After months of waiting, the beginning of Doctor Who Spoiler season has finally surfaced! We got a ton of new information about the new partner mechanic that interacts between Doctors and Companions. Aptly named Doctor’s Companion, players can choose any Companion with this keyword and pair it with a Time Lord Doctor card. Obviously, each of these Companions come with an intended pair but, in the objective to allow players to ‘create their own Doctor Who episode’ using the template that is Magic: the Gathering, you can pair your Companions across Doctors.
Here, we’ll specifically be looking at the new Doctors that have not previously been revealed. Notably, these all been revealed in the unique TARDIS treatments available in Collector Boosters for your viewing pleasure.
We’ll be skipping over the Doctors that have already been spoiled – that being the Fourth, Tenth, and Thirteenth Doctors. These were already revealed as the Commanders meant to helm three of the four new Doctor Who Commander decks.
Let’s take a look!
The First Doctor
Players who got that spicy $75 TARDIS promotional card from Vegas will now have a way to show it off in style! Of course, the TARDIS card is also available in a majority of the Doctor Who Commander decks, so anyone who missed out will still be able to find it with The First Doctor.
Aside from simply searching out the TARDIS, the first Doctor loves spells with Cascade. Whenever you cast a spell with Cascade, you can put a +1/+1 counter on an artifact or creature. Conveniently, when Crewed with a Doctor, the TARDIS can grant your spells Cascade.
Notably, The First Doctor is available in the Blast from the Past Commander deck, but Paradox Power also loves utilizing the Cascade mechanic to trigger the new Paradox keyword. This could lead to some interesting crossovers using the Doctor’s Companion mechanic.
The Second Doctor
The Second Doctor offers opponents a sort of bribe. If they indulge in a free card, they cannot attack you or permanents you control on their next turn. Since this Doctor loves to draw cards, you also don’t have a hand size.
For players like myself who would rather make friends with opponents and win through more insidious means in Commander, this might be one to consider checking out. I always prefer to end my games in some combo-induced flurry, but at a pace that matches the table.
Admittedly, this Doctor is a bit odd, though. Unless you’re really trying to untap with something intact, players will simply elect not to draw a card if they see you as a threat. For that reason, I’m not sure how good this card actually is.
The Third Doctor
The Third Doctor specifically cares about noncreature tokens, making it an absolute menace alongside Academy Manufactor. Food decks are going to be interested in this, but the mana value of The Third Doctor may restrict it somewhat.
Not only does The Third Doctor create tokens himself, but he can also become a win condition when you create a ton of tokens. This is a particularly common issue in Food decks. Creating a ton of Food isn’t super complex, but utilizing those tokens for something more valuable than lifegain can be struggle. Alongside The Third Doctor, you can just start swinging for lethal damage.
This Doctor has a ton of potential within the Blast from the Past token/Historic theme, but should also see play in any Food or other noncreature token deck that can run it. Abzan Food is rather popular thanks to Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, but this, and some other Simic support like The Goose Mother could cause a shift.
The Fifth Doctor
Like The Second Doctor, The Fifth Doctor rewards players for leaving you alone. Oh wait, I mean The Fifth Doctor rewards you for leaving other players alone.
We’ve already seen Virtue of Loyalty play out in a big way at the recent World Championships, and The Fifth Doctor offers a very similar effect for cheap, and with a second Commander to boot! As long as your creatures did not attack or enter the battlefield this turn, you get the same Virtue of Loyalty payoff by granting a +1/+1 counter and an untap to all affected creatures you control.
While one strategy may be to horde a bunch of counters and swing out in one big turn, the untap effect is likely more potent. Doubling up on your tap effects can be incredibly powerful when built around.
Notably, as mentioned in our article looking over Doctor’s Companions, one of them grants you first Historic spell each turn Cascade. Utilizing some instant speed shenaniganry, this could allow you to cast two haymakers just utilizing your creature tokens in a turn cycle thanks to The Fifth Doctor untapping them at your end step.
The Sixth Doctor
Hoo boy, we have another copy effect. To make things worse, the copy effect is in Simic. This will make it less accessible than the more recent copy effects we’ve been offered, but this one is relatively widespread in terms of what it can copy and can ignore the Legendary rule otherwise.
To recap, Historic Spells include Sagas, artifacts, and Legendary spells. That means you’ll get a copy of ANY legendary spell that isn’t legendary as long as this card is on the battlefield when you cast it. To make things even more ludicrous, you still get access to a second Commander through the Doctor’s Companion mechanic.
Considering how powerful the Sixth Doctor can be, it makes sense that this card has a relatively high mana value. The payoff is definitely worth it – as long as you can untap with it.
The Seventh Doctor
The Seventh Doctor’s ability is just as wacky as his getup. For five mana, you get a creature that forces your opponents to play a guessing game. You choose a card in your hand, and if your opponent guesses whether that card has a higher or lower mana value than the number of artifacts you control. If they guess wrong, you cast it. Guess right, and you get to Investigate instead, which is fine for a consolation prize.
This card is rather tricky to use optimally. Sure, this can be an effective political piece if you can manage to convince oppoents to let you skimp on mana to deal with problematic permanents on board, but using this as the newest novel Sneak Attack may be tough. If your mission is to cheat out Blightsteel Colossus, opponents can always just guess high to avoid the worst case scenario.
For this reason, a more unique approach may be needed. Utilizing Suspend cards with a zero mana value like Ancestral Vision may be the way to go. If your opponent guesses high to prevent your gigantic creatures from hitting the board, you get to draw three cards for free instead. If Inevitable Betrayal scares your opponents too much, try to cheat out something massive! Of course, you can also play with the number of artifacts you control to make this game more interesting.
The Eighth Doctor
The Eighth Doctor is a six mana payoff that, similarly to the Sixth Doctor, cares about Historic stuff. Instead of copying spells, however, the Eighth Doctor gives Historic permanents Flashback – or at least a modified version of it.
Instead of the spell immediately going to exile upon resolution, permanents will enter the battlefield. In order to ensure that you simply cannot repetitively keep casting the same spells from the GY over and over, spells casted through The Eighth Doctor’s reanimation ability must be exiled when they hit the GY. Interestingly, this means that if your Historic spell gets countered, you can try to cast it again.
The Ninth Doctor
The Prismatic Bridge just got a new toy. The Ninth Doctor works incredibly well alongside any card that triggers at the beginning of your turn. The Prismatic Bridge has had Paradox Haze and Sphinx of the Second Sun as two of the most synergistic cards you can play alongside it thanks to allowing the enchantment to cheat out two creatures instead of one. The Ninth Doctor can do similar things if he can attack and untap on the next turn. The Ninth Doctor also synergizes incredibly well with the new janky win condition, Gallifrey Stands.
This is more hoops to jump through than other iterations of the extra upkeep abilities. Still, The Ninth Doctor’s most significant strength over the other options is his ability to both function as a Commander and have a secondary Commander alongside them. Otherwise, the alternatives are stronger.
The Eleventh Doctor
The Eleventh Doctor is meant to work in tandem with the Time Counter theme of the Timey Wimey deck. This one is a bit more limited outside of the intended theme since Time Counters and Suspend as a theme doesn’t have a ton of outside support. Unless you’re Time Traveling a bunch, there’s not much to see here.
The Twelfth Doctor
The Twelfth Doctor has a truly interesting ability, especially following what the Demonstrate mechanic has been able to do in Legacy. Creative Technique is the perfect tool to execute this while making Force of Will a pretty bad plan. The Twelfth Doctor definitely isn’t quite that powerful since the Demonstrate payoff comes with a cost.
For reference, Demonstrate is a keyword that allows you to copy a spell. In exchange, one opponent also get a copy of the spell.
The Twelfth Doctor is part of the Paradox Power Commander deck that utilizes Paradox – a payoff that rewards the player from casting spells outside of your hand. The Twelfth Doctor only grants Demonstrate to the first spell you cast outside of your hand, limiting the payoff and requiring you to jump through a hoop. Not ideal.
In a dedicated shell copying spells, however, The Twelfth Doctor gets big rather quickly, turning it into a possible win condition. The mana value holds this Commander back a bit, but it should be able to do some unique things at a casual table.
Bonus: The War Doctor
For all intents and purposes, at least for the Doctor’s Companion mechanic, The War Doctor should work just as well as the other cards here.
This card is obviously meant to synergize with the Timey-Wimey gameplan of utilizing Time Counters. The more things Phase Out and get Suspended into exile (or just get put into exile in general), the more Time Counters The War Doctor gains. These Time Counters convert into damage, or potentially removal that can further grow the Time Counters on The War Doctor.
Remember to Check Out the Companions!
The biggest boon that these Doctor Commanders has is the ability to partner with a Doctor’s Companion. Some cards here are already interesting despite that, but the true power of these cards can be unlocked when the second Commander is considered. This could put these cards from being novel ideas to some of the best things to do in the entire format. You can find all of the new Doctor’s Companions here.