To preserve the integrity of tournament play, the 10 fastest cards banned from Magic: The Gathering took less than two months to be removed. Along with Duelists Convocation International, the governing body that sanctions tournament gameplay, Wizards of the Coast began announcing banned cards that cannot be used during official tournament play. The reason cards are banned comes down to how powerful they are and the advantage they give over other opponents.
However, since the advent of different formatting, Magic: The Gathering cards can also be banned due to how unfairly they can interact with older cards from previous formats, such as Vintage and Standard, which were introduced in 1995. No matter the cause or reasoning for a card’s ban, in such modern formats as Commander and Booster Draft, some have been banned in lightning-fast time and led to serious upheaval for those who owned them. Mind’s Desire was notoriously banned from Legacy and Vintage formats in less than one week, but unfortunately, the card is not alone.
10 Underworld Breach – 45 Days
After lasting 45 days in circulation, the powerful combo card Underworld Breach was banned in March 2020 (via Magic Wizards) from the Legacy format. It’s easy to understand why the beautiful Magic: The Gathering card was banned, as it had been routinely bending Wizard of the Coast’s guidelines regarding combo decks and their functions in metagames.
For example, Underworld Breach costs just 2 mana, splashes easily, and has no resistance or expert knowledge needed to power up with its synergized Brain Freeze and Lion’s Eye Diamonds companions. The card is also impervious to Flusterstorm counters and affects the whole turn, leaving tournament players with very few options to contend with. As a result, Underworld Breach was deemed too unfair and too easy to abuse and was swiftly banned in less than two months.
9 Winota, Joiner Of Forces – 31 Days
Winota, Joiner of Forces spent 31 days in play before being banned from the Pioneer format in June 2022 (via Magic Wizards). Pioneer is a format that looks to build on the tradition of the Standard format (arguably the best MtG format for beginners) prioritizing diversity over every other gameplay element. Winota, Joiner of Forces curbs the intended diversity by simply being too powerful to use any other strategy.
For only 2 mana, the midrange card deck is extremely resilient and able to support many of the formidable mana creatures in Pioneer, giving Naya Wintoa a distinct advantage in her power to join forces. Her powerful draws also reduce the competition on the battlefield considerably, which is partially why the card was banned after roughly one month. The card was also being shared too often in metagames and was dominating the competition too routinely to be deemed fair for tournament play.
8 Drannith Magistrate – 31 Days
Drannith Magistrate also spent 31 days in rotation before being banned in what is one of the best digital card game‘s Brawl format in May 2020 (via Out Of Cards). The card joins three others banned on the same day, although the reasoning for Drannith’s was slightly different. The higher-ups believed Drannith went against the spirit of commander decks by drastically reducing the effectiveness of other commanders.
According to Wizards of the Coast (via Hipsters of the Coast), the reason for Drannith Magistrate’s ban is that, in the Brawl format, “it shouldn’t be so easy for a single card to completely shut down a class of commanders.” Much like Sorcerous Spyglass and Medding Mage, Drannith was preventing commanders from being controlled from the official Command Zone, which was causing major inequality issues and taking the fun out of building a Brawler deck in tournament play.
7 Zirda, The Dawnwaker – 31 Days
Zirda, The Dawnwaker is a powerful MtG card that was also banned in May 2020 after 31 days, although it was for the Legacy format (via Comic Book). Unlike Drannith Magistrate, who was deemed too oppressive by himself, Zirda, The Danwaker was banned for her joint powers derived from her artifact companion, Grim Monolith.
The main reason Zirda, The Dawnwaker was banned was due to the indefinite mana loop that occurred when combining the card with the Grim Monolith companion card. This gave the players who discovered the quasi-glitch in Magic Online a massive advantage by activating the Grim Monolith’s companion abilities that do not untap in the untap phase. This gives infinite mana to the combo that is simply too unfair for official tournament play.
6 Lurrus Of The Dream Den – 31 Days
The final card that was banned in May 2020 after 31 days, Lurrus of the Dream Den was removed from both Legacy and Vintage formats (via Magic Wizards). The popular Magic: The Gathering character card was also banned from Modern and Pioneer in 2022. Vintage pride itself on utilizing a large card pool and powerful restricted decks. However, the powers that be noticed a huge spike in win rates for players using Larrus of the Dream Den as a companion.
Likewise, Larrus of the Dream Den was banned from the Legacy format due to players consistently pairing already strong characters like Grixis Delver with the companion and easily defeating the competition. As a result, Wizards of the Coast noticed a whopping uptick in win rates in Magic Online, where players were winning 55% more often when using Larrus of the Dream Den as a companion in both Legacy and Vintage (via Magic Wizards).
5 Omnath, Locus Of Creation – 17 Days
Omnath, Locus of Creation was banned from the strategic trading card game in October 2020 after just 17 days in Brawl and Standard formats (via Magic Wizards). Due to the card’s advantageous overuse in the popular decks featured in metagames Four-Color Adventures and Four-Color Ramp, the results of tournaments were too skewed to keep it in play in Standard format.
Omnath, Locus of Creation’s abilities include drawing a card with every battlefield entry. Whenever a land enters the arena under his control, he will gain 4 life. This dynamic began to distort the metagames when tournament players began flooding Four-Color Adventures in the Standard format. As a result, there were 23 Omnath decks out of a possible 32 during the Grand Finals (via Magic Wizards); overwhelming evidence that the deck was literally stacked in his favor. As for Brawl, the card was removed for simply being played with and winning more often than any other of the best MtG Commander decks.
4 Memory Jar: – 14 Days
After 14 days in play, Memory Jar was banned from Urza’s Block in 1999 and has since been banned from several other formats (via MtG Rocks). Memory Jar forces players to exile all cards, redraw seven new ones and discard their hand at the beginning of their next turn. Players hated the card because it ruined the game and made it easy for those who used to win without fail.
According to Magic Untapped, this caused the DCI to arrange an emergency ban on Memory Jar, the first and only of its kind to date. But the emergency ban didn’t just derive from Memory Jar’s unfair balance of power. The card was banned for breaking the game, which came from DCI’s concerns over “Combo Winter,” a four-month period in which players were fleeing the game en masse due to the perception that broken cards were ruining the experience. Just as fixes were made, Memory Jar came out and caused more concerns about unfair play.
3 Tibalt’s Trickery Modern – 10 Days
Tibalt’s Trickery was banned in 2021 after 10 days in Modern format (via Magic Wizards). For such a fast dismissal, one might think the card was causing alarming win rates. However, the counter-target spell card was experiencing problems with Cascade and drastically decreasing the fun of metagames.
By countering one’s own 0-mana spell, the card allows the controller to draw out powerful cards ahead of the curve. In Cascade, the MtG card with disturbing art was being abused by using one 0-mana spell and then bombarding the board with giant creatures by the second turn. Despite the low win rate, the card was disrupting the goal of metagames, which are meant to be fun, entertaining, and more competitive.
2 Mind’s Desire – 6 Days
Mind’s Desire is a storm card that was banned after just 6 days in Legacy and Vintage formats. The 6-drop combo card allows players to shuffle the library, exile the top card, and use it on the next turn for no mana cost. The ultra-powerful combos created with the card were way too powerful to promote an even playing field.
In older formats like Legacy and Vintage, it is very easy to get high storm counts. Using a free spell combined with storms and support cards like Tendrils of Agony and Windfall (which is part of the best MtG 30th anniversary promo cards) made it far too easy to dominate the competition. The DCI restricted Mind’s Eye on the day it was released in 2003 (viaMTG Fandom) and officially banned the card less than a week later.
1 Lutri, The Spellchaser – 0 Days
The fastest-banned Magic: The Gathering card of all time is Lutri, The Spellchaser, which was removed from Brawl and Commander tournament play before its official street date release in 2020. Five minutes after the card debuted in a Twitch live-stream, Commander Rules Committee member Sheldon Menery announced that the card would be banned (via Star City Games).
The main reason the card was banned was that it provided zero opportunity cost and became a must-play option, something both formats sought to eliminate. According to Menery’s official statement, the MtG card was so powerful it should’ve been banned because players did not have to “sacrifice a spot in the 100 to use play it,” meaning that any Magic: The Gathering player could use the card so long as they were playing the right colors at the time.