Magic: The Gathering’s Fallout Set Is Pretty Rad

Sometimes, toxicity can be fun.

Being a barren wasteland is something that the world of Fallout and my wallet after a new Magic: The Gathering set release have long had in common, but now the two have intertwined in an even bigger way with the advent of Fallout in Magic: The Gathering thanks to a new Universes Beyond set.

This commander-focused release calls forth familiar locations, characters and concepts from the iconic video game franchise and repurposes them for the immensely-popular card game in ways that should satisfy fans of either (or both).

After getting some games in using these new cards thanks to the folks at Wizards of the Coast I’ve been left with two critical observations. Firstly, being radiated is more fun than it sounds. And perhaps more importantly – that’s not a good enough reason to let it happen.

A new mechanic introduced with this set, Radiation is simultaneously one of the most chaotic and fun concepts I’ve had to deal with in Magic, and also one of the most crushing when you’re on the receiving end of a nuclear bath. Of the four commander decks on offer, I went with the red/green/white Scrappy Survivors based almost entirely on the feature of the loveable Dogmeat, but my opponent’s choice of the Mothman-led and radiation-heavy black/green/blue Mutant Menace proved to be my undoing.

It all comes down to rad counters, and more specifically the unfortunate number of them that I managed to accumulate at the hands of the Mutant Menace deck’s many irradiated beasties, like The Wise Mothman himself, a Bloatfly Swarm or a particularly nasty piece of work called The Glowing One which came out early and hit my unprotected self pretty hard. Rad counters work by forcing players who possess them to mill as many cards as they have counters each turn, losing a point of life (and thankfully a rad counter) for each nonland card that’s milled this way.

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The beauty of the Mutant Menace commander deck (and the engine of my demise) is that it stacks these counters on opponents quickly before taking advantage of them with positive effects for the player who dished them out, like life gain or buffs to controlled creatures. My Scrappy Survivors deck came with something of a foil in that it’s absolutely stacked with non-basic lands that have a decent amount of utility on their own but are also untouchable by the effects of a rad counter, aside from perpetuating its place on the board.

mtg rad

Try as I might to play into this and my own deck’s other advantages, like the ability to consistently dip into my graveyard to recover spells lost to radiation or stack on an inordinate amount of equipment or auras, it just wasn’t enough to push back against the disgusting, contaminated insects and mutants that plagued the table. If I never have to see Mothman again it’ll be a good day.

If you’re keen to be that person and pump your friends full of deadly radiation, Magic: The Gathering’s Universes Beyond: Fallout set is available now, and you can grab any of the four commander decks as well as Collector Boosters from the links below: