New Fallout Deck Brings MTG Out of the Vault

March 15, 2024

This feature was contributed by author Josh Beams.

War… War Never Changes…

Magic: The Gathering has introduced many fun and innovative crossovers within its Universes Beyond expansions, and the next in the long line of universes close to our hearts is none other than the post apocalyptic wastelands of the Fallout series. Fallout: Out of the Vault brings to your table a host of familiar wasteland heroes, dreadful mutated monsters and, of course, your trusted dog sidekick, as you embark through the perils of what the wasteland has to offer.

Originating in 1997, the Fallout games have been known as some of the most memorable RPG’s to date, with the series reaching critical acclaim under the guidance of Bethesda Studios. Fans of the series will instantly recognise countless characters, locations and monsters from the award winning Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4, with OG fans being treated to a few nods to the earlier titles. With these fun new additions to Magic: The Gathering, we are also treated to fresh and unique mechanics as well as the return of some lesser known features.

Returning to the wastelands is the Energy mechanic, last seen way back in 2016/17 during the Kaladesh Expansion. The Energy mechanic reintroduces a resource based playstyle, which the player may use to pay the cost of specific activated and/or triggered abilities. This mechanic fits right into the atompunk and retro futuristic setting that the Fallout series takes place in. After all, giant killer robots and power armour-clad knights need countless amounts of energy to fuel their tools of battle.

What would the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout be without radiation? What would a Fallout Magic: The Gathering expansion be without a similarly devastating new game mechanic? The new Radiation mechanic has players accumulating a number of counters, then after their draw step milling that many cards, and taking damage for every non-land permanent milled. A number of Radiation counters are then removed for every non-land permanent milled this way.

This new mechanic works extremely well with The Wise Mothman, one of the Commanders of the 4 precons on offer for the Expansion. Heading up the Mutant Menace deck, The Wise Mothman gains a number of +1/+1 counters for every Radiation counter each player triggers. We were able to get hands on with the deck, and quickly saw how powerful Mothman can be if left unchecked! It’s a great spin on the mill mechanic, which has often been limited to a few very set win conditions, allowing players to add more depth to their decks and a fun new way to claim dominance in the nuclear wastes.

Junk is rich in the Fallout wasteland and it’s also rich in this expansion. Junk is a new token that allows a player to tap it and “Sacrifice this artifact: Exile the top card of your library. You may play that card this turn. Activate only as a sorcery”. This gives exile decks a number of fun token based cards to add to their already impressive arsenal.

The expansion artwork shows beautiful renditions of reprinted and original cards featuring memorable monsters such as the fearsome Deathclaw and recognisable heroes such as Preston Garvy, who may just have news of another settlement in need of assistance. On top of this, scavengers can look forward to finding a number of unique alternative artworks, featuring Pipboy framed cards, as well as borderless art cards featuring everyone’s favourite Vaultboy and his S.P.E.C.I.A.L attributes. For those lucky enough, you may even uncover one of the 500 serialised versions of the iconic seven Bobbleheads.

The expansion includes 4 Commander Precons. Science! headed by Dr. Madison Li has a heavy emphasis on robots, high tech energy weapons and prewar technology powered by the returning Energy mechanic. Hail, Caesar, lead by the man himself Caesar, Legion’s Emperor, an aristocrat themed deck all about sacrificing your expendable token soldiers. The previously mentioned Mutant Menace, fronted by The Wise Mothman, forces your opponents to a slow demise by Radiation before a beat down by giant mutants. And finally, everyone’s favourite good-boy, Dogmeat, Ever Loyal, leads an equipment style voltron deck in Scrappy Survivors. Overall, the expansion introduces 154 new cards in total and over 150 reprints.

The number of Magic: The Gathering expansion releases has recently skyrocketed, leaving some skeptical of a Marvel style oversaturation of the market. However, the buzz around the upcoming release of the promising Fallout TV show in a couple months, paired with memories of countless hours of fun and excitement in the nuclear wastelands of the post apocalyptic Fallout world, leads to a memorable and outright enjoyable expansion. It will leave veterans of the Fallout series opening long forgotten save files of games past and maybe even encourage some newcomers to pick up the games for the first time. And remember kids, “Death is a preferable alternative to communism”.