Formulas cannot reference a DB directly?

Maybe I’m crazy, but I thought in Formulas we used to be able to reference any DB directly (and then filter it, etc).

Or maybe this was only available in Rules?

We sometimes refer to this as ‘entity query’ and it works fine in automations since it is only evaluated once (when the automation is run).

Doing the same in formulas is tricky, since anywhere such a query was used would need to be re-evaluated every time any entity in the queried database was created, updated or deleted.
This puts quite a load on the formula engine.

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