Jeremy enjoys gaming when not helping manage the college he graduated from.
The Best Assassins in Assassin's Creed
The Brotherhood of Assassins encompasses millennia of freedom-fighters. Where Templars seek unity through control, Assassins believe in free will, leading to centuries of bloody conflict between the two. And despite their malicious-sounding name, Assassins are generally presented as the heroic protagonists of the AC universe, repeatedly thwarting Templar attempts to manipulate mankind.
While they prefer covert operations to open combat, several Assassins prove particularly skilled—today we'll examine the ten most notorious and powerful rogues throughout Assassin's Creed! Spoilers ahead.
10. Edward Kenway
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Forsaken
Father of Haytham Kenway and grandfather to Connor Kenway, Edward spent years pursuing riches as a pirate. His self-centered quest eventually found him shipwrecked, where he killed a wounded Assassin and assumed his identity. After various misadventures, his values began to gradually shift, but it was a long and arduous process, with Edward ultimately overcoming his greed to pursue the Brotherhood's freedom campaign.
Edward was one of the best marksmen to ever enlist; to compensate for his era's single-round firearms, he carried four pistols, granting four shots before needing to reload. But while he killed Templar Grand Master Torres, his swordplay was less remarkable, ultimately failing against two mercenaries.
9. Thomas de Carneillon
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Unity
Although we only know tidbits of this legendary French Assassin, Thomas played a crucial role in driving the Templars underground. Disguising Assassins as mercenaries, his force stormed the Parisian temple in 1307. Though he was briefly outdueled by Templar Jacques de Molay, Thomas soon retaliated with a killing blow, preventing the Templars from recovering their Eden relics.
Throughout the following decades, Thomas and his fellow Assassins traveled Europe to snuff out any remaining Templar remnants, a largely-successful campaign that elevated him to legendary status among the Brotherhood.
8. Aveline de Grandpré
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation
At the young age of 12, Aveline's shrewd and idealistic nature earned the respect of Assassin Agaté, who mentored the young girl. Once fully trained, Aveline launched an impressive anti-slave campaign that liberated many of Louisiana's captives, at times aided by Connor Kenway (of Assassin's Creed 3 fame).
Perhaps Aveline's most noteworthy feat was her conquest of all Templars in New Orleans, a powerful victory for the Brotherhood. While no slouch in combat, she was exceptionally skilled with disguises, utilizing slave and noble costumes to infiltrate key areas without raising suspicion.
7. Arno Dorian
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Unity
Similarly to the infamous Ezio, Arno was a carefree man in his youth before Templars killed his family and prompted his induction into the Brotherhood. Developing his abilities, he eliminated many Templars, recovered an Apple of Eden, and eventually obtained the rank of Master Assassin.
Arno carries an impressive win record, defeating his mentor Pierre Bellec (who had sabotaged a proposed truce between Assassins and Templars) and Templar Grand Master François-Thomas Germain. He was also one of the Brotherhood's most enlightened members, realizing that taking its doctrine too far resulted in barbarism comparable to their enemies, and he sought to bridge the gap between the warring factions.
6. Galina Voronina
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Initiates
Likely the strongest modern-era Assassin, Galina's the only user of the Russian Animus to resist mental decay. She easily defeats several unstable Assassins, ending their suffering and impressing Assassin leader Gavin Banks.
Officially joining the cause, Galina participates in the destruction of the Paris Abstergo branch (a Templar-based company), and defeats Templars Sorkin and Berg. She's remarkably talented with both blades and firearms, and her uncanny ability to silently enter rooms unnerves even fellow Assassins. She's also one of few modern Assassins to continue employing their trademark hidden blades, and she's more than willing to improvise—Galina once killed three Templars with a candlestick.
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5. Shao Jun
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Embers
After being rescued from a life as a concubine, Shao joins the Assassin cause, but her Chinese sect was forced into hiding after being declared public enemies of the Templars. Years later, Shao returns on a mission of vengeance, slowly eliminating the Templars' hold on China and eventually becoming its reigning "Mentor" (Assassin instructor).
Trained by several masters (including Ezio himself), Shao is one of the most combat-proficient Assassins of all time, blending martial arts, swordplay, and the unique "footblade" hidden in her boot. While perfectly capable of stealth, her agile fighting style was once described as a "dance of death", and she could be devious when needed, tricking a target into ingesting poison disguised as an immortality elixir.
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
In terms of contribution to the Assassin cause, this pair falls short of their peers, as they existed before the Brotherhood's official construction (but are considered precursor Assassins). Still, in raw power, few if any Assassins match these Spartan warriors.
Players can experience Odyssey as either Alexios or Kassandra, and no matter which you pick, you'll eventually find the legendary Spear of Leonidas. This weapon augments its wielder's strength, speed, and regeneration, letting your Spartan go head-to-head with mythical beasts like cyclopes and the Nemean Lion. Ironically, despite more players using Alexios, Kassandra is the official canonical protagonist.
3. Connor Kenway
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed 3
Edward's grandson and an ancestor of Desmond Miles, Connor (also called Ratonhnhaké:ton) joins the Assassins under the mistaken belief that the Templars had killed his mother. Though he later discovers their innocence (in that matter at least), Connor remains devoted to the Assassin cause and hones his skills under the renowned Achilles Davenport.
In his youth, Connor's native tribe also trained him as a hunter, and his larger build makes him a brutal warrior. Often dual-wielding blades and tomahawks, Connor combated Templars as easily as he did bears and bobcats, and he's not a bad shot either. Taking after his grandfather, he also becomes a skilled ship captain, eventually finding a Shard of Eden that rendered him immune to gunfire.
2. Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed
Raised as an Assassin from birth, Altaïr was immensely gifted, earning the rank of Master Assassin at age 24. His abilities made him arrogant and sometimes detached, but he gradually matured, eventually defeating his treacherous mentor Al Mualim and usurping his leadership position.
The Assassin movement flourished under Altaïr's guidance, continuously thwarting Templar plots and crafting new hidden blade modifications and assassination techniques. Amazingly, Altaïr supposedly retained his physical prowess at age 92, and was widely regarded as the greatest single contributor to the Brotherhood yet.
1. Ezio Auditore da Firenze
First Appearance: Assassin's Creed 2
Despite a late start, beginning his Assassin training at 17, Ezio becomes arguably the most renowned Assassin of all time. In his youth, he manages to topple Templar Grand Master Borgia, unite the Codex pages written by Altaïr, and save numerous Italian cities from Templar rule.
Ezio went on to write his own Codex, tutor Shao Jun, and create a Golden Age for Assassins by greatly expanding their influence throughout Europe. Ezio also demonstrates remarkable endurance and strength, single-handedly defeating several guards during the siege of Monteriggioni despite having suffered a fall and numerous gunshot wounds. Thanks to the Apple of Eden, he even learns the truth of his life, realized it's being witnessed centuries later by his own descendant.
Other Notable Assassins
We've now reviewed the franchise's top operatives, but picking just 10 ignores notable warriors like Nikolai Orehov, the prestigious Frye family, movie protagonist Aguilar de Nerha, and Shay Cormac—a rogue Assassin who defects to the Templars.
While we occasionally encounter a misguided or bloodthirsty Assassin, most are benevolent individuals fighting for a cause greater than themselves, and some (like Connor) even seek peace with the Templars. Eventually, we'll discover how their repeating conflict ends, but for now, vote for your favorite Assassin and I'll see you at our next gaming countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill
Qaasim Middleton on September 26, 2019:
It will forever, and, always be:
Ezio Auditore da Firenze