Now that MTG players know just how successful Universes Beyond crossovers have been, its safe to say that more of them are coming. With Lord of the Rings having just passed, Doctor Who is the next big crossover coming to MTG players. Releasing in October, the crossover consists of four different preconstructed Commander decks, containing many new cards. Three of these Commander decks introduce a new mechanic in order to capitalize on game space that has not yet been explored. Of the three, one of the new mechanics is Paradox. If you’re a fan of the recent Doctor Who episodes and want to play with the Thirteenth Doctor, you’ll be using a lot of this mechanic.
What is MTG Paradox?
Paradox is a new mechanic central the Temur colored Paradox Power Commander deck releasing as part of the Doctor Who crossover this October. Cards with Paradox feature abilities that care about players casting spells from outside of their hand.
The payoffs may vary between cards but, at the time of writing, the only card we have seen with the Paradox mechanic is The Thirteenth Doctor, who is supposed to be the Commander for the Paradox Power deck.
In the case of The Thirteenth Doctor, casting a card from outside your hand rewards one of your creatures with a +1/+1 counter. This synergizes with her second ability, allowing you to untap each creature on your endstep. This can be quite powerful.
Since a majority of spells Magic players cast are from their hand, satisfying the Paradox mechanic may seem difficult. Fortunately, Magic has 30 years worth of history, making this mechanic much easier to utilize than some may expect.
How to Use Paradox
While we still do not know exactly what each and every Paradox payoff is going to be, we do know that you’ll need to cast spells from outside your hand to activate them. Here are a few keywords that allow this to be done easier than you may think.
Flashback is a popular keyword that acts as an alternate casting cost. Besides potentially having a different mana cost from the card’s mana value, Flashback requires you to cast the spell from your graveyard. This satisfies the Paradox cost of casting a spell from outside of your hand.
To prevent a player from re-casting a Flashback card over and over, after a card with Flashback resolves, it goes to exile instead of your graveyard.
Cascade is a mechanic that triggers when you cast a spell. If that spell has Cascade, you exile cards from your library until you find a card with mana value less than the spell that triggered Cascade. You may cast that spell for free.
While Cascade is definitely one of the most broken mechanics Magic has ever seen, since it is casting something from exile, it does satisfy the Paradox cost. This mechanic commonly pops up in competitive formats, and is likely to appear in the Paradox Power Commander deck as well.
This is more of an MTG slang than anything, but Impulse drawing refers to cards that offer card advantage by exiling the top card of your library and allowing you to play it. Typically, you can only play these cards for a limited time. Wrenn’s Resolve and Reckless Impulse are some recent examples of this mechanic.
There are tons of cards that accomplish this sort of effect, and all of them will trigger Paradox.
To restate, Paradox does not have a consistent payoff, but does have a consistent triggering mechanism: casting spells from outside your hand. Hopefully, showing off these other abilities help solve any doubt you may have about how difficult it is to pull this mechanic off; it is not.
There are tons of different ways to utilize Paradox and, if you want to play with characters from Doctor’s Who’s newest episodes, you’ll have to get used to it.
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