Can someone explain Cipher to a noob?

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I think I understand it, but I am not sure:

1. Play the cipher card encoded on a creature
2. Attack with the creature
3. Is it only once or every single time that creature attacks that I get the cipher ability to trigger?
If I encode the cipher card, I attack, and then attack again with the ability triggered, is it like double strike?

Also, if someone could do a step by step with some sample cards from Gatecrash, that would be awesome.

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[sblock=The official rules for cipher are as follows:]

702.97. Cipher

702.97a Cipher appears on some instants and sorceries. It represents two static abilities, one that functions while the spell is on the stack and one that functions while the card with cipher is in the exile zone. "Cipher" means "If this spell is represented by a card, you may exile this card encoded on a creature you control" and "As long as this card is encoded on that creature, that creature has 'Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, you may copy this card and you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost.'"

702.97b The term "encoded" describes the relationship between the card with cipher while in the exile zone and the creature chosen when the spell represented by that card resolves.

702.97c The card with cipher remains encoded on the chosen creature as long as the card with cipher remains exiled and the creature remains on the battlefield. The card remains encoded on that object even if it changes controller or stops being a creature, as long as it remains on the battlefield.

  • The spell with cipher is encoded on the creature as part of that spell's resolution, just after the spell's other effects. That card goes directly from the stack to exile. It never goes to the graveyard.

  • You choose the creature as the spell resolves. The cipher ability doesn't target that creature, although the spell with cipher may target that creature (or a different creature) because of its other abilities.

  • If the spell with cipher is countered, none of its effects will happen, including cipher. The card will go to its owner's graveyard and won't be encoded on a creature.

  • If the creature leaves the battlefield, the exiled card will no longer be encoded on any creature. It will stay exiled.

  • If you want to encode the card with cipher onto a noncreature permanent such as a Keyrune that can turn into a creature, that permanent has to be a creature before the spell with cipher starts resolving. You can choose only a creature to encode the card onto.

  • The copy of the card with cipher is created in and cast from exile.

  • You cast the copy of the card with cipher during the resolution of the triggered ability. Ignore timing restrictions based on the card's type.

  • If you choose not to cast the copy, or you can't cast it (perhaps because there are no legal targets available), the copy will cease to exist the next time state-based actions are performed. You won't get a chance to cast the copy at a later time.

  • The exiled card with cipher grants a triggered ability to the creature it's encoded on. If that creature loses that ability and subsequently deals combat damage to a player, the triggered ability won't trigger. However, the exiled card will continue to be encoded on that creature.

  • If another player gains control of the creature, that player will control the triggered ability. That player will create a copy of the encoded card and may cast it.

  • If a creature with an encoded card deals combat damage to more than one player simultaneously (perhaps because some of the combat damage was redirected), the triggered ability will trigger once for each player it deals combat damage to. Each ability will create a copy of the exiled card and allow you to cast it.¾/sblock]

Tax evasion is nothing but legitimate self-defense against the theft that is tax collection.

the last part of the spell with Cipher is to exile it encoded to a creature

when that creature deals combat damage to a player you copy and cast that card
you do that every time the creature deals combat damage to a player (think Double Strike)
you cannot encode the copy onto another creature, because it is not a card
proud member of the 2011 community team
Awesome, that answers it.
I would like to play Dimir at the prereslease, looks like I need to take a lawyer with me.

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Lawyers are Orzhov
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something like Harm's Way could cause it to trigger twice as well

eg. you attack a player with an encoded 4/4 creature and that player casts Harm's Way targeting you. When your 4/4 hits, it'll do 2 to you and 2 to him, but cipher will trigger twice because combat damage was dealt to two players

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1) Your first Main Phase. You cast Last Thoughts (LT)

2) Pass priority so LT can resolve. Your opponent doesn't respond.

3) LT starts resolving. You draw a card.

4) After drawing, before putting LT on your graveyard, you choose to exile LT encoded on your Deathcult Rogue (DR) - you do this decision just at this point, not before.

5) Combat Phase. You attack with DR.

6) Your opponent can't block; DR deals combat damage, and you may cast a copy of LT (drawing another card).

7) This copy can't be encoded on other creatures; the original LT card stays exiled and encoded on the DR. If the DR leaves the battlefield, LT stays on the exile zone, doing nothing.

8) Next turn: repeat steps 5 and 6.

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