Just in time to celebrate the series’ 60th anniversary, Magic: The Gathering has launched a collaboration with long-running British sci-fi Doctor Who, with the release of a new set – Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond: Doctor Who. While not as expansive as the earlier Lord of the Rings collaboration, this set still encompasses four Commander decks which visit four periods and themes of the show’s history, along with Collector Boosters. We had a chance to have a quick play of the new set, and it’s certainly geared towards the complexity and wibbly-wobblyness of the show it’s based on.
The four Commander decks are – Timey Wimey (including moments from the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors), Paradox Power (encompassing the latest Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctors), Blast from the Past (stretching across the entire classic era from the First Doctor to the Eighth Doctor) and Masters of Evil (this showcases the bad guys from the series, like Davros, The Master/Missy and the Daleks). Between all the sets, players should be able to build up multiple Doctors, who come in the form of Legendary Creature cards, and there are cards which actually take advantage of collecting as many Doctors as possible, and gearing your deck around that.
Part of each Commander deck is a set of large Planechase cards, which can be used in addition to your game to keep you on your toes. These feature different locations from Doctor Who like Bad Wolf Bay or the Cat Planet from the Seventh Doctor’s era, and enforce various effects on play, until a player is able to roll a die successfully to advance to the next Plane, or activate each card’s ‘chaos’ effect.
Sagas also return, with effects based on narrative elements from the series. For instance, the ‘Death in Heaven’ card, based on Missy’s plot of the same name from the Twelfth Doctor’s era which resurrected corpses as Cybermen, sees target players exile their graveyards, and then bring them under your control as +2/+2 Cybermen.
Sagas can also play a part in the new ‘time travel’ mechanic, which puts a twist on the Suspend mechanic players would be familiar with, where a spell has time counters placed on it, and is cast as soon as they are removed, as well as cards with the Vanishing mechanic. Time travelling can allow a player to move around time counters to extend or decrease these wait times, effectively syncing up effects or attacks, or keeping special cards in play longer. Doctor cards, such as the Tenth Doctor, can also time travel several times. It can be a little much to get your head around on a first playthrough, and also leads to some long matches, which is suitable for a Commander deck game.
It’s also worth mentioning the art on the cards is spectacular, running the gamut from straight adaptations of moments from the show that could be screenshots, to comic-styled ‘serialised TARDIS’ showcase cards, and more expressive depictions of emotional instances, like the Tenth Doctor’s regeneration depicted as a golden flow of energy in the ‘Farewell’ card (which, by the way, also allows you to exile all artifacts, creatures, enchantments and graveyards.)
The Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond: Doctor Who set is available now as both Commander decks and collector boosters in-stores or online.