Fallout - cEDH Set Review

Jake FitzSimons • March 6, 2024

The Wise Mothman by David Gaillet

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands | Allied & Shards | Enemy & Wedges | cEDH | Reprints

G'day, wasteland warriors, Jake FitzSimons here to crack open the vault on Universes Beyond: Fallout and review the best new cEDH cards. We'll be looking at three new Food Chain options, two black board wipes, a mass Treasure producer, and a white card that every Godo player in cEDH wishes was red instead. Welcome to the wasteland.


Codsworth, Handy Helper

I've never seen a card that wanted to be another color so badly. That's not to say that Codsworth, Handy Helper isn't in the wrong part of the color pie; it's probably more reasonable as a white card than it is a red card, but, pip-boy oh pip-boy, would this have been an incredible card for Godo, Bandit Warlord. Every line of text would have been relevant for cEDH's resident helm-wielding Barbarian! Ward 2 is a surprisingly effective deterrent for targeted removal, tapping for Equipment mana is useful for miscellaneous utility and the rare cases where you have to hard cast Helm of the Host, and of course, cheating on the Helm's equip cost is a massive boon for Godo. 

Being white, I can't think of a good use for it other than maybe Koll, the Forgemaster, and much as I love the deck, I can't honestly claim that it's a real contender in cEDH. Even if it was, Codsworth, Handy Helper would feel like the 100th card, almost good enough to see play, but just fringe enough to be left out of most 99s. 


Piper Wright, Publick Reporter

Two sets ago, I wouldn't have given Piper Wright, Publick Reporter a second glance, but now that Lonis, Genetics Expert exists, this Detective might have a home in cEDH. You can read an extensive writeup on Lonis from Sam Black on Commander's Herald, but for a quick summary, Lonis is a Simic commander that goes infinite with Extruder. Piper won't have an impact on that combo, but the second major card in Lonis decks is Tarrian's Soulcleaver. As Sam says, "[W]ith the Soulcleaver equipped to Lonis, you put a +1/+1 counter on Lonis whenever an artifact or creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, such as whenever a Clue is sacrificed," and Piper Wright, Publick Reporter can easily take the place of Tarrian's Soulcleaver in this combo. 

With Piper Wright, Publick Reporter and Lonis, Genetics Expert in play, all you need is a sacrifice outlet for artifacts and you'll be be rewarded with infinite +1/+1 counters on every creature you control. This is particularly notable because Piper is a creature herself, a little easier to tutor, and slightly cheaper to get up and running. If Lonis is your cup of tea and you refuse to play the ultimate cEDH Simic deck, find some room for Piper.


Nuclear Fallout

Can a deluge get anymore toxic than a literal nuclear fallout? Maybe not, but if you want to clear the board at an efficient rate, stick with the real thing, Toxic Deluge. Nuclear Fallout has some minor upsides, as it can be used as a win condition with infinite mana; just bear in mind that most decks that can produce infinite mana can win with their commander, so you shouldn't need a third piece to go off and win the game in the first place. This is the first card on the list that places rad counters, so let's quickly go over them: "At the beginning of your precombat main phase, if you have any rad counters, mill that many cards. For each nonland card milled this way, you lose 1 life and a rad counter." If you produce an infinite amount of them at sorcery speed, you'll kill every opponent before you take your next turn. That said, there's no real reason to play Nuclear Fallout unless you're absolutely desperate for more board wipes or you want a payoff for infinite mana.


Speaking of black board wipes, V.A.T.S. is another option that's more or less outclassed by Toxic Deluge except for scenarios where there are a lot of opposing creatures that share the same toughness value. Thankfully, the vast majority of noncommander creatures in cEDH hover between the one and three toughness mark, so you're likely to hit a good handful of problems at once. With split second to boot (a charming reference to how V.A.T.S. works in Fallout), it's also nigh on uncounterable and impossible to react to, so if you find your usual board wipe options are falling to pieces on the stack, V.A.T.S might be worth a look. But really, when it comes to boardwipes, cEDH never changes.


Bottle-Cap Blast

Bottle-Cap Blast is removal and Treasure production stapled together, which sounds unreal on the face of it, but isn't quite as rosy when you look a little closer. To begin with, five mana for single target removal is decidedly not where you want to be in cEDH. Even with improvise, a five-mana investment to remove a one toughness creature isn't all that appealing compared to the likes of Swords to Plowshares or a bounce spell and improvise isn't all that exciting given that most artifacts in most decks produce mana already. Yes, you do make Treasures, but only in excess of what it took to kill the creature, and the Treasures you make enter tapped, so you can't even get value until your next turn. So why bring it up at all?

Magda, Brazen Outlaw, cEDH's resident Dwarf, that's why. Magda doesn't care what state the Treasures are in, she just cares that she has Treasures to play with in the first place, courtesy of her activated ability that can sacrifice them to dig out a Dragon or an artifact. In Magda, this is the full package, which means there's never been a better time to learn the deck!

Grim Reaper's Sprint

As long as you enable Morbid, Grim Reaper's Sprint is the cheapest way to take extra combats we've seen so far in Magic, and it even untaps all your creatures. That alone might be interesting enough for Najeela, the Blade-Blossom players looking to experiment and get a bunch of extra Warriors or Pako, Arcane Retriever fans who'll do anything to swing a second time, but what really makes it interesting is that it's the first time we've seen additional combats attached to an enter-the-battlefield trigger. That means Displacer Kitten might have something to say about Grim Reaper's Sprint as the two of them together will turn every noncreature spell into an additional combat. This is very cool, it just lacks an appropriate shell to really shine in. I'm unsure if Grim Reaper's Sprint has a home right now, but it's an A combo piece looking for its B soulmate. Keep an eye on it, because it shouldn't be long before we see something that breaks it in half.

Rose, Cutthroat Raider

Rose, Cutthroat Raider does a halfway decent job of producing red mana and a pretty terrible job of doing anything else. This is the first card on the list that produces Junk tokens, so just quickly, they're artifact tokens that you need to tap and sacrifice to exile the top card of your library, a card which you can only play that turn. For cEDH purposes, they're awful close to useless. If you want a commander that gives real card advantage for attacking, stick with Tymna the Weaver and if you want real mana advantage for attacking, stick with Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator. If you want both, just partner those two together and enjoy access to three colors instead of just one.


Rampaging Yao Guai

Rampaging Yao Guai might be a passable tool for mono-green decks looking to stamp out those unnatural artifacts that green players hate so much, but it warrants a closer reading than I've seen some early reviewers give it. It doesn't destroy artifacts and enchantments with a mana value equal or less to X, it destroys target artifacts and enchantments with total mana value less than or equal to X. That massively increases how much mana you need to spend to get use out of Rampaging Yao Guai. No matter how much you spend, you'll always be able to destroy Treasures and Moxen and Lotus Petals that haven't been cracked yet, but that's not much to phone Vault 101 about. Add one mana and you're only popping a Mystic Remora- or a Esper Sentinel- sized problem in addition. 

When you do the maths, Rampaging Yao Guai just doesn't add up. Stick with Collector Ouphe or Manglehorn if you want to handle artifacts, and if you insist on blowing up half the board in one fell swoop, Bane of Progress is significantly more efficient. 


Dogmeat, Ever Loyal

The first of the Food Chain outlets and for my money, the worst of them, for reasons beyond the fact that you'd rather be in Sultai than Naya if you're playing cEDH. First, the combo. With Food Chain and Eternal Scourge or Squee, Goblin Nabob, making infinite creature mana is a forgone conclusion, which allows you to cast and recast Dogmeat, Ever Loyal ad infinitum. But while the Master and the Mothman result in infinite rad counters, Dogmeat, Ever Loyal mills your entire library and returns every Aura and Equipment. That's not to say you can't win from there (Verdant Eidolon and Fire Whip could do it), but it requires extra slots in your deck compared to typical Food Chain lines. It also requires leftover mana after assembling the combo, which is a major downside. Dogmeat, Ever Loyal also produces psuedo-card advantage via crappy junk tokens (more like jank tokens, am I right?), but it's going to take a lot of mana and even more deck space to make that happen in the first place.  

Raul, Trouble Shooter

Raul, Trouble Shooter would have been really cool without that word "once" at the beginning of its rules text. Can you imagine how fun casting Traumatize on yourself and having half your deck in graveyard could have been? Unfortunately we have to play the card that was printed, and Raul, Trouble Shooter just ain't it. Yes, it is Dimir, and yes, it goes infinite with Dramatic Reversal and Isochron Scepter, but that's an incredibly low bar in 2024. The Ancient One can do it, Araumi can do it, Vohar can do it, and we even have two different flavors of Rona that can do it, so Raul isn't exactly breaking new ground.

The Wise Mothman

The second of the three possible Food Chain commanders, The Wise Mothman will completely irradiate every opponent if you cast and recast it after assembling infinite creature mana with Food Chain and either Eternal Scourge or Misthollow Griffin. This isn't new for Sultai, as we've had Cazur, Ruthless Stalker and Ukkima, Stalking Shadow for a couple of years now, but the Warrior and the Whale Wolf just don't have that post-apocalyptic vibe that Fallout fans are looking for. 

The other thing they don't have is the ability to place a whole libraries worth of +1/+1 counters on your entire board with the help of Hermit Druid, and you know what? Neither does The Wise Mothman. It looks like Hermit Druid and The Wise Mothman should be a match made in heaven, and this is where many cEDH brewers' minds went when the big moth was spoiled four months ago (myself included), but the reality is that Hermit Druid doesn't work that way. It feels like it mills given that most of us just put cards into the graveyard until they hit a basic, but it actually reveals them until the condition is met, then the cards are put into the bin, so there's no interaction here. Sad. Thankfully, Sultai Food Chain fans that demand a Fallout commander can try...

The Master, Transcendent

The Master, Transcendent

I've saved the best till last. The Master, Transcendent is more than just another Food Chain commander, he actually has benefit besides! He can win exactly the same way that The Wise Mothman can, but he also has an activated ability that does something worth doing. Funnily enough, his second ability also revolves around mill, and it's a little weird how similar the Master and the Mothman are in that regard. God I wish Hermit Druid wasn't worded the way he was!

Regardless, the ability to reanimate a creature you've milled as a 3/3 Mutant is quite the boon given that most cEDH creatures aren't even that big to begin with, and all your best targets don't care if they show up smaller than they usually would be. Mesmeric Orb is the best way to mill the whole table en masse in a repeatable fashion and with The Master, Transcendent you've got a chance of nabbing a Dockside Extortionist or a Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff or any of another hundred useful creatures floating around the average cEDH table. You could even live the dream and get a 3/3 Esper Sentinel!

As for direct combo potential, you can do tricky stuff like target yourself with the rad counters from The Master, Transcendent so you have a mill trigger on your next precombat main phase. Simply cast a topdeck tutor like Vampiric Tutor or Worldly Tutor in response to that mill trigger, and you'll be able to reanimate a crucial combo piece like Thassa's Oracle or an otherwise prohibitively expensive fatty like Razaketh, the Foullooded or Hoarding Broodlord. A few hoops to jump through, but you won't be the clunkiest clown in the circus when you do. The Master, Transcendent is an easy choice for the best card in the set.

A Wasteland?

Well, that's Fallout. It seems like a wonderful set if you're a hardcore Fallout fan and a fairly forgettable one if you're just here for cEDH cards. But I realise that many readers grew up with Fallout in one form or another (I hope your first experience with the franchise wasn't Fallout 76) and even among us soulless cEDH players who only care about winning, good flavor goes a long way. I confess I haven't been a fan of Fallout since playing Fallout 3 back in the "piss filter" era of video games in the mid to late noughties, so a lot of the flavor here is lost on me, but if you love Fallout, I'm sure you'll be able to make something on this list work for you. Having said that, I strongly suspect that a year from now, the only cards above that will be seeing any sort of regular play will be The Master, Transcendent and Bottle-Cap Blast, but so it goes. I'm just hoping the next set has commanders that don't go infinite with Food Chain. I'm sick of talking about it! Until next time. 

Jake FitzSimons is a writer from Sydney and a Magic fiend. He's either the johnniest spike or the spikiest johnny, nobody is sure which. When he isn’t brewing or playing cEDH, he can be found writing, playing piano, and doting on his little cat.