Asked by lithium142 2 years ago
This situation came up in an edh game earlier. My opponent has a board flooded with goblins. For the purpose of this question, we'll say all of them are 2/2 or below.
My understanding is they could respond to the cast to wipe my field, but they would be unable to do so after elesh norn etbs since her -2/-2 checks as a state based effect, and doesn't use the stack.
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Elesh Norn's ability is a static ability and doesn't use the stack. Because of this, no player may respond until SBAs (state-based actions) have been checked. Those will see a lot of Goblins at 0/0 and put them in the graveyard.
Your opponent's last chance of activating the ability is with Elesh Norn still on the stack, which will deal the damage, but not destroy Elesh Norn.
A creature the suggested play would work with would be Massacre Wurm, which has a triggered ability that can be responded to.