Today we have a slight departure from usual, diving in to review ALL of the new cards from the first of the Dr. Who preconstructed Commander decks. In the next week or so we will be giving our thoughts on all four of decks being added to our favorite format. Most of us are somehow not big Whovians (shocking with this many nerds on this big of a touchstone) so we will mainly be weighing in on the cards for their Magic gameplay aspect.
TheChirurgeon: The Blast From the Past deck is just that – focusing on the show’s near 100 years of history, but notably stuff before Russel T Davies’ revival era in the 2000s. There’s a ton of stuff here that fans of the classic show will like, and a lot of stuff that fans of only the modern show will only recognize from specials that feature past doctors or returning stuff.
The deck itself focuses on historic cards (Artifacts, legendaries, and Sagas), and features a ton of each. Though notably since this deck has to cover eight doctors worth of material, a lot of the cards in it are the first eight doctors and their companions.
The Fourth Doctor
TheChirurgeon: If you’re a fan of the classic show, this is probably the Doctor you know best – Baker’s iconic scarf defined an entire generation of Doctor Who fans before Ecclesotn’s leather-bound doctor redefined the series. And fortunately they hit it out of the park with this incarnation of the doctor, who probably the most interesting of the deck’s Doctor options.
Loxi: Historics are always a fun archetype, and even though it isn’t “explicitly” artifact support, I always like to see weird artifact stuff going on in green, which food synergizes well with naturally. Casting spells off the top is sweet, but I think the real unique thing for this one is the ability to run all the legendary lands. Historic lands also should encompass artifact lands, which is pretty sweet. The real competition will be the other food commanders of recent, but I think this has enough of a twist that makes the long value-game of Simic stick out well in the archetype.
BPhillipYork: Looking at the top card of your library any time is a powerful ability, and the ability to cast historic spells or play historic lands is decent, especially since so many strong legendary (aka historic) lands have been printed lately. The problem is “cares about historic” is mostly a white thing. Thankfully there’s several Doctor’s Companions that will turn this into a Bant color identity, and Sarah Jane Smith for example also cares about historic. If you add flash into the mix, and there’s quite a few ways to get flash, even historic flash, into Bant, you could be slamming out cards on each turn, especially with an artifact focused deck.
FromTheShire: Potentially a sort of Oracle of Mul Daya with enough legendary and artifact lands and historic spells that trades the extra land drop for not giving your opponents information and creating a Food. Really good, and even better if you can do things on other people’s turns.
Marcy: I’m not particularly a huge fan of Dr. Who so I know very little about the series, so I can’t say if the flavoring here is relatable, but I do at least have to respect that the 4th Doctor is a 4/4 for 4 CMC. That out of the way, the ability seems pretty nice and simple, and is a fairly ‘friendly’ Commander style thing. There aren’t a whole lot of Legendary cards that can be played at instant speed (and the only actual Legendary Instant is not in these colors), so even though it says ‘once each turn,’ right now there’s not a lot of ways for that to lead to off-turn shenanigans. Simic Food Token shenanigans in these colors might be a fun little side-effect, though.
Sarah Jane Smith
Marcy: This I think is a lot stronger than it looks, although sadly limited by the dastardly ‘only one each turn’ effect. I suppose that can keep it from running wild, but since there aren’t many historic spells that can be cast on other people’s turns, it kind of seems like an odd restriction.
Loxi: The natural artifact token synergy is obvious with the Forth Doctor, and access to white is always nice in artifacts. What will really interest me is this seeing play outside of the Fourth Doc: I’m sure some other Doctors would like free draw and artifacts, and these decks are looking like they run pretty heavy on the legendary side.
BPhillipYork: So this is the companion for the Fourth Doctor, I don’t know what else to say about it really, Clues are neat but a bit pricy card draw, more valuable for having lots of artifacts and having the ability to sacrifice them for things or pump things.
FromTheShire: This is a nice value piece to have alongside the Doctor generating additional tokens and letting you pay to draw cards to “clear” the top of your deck if you’re digging for something to play off of the top with the Doctor’s ability.
K-9, Mark I
Marcy: This card does so much for one mana that it’s kinda nuts. Ward 1 may not seem like a lot, but it can really make something a worse target for removal, or just make your opponent waste removal on a 1 mana 1/1 dog. Also, as an artifact, there’s a few other ways it might be useful with certain other cards that want to interact with artifacts in Blue; Emery, for example, might not hate this card.
Loxi: Straight gas, this one. I’m a huge proponent of evasion in a lot of decks, and many times it’s for your commander anyway. Two mana a turn might seem like a lot, but when it’s deciding if your commander gets chump blocked by a 1/1 or not, it’s an easy choice to make. Natural protection is always solid, although I rate ward slightly worse in commander due to the more common presence of sweeper removal.
BPhillipYork: This is a solid all around protection for decks with lots of legendaries, and making a specific creature unblockable can be really impactful.
FromTheShire: I generally don’t care about ward 1 in Commander since people will generally have the mana to pay for it but it’s not a bad effect. More likely you want the unblockability which is solid. Note that it’s not sorcery speed or target creature you control, so there’s a lot of political maneuvering to be done here.
Adric, Mathematical Genius
Marcy: WOTC once again continues trying to see how many ways they can print Panharmonicon, althought his time we get it included with a built in Stifle effect, which I think might actually be the better use for this card than the copy ability.
Loxi: I like this card, but I feel like I usually prefer Strionic Resonator‘s higher up-front cost and ability to dodge creature removal. A built in ability counter is nice, and being able to have it in the command zone might change my mind on this, but you probably want to go deep on combos if you’re running this since 3-cost per use can get pricy quick for value plays.
BPhillipYork: This could be potentially quite useful if you are into duplicating things, there are so many ways to do that now that it’s less impactful but it also means more consistency and particularly if you have some combo you want to set off with your commander then you’ve got pieces in the Command Zone.
FromTheShire: There’s definitely more ways to do this than there used to be, but there still aren’t THAT many, and most of them are limited in some way. Being able to copy both types unconditionally is really nice, especially if you get a Training Grounds down to reduce the cost. Countering an ability isn’t something you will use a ton, but it can be absolutely game saving, and the threat of activation will do a lot for you too.
Marcy: I think this is great for decks wanting to use Sagas, and while Tom Bombadil certainly seems like a prime target for it, I think there’s a way to consider how this may make certain other Sagas much more flexible. For example, Restoration of Eiganjo hitting the table and skipping the fetchland part of the Saga might be just what you need to get something out of your graveyard faster than waiting another turn.
Loxi: This is a really strong card to support sagas as a whole. Some sagas won’t want this because they may rely on the first chapter, but for others it can be key in making them hit the ground running. I think this will be a staple in sagas, but in truth I almost wish\\ this card was an enchantment rather than a paper-thin creature.
BPhillipYork: This is amazing for Tom Bombadil other than that Sagas mostly struggle (though they are historic) for the Fourth Doctor, so potentially you could have some kind of set up where you want the last part of a saga and dump it to your yard and then reanimate it somehow, maybe Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin would be pretty funny.
FromTheShire: I’m glad we’re getting more support for them but I still don’t like Sagas in Commander yet.
Marcy: This sure is a card that exists.
Loxi: At best, it can help you fix the planar deck to get something that will benefit you more. At worst, it’s a mana dork in the command zone. Pretty low opportunity cost, but nothing exceptional. It’s a fun design for sure though, and it’s cool to see planar deck interaction accessible in a commander.
BPhillipYork: I mean, it’s a planeswalk card so it’s only relevant if you are actually using planeswalking which seems pretty rare, if you are it’s a decent mana dork in the Command Zone and lets you really leverage that planeswalking.
FromTheShire: Very nice to be able to manipulate the top of the planar deck, there can be things that reset the game at the worst time for you or give your opponents a big advantage, so having the choice is great.
Marcy: There’ve been a few really disgusting decks abusing Sagas like Three Blind Mice lately, so I wonder if this card has some legs in a deck that would look to replicate Saga abilities. The problem is that with many Commander based combos, you have to hit the exact cards you want in 100 cards, and there’s no way you run this as your Commander in a serious deck.
Loxi: I’m a bit skeptical on how many sagas you actually want two of down at a time. If you have a lot, this might be a great way to get more mileage out of your sagas. A lot of the viability of this card depends on this, so this might vary deck-to-deck based on what sagas you pick/have access to.
BPhillipYork: Funny for Tom Bombadil again, other than that I don’t know.
FromTheShire: Theoretically this is kind of useful, without actually looking them up to do the math though I feel like most of the Sagas that might actually be worth casting are expensive enough that this is going to be tough to pay for on the ones you want.
Marcy: Seems better as a creature in your deck than anything else, and I can’t say that there probably aren’t far greater creatures you could run instead. The ability isn’t bad, though, in the sense that many historic spells are expensive.
Loxi: He’s not the worst, but I’d actually rather run someone else just to get access to an extra color.
BPhillipYork: It’s a decent beater off historics, but that’s not a very good game plan.
FromTheShire: Probably a fine threat in precon vs precon, once decks get upgraded this doesn’t make the cut.
Marcy: This is pretty good. I love the way this allows you to get card draw, especially since White is not always a particularly great color for card advantage, and then rewards you for cycling as well through the +1/+1 counters.
Loxi: Giving things cycling is nice, but the real fun is having a cycling payoff in the command zone. I’ve played a fair bit of Zur, the Enchanter cycling in my time, and I can tell you the biggest issue with cycling is that it can be hard to close out games once you get your engine going. Jo might be a great way to have a backup beatstick, so I’m a big fan. I think it mostly depends on how much the Doctor of choice has synergy with cycling.
BPhillipYork: Giving cycling to things in your hand is pretty solid, lots of ways to cheat things out from your yard, so that seems like the most powerful use of this. Even in white you could just Resurrect a huge legendary.
FromTheShire: You’re definitely here for the cycling but it’s on the expensive side, and your Training Grounds doesn’t reduce the cost since the creature isn’t on the battlefield.
Sergeant John Benton
Marcy: There’s a part of me that likes the idea of finding some way to make this card deck your opponent, but in reality this feels like the type of Commander politicking card that gets a little use before getting obliterated. Maybe you get some decent cards out of it first, though.
Loxi: Trample on a 2 power creature is a bit silly-goofy in this context, but aside from that he seems solid.
BPhillipYork: Off the bat this might seem bad, but white has a lot of ways to benefit off your opponents’ drawing cards, so in that kind of “group hug you to death” type deck, could be a solid card. Also has a nice political dimension to it.
FromTheShire: Solid political draw piece.
Marcy: The fact that this card doesn’t need to attack itself is what makes it useful, but then it’s also just kind of an easily removed creature. Like, most cheap removal kills this thing no problem, which is kind of a shame.
Loxi: If you’re deep on a Voltron strategy, the more protection you can snag for your commander the better, so this could see some merit there. If you’re not going full Mortal Kombat every turn though, this won’t be the best.
BPhillipYork: Making a beater commander (or other legendary) stronger or indestructible is pretty solid if the creature connecting is a big deal.
FromTheShire: Nice that this doesn’t have to attack itself, realistically the only thing saving it. It’s a very limited window of indestructibility that also only hits one thing, high on the cut list if you’re upgrading.
The First Doctor
FromTheShire: The TARDIS is really cool, so tutoring it up or letting you recur it from your graveyard is great. The counter isn’t much of a bonus but you’re not going to turn it sown.
Marcy: I instantly dislike that all of the other Doctors do not use the same CMC / Power / Toughness gimmick that the 4th Doctor used. This card is fine, I guess. I like the effects it brings.
Loxi: Super cool that this is an ETB effect so you can keep grabbing the Tardis back. Real shame if someone exiles it, but this could make for a really fun cascade deck.
BPhillipYork: Fun for a very flavorful Time Lord deck.
The Second Doctor
Marcy: I really don’t like politick decks, and this card seems like if you aren’t going for politicking, there’s probably not a lot of great ways to get value out of this.
Loxi: I’m personally not a huge fan of politics decks in general, and I think this is on the weaker side, but it’s not the worst by any means. The issue is that other players have too much control: players could just draw cards when they don’t want to attack you and…not when they want to attack you.
BPhillipYork: This is not good but people will think it is, I mean it’s fine if the way people win is by chipping at your life over a long time, but once they have enough power on the board to actually kill you they just won’t draw the card, so it falls into that group-hug stuff, only good if you have a way to profit off your opponents draw, quite a bit.
FromTheShire: This isn’t terrible, warding away the stray attacks that whittle down your life total because you happen to be open or have the safest board to attack into certainly has a use. At the cost of drawing the whole table a card though, I’m out.
The Third Doctor
Marcy: Recent sets have pushed Food tokens again very hard, so there are a lot of really easy to grab in color options to play around with this power easily, as either your commander or as a huge beater.
Loxi: Cool, Tron doctor! With the billion ways to make tokens like this now, this could have some real punch. Personally, I’d poach a companion with red to get access to more treasure tokens.
BPhillipYork: Potentially you can generate a lot of tokens really fast and knock people out, maybe take some extra turns, which is a fairly scary thing. It just seems very straightforward for a Doctor frankly.
The Fifth Doctor
Loxi: I’m pretty low on this guy, I think he’s just too slow to matter. He might be neat if you have access to green it might be better with more mana dorks, but that’s a lot of hassle for mana dorks when you could just play another commander that does it better.
BPhillipYork: Really solid for mana dorks, or decks convoking things, or decks full of creatures with tapping activated abilities, however activated abilities that are good, that don’t cost mana, but require tapping, are fairly rare, so it’s hard to see this paying off all that cohesively unless you want to do something like use Opposition.
FromTheShire: Kind of a weird one that slowly build up your utility dorks, really only worth it if you want the untap ability.
Marcy: I don’t really know anything about Dr. Who, as I mentioned, so I have no idea if these are thematic choices or not, but the 4th Doctor seems the most playable, and the rest all seem really…. mid?
The Sixth Doctor
Marcy: Well, at least they made him 6 CMV and 3/3 = 6, but otherwise this is kind of just… does one thing. And maybe not even really that well.
Loxi: Ah yes, the evergreen keyword of copying. I’m a bit of a broken record, but man there are so many cards that do this. This is a fine card, but for a 6 mana 3/3 that does nothing when it comes in, you better make what you copy count.
BPhillipYork: “Copy isn’t legendary” is getting to be a really common thing now, and there’s plenty of make copy things, so there’s also kinds of opportunities to go really nuts with copies of copies and such. The powerful or competitive case here is something that goes infinite if you can manage to get 2 of them, but most of those things involve ETB effects which won’t work with copies.
FromTheShire: Very nice to double up all of those historic spells for free, bonus points when you have all of the Doubling Season type ways to get extra copies of the token.
The Seventh Doctor
Loxi: This is a fun and goofy card that will make for some real memorable moments, and sometimes that’s what magic is all about. I love this one, and the best way to build this is to just build a crazy variety of powerful cards across a bunch of costs. Just go crazy- that’s what this deck wants you to do.
BPhillipYork: This is a a neat card, I’m guessing the sweet spot is right around 5 mana and extra turn spells, but that’s fairly straight line, and it’s also a token generator, which is potentially useful if you want a lot of Clues for something.
FromTheShire: Fun choices/ subgame card that can let you cheat out something huge or just get you extra value, and worst case you still get to investigate.
The Eighth Doctor
Marcy: Although he is six mana, I really like this card in comparison to some of the other doctors. The ability is fairly simple, and in a deck where Historics Matter, there’s some easy ways to make this effect pay off immediately. Also, if you pair it with Lucy, you can cycle things into your graveyard ahead of time, making it even easier to get big hits off the ability.
Loxi: A bit high on cost, but a solid recursion piece and probably can get some good value in control.
BPhillipYork: Pretty solid if you want to play some kind of stax maybe saga deck, “cares about historic” is a big thing in this set and sagas and artifacts are probably some of the more solid historic spells (aside from creatures, obviously), but sagas are essentially disposable and this is a way to get 2 uses out of them.
FromTheShire: Solid graveyard recursion piece.
Vrestin, Menoptra Leader
Marcy: If you were able to get this in a Jetmir deck, or even a Tokens Matter deck, I think this could be a pretty scary finisher just from hitting the board with a lot of bodies.
Loxi: Heck yeah, buggly wugglies. This card is super cool and honestly might be one of the better insect commanders in recent time if you just want to swing face. Having white means you can flicker it pretty easily as well, which means you can keep triggering the token summoning effect. I’m a huge fan of this, it gives you a great way to sink mana after you ramp out.
BPhillipYork: Well this is potentially a dangerous tokens go wide commander, but you have to pump a lot of mana through it, you’d need 6 mana to get a 3/3 and 3 1/1s, after that it gets better but dumping 7+ mana into a commander is totally telegraphed and then your opponents will probably get a turn to respond.
FromTheShire: Not bad for dropping as a late game finisher when you have a bunch of mana to dump into it and simultaneously go both wide and tall. Again even better with token doublers.
Ace, Fearless Rebel
Marcy: This card feels flavor first and abilities second for the deck, but I think you could certainly find other decks in which this might fit a little better, or with some deck editing, perhaps?
Loxi: Fight doesn’t synergize explicitly with anything I’ve seen so far with the doctors, but it’s not terrible. You might want to have a way to capitalize on the artifacts to get some good mileage though.
BPhillipYork: Fun-ish removal-esque type thing to swing through with a partner commander but a 3/3 isn’t particularly huge, probably goes best in a banana deck or something like that.
FromTheShire: At least on paper this is a decent little way to snipe utility creatures using all of the artifacts this deck creates, the problem is that it’s likely only a 3/3 so this can easily just be a one off removal spell.
Alistair, the Brigadier
Marcy: I kind of liked this until I read 8 and then immediately stopped caring.
Loxi: This seems a little underwhelming, I almost wish the tokens it generated were something besides random 1/1 soldiers. It’s mediocre at best, but might be alright in human/soldier tribal if you have enough historics to trigger it a lot.
BPhillipYork: Built in overrun is always decent, Bant can mana ramp like crazy and dump out some historics and then use this as a finisher but it’s a pretty telegraphed game plan and your creatures will likely be fairly weak until then, however there is a ton of support for Soldiers, so this is a solid basis for a Bant go wide tokens deck. Did we not already have that before? I think we did.
FromTheShire: Yeah this is giving so much of heads up it only gets there if nobody has removal or a board wipe for multiple turns.
Duggan, Private Detective
Marcy: I’m absolutely missing something here, so… uh… neat?
Loxi: This card is absolutely hilarious and you should beat the shit out of something with it every game.
BPhillipYork: This seems like just an over costed flavor card, I’m sure the punch was really cool and people will be all into it, so if you love it, then you’ll love it.
FromTheShire: Flavor is probably on point here but mostly a meme. Expect to see someone make a bad deck based around flickering and activating this as many times as possible.
Leela, Sevateem Warrior
Marcy: WOTC saw the buzz over Orcish Bowmasters and then dropped the most mid version of the same effect.
Loxi: Nah, I don’t think this does enough for a 4 drop.
BPhillipYork: Potentially you’ll get a big beater with no trample or evasion (unless you give it) with no protection (unless you give it) so.. it’s fine?
FromTheShire: I actually disagree, unless you have specifically K-9 to give it unblockable this card is bad. Big creatures with no abilities are just not where it’s at.
Nyssa of Traken
Marcy: Really solid card frankly. Even if you don’t use it in a deck with the Doctors, I think you can get a lot of value off of this.
Loxi: Really nice! This gives you a much better use of all of the Food/Clue/Treasure tokens that you might be making, so if you don’t want them to stick around (see: The Third Doctor) this seems like a solid pick.
BPhillipYork: This seems like potentially a really powerful ability, if paired with black (of course none of the doctors have black color identity) so you could sacrifice a bunch of artifact creatures and make a bunch of triggers. In blue you’re probably sacrificing Food or Clues or Treasures, which is fine.
FromTheShire: Very solid, a much more efficient way of turning your tokens into cards while also tapping down blockers so this will actually live long enough to trigger more than once.
Marcy: I really hate the limit on this card. I get that perhaps you could complain it might be too strong otherwise, but frankly I think it limits this card from doing a lot of things to simply using you to perhaps casting some large bomb with little white weenie tokens or similar creatures you don’t want to attack or block with.
Loxi: If you have a lot of historics and a lot of creatures, this is effectively white ramp. That’s gotta count for something! I think it’s not bad, but it comes down pretty late. It might be good if you have some huge artifacts you want to cast quickly though.
BPhillipYork: Honestly this is probably the better companion for the Fourth Doctor, convoking out historics, especially if you give them all flash, from something like Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage.
FromTheShire: Definitely want flash to turn this from kind of okay into good.
Marcy: If you could get some sort of engine going on this, I feel like there’s a way to probably break what this is doing, especially if you could do it with something like treasure tokens.
Loxi: I think this might have some play in decks like Ghired, Conclave Exile where you lean towards few powerful tokens. I’m not sure if the Doctors can make enough use of her to warrant being a companion, but I like the card overall regardless.
BPhillipYork: It seems like this is intended to be played with the Sixth Doctor so you can copy your historics yet again, which is neat. Or could be used with the Twelfth Doctor to generate tons of copies, which would work particularly well with adventure creatures.
FromTheShire: Likely only get to use this once per turn cycle but still very useful. Do note again that it’s not a token you control if that’s a factor in your game.
Marcy: Yeah, this card can probably do some really hilarious things in decks that you may not expect it in, especially with the expanse of what counts as Historic.
Loxi: Keep this one safe for a big combo turn, but with any haste enabler this can finish a game lickity-split.
BPhillipYork: This is potentially hilariously powerful, Treasures and Clues becoming Dinosaurs is uh, hilarious. It’s also permanent, even if the Displace Dinosaurs get blown up, your Dinosaur-Clues will stay Dinosaurs. Biggest drawback to this card IMO, is it’s expensive and it’s almost a destroy on sight card.
FromTheShire: Yeah this is rad as hell even if it’s unlikely to live long.
Time Lord Regeneration
Marcy: Pretty solid protection for your Time Lords and there are like, what, 10? Or something?
Loxi: Truthfully, if you have a Doctor commander and at least 2 Doctors in your deck, I would run this, especially if it can cheat a higher cost one out.
BPhillipYork: Really solid if you have some kind of set up combo that involves a specific Doctor, and maybe a sacrifice search or something like Neoform. You can instantly grab 2 specific cards, which should enable you to win the game.
FromTheShire: Fun and flavorful way to rebuild a little after a board wipe, I like it.
TheChirurgeon: This is a cool way to do regeneration but I wish it had a way to recur it up to 12 times.
Reverse the Polarity
Marcy: That ‘counter all other spells’ is so interestingly worded in the sense that if this hits the stack last, it negates everything under it, which is really strong at 3 mana. The other stuff is nice, but that alone seems good.
Loxi: As far as three-cost counterspells go, I quite like this one. All of the use cases are niche, but they aren’t ones that never come up or anything. Compared to some of the other “Cancels but better” and it starts to look pretty solid.
BPhillipYork: Funny way to win a counterspell war, though you can’t defend your own spell with it, but can shut down someone else’s chain of spells. Creatures can’t be blocked this turn is also a powerful thing, so it’s kind of okay as a flexible, maybe counter, maybe unblockable for a win.
FromTheShire: Dual purpose as a counterspell or way to kill someone is very solid. Bonus points if you ever play against an Arcades, the Strategist deck and one sided wipe all of their Walls away.
TheChirurgeon: I really like that you can use this to sabotage some other player’s attempts to block by springing this in someone else’s turn after they’ve declared attackers. Seems like devious fun. Or you could convince someone to go all in on an attack and then just not play this and laugh maniacally. The rest of these jerks hate political games and it’s because of me.
Marcy: 4 mana sorcery just takes me out of this card so hard.
Loxi: If this was an instant I’d probably consider it, but it seems a bit too awkward for a sorcery. If you get board wiped, this won’t help you much.
BPhillipYork: For 4 mana you need to draw at least 6 cards for this to payoff, and even then it seems kind of weak.
FromTheShire: In the stock deck against other stock decks this is fine, in larger play you only want this if you’re planning to have like a Blightsteel Colossus or something similarly gross.
Crisis of Conscience
Marcy: Let White blow up lands, cowards. REALLY expensive board wipe, but it puts it on the level of Farewell in that you get a choice, and the choice is really strong.
Loxi: This is a really good card in token heavy creature decks, as any asymmetrical board wipe can easily swing the game in your favor. I wouldn’t run this with the theme of noncreature artifact tokens this deck is pushing, but if you’re makin’ doods, this is a pretty sweet card.
BPhillipYork: Another board clear, the ability to destroy nontoken is probably the strongest ability here, though it’s all permanents, so I’m not sure if that’s something that can really be leveraged for a win.
FromTheShire: Solid board wipe that can sometimes leave you with a bunch of value, I like it.
The Five Doctors
Marcy: 11 mana in Green is not impossible, especially with how much you can ramp in Commander in early turns usually with mana rocks, but… look. Look at the Doctor cards above this. Do you think that all of them hitting the board wins you the game? This isn’t like Oops All Praetors with Realm Breaker (which is 10 mana, by the way), you just get 5… dudes.
Loxi: I know they did the kicker cost for flavor here but yeah… this one’s a bit much for practical play.
BPhillipYork: If you have 11! mana and … 11? Mana. I don’t care. That’s too much. Even 6 mana to tutor up 5 Doctor cards is meh. Why are you even allowed to have more than one doctor in play at once.
FromTheShire: I’m usually the guy saying hey most actual games of Commander will have you perfectly able to make huge splashy plays, and even for me, this is a no dog. 11 should either win you the game or put you in an overwhelming position to do so on your next turn, and while the Doctors are cool, there’s no combination of them that comes into play and does that.
Twice Upon a Time
Marcy: I do at least like that this is an adventure card, but since it is so specifically tied to the Doctors, I don’t really think it has much use other than in decks that use them.
Loxi: Alright, this card is pretty sweet, but come on! Stick with the theme and give us two turns!
BPhillipYork: This is solid, if your deck somehow relies on Doctors (or you’re using Doctors that can copy things, like The Twelfth Doctor)
FromTheShire: The tutor is nice, if out of color, and the extra turn keys off of having Doctors so this doesn’t get tossed in to every existing Taking Turns deck, which I appreciate.
Ace’s Baseball Bat
Marcy: This is fine? I guess?
Loxi: If your local meta is running amok with Dalek players, you have a tech to absolutely crush their hopes and dreams.
BPhillipYork: This is okay for the first strike on legendaries, there’s lots of commanders you might like to have first strike on so they can clear out blockers and avoid annoying things like deathtouch.
FromTheShire: This is a solid, fairly inexpensive equipment that’s cheaper to put on your Voltron creature and give both a good power buff and the very useful first strike.
Bessie, the Doctor’s Roadster
Marcy: Crew 2 makes this enticing in the sense that a lot of the Doctors and their pals are pretty underpowered.
Loxi: Colorless evasion is pretty nice, and for two mana it’s pretty efficient too. It seems a bit whacky at first, but being able to use your dorks to keep powerful creatures safe is a pretty good sounding deal to me.
BPhillipYork: This is nice for swinging your commander through if it absolutely has to deal combat damage for a trigger or something like that.
FromTheShire: This has the same problem a lot of these effects do, it relies on having a safe attack somewhere in order for this not to be a one-off effect, as a 3/4 will easily die swinging into random combats. You won’t NEVER be able to find opportunities where someone is tapped out, or you’re able to politic someone into not blocking, but it’s not ideal to have to rely on that.
TheChirurgeon: This is a really solid vehicle and I appreciate that it flies, though the deck has more than enough ways to make it unblockable if you need it to get through. The ability to planeswalk is a very fun touch and I’m here for more cards that interact with Planechase.
Loxi: This is a neat way to actually enable the set mechanic, and you can play it across any of the new Doctors. It’s nothing crazy, but it isn’t meant to be. I dig it.
BPhillipYork: Cascade is fine, planeswalk is whatever, great if you are playing uh, planes.
FromTheShire: This is actually quite powerful, it’s flying so you can repeatedly get through unlike with Bessie, it can be tutored for and recurred by The First Doctor, cascade lets you cheat mana costs which is excellent, AND you can choose to planeswalk if you’re on a plane that is bad for your game plan.
Marcy: All I really know about Dr. Who is that TARDIS is like a big deal and this card feels kind of underwhelming except that you get a cool flying phonebooth that then gives you cascade? If you’re doing Planeswalking, even better, but otherwise it’s kind of okay.
Marcy: Pretty solid mana rock. I like the options that it gives you, and that it helps to stay relevant as you likely end up without requiring it to fix your mana early on and instead says relevant with lots of options to select.
Loxi: I really like this one, it’s one of the better 3-drop rocks we’ve gotten in a while. All of the effects are ones that can do some surprisingly heavy listing, and at the worst it’s still ramp.
BPhillipYork: This is decently utilitarian, 3 mana for a mana rock is close enough to good that with the other abilities it potentially includes.
FromTheShire: 3 drop rocks are continuing to be phased out, with the exception of ones that give a useful effect, and boy does this card offer a bunch of them. Untapping artifacts can lead to game ending shenanigans, the scry isn’t bad if you have extra mana floating around at end of turn, and being able to make someone’s big deadly threat able to get through unblocked can take people out. Totally worth the 1 extra mana.
Five Hundred Year Diary
Marcy: I agree with Loxi, although man this card could be REAL scary in some other decks that love to generate clues.
Loxi: Honestly if this entered untapped, I’d think it was preposterous. It’s got a bit of finesse to getting mileage from it without getting your face mashed in by other players or it just getting blown up, but it can net you a ton of cards with some good timing.
BPhillipYork: Wow U for each Clue you control is potentially a lot of mana. Blue tapping for lots of mana from artifacts never goes wrong. Though to be fair it costs 4 to start, and only taps for U out the gate. Nonetheless investigate triggers and Clue generation are easy to pile up.
FromTheShire: Yeah this can absolutely get wildly out of control, especially if this deck is tuned a bit to lean into token making and doubling.
An Unearthly Child
Marcy: It is a little funny with how some of the other cards interact with Sagas in this very article, but I mean, you do get 3 turns of deck filtering and digging, so that’s not so bad. Really funny if you also turned it into a 7/7 dinosaur.
Loxi: It can draw you three cards over three turns, that’s not too shabby as is. It all depends on how many of these you have in your deck, but if you’ve got enough to get it consistently it’s neat.
BPhillipYork: This is solid if you want to fetch a Doctor or a companion for a specific trigger or some kind of vehicle deck.
FromTheShire: Decent little semi-tutor.
City of Death
Marcy: If this and the Three Blind Mice combos worked together I think it would officially be hell.
BPhillipYork: So this is potentially pretty solid with so many ways to copy things now, if you’re copied a permanent you’ll just keep getting more of, whatever it is.
FromTheShire: Stacking up a whole bunch of copies of whatever heinous token you’ve made is great.
The Sea Devils
Marcy: I guess this is a reference I don’t get, so like, it seems really goofy and doesn’t feel like it fits this deck at all.
BPhillipYork: Cares about Salamanders is such a goofy hilarious archetype, so I’m here for it.
FromTheShire: It’s a lot of waiting for 4 power and picking off a couple of utility creatures.
Trial of a Time Lord
TheChirurgeon: I like this a lot from a flavor standpoint. Ending the saga on everyone voting innocent or guilty feels really fun and the consequence – returning or losing the permanents – is pretty great. It’s a political card that doesn’t necessarily feel like a political card and it’ll combine well with effects that rig voting.
BPhillipYork: This is a neat card for vote decks, or if you want to just pick on one person. I like that if you just target commanders then they’ll probably go to the command zone and the vote will be irrelevant, or remove their commander for 3 turns.
FromTheShire: An interesting bit of political semi to permanent removal.
Marcy: Ugh I hate politicking in Commander.
The Caves of Androzani
Marcy: I like this. You get a bit of a fog from the initial stun counters, even if it’s just 1 per target, and then you get to mess with counters before you then tutor something up, but at 4 mana it feels really slow to also accomplish something.
BPhillipYork: Adding counters to things is potentially really good, some things are quite hard to get counters on and do a lot with them, things like Empowered Autogenerator though in recent years sagas are one of the most common sources of counters.
FromTheShire: Unless you’re looping this I just don’t think it does enough in the average game.
The Curse of Fenric
Marcy: Why does every card with this Doctor on it suck and have so much text.
BPhillipYork: This just seems overly specific, but the enter battlefield and destroy 3 creatures is basically 2GW for 3 Beast Withins, which is really solid. So honestly one of the better more decent sagas, and has a lot of potential if you can flicker it or something like that.
FromTheShire: Yeah you’re here for the ETB. Hopefully you have a way to sacrifice it before the third chapter triggers and kills your token.
The War Games
Marcy: I had to read this card 3 times and I am like. I mean… Okay? It feels a little weird but since it encourages aggressive play from people in a deck that has a lot of weird politicking about not attacking, but does also really care about tokens.
BPhillipYork: This is like, Hazezon Tamar but as a saga. Oh, and it’s bad, because instead of you getting Warriors your opponents do. Like having them deal maybe 10 damage to each other is meh compared to the dangers of them needing sacrifice creatures or things like that.
FromTheShire: It’s maybe one of the better Sagas in the Saga deck, at least it’s actually getting damage in and progressing the game.
Banish to Another Univerrse
Marcy: The affinity part is neat because ideally you’re casting this for W, but I feel like Leyline Binding or a few other flash-in similar cards, is maybe better.
BPhillipYork: Temporary removal is a tough subject, paying W to remove a permanent is potentially really strong, but the caution I have with cards like this, it incentivizes your opponents to waste their interaction on your interaction to get their cards back, and since people have such terrible threat detection, it seems really dangerous. It also screws up the math for your opponents, suddenly, they get a 2:1 since they remove your card with a card of theirs and they get their card back (assuming you are getting anything useful from the saga) that being said if this is for like an enchantress deck, you get a trigger off the ETB and don’t care so much if it goes away.
FromTheShire: Not a big fan outside of enchantment decks since they can definitely get the card back if they want to.
TheChirurgeon: This is a very cool concept but I think my biggest issue with it is that it highlights how they haven’t made it super possible to play every incarnation of the doctor in the same deck. Otherwise it’s cool.
Marcy: You might expect me to be down on this card, but in reality, I love stupid win conditions like this, and I would absolutely only care about making freakish combo decks to make this work and win me the game.
Loxi: Flavorfully awesome, but in practice this seems like it requires a lot of work to make happen.
BPhillipYork: Well that’s a neat… wait what. Oh I guess you could make token copies that aren’t legendary. It seems really strange to me that there is no sort of in-universe card to play all the Doctors in one deck that makes some sort of thematic sense. Someone who knows the Doctor Who mythology chime in here and say who to make Captain Sisay into a proxy off from in-universe beyond. This makes me unreasonably angry that there is no sensical way to build a “get all the Doctors deck” and win via Gallifrey Stands that is in-universe.
FromTheShire: It’s a cute idea and looks like a big thematic thing, this will literally never make it to your next upkeep to win. Unlikely you even get close to thirteen Doctors either.
The Night of the Doctor
TheChirurgeon: This is a neat little nod to McGann’s short before the Day of the Doctor special. That dude got done dirty relative to the other doctors and he’s a better actor than most of them.
Marcy: A Wrath with a little Reanimation, not too bad. And as an enchantment, there are ways to probably cheat this out at less than 6 mana.
Loxi: If you’re in an enchantress deck, this might be alright as a recurrable wrath with bonuses tacked on.
BPhillipYork: Well a resurrection stapled onto a wrath is interesting.
FromTheShire: A 6 mana wrath is totally fine, and this one even comes with a minor upside. Respectable.
Gallifrey Council Chamber
Marcy: Not entering tapped is cool, but also kinda does nothing if you aren’t playing Doctors. So in this deck, great. In other decks? Not so much.
Loxi: Notably doesn’t enter tapped, not the worst actually.
BPhillipYork: Wow this card would be perfect for the “all Doctors deck” that you can’t build in-universe. Um, it’s fine if you need it for an activated ability of your commander you’ll get good use out of it. That being said, literally none of the Doctors have activated abilities, except the The Tenth Doctor which is colorless mana.. So this is for other Time Lords and Aliens? This is aggravating.
FromTheShire: 5 color land for your Doctors, auto include.
Marcy: Conditional Midnight Clock. Not bad. Not great.
Loxi: Aside from this being a land, the key thing compared to Midnight Clock is that you have a lot more control over it.
BPhillipYork: Essentially another Midnight Clock which is a solid card, decent for a stax deck or anything that can stall things out then needs mid/late game card advantage. But it enters untapped and taps for colored mana so can substitute for an island if you aren’t scared of Back to Basics or Blood Moon.
FromTheShire: Island with an upside, I’m here for it.
Antarctic Research Base
FromTheShire: Fine plane, gets everyone a little value and potentially makes a couple threats.
Caught in a Parallel Universe
FromTheShire: This is the kind of card that creates the whacky and unusual game states that make Planechase so fun in Commander, and even better it’s a Phenomenom so you then continue right on to an actual plane after and get ITS effect. Excellent.
Coal Hill School
FromTheShire: For some decks this is an absolute banger, turning all of your spells into cantrips, and even the average deck will have at least a few mana rocks or random legendaries or their commander to cast to at least draw a card or two.
Gardens of Tranquil Repose
FromTheShire: I do like these kinds of escalating planes, which can lead to tense moments as it builds and people strategically trying to either get off of or stay on the plane.
FromTheShire: Fine, nothing too exciting. You’re happy to have these incidental things.
FromTheShire: Free cascade for everyone is another good chaotic gameplay effect, and it’s thankfully limited so the first person to take advantage of it doesn’t pull massively ahead before hopefully planeswalking away.
The Cave of Skulls
FromTheShire: Scavenge is a mechanic we don’t see very often, partly because it’s kind of meh, but is kind of fun to see as one off.
The Cheetah Planet
FromTheShire: This is obviously mostly a lore one but the effect isn’t terrible.
The Pyramid of Mars
FromTheShire: A fun one to walk to in the mid/end game, less exciting at the start. Can absolutely lead to big swings depending on how good your yard is.
FromTheShire: I would prefer if this was like Assemble the Legion and put a serious clock on the game if people don’t make an effort to walk away because I find those moments tend to be really fun for the whole table, but it’s okay.
Next Time: Masters of Evil
That wraps up our look at the first preconstructed deck. Join us next time as we review the Grixis Masters of Evil deck, picking out our favorite cards, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.