The expanded world of Universes Beyond is getting a little weirder with the release of the Doctor Who Commander decks. Coming hot off the heels of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Magic: The Gathering — Doctor Who is a celebration of the long-running British television show.

With cards representing scenes and characters from across the show’s 60-year run, there are going to be plenty of little references for even the most hard-core Whovian to discover.

Doctor Who Preview Cards

Plenty of cards have already been previewed for Magic: The Gathering — Doctor Who:

Doctor Who Preview Season and Release Dates

  • First look: July 28
  • Previews begin: October 3
  • Prerelease events: No Prerelease event
  • Digital Launch on MTG Arena/MTGO: No digital release
  • Global Tabletop Launch: October 13

The set code for Doctor Who is, fittingly, WHO and the set symbol is the iconic TARDIS. Unfortunately for Doctor Who fans, this set, much like the Warhammer 40,000 edition, will be paper only and will not come to Magic: The Gathering Online nor Magic: The Gathering Arena. Similarly, the Doctor Who expansion will be legal only in Commander, Legacy, Pauper, and Vintage.

Doctor Who Plot

Since Magic: The Gathering — Doctor Who is based on a 60-year serialized television show, there are hundreds of individual plots and storylines to draw inspiration from. Generally speaking, for those who aren’t familiar with Doctor Who, the main character is The Doctor, an ancient alien from a race of beings called Time Lords. They helped to maintain stability and peace in the universe until they were wiped out in a massive war. The last remaining Time Lord, The Doctor, now travels through time and space, oftentimes with a companion picked up on Earth, solving space crimes and mysteries.

There are a few other recurring characters and villains, including the Daleks, biomechanical killing machines that fought the Time Lords almost to extinction, Cybermen, cyborgs who forcibly convert victims into new Cybermen, The Master, another survivor of the Time Lords who is bent on subverting the universe to their will, and more.

There are several different iterations of The Doctor, each one portrayed by a different actor but all different reincarnations of the same being. Each different version of The Doctor is given a numerical identifier, which is why you’ll see cards with the name The Tenth Doctor and The Thirteenth Doctor, all these versions are of the same character, though with different personality quirks and adventures.

Doctor Who Mechanics

At its core, Magic: The Gathering — Doctor Who is a set of four Commander decks. That means it will feature plenty of returning mechanics as well as a new mechanic for each Commander deck.

Doctor’s Companion

Not to be confused with the companion mechanic from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Doctor’s Companion is more like a specific version of the partner mechanic. You can have two commanders in your deck so long as one of them is The Doctor, and the other has Doctor’s Companion. Because of a special ruling with what cards are defined as The Doctor, any iteration of The Doctor works.

For example, you can have Rose Tyler, the companion of The Tenth Doctor, paired up with The Thirteenth Doctor, whose normal companion is Yasmin Kahn.


Timey-Wimey is a new keyword for the eponymous Commander deck. The deck is focused on time counters—as found on suspend, vanishing, and other mechanics—and manipulating those counters in new ways. Specifically, Timey-Wimey allows a player to “time travel,” which in gameplay terms means that the player can remove time counters from some number of time counters from their suspended cards.


Paradox is another new keyword, this time for the Paradox Power Commander deck. It states that, “whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand” then you will get an effect. The deck will contain many ways to cast spells from places other than your hand, like Escape, Cascade, Flashback, and more.


The Historic keyword is returning as the focus of the Blast from the Past Commander deck. The keyword causes special effects to trigger when you cast an artifact, legendary, or Saga card.

Villainous Choice

The villains of Doctor Who will also be getting their own mechanic called “Villainous Choice,” which will allow you to choose between two effect that will be bad for your opponents.

Other Mechanics

Several mechanics appear to be returning on a limited number of cards, possibly even just a single card. These include vanishing, cascade, escape, flashback, foretell, and likely more.

Doctor Who Products

Since the Magic: The Gathering — Doctor Who set is a Commmander-focused product, there is not going to be the usual amount of product types that players would expect from a normal set. There are only going to be the four Commander decks, as well as Collector Boosters which will contain special versions of the cards found in the Commander decks, as well as a Secret Lair drop.

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