My my my, we just loooove to hear ourselves don't we?
Look at you, defending the indefensible.*It's almost distressing how poor the pattern recognition is from people going backward into editions released before they began playing the game themselves. Perhaps it just isn't possible to let go of whatever foundation one starts with. To sum up:
Bro, I plaid D&D and AD&D (1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5) all through the 80's and 90's. 3e came along and I ditched what was to myself and my friends, a tangled mess of insanity. To us (and we weren't the only ones) the only thing salvageable from those decades are the awesome adventure scenarios and imaginative campaign worlds. (I will stop here before I set off another pointless edition war). I am willing to accept that to understand the lightning in the bottle that is a classic AD&D module, it helps to immerse oneself in the original system, and that is why I (and I am not alone) mostly put up with the edition bashing on the various OSR blogs
You are correct in a way however, my memory of moribund editions is flawed at best and clouded by prejudice at worst. I went and reread the Assassin entry and indeed, I had conflated the poison paragraph with the death-attack paragraph. My bad.
It's still a shitty death-attack mechanic.
The alignment restriction is still stifling.
And, rules as written, the 2nd function of an assassin is a spy, so ... muh Zero-Dark Jason 007 all day every day my dude. That I chose to express it in anachronistic terms is a matter of semantics.
All of your arguments seem to me to be supporting the holistic integrity of the rules as opposed to the actual functionality/playability/utility of this particular character class.
Moving on from my poorly supported, knee-jerk reaction: My whole impassioned plee was for a build that one-shot kills (much) less, but could absolutely make it stick even against an overwhelmingly powerful opponent given appropriate planning, preparation and support. In my opinion, none of the editions offer that. As I said, I'm not looking for a killing machine that's going to sideline the other characters or hijack the plot, but I am looking for something a lot less swingy than a crappy 50/50 on the percentile dice with maybe a few digits one way or the other from DM latitude, when I've made it my whole mission to end this one primary target.