Dub | Dominaria | Art by Bastien L. Deharme
19, Jun, 24

New Assassin's Creed Uncommon Breaks Magic's Deckbuilding Rules!

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Yesterday marked the official start of Assassin’s Creed preview season, which means we’re now swimming in spicy new Universes Beyond spoilers. As with Lord of the Rings and Fallout before it, this set appears to be a flavor home run. Iconic characters brush shoulders with signature weapons and locations, and mechanics like Freerunning sell the Assassin fantasy well. Among all of this goodness, however, one card stands out. That card is Templar Knight, and it’s a first for MTG as a whole.

Templar Knight: An MTG Milestone

Let’s break it down. Templar Knight is a two mana 3/1 Human Knight with Vigilance. Solid enough. It also has an activated ability wherein you can pay one white and tap five attacking Templar Knights you control to tutor a legendary artifact right onto the battlefield. That’s a great ability, but how are you going to get five Templar Knights in play at once? Before you reach for the Clone effects, let’s give that last line a read.

“A deck can have any number of cards named Templar Knight.” Well, that’s that sorted then. In the grand tradition of cards like Shadowborn Apostle and Persistent Petitioners, Templar Knight breaks Magic’s typical four-per-deck restriction (or one-per-deck in Commander) and lets you jam as many as you’d like. You need all the help you can get when you’re hunting down priceless artifacts, after all.

We’ll get to the playability of Templar Knight in a minute, but it’s important to take a second and acknowledge its significance in a vacuum, too. This is only the seventh ‘A deck can have any number of cards named X’ card in Magic’s history. It’s also the first one in white, which finally gives every color access to a card like this. It’s a milestone card, in other words, and another flavor win for the Assassin’s Creed set.

The Best Treasures To Seek

So it’s an important card, then, but is it a playable one? To start with, I think it’s safe to say the answer is ‘no’ in every format bar Commander. Cards like these are just too slow for the cutthroat world of Constructed Magic. In Commander, however, it’s not out of the question. Other ‘A deck can have any number of cards named X’ cards, Relentless Rats and Slime Against Humanity in particular, have done well there, so there’s no reason this can’t too.

Granted, you need to amass five or more copies of Templar Knight before it does anything, but that’s less than the six you need for Shadowborn Apostle. As with all of these cards, Thrumming Stone is your best friend when trying to get a critical mass on board. A global Haste granter like Anger will then let them all attack immediately. At which point you can start tutoring out legendary artifacts.

What are the best options for this? Well, given how many powerful artifacts there are in Magic, a surprisingly small number of them are legendary. This gives you a limited pool to draw from, but there are some bangers within if you dive deep enough. The Circle of Loyalty, for example, is a slam-dunk both flavorfully and mechanically. It’s a great support piece for Knight decks, which Templar Knight brews will be by necessity, and it provides an Anthem for your 3/1 hordes.

Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut is similar, making your Templar Knights 5/3 Juggernauts that can end a game in short order. Alternatively, you can call down Parhelion II, a self-contained value that can quickly take over a game. These are just a few good options, but in summary: getting this effect off is powerful, but will rarely win you the game on the spot.

Continuing The Legacy

Templar-Knight-MTG-Other-Examples

That’s not a huge concern, however, for the type of player that is likely to build a Templar Knight MTG deck. For such players, the satisfaction of getting this effect off even once likely outweighs the satisfaction a typical player gets from winning. It’s a Johnny player’s dream, basically.

Despite the low likelihood of Templar Knight seeing real competitive success, players are predicting a hefty price tag for the card upon release. In fact, drakeblood4, in the card’s r/MagicTCG thread, went so far as to say “Watch this be the most expensive card in the set.” This sounds silly at first, but there’s real precedent for it. Other than Shadowborn Apostle and Persistent Petitioners, which have been reprinted many times, the rest of these cards are all sitting at around $2-3. Considering they’re all commons, those are some spicy prices indeed.

The reason for this is that decks that want to play these cards need a lot more than the typical four copies. In fact, most will need 20 or more to hit the critical mass they need. This puts a strain on supply, which in turn jacks up the price. The most notable example of this effect was seen with Nazgûl from Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. This is a $9 uncommon precisely because you can run nine of it in your deck, rather than the usual four.

Given the smaller pack size for Assassin’s Creed, we could well see Templar Knight surpass its peers and rival Nazgûl price-wise later down the line. For the sake of janky Templar treasure hunt builds, I hope this isn’t the case. All signs, however, point to this being a pricey piece of history.

Read More: Assassin’s Creed MTG Trailer Drops a Boatload of Spoilers!

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