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If my opponent steals a creature from me with Control Magic, I could steal it back by casting another Control Magic on it and (I think due to timing?) I would control the creature.

If instead I cast Steal Enchantment on the Control Magic, does the "You" become "me," and would I now control the creature?

15

Yes, if you take control of your opponent's Control Magic, you also take control of the creature it enchants.

The "you" on objects always refers to the controller of that object. If you take control of that object, you become the new "you". In the case of Control Magic, that also means that you take control of the enchanted creature.

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.

If you cast your own Control Magic after the opponent played his, you would also take control of the creature. However, it's not due to timing, which governs who can take action and when, but because of the more recent timestamp of your Control Magic vs. your opponent's Control Magic timestamp, meaning the latest timestamp "wins":

  1. Interaction of Continuous Effects

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

613.2. Within layers 1–6, apply effects from characteristic-defining abilities first (see rule 604.3), then all other effects in timestamp order (see rule 613.6). Note that dependency may alter the order in which effects are applied within a layer. (See rule 613.7.)

613.6. Within a layer or sublayer, determining which order effects are applied in is usually done using a timestamp system. An effect with an earlier timestamp is applied before an effect with a later timestamp.

  • There is a MtG-specific meaning of "timing" that doesn't apply here, but this is due to "timing" in the general sense of "when things happen". Of course, if Control Magic were an interrupt, and a second one were played before the first resolves, then the player playing the first one would end up with control of the creature. – Acccumulation Jul 24 '18 at 15:42
  • @Acccumulation OP specifically linked to the CR meaning of timing, so OP didnt mean it in the colloquial sense. – Hackworth Jul 24 '18 at 16:26
3

If my opponent steals a creature from me with Control Magic, I could steal it back by casting another Control Magic on it and (I think due to timing?) I would control the creature.

Yes, but not due to timing. CR 116, Timing and Priority, is a section of the rules that covers when players can cast spells and activate abilities.

In this scenario, you have two continuous effects (one created by the first Control Magic, and one created by the second Control Magic) trying to change control of an object. This is handled by CR 613, Interaction of Continuous Effects.

Both of the effects are applied in layer 2 (Control-changing effects)[CR 613.1b], and neither is a characteristic-defining ability, so they are applied in timestamp order[CR 613.2], so the last effect created wins out in this case[CR 613.6].

613.1. The values of an object’s characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object. For a card, that means the values of the characteristics printed on that card. For a token or a copy of a spell or card, that means the values of the characteristics defined by the effect that created it. Then all applicable continuous effects are applied in a series of layers in the following order:

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

CR 613.2. Within layers 1–6, apply effects from characteristic-defining abilities first (see rule 604.3), then all other effects in timestamp order (see rule 613.6). Note that dependency may alter the order in which effects are applied within a layer. (See rule 613.7.)

613.6. Within a layer or sublayer, determining which order effects are applied in is usually done using a timestamp system. An effect with an earlier timestamp is applied before an effect with a later timestamp.

613.6a A continuous effect generated by a static ability has the same timestamp as the object the static ability is on, or the timestamp of the effect that created the ability, whichever is later.

613.6c An object receives a timestamp at the time it enters a zone.


If instead I cast Steal Enchantment on the Control Magic, does the "You" become "me," and would I now control the creature?

Yes.

"You" refers to its controller[CR 109.5]. Since you control the enchantment, and since it gives its controller ("you") control of the enchanted creature, you control the enchanted creature.

CR 190.5. 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.

  • To be specific, there is an interaction between the control changing continuous effects of Control Magic and Steal Enchantment, and I didn't realize at first that the question was not asking about that part of the interaction between those two cards. – murgatroid99 Feb 27 '17 at 2:23
  • There is no interaction. There are two effects, but they affect different objects, so there is no interaction, so 613 doesn't enter into play. – ikegami Feb 27 '17 at 2:49
  • There is no requirement that two effects apply to the same object for them to interact. You can see in rule 613.7a the set of criteria for continuous effects to have a dependency relationship. And there has to be some relationship between the abilities for you to know that you have to apply Steal Enchantment's effect, which changes what "you" refers to on Control Magic, before applying Control Magic's effect, even though that's the opposite of timestamp order for those effects. – murgatroid99 Feb 27 '17 at 2:53
  • "613. The values of an object’s characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object. [...] Then all applicable continuous effects are applied in a series of layers in the following order". 613 documents how to apply effects to an object. You do each layer for each object. You don't do each object for each layer. Effects that effect Control Magic aren't relevant when applying effects to the creature. As such, there's no dependency since you can't have a dependency when there's only one effect that affects the object. – ikegami Feb 27 '17 at 3:05
  • That is simply an inaccurate interpretation of that rule. Another example of a continuous effect on one object affecting continuous effects it applies to others is Blood Moon and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: "this is an example of dependency: both Blood Moon and Urborg want to apply in the same layer, but applying Blood Moon first will change what Urborg affects (since the Blood Moon will remove Urborg’s ability of making lands into swamps)" – murgatroid99 Feb 27 '17 at 3:08
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I'm afraid I believe both of the previous answers to be wrong - though I haven't evaluated a copy of the rules closer to their posting, so that might be a matter of timing. Both answers rely on the effect of the first control spell being reevaluated upon the second spell coming into effect.

Somewhat unintuitively, the "you" in the text on the card is not "you" in the text of the continuous effect. According to the comprehensive rules...

611.2c If a continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability modifies the characteristics or changes the controller of any objects, the set of objects it affects is determined when that continuous effect begins. After that point, the set won’t change. (Note that this works differently than a continuous effect from a static ability.) A continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability that doesn’t modify the characteristics or change the controller of any objects modifies the rules of the game, so it can affect objects that weren’t affected when that continuous effect began. If a single continuous effect has parts that modify the characteristics or changes the controller of any objects and other parts that don’t, the set of objects each part applies to is determined independently.

Effectively, this rule causes "You" to be permentally evaluated as "Bob" in the effect - where Bob is the caster of the first control spell. Even when the control spell becomes controlled by "Sue" (where Sue is another unique player), the first control effect gives Bob control of Target [creature].

If it wasn't for this, then of course Hackworth's answer would be correct, because the You in the effect would apply.

With ikegami's answer, again, continuous effect Layers might be applicable in determining the order in which two control effects are evaluated (I don't think they do in this case, but it's irrelevant), however the effect created by the first control effect still applies to Bob.

Thanks!

  • 1
    This is not true. The continuous effect that rule describes doesn't apply to auras, only "one-shot" effects that change control (eg. Confiscation Coup). – monoRed Jun 5 '17 at 15:26
  • I don't really know how to argue with that. It simply doesn't say what you claim. The text reads, " If a continuous effect generated by ... ability modifies the characteristics or changes the controller of any objects, the set of objects it affects is determined when that continuous effect begins. After that point, the set won’t change." The static ability on an aura does create a continuous effect. Nothing I quoted states "one-shot" effect. This is literally from section 611 of the comprehensive rules - continuous effects. One shot effects are handled by section 610. – James Jun 5 '17 at 15:36
  • I wonder if this has confused you. "610.1. A one -shot effect does something just once and doesn’t have a duration. " Note, this implies instantaneous effects, unrelated to this issue. As 611.1 says "A continuous effect ... for a fixed or indefinite period." One-shot effects have nothing todo with the OP or 611.2c. Sorry. – James Jun 5 '17 at 16:01
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    The thing that shows your mistake is in the rules you quoted, immediately after the part you bolded: "Note that this works differently than a continuous effect from a static ability." The effect from the aura is a static ability. It is not an "effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability". – GendoIkari Jun 5 '17 at 16:05

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