Last updated on December 29, 2023
Rose Tyler | Illustration by Luisa J. Preissler
Doctor Who is one of the longest-running and most popular shows on British television, and the recent Universes Beyond Commander decks brought it to Magic. It’s a delightful crossover with clever, top-down card designs.
To give us that classic Doctor Who Doctor-plus-companion vibe, we got the Doctor’s companion mechanic, a riff on partners that lets us pair a companion with any Doctor. For today’s deck tech, I went with the classic pairing of Rose Tyler with The Tenth Doctor.
Timecrafting | Illustration by Volkan Baga
Jhoira of the Ghitu
The Eleventh Doctor
The War Doctor
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Wheel of Fate
The Wedding of River Song
Taunt from the Rampart
Sea Gate Restoration
Sea of Clouds
I wanted to maximize Rose Tyler with this deck, so we’ve got a heavy focus on suspend and vanishing to maximize the counters Rose obtains with their second ability. Both mechanics got significant boosts with the Doctor Who precons, and we make ample use of those new gifts.
This is a value-oriented Jeskai list. We’ll spend many of our early turns suspending cards for explosive turns later in the game. Rose and The Tenth Doctor are both interested in attacking, so we have a few early, aggressive creatures to go along with that plan.
We generally want to suspend all our cards and have a couple of synergies to help get them down quicker. We focus on suspend as a way to cast more spells than our opponents, backed up by the aggression of our companion and the card advantage of our Doctor.
Rose TylerThe Tenth Doctor
The other contenders were The Ninth Doctor and The Eleventh Doctor, but both fell short of Ten’s ability. Getting two upkeeps through The Ninth Doctor is powerful with suspend cards since we cast them twice as fast but is equally detrimental to vanishing cards that leave just as quickly. The Eleventh Doctor is solid, but the activated ability doesn’t work with Rose for long, and losing out on red felt detrimental.
The Tenth Doctor does everything we want from Rose’s companion. It encourages attacking and grows Rose while drawing us cards all at once. Both of Ten’s abilities are quite potent. The attack trigger ensures a steady stream of card advantage. 7 mana may seem like a lot for the activated ability, but it often correlates to casting at least two spells since we’ll always have something suspended, and Ten adds more cards to suspension.
Since Rose already wants to attack and wants a ton of suspended cards to grow quickly, The Tenth Doctor stands out as the best option for this casual deck.
Time Counter Support
These cards are here to support our spells with time counters. They’re primarily geared towards helping cast the suspended spells sooner, but also give us a few ways to interact with our permanents that have vanishing, among other effects.Rift Elemental
Rift Elemental provides us with a mana outlet to cast our suspended spells ahead of schedule. It can also become a formidable attacker and lets us play our suspended spells at instant speed for an on-board trick.Timebender
Timebender is the only morph in the deck but does a lot of work. We’re mostly interested in using it to cast suspended spells early, but it can also keep our cards with vanishing around longer or kill the ones that want to die with no counters. It’s a very flexible card.
Goldberry, River Daughter wants to move time counters off of Rose Tyler and move them onto permanents with vanishing to keep them around, though we can also use Goldberry to remove time counters from our cards with vanishing where appropriate.
Amy Pond is just as eager to attack as Rose and helps cast our spells much sooner. Removing two counters is extremely relevant with The Tenth Doctor. The spell gets suspended on attack before damage, so Amy can remove enough counters that we can cast the spell on our next upkeep.As Foretold
As Foretold’s primary use is to help cast our suspend spells that don’t have a mana cost, but this card gives plenty of value just for existing.
Clockspinning and Timecrafting both let us remove counters at instant speed for shenanigans. The former is an excellent mana sink in a grindy game, while the latter casts most of our suspended spells for 3 or 4 mana. Fury Charm also removes counters while doubling as a Shatter and surprisingly potent combat trick once Rose has more than 10 power.
The War Doctor gets time counters anytime we suspend a card, which is nice. It gets a ton of counters whenever we attack since each card exiled by The Tenth Doctor’s ability counts individually, just like the interaction between Laelia, the Blade Reforged and cascade cards.Kate Stewart
Kate Stewart simply helps us build up a board. It’s easy to get multiple tokens each turn. Attacking with Rose gets one, but casting spells with vanishing, effects like The War Doctor, and cards that add counters like Clockspinning give this deck ways to produce soldiers.Danny Pink
Danny Pink offers a robust card advantage engine. Plenty of effects get counters on our creatures, so drawing two or three cards isn’t out of the question. Danny even spreads counters for additional cards.
Time Warp and Alrund's Epiphany are both powerful cards in their own rights, though their primary function is helping get our suspended cards out a turn sooner and to get a few extra combats since so many of our creatures want to attack.Passionate Archaeologist
Passionate Archaeologist rounds this section out with a potent enchantment that represents a lot of damage. Backgrounds scale well with multiple triggers, as Rose and Ten will deal damage as we cast our suspended spells – some of which have high mana values.
The vanishing mechanic is pretty interesting, giving us temporary permanents that can have a large effect on the game. Since vanishing tracks time counters, it works with Rose’s Bad Wolf ability and Ten’s Timey-Wimey activation.Chronozoa
Chronozoa is just neat. We have a couple of ways to remove counters from it to help with the death trigger, and an endlessly replicating army is great for a deck that wants to go long and has cards that care about permanents with time counters.
Lost Auramancers has a similar ability that generates card advantage rather than board presence. Notable targets include Grasp of Fate and Crack in Time as interaction, and The Parting of the Ways and Four Knocks for card advantage.
Crack in Time is an interesting removal spell that can eat several targets over time. It’s a great way to clear early blockers for Rose until they’re large enough to attack past them and destabilize boards relying on early mana dorks for value.
Flesh Duplicate is one of the strongest cards from the Doctor Who precons. A riff on Phantasmal Image, getting to copy the best thing on board for two turns can have a huge impact on the game, especially if you keep it around.
These are cards with suspend, but also a few effects in the deck that suspend cards for you to get extra cards into exile.
Rousing Refrain, Inspiring Refrain, and Reality Strobe are all incredible value engines that go back into exile when they resolve. Getting three counters is important. We can keep casting these spells with The Tenth Doctor’s time travel ability, tacking on extra spells with each activation.Ecstatic Beauty
Ecstatic Beauty is a great impulse draw for this deck. Getting a few cards is good, but putting time counters on our cards with suspend is incredible. The weakness of these cards is that you might not get to cast every spell, but this mitigates that by storing the ones we can’t cast because they’re too expensive or don’t have mana costs for later.
Riftwing Cloudskate, Atraxi Warden, and Judoon Enforcers are just strong creatures that we can suspend for a fraction of their mana cost. The Warden and Enforcers are especially good to hit with some of our effects that forcibly suspend them since they often end up with fewer time counters.
Aeon Chronicler is another suspend card whose suspend cost we don’t want to pay, as it’s a pretty expensive one. But suspending this with effects like The Tenth Doctor and Ecstatic Beauty is playing Ancestral Recall with upside!
Deep-Sea Kraken is amazing in this deck. If suspended by anything but its own ability, it often comes down the same turn cycle. Even with nine suspend counters, it comes out fast. An unblockable creature is fantastic with The Tenth Doctor, as we can get triggers no matter how cluttered the board state.
The Parting of the Ways is one of the strongest cards in the deck. It often “draws” two to four cards, and the double time travel pulls a lot of weight in a deck loaded with suspend and vanishing. The triple Shatter ties it together as an incredible value engine that often represents a five-for-one or better.
Jhoria of the Ghitu lets us suspend cards for next to nothing and get them back quickly. They’re at their best when suspending our most expensive cards, like our extra turn spells or Sea Gate Restoration.Dinosaurs on a Spaceship
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship references one of Eleven’s best adventures and provides us with board presence. What more could you want?
Our interaction suite is pretty simple. We have some Jeskai classics, like Dovin's Veto and Swords to Plowshares for efficiency, or Grasp of Fate as a strong three-for-one. We also have a few more niche spells.Suspend
Cyber Conversion is one of the cards from WHO poised to be a format staple. Turning a creature face down is a strong effect. Creatures can’t turn themselves face-up unless they have a morph ability, and flipping a card doesn’t cause it to change zones, so this is a premium way to deal with commanders and can shut down threats from decks utilizing reanimation and other recursive strategies so they don’t get it back. Alongside Flesh Duplicate, this will be one of the most impactful cards from the set.
The Mana Base
Who wouldn’t love a chance to play Black Lotus in their mana base? Well, we get Lotus Bloom, which is basically the same thing! Mox Tantalite and Sol Talisman also help our mana base get into the suspend game.Midnight Clock Rotating Fireplace
In addition to these, we have an assortment of typical mana rocks – Sol Ring, all the on-color Talismans, and Arcane Signet. This deck has a lot of mana rocks, but it also has abundant ways to use its mana.
As for the lands, it’s a pretty simple assortment of duals and basics to fix and ensure we can cast our spells. We have two modal double-faced cards in Emeria's Call and Sea Gate Restoration that are great when hit with our suspend abilities. Trenzalore Clocktower won’t often get to draw seven, but it’s still a nice value land to have since it comes into play untapped.
Mana acceleration is the most important thing to have in your opening hand. We draw cards and have creatures like The Tenth Doctor and Kate Stewart with activated abilities to pump mana into. This deck is never short on ways to use its mana, which helps its long-game strategy.
In a nutshell, this deck’s goal is to cast way more spells than the rest of the table, leaning on Ten’s triggered ability and the low mana costs of most suspend cards to get that done. It starts rolling around turn five or six once we’ve accelerated out our commanders and have developed a few suspended cards.
You primarily want to use your interaction to clear the way for attackers. Rose becomes a 6/6 or larger with a few attacks and scales past blockers quickly, so ensuring we can get in early is important. The Tenth Doctor is also quite capable of attacking with 5 toughness; don’t be afraid to bounce them off of opposing creatures to get cards suspended.
The Tenth’s activated ability seems daunting at 7 mana but it’s something we want to activate often later in the game, especially if we have Passionate Archeologist burning our opponents or one of our cards that re-suspend themselves upon resolution. Once we’re casting two or three spells or keeping vanishing permanents like Four Knocks and Crack in Time around, that’s when we want to start dumping mana into the Doctor.
Combos and Interactions
This deck has one infinite combo and a couple of interactions regarding some of our suspend spells. Let’s start with the combo:
For this combo to work, you need the Doctor in play, both sorceries suspended with three or fewer time counters, and an opponent to have seven cards in hand.
Activate the Timey-Wimey ability, time traveling three times to remove all the counters from our suspended spells.
Cast Rousing Refrain targeting the opponent with seven cards in hand, and Reality Strobe targeting an opposing permanent. Refrain generates seven , and Strobe bounces the permanent. Both spells will go into exile with three counters on resolution.
We’ll use the 7 mana to activate Ten’s ability again, creating a loop that allows us to bounce all opposing permanents. This loop also lets us make Rose infinitely large, make infinite Chronozoa tokens, draw our deck with Inspiring Refrain, and burn the table out with Passionate Archeologist.
This combo won’t come up often, as it requires an opponent to have a full hand, though Wheel of Fate can set this up. It’s also fragile since the opponent you’re targeting can cast a spell to have fewer than seven cards in hand.
As for the interactions, let’s first discuss stacking your attack triggers.
When you attack with Rose Tyler while The Tenth Doctor is in play, both of their abilities will trigger at the same time. Stack them so the Doctor’s ability resolves first. That’ll suspend a card, getting an extra counter on Rose, even if you don’t have anything with time counters when they attacked. This is relevant with The War Doctor’s attack trigger, which you want to resolve after Ten’s.
Next, we need to talk about suspend. We have a few cards, like The Eleventh Doctor and The Parting of the Ways, that suspend cards with a number of counters equal to their mana value, and some cards that don’t have a mana value, like Ancestral Vision and Sol Talisman.
Since these cards don’t have a mana cost, their mana value is treated as 0, which means they’ll get 0 time counters. To cast a suspended card, the last time counter has to get removed – either by suspend’s triggered ability or another effect. If there are no time counters to get removed, you can’t cast the spell. These suspend cards won’t do anything when suspended by an effect that puts time counters on them equal to their mana cost, so try to avoid that as much as possible.
Rule 0 Violations Check
This deck should clear most Rule 0 conversations. Even with Lotus Bloom and Sol Talisman, we don’t have a ton of fast mana the way competitive decks do. Our only infinite is easily disrupted and rarely comes up anyway, and you can always agree not to play it and use the cards individually – I didn’t even see the combo when I initially put the deck together; they were just good cards.
One thing to be aware of in the Rule 0 conversation is any stax pieces your opponents are playing. Cards like Teferi, Time Raveler or Drannith Magistrate basically kill this deck on their own, so you might want to avoid those matchups or add extra spot removal if you run into them often at your casual tables.
The first and easiest place to make budget cuts is in the mana base. Untapped lands can get swapped for tapped duals to save a significant amount of money at the cost of slowing the deck down. Sea Gate Restoration and Emeria's Call especially can becomes basics of their colors.
Cyber Conversion is currently going for about $20, but you could run any bit of spot removal. Its price will likely dip a little after the set’s release, as will many of the cards from the decks.
The Ninth Doctor would be a faster deck, interested in churning out suspend cards. Vanishing cards become much weaker, but you can utilize cards like Assemble the Legion and Plargg and Nassari that benefit from the additional upkeeps in their place for a more aggressive deck.
The Eleventh Doctor would also be interested in aggression, using its ability to help suspend cheap cards like Adeline, Resplendent Cathar for extra pressure or sneaking cards like Daxos of Meletis past your opponents’ defenses.
The War Doctor | Illustration by Lixin Yin
I wasn’t sure how well Doctor Who would translate to Magic, but these Commander decks have some incredibly flavorful cards. Many of these designs demonstrate a lot of attention and detail given to their adaptation.
Which Doctor is your favorite? Do you like how their card was designed? Let me know in the comments below or on the Draftsim Discord!
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