The official kickoff to the MTG Doctor Who Spoiler season starts today! That said, even though Wizards of the Coast will be revealing a lot of goodies this afternoon, some new cards are already starting to hit the scene!
One card, in particular, may incentivize players to truly adopt the new Doctor Who cards into a new EDH deck! Commander players love wacky off-the-wall win conditions that may not be super competitive, but are super fun to try and pull off. This new card rewards players who really want to go for the flavor win of controlling all thirteen doctors by, well, winning the game!
Gallifrey Stands is a six mana enchantment that, honestly, is not very powerful. That doesn’t really matter since we’re trying to pull of the janky win condition on the bottom of the card anyway.
Gallifrey Stands is strong in any Commander deck that has a handful of Doctor Who Doctors since it can return fallen ones to your hand and get them onto the battlefield for free. That said, if you want to use this card to win the game, you need thirteen or more Doctors in play.
Notably, these all don’t have to be different Doctors. Copy effects like Spark Double that copy a Doctor could also count towards this magical number thirteen. For players who want to do this as intended, thirteen doctors will be released in the initial Doctor Who crossover, with a fourteenth planned for the future. We’ll have an article coming out later today that outlines the new Doctor cards.
Another interesting point regarding Gallifrey Stands is that its initial ETB ability that returns all fallen Doctors to your hand may be a detriment. If your goal is not to utilize the win condition on the card, then this is strictly a value piece, especially since the first ability of Gallifrey Stands can immediately start converting to value on your next upkeep.
That said, the easiest way to bring a bunch of creatures back all at once without spending mana casting single one of them is through mass reanimation spells like Living Death. Even if you manage to set up your board state in a way that Living Death will reanimate all your doctors, you need to survive with your board intact until your next upkeep. How can we make this win condition more efficient?
The Obvious Answer
The biggest issue to Gallifrey Stands, besides actually getting all but one of the Doctors on the battlefield, is somehow untapping with your board. Once the Gallifrey Stands trigger goes on the stack, removing that card won’t help anymore. That said, players could still pick apart your Doctors to win the game on your upkeep, but this card can get you there with little resistance.
Teferi’s Protection is probably the best way to get your massive board of Doctors to your next upkeep. Basically phasing you out of the game, it will be very difficult to interact with your board until it’s too late.
Other anti-boardwipe effects like Heroic Intervention can also help here, but those will only protect your cards for one turn, while Teferi’s Protection protects you for three.
Speed Up Your Reanimation Spells
Another way to speed up your Gallifrey Stands win condition is to try and Living Death on your upkeep – or do something to the same effect. This makes the window for your opponent to interact with your plan about as small as it is if you use Teferi’s Protection. These methods usually require a sequence of cards like Borne Upon a Wind into Living Death. Still, it does accomplish the same goal of making your win condition a lot more sudden rather than telegraphing it a whole turn before it happens.
Just Get Another Upkeep
I love Sphinx of the Second Sun. This card creates some wacky upkeep shenanigans thanks to it granting you a second beginning phase before your second main phase. If you use the Sphinx, not only will you be able to cheat two Doctors out per turn instead of one with Gallifrey Stands, but you’ll be able to use a card in your main phase to get a bunch of Doctors into play and win the game before your second main phase!
Of course, this isn’t the only card that can double the triggers of Gallifrey Stands. Paradox Haze also grants an additional upkeep, allowing you to cheat two Doctors out of your hand instead of one. This card grants back-to-back upkeeps, though, so you won’t be able to do something in your main phase and try to win afterwards.
Hoo boy, this is where Gallifrey Stands gets silly. The card specifically cares about Doctor creatures, and since Changelings are all creature types, they are definitely Doctors. Heck, they’re even Time Lord Doctors!
This means that Gallifrey Stands should be able to cheat these cards out and count them towards the win condition. I say should because Doctor’s Companion, the partner mechanic for the Doctor Who set, specifically cares about a card being a Time Lord Doctor while having Doctor in the Legendary Creature’s name. This should not work the same way as Gallifrey Stands does, but if it does, it may not work.
Assuming that this does work as suspected, this also means that Rukarumel, Biologist will work. Representing the perfect Commander for a Doctor-themed deck. Rukarumel can fill out the rest of your slots with Slivers and grant them their own P.H.D’s, granting them the Doctor creature type. Honestly, if you’re untapping with Rukarumel and 12 other Slivers, you’re probably about to destroy some poor player’s life anyway, but with Gallifrey Stands, you get to win in a wacky way while killing everyone at the same time. Rukarumel can even use her activated ability to create additional little Doctors to march towards the win!
Is Gallifrey Stands a Good Card?
No. Once the jig is up and players know you’re trying to win with Gallifrey Stands, you’re one Utter End away from being unable to access your win condition at all. This card takes time to set up correctly and generally gives your opponents at least one turn cycle to answer the enchantment itself before you get things set up. Even then, getting things set up the turn after you resolve Gallifrey Stands without giving away the fact that you’re going to win on the next upkeep is really difficult.
Fortunately, at worst, Gallifrey Stands can function as a way to recur some value and get into play efficiently. As long as you have enough Doctors in your deck and you’re not playing cEDH, Gallifrey Stands can just pass as a value piece, which it is much better at doing than being a win condition. Of course, that’s not as fun as trying to win with it.