Ezio Auditore da Firenze | Assassin's Creed | Art by Fajareka Setiawan
19, Jun, 24

What Is Freerunning In MTG Assassin's Creed?

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One of the main reasons behind MTG’s complexity as a card game is the abundance of mechanics. Each new release brings a handful of new keywords, each of which interacts with different things in different contexts. For a new player, it’s a lot to get your head around. Even the seemingly casual-friendly Universes Beyond products aren’t safe from this. In the upcoming MTG Assassin’s Creed expansion, a new mechanic called Freerunning joins the fray.

What Is Freerunning In MTG Assassin’s Creed?

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What exactly is Freerunning? I’m glad you asked! Freerunning is an alternate casting cost mechanic, which allows you to pay less for a card if one of two conditions has been met. These conditions are as follows:

  • You’ve dealt combat damage to an opponent with an Assassin this turn.
  • You’ve dealt combat damage to an opponent with your Commander this turn.

So if you have a card with Freerunning in your hand, you can choose to cast it normally or wait until you can sneak an Assassin or Commander in to take advantage of the reduced rate. Since Freerunning specifies combat damage, not damage in general, you’ll largely be casting cards with it during your postcombat main phase. Also, you won’t be able to use Equipment that grants ping abilities to easily enable it. C’est la vie.

If you’re a long-time MTG player, the Assassin’s Creed Freerunning mechanic may look a little familiar. It’s functionally very similar to Prowl, a mechanic from Morningtide that offered the same thing for Rogues and other creature types. What sets Freerunning apart is the fact that it counts Commander damage too. This makes cards with it usable outside of dedicated Assassin decks; if you’ve got an evasive Commander, then you can dabble in a spot of Freerunning.

The Best Freerunning Cards

Freerunning-MTG-Assassins-Creed-Best-Cards

So we’ve covered how it works, now let’s talk about some Freerunning cards from MTG Assassin’s Creed! These are the Freerunning cards I think will serve you the best, be it in Commander, Modern, or beyond. Note that, at the time of writing, preview season for the set is still well underway. For that reason, expect entries of this list may move about as more cards with Freerunning are spoiled.

Ezio Auditore Da Firenze

As one of Assassin’s Creed’s most popular protagonists, it’s only right that Ezio gets one of its best Freerunning cards, too. Ezio is a bit of a Freerunning lord, actually. He doesn’t have Freerunning himself, but he grants it to every other Assassin in your deck while he’s in play. The cost? A mere two black mana.

That’s already quite exciting, but there’s more to our bladed buddy yet. Firstly, Ezio has a very reasonable mana cost, at just two mana. Secondly, he has evasion in Menace, which means he can get through for damage to enable the Freerunning he grants to your other creatures. Thirdly, Ezio has a triggered ability that uses all five colors of mana. This means that, if you use Ezio as your Commander, you can run cards of all five colors in the deck alongside him. Notably, this includes all of the expensive multicolored Assassins from the Assassin’s Creed set.

Ignore the flashy ‘that player loses the game’ text here. Ezio is a five-color Assassins Commander that lets you play the best creatures in the type for two black mana each. He’s cheap enough to swing reliably on turn three, at which point a two mana Eivor, Wolf-Kissed or Edward Kenway can really swing the game. If Assassins take off in Commander post-release, it’ll be because of this icon right here.

Eagle Vision

On the opposite side of the coin from Ezio, we have Eagle Vision. Rather than a Commander for a specific archetype, Vision is a very generic draw spell that most blue Commander decks can play. A lot of staple blue Commanders like Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator have evasion built in, which makes it easy to treat this as a two mana draw three in most cases.

That’s an incredibly efficient card, and that goes double in an Assassin deck, where you get even more chances to enable it. Even casting Eagle Vision for five won’t feel terrible in Commander, though; most decks can get to that point early thanks to Sol Ring et al, after all.

So Eagle Vision is great in Commander, that much is clear. The more interesting question is how it will fare in Modern. It may be a lightning-fast format, but it’s still not quite at the point where paying two mana to draw three isn’t good enough. The question is whether you’ll be able to turn it on regularly in the absence of the Commander damage option. So far that’s looking like a no, but Assassin’s Creed could still have some cheap, evasive Assassins waiting in the wings to prove me wrong.

Petty Larceny

From a Freerunning card that’s great in Commander, to one that could see play in Commander and Modern, to one that’s almost certainly better in Modern. We really have come full circle here today. Petty Larceny is four mana, or two with Freerunning, to exile two cards from an opponent’s library and cast them at any time. You also get a Treasure token to help you cast them. A nice touch indeed.

The reason I say this will be better in Modern than Commander is down to one factor: consistency. Modern is made up of tightly-tuned 60 card decks, all of which are efficient enough to compete with the best. In Commander, things are much more variable, even when you step up to cEDH level. Basically, you’re much more likely to hit two relevant cards with this in Modern than you are in Commander. For that reason, I think that’s where the card has the best shot.

That’s not to say it has a good shot, mind you. Petty Larceny has the same problem as Eagle Vision in the format, where enabling it is a tricky prospect. Playing this for four is a great way to lose in Modern, so you really need to be Freerunning it out in order to feel good about it. That said, I could see this being a strong card in specific mirror matches, provided some powerful Assassins are revealed in the days to come.

Read More: New Assassin’s Creed Uncommon Breaks Magic’s Deckbuilding Rules!

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