Fallout Set Review - Green

(Strong, the Brutish Thespian | Art by Jason Rainville)

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The Green Jewel of the Commonwealth

Set Review season. Set Review season never changes. One minute you're living your life, oblivious to how quickly things can change and the next minute we're dealing with the consequences of 150 megatons of new cards and strategic reprints. Half-finished decks are abandoned as old playables become obsolete in the blink of an eye. And the post-release landscape? A living nightmare. The semi-immortal, shambling remains of humans just trying to update their favorite decks when the bombs fell. New, twisted abominations, warped by the pure energy radiating from the set.

And amidst all the chaos, hope. The return of an old mechanic, promising clean, renewable energy for those bold enough to play with a bunch of Kaladesh cards in their Universes Beyond: Fallout theme decks. The armored legions of the Brotherhood of Steel, offering protection from the irradiated landscape, the rank and file of a Legion so dedicated to their Caesar that they use the historically correct pronunciation of his name. Preston Garvey for some reason. A giant irradiated moth that most people don't recognize because they played exactly 2 hours of Fallout 76 before deciding to just download New Vegas and play that again instead. There are more, but you're going to just build a Dogmeat deck, aren't you? Yeah you are. You bought that Fallout 3 DLC just because you found out you could bring him back so you could stop quickloading every time he died. Dogmeat's a good boy, yes, him is.

And you're still reading this super long intro despite my constant puns. You DO like my Fallout puns, right? Please say yes; if I thought you didn't like puns, I don't think I could Yao Guai it.

OK, that was the last one, I promise.

Let's get into it, because there is a certain format to these reviews I have to follow and I've already burned a lot of my word cap on preamble. I can't help it, I'm excited. After all, it's Set Review season.

And Set Review season never changes.


Animal Friend

One satisfying way to make your way through the irradiated wasteland is to put a lot of points into skills like Animal Friend, which not only help prevent you from being attacked by some of the various wastelands' nastier mutated baddies, but at higher levels can even turn these wild foes into friends.

Animal Friend rewards us for doubling down on treating our commander or another powerful creature like the main character and suiting them up with a lot of Equipment and Auras. If we do, the deck conscripts a mutated squirrel each time, which gets bigger and nastier the more equipped and... Auraed(?) our attacker is. This helps us not only go tall but also wide, gives us incidental blockers, and really pays us back for running cards like Doubling Season, which you don't always see in a Voltron deck. This doesn't just play nice with older cards, however. A creature with a strong back, as in one enchanted by the card Strong Back, can really pump out some monster Squirrels.

Could this exciting suite of new Auras bring back giant cryptid monsters like Uril, the Miststalker back from the brink of extinction? Do you throw this in a Squirrel typal deck? There's no wrong way to get a lot of incidental value in a deck with one loaded-up creature, especially since decks like that don't tend to run a ton of creatures and are usually a bit vulnerable to crack-backs. You can slap this on any creature you want, but I personally can't wait to put this on a Rabid Wombat as Richard Garfield intended.

Harold and Bob, First Numens

Fallout's very own Wrenn and Six: Harold the dude and Bob, the tree growing out of a dude eventually becoming Harold and Bob, a gnarly abomination worshipped as a deity in the Capital Wasteland. Harold has appeared in nearly every Fallout game and by the time he becomes more Bob than Harold, he is grateful to the Lone Wanderer for ending his tortured existence and gives you a powerful boon if you elect to help him.

Enchanting a forest with an Aura that makes it tap for 3 mana seems exciting, especially since a creature with vigilance and reach can help a ton in the early game. The rad counters you get for tapping the tainted forest might make you think twice before you include this in any decks outside of the precon or decks that want you to mill yourself. The Harold juice isn't worth the Bob squeeze in my opinion, but I'm happy to play this in a dedicated rad counter deck.

Lily Bowen, Raging Grandma

Lily is one of the most interesting of the Super Mutant companions in Fallout games. If you want to read about her backstory, the "Nukapedia" wiki for Fallout info has a lot of good info about Lily, the voice in her head "Leo" and the nightkin, the race of mutants created by The Master. Lily's power growing until it goes almost back to 0 is an incredibly flavorful nod to her backstory, and a 32 power creature coming at you like a lowland gorilla holding a mall kiosk Buster Sword made out of an old vertibird propeller can end the game before you need to worry about how much life you're going to gain when she takes her meds and goes back to gardening.

Not only could Lily be a lot of fun in a lot of other decks, but a deck with her as the commander could be great. Naturally doubling her own counters every upkeep in tandem with cards like Branching Evolution is powerful, and a huge commander buffed by cards like Raised by Giants and Alpha Authority seems like a blast. I'm a fan.

Power Fist

It's a little soon for Bone Sabres to feel obsolete, but it kind of does. If you will forgive me for extolling the virtues of this website, if you go to Bone Sabres' page on EDHREC, you will see the decks Bone Sabres is in, the cards played alongside it in those decks and even a couple of articles written about it and some similar cards. This card is very straightforward, which is where something hit with a Power Fist tends to go. With one of these babies Pip-Boyed onto a creature, you won't need to say "Stop looking at me, Swan" because you already killed Swan and stole his Power Fist.

Rampaging Yao Guai

The first thing I have to say is that I am a bit disappointed that of all of the green cards in the set, this one plays least like its counterpart in the game but is also one of the best cards. However, I like that you have to be strategic and selective with the permanents you remove and you need to make sure to pump enough mana into this when you play it. It's a refreshing change from cards like Farewell and is my preferred way to deal with problem permanents. This doesn't require any Fallout set-specific mechanics to work, and it's ready to go in a lot of decks that play a lot of spells with X in the mana cost - there are a lot of those. This is going into more than one of my existing decks and if you don't have your copy of Unbound Flourishing yet, you might want to get a move-on before they're $20.

Strong Back

In Fallout games, Strong Back is a perk for hoarders like me to take so we can take absolutely any scrap of wasteland junk worth a few caps and lug it from one end of the map to the other. I've read about a few instances online of people using the perk to carry more useful equipment, weapons and ammo, and I guess if you're going to use it like that (read: incorrectly) then this card seems like an absolute flavor slam dunk. It's much easier to turn your Voltron commander into a pack Brahmin if the equip and Aura costs are cheaper, and giving the creature Wombat strength on top of it all is very cool.

This is a bit narrow if you don't play a ton of decks that love to load one creature up with a ton of gear, but this synergizes nicely with Animal Friend and goes in basically any green-based Voltron list and any other deck where it might be nice not to have to tap out to throw a sword or two onto your creature, leaving you with mana to keep up spells like Tamiyo's Safekeeping. This is good flavor and good gameplay, and it makes me happy as a fan of both franchises.

Strong, the Brutish Thespian

If you spend enough time with this budding thespian, you will eventually permanently deal more melee damage when your health is super low, which is very useful if you're like me and your second playthrough was to dress up like a Baseball Fury from The Warriors and try to blast Deathclaws over the horizon with the 2076 World Series bat. At 6 mana, you're going to have to wait a bit to start your quest to find the milk of human kindness, but in a dedicated rad build, gaining life rather than losing it can help you survive being stung by a Bloodbug or drinking water out of a toilet or whatever you did to give your bones that nice Cerenkov glow.

One thing I will say for Strong, though, is that he gives you enough rad counters on his own that you can have him be the only Fallout card in a self-mill build and it won't feel like you need to add clunky cards like Break Down to get any benefit from his abilities. Ward 2 is nice on a 6 mana investment as well. That said, I'm struggling a bit to find a home for a creature this large and expensive and unsuitable as a commander.

Tato Farmer

The word "may" takes this card from good to great. There are other ways to mill yourself and getting to rescue lands milled there by accident is useful. Using the rad counters as a way to mill yourself aggressively and get an extra land drop (or more than one with cards like Retreat to Coralhelm) in a landfall deck is very cool. Ramunap Excavator and Undergrowth Recon are ready to play nice, and the few chip damage I'll take from the rads aren't enough to deter me. Sultai is lousy with self mill decks full of spells with flashback and one issue I have with decks like that is that it may be tough to hit all of your land drops if you mill too much land. Tato Farmer is my kind of card and I have more than one deck ready for this, and if any of your decks contain a copy of Splendid Reclamation then you probably do, too.

Watchful Radstag

This is probably the best green card in this set in the generic sense. It doesn't require any Fallout cards or keywords to be good, it gets much better with Commander standbys like Primal Vigor and there are already decks built around the Evolve keyword. This is just a very good, useful card and it gets out of hand very quickly. If you look at the page of another card with Evolve, I chose Experiment One, you will get a lot of inspiration for cards to play alongside this vexing venison vixen. This is a good card and the better a card is, the less I really need to discuss it here, and the quicker I shut up, the faster you can go order a few copies and build something.

Uncommons & Commons

Bighorner Rancher

No one will dare to ask his business or dare to make a slip when the people see this rancher has a Bighorn on his hip. Like a lot of the green meanies in this set, this is a lot of mana to invest but if you can gain enough life to tank the rad damage you'll be able to make the game go long enough to invest 5 mana in a creature that will tap for a lot more than that, and can save your life in a pinch when you... eat him? He's a rancher, he should just sac some cattle or some other creature to gain us life instead of sacrificing himself. Am I thinking too much about how this card works flavorfully? Maybe I am, and it could be because this doesn't seem all that likely to make a splash outside of the precon it came in, which is fine. There are a lot of other green creatures that tap for a ton of mana and don't cost 5 to play, but the life gain ability in addition could make some big mana-hungry decks take a second look at this big-booty cowboy.

Break Down

I agree to an extent with the flavor text that this is the worst kind of junk. The number of decks that are inclined to pay 3 for a Naturalize that doesn't have split second outside of the precon is kind of narrow. Green is not a color that struggles to draw cards. Green is not really a color that struggles to do anything, to be fair. Are Junk tokens good? I think they are, impulse drawing is an interesting design space to explore. I don't think, though, that a ton of established decks want to jam this card. If you have a lot of ways to make use of junk tokens, you obviously jam this in, but you don't need me to tell you that it's ok to pay 3 mana for a sorcery speed Murder in the form of Claim the Precious if you want to be tempted by the ring a ton. If you want to do [insert name of set mechanic here] things, you play cards that do that set mechanic. This is one of the cooler cards that gives us Junk - at least it's an instant.

Cathedral Acolyte

This plays very much like an old-school Simic card. In fact, this plays just as nicely with a deck built around Experiment Kraj as it does one built around The Wise Mothman. Ward is a a nice compromise between all of your creatures being vulnerable and all of your creatures having hexproof, and while you can only buff one creature per activation, this card shields the entire team regardless of where those +1/+1 counters came from. The decision not to reinvent the wheel entirely with a bunch of new types of counters to signify creatures are being mutated by radiation and allowing them to be generic +1/+1 counters means this card can play nice with just about all of the +1/+1 counter theme decks - there are a lot of them and just about all of them contain green. This may end up card #103 when it's time to make cuts, but isn't in an honor just to be nominated? It is for most Uncommons.

Glowing One

This card isn't BAD per se, but it's pretty narrow. There aren't really a ton of green decks that mill your opponents. There are, however, some interesting decks in Sultai colors that want you to mill yourself, so outside of the precon, there are some interesting commanders to look at such as Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Grolnok, the Omnivore that like when you mill yourself, but I'm not sure those decks care about incidental lifegain or giving rad counters to other players. This card is for sure a menace in the precon, and anyone who underestimated a Glowing One and lost an hour of progress in a Survival Mode game will tell you that's about right.

Gunner Conscript

This card is decent by 2/2 for 1G standards, and trample is nice, but if you're running a Voltron deck and you're throwing a ton of Auras and Equipment on a creature, you won't make it a green (pun intended, of course it was intended) recruit who barely knows which end of the rifle you point at the radroach. A Junk token is an OK consolation prize for losing a 2/2 dork and having its equipment fall off, but I'm not sure it's worth losing an aura. This seems like it's squarely "precon tier."

Lumbering Megasloth

You already know better than I do if you have any decks that would benefit from an 8/8 trampler for sometimes 2 mana. I personally don't have that many, but if you do, this is a good rate for an Uncommon even if the card is a little too fair for most decks.

Super Mutant Scavenger

A lot of cards in this set in this color are a little clunky. You don't want to pay 5 mana for an Ironclad Slayer when you're in Eternal Witness colors, but you also don't want to play a 2/2 Super Mutant. The result is cards with perfectly good abilities that are just a little too slow to play outside of the precon. Within the precon, this card is very useful, and a 5/5 trample for 5 is a very good rate, especially with a good ability on top. Like a box of Sugar Bombs that gives you 100 dental x-rays worth of radiation in every bite but replenishes some health, this is probably more useful inside of the context of Fallout than outside of it.

Well Rested

My main issue with Well Rested is that it is very fair. Fair cards are fine in Commander, certainly, but fair cards make it tough to break parity and get ahead. That said, if you can find ways to tap and untap your creature on others' turns, suddenly you have a life-gaining, counter-slinging, card-drawing machine that doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit."

Throw this on some of the cards from the precon like Tato Farmer to really make your deck go fast, or pair this aura with cards like Intruder Alarm to make just about any tap ability amazing. Personally, I can think of a ton of commanders off the top of my head that would love to draw you a card when they untap or untap something else, from Rubinia Soulsinger to Vorel of the Hull Clade to Samut, Voice of Dissent. Cards like Murkfiend Liege can untap your creatures on everyone else's turns, meaning any creature with a tap ability can draw you cards while you're cheating. I think I may have talked myself out of thinking this card was fair, but maybe in a deck where nothing's fair, even the most fair card still draws you 4 and gains you 8 life a turn cycle. Not bad for an uncommon, not bad at all.

Fallout is a superlative game franchise and I feel like this set does it justice. But maybe I'm an outlier - I'm going to watch the TV show even if it's bad and I'm going to build a lot of decks with a lot of these cards. If you like Fallout, this is a set where a lot of the cards play mechanically like you expect them to. If you have never played Fallout and don't intend to, this is still a well designed set with good cards that add options to the game, explore new design space and can buff your decks with improved versions of cards you already play.

Like any set, some of these cards are Far Harbor and some of them are Mothership Zeta, but the majority of them are at least Nuka World, and that's not bad at all. Thanks for reading, I came out of retirement to talk about these cards and that's not something I'd say about just about any other set. Let me know in the comments which of these cards you're excited to jam in your decks, or if how you feel about the set overall. Thanks for reading this and all of the other set reviews on our site - we're here to bring you the truth, no matter how bad it hurts.

Jason is one of the hardest working writers in the game; he has a weekly column on Coolstuff Inc. and MTGPrice and is a cast member of the Brainstorm Brewery and Film Hooligans podcasts. All that and he still finds time to manage content on EDHREC and struggle as a comedian. No wonder he's been called the Ryan Seacrest of EDH.

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