Fallout Set Review - Blue

(Nick Valentine, Private Eye by Viko Menezes)

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Magic Has Gone Nuclear!

Following closely behind Karlov Manor, we have four new Universes Beyond precons introducing rad counters and bringing energy counters back to the game. I haven't played Fallout before, but I will do my best to give these new blue cards a fair shake.


Curie, Emergent Intelligence

I don't believe we can use Curie's second ability more than once, since it doesn't say "except it has this ability", so whatever we copy is what we're stuck with. Similar to Shameless Charlatan, we'll have to be mindful of what we pick as our target.

We want targets that have a higher base power than Curie and have some form of evasion. Steel Hellkite does a decent job of controlling the board and would draw five cards when it connects. Inkwell Leviathan has built-in protection and is virtually unblockable, but at a hefty nine mana on top of the two needed for Curie's ability. And if you want to be chaotic, you can make a copy of Celebr-8000 to potentially give Curie double strike if you roll doubles. And while you can't copy him, Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut changes the base power of your creatures into 5/3s. However, I think it's easier to just run cards like Whirler Rogue to give Curie unblockable since our targets for big evasive artifact creatures also have a high mana value. But a thought occurred to me, what about Vehicles?

Vehicles often have high power and toughness with cheap mana values since they need to be crewed. Smuggler's Copter comes down early and Curie will draw four cards by copying it. Nautiloid Ship is a flying 5/5 that can reanimate a creature we've exiled from an opponent's graveyard. Add this with tokens we make from Sharding Sphinx and we can easily crew these Vehicles for the most value.

James, Wandering Dad

The two mana James produces will most likely be used to crack Clue tokens that we made, but I think the real reason to run this in the command zone is that Adventure ability. Making Clues equal to the amount of mana put into it isn't something we see a lot. Produce a ton of Clues, then use them to draw into a wincon like Cyberdrive Awakener or Rise and Shine to close out the game.

Outside of the command zone, James will be great in decks like Lonis, Cryptozoologist that can make use of all the artifacts he makes. It's easy to abuse artifact tokens in Commander, and having a way to mass-produce them at instant speed will lead to game-ending board states.

Jason Bright, Glowing Prophet

Mono-blue Zombie is a tough sell in Commander, not to mention mono-blue Mutants. The only other blue Zombie commander is Geralf, Visionary Stitcher (which is more of a toughness-matters deck) and Stitcher Geralf, but at least they create Zombie tokens.

In the 99, Jason Bright is an awesome card for Zombie builds. With all the Zombie Lords in those decks and Zombies' desire to die and come back, Jason will be a powerful card draw engine. Jason's activated ability is just the icing on the cake. He can sac a Zombie, draw a card, and then give flying to one of your beefiest creatures. With how popular Zombies are, this one will have high demand.

Mirelurk Queen

Mirelurk Queen is our first Fallout card to give out rad counters. They're a new type of counter that can be given to players similar to poison counters. Before I saw the reminder card for these, I thought it was "rad" as in "cool", like oh neat, you can coolness points or something, but it's short for Radiation. Radiation is a new effect where you mill cards equal to the number of rad counters you have and lose a life for each nonland card milled this way. Ideally, we're putting rad counters on our opponents to draw on each of their turns with Mirelurk Queen.

It only triggers once each turn, but if our game plan involved giving them rad counters and proliferating them, or by milling them through Mesmeric Orb, then we'll draw up to four cards in a turn cycle. And a 4/4 with vigilance that will grow every turn gives us a decent attacker and an even better blocker.

Nick Valentine, Private Eye

Nick Valentine has a simplified version of intimidate, but no real payoff for getting in for damage. I'm sure there's probably a flavor reason for him being unblockable by nonartifact creatures, but his second ability cares more about making Clue tokens whenever he or another artifact creature dies. This will trigger with token creatures too, so commanders like Mishra, Eminent One and Breya, Etherium Shaper will enjoy having a way to replenish the artifacts they sacrifice.

Piper Wright, Publick Reporter

I'm sure it's no coincidence that this set came after Murders at Karlov Manor, but all these Clue-makers and Detectives are beginning to meld together in my brain.

Our third mono-blue legend that makes clue tokens is Piper Wright. Whenever she deals combat damage, we investigate that many times. Her second ability enables this by putting a +1/+1 counter onto a creature whenever we sacrifice a Clue. While her first ability is a decent way to make a lot of Clues, unless we give her evasion, she won't be able to connect that often.

Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth will want Piper Wright since you're already sacrificing clues. And she's a second copy of Lonis, Genetics Expert so you might as well throw her in too. Also, I'm pretty sure if you have both Lonis and Piper Wright out along with a way to sac artifacts, you can go infinite. Target Lonis with Piper Wright's ability, make clues, sac clues, which then triggers both Lonis and Piper Wright.


Storm and proliferate are a deadly combination. Proliferating rad counters is one thing, but this can be used to storm off and proliferate all the poison counters on players too. Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres, and Venser, Corpse Puppet will all want this card even if they're not on the infect plan. Proliferate is already a strong ability and attaching it to a storm card is wild.

Struggle for Project Purity

I'm glad blue is finally getting a version of Cut a Deal.

Letting your opponents draw a card isn't great, but I think that's a fair trade for drawing four cards each turn. And of course, we want to capitalize on it. Minn, Wily Illusionist will make tokens before we even get to our draw step. The Council of Four will trigger when we draw our second card, but can also put opponents one card up, so any other effect that makes them draw will trigger Council of Four again. And this puts you one card away from triggering Alandra, Sky Dreamer's second ability each turn. Terrifying.

The Enclave part of this enchantment is less tempting than Brotherhood. Unless you're up against a go-wide deck, I don't think the two to four rad counters a player will get for swinging their biggest creatures at you is enough to ward them off. It's equivalent to a Revenge of Ravens at that point. If your deck wants opponents to mill, it's a fine option, but it's hard to deny wanting to draw three extra cards on your upkeep. Also, if your opponents want to fill their graveyard, then they'll be more than happy to attack you.

Synth Infiltrator

With the prevalence of artifact tokens in Commander, Synth Infiltrator will come down for two mana in most cases. There are plenty of clones in Commander, but ones that come down for two mana often have a drawback. Phantasmal Image will sacrifice itself if targeted, Imposter Mech only targets an opponent's creature and has to be crewed (which isn't that much of a downside), and Jwari Shapeshifter only copies Allies. Tapping down three Clue tokens for an unconditional two-mana clone sounds pretty good to me.

Uncommons / Commons

Nerd Rage

You would need a deck that can excessively draw cards to make this work and even then, +10/+10 only goes so far if you don't enchant an evasive creature. However, Nerd Rage is crazy strong with Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief. Copy Nerd Rage, draw four-plus cards, and instantly have an army of 12/11 fliers.

Robobrain War Mind

The power-buff equal to the number of cards in hand is fine and having five toughness means it's possible to get Robobrain War Mind in for attacks each turn, but I don't think that's the real power here. Robobrain is basically Dockside Extortionist for energy counters. Having a large stockpile of energy counters is great when recurring artifacts to the battlefield with Dr. Madison Li's last ability.

Robobrain is a great card to copy with Curie, Emergent Intelligence even if you don't care about energy counters. You can still use the energy to draw cards on attack, buffing her by one more power and drawing that many cards when she connects.

Vexing Radgull

Players will lose rad counters for each nonland card they mill, so Vexing Radgull pecking at players and proliferating rad counters each turn to ensure they don't go away is pretty flavorful. At two mana, this is a great way to get the gameplan going and give opponents rad counters. Once players have rad counters, this is effectively a second Thrummingbird in blue. Thrummingbird does appear in 62,500 decks on EDHREC, so Vexing Radgull could be decently popular. Unlike Thrummingbird, Vexing Radgull is tied to the Radiation mechanic, so decks that want to mill opponents for any reason should also look at this card.

Signing Off

Cards made for Commander tend to fall into two ends, either being generic enough to find their way into multiple decks or being mechanically niche and finding homes in few builds. It's nice to see rad counters being something that can be generic enough that they'll find homes outside of Fallout decks. They give mill and proliferate decks an extra bit of complexity to them.

Energy is just now coming back with commanders to support it and giving fans of the mechanic a reason to play their energy cards in Commander. Sidenote, when I was looking at the legendary creatures in Kaladesh to see if any had related to energy, there were only seven commanders total. Fallout has 53 legends. Legends before Commander were just notable characters and not mechanically designed to lead a deck. I don't think there's anything wrong with there being a ton of legends, but it does feel like a lot.

What are your thoughts on these Fallout cards? Let me know what decks you'd play these cards in down below!

Josh is a creative writer that started playing Magic when Throne of Eldraine was released. He loves entering combat and pressuring life totals, and to him, commander damage is always relevant. Outside of brewing many commander decks, he can be found prepping his D&D campaigns with a cat purring in his lap.

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