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What's the most cards I can control at once in a game, allowing the cooperation of all players, but best if not?

A.k.a as many cards that can be affected by "X you control" effects like Serra's Blessing.

A.k.a not about the number of cards I start with or can take with me at the end of the game.

I still think it's something like Graveyard Busybody with an Abyssal Persecutor, so the opponent(s) can have all their cards in the graveyard and the game still goes on.

That gives a player control of all the cards that's possible to be played in a game.

But are there ways beyond that? Like my hypothetical "turning an infinite number of tokens into 'cards' a.k.a 'things that will persist beyond death'", is currently impossible, but are there other ways?

With everyone's cooperation, I suppose the "you own" part on something like Spawnsire of Ulamog, can be waived and just allow any kind of Eldrazi or other cards, via Artificial Evolution, to be brought in, regardless of ownership?

Without such waiving, would be best, but that's just a hope.

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  • Why do you want to specifically control many cards? "Control" is a term that only applies to the battlefield and stack, and those are also the two zones in which non-card objects can persistently exist. Practically speaking, there is no difference between having 100 creature cards with vigilance because of Serra's Blessing, and having 100 creature tokens with vigilance because of Serra's Blessing. – murgatroid99 Mar 2 at 22:24
  • @murgatroid99 - Just wondering about the limits of Magic. – Malady Mar 2 at 22:25
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    It just seems like there is maybe an understanding gap here. You seem to understand that control is different from ownership, because you asked this question separately from the one about ownership. But the only reason for that distinction is because there are effects that can change control of things. If you are aware of those effects, it seems obvious to me that the answer is "all of the cards in the game", and so I'm wondering what else you're looking for here, and whether you were missing one of those things that seems obvious to me. – murgatroid99 Mar 2 at 22:37
  • @murgatroid99 - I wasn't sure if there were any physical limits to MTG, but the current answer seems to indicate: "You can only control as many cards as that exist", and there really is no way to spawn cards from nothing. I didn't connect the "tokens cannot turn into cards" and "there are only tokens and cards" together. Not sure if there's some way to cover Admiral Beckett Brass's inability to grab lands from anywhere... ... Oh, and I didn't know that there's no mechanic that grabs cards unowned by anyone, like hypothetically in unsealed packs. – Malady Mar 2 at 22:43
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    Hopefully it's clear now from the answers here and on your other questions that "cards" as used in MTG are specific physical objects. They can't be spawned from nothing because matter can't be created from nothing in real life. And Admiral Beckett Brass is just one example of a card with a control-changing effect. There are dozens or hundreds of cards with control-changing effects, and various ways to cover their individual limits. – murgatroid99 Mar 2 at 22:47
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There is no limit.

Technically you can't control infinite cards, because nothing in black-bordered Magic can ever be infinite. You can have numbers that are arbitrarily large, but they must always be finite.

For example, you can set up a loop that gains you life without any limit. Copy a Leonin Relic-Warder with a Phyrexian Metamorph, have something like Soul Warden that gives you life, then target the Metamorph with its own ability over and over.

But at no point can your life total ever actually be infinite. If you actually set up this combo in a game, you can say "I'm going to do this loop 999,999,999 times" and gain 999,999,999 life, or a billion life, or a trillion, or a quadrillion, or any number you want, there's no limit on it. But it will always be a finite number.

(Is this incredibly pedantic nitpicking? Yes. But sometimes these pedantic details can matter a lot in Magic.)

So there's no limit on how many cards you can control: use some infinite mana and infinite spell recursion combination to cast Mastermind's Acquisition over and over, for example, and play every permanent card in your collection. But that number will always be finite. You can never control an infinite number of cards.

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  • A nitpick on your nitpicking, but the rules for cards like Mastermind's Acquisition define "outside the game" as "In your sideboard" – Andrew Mar 3 at 18:49
  • @Andrew True, but isn't that only for tournament play? I thought in non-tournament play (like your average game of Commander) it was anything in your collection. – Draconis Mar 3 at 19:01
  • officially those cards do not work at all in commander - the only way they would function would be because of play group house-rules allowing them to refer to something other than a sideboard that does not exist. Same with kitchen table magic, allowing them to do anything other than access a sideboard is a house rule. I think there is some talk in the commander rules committee of creating official wish boards, but AFAIK they are still not officially allowed. – Andrew Mar 3 at 20:02
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    @Andrew According to the notes on this card Draconis was right that it is only restricted to the sideboard in tournaments: gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/… – suchiuomizu Mar 4 at 4:10
  • @Andrew Afaict the "outside the game means the sideboard" rule is only a tournament thing, not part of the Comprehensive Rules; look at the wording of 108.3b for example, which talks about determining ownership of a card that's outside the game and not in the sideboard. You're right about Commander (I didn't realize my group was using a house rule there), but that's because of a specific rule of the Commander format (rule 11 on the site), not because of lack of sideboards; it seems it's completely legal in kitchen table Magic. – Draconis Mar 4 at 5:22
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The limit is however many cards you have access to

There is no limit on the number of players who can play the game. A card like Admiral Beckett Brass allows for repeatable (effectively infinite) control. So how many players can you play with? How many creatures can they play with?

If you want to include "cards you own" then you can do that. In tournament settings that's limited to your 15 card sideboard.

But the answer depends on how many cards you have access to. It would seem there is no limit on that.

Cheekily, this answer previously had infinite because an infinite number of players each "donating" one card to you would give you infinite cards. But with infinite players you would never get a turn, so... you'd never get to get more cards (unless they all started to cast "donate.")

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    I think "unlimited" would be a better term that "infinite" here; since nothing in MTG can ever be infinite. (Discounting Infinity Elemental) – GendoIkari Mar 2 at 22:23
  • You can also cast (or copy) a Wish spell arbitrarily many times, putting an arbitrarily large amount of cards from outside the game under your control. Some wishes like Mastermind's Acquisition can be recurred. – doppelgreener Mar 2 at 22:25
  • @GendoIkari If you haven't reached infinity yet, it's because you haven't given it enough time yet. – corsiKa Mar 2 at 23:55
  • And there are a number of cards (Mostly planeswalker ults and threaten effects) that let you gain control of all creatures on the battlefield. – Arcanist Lupus Mar 2 at 23:57
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There is no limit.

You don't need any special card or effect, just run a deck with lots of basic lands. For example, if you want to control 1 billion cards at the same time, play a deck with 1 billion and seven swamps, and on turn 1 billion you'll be able to control 1 billion cards.

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  • The Gathering rulings for [mtg: Battle of Wits] does note "In tournaments, you must be able to shuffle your entire deck within a reasonable amount of time." That's a rather vague limit, but it's certainly less than 1 billion ( – Acccumulation Mar 5 at 23:35

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