The long-running BBC series Doctor Who is set to make a grand appearance in Magic: The Gathering on 13 October in yet another collaborative Universes Beyond set. First aired in 1963, the series has already seen 13 actors (soon to be 14, with Ncuti Gatwa taking up the mantle next) take on the role as the titular Doctor.
The preview card exclusively for Yahoo Southeast Asia from Wizards of the Coast features Iraxxa, Empress of Mars. While Iraxxa's people, the Ice Warriors from Mars, were first seen in 1967, the Empress herself was only encountered by the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in an episode aired in 2017.
Of course, beyond the 14 Doctors, there are some versions that never had a number, like Jo Martin's Fugitive Doctor and John Hurt's War Doctor, and while we're all excited to see where they might make an appearance in this Universes Beyond set, let's talk about Iraxxa, Empress of Mars first.
For two generic mana and two red mana, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars is an uncommon red legendary 5/4 alien warrior creature. Yes, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars can be your Commander if you want to dabble in mono-red!
Speaking of Commander, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars will be present in the Paradox Power pre-constructed Commander deck, which is one of the four Commander decks released for the upcoming Doctor Who set.
Each Commander deck will feature 50 new cards with Doctor Who-themed art and mechanics, and Iraxxa, Empress of Mars, the Ice Queen, will be present together with the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctor (played by the awesome Jodie Whittaker in the BBC series) in Paradox Power.
Iraxxa, Empress of Mars features three distinct keywords: Trample, Battle cry, as well as Paradox. Both Trample and Battle cry are already mechanics available in the game, and they make Iraxxa, Empress of Mars (and others around it) a somewhat formidable attacking force.
The most interesting mechanic is the new keyword Paradox. Paradox is a triggered ability which generates additional benefits for the player whenever a spell is cast from anywhere other than the player’s hand.
In the case of Iraxxa, Empress of Mars, whenever you cast a spell from anywhere other than your hand, you create a 2/2 red Alien Warrior creature token.
Since Iraxxa, Empress of Mars is a red card, and if you presumably want to build around the Ice Queen as your Commander, there are many red cards that actually allow you to cast cards from anywhere other than your own hand to create a huge hive of Alien Warriors.
There are cards like Harnfel, Horn of Bounty, a legendary red artifact which allows you to discard a card from your hand to exile the top two cards from your library which you may, in turn, play this turn.
There is also Experimental Frenzy, a red enchantment which only allows you to play cards from the top of your library, and no, you cannot play any card from whatever is already in your hand after you have successfully cast Experimental Frenzy.
Experimental Frenzy also generates some value with Birgi, God of Storytelling (the front side of Harnfel, Horn of Bounty), since you can potentially storm off if you have enough low cost red spells (and not see a land card on the top of your deck).
Birgi, God of Storytelling generates one red mana whenever you cast a spell, and hence it can possibly fuel mana for your next spell off the top of your library.
There are also other non-permanent spells like Jeska’s Will and Light Up the Stage, which allow you to exile cards from the top of your library and play them.
Most of the cards above (and there are more similar cards that are not mentioned in this article) generate some form of advantage for the player.
One possible issue with the strategies listed above is, of course, the information revealed to your opponents when you exile cards from the top of your library since they are not exiled face down. However, when you make many 2/2s, your opponents likely have a different issue to worry about.
Do note that a lot of these red cards get you to play any of those exiled cards or cards from the top of your library.
This includes lands, but playing a land is not casting a spell and it will not trigger Iraxxa, Empress of Mars’s Paradox ability.
Iraxxa, Empress of Mars can also potentially work in other Commander decks, such as one helmed by Rakdos-coloured Prosper, Tome-Bound.
Since the whole game plan of Prosper, Tome-Bound revolves around playing cards from exile, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars generates a lot of additional value for Prosper, Tome-Bound if both cards are on the battlefield.
Doctor Who will be available in four Commander pre-constructed decks, as well as Collector Boosters when it releases on 13 October.
Jay is a content creator who likes to hoard vintage photographic lenses, and loses too often in Dota 2 and Magic: The Gathering after work.