Cipher question

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Hi, if I cipher a spell (such as hands of binding) onto a creature I control, can my opponent then use a destroy enchantment spell on my creature to remove it?  Or is cipher not considered an enchantment? 

Is there any way to remove a ciphered ability from a creature once it has been coded onto it?

thanks for the help.
if I cipher a spell (such as hands of binding) onto a creature I control, can my opponent then use a destroy enchantment spell on my creature to remove it?

[One does not cipher a spell; one encodes a spell (using cipher).]

It's not on the battlefield, so it can't be destroyed.

It's not an Enchantment, so it can't be targetted or chosen as one.

Is there any way to remove a ciphered ability from a creature once it has been coded onto it?

Not really. There are very few means. You'd be better off going after the creature (e.g. by destroying it of blinking it).
It is not an enchantment.

There is no way to 'remove' it, but if you can flicker the creature, it comes back as a different object, so will not have cipher imprinted.
You can only break the encoding, by either making the permanent the cypher card is encoding, move to another zone, or make the cypher card in exile change zones (e.g. Pull from Eternity). The later even works, if the card ends up in the exile zone again (e.g. Pull from Eternity with Rest in Peace out).

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Once again aced the Rules Advisor test (Feb 2015). (I still make mistakes now and then, but who doesn't.)

 

"Simple questions" usually need rather complex answers, while complex questions often come down to no more than a simple "yes" or "no".

 

You can only break the encoding, by either making the permanent the cypher card is encoding, move to another zone, or make the cypher card in exile change zones (e.g. Pull from Eternity). The later even works, if the card ends up in the exile zone again (e.g. Pull from Eternity with Rest in Peace out).



Nitpick.  Those are not the only ways.  You can make the permanent phase out and that will also break the encoding/cipher as well.



it will?
I'm pretty sure the exiled spells will recognize the creature once it is phased back in
proud member of the 2011 community team
Phasing does not cause the creature to leave the Battlefield and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.
Phasing does not cause the creature to leave the Battlefield and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.

More precicely:

Phasing does not cause the creature to become a new object, and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.
Phasing does not cause the creature to leave the Battlefield and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.



Phasing does not cause the creature to leave the Battlefield and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.

More precicely:

Phasing does not cause the creature to become a new object, and nothing in Cipher cares about phasing.



I never stated that the phased out creature leaves the battlefield.

Cranial Insertion - Where Nobody Knows Your Name or, Sneaky Questions - Published on 02/18/2013 - This Article from: Eli Shiffrin
Q: Do my creatures remain encoded when they phase out?

A: Nope! Even though phased-out creatures are on the battlefield, the rule that checks to see if the card is encoded can't see the creature anymore, so it stops caring and goes off for coffee at the Eternity Cafe. When the creature phases back in, it'll find itself boring and unencoded.

_Magic: The Gathering_ Comprehensive Rules

These rules are effective as of February 1, 2013.

702.24e Continuous effects that affect a phased-out permanent may expire while that permanent is phased out. If so, they will no longer affect that permanent once it's phased in. In particular, effects with "for as long as" durations that track that permanent (see rule 611.2b) end when that permanent phases out because they can no longer see it.

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.
that is interesting
I didn't see that coming

consider me educated
proud member of the 2011 community team
Every once in a while a ruling comes along that pulls the rug out from under me and I land on my head.

This is one of them.


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to put Vanishing, Teferi's Curse, and Cloak of Invisibility into my Merieke Ri Berit EDH deck.


Wait... that still doesn't work, does it?  I just lose control of the creature but it doesn't get destroyed?  (Usually with MRB, once you get a creature its only out is death, but it looks like phasing just ends the control effect)
if Merieke phases out you simply lose control of the creature
proud member of the 2011 community team
Suckydoo.

So, Fiend of the Shadows loses track of the cards it exiled when it phases out... but Nightveil Specter doesn't?  That's a subtle difference.
I didn't see that coming

Same here!  Surprised

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

So, Fiend of the Shadows loses track of the cards it exiled when it phases out... but Nightveil Specter doesn't?  That's a subtle difference.

No, neither loses track. Their abilities don't track a phasing permanent.
702.24e Continuous effects that affect a phased-out permanent may expire while that permanent is phased out. If so, they will no longer affect that permanent once it's phased in. In particular, effects with "for as long as" durations that track that permanent (see rule 611.2b) end when that permanent phases out because they can no longer see it.

I never stated that the phased out creature leaves the battlefield.


Cranial Insertion - Where Nobody Knows Your Name or, Sneaky Questions - Published on 02/18/2013 - This Article from: Eli Shiffrin
Q: Do my creatures remain encoded when they phase out?

A: Nope! Even though phased-out creatures are on the battlefield, the rule that checks to see if the card is encoded can't see the creature anymore, so it stops caring and goes off for coffee at the Eternity Cafe. When the creature phases back in, it'll find itself boring and unencoded.

_Magic: The Gathering_ Comprehensive Rules

These rules are effective as of February 1, 2013.

702.24e Continuous effects that affect a phased-out permanent may expire while that permanent is phased out. If so, they will no longer affect that permanent once it's phased in. In particular, effects with "for as long as" durations that track that permanent (see rule 611.2b) end when that permanent phases out because they can no longer see it.

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.

Rule 702.24e doesn't apply to Cipher. The rule applies to continuous effects from the resolution of spells or abilities that have a limited duration ("for as long as"). Cipher's effect comes from a static ability that doesn't expire (it says "as long as", not "for as long as"). I don't see why the card would stop being encoded after it phases in.



Rule 702.24e doesn't apply to Cipher. The rule applies to continuous effects from the resolution of spells or abilities that have a limited duration ("for as long as"). Cipher's effect comes from a static ability that doesn't expire (it says "as long as", not "for as long as"). I don't see why the card would stop being encoded after it phases in.


While I believe this is correct, I think your reasoning is wrong. Cipher stays on the creature because the "for as long as" criteria only applies to the encoded card (which is still in exile and therefore still meeting its requirements). No durational condition needs to be met on the creature it's encoded on (other than remaining the same object).

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Please autocard: [c]Shard Phoenix[/c] = Shard Phoenix.

702.97c says "as along as [...] the creature remains on the battlefield." However, I'm not convinced this is relevant. That's just a reminder rule. No duration is specified on the effect that actually causes the encoding (indeed, it's a one-shot effect, so no duration is possible).
I must ask: how «official» are Eli Shiffrin's opinions? Perhaps that «ruling» does not make law?

Being a L3 Judge is fine, but only Wizards' staff mayke rules. 

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

I must ask: how «official» are Eli Shiffrin's opinions? Perhaps that «ruling» does not make law?

Being a L3 Judge is fine, but only Wizards' staff mayke rules. 

Eli is Matt Tabak's personal rules advisor so his opinion carries a lot of weight.

I've heard this from a few different Judges including Scott Marshall (L5) and Bimmerbot (L2)

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Goosieman, the OP, is a member of our play group and I am sure since he recieved his original answer he has not tracked the thread.

So is the final answer on phasing that it does indeed remove the cipher affect?  This will be awesome when I put a phasing enchantment on his creature, LMAO Laughing
If Eli said in a public forum that a phased out creature loses the encoding, then that's how it works. I don't think there's a meaningful difference between "for as long as" and "as long as". They have the same English meaning.

Level 3 DCI Judge Mission Viejo, CA

If Eli said in a public forum that a phased out creature loses the encoding, then that's how it works. I don't think there's a meaningful difference between "for as long as" and "as long as". They have the same English meaning.



That is awesome.  I can't wait to phase out his creatures, he will be so pissed, lol.
This is similar to how phasing will break a soulbond. There is a continous effect on the exiled card with cipher monitoring itself as well as the creature that was selected when the spell was originally cast. If it loses track of either object at any point, the card is no longer considered to be encoded.
702.97c says "as along as [...] the creature remains on the battlefield." However, I'm not convinced this is relevant. That's just a reminder rule. No duration is specified on the effect that actually causes the encoding (indeed, it's a one-shot effect, so no duration is possible).

The spell ability is a one-shot effect, but it's the static ability (shown below) creating a continuous effect that's relevant.
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 the encoded card and you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost."



(Shouldn't that be "As long as this card is encoded on a creature, ..."?)
I'm still unclear on how that's meaningfully different from Fiend of the Shadows.
Fiend of the Shadows has a triggered ability that sets up a permission as it resolves. That permission is not tied to the creature itself. It's just set up permanently. "Whenever... exile... card. You may look at and play that card for as long as it remains exiled."

This would be different if the card had two separate abilities, such as "Whenever this deals combat damage, exile the top card." and in a new paragraph, "You may look at and play cards exiled with this."

Level 3 DCI Judge Mission Viejo, CA

I'm still unclear on how that's meaningfully different from Fiend of the Shadows.

A phasing Fiend of the Shadows's ability does not track any phasing permanent.

A phasing Fiend of the Shadows's ability only tracks non-phasing cards in exile.

Don't know what more to say. If you disagree, tell me what phasing permanent is tracked by Fiend of the Shadows's ability.
In the case of Fiend of the Shadows, a permanent (which may phase out) is tracking an exiled card.
In the case of Cipher, an exiled card is tracking a permanent (which may phase out).

When the object being tracked phases out, it flies off the radar. When the object doing the tracking phases out, it's not a big deal because no one was keeping track anyway.
So why does a phased-out Merieke Ri Berit lose control of what she stole?  She's the permanent that generated a continuous "as long as" effect that became phased out, and it seems to be determined that when she phases out the game stops tracking the continuous effect that she was generating and the creature returns to its former owner.  But if all that matters is whether the target rather than the source of the continous effect is the one that phases out, shouldn't Merieke's controller keep what she stole?
because when Merieke is phased out you no longer control her
so the "as long as" is no longer true
proud member of the 2011 community team
Well, you still control her, but the game can't figure that out, so it assumes you don't. Therefore, the "as long as" condition is considered to end.

Level 3 DCI Judge Mission Viejo, CA

Seems like my metaphor broke down at that point. To make it continue working, you'd have to imagine Merieke looking at her radar, notice herself drop off it, and wonder where she got herself to

What's better is to bring in the full rules interpretation. When I say that "Fiend of the Shadows is tracking an object," I'm really using an implicit shortcut -- I truly mean that an effect generated by one of the Fiend's abilities is tracking that object.

I apologize if my casual explanation caused you any confusion. My intention is always to simply by presenting things in an intuitive way -- never to obscure or mislead.
This is similar to how phasing will break a soulbond. There is a continous effect on the exiled card with cipher monitoring itself as well as the creature that was selected when the spell was originally cast. If it loses track of either object at any point, the card is no longer considered to be encoded.

No, it's very different.

Again, soulbond is a continuous effect created by the resolution of an ability. That effect may expire bacause it has a duration ("for as long as both remain creatures on the battlefield under your control"), and so 702.24e covers it.

Cipher's continuous effect is created by a static ability. It doesn't have a duration and it can't expire: if the card is in exile and the condition is true, then the effect is on, no matter what happened before. It's similar to how Archmage Ascension can apply, then stop applying when the condition stops being true, and then reapply again if the condition becomes true again. Rule 702.24e certainly doesn't apply to them.
Fiend of the Shadows has a triggered ability that sets up a permission as it resolves. That permission is not tied to the creature itself. It's just set up permanently. "Whenever... exile... card. You may look at and play that card for as long as it remains exiled."

This would be different if the card had two separate abilities, such as "Whenever this deals combat damage, exile the top card." and in a new paragraph, "You may look at and play cards exiled with this."

Fiend of the Shadows vs Nightveil Specter

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I'm more concerned with 702.97c, which describes how encoding works.

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.

Let's look at the board state when the encoded creature is phased out.

A) The card with cipher is still exiled.
B) The creature is not on the battlefield*

I don't think anyone would say that the card is encoded at this point. Now, let's see what happens when our creature phases back in.

A) The card with cipher is still exiled.
B) The creature is on the battlefield.

But has it "remained on the battlefield?" That depends on how we think. On the one hand, we can look at previous gamestates, see that there was a gamestate in which the creature wasn't around, and decide that it must not have remained on the battlefield the whole time. On the other, it's pretty clear that it never actually left.

I feel that the first explanation is the one more consistent with the way that the game normally works. After all, creatures can be attacking without ever having attacked. So what's stopping a creature from not existing** without ever leaving the battlefield?

*Well, it is, but it's treated as though it doesn't exist.
**At least, the rules are going to treat the object as though there was a break in its existence.
An effect with a specific duration ("as long as...") can't expire then suddenly begin to apply again. If it expires while the creature is phased out because the game can't verify that the condition is still true, then the condition becoming true again is not going to restart the duration. No other durational effect works that way. Encoding ends when a creature phases out, and then you just have an exiled card like any other.

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An effect with a specific duration ("as long as...") can't expire then suddenly begin to apply again. If it expires while the creature is phased out because the game can't verify that the condition is still true, then the condition becoming true again is not going to restart the duration. No other durational effect works that way. Encoding ends when a creature phases out, and then you just have an exiled card like any other.

The effect granting the creature the ability is generated by a static ability, so the condition becoming true will restart that effect.

The encoded part is not an effect. The rules say that it is just a term used to describe the relationship between the two cards. Phasing does not change that relationship. I do not think you can treat the term encoded like it is a continuous effect.
What static ability are you talking about? Cipher is a spell effect that exiles the card "encoded" (also known as linked) to a creature. It's the link that has a duration, which is what expires when the creature phases out because the game can't confirm the condition required for the duration still exists.


702.97a Cipher appears on some instants and sorceries. It represents two abilities. The first is a spell ability that functions while the spell with cipher is on the stack. The second is a static ability 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 the encoded 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.



It's the "encoded" part that expires, which negates the static ability which is granting the triggered ability to the creature.

Regardless, Eli has provided the answer that encoding ends when the creature phases out, and these two keywords are so unlikely to run into each other anyway that we've already devoted significantly more discussion than necessary to this topic. :P

Level 3 DCI Judge Mission Viejo, CA

It's the "encoded" part that expires, which negates the static ability which is granting the triggered ability to the creature.

You are using the rules for continuous effects to argue that the term encoded expires. Encoded is not a continuous effect. It is just a term like "the exiled card".

The relationship bewtween the cards did not change, so I would say that the relationship would still be described as encoded. That means the effect from the static ability ("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 the encoded card and you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost.'") would restart.
Do you feel the same way about Soulbond?

Sometimes, the answer is "This is how phasing interacts with [new keyword], because that's how we want it to work." Phasing is stupid, and has changed since it was printed, and it has never been clear or intuitive. They will never print phasing again.

The answer is that encoding ends, and it's not worth arguing over whether the rules are 100% clear on that fact. It doesn't matter whether "encoding" is a continuous effect or just something that acts like one. 

Level 3 DCI Judge Mission Viejo, CA

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