Magic: The Gathering Doctor Who – How Time Travel Works

Here’s how the Time Travel mechanic works in the Doctor Who & Magic: The Gathering crossover, and how to use it in matches.

Image Via Wizards of the Coast

The Magic: The Gathering and Doctor Who crossover will introduce the Time Travel mechanic to the game and its associated Time Counters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the show, as Doctor Who is a science-fiction show centered around traveling across time and space, with the various incarnations of The Doctor visiting almost every important moment in human history.

Time manipulation is not a new concept for Magic: The Gathering. Indeed, two of the earliest banned cards in the game are Timetwister and Time Walk, being members of the infamous Power Nine, alongside Magic: The Gathering’s incredibly expensive Black Lotus card. Timetwister lets you shuffle your hand and graveyard into your deck and then draw seven cards for only three mana, while Time Walk let you take an extra turn for the cost of two mana, both of which are considered overwhelmingly powerful effects for their cost.

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How Time Travel & Time Counters Work In Magic: The Gathering’s Doctor Who Crossover Set

Image Via Wizards of the Coast

On a basic level, the Time Travel keyword lets you add or remove Time Counters on cards in play. Time Counters are used with two existing mechanics: Suspend and Vanishing. Time Travel is linked to suspended cards and can help speed up or slow down the effect, keeping to the most common Doctor Who storyline. It bears mentioning that Time Travel usually only affects one card per turn, rather than each card in play with Time Counters on them, but the number of counters can vary, as The Tenth Doctor can do it three times with his Timey-Wimey ability.

The Suspend mechanic lets you play a card for a much lower cost, but they are exiled from play with several Time Counters on them. At the start of your upkeep, you remove one of those Time Counters, and when they’re all gone, the card is played onto the field. The idea is that you are getting a card for cheap, but you have to wait for it. The Time Travel cards can hasten this process.

Suspend debuted in the Time Spiral set, but it will appear on new cards in the Doctor Who crossover. The Tenth Doctor’s Companion, Rose Tyler, will also be tied to the Time Counter mechanic, as she gains one whenever she attacks, with each adding a +1/+1 to her stats. This means The Tenth Doctor can empower Rose Tyler with his effect.

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It’s fitting that Time Counters play such a big role in The Tenth Doctor’s Commander Deck, especially as he’s the one Doctor who never seems to stay dead. His Timey-Wimey Time Travel effect is expensive to use, but it has the potential to pay off big time if used at the right moment.