Cipher and Counterspells

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Well I searched and haven't seen this question pop up yet.

1.  I cast a spell with cipher and encode that spell on a creature I control.
2.  I attack with the encoded creature and activate the encoded ability.
3.  The spell goes on the stack and I pass priority.
4.  Can my opponent use Cancel to counter the ability?

I said yes in my game, but it didn't seem clear to me.  Cipher is an activated ability and activated abilities can't be countered by Cancel.  However, Cipher says "you may copy the encoded card and you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost".  This wording makes me think it can be the target of Cancel.  Makes it sound like it is a "card" being "cast".
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Cancel can counter the spell because yes, he is casting a copy of the encoded card from exile.
Cancel cannot counter the ability, but Stifle can counter the ability though.

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Nitpick: Cipher is not an activated ability. Its (second) ability is triggered.

When someone has an imaginary friend, we call it mental sickness. When a bunch of people have the same imaginary friend, we call it a religion.

Nitpick: Cipher is not an activated ability. Its (second) ability is triggered.



Right, my bad.

Thanks Goth.
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