Hello and welcome to my Commander review of the Doctor Who Commander precon decks available October 13th. Despite being completely disinterested in the Doctor Who franchise, I am WAY into these decks. There are so many really cool cards and, of particular relevance to
Commander, so so so many legends for that commander slot.
This series will be divided into two parts per Commander precon deck: Legends and new cards. I will nod at important reprints, but that’s about it. Also, given that Doctor’s Companion and all the new Doctor cards means that they have this parasitic partner mechanic and can lead to so many combinations. There are 26 Doctor’s Companions and 15 eligible Doctors to combine meaning there are 390 possible commander pairings for this set. Here are my top five legends from the Timey-Wimey followed by the rest of the legends in the deck with a little review. Remember, the top five are just the ones I really like and that tickle my brain.
1. The War Doctor
This just has to be one of my fave aggro commanders we’ve gotten in a while. Slap the Lightning Greaves on The War Doctor and play a Swords to Plowshares on a blocker, ping a mana dork, and get another counter. Lots of Proliferate shenanigans since Phyrexia: All Will Be One to get time counters like that, but there are so many ways to pop cards into exile…such as impulse draw! Professional Face-Breaker turns your Treasures into card draw and extra
counters. Alms allows you to pay one mana to exile cards from your graveyard and trigger The War Doctor. Crumbling Sanctuary is a bonkers card that I really hope makes the cut in this deck. Even blinking triggers this Doctor.
All in all, this guy is really, really strong and I think we’re going to see a few of these decks
2. The Eleventh Doctor
This is such a cool card to build around. The evasion won’t always be necessary but baking it
into an activated ability means that you’ll spend two mana to suspend a bigger card. Double
Strike and suspend two cards from your hand. “But Mike, cards are suspended with counters
equal to its cost so it’s like you’re paying…with time.”
Yeah but there are cards in this set that have “time travel” which allows you to remove counters
from suspended cards. There’s also stuff like Clockspinning that does the same.
Let’s not forget that when you give a creature with power 3 or less unblockable if you pump it
afterward, it still won’t be able to be blocked! You can also use it on your opponents’
creatures when you need to make a deal.
Also, note that if you suspend something without a mana cost, it’ll have no time counters
which means that it can’t trigger the part that says “When the last time counter is removed from
this card, you may cast this card without paying its mana cost.” You need time counters on the
card. When it comes to companions, I think Amy Pond might be the best Companion in
another colour since she can reduce the time counters on damage.
3. Donna Noble
Donna is a card I’ve loved since I’ve seen her.
I have a Sevinne, the Chronoclasm deck built around effects like Stuffy Doll and Brash Taunter
– effects that turn damage dealt to things I control into damage to my opponents.
Donna gives me a way to turn two creatures into Brash Taunters.
Is Donna Noble a great card? No, there are cards like Ill-Tempered Loner whose backside gives
all your permanents this ability. Donna Noble is however a version of this that can live in the
command zone and with a Doctor. For my purposes an Azorius Doctor would do but we’ll see
if that switch happens. Either way, I like this kind of effect where maybe your opponents are
weary of blocking an attacker with their beefy blocker. Or maybe you just play a Star of
Extinction and kill an opponent…or two.
4. The Ninth Doctor
This is an interesting card that comes way down the line from Paradox Haze and closer to
Sphinx of the Second Sun.
A way to grant multiple upkeeps is definitely a cool idea. Doubling this effect would be even
cooler, right Clara Oswald? I immediately think of upkeep triggers like the Court cycle from
Commander Legends and Wilds of Eldraine (ie. Court of Ambition and Court of Ardenvale).
There’s also a ton of cool stuff like Twilight Prophet or Keen Duelist. What about Skrelv’s Hive
I really like the idea of building this as a Grixis commander with Clara Oswald, but because
Clara lets you choose a colour, you can make this Grixis, Jeskai, Temur, or just straight up
Izzet. Having a reliable way to get additional upkeeps sitting in your command zone means that
the floodgates are opening for brewing season. Trust me, we’re going to see some cool stuff
and hopefully, this card will see a renaissance time and time again. I think it’s so cool! Just be
sure to protect him so he untaps during your untap step.
5. Sally Sparrow
Sally Sparrow is a solid creature granting you instant speed casting for your creature spells.
That alone is pretty great for something hanging out in your command zone. Add to her the fact
that if you exile a creature you control – whether by flickering or blinking or just dying – you will
get a Clue token out of the deal. It might not seem like much, but Clue tokens get you back
into a game or end up being quite helpful in other ways in the right deck. This isn’t a very
powerful card, but it can be a role player or a seemingly innocuous commander.
Here are the rest of them!
Rose Tyler – Rose is efficiently costed but definitely needs you to lean in hard with the time
counters. She’s great with a few of the Doctors but is probably best suited with her OG pairing
of The Tenth Doctor. Speaking of which…
The Tenth Doctor – This one is pretty impressive! You don’t need to attack with David Tennant
to get the attack trigger and when you suspend something it’s always three time counters as
opposed to The Eleventh Doctor’s ability making it equal to mana value. The activated ability
speeds things along extremely well to the point where some turns, spending the seven mana
post-combat might be the best move.
Amy Pond – I like Amy Pond for this deck and for her Partner Rory Williams, but ultimately, this
is a suspend only card. Jhoira of the Ghitu type of card that speeds things along. Definitely
good with The Tenth Doctor and The Eleventh Doctor.
Rory Williams – This feels like a flavour design which is a cool puzzle, don’t get me wrong, but
a two mana 3/3 with First Strike and Lifelink is only really impressive if you get it down for the
two mana when you pay for it. I bet this is going to be good when it hits, but when you cast it
not from exile, you’re paying WU for a Clue token and hoping you make it three turns or Amy Pond puts the smackdown on somebody.
Astrid Peth – This is a really cheap beater that cranks out the Food tokens. Worth a shot in
Othelm/Wernog or decks that love Academy Manufactor. Explore is also a wonderful mechanic
because it’s drawing lands or card selection. I like Astrid plenty!
Idris, Soul of the TARDIS – There’s something busted in this one I feel it. Either that or you’re
just playing huge artifacts and swinging hard. Triplicate Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, Cityscape Leveler, Su-Chi Cave Guard, Reaver Titan, or, my fave, Portal to Phyrexia.
Jenny, Generated Anomaly – Explore is a great keyword and to explore twice when this gets
through for combat damage means you won’t be hurting for lands or you’ll have a big double
striker. Not my thing, but solid!
Kate Stewart – This one feels like I need to do a lot more research on to get the most out of her,
but the way she reads is that she wants time counters on permanents you control meaning
suspend won’t do anything for her. It’s time counters on the battlefield. Great for when The War Doctor’s got a stack, but if you’ve just got a few Vanishing cards and no way to proliferate, the
eight mana investment to pump your team may not feel worth it. We’ll see! Not my speed.
Martha Jones – Three mana 3/2 ETB create a Clue which you can cash in to make something
unblockable is sick. It doesn’t have to be your creatures, it doesn’t limit to a single Clue being
cracked, it doesn’t require you to sacrifice the Clue a specific way. If you sacrifice a Clue,
Martha and another target creature can’t be blocked. Excellent card.
The Face of Boe – This card is interesting in the way that I feel like it’ll only get better as time
goes on. WotC won’t stop making Suspend cards so every time that comes up, the Jeskai
Suspend cards become something to take a peek at.
Wilfred Mott – In a deck with a low enough curve, you’ll find yourself getting selective value off
of this more than you know. Plus, this is an excellent reason to nudge toward Jeskai with The Ninth Doctor (even though Wilfred isn’t a Doctor’s Companion).
That does it for the legends of the set, but because this deck has more non legendary cards, I’ll
do reprints of note here!
Here are reprints that are worth your time:
Farewell, Fractured Identity, Inspiring Refrain, Clockspinning, Lightning Greaves – Foil, Arcane Signet – Surge Foil, Sol Ring, Wedding Ring, Thought Vessel, As Foretold, Grasp of Fate, Deserted Beach, Fiery Islet, Glacial Fortress, Stormcarved Coast, Sundown Pass, and Sunbaked Canyon.
Keep an eye out for the next part of this deck review – the nonlegendary new cards!!