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Mind control effects or control effects are effects which allow a player to seize control of an enemy minion. Controlled minions are treated as belonging to the controlling player for all purposes, can be directed to attack its former allies and owner, and will immediately be transferred to the controlling player's side of the battlefield, to the far right of the board.

Mind control effects are some of the most notorious effects in the game, and are most commonly associated with priests.

Far more rarely, take control effects can steal control of cards such as Secrets and Weapons instead of minions. As of Descent of Dragons, the only cards to feature this ability are Goblins vs GnomesKezan Mystic and Descent of DragonsKobold Stickyfinger.


  • Control is generally a permanent state change, and as such cannot be changed through Silences, Return effects or other means. The exceptions to this are LegacyShadow Madness and Mean Streets of GadgetzanPotion of Madness, which grant temporary control of a minion through a one-turn enchantment.
  • If a player activates a mind control effect when their side of the battlefield is already full (i.e. they have the maximum 7 minions), the mind controlled minion will be instantly destroyed. Any Deathrattle that activates as a result of this will trigger as if their opponent still controlled the minion. It is often a good idea for a player to choose to intentionally destroy one of their own minions in order to be able to seize control of one of their opponent's, especially by sacrificing a weak minion in order to gain control of a very powerful one.
    • A similar effect occurs when a Secret is controlled and there is no "room" for it due to an identical secret being active already: A secret is destroyed instead of stolen if all active enemy secrets are duplicates of friendly ones.[1]
  • As with summoning effects such as LegacyMirror Image and LegacyFeral Spirit, mind controlled minions will always join the board on the far right. Anticipating this can allow for superior placement of minions, important for positional effects. When planning to summon other minions that turn, the player can use the timing of the mind control effect to allow them to determine the final placement of the mind controlled minion. For example, a player with a LegacyShieldbearer already on the board may take control of a LegacyFlametongue Totem, before then summoning a NaxxramasSludge Belcher to the right of it, thereby ensuring the Totem's is placed between the two minions, making the most of its buff.
  • Minions that have just been mind controlled are normally exhausted for one turn and cannot attack, just as with minions that were summoned that turn.
    • LegacyShadow Madness and Mean Streets of GadgetzanPotion of Madness do not cause its target to be exhausted, allowing it to attack - the effect only lasts until end of turn, and would otherwise be nearly useless.
    • Charge affects mind control exhaustion just as it affects summoning exhaustion - minions with that ability can attack on the same turn they are mind controlled.


For Wild format listings, see Mind control effect/Wild format

Swipe left or right to see the cards.
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As of Knights of the Frozen Throne, there are 10 control effects in the game:

  • Six belong to the Priest class, one is a Warlock spell, and the remaining 3 are neutral.
  • The 6 priest effects are targeted, as is Knights of the Frozen ThroneTreachery, while the 3 neutral effects select targets randomly. The conditions to use the neutral effects are harder to meet / more complex than the priest effects, and are more easily played around.
  • Goblins vs GnomesKezan Mystic targets Secrets and Descent of DragonsKobold Stickyfinger targets Weapons. The rest target minions.
  • Treachery gives one of the player's minions to the opponent. The rest take something from the opponent.
  • Mind control effects are present across all card rarities, and are about evenly split between minion abilities and spells.

The spell Mind Control is the most expensive and powerful of the options, as the only one that takes immediate, targeted control of any enemy minion in play without using a combination card. This sets mind control effects apart from other removal abilities like destroy and transform, which are represented by a greater number of cards and are in many cases easier to play than mind control.

Card Type Class Cost Target Duration Conditions
Scholomance AcademyCabal Acolyte Minion (Spellburst) Priest 4 Random Permanent Spellburst is activated, target has 2 or less Attack
LegacyCabal Shadow Priest Minion (Battlecry) Priest 6 Targeted Permanent Target has 2 or less Attack
Knights of the Frozen ThroneEmbrace Darkness Spell Priest 6 Targeted Permanent Control shifts at beginning of player's next turn
The League of ExplorersEntomb Spell Priest 6 Targeted Permanent Target will be shuffled to the player's deck
Goblins vs GnomesKezan Mystic Minion (Battlecry) Neutral 4 Random Permanent Opponent has a Secret in play
Descent of DragonsKobold Stickyfinger Minion (Battlecry) Neutral 5 - Permanent Opponent has a Weapon equipped
LegacyMind Control Spell Priest 10 Targeted Permanent None
LegacyMind Control Tech Minion (Battlecry) Neutral 3 Random Permanent Opponent has 4 or more minions
Mean Streets of GadgetzanPotion of Madness Spell Priest 1 Targeted End of turn Target has 2 or less Attack
LegacyShadow Madness Spell Priest 3 Targeted End of turn Target has 3 or less Attack
Madness at the Darkmoon FaireSilas Darkmoon Minion (Battlecry) Neutral 7 - Permanent Swaps the outmost minions between both players
LegacySylvanas Windrunner Minion (Deathrattle) Neutral 6 Random Permanent Deathrattle is activated
Knights of the Frozen ThroneTreachery Spell Warlock 3 Targeted Permanent None (but player's own minion)
Madness at the Darkmoon FaireYogg-Saron, Master of Fate Minion (Battlecry) Neutral 10 Random Permanent 19% chance to cast Madness at the Darkmoon FaireMindflayer Goggles


  • Control is one of the few minion properties which are not displayed anywhere on the minion or in their text, instead being indicated by the side of the board on which the minion appears.


  1. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-12-02).