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Survive The Universe Beyond The Vaults In Magic: The Gathering’s Fallout Crossover

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the moth

The beloved Fallout series has reached beyond the flickering CRT display to experiment with various mediums like tabletop and miniature games and even an upcoming streaming series on Prime, but has yet to spread its positively glowing influence upon the card gaming scene. That is, until this month’s Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond crossover, which sees the series adapted into four pre-constructed decks for the social Commander format. Reaching as far back as the first game some 25 years ago, these Universes Beyond decks take a bunch of deep-cut characters, inventions, settings and iconography and reimagines them in the world’s most popular trading card game. The four distinctly themed decks are headlined by the likes of New Vegas‘ Ceasar, 76’s Mothman, the series’ bonkers retro-futurist technology and its scientists, and the stalwart sidekick Dogmeat.

Commander is the perfect format for this mutated crossover, with the 100-card decks celebrating the sublime irradiated lands and the crazed denizens that inhabit them. You’re likely to panic as a hulking Alpha Deathclaw is summoned to the battlefield while players around the table are constantly finding themselves suffering the effects of the toxic atmosphere. Radiation is perhaps one of the coolest new features introduced to Magic with this set. For those decks like Hail, Ceasar that might have humans and generally non-mutated creatures, they’re going to have a hell of a time against radiation. By itself, each accumulation of this status effect causes players to mill a card at the beginning of each turn. In effect, the radiation is causing their equipment, creatures, and experiences waiting in the deck to fade out due to toxic radiation. By itself this is no biggie, there are 100 cards. It is when mutants, the likes of the Mutant Mayhem deck, enter the field that radiation becomes much more of a problem. Decks with these toxic creatures will inevitably cause players to suffer damaging effects in conjunction with milling from radiation, with the possibility of restoring the hit points of mutants and their players. Left unchecked, radiation can shift the state of a game very quickly in favour of the mutants.

Preston Garvey, Minuteman Scrappy Survivors Fallout Commander Decks

I have had the opportunity to play with the Mutant Mayhem deck a few times now, led by its commander The Wise Mothman. This cryptid introduced in the later Fallout 76 expansions is terrifying for other players at the table. The 3/3 legendary insect mutant causes every player around the table to cop a radiation counter every time it lands on the table or attacks. Even better, as those radiation counters resolve at the start of every player’s turn, the Mothman grants its summoning player a +1/+1 boosting counter to any of its cards for every nonland card milled around the table. When you’ve got four players at the table, each with three or more radiation counters, the potential for Mothman supremacy is frightening and paints quite a target on this player’s back!

As is now standard with these Universes Beyond Commander releases, there will also be Collectors Boosters available for purchase in addition to the four pre-con decks. These boosters are a great opportunity for collectors to pull exciting borderless, alternative art renditions of their favourite cards, as well as a few extra shiny treats.

This Universes Beyond Fallout release has been available since early March, and has seen a bunch of new players among my friend group get deep into Magic off the back of this. These aren’t difficult decks for new players to get accustomed to, although my Mutant Mayhem deck had a lot of trigger conditions to keep track of on every turn. If you’re interested, be sure to have a browse between JB Hi-Fi, EB Games and Gameology, as stock availability is pretty limited on this badarse crossover.

Has the inclusion of this major videogame franchise in Magic tempted you into the cardboard realm? Or perhaps prompted a fresh install of New Vegas? Let us know in the comments and on social media.

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Written By Nathan Hennessy

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