First, I must make the massive disclaimer that I am not a Doctor Who fan. That being said, I am surrounded by a multitude of people who are massive Doctor Who fans and they have expressed nothing but enthusiasm and excitement for the new Commander decks when it comes to theme. Me? I’m more interested in how they play, how they function, and if they deliver a valuable game play experience to a standard Commander player. First up, MTG Timey-Wimey, the most complicated Commander pre-con ever made.
Before we get into MTG Timey-Wimey, I can easily say the Doctor Who Commander pre-con decks have exceeded my expectations and are a great value to any Commander player. Not only do you get new planes for Planechase, a pack with the potential for wildly expensive art variants, great lands for every deck, but more than ever you are getting at least two decks worth of replay value with each purchase. That alone makes each of these decks an exceptional value.
Which Commanders to use?
I am told that “Allons-y!” is this Doctor’s catch phrase and it’s French for “Let’s go!” I question this phrase for the card design. Every turn I found myself slowly moving through phases and checking my triggers an excessive number of times. “Let’s go…in three to seven turns…” is more appropriate.
Still, when paired with Rose Tyler, you certainly have a game plan. Keep a lot of stuff suspended until you are ready to finish the game, keep Rose growing and being a threat. Finally, dump everything out all at once to win! The strength of this strategy is strong protection from board wipes – it’s somewhat difficult to have interaction against suspended cards. Not impossible though!
The weakness with this all-in strategy is an extreme inconsistency. The Timey-Wimey ability costs a whipping seven mana. It would have been a lot more functional if it time traveled fewer times and cost less, or simply was an “at the beginning of your upkeep” effect. As this is the default commander pairing, I can tell you it was a decent combination for a slower table but could not keep up with some of the better pre-cons.
What about Rory Williams and Amy Pond? This was an interesting include in the deck. Both very low cost commanders, Rory gives you a little bit of extra card draw and is a relatively good blocker or attacker with three keyword abilities thanks to suspend granting Haste. Amy is there to get one card out of Suspend very quickly. The game plan is not as grandiose as The Tenth Doctor’s but at least it’s notably quicker. The Girl in the Fireplace is a crazy good draw for this version of the deck. Ultimately, though, you need a bit of luck for this plan to work well. If Amy can continuously get combat triggers, this is an ultra efficient version of the deck. If not, you’re going to be sitting there wishing you had The Tenth Doctor out instead.
What about The Face of Boe as yet another option? There simply are not enough keyword suspend cards in the stock deck, but certainly this will be a deck that many players will explore. Obviously powerful cards like Inevitable Betrayal, Restore Balance and Rousing Refrain can do some massive lifting when playing them for minuscule costs and even a card like Mox Tantalite becomes very playable in this deck.
Timey-Wimey provides more commanders, more commander pairings, and more commanders with the potential to offer unique game experiences than any commander deck thus far.
Read More: MTG Best Cards in Historic
The Real Deal Commander Pairing
At first, the companion of Martha Jones seems relatively weak until you realize it gives The War Doctor a free unblockable attack, which can get you past Deathtouch or larger creatures until you have enough time counters to clear the way. While the deck does not have a large number of “exile until” effects it has enough to make this Doctor easily the most credible threat of all your options. If you expand the deck forward, it becomes ridiculously powerful.
How Does MTG Timey-Wimey Play?
Especially if using The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, the deck is a bit all over the place. You want to keep some cards in permanent suspend state like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship so that you get a benefit while also buffing up Rose. Other suspend cards need to come down at a critical moment to get a useful effect like Atraxi Warden. If this card comes down and nothing worthwhile is tapped right then and there, it’s pretty sad. While the deck does have a tutor effect in The Eleventh Hour, that’s certainly not enough to ensure you will see the cards you need, especially in a deck that exiles cards on many effects. You will end up exiling something to Ecstatic Beauty that, on average, you don’t regret, but sometimes you have huge regrets when it’s not the right time or in the right order to make an excellent play.
One of the most powerful cards in the entire deck is The Day of the Doctor which gives you massive value and a board wipe while also boosting The War Doctor to absurd amounts of counters. At the same time there’s Astrid Peth who is a 2/2 that makes Food tokens. One of these cards can take over the game and the other is pretty much just a 2/2.
Whether it’s draw based or pseudo-cascading, you’re a bit at the mercy of randomness with this deck which can be a pain point especially for competitive players. Does that mean it plays poorly? No, I would not say that. I enjoyed my games, but it was more about the novelty of the deck doing random things than having any semblance of a strategy or plan. Hope to hit good cards and go from there, “Allons-y!” or something like that. Furthermore, it does not mean the deck is weak by any stretch of the imagination.
This card is crazy powerful. If you ever get this with Clockspinning then good luck to your opponents. Alone The Parting of the Ways generates massive value. With the help of other cards? Brutal efficiency. Speaking of efficiency, the deck includes a reprint of Farewell which simply deals with pretty much everything. Of course it’s about what Farewell doesn’t hit, suspended cards, that makes it truly a one two punch as everyone else loses everything and you gain an entire board next turn. Finally there’s also Wedding Ring which can give the deck a very valuable source of card draw that it lacks and is only four mana. Think of it as a more balanced version of The One Ring. MTG Timey-Wimey is not lacking in cards with raw power and at times the deck will look plain unfair but on average it’s a reasonable Commander deck.
Upgrades for MTG Timey-Wimey
I’m definitely interested in pursuing a version of the deck based around The War Doctor so exiling a lot of cards is the name of the game. After seeing it in action, there’s no way I don’t also include Tasha’s Hideous Laughter and Pixis of Pandemonium. Many cards from the Exit From Exile Baldur’s Gate Commander deck work well here like Chaos Wand, Sarevok’s Tome, and Spinerock Knoll just to name a few. On the other side, I get to play Laelia, the Blade Forged as a virtual second copy of The War Doctor. Then I get to make decisions. I can go for the value playstyle of the deck and include Throes of Chaos so that I will always have a cascade card handy. Funnily enough another of the Doctor Who Commander decks, Paraxdox Power, includes Throes which is a perfect card for this theme.
Alternatively, as a finisher, I could use Unpredictable Cyclone which can easily get me an “exile until” for the entire deck if I only play one of that card type in the deck. So I could run exactly one other enchantment that has cycling like Cast Out and guarantee the combo which would add a load of counters to either The War Doctor or Laelia. Considering you can easily tutor for enchants with cards like Enlightened Tutor and Idyllic Tutor, this combination isn’t as far fetched as it might seem at first, although it’s nowhere near competitive power.
As I mentioned above, I am not a Doctor Who fan so I see the cards in a completely different light – they are Magic cards to me. Flipping my entire deck into a cascade that finds nothing but puts 50+ counters on my Commander who then attacks and kills a player sounds hilarious, to me. Finding an interesting subtheme while playing the standard deck is a very “Commander” idea. As I also mentioned above, Timey-Wimey gives you a ton of different commander combinations to make a huge number of potential decks to explore. I found this deck to offer, by far, the most replay value and build value when you consider that fact.
Would it have killed Wizards to include some dice with this deck? Most games I required seven or eight, but in a couple I needed over ten. You require a bag of dice for this deck as it stands. Of all the decks that included tokens, this deck seemed to have exactly the correct amount…until it needed a few more. Wizards, if you think that potential new Magic players may be purchasing this product to play the game, you could have at least provided some help in this regard.
Speaking of including dice…my planar dice was damaged. Scratched, chipped, scuffed, dirty. New in-box but looked like it had been used for a couple of years. All of the dice in each different pre-con were in the same dismal shape.
Finally, the deck box. The flaps on my deck box were pre-damaged, new sealed in the box. Two of the four decks came like that. Additionally, the deck box itself. The artwork is nice but would it have killed them to make at least one of the deck boxes (or realistically ALL of them) be Tardises? This seems like the lowest hanging of fruit. Does it ruin the product? No, but it would have been easy and really nice.
Verdict: Well Worth it
Not only do you get a pile of new cards that have a lot of build potential, you also get excellent reprints of lands and spells that are just plain good for Commander. This deck (and all the others as well) has so many decent lands! On top of that, you get some new planes if you ever want to play Planechase. While I personally felt the standard deck running The Tenth Doctor had a high degree of randomness and far too many moving pieces for the average player, it did allow me to find a sub-deck within the main deck. I think if you give Timey-Wimey a shot you will also find that sub-deck that appeals to you. From there it’s Allons-y!
Read More: Top 10 Most Expensive Doctor Who MTG Cards