Fallout Set Review - Black

(Screeching Scorchbeast | Art by Nino Is)

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

A Theoretical Degree in Physics

Welcome back to set review season! I'm Brian, your usual host of Brew For Your Buck and fortunately I love writing set reviews, because it's seemingly ALWAYS set review season. I'm also a big fan of the Fallout franchise. While I started with Fallout 3, and Fallout 4 really hits home for me as someone that frequents Boston, I still think New Vegas is my favorite installment. The Old West theme plus the Battle of Hoover Dam as the dramatic conclusion really made it a fun game for me. While we're going through the cards, I'll try to comment on flavor as well as function, but I haven't played the first two games so forgive my lack of knowledge there. Anyways, let's get into everyone's favorite apocalyptic Wasteland with everyone's (without any bias at all) favorite color in Magic: Black!


We have no mythics to look at this time around for black, but does rarity really matter for precons?


Feral Ghoul

We jump right in with one of the more iconic enemies in the franchise. Some of the scariest times I've had playing these games are sneaking into buildings full of these guys. Even the art looks like what I see after I panic-jump into V.A.T.S. to save my skin. This has an obvious home in Aristocrats and Zombie-typal lists, where you're probably already sacrificing your creatures to grow this into a huge threat. Once you're ready, pop this to irradiate your opponents for a huge amount. For clarity, here's how rad counters work:

So yes, you can add this to the list of things that win the game in conjunction with Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar, or any other ways to generate infinite death triggers.


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Hancock, Ghoulish Mayor

As the mayor of Goodneighbor, Hancock is welcoming to all wasteland types so long as they abide by the rules. That's well represented by his ability to anthem up any other Zombies and Mutants you have lying around, though you do need to get some work to get there. Interestingly, we don't have an existing Zombie or Mutant commander that cares about counters, so if you're looking to overlap those two themes I think Hancock is your best bet. Otherwise, this seems like a great card for its precon that cares about exactly those things. He also is an X/1 with Undying, something that I'm sure makes Yawg players look up from their loops. Also, Do we ever find out his first name? I bet it's Herbie.

Nuclear Fallout

Hey! That's the name of the game! While still outclassed by Toxic Deluge and maybe Damnation, I think this card is actually really good compared to most other black board wipes. As far as wiping the board goes, it's a half-off Black Sun's Zenith or Bane of the Living. With all the indestructible going around these days, giving creatures -X/-X instead of destroying them is almost always upside. It also comes with the bonus of self-mill which helps your Reanimator deck, opponent mill which helps your Mill deck, and even some damage which helps your Group Slug deck! Clearly there's a lot of good use cases, so check your board wipe slots to see if it makes the cut.

Screeching Scorchbeast

This one I don't remember from the games and honestly I'm glad because it looks like a pain in the butt to fight. I'm assuming from the art and the card mechanics that it breathes radiation and brings Feral Ghouls back to life or something. In Magic, it doesn't seem that bad to face down. Giving each player rad counters is going to help, but limiting it to only one 2/2 per turn is a little sad, especially for a six mana play. Perhaps it was too oppressive otherwise, but compared to some other plays at this point on the curve, it's a little less impactful than I would hope. It still seems great for its precon and maybe you can prove me wrong in a mill deck like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant.


For those of you unfamiliar with the games, the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System or V.A.T.S. is the defining combat feature of the Fallout franchise. It allows you to (more or less) stop time and choose enemy (or friendly) targets depending on your equipped weapon, including specific body parts. You can use it to hit extremely small targets like combat controllers on robots, or a readied grenade in the hand of a raider. You can also use it target multiple enemies and take them out in quick, uninterrupted succession. This Magic card is basically the perfect representation of V.A.T.S. in our game. Split second is the ideal mechanic to use, giving your opponents no chance to stop it. I'm not sure how well the "equal toughness" clause plays, but this probably nabs a large amount of the opposing creatures on the board. This card looks powerful and is just a 10/10 flavor-wise, nice job Wizards.

Vault 12: The Necropolis

Here's where I know my franchise knowledge fails me, since a quick perusal of Nukapedia reveals that Vault 12 only appears in the first game. If you have an opinion on the flavor let me know in the comments, but this card really encapsulates how good Magic, and more specifically Sagas, can tell a story. I think we get the gist: a radiation spill (probably intentional knowing Vault-Tec), leading to residents becoming Feral Ghouls, which then get stronger with all the rads. This looks like one of the finishers for the Mutant Menace precon, because that second and third chapter can end the game in a hurry. It's a little slow, but also very on-theme for the endless assault that is usually associated with Zombies, so look for it those decks too. In fact, if you're running a Zombie-typal list, that precon seems like a pretty good buy.

Wasteland Raider

Lumping all the raiders together in one card is probably the best way to do it, since there are usually a lot of them, represented here by Squad. It might seem like the best Fleshbag Marauder we've seen, but it gets prohibitively expensive rather fast, so you really want to have other creatures of your own to trade up into 4/3s to make this truly effective for that price. A pretty generic card for a pretty generic enemy.

Uncommons & Commons

Bloatfly Swarm

A four mana 5/5 flyer is not a bad place to be, this thing can even do additional damage with the rad counters. It irradiates everyone when the counters are removed, so whoever trades with this in combat might even evoke the ire of your other opponents. Quick rules note: players only get rad counters based on the number of +1/+1 counters that are removed, so don't think you can Blasphemous Act this to give everyone thirteen rads. Unless of course you're in some kind of counters matter deck with ways to add +1/+1 counters like Winding Constrictor and Doubling Season. If that's the case, go nuts!

Butch DeLoria, Tunnel Snake

The 1950's Americana culture represented in the games really shines with Butch here, and he's actually a really neat card. If you were looking for your Snake/Rogue typal commander, here you go. Otherwise I think he fits in to the 99 of either of those decks as a potentially large, hard-to-block threat. He can even give your other creatures an easier way to get through, which those type of decks generally want as well. Not super exciting, but he has some potential.

Infesting Radroach

Oh look! More irradiated Insects. I like this one better than the Bloatflies, only because of it's last ability that works well with all of the "creature card leaves your graveyard" stuff we've been getting lately. Managing to pump this up turns it into a pretty big threat too, since the opponent that gets hit with this is milling and taking radiation damage too. I think radiation is another great flavor-win for the set, the milling + damage just feels like being irradiated (not that I ever had been, at least not more than normal).

Ruthless Radrat

The final card on our list shows another use of Squadand the fact that it's not a mana payment makes this an interesting one to watch out for. The usual token synergies can be used to amplify the effectiveness of this card, and I think this slams straight into Syr Konrad, the Grim decks for it's ability to drain your opponents on cast and then make a bunch of bodies to drain again

Well, that was a quick one since we're only looking at precons, but I hope you still liked it anyway! If you have any thoughts or comments about the cards, drop them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter. I'm off to fire up Fallout 4 and do what I usually do during my playthroughs: never finish the main story since I'm doing all the side quests!


Brian played Magic intermittently between 2003 and 2017 when he fully embraced his love for Commander. Finding ways to maximize the value of each piece of cardboard in the deck is one of his favorite things to explore, especially if it involves putting lands in the graveyard! Outside of Magic, Brian works as a consultant in the marine industry, turning his passion for boats and ships into a career.

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