So my question is if I have Alesha, Who Smiles at Death on the battlefield can I use her ability to bring back a creature where * is the cards power, for example Kolaghan Forerunners?

  • 1
    There's a ruling for Kolaghan Forerunners in Gatherer answering this very question.
    – ikegami
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


The Forerunners have what is called Characteristic-Defining Ability, and those function in all zones. So you can only return them with Alesha if you have less than 3 creatures on the battlefield.

208.2a The card may have a characteristic-defining ability that sets its power and/or toughness according to some stated condition. (See rule 604.3.) Such an ability is worded “[This creature’s] [power or toughness] is equal to . . .” or “[This creature’s] power and toughness are each equal to . . .” This ability functions everywhere, even outside the game. If the ability needs to use a number that can’t be determined, including inside a calculation, use 0 instead of that number.

  • ok, that's kind of how I figured it would play out but wanted to makes sure. Thanks Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 14:00
  • It would be useful to point out that not all creatures with * as their power have characteristic-defining abilities, and fall under rule 208.2b. For example, Sewer Nemesis.
    – Hao Ye
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 3:15
  • @HaoYe I'm not sure offhand, but it looks like Sewer Nemesis does have a characteristic-defining ability, just one that doesn't do anything without a player being chosen. Not that the distinction matters in practice.
    – David Z
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 6:46

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