Wizards of the Coast has banned Once Upon a Time in Magic: the Gathering’s Modern format, as well as Underworld Breach in the Legacy format. Multiple cards, including Once Upon a Time, were also banned in Historic while no cards were banned in Pioneer—and likely won’t be until after the Players Tour Series 1 Finals.

Once Upon a Time

“Over the past months, Once Upon a Time has become one of the most played cards in Modern,” Wizards said, “contributing to several of the most popular and highest winning decks. The consistency provided by Once Upon a Time allows these decks to much more reliably enact their early-game plan” which led to less variety in the ways games played out.

“Going forward,” they continued, “Once Upon a Time poses a design constraint in making it too easy to assemble creature- and land-based combinations.” Therefore, they concluded, “in order to facilitate more varied gameplay and mitigate future risk, Once Upon a Time is banned in Modern.”

One of the best decks in Modern over the last few months has been Amulet Titan, which could take advantage of both the creature and land portions of Once Upon a Time to find Primeval Titan as well as its utility and double-mana lands.

Modern Amulet Titan

Creatures (17)
Sakura-Tribe Scout
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Hanweir Garrison
Primeval Titan

Spells (9)
Pact of Negation
Summoner’s Pact
Once Upon a Time

Artifacts (5)
Engineered Explosives
Amulet of Vigor
Lands (29)
Bojuka Bog
Breeding Pool
Castle Garenbrig
Cavern of Souls
Field of the Dead
Ghost Quarter
Golgari Rot Farm
Gruul Turf
Radiant Fountain
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Snow-Covered Forest
Tolaria West
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Sideboard (15)
Engineered Explosives
Aether Gust
Beast Within
Mystical Dispute
Reclamation Sage
Tireless Tracker
Force of Vigor

Once Upon a Time joins Oko, Thief of Crowns as the second card from the Throne of Eldraine expansion to be banned in four competitive constructive formats—Standard, Historic, Pioneer, and Modern—in less than six months after their release in October 2019.

Underworld Breach

“Since the release of Theros Beyond Death,” Wizards said, “we’ve watched the evolution of combination decks that revolve around the interaction between Underworld Breach, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Brain Freeze.” These decks use zero-cost artifacts like Lion’s Eye Diamond and Lotus Petal, in combination with Underworld Breach and Grinding Station, to mill their entire library and either use Brain Freeze or Thassa’s Oracle to win the game.

“In many cases, we’d allow a new breakout combo deck some time to see if the metagame can adapt,” Wizards continued. “But as these decks were refined, it became clear from the rising win rates that Underworld Breach‘s interaction with Lion’s Eye Diamond would remain problematic in Legacy going forward. Rather than allowing these decks to become a large part of the competitive metagame before likely still needing to make a change in the near future,” they concluded, “we’re choosing to ban Underworld Breach now.”

Legacy Underworld Breach

Creatures (1)
Thassa’s Oracle

Planeswalkers (1)
Teferi, Time Raveler

Spells (27)
Enlightened Tutor
Orim’s Chant
Brain Freeze
Sevinne’s Reclamation
Force of Will

Artifacts (11)
Engineered Explosives
Lion’s Eye Diamond
Lotus Petal
Defense Grid
Grinding Station

Enchantments (4)
Underworld Breach
Lands (16)
Flooded Strand
Prismatic Vista
Scalding Tarn
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Plains
Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)
Pact of Negation
Tormod’s Crypt
Silence white
Swords to Plowshares white
Defense Grid
Lavinia, Azorius Renegade whiteblue
Serenity 1white
Monastery Mentor
Wear // Tear

Underworld Breach is the latest card in a long line of cards that were intended to be a “fixed” versions of Magic’s most powerful spells—in this case of Yawgmoth’s Will. But it turns out that Underworld Breach is in the same category of “fixed” cards as Treasure Cruise (banned Modern, Legacy, and Pauper) rather than that of Mox Diamond (playable but not banned anywhere).

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