This week, we are getting bombarded with exciting Doctor Who spoilers. Each Doctor Who Commander deck has a fun and unique theme,. One of these is meshing well-established mechanics such as Vanishing and Suspend with new ideas like Time Travel.
The Timey-Wimey Commander deck, in particular, features one of my personal favorite Commanders from the set: The Tenth Doctor. The Tenth Doctor is all about finding ways to abuse cards with Time Counters. Cards with Vanishing and Suspend fit the mold quite well, and there are some new additions in Doctor Who that feature these mechanics.
In addition to Vanishing and Suspend, there are also new spoilers that simply involve putting Time Counters on permanents to gain specific benefits. The neat thing is that cards with Time Travel work well with each of these methods of utilizing Time Counters. Additionally, there are plenty of ways to Time Travel beyond just activating the ability of The Tenth Doctor, further improving cards with Vanishing and Suspend. Let’s take a look at some of the powerful spoilers that showcase these mechanics and how they work well together.
One of the funniest cards spoiled thus far, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is a prime example of a payoff for a deck built around Time Travel. For five mana, you can Suspend Dinosaurs on a Spaceship with and put four Time Counters on it. The fun part is that you benefit every time a Time Counter is removed. Because you can use cards with Time Travel to add Time Counters as well as remove them, you can theoretically keep this card in exile for a long time, letting you continuously get 2/2 tokens with Flying and Haste.
Then, if you want to attack for a bunch of damage, you could activate the Tenth Doctor’s ability to Time Travel three times, get a bunch of Hasty dinos all at once, and cast Dinosaurs on a Spaceship from exile to buff your squad. This card is also a super nice addition to any Dinosaur typal strategy, which is quite welcome with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan coming soon.
Some cards, like Sibylline Soothsayer, cause you to exile cards that might not otherwise have Suspend, put Time Counters on them, and give them Suspend. Sibylline Soothsayer may be a bit random, as you simply get to put the top non-Land card with a mana value three or greater from your library in exile with three Time Counters on it. However, if you can control what’s on top of your library in some way, this card can be quite strong.
For example, imagine you cast Mystical Tutor and put a powerful but expensive card on top of your library, such as Time Stretch. Now, casting Sibylline Soothsayer gets a lot stronger, giving Time Stretch Suspend, allowing you to cast it for free a few turns later and reap the rewards.
Another ability that works exceptionally well with the Time Travel mechanic is Vanishing, as Time Travelling lets you add Time Counters to cards with Vanishing to keep them around longer. Idris, Soul of the TARDIS is a cool card with Vanishing with some unique uses. While finding a solid way to abuse these abilities may sound a bit difficult, there are some fun things you can do.
For example, if you use Idris to exile either Basalt Monolith or Grim Monolith while you control Training Grounds, you can generate infinite mana. This is because Idris gains both the ability to produce mana and the ability to pay mana to untap itself. With the cost reduction from Training Grounds, you can Idris tap to add mana, use only a portion of that mana to untap Idris, and repeat the process.
Unlike some of the Vanishing cards where you would normally want to add Time Counters, Regenerations Restored pays you off for removing all of the Time Counters from it by letting you take an extra turn. Obviously, this works well with cards like The Tenth Doctor that can remove Time Counters faster. However, there are other ways to remove counters from permanents, such as with Vampire Hexmage, that could help you get an extra turn in short order.
Additional Cards with Time Counters
Beyond Vanishing and Suspend which naturally require you to remove Time Counters over time, there are some new permanents that can simply gain Time Counters when you Time Travel. Rotating Fireplace, for example, is a solid mana rock that starts by adding one mana, but can add more as you put more Time Counters on it. This card can quickly get out of control with cards like Vorel of the Hull Clade or Deepglow Skate that can potentially add a bunch of Time Counters at once.
In a similar sense, Trenzalore Clocktower is a great addition to a Doctor-focused blue deck that can speed up the process of putting Time Counters on it. Much like is the case with Midnight Clock, this card gains counters over time and lets you refuel your hand when you can remove 12 counters from it. Importantly, this card does require you to control a Time Lord to utilize, though you might be able to get around this clause if you control a Changeling or have Maskwood Nexus in play.
If you are looking to speed up your Suspended cards or keep your cards with Vanishing around longer, using cards that let you Time Travel is still a solid way to go. One of the more reliable ways to consistently Time Travel is to use Time Beetle. Time Beetle is difficult to block, and lets you add or remove Time Counters from your cards each time it connects in combat.
This card works extremely well with cards like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship or Aeon Chronicler that provide benefits whenever Time Counters are removed while they are in exile. You can exile Aeon Chronicler with only one Time Counter, for instance, and as long as you can continue to connect with Time Beetle, you will get to keep Aeon Chronicler in exile, repeatedly drawing you cards on your upkeep.
Likewise, All of History, All at Once is a great way to Time Travel a bunch of times if you can set it up. At Sorcery Speed, it may be tricky to get a bunch of Storm triggers off of this card. Perhaps using cards like Quicken or Teferi, Time Raveler to cast this card at Instant speed after an opponent casts a flurry of spells will make it more reliable. Either way, if you can build up Storm count, this is a great way to add or remove a plethora of Time Counters at once.
Notably, with cards like Aeon Chronicler in exile, you can choose to use the first copy of this spell to add a Time Counter, then use the next copy to remove a Time Counter to draw a card, and so on. This card has a very high ceiling as long as you can guarantee that a lot of spells get cast before it.
The Timey-Wimey Commander deck looks super fun as it is, and the implementation of the Time Travel mechanic is a big reason why.