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.
Here are my top five nonlegends from the Blast from the Past followed by the rest of the in the deck with a little review. Remember, the top five are just the ones I really like and that tickle my
brain. Here is my article on Blast from the Past Legends.
Here we go!
1. Displaced Dinosaurs
Let’s begin with the only nonlegendary creature in the Blast from the Past precon deck. Displaced Dinosaurs is one of the funkiest and most fun creatures I’ve seen in a while. If it were legendary, this would be super popular in command zones everywhere.
This is a finisher, this is a combo piece, this is a silly, silly card.
I have a Mike, the Dungeon Master/Will the Wise (aka Othelm and Wernog) deck that makes a ton of tokens and plays a ton of legends. This is going to be a finisher in that deck. This also does wild stuff like turning your Sagas into creatures and when they get sacrificed, they trigger your Zulaport Cutthroat or Vicious Shadows. This turns your late game into an army in a can. Did you draw a Mind Stone on turn eight and you’ve got enough mana? How about dropping it anyway and while you’re at it, make it a freaking 7/7! This is hilarious and goofy but also just really strong. This is the Magic that I love. Tickle my brain, over here!
2. Five Hundred Year Diary
This is a four-mana mana rock that enters the battlefield tapped. That means it over-performed in development and needed some gating. Clues are very easy to come by in Commander and
getting a mini pseudo kind of Tolarian Academy activation on anything is bound to be worth it. Lonis, Cryptozoologist decks are itching for this to release already.
There are many ways to untap artifacts and this card is going to benefit from any of those effects. We might even have an effect like that in my top five! Who knows? (Me.)
3. The Night of the Doctor
This is a creature wrath effect on a permanent entering the battlefield with reanimation that can probably pull you ahead. The idea of this being on an enchantment, a permanent type that can
be copied fairly easily in the right decks or even flickered tells me that Aminatou decks are going to try to find a way to loop this. Given that the sacrifice happens when the second ability
resolves and there are still counters, there’s gonna be some shenanigans to attempt, but the cleanest of all would be enchantment recursion. Heliod, the Radiant Dawn or Neva, Stalked by
Nightmares can buy back your The Night of the Doctor to play again down the line. Anikthea, Hand of Erebos swinging at an opponent to resurrect The Night of the Doctor after slamming a
Heroic Intervention feels like it could be such a brutality. Give your board indestructible and you can keep looping the effects with Calix, Guided by Fate. There are ways to take advantage of
this card. It’ll be grindy, but interesting.
4. Reverse the Polarity
A modal spell is always worth a second look. At its base level, it’s a Cancel. Sometimes, the power and toughness switch can absolutely devastate a Wall/Defender deck. But to have a defensive spell against cascade/storm and an offensive spell in the final mode makes this a fantastic card. It’s important to note that this isn’t just about your creatures being unblockable. Sometimes, an
opponent will swing at another opponent of yours and you can swoop in and help take out that opponent. Or as a game-ender, you can wreck face on your own. Either way, there’s a lot of
versatility on this card!
Speaking of versatility, here’s a three-mana rock I think might make the cut in a few decks teetering on the two vs three-mana value mana rock debate. Being a Manalith is the minimum a three-mana rock can be, but all of these abilities are quite strong. Untapping another artifact can mean using your Five Hundred Year Diary for double. If you use Liquimetal Coating or Torque, you can get into some shenanigans there. Two mana and tap, effectively making it three mana, to scry 1 is really steep, but three mana and tap to make a creature unblockable is a great spot to be with your mana rock. Get in for value or for the kill. Use it on an opponent’s creature, even. All in all, I think there’s much to like here.
Here are the rest!
Crisis of Conscience – Unless I’m in the heaviest of token decks, I don’t know that I’d play this. It destroys even your non-token enchantments and artifacts. Otherwise, you’re just hating on a
token deck? I don’t know. People seem to like this, but I’m really not sold.
The Five Doctors – Six mana, you tutor or Raise Dead up to five Doctors. For 11 mana, you get to put five creatures into play whose mana value is very likely way higher than that. Plus it can
be a reanimation spell in green, you don’t see that much. I don’t care for tutors, but I see how this is cute in this deck.
Traverse Eternity – This card is pretty sweet in the right spot. Historic batching means that you’ve got a wider need for this to catch something. If you’ve got an expensive commander,
this is an easy inclusion. If you’re running Sagas, consider it! If you’re in an artifact deck, you can run this as a more flexible One with the Machine.
Twice Upon a Time // Unlikely Meeting – A Doctor tutor and extra turn spell in one that requires you to have two Doctors. Niche, but fine.
Time Lord Regeneration – A sweet Polymorph effect for Doctor specific decks or Changeling decks. It’s fine, but especially cool to see in blue because it’s using similar space as black’s
Malakir Rebirth type effects.
Ace’s Baseball Bat – This is great for an Equipment deck centred around a legendary creature (like a Voltron deck), but really, it’s fine. It’s solid rate for a card, but it’s just fine.
Bessie, the Doctor’s Roadster – The is really cute! Two mana surprise unblockability on a 3/4 and the crew cost is really low. It’s solid!
TARDIS – A 2/4 flying Vehicle for two that gives your next spell cascade on attack is ridiculously good rate. Easy to crew, all the Doctors can (flavour win). If you’re playing Planechase, you get
to planeswalke too! Really solid, can go into any deck, I can’t be mad at it.
An Unearthly Child – A Saga for Doctors, Doctor’s Companions, and/or Vehicles. It doesn’t tutor, but if your building around a card with these attributes, it can basically tutor, I guess? I’m
not high on this outside of the precon.
Banish to Another Universe – A Banishing Light that can potentially and likely cost one or two mana. Solid upgrade.
City of Death – I love this card for my Abzan deck that runs Preston, the Vanisher and Ratadrabik of Urborg. Excellent with The Sixth Doctor for sure, definitely interesting in a bunch of places, but be careful Esix, Fractal Bloom players. This will create a token for you once a turn for six turns. You won’t be able to do the big token thing after this goes off at the beginning of your turn.
Gallifrey Stands – This is great for decks that are running all the Doctors and love a theme. If you can keep looping a Doctor from your graveyard to hand and play it for free, maybe it’s worth it, but from my perspective, this is just perfectly at home in this precon.
The Caves of Androzani – This will lock down some creatures for like four or five turns and will also grant your planeswalkers a little boost. Any other counter synergies are gravy, but chapters 1-3 are solid. Four is a Doctor tutor which may not be relevant but hey, all the more reason to run in Aminatou.
The Curse of Fenric – Such a weird Saga! You can Beast Within a creature per player but they get Deathtouch, then you can strip something of all abilities and make it a vanilla 6/6 before forcing the 6/6 to fight a death touching Mutant. It’s such a fun ride but where to put it besides Saga decks?
The Sea Devils – Another very strange Saga! Create two 2/2 islandwalkers and at the third chapter, any Salamander that hits an opponent bites a creature of theirs. Not great but the more Salamanders or Changelings get printed, this can be silly.
The War Games – This spreads the love and damage around nicely and really lets you hose the Warrior deck at the table. It’s cute, not great. A precon card, that’s for sure.
Trial of a Time Lord – Nine times out of ten this just reads “exile target Commander” on the first, second, and third chapter. I love the flavour of this card very much and think it’s great to have
in a voting deck for theme. Solid card, strange art.
Gallifrey Council Chamber – Changelings and Doctor decks only basically right? Legendary potentially five-colour land.
Trenzalore Clocktower – Another only in a deck with a Doctor basically. Or Time Lord so some of the Companions are eligible. Changelings as well. This is just Midnight Clock on a land, it’s
slower because it’s not each upkeep, but it’s on a land so…I don’t know. Not high on it except in Doctor decks.
But wait, there’s more!
I won’t be covering the planechase cards, but here are notable reprints! Aside from Heroic Intervention and Three Visits, it’s mainly staples and rocks. There isn’t crazy value in the reprints, but that’s not what we’re here for. Here they are!
Three Visits, Heroic Intervention, Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares, Arcane Signet, MindStone, Sol Ring, Talisman of Progress, Talisman of Unity, Thought Vessel, Celestial Colonnade,
Deserted Beach, Dreamroot Cascade, Glacial Fortress, Horizon Canopy, Overgrown Farmland, Waterlogged Grove.
That does it for Blast from the Past. Stay tuned for the other decks in the Doctor Who Commander line!