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Last changes:
18.11.2015

Judge School
MTG cards

Everything Under Control

This card you don't need, To Master Yoda give it you will!

Photo: LucasFilm

This card you don’t need,
To Master Yoda give it you will!

— Fanfic

 

Hi everyone and welcome to another class of the Judge school.

Today we shall talk about control. But not over the Force. Rather, over objects and players. Allow me to remind you that we denote an ability on the stack, a card, a copy of a card or ability, a spell, a permanent and an emblem as objects.

In a classic Magic game, players control permanents, spells, abilities and emblems. It is also possible to gain control of another player or his/her turn, but we shall talk about it in our next class.

109.4. Only objects on the stack or on the battlefield have a controller. Objects that are neither on the stack nor on the battlefield aren’t controlled by any player. See rule 108.4. There are five exceptions to this rule:

109.4a. An emblem is controlled by the player that puts it into the command zone. See rule 113, “Emblems.”

109.4b. In a Planechase game, a face-up plane or phenomenon card is controlled by the player designated as the planar controller. This is usually the active player. See rule 901.6.

109.4c. In a Vanguard game, each vanguard card is controlled by its owner. See rule 902.6.

109.4d. In an Archenemy game, each scheme card is controlled by its owner. See rule 904.7.

109.4e. In a Conspiracy Draft game, each conspiracy card is controlled by its owner. See rule 905.5.

The cards that aren’t either permanents or spells, such as cards in graveyards, in exile, in the hand, in the library etc., aren’t controlled by any player.

However, each object has an owner. An owner and a controller, if any, may be different players.

108.4. A card doesn’t have a controller unless that card represents a permanent or spell; in those cases, its controller is determined by the rules for permanents or spells. See rules 110.2 and 111.2.

108.4a. If anything asks for the controller of a card that doesn’t have one (because it's not a permanent or spell), use its owner instead.

Telim'Tor's Edict

Telim’tor’s Edict allows targeting a permanent you own. You don’t have to be in control of it.

The word “You” on an object relates to its controller (or to its owner, if it doesn’t have one):

109.5. The words “you” and “your” on an object refer to the object’s controller, its would-be controller (if a player is attempting to play, cast, or activate it), or its owner (if it has no controller). For a static ability, this is the current controller of the object it’s on. For an activated ability, this is the player who activated the ability. For a triggered ability, this is the controller of the object when the ability triggered, unless it’s a delayed triggered ability. To determine the controller of a delayed triggered ability, see rules 603.7d–f.

Note that “you” in the ability’s text doesn’t make it targeted.

And now on to the scariest part — the layers.

613.1b. Layer 2: Control-changing effects are applied.

As you remember, first the copy effects are applied, the next in the order are the control-changing effects. Let’s check out this completely unique card:

Volrath's Shapeshifter

Oracle text:

As long as the top card of your graveyard is a creature card, Volrath’s Shapeshifter has the full text of that card and has the text "{2}: Discard a card." (Volrath’s Shapeshifter has that card’s name, mana cost, color, types, abilities, power, and toughness.)

{2}: Discard a card.

 

The copying effect on Volrath’s Shapeshifter was modified into text-changing effect. For the modern version of the Shapeshifter’s rule text, according to the rules for the Interaction of Continuous Effects, you will get it under your control (layer two), and then it “reads” the top card of your graveyard and gets its text (layer three - text-changing effects) and its ability.

Now imagine that the Shapeshifter has its original text, and we “borrow” it from our opponent. Let’s see what happens to it. First, on layer one it copies the characteristics of the creature that’s on top of the opponent’s graveyard, then it is under our control. Hmm... Does the ongoing copying effect end? No, Volrath’s Shapeshifter keeps peeking into our opponent’s graveyard. It seems, something is wrong with the way this card works... Wizards of the Coast realized it too and changed the text promptly.

However, Volrath’s Shapeshifter isn’t all that simple. For those who like to work their brains out on the rules, here’s a great problem:

If the top card of my graveyard is Vesuvan Shapeshifter and I put a Volrath’s Shapeshifter onto the battlefield, can I turn my Volrath’s Shapeshifter face down at the beginning of my upkeep?

Volrath's Shapeshifter

Oracle text:

As long as the top card of your graveyard is a creature card, Volrath’s Shapeshifter has the full text of that card and has the text “{2}: Discard a card.” (Volrath’s Shapeshifter has that card’s name, mana cost, color, types, abilities, power, and toughness.)

{2}: Discard a card.

Vesuvan Shapeshifter

Control of permanents

Paermanents are cards and tokens on the battlefield. Tokens and cards are different in terms of control.

110.2. A permanent's owner is the same as the owner of the card that represents it (unless it's a token; see rule 110.5a). A permanent's controller is, by default, the player under whose control it entered the battlefield. Every permanent has a controller.

110.2a. If an effect instructs a player to put an object onto the battlefield, that object enters the battlefield under that player's control unless the effect states otherwise.

Elvish Piper Yavimaya Dryad Gather Specimens

Elvish Piper’s ability puts a creature under your control. You are both the owner and the controller of the creature.

Yavimaya Dryad’s ability allows you to put a Forest under your opponent’s control. You are still the Forest’s owner.

If your opponent casts a creature spell, that creature enters the battlefield under your control. Your opponent is still the owner of the card.

Since Magic 2010 edition there is a special rule for tokens:

110.5a.  A token is both owned and controlled by the player under whose control it entered the battlefield.

Kazuul Tyrant of the Cliffs Hunted Lammasu

Kazuul Warlord’s ability puts tokens under your control. You are both the owner and the controller for them.

The Lammasu’s ability places tokens under an opponent’s control. The opponent will be their owner. Brand will not be able to return them under your control.

There are many ways to “borrow” a permanent. For instance, using enchantments:

Mind ControlCarry AwayConquer

Some permanents have abilities (activated or triggered), through which you could gain or transfer control of a permanent. There are also spells with control-changing effects.

Jinxed ChokerOlivia VoldarenAct of Treason

Permanents attached to each other may be controlled by different players. A change of control over one of such permanents does not change control of another.

Arrest Sword of Body and Mind

As a rule, Arrest is attached to a creature an opponent controls. This way, the creature is controlled by one player, and the aura by another.

For instance, by playing Flame Fusillade (Until end of turn, permanents you control get “{TAP}: This permanent deals 1 damage to target creature or player.“), you will be able to “ping” the opponent with your arrest attached to the opponent’s creature.

By gaining control of the equipped creature, a player doesn’t gain control of the equipment. However, all the bonuses granted by the equipment to the creature are still in effect. The controller of the equipment may activate the Equip ability in his or her turn to re-attach the equipment to a creature he or she controls. The controller of the “borrowed” creature cannot do so, as he or she has no control of the equipment.

Upon the change of control, the object gets a new checkpoint on the control timeline. As a result, if the control-changing effect does not give the creature haste, we will deal with a restriction on activating abilities and attacking:

AnnexMutavault

The “Newly-borrowed” through Annex, and immediately “animated” Mutavault cannot give mana. Activated abilities of creatures that include a tap symbol in its cost require continuous control over the creature since the beginning of the player’s most recent turn:

602.5a. A creature's activated ability with the tap symbol or the untap symbol in its activation cost can’t be activated unless the creature has been under its controller's control since the start of his or her most recent turn. Ignore this rule for creatures with haste (see rule 702.10).

When a permanent changes control, some of its characteristics may change:

Corrupted ConscienceRusted Relic

An opponent controls three artifacts, including Rusted Relic. You control no artifacts. If you cast Corrupted Conscience targeting the relic, as soon as the Relic falls under your control, it stops being a creature, and therefore, Corrupted Conscience can no longer enchant it:

702.5a. Enchant is a static ability, written "Enchant [object or player]." The enchant ability restricts what an Aura spell can target and what an Aura can enchant.

Upon the nearest SBA check, Corrupted Conscience goes to the graveyard, and the opponent gets the Relic back. It will have “summoning sickness” though, since the control period was not continuous.

The permanent whose controller has changed leaves combat:

506.4. A permanent is removed from combat if it leaves the battlefield, if its controller changes, if it phases out, if an effect specifically removes it from combat, if it's a planeswalker that's being attacked and stops being a planeswalker, or if it's an attacking or blocking creature that regenerates (see rule 701.12) or stops being a creature. A creature that's removed from combat stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature. A planeswalker that's removed from combat stops being attacked.

Change of control does not influence the limitations on activating the permanent’s abilities:

602.5b. If an activated ability has a restriction on its use (for example, "Activate this ability only once each turn"), the restriction continues to apply to that object even if its controller changes.

606.3. A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if no player has previously activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn.

Liliana Vess Dragon Whelp Skinshifter

If the planeswalker “paid a visit” to your opponent and returned to your control within a turn, the activation limit still counts: no more than one per turn.

It doesn’t matter who activated the whelp in the course of the turn. The only thing that matters is how many times.

If you have activated Skinshifter’s ability and then the cunning opponent “snatched” it, he cannot shift its shape again on that turn.

Control of Spells and Abilities

602.2a. (...) [Activated] ability is created on the stack as an object that's not a card. (...) Its controller is the player who activated the ability. (...)

603.3a. A triggered ability is controlled by the player who controlled its source at the time it triggered, unless it's a delayed triggered ability. To determine the controller of a delayed triggered ability, see rules 603.7d-f.

111.2. A spell’s owner is the same as the owner of the card that represents it, unless it’s a copy. In that case, the owner of the spell is the player under whose control it was put on the stack. A spell’s controller is, by default, the player who put it on the stack. (For spells that are not copies, it is the player who has cast the spell.) Every spell has a controller.

706.10. (...) A copy of a spell is owned by the player under whose control it was put on the stack. A copy of a spell or ability is controlled by the player under whose control it was put on the stack.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker Ancestral Vision Tendrils of Agony

The Token will be controlled by the player who activated the ability, regardless of who will be in control of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker when the ability resolves.

The triggered abilities of Suspend function in the exile zone. Since a card in exile doesn’t have a controller, instead we use its owner, and the trigger will be controlled by the owner of the card with Suspend.

The spell itself and all of its Storm copies are controlled by the player who cast it, unless something unpredictable happens, such as Commandeer.

603.7d. If a spell creates a delayed triggered ability, the source of that delayed triggered ability is that spell. The controller of that delayed triggered ability is the player who controlled that spell as it resolved.

603.7e. If an activated or triggered ability creates a delayed triggered ability, the source of that delayed triggered ability is the same as the source of that other ability. The controller of that delayed triggered ability is the player who controlled that other ability as it resolved.

603.7f. If a static ability generates a replacement effect which causes a delayed triggered ability to be created, the source of that delayed triggered ability is the object with that static ability. The controller of that delayed triggered ability is the same as the controller of that object at the time the replacement effect was applied.

Berserk Incandescent Soulstoke Consuming Vapors

The delayed triggered ability will be controlled by the same player who controlled Berserk as it resolved.

The delayed triggered ability is created upon Incandescent Soulstoke’s ability resolution. The player who activated its ability will control the delayed ability.

The source of the delayed triggered ability of Rebound is replacment effect of its static ability. The delayed triggered ability will be controlled by the same player who controlled the spell as it resolved.

I will remind that the order in which the triggered abilities are put on the stack depends on who controls the abilities:

603.3b. If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses. (See rule 101.4.) Then the game once again checks for and resolves state-based actions until none are performed, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.

Change of Control over a Spell

Commandeer

The Commandeer spell is unique in its kind, it allows to gain control of a noncreature spell.

After Commandeer resolves you control the target spell.

If the word “you” is in its text, now it refers to you, and the word “opponent” refers to your opponent.

Control of Another Player

Another kind of control swap is controlling another player. What happens at this time, what can the puppeteer do and what he cannot do, are the subjects of our next class.

Homework

Kitchen Finks Windbrisk Heights Consuming Vapors

You have gained control of the opponent’s Finks. Under whose control will the Finks return as the Persist trigger resolves?

The opponent gains control of your Heights. Who may now look at the card exiled with it?

During your main phase, an opponent takes his Gargadon out of Suspend. You “borrow” it with Mind Control. Can you attack with it?

You cast Mark of Mutiny targeting an opponent’s Roil Elemental. The spell resolves. Then you play a mountain. You choose the Elemental as the target for its own triggered ability. Who will control the Elemental when your turn is over?

Mark of MutinyRoil ElementalMountain

Your opponent casts Zombify tareting an Akroma, Angel of Wrath in his graveyard. You cast Commandeer targeting Zombify. Upon resolution of Commandeer you do not change the target. What happens?

ZombifyAkroma, Angel of WrathCommandeer

Your opponent plays Spell Burst and pays Buyback. In response, you target Spell Burst with your Commandeer. Both spells resolve safely. What happens to the Spell Burst card?

CommandeerSpell Burst

You put Sower of Temptation on the battlefield, and as it resolves, you take control of an opponent’s Very Important Creature. Later, the cunning opponent plays an Ixidron. Will you keep control of the kidnapped creature?

Sower of TemptationVesuvan Shapeshifter

You control a Bear equipped with an Emblem of the Warmind. The cunning opponent casts Sower of Temptation in his turn and gains control of your Bear. Whose creatures will have Haste?

Emblem of the WarmindBear CubSower of Temptation

The cunning opponent has kidnapped your Bear equipped with Sylvok Lifestaff and throws it into combat where it dies valiantly. Who gains 3 life as the Bear finds its eternal rest in the graveyard?

Bear CubBear CubSylvok Lifestaff

The cunning opponent hijacks your Mitotic Slime and sacrifices it as your own Consuming Vapors resolves. Who gains control of the tokens if the Ooze hits the graveyard?

Volition ReinsMitotic SlimeConsuming Vapors

Your opponent enchants your Bramble Elemental with Persuasion. Who gets a pair of Saprolings?

Persuasion Bramble Elemental

And here’s my favorite problem:

Shuriken

Shuriken is attached to a creature under your control which doesn’t have the Ninja subtype. Is it possible to “ping for two” with your Shuriken so that it remains under your control, but do so without recurring to the type-changing effects? If you can, what do you need to do it, and what actions do you need to take?

Read the rules and enjoy the game!

Written by Irina Samonova, L2

Translated by Witas Spasovski, L1

Go back:

Combat phase

Disscuss

Check homework

Go forward:

Controling another player



Irina Samonova © 1999-2017

Magic the Gathering is TM and copyright Wizards of the Coast, Inc, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved.

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