I had a Freezing Trap in play and my opponent stole a minion (Scavenging Hyena) from me with Mind Control.

He attacked me with the stolen minion and the minion was returned to my opponent's hand. I expected the minion to be returned to my hand, because I thought that I'm the owner of the minion (that would match the rules of Magic the Gathering).

So my question is now, what is an owner in Hearthstone? Is it similar to MTG? Is this a bug in heartstone?

The description for Sap explicitly states that the minion gets returned to my opponent's hand, while Freezing Trap says it is returned to the owner's hand.

Freezing Trap: When an enemy minion attacks, return it to its owner's hand and it costs (2) more

Mind Control: Take control of an enemy minion

Sap: Return an enemy minion to your opponent's hand

  • bonus info: A nice trick is to use a control card to take over a minion with a nice battlecry and then use a Brewmaster on it for you to take advantage of the stolen cards battlecry.
    – AtlasEU
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 20:00
  • MTG and Hearthstone is not to be confused with each other. MTG is far more advanced, Hearthstone is more casual. In MTG you have at least two different scenarios: Either the opponent will only control your creature for 1 turn, before creature is returned to you, or creature is "permanently" owned by opponent, tho this is usually some enchantment.
    – Sharain
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 10:15

3 Answers 3


Nope, once mind controlled the minion is owned by the opposing player. It is working as intended.

  • This is correct. Things like Mind Control, Cabal Shadow Priest taking your minion, Mind Control Tech, etc...All of the minions that permanently go to your opponent are now considered their minion.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 13:05
  • 3
    Even if the minion is controlled for only one turn, e.g. Shadow Madness, the card will still be considered as owned by the player who used Shadow Madness and will return to their hand. Shadow Madness works great with Brewmasters btw. Permanent stealing of cards.
    – Shelby115
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 13:56
  • 7
    It sounds as though, there is no distinction in this game between "controller" and "owner". If I was blizzard, I would have stayed away from the word owner, simply because it means something different in other games.
    – Cruncher
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 17:26
  • 1
    Honestly, the wording of things is awful. Freezing trap should read 'to its controller's hand', not owner's, since things like mind control only say gain control, not ownership.
    – Waterseas
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 7:01
  • @Waterseas: The point here is that for HS, these phrases are synonymous. From what I gather, this isn't the case in MTG; but you can hardly expect HS to adjust its phrasing based on the phrasing that another cardgame uses. Look at it this way: Minions are sorted on either side of the board based on who they are aligned with (controller/owner). If the minions switched sides visibly, it also has switched sides in terms or ownership/control. Instead of thinking int those concepts, just look at where it's located on the battlefield.
    – Flater
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 10:15

Ownership is transferred when a minion is mind controlled. Ownership in Hearthstone is based upon whoever holds the minion on their side of the board. As soon as a minion is on the opponent’s board, they own it. In this instance the priest you fought had the hyena return to his hand with an increase mana cost of +2 to the card’s actual mana cost because of the freezing trap.

Depending on the situation this is a risky but clever play in order to trigger your trap so that his already in play minions are not returned/sniped with an added bonus of taking away a minion of yours.

Even in instances where mind control is temporary; whoever holds the card is the owner on that specific turn. Example: A priest obtains cards from a rogue using their class special cards and gets a Shadowstep. He uses the minion/card that only temporarily mind controls a minion and uses Shadowstep. The card would return the minion to his hand and not the “original owner” because the priest is the current owner at the time.


I don't know if this counts as an exception due to the text of the card, or is just a bug, but last night I was playing Paladin my Tirion Fordring killed the enemy's Sylvanas Windrunner. My Tirion went to his side as an effect of Sylvanas' deathrattle. On my next turn I killed the controlled Tyrion, but for some reason the Ashbringer equipment was equipped to me.

  • There is no such exception. There are two possibilities: 1. It was a very strange bug. 2. It did not happen and you are remembering it incorrectly.
    – Nathan K
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 14:58

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