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Some spells and abilities let you gain control of a permanent. Most of the time, this means the card will move from your opponent's side to yours. But for Auras or Equipment attached to other cards, the controller changes but it doesn't move.

I'm very new to MTG, and read official rules (above) - it says that if someone adds an aura on my creature, this means that I'm no longer controller of that creature.

So, for example, someone casts Sleep Paralysis on one of my creatures. After, I want to use Fling. Can I sacrifice my creature tapped by Sleep Paralysis?

Or, for example, I want to cast Certain Death on my creature tapped by Sleep Paralysis. Will I get 2 damage, or my opponent? I'm very confused about creature controlling.

  • Note that MtG makes a distinction between when a spell is cast, and when it resolves. When it is cast, it is added to the stack, and you have a chance to respond to the casting of the spell by casting instants or activating most abilities. So if someone were to cast Lay Claim, as mentioned by ikegami, you still control the creature. You do not lose control until after the following things happen - zero, one or more players add spells/abilities to the stack, and then all players pass priority, and then the spells resolve, in reverse to the order in which they were played. – Scott May 15 '17 at 5:31
  • If the target of Lay Claim is still a valid target when Lay Claim resolves, then you lose control over it. So if you have fling in your hand, and sufficient mana available, you can use fling on a creature, even after your opponent tries to Lay Claim it. As long as you do it immediately. More detail at mtg.gamepedia.com/Casting_spells – Scott May 15 '17 at 5:33
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Some spells and abilities let you gain control of a permanent

Sleep Paralysis does not change control of permanents. Lay Claim is an example of an Aura that changes control of a permanent. It has

You control enchanted permanent.

This ability transfers control of the enchanted permanent.


Most of the time, this means the card will move from your opponent's side to yours.

Say you have a creature to which you have a Bone Saw attached, and your opponent attaches Lay Claim to your creature.

Your opponent controls the creature, so it moves to their side, and they can attack with it and use its abilities (but you can't). You can't sacrifice it to Fling (but they can), and they would lose life if it's targeted by Certain Death (and you wouldn't). It even gets the +1/+0 from Bone Saw.

However, you still control Bone Saw. As an Aura or Equipment, it physically stays with the creature to which is attached. Only you can use its activated ability (say to equip Bone Saw to a creature you still control).


But for Auras or Equipment attached to other cards, the controller changes but it doesn't move.

Say you have a creature to which you have a Bone Saw attached, and your opponent attaches Lay Claim to Bone Saw (not the creature).

You control the creature, so it stays on your side, and you can attack with it and use its abilities. You can sacrifice it to Fling, and you would lose life if it's targeted by Certain Death. It even gets the +1/+0 from Bone Saw.

However, your opponent controls Bone Saw. As an Aura or Equipment, it physically stays with the creature to which is attached. Only they can use its activated ability (say to equip Bone Saw on one of their own creatures).

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  • Minor nitpick. Lay Claim being cast (the word used in the title) does not transfer ownership of the creature. Lay Claim resolving does. If someone casts Lay Claim on your creature, you still control that creature in the time between when Lay Claim is cast, and when it is resolved. If you have available mana and an instant like Fling in your hand, you can still use it. – Scott May 15 '17 at 2:27
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    @Scott, I didn't use the word "cast" at all. You appear to be replying to the wrong post. If you're going to nit-pick at what someone said, at least post your comment as a reply to that person! – ikegami May 15 '17 at 5:12
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    @Scott, Re "the OP is likely to continue in their misunderstanding of the meaning of the word cast.", I agree, which is why you should leave a comment to the OP. It doesn't do any good to tell me! So move your comment to the question. – ikegami May 15 '17 at 5:21
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    @Scott, Re "However, you did not answer the question that the OP did ask", I disagree. If you think that's the case, feel free to post an answer. – ikegami May 15 '17 at 5:22
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    @Acccumulation, 1) First of all, the rules do state the permanents you control you should be on your side of the table. "403.1. [...] Permanents a player controls are normally kept in front of them on the battlefield [...]" (The exception to the normal is attached permanents.) 2) Furthermore, even if there wasn't an explicit rule, you couldn't just put/leave your stuff in someone else's area, at least not without permission. That's just not kosher. 3) Finally, the OP is asking about a quote that explains when to physically move and when not to, so the context presumes physical movement. – ikegami Jul 12 at 23:18
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Sleep Paralysis does not change control of your creature. It just taps it and prevents it from untapping, which certainly does make it a lot less useful, but it's still yours.

The kind of thing you have to worry about will explicitly say "control", like the classic Control Magic, which is an aura that reads simply:

Enchant creature

You control enchanted creature.

If your opponent plays that on your creature, then yes, they'd control it. In that case, you wouldn't be able to use Fling with that creature (but they would!), and Certain Death would deal them damage.

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The only way an aura or equipment can change control of a permanent is if it specifically states "you control enchanted/equipped permanent/creature/land/artifact/enchantment"

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I see you have a struggle which isn't totally answered and I'll try to explain it once again, and give an answer which I think is right. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

The first problem is answered I guess, but the second problem you encountered is a little different. You suppose you have a creature with Sleep Paralysis enchanted to it. Of course, you do not like this at all and you think your creature is better off in your own graveyard. You have a Certain Death in hand and you cast it with your own creature as target. It does resolve. What happens with the life totals of the players?

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.

608. Resolving Spells and Abilities 608.1. Each time all players pass in succession, the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves. (See rule 609, "Effects.") (...) 608.3. If the object that's resolving is a permanent spell, its resolution involves a single step (unless it's an Aura). The spell card becomes a permanent and is put onto the battlefield under the control of the spell's controller. 608.3a. If the object that's resolving is an Aura spell, its resolution involves two steps. First, it checks whether the target specified by its enchant ability is still legal, as described in rule 608.2b. (See rule 702.5, "Enchant.") If so, the spell card becomes a permanent and is put onto the battlefield under the control of the spell's controller attached to the object it was targeting.

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. Every spell has a controller.

Because your opponents casts the enchantment doesn't mean he controls the creature (exceptions for cards like lay claim). You are still the controller of the creature in this example, which means you both lose and gain 2 life, the creature is moved to your graveyard and the aura is moved to the opponents graveyard.

In the case the aura was a lay claim and not a sleep paralysis, your opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life, the creature is moved to your graveyard and the aura is moved to the opponents graveyard.

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