Time travel is a dangerous prospect with the potential to backfire, which is why Magic: The Gathering’s Doctor Who crossover will introduce the Paradox keyword to the game. Despite its name, the Paradox mechanic is all about rewarding a player for being able to play a card unconventionally.
Doctor Who is a TV show about time travel that has been on the air since the ’60s (barring hiatuses and cancellations), with countless stories also told in spin-off media, such as the many Doctor Who spin-off novels. As such, the Doctor and his companions have faced temporal paradoxes on many occasions, such as in “Rose,” where Rose Tyler’s attempts to save her father from his fate in the past resulted in time intervening and sending Reapers to deal with her. This means that a temporal paradox is an ideal fit for the Doctor Who Magic: The Gathering crossover.
How The Paradox Keyword Works In Magic: The Gathering’s Doctor Who Crossover
The Doctor Who crossover with Magic: The Gathering will introduce the Paradox mechanic. Simply put, whenever you play a card by any means other than from your hand, Paradox causes an effect to happen. This happens every time you cast a spell outside your hand and isn’t a one-shot deal, which means you can use it multiple times in a single turn.
One of the Doctor Who Commander Decks is based around this mechanic. The Paradox Power Commander Deck is fronted by The Thirteenth Doctor, with Yasmin Khan as her companion. In the case of The Thirteenth Doctor, her Paradox Power allows her to put a +1/+1 counter on any creature, while her second ability lets you untap all creatures you control with a counter on them during the end step.
The Thirteenth Doctor’s effect is aided by Yasmin Khan, her co-Commander, who can be tapped to exile a card, which you can then play, activating the Paradox effect. We know that cards with Cascade, Flashback, and Escape mechanics will appear in the Doctor Who crossover, all of which will also work with Paradox.
There’s currently only a single card with Paradox revealed for Magic: The Gathering (The Thirteenth Doctor), so it’s unclear how big of a role it will play in the crossover. The Paradox mechanic has a lot of potential for future use, and it feels like something that could easily be brought back for future sets, even ones without a time travel theme.