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Can the spell Tale's End counter Æther Vial's activation (putting a creature on the battlefield)?

Tale's End's text is:

Counter target activated ability, triggered ability, or legendary spell.

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Yes, it can BUT you have to use it at Aether Vial's activation, not when your opponent shows you the creature they are about to put onto the battlefield. Newer players sometimes make the mistake that they let the Aether Vial activation resolve, then see what creature the opponents choose to put into play and only then try to react to it, which will not work out.

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    Right, this specific deck I am trying to play against is tribal so either way I could probably guess and get the creature right, I just want to be able to counter its ability. Thanks for the answer Dec 23 '21 at 15:51
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    @RockwellRice Another caveat: If your opponent did not expect the Tale's End and just proceeded to put the creature on the battlefield without waiting for your go-ahead, you can demand to go back and get your opportunity to counter the ability or take any other instant-speed action. It's then your opponent's fault for showing you the card prematurely.
    – Hackworth
    Dec 23 '21 at 20:28
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    Ya I kind of figured that might happen. I have also read about countering the creature play or the trigger of countering up, so not sure which one I would really want to do, but countering the raise, since it has to happen at the upkeep might be what I do mostly instead. I'll see, thanks for the response. Dec 23 '21 at 20:30
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    Note Aether Vial's "put creature into play" ability is optional! You can tap your Aether Vials and decline to put a creature into play, just to psych opponent out (and if they spend a card to counter the activation, more power to you).
    – Allure
    Dec 24 '21 at 2:16
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    That is why experienced players will always ask you if you have anything to respond with. If you say no then the chance to counter the ability is gone. Good to have a clear interaction in regards to the state of play.
    – Neil Meyer
    Dec 27 '21 at 11:59

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