Fallout Set Review - Uncommons

Alejandro Fuentes • March 10, 2024

I'm Gonna Fallout of My Chair if This Set Gets Any Cooler

Alright, We have yet another Universes Beyond Set to review. I'm still patiently waiting for them to print something from a brand I actually know about, but regardless, I'm excited for the set. I've never played Fallout in my life, and know nothing about the lore, but what I do know is that a radioactive, post apocalypse landscape makes for a lot of very cool characters. Let's see who they are!


Raul, Trouble Shooter

This guy's a bit curious, as rather than most self mill commanders, who want to see your entire library in your graveyard, he wants you to mill yourself one card at a time. Basically any instance of surveil is strong with him, and any other effect that says mill one or two. In addition to those cards, you'll want to play as many effects that allow you to peek at the top card of your deck. Future Sight combined with Codex Shredder, will let you cast cards from the top of the deck and your graveyard, while letting you dig through your deck till you hit what you need. You'll have an absolute load of card advantage this way, and I think you'll churn through your deck much faster than one card at a time would make you think. What you're going to do with all that card advantage is unclear, but I'm sure Ruthless Radrat could get you there, or even Thassa's Oracle, after a long game. 

Young Deathclaws

Hmm, I feel like I've seen this card before. Oh right, it's just a reprint of Varolz, the Scar-Striped, a commander who I was always disappointed by. Basically what Varolz does is encourage you to mill a ton of creatures who have extremely high power in comparison to their mana value. The problem is, that's not a ratio that Wizards typically prints, and there's only a few very jank cards that have a good enough ratio to play. Once every three games, you'll pay one to put thirteen counters on Varolz with Death's Shadow, but even then, there's no guarantee that Varolz doesn't just get removed, and because you had to exile Death's Shadow, there's no do-overs. There's no point in playing Young Deathclaws, as there's not a chance you'd be constructing a deck around it if it's not your commander. 

Craig Boone, Novac Guard

Two or more creatures, which don't even have to be Craig himself, is an extremely easy requirement, and entirely possible on the turn Craig comes down, thanks to Krenko's Command variants. Starting on turn three, Craig's going to start racking up counters. The first few triggers, your opponents are going to opt to save their utility creatures by taking the two or four damage that he's is doling out, but soon, that damage is going to start adding up. If you keep Craig safe, you might have him dealing twelve or so damage every turn. Of course the classic dilemma with cards that let your opponents choose their fate is that they can always choose the least bad option, and there will be games where you desperately need to kill that Etali, Primal Conqueror, but your opponent is perfectly comfortable taking eight damage. I think the key to avoid the issue is to focus on your opponent taking the damage, and not to pretend that they'll sacrifice their creatures. You'll avoid any feel bads, and you can construct your deck to deal with the creatures anyways, while your opponent burns. 


Gary Clone

Two mana for a 1/3, and four mana for two of them isn't a good rate, but it's Gary Clone's second ability that makes the numbers add up. With two Garies attacking, each one is a 3/3, and you've paid four mana for six total power. If you make three Garies, for six mana, you get twelve attacking power. Each copy of Gary Clone raises your power exponentially, with this equation. Power = G2 + G. If you put this into the quadratic formula, you get G = - ((1±√(1+4P))/2), allowing you to calculate that for 120 total damage, you'd need 10.47 Garies, or 20.93 mana. That's a lot of mana, but it will probably win you the game. And if you combine it with something like Shared Animosity, the numbers get really good. Even on its own though, it's a really solid way of building a board presence out of nothing, especially if it's late game and you have a ton of mana but few cards. 

Paladin Danse, Steel Maverick

Ok, my opinion's a bit of a roller coaster here. Firstly, these types of cards are pretty bad. Dauntless Escort and Selfless Spirit are other examples of this effect, and they're both nearly useless due to the way they broadcast their abilities. Your opponents will see the card, force you to activate it one way, then pull out the board wipe when the protection is gone. The one place these cards are useful is in graveyard decks. Imagine not being able to deal with anything, because your opponent is recurring a Selfless Spirit with Karador, Ghost Chieftain every turn! These cards are absolutely fantastic whenever the graveyard is involved. Oh but what's that? Paladin Danse exiles himself? At that point he's pretty much unplayable, even before you account for the fact that he only protects humans and artifact creatures. Just run a creature that heads to the graveyard instead. 


Nerd Rage

I have absolutely no clue what the flavor of this card is, but I still find it hilarious. What's the idea? Being smart enough allows you to get extremely buff? Is that an ability in Fallout? It's not a half bad card either. Three mana for two cards is an absolutely fine rate, comparable to Thirst for Knowledge, which see's plenty of play. It's also got a Reliquary Tower on it, which can be extremely important for the card draw decks this is going to slot into. But of course, the reason you want to play with this is for the +10/+10 buff, and that's where... the card falls apart. I play card draw decks all the time, and let me tell you, those decks are not equipped for combat. Card draw decks win by drawing cards and tapping Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix for a million mana, or milling their opponents out with Psychic Corrosion. Those decks will find a 10/10 almost useless, as long as there's no evasion. There are some exceptions, like Tishana, Voice of Thunder, who basically double's Nerd Rage, and wants to attack anyways. But by and large, this card is a trap. 

Vexing Radgull

Ah yes, worse Thrummingbird. That's pretty much the summary of the card, because unless you're building around rad counters, all you want is the proliferate, which Thrummingbird does no matter what. Really, what is the point of rad counters? Every upkeep, you opponents will lose a mediocre amount of life, and get rid of almost all of them. You'd have to stack a tremendous amount of counters on a player to have any significant impact. And let me tell you, Vexing Radgull is not stacking a lot of rad counters. The flavor text says that fighting one is a terrible experience, but honestly, I don't think it could be that bad. It seems more like a mosquito, if I'm being real. 


Ruthless Radrat

In graveyard decks, I'm usually reluctant to exile my graveyard, but there are certain decks that will see this as an alternate win condition. Hermit Druid, Mirror-Mad Phantasm, and Traumatize will all mill around 40 cards, which will result in 20 menacing power that's instantly on the board with Ruthless Radrat. Those are game ending numbers with anything like Cathars' Crusade or Warstorm Surge. Most graveyard decks will be able to mill this many cards with ease, and if other win conditions are exhausted, Ruthless Radrat can be an effective backup. 

Butch DeLoria, Tunnel Snake

Ok, so I'm assuming that Tunnel Snakes is the name of some sort of squad that Butch DeLoria leads. In that case, it's absolutely hilarious that this guy cares about snakes. I'm assuming he doesn't just have snakes in his pack, right? So why does this guy benefit from a random Wasteland Viper? Flavor questions aside, he is pretty cool. Go wide and go tall is an interesting strategy that tends to work better than expected, and this guy is begging you to do that. I'd like him more if he had green, both which would heavily benefit voltron and swarm themes, not to mention allowing him to play more snakes. That being said, there are still 172 rogues or snakes to choose from in mono black, so he's still perfectly buildable. Some strong picks would be Grim Hireling, to turn your smaller attackers into mana production, or Stonecoil Serpent, to provide an alternate bearer of any voltron equipment. Overall, this guy has a lot of building versatility, for a mono-black tribal commander. 


Ian the Reckless

This fella has a lot of upside. Yes, he could be dealing a colossal amount of damage to you, but it'll be dealing at least double that to your opponent, or permanents your opponents control. Sniping blockers, or even just removing problematic creatures, is very strong for a voltron deck that would rather focus on swinging in for damage than controlling the board. Keep in mind that he can take out planeswalkers too, or even battles. And if you don't have any on board targets, you can just direct all that at your opponent. Equipping him with double strike is particularly effective, as double strike only affects combat damage, and you'll be taking half of what your opponent is. Overall, the flavor of this card is perfect, and nails the aggressive recklessness of red mana. 

Bottle-Cap Blast

The ideal situation for this card is tapping four useless artifacts and one red to deal five damage to a 1/1 and make 4 treasures. That turns it into a very strong ritual. Are ritual's good in EDH mid game, though? I'm not sure, but it can also trigger artifact synergies, like Reckless Fireweaver, and that seems like a good deal for effectively one mana. I think it's more useful evaluating this card as a removal spell for artifact decks, because it's cheap, and it can deal with the majority of threats that show up in EDH. It's effective, and its other part is synergistic, so I'd say that's enough to make it worth trying. 


Well Rested

This is a lot of value on a two drop. If you spend your first turn playing a Slither Blade, then attach this to it, every upkeep until it gets removed, you get an extra card, two life, and a stronger attacker. Eventually, it'll be too big for your opponents to ignore, and will eat a Go for the Throat, but if it gets to six +1/+1 counters before that happens, you've paid two mana for three cards, six life, and 12 extra damage. That's a ton of value, and this card can slot into any deck that has 1/1 unblockables. I expect it to see a lot of play. Would I be more fond of it if it could trigger multiple times a turn, and I could abuse it with Clever Conjurer and Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix? Of course I would. But here is probably one of the few times that I agree with the once a turn restriction. It fits the flavor of the card, and forces you to use it as intended, without making it garbage. 

Gunner Conscript

This is a strong place to put your equipment and auras. Automatically having trample is huge, and the incidental buff saves you the trouble of having to put a Thran Power Suit on it. However, it's not the best thing to equip, and is only really worth playing if you can use its last two abilities. That means you want it to die, a goal that's anthema to its first abilities. Where this card might really shine is in decks that can make cheap auras, like Ellivere of the Wild Court. If you can enchant it, attack with it, then have it die, then it's worth playing. If you can enchant it, equip it, attack with it, sacrifice it, and use both Junk tokens to trigger abilities of other cards, then it's really worth playing, and I'll also be impressed. 


The Bobblehead Cycle

Ok, so this entire cycle is really cool. There's seven bobbleheads total, each with an ability that gets better the more bobbleheads you have. If you somehow manage to get all of them onto the battlefield, the abilities of each will be extremely powerful. Even better, the Luck Bobblehead gives you a very small chance to win the game, if you have immaculate dice luck. Arcum Dagsson is probably the best commander for tutoring them all up, but if you really want to try to win with Luck Bobblehead, you're probably going to need Wyll, Blade of Frontiers. For the most part however, we're just going to want one in a deck, and we have to evaluate them individually. Agility Bobblehead is the only one that is playable in anything other than a specialized deck, as a Manalith and Rogue's Passage stapled together, plus haste. Making a creature (almost) unblockable is strong for any deck that has big attackers, and giving them haste allows you to dodge a lot of removal that could ruin your fun. After Agility, Endurance Bobblehead is probably the next best. Four mana for one creature to gain indestructibility is still a lot though, and like I said about Paladin Danse, Steel Maverick, broadcasting your plan is a poor idea.


Wow, I thought we'd never see fortify again, after Darksteel Garrison. And honestly, I think the ability should've stayed buried. Six mana is a ton to pay for what this card does. Sure, once you pay it, a +1/+1 counter and a Junk Token every turn is a straight value, but not the kind of value that any deck is really desperate for. The best that this will do for you is provide an artifact ETB and LTB every single turn, but like I said, six mana for that is a lot. My main problem with the mechanic is that there's no real reason this needed to be attached to a land. That's purely a flavor aspect. It would've been perfectly fine to print a card with this effect without fortify, and that's why the mechanic is so disappointing to me. It doesn't gain anything from its unique design. 

Expert-Level Safe

Man, I could really use some extra cards right now. The game's down to a 1v1, and I think my opponent plans on winning next turn. If I don't stop him, I lose. But I don't have any removal for his Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. My only choice is to activate Expert-Level Safe, and hope. I pay a mana and tap it, choosing the number 1. Our choices are revealed, and... My opponent chose 3. Expert-Level Safe exiles another card from my library, and The War Doctor gets his second time counter. I knew I should've played Bag of Holding

That's how I see games with this card going. You'll never get the cards when you need them. If you need some weird, exiling card advantage engine, just play Bag of Holding or Knowledge Pool. You don't want to rely on luck to pull you out of a sticky situation. 

Nuka-Cola Vending Machine

Alright, so first things first, someone explain to me what a Nuka-Cola is. Coca-Cola plus rad counters? I'm not sure, and I really can't tell if it's fantastic or repulsive. The card however, is certainly worth playing. A single mana to make a food token is a great rate, and an easy way to turn leftover mana into value. Of course, it also refunds your food token with a treasure, or, if you're sacrificing it to Defiant Salvager, provides ramp! But, like I say about all these cards, the most valuable thing they can do is trigger your Reckless Fireweaver and Marionette Master a million times. If you've got that free artifact sac outlet, You can pay one mana to Nuka-Cola Vending Machine, get two artifact ETBs, two artifact LTBs, and your mana back. I know you Tri-Token players are salivating. 

Silver Shroud Costume

So... this is just a worse Whispersilk Cloak, right? Or is it? Whispersilk Cloak doesn't lose shroud after the turn it's played, making it a much stronger protection piece for keeping your precious commander safe. In addition, the equip cost is two, making it much easier to reequip if you do end up needing to recast your commander multiple times. But wait. The most painful thing about Whispersilk Cloak is that it prevents anything you play from targeting your commander as well. If you want to equip anything else, you have to pay two to attach it to another creature, then two again to reattach it. That's a huge tax anytime you want to give your commander another piece of equipment. Silver Shroud Costume protects your commander when you need it, (and catches your opponent by surprise,) then gets out of the way and doesn't bother you. Each has their upside, and I'm certainly willing to try this one out. In some cases, I know I'll wish I had the other, but hey, there's no reason you can't play both. 

This set is Rad.

Alright, I think I can conclude that this set is way too cool. They really went all out on unique designs for this one, and there's a ton of new archetypes that I suddenly want to try out. Mono-black Rogue and Snake Tribal? Sign me up! A use for the stuff I learned in Algebra II with Gary Clone? Sure! And there's a ton of stuff for my existing decks. Well Rested is restricted, but that doesn't mean I'm just not going to try and abuse it. What cards are inspiring you to build decks? 


Alejandro Fuentes's a nerd from Austin Texas who likes building the most unreasonable decks possible, then optimizing them till they're actually good. In his free time, he's either trying to fit complex time signatures into death metal epics, or writing fantasy novels.