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There was card played that moved all creatures from the graveyard back to the battlefield under their owners control.

In my graveyard was Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and the opponent had Coercive Recruiter and a bunch of 2/2 creatures.

When Coercive Recruiter enters the battlefield it takes control of Elesh Norn till end of turn.

My question is, will the opponents creature get -2/-2 before he takes control over Elesh Norn

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  • kinda depends on the timing of the triggers resolving, but i assume that elesh norn is alreay on the battlefield(because it can't be snatched by the recruiter otherwise) so her static effect is already active -> the opposing 2/2s are dead already.
    – garglblarg
    Nov 14, 2023 at 14:19
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    @garglblarg It does not depend on the order of the triggers resolving, because there is only one triggered ability given in the question, and therefore only one possible ordering. Also, Coercive Recruiter's triggered ability can target Elesh Norn even if the two creatures entered the battlefield at the same time.
    – Rainbolt
    Nov 14, 2023 at 15:13

1 Answer 1

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Yes, opposing creatures will get -2/-2 before your opponent gains control of Elesh Norn.

Elesh Norn's ability is a static ability that applies continuously.

604.1. Static abilities do something all the time rather than being activated or triggered. They are written as statements, and they’re simply true.

Coercive Recruiter's ability is a triggered ability. Therefore, its effects do not happen until the trigger resolves.

603.1. Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as "[When/Whenever/At] [trigger condition or event], [effect]. [Instructions (if any).]"

603.3. Once an ability has triggered, its controller puts it on the stack [...]. It remains on the stack until it's countered, it resolves, a rule causes it to be removed from the stack, or an effect moves it elsewhere.

With that in mind, here is how your specific situation unfolds:

  1. All creatures return to the battlefield from the graveyard under their owner's control.
    • At this point, you control Elesh Norn and all of your opponent's creatures have -2/-2.
  2. Any creatures with zero or less toughness die.
  3. Your opponent chooses Elesh Norn as the target for Coercive Recruiter's ability, and then places the trigger on the stack.
  4. Coercive Recruiter's triggered ability resolves.
    • At this point, your opponent controls Elesh Norn.
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  • What if the opponent got a creatures with a trigger ability "give target creature +2 +2" Would that also resolve at step 3? Or would target creature die before getting the +2/+2 Nov 15, 2023 at 14:14
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    @SirDuckduck I'll assume that the creature you refer to as "target creature" is something with a base toughness of 2. The creature will enter the battlefield and then immediately die to Elesh Norn's static ability before any triggers go on the stack. By the time triggers go on the stack, the creature is already dead and cannot be chosen as the target for any ability that requires a "target creature". Your opponent must still choose a target, and even if the target ends up being one of your creatures. They can't say "Oh well the target I was going to choose died so I just won't choose."
    – Rainbolt
    Nov 15, 2023 at 18:03

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