Precon Primer - Blast From the Past

Precon Primer - Blast From the Past
( The Fourth Doctor | Art by David Auden Nash | Sarah Jane Smith | Art by Fajareka Setiawan | The Third Doctor | Art by Ekaterina Burmak)

Hey friends. Beth, Queen of Cardboard, here with another Precon Primer. Today we'll be taking a look at the final preconstructed deck from Universes Beyond: Doctor Who, Blast From the Past. This deck features a whopping eights Doctors and is headed by The Fourth Doctor, partnered with Sarah Jane Smith as a companion.

Just like the other Doctor Who decks, this one features 50 new cards and 10 planes, with this one focusing on historic spells (artifacts, Sagas, and legendary spells). Let's get into it!

Blast From The Past

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Commander (2)
Creatures (25)
Artifacts (13)
Enchantments (11)
Lands (36)
Sorceries (7)
Instants (6)

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History Won't Wait Forever

With the current pairing, it's fairly obvious that you're looking to cast historic spells, and this deck is chock full of them, with eight Sagas, 13 artifacts, and 33 legendary spells. With that ratio, the biggest benefit is going to come from your legendary spells, but there's a lot of support here for casting any type of historic spell.

One of my favorite cards from the entire set is in this deck, Displaced Dinosaurs. Previously, I said that these decks have a Food and Clue sub-theme, creating a bunch of those little artifact tokens for seemingly no reason. But what if those tokens were also 7/7 Dinosaurs? Being a non-Whovian, I'm not quite understanding the Dinosaur sub-theme here, but as a Magic player, I'm loving it. You don't have to have a token deck for this card to work though; Displaced Dinosaurs will turn any historic spell into a Dinosaur, which means all your Sagas, legends, and artifacts will be Dinos!

You also have some benefits from Jo Grant, who gives each historic spell in your hand Cycling, and Tegan Jovanka who gives an attacking historic creature +1/+1 and indestructible. Making it a little easier to cast historic spells is Peri Brown, who gives the first historic spell you cast each turn Convoke.

The most powerful historic support in this deck comes from The Eighth Doctor and The Sixth Doctor. The Eighth Doctor allows you to cast a permanent historic spell or play a historic land from your graveyard once a turn, with the minor downside that once it leaves the battlefield it gets exiled. Coming in at my second favorite card in this deck is The Sixth Doctor. He says "legendary who?" or rather allows you to copy a historic spell once a turn, making a nonlegendary copy. This is a ridiculous ability that I'm already thinking of multiple ways to break. If you see this card on your opponent's board, get rid of it, because it's going to be a problem.

No Saga Left Behind

While Sagas have been around for a while, they've been popping up more and more in the last few sets. Barbara adds the mechanic Read Ahead to any Saga you control. Read Ahead was introduced in Dominaria United and allows you to start a Saga on the chapter you want, not necessarily the first chapter. This is a powerful mechanic, and not one to be ignored. My only complaint is that, because there are so few Sagas in the deck compared to the other cards, Barabara doesn't get her moment to shine.

City of Death can be Read Ahead, taking advantage of The Sixth Doctor's ability. Just had a board wipe? Read Ahead on The Night of the Doctor to get a key legendary creature back. For the other Sagas in this deck, you'll likely want to have them come in at chapter one, but it gets really fun if you copy the Saga, have chapter one trigger first, and then Read Ahead on the second ETB, to have everything happen at once.

In addition to Barbara, you have Ian Chesterton giving each Saga Replicate, turning eight sagas into as many as you can afford. Copying and reading ahead The Caves of Androzani could have you stun your opponents' key creatures not once, but twice.

Legendaries Matter

This deck is definitely a heroes deck, and the win condition Gallifrey Stands proves it. With the most Doctors of all four decks, this one has loads of legendary support and generic good stuff. The reprints support a legendary theme as well, including both Heroes' Podium and Hero's Blade. While your legendary creatures don't all exactly support each other, most of them do great things all on their own.

In addition to just good legendaries, you've got some support for them as well in the form of the goodest robot doggo, K-9, Mark I, as well as Bessie, the Doctor's Roadster.

There's also a bit of group hug to this deck. Both The Second Doctor and Sergeant John Benton give your opponents card draw with only a slight disadvantage. Taking advantage of this is Leela, Sevateem Warrior, who gets a little bit bigger when your opponents draw a card other than the first in their draw step. Nyssa of Traken gives you no maximum hand size and more card draw on her attack based on the number of artifacts you're willing to sacrifice.

If you're not interested in attacking, The Fifth Doctor will untap your creatures that didn't enter or attack this turn, and give them a +1/+1 counter. The Gruul player in me struggles with this concept, but you can see the advantage of waiting for the perfect time to strike. Even with a growing board state, your opponents may be willing to leave you alone if they're receiving gifts (card draw), or can't get through your creatures. If you need even more things on the battlefield before you take an action, Romana II will make a copy of any token that entered this turn.

At this point you're more likely to face a board wipe, or two, or three - but you're in luck. This deck wants you to have your Doctors on the field, alive and well. While technically there aren't enough Doctors in the deck for Gallifrey Stands to work, you'll be able to get your Doctors into your hand or battlefield with Time Lord Regeneration, The Five Doctors, andTwice Upon a Time.

Control the Moment

This deck is Bant (blue, white, and green), and takes all the advantages of the blue and white colors with some great control spells.

In addition to the removal reprints, including Time Wipe, there's a new board wipe, Crisis of Conscience, which attempts to protect your board while destroying your opponents'. There's also a new counterspell, Reverse the Polarity, which, in addition to being able to wipe out a stack of spells, can be used to swing through unimpeded or switch each creature's power and toughness until the end of turn.

Leaving on a TARDIS Plane

This deck, like the other Doctor Who decks, comes with 10 Planes. This is for the multiplayer format Planeschase. Should you wish to add this deck to your game, it's encouraged to add additional planes from the other decks, or even the Magic universe. Check out the Planes from this deck below:

In Conclusion

As a non-Whovian, I had to rely on my friends to help me truly appreciate these decks in their current format, especially this one. To have all 13 doctors in a set and a win con that required 13 doctors on the board gave me the impression that these decks are best pulled apart and put together in a way that suits you and your play style. All in all, there are 200 new cards and 40 new planes in these four precons, which is almost unheard of.

Though I wasn't as appreciative of the lore behind the decisions in these different decks, I can tell you that it was done extremely well, and if you are a Whovian, I'm sure you can appreciate the love that the designers put into each of these separate decks.

However, Blast From the Past, as much as I love playing "good cards matter," was a miss. But that doesn't mean the cards in it were bad, and I'm looking forward to upgrading it to feel more synergistic and smooth.

If you enjoyed reading this be sure to check out:

Doctor Who Commander! ft. Anna Margaret | EDHRECast 286

The Command Zone - “Blast from the Past” Doctor Who Precon Upgrade | The Command Zone 566 | MTG EDH Magic Commander

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Beth is an casual Commander player who's passionate about silly decks, creating safe community spaces, and crowns. She loves to travel and play magic with friends. When not playing Magic, she's probably snuggling her dogs or playing some video games.

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