hand.

magic the gathering assassin's creed

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I had a fair amount of fun with the other deck too, which mirrored the “modern” AC titles and their Action RPG trimmings quite nicely thanks to a focus on equipment and brute force. Pitting both decks against each other felt like a clashing of eras of Assassin’s Creed, both sides putting up walls and both breaching them in a fashion befitting of their video game inspirations. It really felt like we we’d taken these iconic leads from the games, given them each an army and dropped them into mortal combat. That might not make much sense from a narrative perspective but it feels just right in play.

And while these new cards are a success mechanically, there’s also a whole contingent of fans out there who are going to rock up to this set for the themed card art and the idea of a whole new world of Assassin’s Creed stuff to collect. These folks are going to be just as well served, with some truly gorgeous renditions of iconic characters, locations, relics, moments and ideas from the video games. Crack open a few packs and you may find the OG lead, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, or the fabled Isu relic, the Apple of Eden. Perhaps you’ll pull a card depicting a Viewpoint Synchronisation, or the man himself, Leonardo da Vinci. There’s a whole series’ history here and all of it looks positively stunning.

magic the gathering assassin's creed

There have been criticisms levelled at this set’s value, given the Beyond Boosters here only contain 7 cards at $10 a pop, and the $50 Collector Boosters have just 10 cards, and that’s incredibly valid. The anticipation of pulling a favourite character or amassing a collection of wonderfully-rendered cards is going to do a lot of the heavy lifting for Assassin’s Creed fans and collectors though, and for those just wanting to play I’d suggest sticking to the comparatively-cheap Starter Kit and enjoying the prefab decks for what they are.

You can find out more about the set on the official web page, or head over to your local game store or Amazon to browse and buy the different available packs.

Magic: The Gathering – Assassin’s Creed on Amazon