Vocabulary for dummies on card games


There are a number of words that are nearly universal in CCG’s. We’ll go over a couple in the assumption that you may never have played one before.

Aggro: A deck archetype that seeks to win the game early by doing as much damage as possible as quickly as possible; often through the use of inexpensive creatures and direct-damage spells.

Alpha Strike: To attack with all of your creatures, usually for Lethal.

Board: The playing field.

Board State: Static elements such as creatures and supports currently in play create the Board State. Provides a snap-shot of who is currently in control of the game. In a very simple scenario, a player with a single large creature out against an opponent with none is said to have a favorable board state.

Board Wipe / Sweeper / Wrath: Destroying all creatures at once through a spell or ability.

Bomb: A high-impact card that can win the game. Often a large creature or powerful spell.

Cantrip: A card that, generally speaking, has a small effect the added bonus of drawing a card.

Card Advantage: Card Advantage can simply be defined as generating more cards than the opponent, either through drawing, 2-for-1’s, and other methods.

CCG: Collectible Card Game

Control: A deck archetype that seeks to win the game by controlling the game with removal, permission, and card advantage. Wants the game to go late to play overwhelming spells and creatures. Quality > Quantity.

Evasion: A creature that can either break through the opponents defenses or are particularly hard to remove.

Face / SMOrc: To “go face” is to attack the player rather than his creatures.

Going Infinite: When a combo can potentially continue indefinitely.

Jank: A word generally used to describe something that’s precieved as being poor in quality, whether it’s a particular card or an entire deck. Usually used desparigingly or, in some amusing cases, bitterly.

Lethal: When you have enough virtual damage through a combination of spells, abiltiies, and creature power to kill your opponent in a given turn.

Meta Game: The game that is played before you play Elder Scrolls Legends. It’s when you choose a particular piece of tech, or decide what deck to play based on your perception of the format. You are “playing the meta game” when you decide to put in Healing Potion because you expect a lot of aggressive decks. Often erroneously used to describe the state of the game.

Mid-Range: A deck archetype that can shift gears from control to aggro based on the match-up. It usually favors powerful, effecient, creatures and spells in the 4-6 mana slots.

Mulligan: Originated in golf. Basically a do-over. In CCG’s, it refers to the act of drawing a new hand. In ESL in particular, you can choose to discard certain cards rather than the entire hand.

Netdeck: Copying popular decks without alteration.

Playset: When you have the maximum amount of a card that you can put into a deck. A playset in ESL is 3.

Ramp: Accelerating your resources so you can play more / expensive cards sooner than you would otherwise be able to.

Rogue Deck: A deck that does not conform to the meta or has hitherto been unseen. Rogue decks are often tailored to disrupt the preceived state of the format by using unexpected cards or strategies that other decks are not prepared for.

Scoop: To concede.

Slow Play / Slow Roll: The art of carefully playing in such a manner as to either lure your opponent into a trap or hang on to game ending cards while baiting out removal. Can also be applied to using as little cards as possible to harm your opponent, such as maintaining a superior board state but not overextending and husbanding resources.

Stack: Your deck.

Staples: Highly desirable cards that generally find a way into multiple decks, or are hallmarks of a particular attribute. (e.g. “House Kinsman is a Agility staple.”)

Swing: To attack with your creatures.

Tech: A card particularly chosen for its usefulness against a particular deck. Secret Tech is a card that was thought useless that disrupts the outcome of a match.

Tempo: An obscure concept that can be oversimplified to describing it as the person who is making plays rather than reacting to them is said to dictate the tempo of the match.

Tier 1: The highest echelon of deck rankings. Decks that are considered Tier 1 dominate the format and shape the way it is played.

Tier 2: Outlaying decks that can win games, but may have poor matchups against some of the more popular decks in the game. Often these decks are just waiting for a card or two to elevate them to Tier 1.

Top Deck: When a player utilizes a card he just drew to swing the game his way. (e.g. “I top-decked a Dawn’s Wrath and was able to stabalize before I died the next turn.”) When a player is reduced to no hand size and relies on what he draws he is known to be in “Top-Deck Mode”.

Trade: Effectively exchanging creatures with your opponent in the most effecient way possible in the hope of gaining incremental advantage.

Tutor / Fetch: An effect that allows you to seek out a specific card from your deck.

Vanilla: A creature with no special rules or keywords.

Win Condition: A specific card or combo that you expect to use to finish your game. These are often large creatures that are difficult to get rid of, or game ending combos (e.g. Going Infinite).

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