Say my opponent has Elesh Norn on the table and plays Phyrexian Metamorph as a copy of her. As I understand from her Gatherer-page, all my creatures will now briefly have -4/-4.

So my question is now, suppose I have Obsidian Fireheart (or any other elemental with at least 3 toughness) in play along with two Incandescent Soulstokes, then obviously both my Soulstokes die as they have -1 toughness each, but will Obsidian Fireheart die as well? In other words, when exactly during this process does one copy of Elesh Norn leave the battlefield due to the legendary rule?


2 Answers 2


The Legendary rule is one of the state-based actions which are performed at several points in a turn.

704.3. Whenever a player would get priority (see rule 116, "Timing and Priority"), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event.

State-based actions are also what kills created with non-positive toughness.

During the resolving of a spell, state-based actions are not performed. So when the copy of Elesh Norn enters the battlefield, there are temporarily two of them, and your creatures have -4/-4. The 3/3 creatures will temporarily be -1/-1.

Then state-based actions are performed, and those creatures and all but one of those Elesh Norns are killed simultaneously. From that moment, your remaining creatures have -2/-2.

704.4. Unlike triggered abilities, state-based actions pay no attention to what happens during the resolution of a spell or ability.

  • You said they die then the SBAs are checked, but it's the SBAs that kill them. Fixed your answer.
    – ikegami
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 16:13
  • Since it's not clear in the answer, I'll clarify that Obsidian Fireheart survives because its thoughness is increased by both Incandescent Soulstokes. Since both Incandescent Soulstokes die at the same time that one Elesh Norn (because of rule 704.3), Obsidian Fireheart will survive as a 1/1.
    – Pablo
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 17:43

When the second Norn enters the battlefield state based actions are checked and executed at the same time. This means one Born dies because of the legend rule and the 2 Soulstrokes die because of having 0 or lower toughness. This happens at the same time. And your Fireheart lives happily ever after.

  • This answer is right, I'm not sure why it was downvoted. Since Obsidian Fireheart thoughness is pumped because of Incandescent Soulstokes, it will survive.
    – Pablo
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 17:20

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