MTG Fallout’s storytelling signals Universes Beyond will only get better

MTG Fallout’s storytelling signals Universes Beyond will only get better
Johnny Garcia Updated on by

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

Magic: The Gathering’s collaboration with Fallout is one of many Universes Beyond collaborations. This isn’t the first time Magic has crossed over with other series, with Doctor Who, Warhammer, and Lord Of The Rings previously, and more planned in the future such as Assassin’s Creed and Final Fantasy. With plans to increase the amount of Universes Beyond products, Fallout solidifies the standards of Universes Beyond. Magic: The Gathering Fallout shows a promising future for Universes Beyond.

Faithful Cards

With Universes Beyond, it would be very easy just to slap a character people recognize on a card with a generic effect and call it a day. It could be a lazy cash grab, but as Fallout has shown, this couldn’t be further from the case.

All of the cards in the Fallout set are immensely flavorful, and are accurate to the lore of their characters and pull from their stories, translating them into Magic’s game mechanics.

Curie, a companion from Fallout 4 is a Missy Nanny robot who wishes to become more human and has her data transferred into a Synth body (for non-Fallout fans, a Synth is an android that’s more human than a usual robot). This arc is perfectly translated on Curie’s Magic card Curie, Emergent Intelligence which lets Curie exile an artifact creature (a stand-in for the Synth) to then become a copy of that creature, essentially uploading herself into that creature. Although Curie is a copy of that creature, she still has her old effect, just as when Curie changes to a Synth body she is still herself despite the different appearance. 

This is one of the many cases of the characters and their arcs being shown through Magic mechanics. Preston Garvey is constantly making new Settlements, shown as Auras on his Magic card, The Master, Transcendent is turning other creatures into Super Mutants, and Rex, Cyber-Hound gains activated abilities of creatures in the graveyard as if he was getting a new brain as he does in Fallout: New Vegas. It is very obvious that the designers of the cards care about treating these characters with respect and ensuring their effects make sense to what they do in their respective games.

Flavorful Reprints

With Universes Beyond, not every single card is going to be completely new. Many reprints are included, many of which are flavorful to the setting the crossover is set in. Fallout’s reprints are full of flavor, showcasing key moments of the Fallout story or one that brings a theme together. 

Anguished Unmaking is a standout example, depicting a pivotal moment in Fallout 3 where the man you had spent the whole game searching for sacrifices himself by filling a room with poison, and it’s a perfect moment to capture on a card as heavy as this. The name alone invokes the dramatic storytelling, and the card excerpt ends on another harrowing note; With his last breath, he told his child to run.

Another example is Hardened Scales, which uses a Deathclaw to reimagine the card, a notoriously strong enemy in the franchise. It’s not a notable scene like the one shown in Anguished Unmaking, but a dip into the mythos of the Wasteland setting.

The reprints are given range from those that are expensive and haven’t seen one before like Fervent Charge to common cards that see play in many decks in multiple formats. It gives Fallout fans the opportunity to build decks with Fallout artwork in multiple formats with reprints like Deadly Dispute, Arcane Signet, Abundant Growth, and All That Glitters. You don’t have to play with these artworks, but fans of the series have the option to with its release. 

Fun References

One final thing that Magic: The Gathering’s Fallout set does is showcase various references to the games, primarily on reprints to give them that extra layer of love. This generally falls under the flavor text on cards, showing lines or quotes from the game’s that fans would recognize. It helps bring the entire set together, and shows promise for future Universes Beyond sets in the future. 

“War…war never changes.” is the most iconic line in the entire Fallout series, and made its way onto perhaps the most natural card – Casualties Of War. It’s another layer of care when designing what cards are going to be included and what stories are told in each card. Even if it’s not the most powerful card in the game (far from it), Casualties Of War is almost too flavorful to ignore and shows the promising future that fans of the series Magic is crossing over with are the ones making the design decisions to bring the set together and feel more like a love letter to the franchise than a marketing stunt. 

This even goes beyond the obvious ones. Looking at the card Secure The Wastes, it has the flavor text “Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a nuclear winter.” While the unaware may think nothing of it, fans of Fallout: New Vegas will appreciate the line, something that has become a bit of an in-joke within the community due to just how frequently the line is muttered in the game by various NPCs. It’s a touch that shows the amount of care that went into pulling not just from the games, but the culture of the community as well. MTG Fallout isn’t just for brand exposure, collaborative possibility, and a spike in sales – it’s also for the fans.

All of this shows a promising future for Universes Beyond’s future product lines. With more on the way, both in Commander decks like Fallout was or full sets like Lord Of The Rings once the Final Fantasy set comes out, it can be shown that there are no signs of stopping how well-done and flavorful the cards are. The designers take the job of designing these cards as accurately as possible to how the characters, locations, and events in these series are serious. While we’ve seen a few cases prior to Fallout, this is the first with a more open lore due to the nature of RPGs, and shows that other franchises are in good hands for a bright future of Universes Beyond. We have the storytellers to thanks for that.