*/* vs 0/0

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A guy I'm talking to about his Mayael the Anima EDH deck came back at me after some advice with this doozy...I'm VERY curious about a ruling on this one, as I've likely misunderstood this from the beginning.

 

Among other cards he had in his deck were Savageborn Hydra and Serra Avatar.  I suggested to him that he drop those two along with some others, as they didn't fit into Mayael's cheaty strategy.  His response was to say that Serra Avatar would be kept, as it's P/T is his life total in all zones.  I rebutted that this couldn't be true, that until Avatar hits the battlefield, it's P/T is indeterminable(effectively, 0).  He states that it MUST be equal to his life in all zones, or else it would be 0/0 as opposed to */*.

 

I'm thinking I got a pretty good leg to stand on here, but before I push this further, I want a ruling(with rules quote if possible, please)...judge!

A static ability is a characterisic-defining ability if it meets these criteria:

 

- It defines the creature's power, toughness, color, or subtype

- It is printed on the card (or, in the case of tokens, it was granted by the effect that made the token)

- It does not directly affect the characteristics of another card

- It is not an ability that it grants itself

- It does not set the value only if certain conditions are met

 

Serra Avatar's ability defines the power and toughness of the Avatar, it's printed on the card, it doesn't affect any other cards, it's not an ability that it grants itself, and it's not a value set only if certain conditions are met (you always have a life total), so the Avatar's ability fits the criteria of being a characteristic-defining ability, so it works in all zones, including your library.

 

604.3a A static ability is a characteristic-defining ability if it meets the following criteria: (1) It defines an object's colors, subtypes, power, or toughness; (2) it is printed on the card it affects, it was granted to the token it affects by the effect that created the token, or it was acquired by the object it affects as the result of a copy effect or text-changing effect; (3) it does not directly affect the characteristics of any other objects; (4) it is not an ability that an object grants to itself; and (5) it does not set the values of such characteristics only if certain conditions are met.

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