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Say I borrowed an opponent's creature (e.g. via Threaten) and then let it phase out (e.g. via Reality Ripple). Under whose control does it phase in, and when? Under whose control does it phase in if Time and Tide is cast the same turn?

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    FYI: You can use [mtg:Card Name] to tag cards. – Rainbolt Aug 12 '14 at 20:14
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When the creature phases in on your next untap step, your opponent will control it. It phases in on your next untap step because rule 702.25a says

Phasing is a static ability that modifies the rules of the untap step. During each player’s untap step, before the active player untaps his or her permanents, all phased-in permanents with phasing that player controls “phase out.” Simultaneously, all phased-out permanents that had phased out under that player’s control “phase in.”.

Since the permanent phased out under your control, it phases in on your untap step. Your opponent will control it because rule 702.25e says

Continuous effects that affect a phased-out permanent may expire while that permanent is phased out. If so, they will no longer affect that permanent once it’s phased in. In particular, effects with “for as long as” durations that track that permanent (see rule 611.2b) end when that permanent phases out because they can no longer see it.

The Threaten effect lasts "until end of turn", so at the end of your turn the effect ended. Therefore, when the creature phases in, the effect that made you control it expires and control reverts to the previous controller.

If Time and Tide causes the permanent to phase in during your turn, you will still control it until your turn ends. Rule 702.25d says

The phasing event doesn’t actually cause a permanent to change zones or control, even though it’s treated as though it’s not on the battlefield and not under its controller’s control while it’s phased out. Zone-change triggers don’t trigger when a permanent phases in or out. Counters remain on a permanent while it’s phased out. Effects that check a phased-in permanent’s history won’t treat the phasing event as having caused the permanent to leave or enter the battlefield or its controller’s control.

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When does it phase back in?

The following describes the first thing to happen in the Untap Step:

502.1. First, all phased-in permanents with phasing that the active player controls phase out, and all phased-out permanents that the active player controlled when they phased out phase in. This all happens simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. See rule 702.25, “Phasing.”

Since you controlled the creature when it phased out, it will phase in at the start of your next Untap Step.


Under whose control does it phase in?

Keep in mind that a creature doesn't change zones when it phases out. Being phased in or not is a status like being tapped or not.

702.25d The phasing event doesn’t actually cause a permanent to change zones or control, even though it’s treated as though it’s not on the battlefield and not under its controller’s control while it’s phased out. [...]

Since it never ceases to be a permanent, it never ceases to have a controller. As such, the real question is:

Who controls it when it phase back in?

110.2. [...] A permanent’s controller is, by default, the player under whose control it entered the battlefield. [...]

Continuous effects, such as the one created by Threaten, can override a permanent's controller for as long as the continuous effect exists.

611.1. A continuous effect modifies characteristics of objects, modifies control of objects, or affects players or the rules of the game, for a fixed or indefinite period.

611.2a A continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability lasts as long as stated by the spell or ability creating it (such as “until end of turn”). If no duration is stated, it lasts until the end of the game.

The continuous effect created by Threaten functions until the end of the turn on which it was cast (or more specifically, until the Cleanup Step). (Even Sundial of the Infinite cannot override that.)

While a creature is phased out, it's unaffected by continuous effects such as the one created by Threaten, but that's not important since the continuous effect will continue to affect it should when it phases back in.

702.25b If a permanent phases out, its status changes to “phased out.” Except for rules and effects that specifically mention phased-out permanents, a phased-out permanent is treated as though it does not exist. It can’t affect or be affected by anything else in the game.

702.25c If a permanent phases in, its status changes to “phased in.” The game once again treats it as though it exists.

So if it's phased in and its the turn in which you cast Threaten, you control it. Your opponent controls it otherwise.


This is what happens step-by-step,

  1. Using Threaten, you create a continuous effect that gives you control of one of your opponent's creatures.
  2. Using Reality Ripple, you phase out the creature. It's temporarily unaffected by the continuous effect created by Threaten, so he regains control of it.
  3. As your turn is about to end, the continuous effect giving you control of your opponent's creature ends.
  4. Your opponent spends a turn without his creature.
  5. As your turn starts, the opponent's creature phases in. It's still under his control.

If you were to cast Time and Tide on the same turn you cast Theaten, the following happens instead:

  1. Using Threaten, you create a continuous effect that gives you control of one of your opponent's creatures.
  2. Using Reality Ripple, you phase out the creature. It's temporarily unaffected by the continuous effect created by Threaten, so he regains control of it.
  3. You phase in the creature using Time and Tide. The continuous effect created by Threaten resumes giving you control of the creature.
  4. As your turn is about to end, the continuous effect giving you control of your opponent's creature ends.

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