The Over/Under - Predicting the Popularity of Fallout Commanders

(Rex, Cyber-Hound | Art by Jeremy Paillotin)

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You Had Me at Robot Dogs

We're on a streak of Universes Beyond IPs I know nothing about. Wake me up when they release an X-Files set.

That said, Fallout does look primed for an Over/Under treatment. In this series, I speculate on how popular new commanders will become one year after they're printed. The line is 1,200 decks, so "Over" means I'm predicting the commander will lead more than 1,200 decks in a year, while an "Under" means fewer. I'll also give out one Can't-Miss Pick, which is my guarantee of the set.

Ready to delve into...wherever it is we are? Just think of the radiation like a worldwide tanning booth!

Aradesh, the Founder

Is this guy the founder of the robot dogs? Wait, nope, he's just a warlord.

Well, there's not much to compare him to, since he's the game's only commander with Enlist. However, I can't imagine a keyword mostly designed for limited play would become popular in EDH.

My prediction: Under

Codsworth, Handy Helper

This is a lot of value for three mana, and Equipment usually pulls numbers. Problem is, we've got a dearth of similar commanders, most of which are Boros, which allows access to an additional color.

My prediction: Under

Commander Sofia Daguerre

Fun flavor, but don't let Sofia's title fool you—she won't be your commander.

My prediction: Under

Overseer of Vault 76

This lady looks eerily similar to my kindergarten teacher, and let me tell you, she was scary. Still, this Overseer is basically just a delayed anthem, which won't scare your opponents much at all.

My prediction: Under

Paladin Danse, Steel Maverick

I doubt many players will be excited by Selfless Spirit in the command zone.

My prediction: Under

Sierra, Nuka's Biggest Fan

I shudder to think what "The Nuka-Cola Challenge" entails. I'm guessing it ends in diabetes, or maybe just an Under, since making Food and boosting stats seems neither powerful nor interesting.

My prediction: Under

Yes Man, Personal Securitron

You might laugh, but donation commanders actually perform fairly well. Inniaz, the Gale Force, Jon Irenicus, Shattered One, Khârn the Betrayer, Zedruu the Greathearted...all these commanders are in the quadruple digits. You could even make a pact with an opponent to trade Yes Man back and forth, giving you both two cards a turn. I like the sound of that.

My prediction: Over

Curie, Emergent Intelligence

If this artwork is to be believed, the future iteration of Chat GPT won't just write your essays—it'll lock you inside a container. But will it also become your commander?

I was leaning toward no, but for validation, I texted my official Over/Under consiglieres, Shane and Jason, a.k.a. two of my best buddies from college. (If you don't know what "consigliere" means, you're not Italian.) I could've asked Chat GPT itself, but I like Shane and Jason much better. Unless they're beating me in EDH, in which case, they're dead to me.

Ultimately, they agreed on the Under. And unlike Yes Man, they aren't just yes men, as you'll soon see.

Our prediction: Under

James, Wandering Dad

As we saw with Curie, all the mono-blue commanders in this set basically just draw cards in different ways. James here does just that, only he's also an absentee father.

My prediction: Under

Jason Bright, Glowing Prophet

"Come Fly With Me," eh? Is that a Sinatra reference? Is this guy Sinatra's reanimated mutant corpse performing under a pseudonym?

If it is, he's lost his touch. The power-different-from-base-power thing is clunky enough, and the payoff isn't even there. When Frank said "the best is yet to come," I don't think this is what he had in mind.

My prediction: Under

Nick Valentine, Private Eye

I wouldn't hire this creepy guy for anything, except maybe if I was a farmer in need of a scarecrow. I'm not and I don't, and I fail to see how minor evasion and a sub-par death trigger should change that.

My prediction: Under

Piper Wright, Publick Reporter

Wait a second, I thought Murders at Karlov Manor was the Clue spinoff set. Now we've got two investigators in a row, on top of all the others we already have. Too much competition.

My prediction: Under

Butch DeLoria, Tunnel Snake

They took an awfully literal interpretation with this one, and I'm not sure it's working. Seems difficult to construct a mono-black deck from only Rogues and Snakes, even if you can make more of the latter. When it comes to street gangs, I like the Sharks and Jets better.

My prediction: Under

Hancock, Ghoulish Mayor

This ghoul seems like he'd be right at home on Innistrad, hat included. Though most mono-black counter-stacking cares about Vampires rather than Zombies, Hancock still has several options, including The Ozolith, Andúril, Narsil Reforged, and even Unexpected Fangs. Note that he counts all counters, not just +1/+1s. You've got my vote, Hancock.

My prediction: Over

Duchess, Wayward Tavernkeep

Seems like a lot of work for some literal Junk.

My prediction: Under

Ian the Reckless

If randos on the internet can be believed, giving Ian lifelink makes his self-damage trigger heal you rather than harm you. That's easy enough to do with Equipment like Batterskull and Loxodon Warhammer, which is cool and all, but seems less like a legit strategy and more like a meme.

My prediction: Under

Rose, Cutthroat Raider

Rose here is giving me Tymna the Weaver vibes, only she doesn't cost life, and she also ramps. Might have to add this robot to my Commander Cube.

My prediction: Over

The Motherlode, Excavator

I choose to see the best in people, so I refuse to believe that 1200 EDH players would run a land-destruction commander. That's just evil.

My prediction: Under

Veronica, Dissident Scribe

Reminds me of Urza, Powerstone Prodigy, a card that went way below the mark, even when the line was 600.

My prediction: Under

Harold and Bob, First Numens

The first Newman was Wayne Knight, not Harold or Bob, but whatever. Two rad counters per activation add up quick, especially if you're untapping your buffed Forest with Arbor Elf like I'm guessing you'd like to. And is such a deck even interested in self-milling? I just don't see it.

My prediction: Under

Lily Bowen, Raging Grandma

If this is Grandma, I wonder what the grandchildren look like. I also wonder how often Lily will survive three turns, because that's how long it takes to take full effect. I'm guessing that's too long.

But did I say that would make an Under? I think not! This card is so weird and whacky on so many levels it's bound to be popular. If your grandma looked like Thanos, you'd give her an Over, too.

My prediction: Over

Strong, the Brutish Thespian

If he's talking to a skull, Strong here has the wrong Shakespeare play—but maybe that's all part of the joke. Anyway, he's less a thespian and more a linebacker, with burly base stats and an even better Enrage trigger. Though it may be risky, you might even build around rad counters.

My prediction: Over

Arcade Gannon

He's basically Muldrotha, the Gravetide, if Muldrotha took forever to get going and only worked with humans and artifacts.

My prediction: Under

Elder Owyn Lyons

Elder Owyn is so old he's still using the rebel control display from Star Wars. He's also little better than a Gravedigger for artifacts.

My prediction: Under

Rex, Cyber-Hound

People go really hard on the whole "adopt, don't shop" thing with dogs, though in this world, I suppose the new slogan is "built, no guilt." The real crux of the card is energy, though, and to my knowledge, nothing rhymes with "energy."

The trick is slipping Rex through enemy lines, though in blue-white, that shouldn't be difficult. At worst Rex is a zero-mana form of graveyard hate, and at best he's an activated ability combo machine. Good doggy.

My prediction: Over

Raul, Trouble Shooter

This feels like what Arcade Gannon wanted to be, only here it actually works. Kind of odd that it mills everyone even when Raul can only cast your stuff, but whatever. This is still a potent commander, especially when combined with cost-free self-mill such as Deranged Assistant and Stinkweed Imp.

My prediction: Over

Kellogg, Dangerous Mind

Is this guy the founder of the cereal company? If so, remind me to eat less Special K.

This card seems immensely annoying to play against, especially since black and red are probably the best treasure-making colors around. Kellogg might compete with the uber-popular Prosper, Tome-Bound, but there should be enough decks to go around.

My prediction: Over

Legate Lanius, Caesar's Ace

What is this, an algebra quiz? Calculating one tenth of each board seems annoying, though I'll admit, the payoff is there. Playing this against any go-wide commander should be utterly devastating, and if you can blink it, it gets even meaner.

My prediction: Over

Cait, Cage Brawler

This was another job for the consiglieres, and here they were split. As the deciding vote, I opted for the Over, since I like Cait's potential with stuff like Sword of the Animist, plus her likelihood to discard the biggest stuff thanks to her color identity.

Our prediction: Over

Colonel Autumn

As a potent metaphor for the 1%, this guy lets your richest creatures exploit the lowliest for gain and profit. Orzhov legends has already proven to be a viable archetype with Ratadrabik of Urborg, and the Colonel here feels distinct enough to generate his own decks.

My prediction: Over

Elder Arthur Maxson

Torens, Fist of the Angels is one of the few other commanders with Training and he went Over, which is a good sign for Arthur here. Imagine, for example, casting Lingering Souls into this. Yes, please.

My prediction: Over

MacCready, Lamplight Mayor

And here we have the answer to Colonel Autumn...MacCready here is looking out for the little guy. Great with tokens, great with saboteurs, and great against any big creature deck. Forget Hancock—I'm voting for this mayor instead.

My prediction: Over

Red Death, Shipwrecker

This was the third of four commanders I ran by the consiglieres. We all recognized the meme potential, but decided it was too low-impact to become a bigtime commander. And though I didn't ask, I suspect that if any of us saw this thing at Joe's Crab Shack, we'd have to leave.

Our prediction: Under

Shaun, Father of Synths

I think "Synthdaddy" would've made a better title for this card, but oh well. There's little else to improve upon, especially if you're copying stuff like Drakuseth, Maw of Flames or Torbran, Thane of Red Fell.

My prediction: Over

Agent Frank Horrigan

When I hear the name "Frank Horrigan," I picture a retired Irish cop from Boston, not this guy. Disappointment aside, he's still a sweet commander. Frank's massive, he can't die in combat, and his double proliferate works wonders with all sorts of Golgari cards, including Winding Constrictor, Ochre Jelly, and all those Slime Against Humanitys you pulled at your prerelease.

My prediction: Over

Cass, Hand of Vengeance

This ability feels more like an insurance plan than a legitimate archetype. And in a post-apocalyptic setting, the last thing I'm worried about is my insurance.

My prediction: Under

Craig Boone, Novac Guard

This is a lot of text that adds up to very little impact. Flavorful, I'm sure, but flavor alone can't save this dude (or his baby).

My prediction: Under

Desdemona, Freedom's Edge

Desdemona is spicy with any small and/or artifact creature that sacs itself for profit. My personal favorite would be Mogg Fanatic, but I'm sure you'll find your own.

My prediction: Over

Moira Brown, Guide Author

Speaking as someone who owns too many books, they tend to accumulate faster than you realize. That's what will happen with Moira. Since her Wasteland Survival Guides aren't legendary, you can blink her to generate additional copies, thereby making your creatures stronger and stronger. Unlike me, those are books you won't be donating to the library.

My prediction: Over

Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy

This reminds me of Kaalia of the Vast, only for little creatures instead of creature types. That said, augmenting Elizabeth with power-boosting Equipment (Wasteland Survival Guide, anyone?) can yield even bigger attackers. Seems like a quintessential Boros commander to me.

My prediction: Over

Sentinel Sarah Lyons

This is the commander for anyone who feels Osgir, the Reconstructor isn't aggressive enough. She's frequently going to pump your team, and if you're packing all artifacts, that Battalion trigger will deal massive damage.

My prediction: Over

Three Dog, Galaxy News DJ

Based on his name, I'm assuming this guy only plays Three Dog Night songs, which I'm okay with. I'm also okay with copying cantripping auras attached to him, or any that work better in multiples, such as Ethereal Armor. Fortunately, there are plenty of each to go around. Talk about joy to the world.

My prediction: Over

Marcus, Mutant Mayor

Man, this mayoral race is really heating up. It was so close, in fact, I had to consult my consiglieres one last time. I was initially leaning Over, but Jason and Shane noted that a five-mana 4/4 isn't that impressive these days, and getting those initial counters is a bottleneck on your card draw. Guess I'm still voting MacCready for mayor.

Our prediction: Under

Dogmeat, Ever Loyal

"Dogmeat" is a rather ominous name for a canine, though I suppose it's acceptable on a three-mana 3/3 that often replaces itself, then adds value on each attack. Not a wildly powerful commander here, but certainly solid.

P.S. If my dog was ever off-leash in a post-apocalyptic setting, she'd never stand this still.

My prediction: Over

Preston Garvey, Minuteman

This guy is sweet with Lotus Field, Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, and, if you can afford it, Gaea's Cradle. He even works with other enchanted permanents, not just lands, meaning you get double activations on stuff like Splinter Twin.

My prediction: Over (Can't-Miss Pick!)

Caesar, Legion's Emperor

According to the Fallout Wiki, this guy's real name is Edward Sallow. If that was my name, I'd change it to Caesar, too.

Like Julius and Octavius before him, this Caesar isn't opposed to sacrificing some plebs, especially with three payoffs to choose from. I like how the first builds your board, the second digs for answers, and the third closes the game. Who needs mayors when you've got an emperor?

My prediction: Over

Mr. House, President and CEO

The scene depicted in this image is a clear HR violation, though we won't dwell on that. Instead, we'll focus on Yahtzee.

Well, technically it's not Yahtzee, since you'll be rolling at most four dice, not five. Still, that's a lot, especially when every six-roll gets you another free shot at more Robots. Combine with Wyll, Blade of Frontiers, Barbarian Class, and any card that rolls d20s for maximum profit.

My prediction: Over

Dr. Madison Li

Temur used to be the go-to energy color combo, but this doctor single-handedly shifts that paradigm. Yes, you'll need to play artifacts, but you're probably doing that anyway thanks to cards like Aethersphere Harvester, Multiform Wonder, and Decoction Module. Good stuff, Doc.

My prediction: Over

Liberty Prime, Recharged

Hard to argue with a five-mana 8/8 packing three relevant keywords and an easy way to generate extra value.

My prediction: Over

The Master, Transcendent

Well this is gross. It's also a better version of The Mimeoplasm. It's also going to directly compete with Raul, Trouble Shooter since it's essentially doing the same thing, only with access to green. It's also gross. Did I mention that it's gross?

My prediction: Gross—I mean, Over

The Wise Mothman

I consider myself a cryptozoologist because I've watched a lot of MonsterQuest. Impressive, I know. What's even more impressive is how fast The Wise Mothman will accelerate the pace of the game. Whether it's via mill or life loss, players are going to be dropping like flies—or moths, as it were. Meanwhile, you'll be pumping your team with a counter per nonland card milled by anybody at any time. In Sultai, that sounds irresistible.

My prediction: Over

ED-E, Lonesome Eyebot

I don't know if this is some beloved Fallout character or something, but if it is, they've done him dirty. Probably pretty good in a Desdemona, Freedom's Edge deck, but otherwise, I'm not interested.

My prediction: Under


Over (27)

  1. Yes Man, Personal Securitron
  2. Hancock, Ghoulish Mayor
  3. Rose, Cutthroat Raider
  4. Lily Bowen, Raging Grandma
  5. Strong, the Brutish Thespian
  6. Rex, Cyber-Hound
  7. Raul, Trouble Shooter
  8. Kellogg, Dangerous Mind
  9. Legate Lanius, Caesar's Ace
  10. Cait, Cage Brawler
  11. Colonel Autumn
  12. Elder Arthur Maxson
  13. MacCready, Lamplight Mayor
  14. Shaun, Father of Synths
  15. Agent Frank Horrigan
  16. Desdemona, Freedom's Edge
  17. Moira Brown, Guide Author
  18. Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy
  19. Sentinel Sarah Lyons
  20. Three Dog, Galaxy News DJ
  21. Dogmeat, Ever Loyal
  22. Caesar, Legion's Emperor
  23. Mr. House, President and CEO
  24. Dr. Madison Li
  25. Liberty Prime, Recharged
  26. The Master, Transcendent
  27. The Wise Mothman

Under (24)

  1. Aradesh, the Founder
  2. Codsworth, Handy Helper
  3. Commander Sofia Daguerre
  4. Overseer of Vault 76
  5. Paladin Danse, Steel Maverick
  6. Sierra, Nuka's Biggest Fan
  7. Curie, Emergent Intelligence
  8. James, Wandering Dad
  9. Jason Bright, Glowing Prophet
  10. Nick Valentine, Private Eye
  11. Piper Wright, Publick Reporter
  12. Butch DeLoria, Tunnel Snake
  13. Duchess, Wayward Tavernkeep
  14. Ian the Reckless
  15. The Motherlode, Excavator
  16. Veronica, Dissident Scribe
  17. Harold and Bob, First Numens
  18. Arcade Gannon
  19. Elder Owyn Lyons
  20. Red Death, Shipwrecker
  21. Cass, Hand of Vengeance
  22. Craig Boone, Novac Guard
  23. Marcus, Mutant Mayor
  24. ED-E, Lonesome Eyebot

Can't-Miss Pick

Thanks to our official Over/Under consiglieres, Jason and Shane, for their expertise! Now please excuse me while I procure a copy of The Wise Mothman, post-haste.

Read more:

Fallout Set Review - Enemy Colors and Wedges

The Over/Under - Predicting The Popularity Of Murders At Karlov Manor And Clue Commanders

Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.

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