People have called for Ancient Stirrings to be banned in Magic: The Gathering‘s Modern format for years. Its ability to rapidly dig you to a key Tron piece, finisher, or cantrip artifact made it an incredible card. Digging 5 cards deep also made it more effective than Serum Visions in some situations. These calls for bans have apparently gone unheard by Wizards, because they went and printed another version, and arguably made it better. Enter, Once Upon a Time!
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Once Upon a Time is a 2 mana instant in green. It allows you to look at the top 5 cards of your deck and get a creature or land card. However, if it is the first spell you’ve cast in the game, it’s free. That’s right – free. No cost, no downside. Free.
Whoever thought this was okay in the Magic Research and Development department needs to reconsider their position. It was probably the same guy who designed Hogaak. Free spells are never fair, and decks will always find a way to abuse them. Tron will have a field day with this card, using it to get any of its lands or finishing cards like Wurmcoil Engine or an Ulamog. Griselshoal decks can use this to find Allosaurus Riders on the first turn. Devoted Druid decks can dig for their missing combo piece with it. The possibilities are endless and extremely scary for Eternal formats.
The cherry on top is that the card isn’t bad even when it isn’t cast for free. 2 mana to dig 5 cards deep isn’t an outrageous rate to pay at all. Doing it at instant speed just makes it better even. Sorry, Wizards of the Coast, but I think you really messed up on this one. The combo potential for the card is just a little too strong.
What do you think of Once Upon a Time? What decks do you plan on abusing it in? Let us know down in the comments below!