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If an opponent casts Act of Treason to gain control of Pelakka Wurm then sacrifices it who will draw the card?

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3 Answers 3

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Your opponent would draw the card. When an ability triggers, what matters is who controlled the object with the ability (in this case the Pelakka Wurm) when it triggered. With "dies" triggers, what matters is who controlled it just before it died.

112.8. The controller of an activated ability on the stack is the player who activated it. The controller of a triggered ability on the stack (other than a delayed triggered ability) is the player who controlled the ability's source when it triggered, or, if it had no controller, the player who owned the ability's source when it triggered. To determine the controller of a delayed triggered ability, see rules 603.7d–f.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a permanent phases out, abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library, abilities that trigger specifically when an object becomes unattached, abilities that trigger when a player loses control of an object, and abilities that trigger when a player planeswalks away from a plane will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward. The game has to “look back in time” to determine if these abilities trigger.

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If your opponent takes control of Pelakka Wurm and it dies while they control it, they draw the card.

The first thing to note is that rule 700.4 says

The term "dies" means "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield."

So the Wurm's ability is equivalent to "When Pelakka Wurm is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, draw a card." This is a triggered ability, and specifically, it is a "leaves-the-battlefield ability" (rule 603.6c):

603.6c. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities trigger when a permanent moves from the battlefield to another zone, or when a phased-in permanent leaves the game because its owner leaves the game. These are written as, but aren't limited to, "When [this object] leaves the battlefield, ..." or "Whenever [something] is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, ..." An ability that attempts to do something to the card that left the battlefield checks for it only in the first zone that it went to. An ability that triggers when a card is put into a certain zone "from anywhere" is never treated as a leaves-the-battlefield ability, even if an object is put into that zone from the battlefield.

603.6d. Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a permanent phases out, abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library, abilities that trigger specifically when an object becomes unattached, abilities that trigger when a player loses control of an object, and abilities that trigger when a player planeswalks away from a plane will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward. The game has to "look back in time" to determine if these abilities trigger.

This means that when the Wurm dies, it looks at its existence before it died to determine how the ability triggers. Specifically, when the Wurm was last on the battlefield, your opponent controlled it, so they control the ability and draw the card.

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  • Shouldn't that be dies while they control it?
    – Algur
    Dec 4, 2014 at 4:28
  • Yes. I fixed it
    – murgatroid99
    Dec 4, 2014 at 4:32
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The person who controlled it with Act of Treason when it died will draw the card.

What matters is the state that Pelakka Wurm was in when it was last on the battlefield, so it matters whose control it was under then.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a permanent phases out, abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library, abilities that trigger specifically when an object becomes unattached, abilities that trigger when a player loses control of an object, and abilities that trigger when a player planeswalks away from a plane will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward. The game has to “look back in time” to determine if these abilities trigger.

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