The actin cytoskeleton lies at the heart of many essential cellular processes. There are hundreds of proteins that cells use to control the size and shape of actin cytoskeletal networks. As such, various pathogens utilize different strategies to hijack the infected eukaryotic host actin dynamics for their benefit. These include the control of upstream signaling pathways that lead to actin assembly, control of eukaryotic actin assembly factors, encoding toxins that distort regular actin dynamics, or by encoding effectors that directly interact with and assemble actin filaments. The latter class of effectors is unique in that, quite often, they assemble actin in a straightforward manner using novel sequences, folds, and molecular mechanisms. The study of these mechanisms promises to provide major insights into the fundamental determinants of actin assembly, as well as a deeper understanding of host–pathogen interactions in general, and contribute to therapeutic development efforts targeting their respective pathogens. This review discusses mechanisms and highlights shared and unique features of actin assembly by pathogen effectors that directly bind and assemble actin, focusing on eukaryotic actin nucleator functional mimics Rickettsia Sca2 (formin mimic), Burkholderia BimA (Ena/VASP mimic), and Vibrio VopL (tandem WH2-motif mimic).