Last updated on December 29, 2023
The Fourth Doctor | Illustration by David Auden Nash
Universes Beyond has led to some fantastic settings, including a full, draftable set that brought Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books to life in a whole new context. The Doctor Who Commander decks aren’t draftable, but they’re certainly a fantastic way to attract new players to the game – and they’re fun!
Magic often flirts with science fiction, as you can see in recent sets like Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and The Brothers’ War, a fairly recent set that details the war between Mishra and Urza, one of Magic’s oldest stories. Doctor Who embraces the concept wholly. The Blast From the Past deck focuses on, well, the past, with a historic theme sure to excite an older crowd of Whovians!
The deck’s two Commanders utilize the Doctor’s companion mechanic, a spin on partners that allows two commanders so long as one is a Doctor and the other has Doctor’s Companion. For this historic battle, you have The Fourth Doctor traveling alongside Sarah Jane Smith. The pairing makes it clear this Bant deck is value-oriented; The Fourth Doctor is a historic Future Sight while Sarah Jane provides a steady stream of Clue tokens as you cast historic spells with the Doctor’s ability.
This deck leans hard into historic permanents; of the 25 creatures, 24 are legends, and there’s a bundle of artifacts and sagas to go with them. You also have an artifact subtheme on top of the historic one; this is present with cards like Nyssa of Traken and Ace, Fearless Rebel that are interested in sacrificing artifacts, which is where Clue production comes in handy.
There's a strong token theme along with the artifact subtheme. There are lots of cards that make tokens, either unique to the card or tokens that are copies of your other permanents.
The deck balances aggressive and controlling cards. Cards like The Fourth Doctor and The Sixth Doctor are meant to provide value in a long, grindy game, but you also have cards like Sergeant John Benton and Jamie McCrimmon who want nothing more than to get into the red zone.
- BIGGER ON THE INSIDE—Bring your favorite Doctor Who characters, villains, and adventures to life at your table with this Magic: The Gathering Commander Deck; each deck introduces 50 never-before-seen Magic cards with art and game mechanics inspired by the beloved BBC series
- TRAVEL THE STARS WITH A GAME THAT FUSES ART, STORIES and STRATEGY—Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game that weaves deep strategy with art and mechanics that explore the themes of a particular world and story—whether you want to play a casual game with friends, collect cool cards, or get competitive, Magic welcomes you to The Gathering
- COMPANIONS WELCOME—This ready-to-play deck allows you to jump right into Magic’s most popular format. Commander is a multiplayer way to play Magic, an epic, free-for-all battle full of strategic plays and social intrigue
- TIME LORD NOSTALGIA—The Blast from the Past MTG Commander deck showcase the first Eight Doctors and their companions with a 100-card deck featuring 2 Traditional Foil Legendary cards and 98 nonfoil cards
- TRAVEL THROUGH TIME and SPACE WITH PLANECHASE—Every deck also comes with 10 Planechase cards, each featuring a different place (and time) in the Doctor Who universe; roll the included planar die and you may travel to a different place or trigger a chaotic effect.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Blast From the Past is overall an incredibly solid precon you can play right out of the box without much worry. It doesn’t have many cards that are obviously out of place, the mana base is surprisingly robust considering this is a precon, and there’s just a lot of good value.
The deck doesn't have any structural weaknesses; it just has a few cards that aren't as good as they could be. Some of them, like Gallifrey Stands, were clearly printed for Commander as a format rather than this specific deck. Others are just underwhelming cards, like Leela, Sevateem Warrior. The includes are meant to strengthen the deck's inherent themes and subthemes.
Urza’s Ruinous Blast
Suggested Cut: Time Wipe
Time Wipe is a fine board wipe, but Urza's Ruinous Blast suits this deck a little better. It can hit your sagas, but this is mostly be a Plague Wind with the number of legendary creatures you control.
Suggested Cut: Gallifrey Stands
Gallifrey Stands is one of the coolest, most flavorful build-arounds in the entire deck. The only trouble is that you don’t have 13 Doctors, making this a particularly expensive and narrow card draw spell. Captain Sisay serves this slot better.
Suggested Cut: The First Doctor
The First Doctor doesn’t quite make the cut with these upgrades, as TARDIS is the only card in the deck that cascades. While it does tutor for it, The First Doctor does nothing if your TARDIS has already been removed or if it just can’t attack. Since this deck has strong artifact and token themes, Peregrin Took feels like a natural include.
Rosie Cotton of South Lane
Suggested Cut: Leela, Sevateem Warrior
Leela, Sevateem Warrior is one of the few truly underwhelming cards in the deck. It’ll get large quickly but doesn’t have evasion or any effect other than getting large. Rosie Cotton of South Lane works well with all your tokens and isn’t so selfish with its counters.
Elspeth Conquers Death
Suggested Cut: Banish to Another Universe
Banish to Another Universe is efficient removal in a deck with this many historic permanents, but you already have efficient removal. Elspeth Conquers Death is one of the best sagas and deals with a threat permanently. Removing an Oblivion Ring effect is also relevant when you want to add Urza's Ruinous Blast.
Mondrak, Glory Dominus
Suggested Cut: Day of Destiny
While Day of Destiny adds a lot of power to the board, you also have Heroes' Podium and a few equipment to buff your legends. Mondrak, Glory Dominus gives you quantity over quality, which is far from irrelevant.
War of the Last Alliance
Suggested Cut: The Caves of Androzani
If The Caves of Androzani could add counters to your sagas or tap the creatures it’s stunning, this would be a much more interesting card. As it is, it’s just kind of meh. War of the Last Alliance draws two cards and gives you a way to end the game with double strike, which plays nicely with your more aggressive creatures.
Karn’s Temporal Sundering
Suggested Cut: Twice Upon a Time
“Twice Upon a Time” is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, and I love the flavor of this card. That said, it’s weak. Even though you have so many Doctors in your deck, requiring two feels like a steep condition when there are many better options, and Karn's Temporal Sundering counts as a historic spell.
Fugitive of the Judoon
Suggested Cut: Jo Grant
Since each of the Doctor decks focuses on a specific time period, Fugitive of the Judoon found its way into a different precon, but it does everything this deck could want. Jo Grant is a fine spell as a payoff and enabler, but is a steep cycling cost, and a +1/+1 counter on one creature is a scant reward.
Battle for Bretagard
Suggested Cut: Adric, Mathematical Genius
Adric, Mathematical Genius seems distinctly worse than Strionic Resonator if this deck wants that effect (and I don’t think it does) because a one-time Stifle isn’t worth paying the extra mana. Battle for Bretagard, on the other hand, does wonders with your token theme, especially since many of these changes seek to strengthen it.
Suggested Cut: Sergeant John Benton
Another Doctor Who card that’s just a bit out of time, Martha Jones fulfills the Sergeant's role of an aggressive legendary creature. The main differences are that Martha’s a more reliable source of damage, works with your Clue subtheme, and doesn’t give your opponents extra cards.
Suggested Cut: The Fifth Doctor
The Fifth Doctor isn't a bad card, but this deck just doesn’t make the best use of it. Getting to buff your tokens is nice, but for this deck, it only feels useful in a board stall. Lonis, Cryptozoologist gives you an abundance of Clues and a way to use them.
Rise and Shine
Suggested Cut: TARDIS
I know it’s a little blasphemous to suggest cutting the TARDIS from a Doctor Who deck, but I’m not convinced it’s a great card overall. Rise and Shine provides this deck with another way to utilize all those Clue tokens you create.
Faramir, Steward of Gondor
Suggested Cut: Traverse Eternity
At its best, Traverse Eternity is a 4-mana draw six. That’s not bad on rate, but it has a lot of room to be a much worse deal. Faramir, Steward of Gondor doesn’t provide a burst of card advantage, but a steady stream of card draw and a bunch of tokens to protect your monarchy.
Rise and Shine | Illustration by Franz Vohwinkel
I love Doctor Who, and I’m a big fan of these decks. There are some incredibly flavorful designs – Weeping Angel stands out especially as one of the most interesting Universe Beyond cards.
The Blast From the Past precon focuses on the original Doctors from before the 2009 reboot. It uses historic cards as a flavorful way to capture this past. It’s already a solid precon, but the above changes help the deck focus in on and strengthen its token and artifact subthemes.
Which Doctor are you most excited to build around? Are you a fan of the show? Let me know in the comments or on the Draftsim Discord!
Stay safe, and keep traveling!
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