The Definitive Review of Fallout Commander Cards

The Definitive Review of the New Fallout Commander Cards

Kristen GregoryCommander

Four new Commander decks hit on March 8th, with Universes Beyond: Fallout joining the UB roster. What will you discover in the Wild Wasteland? Kristen sits down to review the offerings. 

Fallout is a game I loved playing. Fallout 3, specifically. I put so many hours into that game. The sense of foreboding and discovery was an intoxicating combination, and it was one of the first open-world games I played on my Xbox 360. How does it translate to Magic? Well, I’m  not here to do a flavor review, I’m here to tell you how good these cards are for Commander. Let’s dig in.

You can find other recent Commander set reviews here:


Fallout has a whopping 154 new cards, and not all are created equally. For example, just in white: Overencumbered doesn’t stop those decks doing “the thing”. Generally, I’m not a fan of Enlist, as it’s better to go swinging with the team than push for using the Enlist cards. Brotherhood Outcast isn’t bad, but competes with far stronger cards in this archetype already; same with Paladin Danse, Steel Maverick

As such, I’m only covering what’s most splashable or playable outside of the precon it’s in.

When it comes to the individual Commanders, Caesar is the one most likely to see play elsewhere.  It’ll shine in an Isshin tokens deck, or a Mardu Humans or Soldier shell. Most of the other  cards want you to play them as the Commander of their very specific deck; Mr. House and Preston will let you customize the deck with non-Fallout cards most freely, in either dice-rolling or  enchantress, but otherwise The Master, Transcendent is probably the most splashable in general for Sultai decks. 


Energy gets a lot of support from this set, and while some energy cards are more niche, some are out-and-out powerful. If you want to break away from the Fallout IP for your energy deck, Automated Assembly Line is one of the ones you’ll want to pick up. It’s a nice energy generator and payoff for two mana.

Battle of Hoover Dam is sweet. Remember Abiding Grace? For one mana more you get a lot more. Finality counters aren’t so relevant, with games ending a lot quicker in modern Commander, with fewer wraths being played, and more ways to get around them. Plus you have Ephemerate

Codsworth, Handy Helper is the perfect squire (other than needing power to run, unlike squishy humans). Ward {2} is always appreciated, and massaging your mana when it comes to casting and equipping seals the deal. Don’t forget he can move an attached Aura!

Bounty Agent is begrudgingly playable, but I think I’d much rather have access to Commander Sofia Daguerre. She crash lands, busting a Commander, threat, or problem land like Nykthos or Urborg. They should  be happy they get to salvage some junk. Flicker decks or decks like Hofri are most interested.

Idolized is one of the most powerful buffing auras to see print. Sure Ancestral Mask is good, but Idolized includes everything from treasures to creatures to who knows what else, for a mana less. Is this good in Enchantress? Sure. Is it also a win condition in some other decks, like tokens or artifact tokens? Definitely. 

I’m not sure Nahiri could pull off this look, but she can’t anyway because she’s six mana. Ardenn on the other hand? Actually yeah, I think he’d look killer in a suit. It’s just good value, and it has an inside pocket to store your keys safely. Measure me up. 

There are some Fallout energy cards that act as “rituals” for energy. Sentry Bot is one of them, and will allow you to potentially supercharge your batteries in response to an attack. If you survive, you can then take one hell of a turn. Counters on the team each combat is a nice way to spend that mana too.

A lot of the sagas are pretty hit or miss; the ones that are more “miss” will still be good in an enchantress/sagas shell, but aren’t worth shouting about. Vault 75 though? Damn. That’s a souped-up Slaughter the Strong, isn’t it? This one seems hella sweet in go-wide decks. Wizards seem determined to make aggro work in Commander at the cost of screwing midrange decks that want to play haymakers, don’t they?

We had Humble Defector, now we have Humble Detector. It’s a Humble Defector that leaves an army behind. Good white draw – as we’ve to come to expect.


He will find you, and he will pay two mana to crack you. James, Wandering Dad is just a solid pickup for Clues decks, and can work reasonably well as a mono-blue Clues Commander. His Adventure spell can set up big turns with the right payoffs or win conditions.

Mirelurk Queen just slots nicely into any mill deck. She’ll keep your hand stocked while emerging from the mist as a sizeable, growing threat that attacks and blocks like a champ.

Nerd Rage slots into a bunch of decks that want to spellsling and cantrip. While those decks often don’t care about Auras, they can quite often care about Commander damage – especially in Izzet. In the case of Simic decks, where 10+ cards in  hand is easiest to achieve, you have access to trample and some good evasive threats. Have fun, nerd

In Fallout 4 you’ll meet Piper before you meet Nick Valentine. In general, she also probably comes before him in playability. Both are excellent in the right archetype, though, and both make great Commanders. It’s almost a shame neither have Partner. 

Haha, this is goofy but sweet. I can hear that rad counter ticking – can you? This is the kind of spell that wins a game out of nowhere. Be prepared for it. 

Group Hug has gotten a little worse in recent years. Decks draw a lot more cards, and they’re wise to your shenanigans. Struggle for Project Purity is likely to be played on Brotherhood most often, and getting a Cut a Deal on every one of your upkeeps is solid draw.

Darth Maul’s Synth Infiltrator is as close to a “free” clone spell as we’ve come. With enough artifacts, this won’t cost generic mana. Two mana for a clone that doesn’t have Illusion is solid.

Vexing Radgull is a little niche, but I actually think in many ways it’s a stronger Thrummingbird for proliferate decks. Don’t sleep on it. 


Feral Ghoul is the kind of fun card I love to see pop off. It might not always win a game, but it can push damage through and set up graveyards for you to reap rewards. Hell, maybe it will win games. 

Well, no kind of deluge more toxic than nuclear fallout. This removal spell, with the right setup, can really get a game moving. If you have Zulaport Cutthroat or Bastion of Remembrance out, life totals will go places. 

Rad counters are pretty rad, and while they will work best en-masse, they can still do enough on more pushed cards. Screeching Scorchbeast is one such card. Even if it never attacks, you can make a bunch of zombies from milling yourself or anyone else. I’m into it.

I’ve discussed frequently how good spells are that can get rid of token armies, and V.A.T.S. does this, while removing the opportunity for the opponent to react by proliferating counters or casting protection. At the floor, it’s still a solid removal spell, often hitting two to four creatures for four mana. I think I convinced myself to play a copy.


Keywords in combat are more important than ever, and Assaultron Dominator not only buffs your artifact creature attackers, it also leaves that buff behind in the form of ability counters when it dies. At base, you get 2 goes at this, but in a deck that uses energy, you’re cooking with gasoline. 

We haven’t had an extra combat for a while, and Grim Reaper’s Sprint comes in to give you one for as little as two mana. It’s worded in such a way that it’s hard to make it go infinite; if you have the mana, you could use Meticulous Excavation and a Dockside Extortionist, but really if you’re set up for that then Aggravated Assault is probably easier, or basically anything else with the Dockside. Pretty nice for decks that cheat in attackers though, as it grants haste if you attach it to whatever got cheated in. 

Another energy “ritual”, Motherlode, Excavator will usually give you about four to eight energy on average, when played in the late game. The payoff is a way to remove blockers, which can be pretty nice, especially if you want to connect to generate more energy. 

The flavor is on point with this one. Mysterious Stranger is a flash speed one-off Wildfire Devils of sorts. In the right metagame this can do some serious work. Rakdos decks in particular that like to mill opponents  could see some use out of this, and the Rogue typing opens up certain shells for it to shine. 

Okay so this Plasma Caster might be true RNG outside a coin flip deck (a deck where it’ll be awesome), but I think you can generate some virtual card advantage by playing this thing anyways. You only have to pay energy after they block, and unless they have tokens to feed you, there’s some inherent risk in blocking. 

Powder Ganger is pretty medium, unless you care about Rogues or Party – at which point you’ll invite him and all his friends over for a dynamite time. 

Rose, Cutthroat Raider does just enough to interest me. Generating junk is cool, but I think the synergy that Academy Manufactor offers to other artifact tokens keeps Junk from being as attractive as it could be. Still, in decks like Laelia or Prosper, Junk can slot nicely into the equation. When you’re making red mana off of each junk? Well, that lets your deck hum not unlike a buzzsaw. 


Bighorner Rancher might be farming cattle, but he’s much more likely to find his way into Selesnya Humans/Counters decks, or Gruul Power-matters decks. I like big life swings as ways to buy extra turns, and if you’re playing with counters, buffing the Rancher with his innate Vigilance is also a good payoff. 

Oh look, another Selesyna Humans pickup! Cathedral Acolyte is secretly best friends with Coppercoat Vanguard and the many, many +1/+1 counter synergies these decks can run. Stack that ward to the moon.

Glowing One is receiving a glowing review from me. It’s a great blocker, it can get things moving on its own, and ultimately it’ll sit there gaining you life while you mill everyone. Mill is getting lots of new toys in this expansion. 

Power Fist leaves behind a buff, so even if it gets removed, it’ll leave you with a sizeable chonker. In some decks this’ll be better than a Blackblade Reforged for sure.

Now this one’s nice. While it’ll require a little more mana than a Bane of Progress, most things you wanna blow up can be achieved with a total of eight mana. It’s nice that bear decks get another way to destroy problems. 

Strong Back is some great tech for Enchantress decks. It scales with the game, and lets you accelerate your game considerably too. There’s not much more to say – it’s just an amazing Aura.

Watchful Radstag will multiply with ease, and even though they’ll start to cap out their power, there will always be more deer to grow the herd.


There are probably enough cards for proliferate now that you can build a dozen distinct Atraxa decks. Golgari can do it too, though, and has access to a bunch of good commanders like Carth the Lion or partner decks with Reyhan, Last of the Abzan. I like Agent Horrigan more in the 99, to be frank, but he could lead a deck with enough ramp. 

Whew, Alpha Deathclaw is not to be trifled with. It’s going to get in for damage, but not before ripping apart whatever is dearest to one of your opponents. Getting to go again by making it Monstrous is a great mana sink, especially when you’re anticipating a board wipe and want to keep some cards in hand.

Casting an artifact or human each turn from your graveyard is an exciting prospect. Gannon dwarfs the competition by offering Azorious recursion at no extra cost – no mana, or cards to discard, just the mana to cast the spell. He can utilize all of the proliferate tech from ONE to get swole quick. The Doctor typeline also might come up, now.

We don’t play Utter End anymore, but sticking Proliferate onto the Golgari equivalent? I think that’s enough to be  playable in proliferate decks, which seems to now just get to proliferate for doing any game action they want. 

Cass ensures that your outlay for equipping or enchanting your creatures isn’t mana poorly spent. She’s most suited to Auras decks, as you’ll want to be using free equips in equipment decks as much as reasonably possible. She shines when playing with auras. 

Desdemona, Freedom’s Edge encourages you to lean into white’s land synergies by using fetchlands, Land Tax et al to fill your yard with escape fuel. A Rogue in Boros doesn’t happen too often – I wonder if there’s a Boros party deck now?

Elder Arthur Maxson is taking training to the max, son. By leveraging different sized tokens, they can keep training each other, growing every time they attack. Keeping Arthur in play is easy enough, but you’ll still need protection spells for bounce and exile. Try phasing, especially with tokens.

Oh look, it’s one of them there energy ritual cards. This is amongst the best of them; while it’s not quite a Mana Drain, it can still help you pop off.

Inventory Management is fun. It makes combat with multiple equipped creatures treacherous for opponents, and can switch things around at instant speed to help protect your key pieces. I love that it has Split Second, and I’m hype to play with it. 

Kellogg, Dangerous Mind isn’t the guy that invented cornflakes and inflicted horrendous morning blood sugar spikes on the masses; that’s the other Kellogg. This one goes well in treasure decks, and oh my days I’m only now realizing this thing is absolutely CRACKED in Dihada. Please Wizards, slow down. 

Like Kellogg, MacCready moonlights in Isshin decks. It’s also a perfectly reasonable tokens Commander. 

The key wording on this card is “prevent all damage that would be dealt”, and that’s what elevates it even higher; losing indestructible won’t matter if damage was prevented. While it does make me chuckle to see a three mana spell that could just be a counterspell, that’s not quite what this is for. It’s flexible and can be used offensively, too. 

The Nipton Lottery makes Last One Standing look like the prequel. Lottery takes the idea and runs with it, cackling into the night, with destruction in wake. What a fun wrath. 

Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy is another Knight that really bolsters RW Knight decks with new options. Are you willing to suffer the anachronism of having a traditional Knight alongside this futuristic fighter? If yes, then you’re borrowing some serious firepower. One of the best Battalion triggers we’ve seen for a while.

Raul, Trouble Shooter is a great pickup for all manner of decks that want to be dipping into the graveyard. Whether Dimir, Grixis, Sultai or Esper, there are plenty of ways to fill the yard. Shadow Kin, Altar of Dementia, Mesmeric Orb… and the rest. Raul is solid value and blocks well in the early game. 

If the other Paladin didn’t sell you on Knights-with-Guns, then Sentinel Sarah Lyons just might. She’s hasty, she can buff the team, and her Battalion trigger deals burn to face based on the number of artifacts you control. Yikes, that’s some damage potential. 

Three Dog might be better than the Feather in the MKM Boros precon. And by better I mean, easier to build, and more versatile. Boros Auras is getting better, and though it doesn’t have access to as many enchantress effects as decks with green, you can just copy an Angelic Gift to draw a bunch of cards.


Strength Bobblehead | Perception Bobblehead
Endurance Bobblehead | Charisma Bobblehead
Intelligence Bobblehead | Agility Bobblehead | Luck Bobblehead

Ah, the Bobbleheads. Short of putting them all into one deck to maximize your gains, they’re kinda more cute than powerful. You’re probably going to take one or two of them and make token copies to get some real value. 

ED-E, Lonesome Eyebot is a surefire way to generate card draw in decks that go wide. If you can proliferate or double triggers, it gets even better, but even at base, it’s some solid draw. 

Nuka-Cola Vending Machine might seem unassuming, but there are a great number of decks making Food that can abuse this. Enjoy your cold Nuka-Cola with a slice of Academy Manufactor and… run. 

Pip-Boy 3000 is better than cool. It’s ice cold. While you might want to cast me out for that pun, you might want to sit and hear what I have to say first. This isn’t Umezawa’s Jitte, or Sword of Feast and Famine… but it’s close. A lot closer than you’d think. It’s super cheap to play and equip, and it does some very useful things. I’m excited to test it out. 

Far and away the best land in the precons (other than access to enemy colored variants of a land cycle we’ve never had before) is HELIOS One. It’s basically an Unstable Obelisk in your manabase. 


Get out the RadAway, crack open a Nuka Cola, and hook up a Stimpak. We did it. We’re back to the Vault. The Wasteland didn’t beat us, but instead offered us a glimpse at the hot new tech for our Commander decks. I’m most excited for the Aura & Equipment cards… what about you?