Doctor Who season is upon us! A new set with new cards featuring Doctor Who and their many companions. We have four Commander decks. Instead of discussing each deck, we decided to build a brand new deck. The precons will be the base. We will run through some of the most exciting cards in the deck, and see if we can pull together a cohesive strategy!
If you would like to follow along at home you can check out the decklist here!
The Inspiration – Gallifrey Stands
Our deck has a very specific win condition in mind. This is the reason we decided to build this deck; Gallifrey Stands. This is a six-mana legendary enchantment. It returns all Doctor cards from your graveyard to your hand. It also says, “At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a doctor from your hand onto the battlefield. Then if you control thirteen or more Doctors, you win the game!”
This design is a great alternative win condition, and a call back to the show’s 50th anniversary. In this episode, all 13 doctors made an appearance!
Doctor is a new creature type. Within the precons, we have fifteen doctors. The First Doctor through to the Thirteenth Doctor as well as The War Doctor and The Fugitive Doctor. For fans of the show, The Fourteenth Doctor and The Fifteenth Doctor are missing. They may be released in an upcoming Secret Lair.
The main win condition of our deck is casting Gallifrey Stands, and winning on the upkeep. The Doctors have eclectic abilities. While we are playing all them for flavor I will admit some of them are a bit weak unless you build around them.
The Doctors are a range of Azorius, Simic, Izzet, Boros, and Gruul. This set has its own version of “Partner” in the form of “Doctor’s Companion.” There is sadly no way to get a four-color deck using the cards in the precons. We are going to have to outsource!
Rukarumel, Biologist is a five-color commander. When it enters we choose a creature type (doctor). She turns all our non-token creatures and slivers into doctors. This lets us inflate our Doctor count. She can also tap to make a sliver token, which now counts as a doctor.
For added redundancy, we also have Maskwood Nexus and Arcane Adaptation. In case we cannot cast our commander, these will help!
The Legendary Doctor Is In!
The Doctor is a legendary creature in all their incarnations. As such, historic tribal is the way to go! The Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth Doctors care the most about this theme. They give us pseudo card advantage by leveraging the top of our deck or graveyard. The Sixth Doctor feels particularly powerful. Copying spells helps us get to that all-important thirteen doctor count even quicker!
We complement this legendary theme with some of the Doctor’s Companions. Sarah Jane Smith investigates whenever we cast a historic spell. Jo Grant lets us cycle away unwanted historic spells. Meanwhile, Peri Brown gives our first historic spell convoke. The Doctors aren’t the only historic spells in our deck, either. We run a suite of artifacts for ramp purposes alongside a handful of sagas to take advantage of too. There are almost 40 historic spells in this deck in all!
Paradox appears on several cards in the set. “Whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand” do something! It is seen on The Thirteenth Doctor. Enabled by suspend as seen on The Tenth and Eleventh Doctor. Or cascade, on The First Doctor and the TARDIS. The Twelfth Doctor also benefits here by giving our first spell Demonstrate. While I am focusing on the legendary tribal aspect of this deck. I could see it veering towards the paradox angle if that is more your play style.
Flavor Over Function
Some incarnations of The Doctor don’t quite hit the mark. They are powerful in their own right. But, they do not do much in our deck. From a flavor standpoint, they present. If our goal was the make the most powerful version of this deck possible you may want to remove them.
The Ninth Doctor gives us two upkeep steps. Unfortunately, there is no room in this build to take advantage of him. It is an awesome design and I would love to see him at the helm of a different deck.
The Fugitive Doctor is in a similar place. We do not have enough clue tokens to make this work. Again cool in its own deck but for us it doesn’t do much. They would pair well with Martha Jones in a Temur clues and beatdown style of deck!
Changelings, Multi-Forms, and Slitheen
We included a suite of changelings to provide us with a further inflated doctor count. Masked Vandal gives us some artifact and enchantment removal.
Mirror Entity provides us with an alternative beatdown plan if we can amass a large enough board. The Doctor might not like murdering people, but the changelings don’t mind.
Titan of Littjara draws us a card for each Doctor we control whenever it attacks or enters the battlefield. It also counts as a doctor itself. This is a great option to replenish our hand later in the game!
Finding the Doctor
There are several ways to get doctors into play in this deck. For The Ancestors looks at the top six cards and put all doctors into our hand. It also has flashback, adding to our theme of casting spells from outside our hand. This was a recent print seen in Commander Masters so copies should be readily available.
Several sagas from the set also help us find The Doctor. The Caves of Androzani, The Eleventh Hour, Fugitive of Judoon, and The Day of the Doctor help us find doctors. This gives our deck some great consistency as we can find whatever doctor best suits our needs. With our commander in play, we can search for any creature!
Some cards in the deck let us get our doctors back into play. The Night of the Doctor is a board wipe that then returns a legendary creature from the grave to play. Primevals’ Glorius Rebirth is a great option too. It returns doctors and Galfrey Stands meaning we can threaten our win condition off of one card. It gives us a second chance if Gallifrey Stands ever ends up in the grave.
The mana base supplied in our decklist is pretty paint by numbers five color and this deck is a slow durdly affair. When choosing lands I would ensure you prioritize blue, white, and green lands in that order. Our most powerful doctors are in Simic.
Further Upgrades and Suggestions
Ultimately, five color doctors might be a bit ambitious. It is on the lower end of the power scale. The iconic scenes and characters make this deck worth it for any Whovian. Most of the cards in this deck are available from the precons. Besides lands, there are around 10 non-who cards. This deck is a fun option for someone who wants to mash the best Doctor Who bits together.
To improve the deck lean heavier into the historic subtheme. This could even mean reducing the deck down to white, blue, and green. This would mean dropping The Ninth, Tenth, Twelfth, Fugitive, and War Doctor. This would still leave you with exactly 10 doctors for Gallifrey Stands. This may mean you focus more on changelings for redundancy.
Other worthwhile additions might be board wipes and protection spells. This will let you keep your doctors around and prevent meddling from your opponents.
The deck with the least representation in this article is the “Masters of Evil”. This deck focused on the villains of Doctor Who. This deck focuses on the “Villainous Choice” mechanic. A voting-style mechanic akin to Conspiracy. There is unfortunately very little overlap. There are some solid Commander staples reprinted in this deck with Doctor Who art. Solem Simulacrum and Blasphemous Act come to mind.
There is a mono-black card with Doctor’s Companion in this deck which may be relevant for some brewers. Vislor Turlough could be a fun option to pair along with The Fugitive or War Doctor.
The only two cards from this deck that I was considering for The Doctor tribal were Auton Soldier and Ensnared by the Mara. Auton Soldier lets us copy any creature except it is non-legendary. For four mana Spark Double is much better. Ensnared by the Mara is a great option if you lean more into the “Paradox” side of the deck. But, I enjoy the historic mechanics more.
A Note on Morphoron
This is a little PSA for those curious about how “Doctor’s Companion” interacts with Morphoron the Boundless. Unfortunately, you cannot partner have Morphoron partner with a Docotor’s Companion. Gavin Verhey confirmed in a post on X back in July. Doctor’s Companion will only work with creatures that are exactly a “Time Lord Doctor”. In short, Morphoron is a doctor, but it is not The Doctor.
With all that said I hope you enjoyed our take on the new cards and mechanics from Universes Beyond Doctor Who. There are some fantastic mechanics and flavors on show here. There is something for everyone in this set. Whether you are a fan of Doctor Who or looking for new Commander staples these decks have a lot of promise! All the Doctors and Companions add so many new combinations! Let us know what you think of our deck in the comments, and share your thoughts on the set! Farewell, I am Out of Time, see you in the next article!
Special thanks to my partner for helping me write this article. Someday we will watch the entire series!