Hello and welcome to my Commander review of the Doctor Who Commander precon decks available October 13th starting with Blast from the Past. 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. Here is my article on new cards.
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 Blast from the Past 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. Also, this deck only has one non-legendary creature, so it’s a long one.
1. Peri Brown
Right out the gate, Peri Brown delivers on something I love and hope to see more of – giving your spells convoke. There was Invasion of Segovia whose backside allows all your spells to be convoked, but Peri Brown can be in the command zone with a Doctor! Giving one of your historic spells convoke a turn can be a big boost to any deck with tokens or even just lots of
cool creatures with static abilities that hang back. I know I’ll be trying her out in my Wernog and Othelm deck. In the command zone, The Thirteenth Doctor seems like a great candidate considering the untap ability and being in blue so a Leyline of Anticipation might make it in the 99. If you don’t mind colour redundancy, The Fifth Doctor could be sweet considering he untaps your creatures at your end step.
2. Romana II
With all the ways to create tokens in the game, Romana II is going to be a great use of a mana per turn cycle. Investigate? Pay one, do it twice. Academy Manufactor in play? Great, now you
have six artifact tokens. Are you in blue? Romana II loves to see Irenicus’s Vile Duplication and Quasiduplicate. How can Romana be in blue? Pop her in the command zone with The Sixth Doctor who doubles a historic spell of yours per turn, allowing you to use Romana II to make another copy. Meteor Golem getting copied? Why not pay another mana to destroy another thing! She’s going to be pretty cool and I think you’ll notice that you can copy more than you think. Like…your opponents’ tokens, too!
I can’t explain it but I am absolutely drawn to this card. I don’t normally play aggro commanders, I don’t normally like to play Selesnya on its own. I just love this design! Three mana 2/4 with trample and haste that draws you cards equal to damage dealt to an opponent while also giving them that many cards – that’s a lot going on. Let’s get Psychosis Crawler and Smothering Tithe in the mix. Wedding Ring lets you give your opponents extra cards if your goal is some sort of strange turbo-mill plan. But by then, you’ll have hit for a ton of commander damage. Stax pieces and pillow forts for the Sarge feels like the most efficient way to build him, but in the end, I think playing him as a group hugging way to get a few extra cards is pretty sweet.
4. K-9 Mark I
It’s just so damn efficient. A single mana for a 1/1 artifact creature does make it fragile, but if you’ve got legends to protect, you’ll have a blanket ward 1 for them until you cash in the unblockable ability. K-9 can target any legendary creature. Make a deal across the table to take out a big threat of a player. Use it to get your Voltron commander through. Sure, Sergeant John Benton can’t run
this in the 99, but K-9 can partner up with The War Doctor or The Third Doctor to really get in for some damage. The Seventh Doctor being safe on attack will get you to have a mini game more often especially if he can’t be blocked.
I really like this Doctor mostly because I have no real idea what to do with it yet. Buffing creatures that hang back is an interesting ticking clock, but untapping them is where my brain
gets tickled. Time to run a bunch of tapping effects! Yasmin Khan could be an interesting combo, Susan Foreman and Nardole, Resourceful Cyborg keep you with a mana up, Romana II
lets you copy tokens, Adric, Mathematical Genius allows you to copy abilities, but I think if you really want to get trigger silly, pick Clara Oswald. Not only is Clara a way to get black into your
deck for an Esper tap abilities deck, she’ll copy The Fifth Doctor’s end step trigger and you can respond in between and double dip on taps!
Let’s talk about the rest of them now!
Ace, Fearless Rebel – Ace is great to get rid of some pesky blockers or utility creatures. You have to have artifacts to sacrifice, but there’s a ton of ways to do that. At four mana, I’m a little
meh on Ace.
Adric, Mathematical Genius – Adric is more my speed. A sacrifice ability to Stifle that can sit in the command zone is pretty sweet, but three mana and a tap to copy and of your abilities is
absolutely incredible. I nearly picked this in my top five, but figured I’d leave some spice in the honorable mentions section.
Alistair, the Brigadier – Alistair is flexible in that you can build it as any historic focus, but the payoff is just fine. A 1/1 token is great if you’re chaining off eggs like Mox Amber and the like.
Eventually, you want to swing with your commander and pay eight mana – an amount that Commander Legends Baldur’s Gate taught us is “limited game ender” mana on an ability – to
alpha strike. I feel like Alistair is mildly reminiscent of Tocasia, Dig Site Mentor in that he can be an artifact commander in Bant.
Barbara Wright – The moment I saw Read Ahead on Sagas, I knew this ability was coming. Tom Bombadil decks and Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin decks will love her in the 99. In the Command
Zone, I reckon Barbara can be well suited to partner with The Eighth Doctor, the Sixth Doctor, or The Fourth Doctor.
Duggan, Private Detective – Duggan is an Aeon Chronicler type of creature that cranks out Clue tokens and can cash in a single big bite. Stuffy Doll might be the best target for this big punch
or even Body of Knowledge to triple your hand. Not my speed, but it’s pretty cool.
Ian Chesterton – Replicating Sagas is pretty cool and this will go in the saga decks you already know and love. Also The Eighth Doctor, the Sixth Doctor, or The Fourth Doctor if you want Ian
in the command zone.
Jamie McCrimmon – Voltron partner commander, pop this in with The Eighth Doctor for full Bant and double dip on expensive historic spells.
Jo Grant – This almost cracked my top five for legendary reanimator decks. Let’s go! Gavi, Nest Warden can make this huge. I think Jo Grant is really cool and interesting, but 2W is pretty
steep to cycle cards. Smothering Tithe IS a thing after all.
Leela, Sevateem Warrior – Gets bigger the greedier your opponents get. It’s Orcish Bowmasters Orc Army trigger on a 3/3, sort of.
Nyssa of Traken – Trading off artifacts to get rid of blockers and draw cards is pretty awesome. This is a great card, but I think she pairs better with companions than with Doctors!
Sarah Jane Smith – Two mana means this comes down quickly and that investigate trigger can add up incredibly fast when you run this in the right deck. This is just a clean, clean design.
Susan Foreman – Never, ever underestimate a mana dork in the command zone. Even if her first ability is about Planechase and some folks don’t care to play that format, Susan is just a
bonus, reliable mana dork in the command zone.
Tegan Jovanka – Lots of Voltron pieces in this deck! Giving a historic creature a light buff and indestructible usually means it’s getting through!
The Eighth Doctor – I love this card. I think it’s an excellent design and fits in a ton of my decks. Aminatou superfriends decks are going to make use of this very easily. Aminatou can blink the
permanent you cast from your graveyard so that it enters without the final “exile it instead” clause.
The First Doctor – Azorius cascade isn’t quite what I see many building but Esper, Bant, or Jeskai cascade might already be working for somebody out there. Plus the TARDIS enables the
strategy and this Doctor fetches it up for you.
The Fourth Doctor – Having seen a game with this in the command zone, this is way more powerful than I gave it credit for. If you’ve got flash speed, you can Future Sight historic spells and keep making Food. Having the top deck information is amazing and it’s easy to forget that this four mana card with lots of value is a 4/4!
The Second Doctor – I really enjoy this kind of design for Azorius. Thematically, it’s almost Orzhov because it feels like bribery, but making deals with your opponents to save yourself some damage or keep your planeswalkers around is pretty great. Not to mention, no matter what, you get to draw a card. This reminds me of Faramir, Prince of Ithilien in a way and I really liked that one, especially in draft. Probably not a bad idea to pair this Doctor with Leela, Sevateem Warrior or Vislor Turlough
The Seventh Doctor – You know I love a good minigame. Having an opponent guess something out of your hand is very fun. Even if you choose a land, you get a Clue. Either way, when you have too many artifacts, your opponent is gong to guess that the card’s mana value is less than the amount of artifacts you control. That’s when you hit them with the free Eldrazi!
The Sixth Doctor – This is just Simic good stuff with historic copying. Am I going to play it wherever I can? Yes, it’s awesome and when it fits, it’ll be incredible. But is it just…Simic? Sure! This will be great for people who love it and hell for those who don’t. Be sure to pair this with Clara Oswald so you can copy your copy of Kodama of the East Tree or whatever bomb you cast.
The Third Doctor – This is a beatdown commander if I’ve ever seen one. Play all the ways to generate many noncreature tokens and slam, slam, slam.
Vrestin, Menoptra Leader – Speaking of slam, slam, slam, Vrestin, Menoptra Leader is an Insect creature commander who can make a lot or just a few, but keeps getting bigger and coming for you. Not my speed, but maybe it’s worth having a deck like this where the goal is just slam, slam, slam. Make Insects, get bigger, hurt more.
See! That was a lot of legends from Blast from the Past. There’s a good reason I split this into two parts. Check out the rest of the cards in the deck in the next article.