Last updated on December 28, 2023
The Tenth Doctor | Illustration by Luisa J. Preissler
The Tenth Doctor is arguably the most popular incarnation of the doctor, very well represented by David Tennant. He was the main actor in the show for three whole seasons, and naturally was portrayed very carefully by MTG designers. His MTG card has all to do with manipulating time and time counters.
After all, according to The Tenth Doctor, people assume that time flows and works in a certain way, but it’s actually a bunch of Wibbly-wobbly, Timey-wimey stuff. It’s basically what this Commander deck looks to do, because you’re not going to cast cards, but actually timey-wimey them into play. Suspend cards require you to wait for them to come into play, but not when you have a freaking time lord in play.
Today, I’m bringing a budget-friendly deck list that aims to extract the best from the Doctor’s powers while casting expensive cards and looking cool. Let’s get into it!
Aeon Chronicler | Illustration by Dan Dos Santos
Emrakul, the Promised End
Flayer of Loyalties
It That Betrays
Jhoira of the Ghitu
K-9, Mark I
Keeper of Secrets
Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival
Sphinx of the Second Sun
The Ninth Doctor
The Thirteenth Doctor
The War Doctor
Thryx, the Sudden Storm
Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
Vega, the Watcher
Expel the Interlopers
Rise of the Eldrazi
The Wedding of River Song
Path of Ancestry
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of the False God
Temple of Triumph
This deck has two commanders, The Tenth Doctor with Tegan Jovanka as the Doctor’s companion. I’ve built this deck around Ten’s main abilities. Whenever you attack with any creature, you’ll suspend a nonland card from the top of your deck with three time counters. It’s also got the timey-wimey ability, which allows you to pay 7 mana to time travel three times. This effectively takes off three time counters from your suspended cards. If you have enough mana, you can suspend a nonland card and cast it the same turn. Timey-wimey also works well with vanishing cards, adding cards so that they last longer in play. The Tenth Doctor’s ability is very similar to Jhoira of the Ghitu, in the sense that you can suspend high mana-value cards and just wait for them to come online.
The Tenth Doctor needs someone that can help attacking. My thoughts went to Tegan Jovanka as the Doctor's companion, because it's a cheaper companion that can give a historic creature +1/+1 and indestructible, easing future attacks. Each turn, I want Tegan Jovanka to buff a creature, even itself, and attack someone. This gets the suspend train going if you also have The Tenth Doctor in play.
One of The Tenth Doctor’s commander’s main abilities is to suspend a card whenever you attack, so naturally you want creatures around, preferably evasive ones. Tegan Jovanka makes your historic creatures indestructible when attacking, so this is a route you can take.
Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival makes Thopter tokens to allow you to constantly attack. The Thopters are even historic creatures to benefit from your Doctor’s companion. In the same space, I’ve added Looter il-Kor since it attacks almost freely thanks to shadow.
Rose Tyler could be the Doctor’s companion for this deck, but I’ve decided to go another way. Still, it’s a beatstick that’ll be constantly attacking and growing throughout the game.
The other doctors in this deck all help in some way. The Ninth Doctor attacks with haste and speeds up suspend spells, while The Thirteenth Doctor allows you to copy these spells and The War Doctor benefits from all the exile effects that are taking place.
Aerial Extortionist is already a nice creature on rate, and it makes you draw a lot of cards thanks to your suspended cards.
K-9, Mark I can give evasion to some of your creatures to keep them attacking.
Jhoira of the Ghitu provides redundancy, and it’s especially nice if you already have good cards to suspend in your hand.
Flayer of Loyalties adds cascade to your exiled spells, and that’s good when you’re casting expensive cards from exile.
The late-game defining ability of The Tenth Doctor is to pay 7 mana to time travel three times. This works either with cards you’ve suspended with its ability or with cards that already have suspend. Since your commander suspends cards with three time counters, you can pay 7 mana to remove all those suspend process and cast the spells right away.
Inspiring Refrain and Rousing Refrain are cards that suspend themselves after resolving. This deck can to cast these almost once per turn. Another card that works in this axis is Chronomantic Escape, which your commander can “cast” every turn by paying 7 mana.
Cards like Crack in Time, Four Knocks, and Regenerations Restored are better the more they stay on the battlefield. Time travel can interact with these and make you draw more cards, scry more, or exile more permanents.
Since you’re suspending cards with your commander it makes sense that you’d want to cheat big creatures into play. Eldrazi are perfect for this. Emrakul, the Promised End and It That Betrays are huge creatures, and there’s also a game-winning planeswalker in Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Sphinx of the Second Sun is also a nice one because it gives you an extra untap and upkeep step for suspend cards.
Flaming Tyrannosaurus gives you benefits from casting cards from exile (suspend). Atraxi Warden is a big flying creature and also a two-for-one. Naturally you can cheat cards into play like One with the Multiverse and Omniscience with your commander. Rounding up the list are expensive spells like Brilliant Ultimatum and Rise of the Eldrazi, which you don’t intend on casting for their regular cost.
For an Azorius () deck, this deck doesn't play that much interaction. Still, it doesn’t hurt to add some staples. Counterspell and Dovin's Veto allow you to interact with the stack, while Cyclonic Rift is often a one-sided sweeper.
You also have repeatable removal in Crack in Time, which can stay a while on the battlefield with your time counter manipulation. Sublime Epiphany is expensive, but it has a nice effect on the board, and you can cast even from suspension since you can manipulate that with your commander. The War Doctor’s attack trigger can be repeatable removal each time it attacks.
The Mana Base
The mana base is your standard tri-color Commander mana base. It has 20+ nonbasic lands, and most of them generate , , or mana. I’ve kept most of the dual lands already present in the Timey-Wimey precon deck since they work very well. A lot of cards from this deck can be found in the precon, so those who’ve already bought the product have a huge start in assembling this deck.
It’s always nice to add Commander staples to any deck like Sol Ring, Command Tower, and Arcane Signet. War Room allows to draw some cards by losing life, and it’s something that you can be interested in. There’s also Trenzalore Clocktower, a land that has no downside and works very well with your commander.
There are at least a dozen ways to benefit from Tegan Jovanka’s trigger, considering the number of legendary creatures and artifact creatures you have. Tegan can also attack and benefit from its own trigger.
In the late game, you should aim for attacking with a creature, suspending a card, and immediately casting it from exile via timey-wimey.
The main interaction in this deck is that The Tenth Doctor allows you to pay 7 mana to take off three time counters from suspended cards. You can also add up to three counters on vanishing cards or on creatures that want more time counters like The War Doctor and Rose Tyler.
Brainstorm in response to an attack trigger lets you draw three cards and put the best card on top of the deck to suspend.
Most vanishing cards in this deck are here to stay longer on the battlefield thanks to time travel, but there are exceptions. Lost Auramancers is one creature that you want to vanish fast so it can cheat something like Omniscience into play. Regenerations Restored can go either way, but you’ll probably want to speed up the vanishing process, getting more scries and more life and reaching the extra turn effect quicker.
Clockspinning is inferior to your commander’s time travel ability, but it can be a nice trick if you don’t have your commander or if you have 4-5 mana available.
I wouldn’t say that this deck breaks anything, since it’s a slow and predictable deck. Most of the time, you should have a target on your head if you have two or more big, suspended spells. That said, once you have access to 7 mana you can potentially drop 18+ mana of spells into play in a turn, so people should be aware of it beforehand. Chronomantic Escape can be a soft lock with The Tenth Doctor, allowing you to timey-wimey it every turn and creatures can’t attack you.
As it stands, the current budget for this decklist is around $300-400. Half this budget is concentrated around a few cards. Emrakul, the Promised End definitely needs more reprints. You can replace cards like Emrakul, the Promised End for its older version Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. The mana base is on the cheap side, with shock lands like Steam Vents and Sacred Foundry being easily swapped by Frostboil Snarl and Furycalm Snarl.
Adding Rose Tyler as a companion lets you attack frequently and use the time travel abilities to strengthen it while giving you access to white. Using Clara Oswald as a companion gives you double triggers from the Doctor’s abilities, so each attack suspends two cards instead of one. Clara gives access to green, white, or black if you want to. Clara Oswald is strong in a doctor-heavy build, and who knows, maybe you can fill your deck with doctors/changelings and attempt to win with Gallifrey Stands. Pairing green with The Tenth Doctor is particularly interesting since it gives access to expensive green spells and ramp, given that the commander has a built-in mana sink to spend all the mana.
Emrakul, the Promised End | Illustration by Jaime Jones
Commander is always nice when we get to play big and flashy spells that don’t see play in other formats, especially when we can cheat them from the command zone. The Tenth Doctor will surely have a target on its head the moment you start suspending big spells with its ability.
But sometimes you only need one or two spells, and if your Doctor’s allowed to live, you’re set. If you have fun playing Commander with Jhoira of the Ghitu, maybe it’s time to give this deck a try.
How would you build this deck differently? Go hard on the cheating aspect and play Show and Tell + Sneak Attack? Use an entirely different Commander? Let me know in the comments below, or let’s discuss it on Draftsim Discord.
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