Doctor Who Commander Set Review

Kristen GregoryCommander

Doctor Who arrives in the Commander format with four preconstructed decks. Each is flush with reprints, but also dozens of novel designs. With 200 new Doctor Who cards available for Commander brewing, it’s time to review the best of the set. 

Chances are you’re going to pick up the precons for some planechase Doctor Who action, or you’re going to want to know what singles to pick up. If you’re in the latter camp, this review is for you. We’re only going to look at the most powerful cards with universal application to keep this one… smaller on the inside. 


If you’re having a fun game and don’t want it to end, pop this under an Isochron Scepter and turn it into a Disco Stick. 

It’s a fog on steroids, basically, and one that’s an intriguing option. It can stop a game-winning swing, or a Ruinous Ultimatum, which might be what you want. 

New board wipes are a given, and white always gets a few. 

Crisis of Conscience hearkens back to Perplexing Test. Most tokens decks rely on building key engine pieces, but really this is closer to Planar Cleansing with a way to hose tokens decks. 

Meanwhile, Everything Comes to Dust is a pretty cheap exile spell considering it’ll leave you ahead on board in the right deck. 

Four Knocks is the white Phyrexian Arena. Three mana for three cards is fine, and unless you curve out the aforementioned Arena, it’ll usually just give you three or so anyways. The fact this can be proliferated, though, makes it a fun pick. 

We’ll cover Doctors and Companions in more detail in another article, so if you see them in this review, you’ll know they’re worth adding to non-WHO decks, too. 

Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright are Saga deck superstars, whether for Narci or Tom Bombadil. They’re narrow, design-wise, but cheap to cast.

Romana II
Romana II

Romana II has a very unique effect in white, which is why she’s deserving of a mention. Copying a token that entered this turn is great for token decks, but she’ll shine even more because the format has so many copy effects that make tokens anyway. 

Hold up mana and take a copy of what your opponent just got. One mana is a bargain.

Like most suspend cards in this product release, chances are they’re angled toward running with mostly WHO cards. Rose, though, is one to keep an eye on, because she’s essentially going to be a two-mana X/X every game — perfect for jamming with. 

Legendary matters/historic have a fair bit of crossover in w/x decks, and a two drop that can produce clues is pretty handy. Once a turn reins it in a little, but bear in mind Sarah Jane Smith will end up in Raff Capashen or Sally Sparrow, most likely. 

Tegan Jovanka is, in many ways, a better Taranika, Akroan Veteran, as she doesn’t have to attack. For that reason, she’ll find plenty of homes.

Night of the Doctor is Elspeth Conquers Death, but on steroids. It wipes all creatures and then brings something back. Pretty good deal for six mana, especially if you can leverage the counter you get with Act 2.

A lot of the sagas in this product are quite niche, but Trial of a Time Lord is one of the better ones, in my opinion. Three mana to exile three creatures over three turns, and then a decision from that table — do they come back, or go to the bottom of the library? 

With the way games develop, this might prove to offer virtual card advantage on top. 


Adric, Mathematical Genius
Adric, Mathematical Genius

Adric does a fair bit for a two mana investment. While the ability cost might seem a little on the high side, he’s flexible, and getting that sacrifice ability is the delicious crust on the pi.

There are many cards with Time Travel in these precons, and you’ll only really be interested if you’re playing a suspend deck. That said, All of History, All at Once and Time Beetle are two of the best. The former will give you some big splashy turns, while the latter is repeatable for a low investment — the ideal. 

Auton Soldier
Auton Soldier

Auton Soldier is incredible for a clone. While Gyruda is its obvious home (think of that sweet, sweet myriad!), it’ll slot into just about any deck that has creatures worth cloning. Definitely worth a look if you have strong EtBs aplenty. 

Danny Pink will basically refill your hand whenever you put counters on your team, which is dreadfully easy to do if you’re in a combination of Bant colors. It triggers in anyone’s turn, too, making the once-per-turn clause hardly a limitation.

Blue has some sweet combat tricks. I love the flavor of Don’t Blink — it literally stops blink decks in their tracks! Could be surprisingly good tech in cEDH. 

Flatline is more casual and can make combat perilous for your opponents. It will be especially good in decks that can use -1/-1 effects. Think Doomwake Giant or Archfiend of Ifnir

Five Hundred Year Diary
Five Hundred Year Diary

I quite like this as a mana rock. If you squint hard enough it’s almost like Tolarian Academy on a rock. Can’t see many clues decks that’ll pass this up. 

Flesh Duplicate is another solid clone. While it won’t stick around forever, you’ve probably gotten the value you need from it by the time it leaves. Two mana for a clone of any creature in play is always worth a look

I like Martha Jones quite a bit. Granting unblockable to herself and another creature whenever a clue is sacrificed is amazing. It turns every clue into two Key to the City triggers, except it gives you a card instead of costing you one. 

Not content until every creature in the format doesn’t care about the legendary rule anymore, we’ve got two new spells to mess with that. 

Nanogene Conversion could be kinda fun with the right combo-card, and Quantum Misalignment is a variation on recent cards like Rally the Galadhrim. Rebound is nice, but I think I like Replication Technique more on average.

Nyssa of Traken
Nyssa of Traken

Some of these companions are pretty powerful. Nyssa of Traken is a one woman wrecking machine, refilling your hand and getting your team in for free attacks at the cost of junking some clues, food, treasure or thopters, even. I think she’ll be underplayed and overperform.

Renegade Silent
Renegade Silent

Wait what? There was a card before Reverse the Polarity…?

Now this I like a lot. I’ve long had a soft spot for Summary Dismissal, but it’s very hard to justify holding four mana up. Holding up three with the ability to mess with combat as well? That I can get on board with. 

Yeah, so like, with all of the impulse draw, foretell, suspend and cascade you can shove into a deck… this card kinda slaps. On average, in the right deck, this’ll be a two mana draw three — easy. 

Renegade Silent
Renegade Silent

Oh sh–


Dalek Drone
Dalek Drone

Black has fewer cards than other colors in this expansion, especially if a Dalek deck doesn’t interest you. Still, Dalek Drone is a solid roleplayer in reanimator/flier focused builds like Raffine. Double evasion plus an always-good EtB is nice. 

If you are in a Dalek deck (or just love running an assortment of creature types in a Changelings build), then Exterminate! is definitely for you. While sorcery might seem like a drawback, consider you’re casting this most often as a one-sided wrath, for three mana and tapping your board. That’s very competitive.

Genesis of the Daleks will be good in many builds, but it’s in Orzhov tokens where it’ll really perform, especially if you have a couple of proliferate effects knocking around. Those decks drain opponents’ life anyways, so if the opponents opt for the board wipe, it may bring them within range of a Blood Artist effect.

Time Reaper
Time Reaper

Time Reaper is the answer to Prosper we’ve all been waiting for! My personal tech is Oblivion Sower, but you do you. 

This thing is a nice utility creature in a Horrors deck, or one that cares about cards moving zones.


Onto red, and the exceedingly normal sounding Dan Lewis is here to brawl. Mana rocks, treasures, you name it — he can turn it into a weapon. Consider him especially if you’re running The Reaver Cleaver or other bursty treasure makers. 

I love the flavor and art on Decaying Time Loop. Retrace is a fun ability to have in decks that want to discard anyway, and I think this’ll really shine in decks like Borborygmos Enraged, where you can set up your yard quickly before casting a Splendid Reclamation


Heh, it’s been a while since we had a one-word spell. R&D are always tentative at using them, considering there aren’t many. 

In this case, it’s justified, and Delete becomes an Earthquake for artifact creature decks — from General Ferrous Rokiric to Breya, Etherium Shaper.

Ensnared by the Mara
Ensnared by the Mara

Ensnared by the Mara is to Combustible Gearhulk what Fevered Suspicions is to Etali. Mostly. 

If you have a damage doubler/tripler out, this will basically always net you some free spells. Respectable, to be fair. 

I’m not even going to ask what’s going on here. If you can’t tell, my WHO knowledge is mostly from Tennant/Smith as a casual viewer. 

Either way, Flaming Tyrannosaurus is powerful! It’s going to burn through opposing life totals in any deck that cascades or impulse draws. 

Impending Flux is another card that, while ostensibly made for the suspend gameplay in these precons, fits right at home in anything from Neyali to Laelia, the Blade Reforged

Having access to lots of narrow effects like this in your deck also makes your opponents’ spell-stealing effects much worse, on average, which is a nice bonus. You know, except for when they have an Etali.

Oh hey, Return the Past is an alternative to Underworld Breach in decks that like to storm off non-deterministically. Synergizes great with Commanders that care about casting from the yard/not the hand, like Sevinne, or just solid redundancy in Kess

RMS Titanic yeets itself in there and does its best impression of a Dockside Extortionist. We’ve seen this on vehicles before, but for the same mana value, this will be easier to get going than Hoard Hauler (just with the downside of it being a one-shot effect). 

Probably overperforms in Boros graveyard decks like Hofri or Cadric, or, hell, Dihada.

The Sound of Drums
The Sound of Drums

Let the record state that I am very over goad. 

The Sound of Drums is a good card, though. We’ve all seen the damage Slicer can do. I’m just glad it costs a whole three mana to get back to hand. 


A lot of the green cards in the decks are kinda replacement level, because green is good at basically everything. There are still some choice picks.

City of Death, at its floor, is three mana in for six mana out. You will have to stagger spending the treasure to copy it, but that’s still a nice little mana-boost. 

The ceiling is much higher, though, and actually quite scary. Consider Selesnya Enchantress, which got Calix, Yenna and Ondu Spiritdancer just this year

Karvanista, Loyal Lupari is the kinda canine pal you would happily dip outside of Humans-matters to play. Part combat trick, part Edgar-Markov-for-Humans-attack-trigger, Karvanista is an extremely solid card.


Time stands still for no man, but The Doctor is not any man. He’s a timelord. Doctor-matters is a sub-theme on a handful of cards, but if you truly want to jam them all together and aren’t buying all four precons, then Gallifrey Stands is the card you’ll need. I guess you could be doing a Changelings deck too?

Likewise, Regenerations Restored is of interest to nobody other than a suspend deck builder, so if you’re in UW already, it’s worth a look. I suppose you could play it with Vampire Hexmage, but why are you jumping through this hoop in particular for one extra turn?

Sally Sparrow — The heroine from my favorite arc! Kinda feel the Weeping Angels got overused in later years. 

Regardless, Sally is a great alternative to the more spikey Raff Capashen style flash decks. She can pilot something more laid back. Plus Human Detective is such a sweet typeline. 

A lot of Doctors are quite narrow. The Eight Doctor can find a home in Niambi, though, among other places. Self mill is nice, and getting to cast from the yard repeatedly is well worth the price of entry.

The Second Doctor is a delightful kind of politics card. Nobody can say no to an extra card, especially not forever. The reward you’ll get is one of the better ones I’ve ever seen, to be honest. 

Blink is the kind of value you don’t see super often in Dimir. Taking care of two creatures and making two notable tokens is great for four mana, and I’d be happy to jam this in many Control decks. 

Great Intelligence's Plan
Great Intelligence’s Plan

Great Intelligence’s Plan is the kind of Villainous Choice that people will actually find difficult, and for that reason, I like it a lot. Getting three cards while hamstringing an opponent is a good baseline, but picking the right player can give you a huge free spell. A big tempo card, actually, so keep an eye on it.

The Cyber-Controller
The Cyber-Controller

The Cyber-Controller is a really great mill payoff if you can make a bunch of mana, which is something Dimir can do with Cabal Coffers, artifacts and High Tide

It’s a board-in-a-can, and a win condition if you have an outlet to drain everyone by sacrificing your new board. You won’t even need to go to combat. 

The Master, Formed Anew
The Master, Formed Anew

This card is pretty cool for two mana. Cheap Commanders can be a lot of fun. As the game progresses, the Master just keeps getting more options of what to enter the battlefield as. Works especially well with stealing opposing creatures and getting rid of them for good. 

Baleful Strix had quite the glow-up. This is a control player’s dream, really. 

It blocks for days and it forces them to cast spells before combat in order to swing, which you can debate countering. Quite the devilish maneuver. 

Sycorax Commander
Sycorax Commander

Sycorax Commander can’t be your Commander, and that’s probably a good thing considering it would end up being an exceedingly frustrating to play against. Still, that doesn’t mean it can’t be leveraged in other ways. 

Getting some copies of it going, or sacrificing it and returning it to play, will be a show stopping move. Henzie “Toolbox” Torre would love this one in his toolbox. 

The Beast, Deathless Prince
The Beast, Deathless Prince

The Beast, Deathless Prince — rejected Lorcana card, I’m sure 😉

A threaten Commander that isn’t Brion Stoutarm? Yes please! Take not that when The Beast’s ability triggers for dealing combat damage, you won’t get to untap it if you have a stun counter. Still, I think this is better than it looks. 

The Master, Multiplied
The Master, Multiplied

Now here’s a crazy Commander. What?! The Master, Multiplied, gives you exponential copies of itself as long as it stays in play and keeps attacking (and not getting chumped, I guess). 

More importantly, it synergizes with cards like Delina and Kindred Charge. This is gonna end up being spicy

So I don’t quite recall the flavor of this card from the show, but I can say just from the card name, it seems to pass the flavor check. A gruul extra combat spell — but just for the two creatures you picked. 

It’s neat, to be honest. I’d play it.

Idris, Soul of the TARDIS seems like a brilliant piece of tech for the kinds of artifact decks that love to durdle with impressive engine pieces. She can also provide the ability of an artifact for you while being untargetable by shatter effects. There’s probably something broken you can do with this. 

River Song is cool, alright? While the Simic scry archetype in Tales of Middle-earth rewards you for scrying certain amounts and at certain times, River Song rewards you by letting you draw cards from the bottom of the library. 

You won’t just play Scry in here, of course, but it’ll help a lot — especially if you can otherwise grab cards from your top deck, such as with Scroll Rack. 

So Run for Your Life looks even more fun than Last Night Together, but that might just be the aggro player in me talking. Two mana to give double haste and conditional unblockable is putting Marchesa’s Smuggler out of a job. Especially given you can Escape it. 

I don’t know about power creep, this is more power sprint

Phasing is white’s hot new way of giving the middle finger to the blue player. A more classic white trick is to wipe the board and have access to Boros Charm or Teferi’s Protection to make it one-sided. Gallifrey Falls // No More says: why not both?

It doesn’t care about artifacts and equipment. Blimey. Must be a real treat then!

The War Doctor brings another exciting Boros card to brew around. It won’t take much to build a deck full of impulse draw, graveyard hate, phasing and proliferate. And hell, extra combats while we’re there. 

And then, well, the Doctor goes to war. Pew pew indeed. 

The Thirteenth Doctor might want a particular kind of Simic deck (say, a cascade one) — but at three mana, the untap condition is more than worth it. Jam her in a +1/+1 counters build and have some fun. 

If you do put her in a deck like Imoti, though, you’re onto a winner. She will always trigger from casting a Commander from the Command Zone, after all. 

Ashad, the Lone Cyberman
Ashad, the Lone Cyberman

Ashad, the Lone Cyberman is a fantastic new option for artifacts decks, which, let’s face it, have gotten a little stale when you look at three and four color options. 

Casualty 2 is super interesting here, as it makes us lean into making tokens, too. This feels like a very graveyard-y artifact deck, which is a nice way to narrow down a strategy. 

Alistair, the Brigadier and Kate Stewart are both very similar. You’re being given token commanders for either Historic matters or Time Counters matters. Eventually, you can pump your team. 

If I’m honest, they feel a little uninspired, but it’s nice that the option is there for hardcore fans or those who want to try a very specific kind of build. 

Me, the Immortal is the kind of Temur card to get excited about. She offers new ideas in the area, namely riffing off of Skullbriar and other older Commanders who can do weird stuff between zones. 

Where Me differs is she gets to use ability counters herself and care about them, too. This “stark” difference makes Me want to build Me more. I have been on a self-improvement kick…

You’re not going to make me apologize for that, Arya? Cos I won’t. 

Let’s face it — there are more than enough options for Jeskai suspend now. I guess this one could be interesting, as it lets you immediately cash in some of the stronger cards… but I think it might just be a 99 card. 


Clara Oswald is a Pan-har-Doctor-con, and I’m sure that’s not the first time you heard the bottom-tier pun this week. It’s not the first time your Doctors Trigger that will give the value, though. 

The real upside is Clara and her offer of another color to your deck. Personally, I like her best with The Ninth Doctor for Upkeep shenanigans. 

Cyberman Patrol
Cyberman Patrol

Tired of your token army getting chumped? Invest in this mighty two-drop today. Afflict 3 for the team, for two-mana, is secretly really good. 

Haha, the Screwdrivers! If The One Ring was anything to go by, these should be baller. 

Laser Screwdriver and Sonic Screwdriver are three-mana rocks that do stuff; my favorite type of three mana rock. 

I have Laser Screwdriver as better in a vacuum, but I think in the right build, Sonic Screwdriver might edge ahead. Either way, good luck remembering what they do when you’re sat across from them. 

Spy Kit fans: this one’s for you. 

*Raises Glass*

For the uninitiated.

River Song’s Diary reminds me of that red enchantment from… was it New Capenna? No, Share the Spoils from AFC. This time, though, you’re the one getting all of the benefits. 

This is a tasty piece of graveyard hate, and one I would be running in most spellslinger builds to be honest. 

The journey ends today as you blink, concerned for your tired eyes after reading this monumental review.

Ominous Cemetery could be a new staple, at least in budget Commander. Six mana and losing a land is a big commitment, but the effect is strong. Certainly viable in mono color and colorless decks, at any rate.


And there you have it. All of the WHO cards you should kinda, sorta care about — if you’re a Commander player who likes to upgrade their decks or build new ones. And even if you’re not a fan of the show, this product release offers a lot to many types of Commander player. 

Are you going to brew around any of the new Commanders? I’m pretty into Romana II, actually. I wanna make tokens of cool stuff in non-blue decks. Let me know what you’re interested in on X!