With its expansion into the many, many worlds of Doctor Who, Magic: The Gathering’s Universes Beyond initiative takes its boldest step yet. While the game has dabbled in the technological in the past, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty being a notable example, it’s never fully embraced the trappings of sci-fi like it has here.
You’ll find aliens beyond imagination and technology beyond belief among the 229 new cards on offer here. Perhaps most excitingly, however, you’ll also find a huge number of legendary creatures, many of which make prime candidates for the position of commander in your deck. If victory is your destination, then these ten legends will bend time and space to get you there.
10 Wilfred Mott
Donna Noble’s beloved grandfather quickly won the hearts of the Doctor Who fanbase, and he can quickly win you games as well, in the right build. Every turn he gains a time counter, then gives you a chance to peer through his telescope at the next few cards of your deck, cheating out anything that costs three or less mana from among them.
Ironically given his character on the show, Wilfred is ideal for an aggressive white deck, since he can bring out a creature for free every turn once he gets going. He also plays well with proliferate and other counter-duplicating effects, giving you more options to pick from as he builds up more and more counters over time.
9 The Master, Formed Anew
The Master, one of the Doctor’s oldest foes, has worn many faces across his many appearances. It’s appropriate, then, that one of his Magic incarnations lets him do the same in-game. With The Master, Formed Anew, you can exile any creature you control upon casting him, then have him enter play as a copy of any creature he’s previously exiled.
This lets you build up a toolbox of host bodies over the course of a game, ultimately making him one of the most flexible commanders out there. Pair this with blue’s extensive range of control magic effects, and you can permanently deal with problem creatures while expanding your own options at the same time.
8 Jenny Flint/Madame Vastra
An iconic couple from the Eleventh Doctor era, Jenny and Vastra are, collectively, a masterwork of flavourful design. They curve perfectly into each other on turns three and four, after which they attack extremely well together, with Jenny growing each time thanks to her training ability, and Vastra benefiting from the extra counters Jenny can distribute each time you crack a Food or Clue token.
Together the pair form two ever-scaling stacks of stats, with handy combat abilities to boot. Vastra’s ‘must be blocked’ in particular, can essentially act as removal against problematic lone targets, such as mana dorks or small opposing commanders. This is a daring duo that can head up a wide range of decks.
7 Me, The Immortal
More formally known as Ashildr, Me is a member of the surprisingly large ‘immortal characters’ club in Doctor Who, and this fact is reflected perfectly in her suite of abilities. Five mana is a lot for a 3/3 body but, in a Skullbriar-like twist, Me retains all counters put on her as she moves between the battlefield and the command zone.
This is excellent on its own, but Me can also generate her own counters once per turn, meaning she’ll grow more powerful over time regardless of the other synergies in your deck. Throw in some counter generators and powerful Equipment, and you’ve got yourself a Voltron threat that’s nigh-impossible to conclusively deal with.
6 River Song
The introduction of River Song, and the convoluted storylines that wrapped around her like strands of scattered time, was an absolute game-changer for Doctor Who, so it’s only fitting that she should be a game-changer in Magic as well. Her passive ability to draw cards from the bottom of your deck is reminiscent of Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, albeit much more user-friendly.
The bottom of the deck is such a rarely-referenced zone that this ability enables a range of infinite combos, many of which, appropriately enough, revolve around manipulating time by taking an absurd number of extra turns. Her second ability punishes players for extremely common actions in Commander, and can be a win condition in itself if you want to play a fair game.
5 The Master, Multiplied
After reading this card for the first time, the Sound of Drums will start beating in your own head as you contemplate the madness that led Magic’s designers to print such a monstrous commander. Myriad on a 4/3 for six mana is mediocre at best, but his other two effects, which let you ignore both the legend rule and your own sacrifice triggers, more than make up for it.
With the Master alone, this lets you create an exponentially-growing army of 4/3s as turns pass, but that’s just the tip of the diabolical iceberg. His abilities work with the likes of unearth, evoke, echo, and more, not to mention other creatures with myriad, many of which are already staples of the format.
4 Karvanista, Loyal Lupari
The status of Dogs as ‘Man’s Best Friend’ has never rung more true than it does on Karvanista: this good boy is one of the best Human typal commanders in the format. His Adventure half, Lupari Shield, lets you protect your Humans for an entire turn cycle (not just your own turn), letting you dodge board wipes as you prepare for his full arrival.
Once Karvanista hits play he comes out swinging, hitting reasonably hard and buffing your Humans with a counter apiece. The synergy between his two halves is as powerful as it is obvious, and lets you shore up the major weakness that Human decks tend to have against board wipes.
3 The Beast, Deathless Prince
In an absolute flavour win, The Beast rewards you for sowing discord at the table and pitting your enemies against each other with Threaten effects. He’s an overstatted 6/6 for four mana, with the drawback of not untapping for six turns unless a creature deals combat damage to its owner: a requirement that sounds unreasonable at first until you put your deckbuilding hat on.
There are plenty of effects in red that let you seize control of opposing creatures for the turn, and plenty in black that let you sacrifice said creatures for profit instead of giving them back. Factor in the Beast’s own Threaten-on-cast effect, and his powerful card draw ability, and you’ve got an alluring black hole of a deck that your opponents will not escape from.
2 Sally Sparrow
Clearly Sally Sparrow didn’t listen to the Doctor’s advice, as her abilities make her absolutely ideal for a dedicated blue-white Blink build. Not only does she give all of your creatures flash, which lets you use a draw-go playstyle without sacrificing board presence, but she also rewards you with a Clue each time one of your other creatures leaves the battlefield.
This only triggers once per turn, but it’s incredibly flexible: you can get Clues by trading creatures in combat, sacrificing them to effects, and, of course, blinking them. This means that Sally all but guarantees you one Clue per turn, which can be held up alongside flash creatures and countermagic to keep your opponents on their toes.
1 The Dalek Emperor
The impressive final boss of the Ninth Doctor’s short run, The Dalek Emperor would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids and their dumb Time Vortex. Such tricks will be harder for your Commander opponents to pull off, particularly when they’re staring down the eyestalk of a beefy 6/6 beater in the early turns of the game.
Affinity for Daleks makes this scenario more than likely, at which point your opponents will have to choose between giving up their own board presence or increasing yours every single turn. Even if they can bring down the Emperor, the tokens he leaves behind will reduce his cost for next time, creating a cycle of hatred that will never end.
NEXT: Magic: The Gathering – The Best Cards In Universes Beyond: Doctor Who’s Masters Of Evil Deck