13, Mar, 24

Go-Wide Fallout Commander Precon is the Best by Far

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Article at a Glance

Looking for a solid pre-con with loads of proven cards, tons of board wipes and a consistent plan that works? Look no further than Hail, Caesar. The three color combination of white, red and black synergize to win the game in multiple ways while also providing a little bit of everything. “All roads lead to Rome” is the phrase, and Hail, Caesar has many paths to victory. While the deck looks a bit unfocused when revealed, it held up in multiple games and can do some really wild plays for a pre-con. Let’s talk about the other commander option and where you can make some improvements going forward.

Don’t Play Mr. House

There are only a couple of Treasure or roll a die cards in the deck and because of that Mr. House, President and CEO simply cannot do its thing. When you compare Caesar, Legion’s Emperor to Mr. House, it’s simply undeniable that one of them is out of place. Caesar offers token generation, drawing and a win condition. Mr. House? 50% of the time it makes a token with a one in six to make a treasure. With a pile of treasures, your odds go up, but the deck lacks critical support for treasure generation. In an ideal situation, you would play Dr. House on turn three, then activate it’s ability sacrificing a full four treasure tokens. In that case you are rolling five six sided dice and you are fairly likely to get three 3/3 Robots and maybe one treasure as well. After that, though, you have no more treasures and are back to paying four mana to roll one die and getting only a 50% chance to make a token. Even in a wild scenario where you get five 3/3s on turn four, they still don’t win you the game for many turns.

That being said, there certainly are other cards that work with this kind of plan. However, you would be replacing most of Hail, Caesar to achieve that. Better to buy Mr. House as a single in this case.

Surprising Synergy

Black Market

I was not immediately sold on the include of Black Market, but after playing with it I’m a believer. Caesar is a built-in sacrifice effect so at worst you are building up your mana slowly. Then if opponents block your attacking 1/1s, you’re building even faster. But what are you using the mana for? The deck features X spells, a multi-kicker card and the best of all, Squad. On top of that, the synergy with Skullclamp and Pitiless Plunderer makes the pre-con feel unfair. Eating your entire board with Black Market mana and Skullclamp makes your next Black Market trigger huge. Since you’ve just drawn a pile of cards, you’re guaranteed to hit what you need and continue going even bigger. You might also have a pile of treasure on top of that to go even bigger.

Keep in mind that between Caesar, Deadly Dispute, Morbid Opportunist and other cards, the deck is loaded with extra drawing. Even your single target removal can draw thanks to Lethal Scheme. Sometimes this kind of idea works poorly, though, because you draw too much and can’t play everything. In particular, what if you draw a bunch of board wipes all at once? No problem because Hour of Reckoning, Ruinous Ultimatum, Martial Coup, and Vault75: Middle School almost never hurt your own board and can also improve it at the same time!

Let’s Talk Wincons

Certainly you will make tokens. Whether it’s off of Squad, Secure the Wastes or converting creatures via Caesar, there is no lack of token generation. That said, just 1/1s can have a tough time closing out a game. That’s where one of several different wincons can help you cross the finish line.

First, of course, is Caesar himself. This effectively makes your 1/1s deal double damage by attacking one player and nuking another with Caesar’s third ability to deal direct damage. There’s also Colonel Autumn, Elder Arthus Maxson, Overseer of Vault 76 and Butch Deloria, Tunnel Snake. All of these cards basically double the effectiveness of your tokens and when used together can quickly convert into a win.

There are also tried and true cards like Bastion of Remembrance that makes your tokens help win even if they die, and Assemble the Legion which is a slow but inevitable card. It can be a challenge to math out the most effective way to win but, in general, making your board wider is always your best move compared to boosting power/toughness. In short, go wide before you go tall.

What Comes out?

The deck features many enchantments, and a few at five mana. Compared to Wild Wasteland at only three mana, Stolen Strategy is just too costly and likely has no synergy with your deck because you’re playing everyone else’s.

There are a large list of cards you can consider removing: Survivor’s Med Kit, Impassioned Orator, Boomer Scrapper, Paladin Elizabeth Taggerdy, Thrill-Kill Disciple, Aradesh, the Founder, Desdemona, Freedom’s Edge, Rose, Cutthroat Raider, and Sierra, Nuka’s Biggest Fan. In short, most of these cards are one to two mana too expensive, have weak or no token synergy, and don’t scale particular favorably considering everything else the deck does.

The most controversial cut I would advocate is Captain of the Watch. At six mana, it’s the most expensive creature in the deck. That means any time you draw it, it’s sitting in your hand as a dead card for a while. While most of the tokens you generate are Soldiers, not all of them are. Additionally, the static +1/+1 effect can give you a bit of issue with Skullclamp from time to time. It’s not necessary to remove it, but if you want to streamline the deck it certainly could find itself on the chopping block; there are far, far better cards that exist and all of them cost a lot less mana.

Big Includes

While there are no hard and fast rules about what can be suggested for pre-con upgrades, I’ve always shied away from recommending singles that are as expensive as an entire deck. However, Anointed Procession is so good here it must be mentioned.

In terms of other token doubling effects: Mondrak, Glory Dominus is another pricey, heavy hitter but only four mana. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation feels a lot better than Captain of the Watch but is still a non-budget card.

More Token Generation

Skirsdag High Priest has perfect synergy with Caesar and is cheap in both mana and dollar value. It’s far better than many of the three and four mana cards it’s replacing.

Westvale Abbey is a relatively free include that gives you another alternate win condition on a slow token generator that can turn into a beastly Demon. The fact that it takes up no deck space to give you an option makes it a worthwhile consideration. Similarly, Legion’s Landing is a perfect include for the same reasons.

For an absolutely game ending card, consider Tempt With Vengeance. With Caesar’s direct damage ability, you can easily deal absurd damage with a surprisingly low amount of mana if the rest of the table doesn’t see it coming. They should, of course, see it coming, but if you’re behind, you can convince everyone else to help you get rid of the winning player. That’s diplomacy in action! It’s yet another X spell that the deck plays well with.

Even MORE Wincons?

Many players will consider cards like Impact Tremors, Zulaport Cutthroat and Divine Visitation and they are far from bad choices. Note, however, that the deck already has a lot of decent win conditions. It does not necessarily require more. Because of cards like MacCready, Lamplight Mayor, Overseer of Vault 76, Skullclamp and Vault 75, buffing your entire board can have a slight drawback. Note that 4/4 Angels offer no synergy with any of these cards. That’s not to say these aren’t good cards. Making a 4/4 flying, vigilance creature is way better than making a 1/1. Still, a deck should strive for a harmonious balance of cards.

An Easy Recommendation

Hail, Caesar presents a well made deck that has plenty of power. It can go big and it can go huge. You are never desperate for a way to win, card draw, or token generation because it’s all built into your Commander. While the single target removal is a little bit lacking, the deck more than makes up for it with a solid amount of mass removal. Even better than that? The mass removal is one sided.

One weakness of the deck is if Caesar gets dealt with quickly more than once, you will be behind. Most Commander decks similarly struggle in the face of significant, targeted removal. If you find this is the case, you’re in luck because you can easily play Flawless Maneuver or other protection effects. Problem solved.

At a stock level Hail, Caesar has plenty of potential. If I were to recommend getting only one of the Fallout decks this would be that deck. It plays well out of the box and has a large amount of options for the future.

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