The Magic universe is about to get a lot weirder with the release of the Doctor Who Universes Beyond Commander decks. Four Commander decks are coming with this collaboration, along with special Collector Booster packs containing cards from the set, some with special TARDIS borders, and alternate artwork.

For those unfamiliar with the 60-year history of the show, Doctor Who is a British television show that stars a time-traveling alien simply called the Doctor as they go on adventures throughout time and space. The Doctor and their companions, typically Earth Humans from England, find themselves saving the universe and occasionally finding the time to hang out with important figures from Earth’s history.

Want to read more about Doctor Who? Check out our breakdown here, as well as all of the Doctor Who-themed cards in Secret Lair drops!

The Doctors

Each of the prominent incarnations of the titular Doctors gets their own cards and a few special ones that fans will love. The Doctor’s cards are spread across three of the Commander decks—”Timey-Wimey,” “Blast from the Past,” and “Paradox Power”—with the majority of the Doctors in the “Blast From The Past” deck.

The First Doctor is particularly interesting, letting you tutor up the TARDIS when it comes into play and then rewarding you for casting cascade spells with +1/+1 counters. The Second Doctor removes hand size limits and has more of a group hug/prison approach to deck building. The Third Doctor is a beast, having both trample and getting +1/+1 for each non-creature token you have.

Moving on to the lovable The Fourth Doctor, complete with their Jelly Baby candy. You can look at the top card of your deck with them and cast historic spells from the top of your deck. The Fifth Doctor pumps your team with +1/+1 counters at the end of your turn so long as that creature didn’t attack this turn, waiting for the right time to attack. The Sixth Doctor also seems particularly powerful despite a higher casting cost. Anytime you cast a historic spell, you get to copy it, with the copy losing its legendary status.

The Seventh Doctor plays a guessing game with your opponents when it attacks, letting them try and decide if a card of your choice has a mana value higher than the number of artifacts you control. If they guess wrong, you get to cast it for free; otherwise, you get a Clue token. The Eighth Doctor lets you bring back historic lands and permanents from your graveyard once each of your turns. Coming up on the reboot of the Doctor Who show in 2005, The Ninth Doctor is a fascinating one, giving you an additional upkeep step if it becomes untapped during your untap step.

The powerhouse card for The Tenth Doctor gives your nonland cards Suspend while also providing a way to dump mana into him to accelerate your suspended cards. The Eleventh Doctor also suspends cards, but this time from your hand and after he deals combat damage to a player. He can also make himself unblockable each turn for just two mana, making him a spell-casting machine. The Twelfth Doctor gives everyone a chance to cast your spells, giving the first spell you cast Demonstrate and the possibility to fill your board with copies of your spells. And finally, The Thirteenth Doctor spreads +1/+1 counters across your board anytime you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand, then letting you untap all your creatures with counters on them.

Two newer adaptations of The Doctor are missing from the set, but they’re not forgotten. While Wizards of the Coast hasn’t said too much about it yet, there are plans to release additional products featuring The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Doctors.

The Companions

A Doctor has to have a companion, and there are plenty to pick from in these Commander decks. The companions in Doctor Who are different from those Magic has seen previously—like Lurrus of the Dream-Den—these characters go on wacky and dangerous adventures with The Doctor, bringing a human element to the otherwise alien time traveler. Longtime Doctor Who fans will find cards like Ace, Fearless Rebel, and Clara Oswald, while Rose Tyler and Amy Pond find themselves joining the most recent adventures of The Doctor.

Most companions are tuned to work well with their respective Doctor, but thanks to the Doctor’s companion ability that many of them share, you can mix and match them as partner commanders. If you want to pair Tegan Jovanka, usually the companion of The Fourth Doctor or The Fifth Doctor or The Ninth Doctor…you can!

The Villains

Plenty of nefarious villains from Doctor Who’s extensive adventures come bundled together in the “Masters of Evil” deck. Among them rank Missy, the reincarnated form of The Master, one of the Doctor’s most dangerous enemies. Alongside her is Davros, Dalek Creator, the Dark Lord of Skaro, and inventor of one of Doctor Who’s most formidable foes.

These aren’t the only entities conspiring against The Doctor—Cybermen, Weeping Angels, mutants, and more have all joined forces against The Doctor and their companions, with more iconic characters to be revealed later this week.

Mechanics Across Time

With such a rich history of iconic moments and abilities across all characters, the Universes Beyond Doctor Who set features flavor words, much like the Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth releases. These phrases or words unite a unique ability tied to a character in a way that makes them feel more unique.

Rose Tyler, for example, has the Bad Wolf ability, which lets you put a time counter on it for each suspended card you have and each other permanent with a time counter that you control. The payoff is that she gets +1/+1 for each time counter on her.


Sagas are particularly important in the Doctor Who Universes Beyond Commander decks. Sagas draw inspiration from specific episodes from the show, with the title of each saga matching that of an episode. The War Games is a saga representing the last episode of the sixth season of the show and the last episode to air in black and white.

The War Games has each player making three 1/1 Warrior tokens that are goaded as long as The War Games is in play. Then, all Warrior creatures owned by all players get a +1/+1 counter. For the final chapter, you can choose to exile a non-token creature you control, and if you do, all Warriors are exiled from the battlefield.

In the episode that inspired the card, M and his companions Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot find themselves in the midst of a series of simulated war games led by the rogue Time Lord known as the War Chief, which is reflected in the tokens the card games. The episode is also the debut of the Time Lords as a power in the Doctor Who universe, wiping Jamie and Zoe’s memories of their adventures with the Doctor and exiling him to Earth, but not before forcing him to regenerate against his will.


Mostly sticking to the Timey-Wimey deck is Suspend, an incredibly fitting mechanic for a series dedicated to time travel. The Tenth Doctor works particularly well with the mechanic, letting you pay mana to remove time counters in a new keyword called time travel.

Unexpected Mechanics

There are plenty of mechanics from throughout Magic’s history that find particularly flavorful uses on Doctor Who cards. Donna Noble, for example, comes with Soulbond, reflecting the connection that she shares with The Tenth Doctor, while The First Doctor and the TARDIS both want to see you Cascade cards to help dig through your deck.

One of the sillier mechanics to bring to a character is Jo Grant’s ability to give other Historic cards in your hand cycling, with her art showing her riding a motorcycle. (Get it?)

Collector Boosters

In a first for this type of Universes Beyond product, the Doctor Who release will drop along Collector Boosts. These special packs will contain only cards from the Commander decks and are the only way to collect foil versions for most of the cards. These 15-card packs also feature special borders for many of the characters, replacing the usual Magic frame with one that is TARDIS-inspired.

The rest of the cards from the Universes Beyond Doctor Who set are scheduled to be previewed over the next few days, with all sorts of fun and exciting cards that Doctor Who fans of all ages will be excited to play with. Stay tuned!

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