Gift of Immortality | Theros | Art by Matt Stewart
20, Jun, 24

MTG Assassin's Creed Spoilers Are Heavy On Historic Synergies!

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Since the games it’s based on are so concerned with real-world history, it’s not surprising that the MTG Assassin’s Creed set is packed with Historic synergies in turn. This was clear from the start, with legendary Assassins being revealed alongside icons like Cleopatra, Exiled Pharaoh and Leonardo da Vinci. As spoilers have gone on, however, this theme has only grown richer. Yesterday, we got a huge batch of new spoilers, many of which play very nicely with Historic cards.

Excalibur, Sword Of Eden

A real legend among legends, Excalibur may just be the most famous sword in world history. It gets a fittingly powerful card in Assassin’s Creed, as an equipment with some truly terrifying numbers. To address the elephant in the room: yes, it costs 12, but actually, it doesn’t really. With any number of Historic permanents in play, that cost comes down fast. Especially in a deck like Modern Affinity, where huge Affinity creatures really put a dent in it.

Once in play, Excalibur offers an eye-watering +10/+0 boost for the worthy creature you equip it to. ‘Worthy’ isn’t just fun set dressing there, by the way. Excalibur can only be equipped to a legendary creature, which is a significant downside. Typically equipment like this has a low ‘Equip legendary creature’ cost and a high regular equip cost, but with Excalibur you only get the former. While unfortunate, this does stop Affinity from slapping a mythical blade on their Ornithopter, so we should all be thankful for that.

I’ve mentioned Affinity a few times here, but I actually don’t think Excalibur will see play there. The deck simply doesn’t play any legendary creatures, and I don’t see it throwing in Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp just to enable this. In Commander, however, this is a slam-dunk. 10 extra power makes commander damage wins trivial for many builds, and it comes down fast enough to close games out of nowhere. Get ready to see a lot of this card from your Voltron-loving friends.

Havi, The All-Father

This one is currently untranslated, coming to us from the fine folks at Ubisoft Japan. For those not versed in Japanese, here’s an English translation:

Havi, the All-Father

3RGW

Legendary Creature – God Warrior

As long as there are four or more historic cards in your graveyard, Havi, the All-Father has indestructible. (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas are historic.)

Whenever Havi or another legendary creature you control dies, return target legendary creature card with lesser mana value from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped.

6/6

It’s always great to see more MTG takes on the concept of a God, and Havi is a strong design indeed. Unlike the Theros Gods, which relied on your on-board Devotion, Havi wants you to load your graveyard up with Historic cards to activate his Indestructibility. This isn’t hard to do in any kind of legendary-matters deck, which is exactly where you’ll want to run him.

Why? Because Havi’s other ability turns every legendary creature’s death into a reanimation spell. Granted, this is a bit of a nonbo with Havi himself, since pulling legendaries from your graveyard can bring your Historic count below four. But Havi counts himself as well, so you’ll still get value even if he gets caught shields-down.

Clearly, this is an excellent Commander and a staple in the 99 for any kind of legendary-matters deck. Outside of that, I really doubt Havi sees any play. Six mana is just too much for Modern, even for a card as cool as this one.

Ballad Of The Black Flag

The high seas have always been synonymous with card draw in Magic. Just look at Tarkir’s infamous Treasure Cruise, or the numerous cheap card-drawing Pirates in blue. Ballad of the Black Flag is the next step in that proud tradition: a three-mana Saga with the potential to draw you three cards and much, much more.

The first three chapters here all do the same thing: Mill you for three, then let you recur a Historic card from among them to your hand. Immediately, this is quite a versatile card. Of course, you want to be hitting a Historic card each time here, but Milling yourself for nine is no joke in decks like Zombies, so even if you whiff occasionally this could be worth it.

The final chapter, however, is where you really need to be playing a critical mass of Historic cards. It reduces the cost of your Historic spells by two for a turn, which can lead to some explosive plays if you’ve properly prepared. Of course, it can also just serve as a discount for your Commander, and that may well be good enough.

Blue artifact decks in Commander will absolutely love this card. Once again, it seems too slow for Modern, but I don’t want to totally write it off just yet. Card advantage and a win-con for three mana is a great deal, after all.

What Must Be Done

It’s everyone’s favorite card type: the aggressively-costed white board wipe! What Must Be Done isn’t as much of a feel-bad as something like Farewell, but it’s still immensely powerful. Unsurprisingly, this card is a guaranteed Commander staple in the vast majority of white decks.

First of all, wiping all creatures and artifacts for five mana is a fine rate. The creature part is par for the course, but the artifact part can catch a lot of decks off-guard and totally cripple their game plans. If the card’s text ended there, it would probably still see plenty of play. This card, however, is a classic example of the ‘But wait, there’s more!’ school of modern Magic design.

If you don’t need a board wipe, then What Must Be Done can also double as a reanimation spell for Historic permanents. Five mana is a bit above rate to bring back a creature these days, but this can also hit a range of other card types, so it’s more than acceptable. As with all modal spells, the flexibility is crucial here. Every white Commander deck from Control to Reanimator is going to want this card.

While five mana is a lot, I could actually see this in Modern, too. This is most likely to happen in some kind of Azorius Control list. Here, the added flexibility could become a surprisingly potent extra tool, however, that remains to be seen.

Desynchronization

MTG-Assassins-Creed-Historic-Desynchronization

The MTG Assassin’s Creed set has plenty of cards that reward you for playing Historic permanents. Desynchronization, though, is a card that punishes your opponents for not playing them. For four mana, this is a Cyclonic Rift that spares Historic cards, potentially leading to one-sided board wipes in the right scenarios.

In Commander, despite not hitting Commanders or mana rocks, this will likely still see plenty of play. Clearing up aggressive boards and tokens is always good, especially for four mana at instant speed. What’s more interesting is considering the card for Modern Affinity. In that context, this really will be a one-sided board wipe for the most part, sweeping away blockers so your chunky Affinity beaters can swing in for the win.

Of all the cards in this batch, Desynchronization is the one I feel has the most multi-format potential. Any Historic-heavy deck that can run it will want to consider doing so since it can single-handedly win games in many cases.

Arbaaz Mir

MTG-Assassins-Creed-Historic-Arbaaz-Mir

Speaking of multi-format potential, Arbaaz Mir is another MTG Assassin’s Creed Historic card that’s well worth shouting about. This lesser-known Assassin is a two mana 2/2, and a legendary in his own right, so he works with your other Historic synergies. What we’re really here for, however, is the triggered ability. Each time Arbaaz or another Historic permanent enters the battlefield under your control, you get to ping each opponent and gain a life.

For anyone who’s ever lost to a combo deck, alarm bells should be ringing right about now. It’s not hard at all to envision loops involving Retraction Helix, Rona, Herald of Invasion, and Mox Amber, resulting in infinite damage and an instant win, even in Commander. Granted, such loops are resource-intensive, but they’re still well worth bearing in mind. The more enablers such decks have, the more consistent they become.

Even played fairly, Arbaaz seems legit in both Commander and Modern. Artifact decks are adept at dropping lots of permanents at once, and Arbaaz lets you turn those drops into damage with ease. As with all Blood Artist-type effects, this is a card that will likely hold value for a long, long time, and always be a concern when it’s dropped down against you.

Staff Of Eden, Vault’s Key

MTG-Assassins-Creed-Historic-Staff-of-Eden-Vaults-Key

Wrapping up this batch of Historic-themed MTG Assassin’s Creed spoilers, we have Staff of Eden, Vault’s Key. This is another legendary treasure in the vein of Excalibur, but rather than beat opponents to death this one brings things back to life. Not necessarily your things, either. When you play it, you can reanimate any legendary permanent from any graveyard: not a bad deal for six mana.

In addition, you can tap the staff to draw a card for each permanent you control but don’t own. Interesting that an Assassin’s Creed card would actively encourage graverobbing, but here we are. This is obviously fantastic in Commander even as a standalone, due to the high volume of chunky legendary threats in the format. Where it really shines, however, is in a Theft Typal deck.

Commanders like Gonti, Canny Acquisitor can make great use of this effect, drawing multiple cards per turn after a successful heist. We’ve seen an uptick in cards like this recently, so Staff of Eden is well-placed to take advantage of them. Just make sure you run a few big legends yourself, in case grand larceny isn’t an option.

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

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