Control and ownership
The owner of an item is the player who brought it into the game.
The controller of a spell or permanent is the one who has control over it, which is usually the owner.
Within the rules of Magic: The Gathering, you and your are words that refer to an object’s controller, its would-be controller (if a player is attempting to cast or activate it), or its owner (if it has no controller).
- Control, Controller
- “Control” is the system that determines who gets to use an object in the game. An object’s “controller” is the player who currently controls it. See rule 108.4.
- The player who (for purposes of the game) a card, permanent, token, or spell belongs to. See rules 108.3, 110.2, 111.2, and 112.2.
- You, Your
- Words that refer to an object’s controller, its would-be controller (if a player is attempting to cast or activate it), or its owner (if it has no controller). See rule 109.5.
- 108.3. The owner of a card in the game is the player who started the game with it in their deck. If a card is brought into the game from outside the game rather than starting in a player’s deck, its owner is the player who brought it into the game. If a card starts the game in the command zone, its owner is the player who put it into the command zone to start the game. Legal ownership of a card in the game is irrelevant to the game rules except for the rules for ante. (See rule 407.)
- 108.3a In a Planechase game using the single planar deck option, the planar controller is considered to be the owner of all cards in the planar deck. See rule 901.6.
- 108.3b Some spells and abilities allow a player to take cards they own from outside the game and bring them into the game. (See rule 400.11b.) If a card outside that game is involved in a Magic game, its owner is determined as described in rule 108.3. If a card outside that game is in the sideboard of a Magic game (see rule 100.4), its owner is considered to be the player who started the game with it in their sideboard. In all other cases, the owner of a card outside the game is its legal owner.
- 108.4. A card doesn’t have a controller unless that card represents a permanent or spell; in those cases, its controller is determined by the rules for permanents or spells. See rules 110.2 and 112.2.
- 108.4a If anything asks for the controller of a card that doesn’t have one (because it’s not a permanent or spell), use its owner instead.
- 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.
- 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 111.2). A permanent’s controller is, by default, the player under whose control it entered the battlefield. Every permanent has a controller.
- 110.2a If an effect instructs a player to put an object onto the battlefield, that object enters the battlefield under that player’s control unless the effect states otherwise.
- 110.2b If an effect causes a player to gain control of another player’s permanent spell, the first player controls the permanent that spell becomes, but the permanent’s controller by default is the player who put that spell onto the stack. (This distinction is relevant in multiplayer games; see rule 800.4c.)
- 110.5a Status is not a characteristic, though it may affect a permanent’s characteristics.
- 112.2. 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.