How They Brew It - Try This At Home

Michael Celani • December 12, 2023

The Twelfth Doctor | Illustrated by Alexander Mokhov

On this episode of Try This At Home: we've all seen the movie stunt where the sharpshooting sunset rider ricochets his trusty six-shooter's bullet off a coin, but does it work when you upgrade to your dad's sawed-off? Then: do birds of a feather really flock together? Find out as we release pigeons, cardinals, and penguins from a homemade hot air balloon and see which direction they all fly. And finally, it's time to look at a common myth about the ordinary, everyday household AA battery: does it microwave?

The Hard-Triers tackle your most challenging scientific problems using only supplies you -- yes, you -- can find around the house. They're Pasquali Fontina, winner of seven Nobel Participation Trophies in Physics, and Monty Hyenaman, who, for his neutral special, wields a nail gun. Together with their trusty build team of seventeen actual, real-life giraffes, they have one goal: to be put on the projector when your teacher is out sick with her new boyfriend. Their problems are insane, and their solutions even more so. But no matter what they're up against, they're always willing to Try This At Home.

Try Me A River

Welcome back to Try This At Home, the only show brave enough to tell you to go ahead, it's not our fault. I'm your host, Michael Celani, and I'm filling in for Pasquali Fontina, who died.

Everyone's familiar with that famous Time Lord, Doctor Who, who goes around in his phone booth saving the universe from such iconic villains as the Daleks and the Cylons with his trusty Sonic Spinball. Today, we're figuring out what tropes in his long-running show could really happen in a universe within the realm of reality, and this time, we're not testing alone. Our guests have a great understanding of the science-fiction method. It's that delightful demonstrate duo: The Twelfth Doctor and Romana II!

With The Twelfth Doctor, the first spell you cast from anywhere other than your hand has demonstrate, meaning that you can get a duplicate of it absolutely free so long as you give your opponent a copy to try at home themselves. Since copies of permanent spells on the stack resolve into tokens, Romana II can clone any permanent you demonstrated, giving you an incredible three-for-one deal. Where can this unadulterated fraud lead us? Let's find out!

Science Rules

It's a myth that's persisted in the Magic: The Gathering community for ages: can you really cast spells from outside your hand? The urban legend states that, with the right combination of clever tactics and specific cards, you can play the game from your graveyard, exile, or even the top of your library. But how do we put it to the test? For that, we have to go back to the not-drawing board, and the boys have been hard at work coming up with their own methods to the madness. (Spoiler alert: madness is not one of those methods.)

A Little Off The Top

Impulse draw spells, like Wrenn's Resolve, allow us to put the top cards of our libraries into exile and then cast them later to reap the benefits from The Twelfth Doctor. Reckless Impulse and Wrenn's Resolve both let you play the cards they find until the end of your next turn, meaning you can get up to two demonstrate triggers for one card if you happen to hit two spells. They're also cheap enough that they can help you dig for early game land drops if you find yourself in a mana drought. March of Reckless Joy does the same thing as the previously mentioned cards, just at instant speed for three mana, but you can sink even more into it if you're looking for a specific target to turn the game around. Mishra's Research Desk only lets you play one of the cards you exile, but it's extremely cheap and can be unearthed later. One important thing to note about all of these impulse draws is that The Twelfth Doctor works on every turn, not just your own turns, so if you exile an instant with one of these effects, you can still cast and demonstrate it when an opponent's taken the wheel.

Banishing Buddies

But those individual impulses aren't the only way you can turn exile into extra cards. Permanents like Outpost Siege, Visions of Phyrexia, and Valakut Exploration each give you consistent card advantage over the course of the game, and they're even better for our gameplan than the instants and sorceries, since these spells are capable of being duplicated themselves. One Visions of Phyrexia might not be worth the sticker price of four mana, but three of them definitely would be. Obviously, this is great on simple cards, like Outpost Siege, but you might also want to try this trick out yourself with Share the Spoils. It's completely symmetrical: with four of them on the field, you'll have access to sixteen extra cards at all times, assuming you're ready to play that chaotic game with all your enemies. Bonehoard Dracosaur is not only twice as effective as an Outpost Siege on its own, it also loads you up on Treasures and chump blockers while dominating the skies as a 5/5 first-striking Dinosaur Dragon. Multiple instances of Primordial Mist will let you manifest three cards a turn, and you can cash in those face-down forces to cast their front side from exile. Any one of these can completely take over a game if you're allowed to triple them up, so prioritize casting them from outside your hand whenever you find yourself in a position to.

Ready, Set, Go

There will be times where you'll want to wait before you rip the top card of your library, though. Perhaps you've just set up the perfect target with your Mystical Tutor or Enlightened Tutor, or traded your hand away via Brainstorm or Scroll Rack. In that case, there's a few more cards here that let you decide when to pull the trigger. Magmatic Channeler and Yasmin Khan both have activated abilities that let you exile that top card whenever you're ready to, and the entire Hidden Cave cycle from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan can be sacrificed to discover into the spell you set on top of your library.

Give Them a Hand

After their disastrous first attempt, which backfired and caused an entire acre of lush, verdant jungle to be vaporized and replaced with a modern suburbian township complete with off-brand fast food restaurants, dilapidated parks, and stroads, it's clear that the boys have hit a snag. How can you recover if you draw the card you really wanted to demonstrate? After a long night of experimenting, a few extra tweaks, and a clever application of twenty dollars, they've built in some extra machinery that can correct when that happens. Here's how it works:

As Foretold

One of the easiest ways to handle drawing the card you wanted to demonstrate is to simply punt it into exile by force. Luckily, there's plenty of ways to accomplish that. Edgin, Larcenous Lutenist is the absolute gold standard, allowing you to pay mana to foretell cards from your hand, which lets you cast them from exile on a later turn at a discounted rate. Ethereal Valkyrie is the silver standard, as it also foretells cards when it enters the battlefield or attacks and it draws you extra cards to boot. And finally, Ice Cauldron is the absolute wood standard, as it does effectively the same thing as Edgin but explained with several times more words in a slightly pricier package and art that makes me feel like I'm an old hag doing witchcraft for sustenance.

Pitch and Roll

Foretelling your cards gives you complete control over when you'll ultimately cast your target spell, but you can also get a bit of extra card advantage for exiling from your hand if you're willing to compromise on that flexibility. Conspiracy Theorist lets you rummage a card into exile when it attacks, and you can cast that discarded spell until the end of your turn. Jacob Hauken, Inspector works in a similar manner, exiling a card from your hand after you draw one, but he needs a little bit more mana investment before you're allowed to actually play with what you've banked and is therefore often rendered a top priority target for your opponents. If you can transform him, however, the spells he's exiled are entirely free to cast. Finally, if you've got multiple targets in your hand or you just want a fresh grip of cards, throw away anything you'd rather demonstrate with Invasion of Kaldheim and play it later. It even gives you until the end of your next turn to utilize your old hand; how sweet those Phyrexians are!

Making an Imprint

Just casting the card you exile is one thing, but getting to cast those cards multiple times is another, and instants in particular have a lot of support for making multiple copies of them. Imprint any good instants you're looking to pitch onto Elite Arcanist or Isochron Scepter; the way those two are worded, a copy of the card is created and then cast from exile, meaning for the purposes of The Twelfth Doctor, it counts. If you find yourself in the worst case scenario and are unable to draw any of these safety valves, you can simply cast the spell you want to demonstrate from your hand now and then demonstrate it via Arcane Proxy later.

Just Don't Draw It

Of course, the absolute best way to handle drawing the cards you'd rather demonstrate is to simply not draw those cards in the first place. Outside of dumb luck, we can accomplish this via Kaho, Minamo Historian, who doesn't exile from your hand, but instead searches your library for three instants to keep in reserve. Elsha of the Infinite lets you cast noncreature spells from the top of your library, and if you really don't want to cast one of those spells right now or draw it, a Fabled Passage can shuffle it away so it stays safely within the confines of your library.

The Pitfalls of Plagiarism

After thirty-six straight hours of tinkering, engineering, and wire fraud, the boys have come up with a well-tuned machine that casts spells from outside their hand. But one final question remains between this part of the episode and the end of the episode: what spells are we willing to let our opponents try at home? Surely, it has to be good enough that it's worth going through all this trouble to get two or three of them, but it can't be so good that letting an opponent have one for free allows them to win the game. How do you walk that razor-thin line? It turns out that there was a bit of a mythconception here: we're not demonstrating spells that we want to have multiple copies of, but instead spells that our opponents definitely don't want to have any of.

Again, Again

It turns out that red has a lot of spells that allow you to take an extra turn, but also lose you the game at the end of that extra turn. The idea behind them is that you can take one extra turn for extremely cheap, but you have to win before the end of it or it all comes crashing down. This is terrible if you're not sure you can win, and for most of the game, that's the case for ever player. Demonstrating these spells and forcing an opponent to take that risk way too early is how we win. It doesn't matter if it's Last Chance, Warrior's Oath, Alchemist's Gambit, Final Fortune, or Chance for Glory, all of them will end with either one corpse or three. The only problem is that since demonstrate resolves your opponents' copy of the spell first, your two copies resolve last, meaning you have two extra turns yourself to get through that you have to survive.

Protect Yourself

Luckily, that's where white and blue comes in. White can completely negate the concept of losing the game entirely, whether through temporary effects, like Angel's Grace and Everybody Lives!, or more persistent ones such as Gideon of the Trials and Cloudsteel Kirin. But that's just the most straightforward survival plan; you can also counter your copies of the extra turn spell after your opponent's copy has resolved. Blue can easily do that via Summary Dismissal, or repeatedly throw away their own spells by activating Nivmagus Elemental a couple times. Alternatively, instead of countering your spells, you can counter the delayed trigger those spells set up which loses you the game. The most consistent way to do this is to use Enlightened Tutor to search up a Sundial of the Infinite, allowing you to sidestep the fact that ending your turn kills you by ending your turn. If you end your turn in response to the trigger on the stack, that trigger is exiled and you won't have to worry about it anymore.

Demonic Pact

Another class of spells that can force your opponents to bow out are the three Pact spells. These three free spells -- Intervention Pact, Pact of Negation, and Pact of the Titan -- are all free, but force you to pay mana at the beginning of your upkeep or lose the game. These are especially effective when demonstrated against players that can't pay because of color identity, as it's usually really hard for a Golgari deck to make white mana. If they can't pay their taxes, they'll be hauled in for the punishment they deserve: death.

The Final Act

But the grandmaster of all lose-the-game spells has to be Glorious End. This spell ends the turn, and since demonstrate means your opponent's copy resolves first, you don't have to worry about your two copies of it happening at all. Cast this from exile during an opponent's upkeep, demonstrate it to a second opponent, and watch as one of your enemies is forced to make the other skip their turn while sacrificing themselves for the pleasure. It's an absolute game-changer of a spell, and a prime target to put on top of your deck with Mystical Tutor. Never pass up the chance to end a turn and a life all in one fell swoop!

End Credits

You're watching Sci Discovery History Planet. Coming up next: ever wonder how industrial steel is fabricated? Find out in a riveting new Why Is It Made That Way?. Then at 5:30, is our world just a simulation run by aliens trying to save us from the collapse of our original universe? It's Prepare & Conserve: The PREPCON Conspiracy. And later, those three knuckleheads sure love to misrepresent how valuable that item is in a five-hour marathon of The Word "Pawn" Sounds Kinda Like "Porn" And Therefore Our Broker Will Have A Lewd Name. Only on Sci Discovery History Planet, the network that's to education as pizza is to vegetables.

If you enjoy How They Brew It, please check out the Discord and my other projects at my website. I'd like to take a minute to thank the user Sir Nope, Jank Enthusiast, who initially posted The Twelfth Doctor as a Temur deck on my Discord. It inspired me to build this list, and I leaned more heavily into the extra turns, turning it into a Jeskai list for the additional protection. You can vote on what you'd like to see next there and maybe inspire your own How They Brew It, too! Hope to see you there!

Try This At Home (The Twelfth Doctor EDH)

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Commanders (2)
Battles (1)
Planeswalkers (1)
Creatures (16)
Sorceries (6)
Instants (19)
Artifacts (11)
Enchantments (8)
Lands (36)

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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.