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Can a cipher copy be countered by a counter spell? Or, since the card has been encoded to a creature, does it act more like an ability, and can only be countered by cards like Stifle and others like it?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

A spell created by a cipher is a regular spell, except that there is no physical card on the stack. You can counter it like you would counter the original. As the ability says:

Whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may cast a copy of this card without paying its mana cost.

All rules applying to spells also apply to copies of spells, for copies of spells are spells.

111.1a A copy of a spell is also a spell, even if it has no card associated with it.

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thanks for the quick reply – AGatecrasher Feb 5 '13 at 15:29
@Guvante, that's not correct either. The rest of the effect works fine too because the copy of the card only ceases to exist the next SBAs are checked. So to summarise: Delay does counter the spell, it does exile it, and it does give it suspend, though giving it Suspend is for naught since it ceases to exist shortly after. – ikegami Feb 5 '13 at 19:01
@ikegami: Of course, forgot that the ceases to exist acts exactly like a replacement effect, but isn't a replacement effect to avoid interactions with other replacement effects. 110.5g and 706.10a are the fixers in that regard. In either case the overall effect is the same, the copy is exiled and eventually ceases to exist. – Guvante Feb 5 '13 at 20:12

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