Nuclear Fallout, a card from Magic: The Gathering's Fallout set, with custom artwork.
Image via WotC

Radiation in MTG: How does MTG Fallout’s rad counters work?

Take your Geiger counter to Friday Night Magic.

Magic: The Gathering‘s latest Universes Beyond set, Fallout, takes us into Bethesda’s wonderful world of nuclear apocalypse and has players experience everything on offer from the video game universe, from power armor to the Pip-Boy.

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Alongside Junk tokens, the new Fallout set is adding the Radiation mechanic, which plays on the series’ iconic rad counter. Those familiar with Bethesda’s works will know radiation is not something you’ll want to play around with too much. But among the drawbacks of rad poisoning, there are a couple of upsides.

Here’s how radiation and rad counters work in MTG’s Fallout set.

Radiation and rad counters in MTG Fallout, explained

Image of radiation symbol from Fallout franchise through Radiation MTG Fallout Commander set
Say goodbye to your deck—and your life. Image via WotC and Fallout

Radiation is a new mechanic introduced in MTG Fallout, which sees certain cards in the set give players rad counters. After a player’s draw step and at the beginning of the first main phase of that turn, if they have any rad counters, they must mill that many cards. For any non-land card milled, the player loses one life and one rad counter.

For example, after your draw step, if you have six rad counters, you’ll mill six cards. If two of them were non-land cards, you would lose two life and be left with four rad counters for the next turn. The goal with the mechanic will be to give as many rad counters to your opponent(s) and force them to discard their deck. But there’s an argument to be made that the mechanic can help you, too.

Nuclear Fallout, one of the new cards from the Fallout set, is a great example of this. Nuclear Fallout is a pseudo-board wipe that deals with most creatures at a moderate cost, pumping two extra mana into it will deal -4/-4 to the board and give two rad counters to each player. This can be scaled by the amount of mana you choose to invest.

In Black decks, particularly Golgari (Green and Black) and Orzhov (White and Black), losing a little life and discarding non-land cards may not be the end of the world, given the number of reanimation cards on offer. Mill an important creature to the rad counter? Just bring it back from the graveyard, no problem.

You can even combo it with Open the Vaults, a 4WW Sorcery that returns enchantments and artifacts to the battlefield from all graveyards. Be warned: This also includes your opponent, so be careful before infecting them with radiation and bringing back something incredibly powerful.

Between the life drain and the mill aspect of Radiation, the mechanic is incredibly strong if you can build up a stack of rad counters on your opponent. If a Commander deck built around Radiation interests you, you’ll want to check out MTG’s Mutant Menace Commander precon, which features The Wise Mothman who slings rad counters in all directions.


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Author
Nicholas Taifalos
Weekend editor for Dot Esports. Nick, better known as Taffy, began his esports career in commentary, switching to journalism with a focus on Oceanic esports, particularly Counter-Strike and Dota. Email: nicholas@dotesports.com