Fallout Set Review - Red

Queen Of Cardboard • March 5, 2024

Rose, Cutthroat Raider by Zezhou Chen

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

Hanging Out at the Wayward

Hey friends! My name is Beth, Queen of Cardboard, and I'm going to be going over the red cards from the Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond Fallout set. The Fallout series has been one of my favorite game series to play, and I'm excited to get to review and play the cards from this set. As a player I tend to use red for its quick damage and aggressive tactics, so let's see how this set holds up.


Duchess, Wayward Tavernkeep

Duchess is one of the first characters you meet in Fallout 76, and as a Magic card she is very on-brand for the set. Her triggered ability, titled Hunters for Hire, is the name of one of the first quests you're given, from this same character in her tavern, The Wayward. This card introduces the next artifact token, Junk. Junk tokens allow you to put cards into exile and then play them the turn you activate the Junk token. Brandon's set review for Red from Murders at Karlov Manor was aptly titled This is Prosper's World, We're Just Living in It. Junk tokens seem to be custom-made for Prosper, Tome-Bound, and that's terrifying. While Prosper and Rocco benefit from Junk, it doesn't seem that any commander benefits from exile play in this set.

In addition to Junk tokens, Duchess adds a quest counter to any of your creatures that manage to deal combat damage to a player. Before this set, quest counters were only available to enchantments, so I'll be looking for a way to break this with cards like Goldberry, River-Daughter. Additionally, this seems like it can get out of control, with new creatures like ED-E, Lonesome Eyebot and Craig Boone, Novac Guard giving you massive benefits from the number of quest counters on them.

Veronica, Dissident Scribe

Veronica is a character introduced in Fallout: New Vegas who struggles with her affiliation with the Brotherhood, making Dissident a perfect name for her. In addition, having her retrieve junk is a great ability, due to scribes' responsibilities being procurement of supplies. Unsurprisingly, she's pretty perfectly designed as related to her Fallout character in the game. In Magic, she's powerful, giving an impulse draw ability every attack, coming in with three power and three toughness in addition having menace tacked on. She'll likely be a card that will get in for combat damage a few times. Impulse draw can be extremely useful to get through your deck, and with commanders like Kess, Dissident Mage or Chainer, Nightmare Adept there's really little downside to using your graveyard as a holding place for cards you want to cast later.

Rose, Cutthroat Raider

Sticking with the Junk theme, we've got Rose, a murderous robot first introduced in Fallout 76. Rose's story is kind of sad, but if you can befriend this robot by completing her questline, you'll be able to clear out a lot of raiders in the area. Rose doesn't particularly care who you kill, making cutthroat an apt choice along with her end-of-combat ability. Rose, Cutthroat Raider awards you with one Junk token for each opponent you swing at. This is particularly synergistic with my favorite Dinosaur, Etali, Primal Storm. While I love casting from exile using Etali's ability, I'm a little concerned about Junk tokens actually getting used. I'm already not particularly good with non-Treasure artifact tokens and sometimes have a board mucked up with these types of tokens. However, thanks to cards like Quintorius Kand, I think you can find a use for making as many of these tokens as possible.

The Motherlode, Excavator

If you've played Fallout 76, you've probably come in contact with The Motherlode. After rescuing this abandoned Robot, it then leaves behind a bevy of rewards. She's dubbed the "friendliest drill", but that doesn't seem to correlate to its Magic card. Personally, though you can speak to The Motherlode, I'm struggling to see it as a creature, and for me, this might be the first miss. I think this card would have been better served as an artifact that rewards you for doing something in the game. Magic has tons of ways to complete this type of transaction already utilizing cards like Trading Post to receive some kind of reward in exchange for doing something.

This version of The Motherlode, Excavator utilizes energy to destroy nonbasic lands and disables flying creatures from blocking when attacking with Motherlode. Energy is not something that's been utilized since Kaladesh, so I'll be interested to see if these cards make a return to play in Commander alongside these Fallout cards. As for the Motherlode, I think having a way to destroy nonbasic lands again and again is pretty strong and could be a valuable asset to red decks as long as you've got a reliable way to make energy counters.

Mysterious Stranger

Mysterious Stranger is an ability that allows a helper to come when you need him most, saving you from sticky situations, based purely on luck. Having flash seems very apt as you never know when the Mysterious Stranger will appear. I would like to see a little more chaos with this creature, but it allows you to exile an instant or sorcery from each graveyard, copying one of those at random. This is an enter-the-battlefield effect, so if this can be flickered with something like Conjurer's Closet, you can not only remove cards from your opponents' graveyards but also cast one of them. There doesn't seem to be a downside to this card, and it will help you when you need him the most.

Megaton's Fate

Megaton is a town found in Fallout 3, one where you must make a choice either to save the town or to blow up the atomic bomb after which it is named and around which it is centered. This card depicts what happens to Megaton if you choose the latter in its art, but it offers you a choice, to disarm or detonate. Unlike in the game, disarming allows you to turn an unused artifact, like those Junk tokens your opponents have laying around, into Treasure. When you detonate the card, you, too, will be punished by receiving four rad counters alongside your opponents and effectively wiping the board by dealing eight damage to each creature. I like this balance despite it not being accurate to the game after which it was designed, and I can see utilizing the first choice in this spell. After all, who wouldn't want to turn a pesky artifact into four Treasures? However, without a clear plan for utilizing my graveyard, I'd be hesitant to play the board wipe side of this card.

Wild Wasteland

I can see this card being a staple in exile decks. In this environment, skipping your draw step is not a detractor as that will help you avoid decks that punish you for drawing, like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse or Nekusar, the Mindrazer. This is a major theme of this color for the Fallout set and the support for it is going to work extremely well both inside the set and in your other decks. The only negative of this card is that you will still have to pay for the cards that you're exiling, so if you don't have enough mana on board or ways to make mana (read: Treasures), you might be missing out on your bombs. Red is not well known for ramp, so I'll probably be holding this in hand until I know I've got the mana to play what I want. 

Junk Jet

Because red needed another amazing Equipment card, we're presented with Junk Jet. This card is busted, especially if you're not using your artifact tokens. For three mana and the sacrifice of an artifact, you're going to be doubling the equipped creature's power and toughness. Obviously, this isn't worth much if your creature is small, but on something like Okaun, Eye of Chaos or Primeval Spawn, you're going to be cooking with a large payoff and little downside. If you're a combat deck, you should consider this as an auto-include in your deck.

Uncommons & Commons

Ian the Reckless

Ian is a character introduced in the original Fallout and is known as someone who has a habit of accidental friendly fire. Without the ability to prevent noncombat damage, I'd be wary to play this card in any deck. However, if you've got The Wanderer or Blessed Sanctuary in play, strap on your Junk Jet and go wild. Though Ian isn't an expensive card, unless you're pumping him and preventing the damage he's going to deal to you, in Commander, he just doesn't seem valuable to include. This isn't my favorite card, especially knowing that to stop him from hurting me, I'll have to include white cards in my deck that are also easily removed. If you want to be reckless, you might find a home for Ian, but he's not it for me.

Crimson Caravaneer

On the other hand, Crimson Caravaneer seems to be the perfect card to pair in a Junk build. This card has double strike and trample and creates a Junk token on combat damage. She's little, coming in as a 1/2, but a little pumping and she's guaranteed to stock your warehouse with more Junk than you know what to do with. I'm a big fan of this creature as she seems to have little to no downside.

Bottle-Cap Blast

I know I said at the beginning of this review that I personally am going to have artifact tokens junking up my board, but thankfully the designers of this set already prepared with cards like Bottle-Cap Blast. Being able to use my artifacts in ways that they weren't intended for is a favorite habit of mine, so I'm loving the convoke ability on this card. I also like that this is a large direct damage ability but if it overkills you get a benefit over it. Five damage is enough to kill most creatures or planeswalkers on the board, so if I had any complaint about it, it's that in an artifact deck with convoke, it's going to be ridiculously easy to cast.

I expect to see this card hit the first moderately sized creature or planeswalker that hits the board. With Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, and token-generation, you might be seeing this as soon as turn three, effectively stopping you or your opponent from the first major board progression. As a targeted removal piece, this is fine, but I wouldn't expect to see it in every deck with red in it, but if I see a single artifact token hit the field, this card is easily slotted into the same deck.

I think the Universes Beyond team has been doing an amazing job of making sure that the cards designed for the set are incredibly thematic. My only complaint with the Fallout series in general is that there seems to be a lack of new mono-colored red cards. For a set to have no new commons seems like a miss. The only new mythics are the eight multicolored commanders. Other than that, the new cards seem incredibly fun, and I'm already brewing several new decks for both Commander and Oathbreaker. Of the 20 new mono-red cards in the set, the only card that I haven't been able to find a home for is Ian, but I'm sure there's a home out in the Wasteland for him. Let me know in the comments if you loved this set, hated it, or what cards from red you're slotting into your decks already! 

Beth is a casual Commander player who's passionate about silly decks, creating safe community spaces, and crowns. She loves to travel and play magic with friends. When not playing Magic, she's probably snuggling her dogs or playing some video games.