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This non-comprehensive list documents concepts that are subjective and continuously evolving. Entries may be missing or out of date.

Magic: The Gathering players have invented many new terms over the years the game has existed, covering a wide variety of aspects of the game, from deckbuilding to card mechanics. An (incomplete) list of these slang terms, abbreviations, and nicknames is listed here.

Current terms[ | ]

Note that this glossary is not a list of Magic: The Gathering "keywords". Most terms listed below are informal, player-created terms and are not truly a part of the game rules. For official game terms, please refer to the glossary found in the Comprehensive Rules.

0-9[ | ]

1v1[ | ]

One-versus-one, which means two players playing against each other; a two-player game.

2-for-1/1-for-2[ | ]

Shorthand for counting cards exchanged in any clear scenario, in terms of card advantage or disadvantage. Can be used as noun or verb. Depending on the context, any numbers can be substituted, usually when it's straightforward when a card is being used or traded. A 2-for-1 occurs when a player uses one card and the opponent uses/loses 2 cards. Removing a Reality Smasher, for example, forces a 2-for-1, since the opponent must discard an additional card to cast a removal spell that targets it. 1-for-2 is less used than "2-for-1-ing myself", such as if with Force of Will, and usually the opponent is given credit for achieving a 2-for-1.

A[ | ]

A[ | ]


Short for " Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised", it refers to the first sets in Magic's history, Alpha, Beta, Unlimited Edition, and Revised Edition.

Accel[ | ]

Short for 'acceleration', accel is the elements in a deck that help it gain access to mana faster than the standard one-per-turn rate. It generally refers to placing additional mana-producing permanents into play, but also refers to one-use spells that provide a temporary mana boost (e.g. Dark Ritual). The most famous category of acceleration cards are the Moxen and Black Lotus, which significantly increase the amount of mana available in the early turns of a game.

Used interchangeably with ramp.

Agency[ | ]

A player's feeling that they have some control over what's happening in their game.[2]

Aggro[ | ]

Short for 'aggressive', aggro is used to define a deck or archetype which is highly dependent on creature combat and aggressive attacks (also 'beatdown'). The aim is to develop an advantage in the game before the opponent. Usually, aggro decks have a low mana curve and try to overwhelm the opponent before they can build any board presence or stabilize.

Aggro-control[ | ]

A deck archetype that incorporates elements of both aggro and control decks. Aggro-control is similar to, and in many cases synonymous with, tempo.

Allied colors[ | ]

The five pairs of colors which are adjacent on the color wheel. The five Ravnican guilds associated with allied colors gave them names: Azorius ({W}/{U}), Dimir ({U}/{B}), Rakdos ({B}/{R}), Gruul ({R}/{G}) and Selesnya ({G}/{W}). These colors are ideologically similar to each other, although they differ in their approaches.

Alpha strike[ | ]

A final all-out attack for a lethal amount of damage, intended to win the game that turn.

Answer[ | ]

  • Noun: a card or series of plays which neutralizes a threat.
  • Verb: to play such a card.

Anthem effect[ | ]

Named after Glorious Anthem, any effect that buffs or pumps all a player's creatures.

Archetype[ | ]

  • A specific branch of very influential or competitive decks in a metagame. Deck archetypes tend to revolve around a particular card, combo, or strategy.
  • Any of the core strategy groups a deck can fall into. These are control, combo, or aggro (beatdown) (or some hybrid of these "pure" strategies).

Aristocrat[ | ]

As-fan[ | ]

How a booster pack looks like "as fanned", i.e. spread out across the table in a fan-like shape.[3] Typically used to describe the relative frequency of different types of cards or effects in a given set.

Attrition[ | ]

Playing a game as to constrain an opponent on cards, whether by one-to-one answers, card drawing, card discard, board sweepers, or invalidating particular classes of cards in deckbuilding. An opponent will eventually draw unusable cards (usually lands, termed flooding out) and lose when they can take no useful game actions. The central game plan of control decks, and occasionally the plan for midrange decks. Diametrically opposed to tempo, where one plays to constrain an opponent on life and mana.

Abzan[ | ]

Clan of Tarkir representing {W}/{B}/{G}. Now used as a wedge nickname for any White/Black/Green card or deck.

Azorius[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {W}/{U}. Now used as an allied color pair nickname for any White/Blue card or deck.

B[ | ]

B[ | ]

Bad beat story[ | ]

Complaining about losing a game, especially if the teller of the story is trying to shift the blame for their loss away from their own play mistakes to external factors like mana screw.

Bad cards[ | ]

Also known as Discriminator cards.[4] Weak cards are a fundamental part of the game. Richard Garfield has described Magic as a 'game of exploration.' Much of the fun of the game comes from players examining each new set to see what they can discover. Many players take great enjoyment in finding use of cards that others dismiss. R&D cannot make bad cards that are secretly good without also making bad cards that are actually bad.[5][6][7]

Bah-roken[ | ]

The superlative form of 'broken'.

Bait[ | ]

  • Noun: a card played with the expectation that the opponent will counter or destroy it, so that they will not be able to react to the next (presumably better) card played.
  • Verb: to play such a card.

Bank[ | ]

The collective list of items that are not found in hands, the battlefield, the graveyard, or the library, but still have a demonstrable effect on the game. For example, items in the bank include items in the command zone, poison counters, energy counters, experience counters, and cards that are temporarily in exile, such as suspended spells.

Bant[ | ]

Alara shard representing {U}/{W}/{G}. Now used to describe any Blue/White/Green card or deck.

Batching[ | ]

Both effects are usually used for the same purpose as seeding: to create more synergy between other cards and reduce the chance that a mechanic is parasitic.

Battle[ | ]

To attack, especially to attack with (a creature). “Battle into” can refer to potential blockers the opponent has, e.g. to “battle a 4/4 into their 2/2.”

Following March of the Machine, this may also refer to the battle permanent type.

Bear[ | ]

A 2/2 creature with no abilities that costs two mana, such as Grizzly Bears.[8] See also: Hate Bear, Hill Giant, Gray Ogre.

Beatdown[ | ]

One of the most popular terms in early tournament Magic, referring to a variety of things:

  • Verb: To attack with most or all creatures every turn, with no regard for card advantage, until the opponent is in range for an endgame hammer (such as Kaervek's Torch, Fireblast, or another direct damage spell). Often split in verb form: e.g. to "beat down for 5." This is frequently the action plan for an aggro deck.
  • Noun: Used as a description of a card or event. "Fireblast was such a beatdown; he was mana-screwed and I wrecked him, so the game was a beatdown."
  • Noun: The player under more pressure than their opponent to end the game quickly and who therefore must attack as much as possible is "on the beatdown." Failure to recognize "Who's the Beatdown?" is a common, fatal mistake for new players. The pressure comes from the opponent's likelihood of winning the game if they are able to stop the beatdown and stabilize. This is a relative determination, but the deck closer to the "aggro" end of the aggro/control spectrum is more likely to be on the beatdown.
  • Adjective: Ties in with the beatdown principles above: "beatdown deck," beatdown creature," etc.

Beater[ | ]

A creature that will deliver beats. Also usually implies that the creature has a decently large body but few relevant abilities.

Beating[ | ]

A very good play, usually either a blowout or a threat to which the opponent has no answer. Often implies that it was an unexpected or surprising play. Also shortened to "Ting".

Beats[ | ]

Repeated attacks by creatures or the damage done by those attacks.

Beatstick[ | ]

A creature that is effective to attack with. These are usually (but not necessarily) large creatures. Sometimes shortened to simply "stick".

Big[ | ]

  • Big (creature) – high power and toughness.
  • Big (deck) – higher mana curve (than another deck), thus presumably containing more impactful threats.

Big Butt[ | ]

Refers to a creature with high toughness relative to its power, making it ideal for defense. Examples are the 1/4 Horned Turtle and the 1/7 Kami of Old Stone. It is less common, but not unheard of, for a creature with high power and low toughness to be referred to as having a "small butt".

Bin[ | ]

  • Noun: the graveyard.
  • Verb: to put a card into the graveyard, especially from hand or from the library (see also mill).

Blinking[ | ]

Exiling a permanent, then returning it to the battlefield, as with Venser, the Sojourner. The term originally referred to Blinking Spirit's ability to return itself to the hand, and its usage declined along with the popularity of its namesake. It was reintroduced into the lexicon with Time Spiral's Momentary Blink.

Used interchangeably with flickering.

Blank[ | ]

A card that is not relevant in the current board state or cannot be cast; a useless card (especially in hand or being drawn).

Block Monster[ | ]

A Standard deck made up of cards all from the same Magic "year," usually connected to a single mechanic.[2]

Bloodlust[ | ]

A triggered ability that gives a creature a number of +1/+1 counters when dealing combat damage to a player. For example, Falkenrath Marauders has bloodlust 2 and Erdwal Ripper has bloodlust 1.

Blow up[ | ]

To destroy (a permanent, especially a land). Interchangeable with "explode" or "exploding".

Blowout[ | ]

A spell or line of play that is very good and punishes the opponent severely for a decision they made.

Bo1[ | ]

Best-of-one. A match consisting of only one game. In MTG Arena, this is called Arena Standard.

Bo3[ | ]

Best-of-three. A match consisting of three games. In MTG Arena, this is called traditional (e.g. "Traditional Play", "Traditional Ranked", "Traditional Draft").

Board[ | ]

The collection of permanents currently on the battlefield. Can refer to a specific player's permanents, or the entire battlefield as a whole, e.g. "There's a lot of creatures on the board."

Board presence[ | ]

The collection of permanents a particular player controls in play.

Board state[ | ]

The current situation or state of a game.

Board Wipe[ | ]

A spell that destroys, exiles, or otherwise neutralizes all creatures currently in play. Famous examples include Wrath of God and Jokulhaups. Also known as a board sweep (or sweeper) in some groups.

Some board wipes only affect some players instead of all of them; these are known as "asymmetrical" board wipes (e.g. Ruinous Ultimatum) and usually are significantly higher-cost than usual board wipes.

Body[ | ]

A creature's power and toughness. Also can refer to a creature itself (especially in the context of combat), usually implying that it is reasonable but not amazingly powerful.

Bolt[ | ]

To deal three damage to a target. Originated from Lightning Bolt.[9]

Bolt Test[ | ]

Another term for the Lightning Bolt Test.

Bolt bait[ | ]

A small, powerful creature which attracts removal spells (like Lightning Bolt). Usually refers to creatures so potentially dangerous that they are often killed or removed before they can affect the game. Hypnotic Specter and Birds of Paradise are classic examples of bolt bait.

Bomb[ | ]

A card powerful enough to change the course of the game on its own. Usually used in the context of limited formats, where drafting or opening a bomb greatly improves one's chances. This is largely due to the relative scarcity of quality removal and other answers in limited formats, compared to constructed.

Bombo[ | ]

  • A combo which seems to work, but upon further rules clarification is actually discovered to be invalid.[10]
  • A nonbo - a negative interaction between cards.[11]

Bonus Sheet[ | ]

A full print sheet, usually of reprints, that is added to a set in one or more specific slots in a booster pack.[2]

Boros[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {R}/{W}. Now used as an enemy color pair nickname for any Red/White card or deck, such as the Boros Bushwhacker deck[12] that was popular during Zendikar's time in Standard.

Bounce[ | ]

An effect or spell that returns a permanent to its owner's hand.[9]

Bread[ | ]

Acronym for Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro, Duds. A general guideline strategy for prioritizing picks and building a deck in limited formats.

Break[ | ]

Brewing[ | ]

To think about or design an original decklist or rogue deck. Sometimes refers to building decks in a format that is not well-defined, e.g. after a set rotation.

Brick[ | ]

  • Failing to draw a desired card during the draw step, or drawing an unwanted card. Usually used in situations where a specific card or card type is needed. E.g. "I bricked a land on turns two and three after keeping a one-land opener." One of several poker-derived terms, from when a drawn community card is unfavorable in Texas Hold 'Em.
  • In reference to brick counters, a mechanic from the Amonkhet block.

Broken[ | ]

A card that is overly powerful. Usually, if a player is playing the color(s) of a broken card, they can't afford to play without that card. The point at which a card is officially broken is of some debate within the Magic community; players frequently declare cards they hate to be broken, even if they're not. Likewise, it is frequently used sarcastically, e.g. "Carnival of Souls? Man, that's broken!" (or more precisely "Buh-ROKEN!").

Brown[ | ]

A deck comprised of or mainly of artifacts. Refers to the brown color of the artifact frame in older sets of Magic.

Build-around[ | ]

A card that encourages a player to build a deck around it.[2]

Burn[ | ]

Burn out[ | ]

To defeat an opponent using burn spells and abilities.

Butt-Breathing[ | ]

A creature ability that allows the creature to get a toughness boost for a certain amount of mana (usually white), multiple times in a turn. The term for this is similar to the enchantment aura Firebreathing but with the slang that toughness is referred to the creature's "butt". For instance, Tower Drake has butt-breathing: "{W}: Tower Drake gets +0/+1 until end of turn."

C[ | ]

C[ | ]

Design shorthand for colorless.[1]

Cameo mechanic[ | ]

A non-deciduous and non-evergreen mechanic that occurs on few cards in a set, often put in as a mechanical call-back to previous blocks, but without the density to be relevant in wider play. Occasionally, the mechanic is spelled out in rules text as an Easter egg and to save learning space for newer players. The name is derived from the film and television practice of known characters or actors making short appearances.

Cantrip[ | ]

A spell or ability that has "draw a card" tacked on as an additional effect, such as Cremate, Snakeform, or Wildsize.

Slowtrip[ | ]

A cantrip where the card is drawn at later time rather than immediately, such as Feral Instinct. All cantrips printed before Weatherlight had the wording "draw a card at the beginning of the next upkeep."

Capping[ | ]

Searching an opponent's library for specific cards and exiling them, preventing the opponent from using those cards later in the game. Originated from Jester's Cap, the first card with such an effect. This strategy is effective against combo decks which usually rely on one or two specific cards in order to win, and certain control decks which have a lot of control elements but very few win conditions. It is significantly less useful against most aggro decks, which usually don't rely on any specific card to win.

Card pool[ | ]

  • In a limited tournament, the set of cards a player has available to build a deck (in addition to basic land cards).
  • The total set of cards that exist in a game or format for players to use.

cEDH[ | ]

Competitive Elder Dragon Highlander. Essentially, cEDH is Commander where everyone plays with the best decks out there and tries as hard as possible to win. With the increasing power level of newer commanders and fewer competitive outlets, more and more people are getting into the format.

Cellar[ | ]

The bottom of the library.[13]

Chaff[ | ]

Unremarkable or worthless cards, unworthy of being part of a constructed deck. Very often used in the context of "draft chaff," where the 42-45 card pool has its useful cards stripped and the remainder left behind.

Characteristic creature type[ | ]

Each color has a characteristic creature type which is used to typically represent the color in any given set. Characteristic creatures show up many times per set and are found in all rarities, but especially at common. They are smaller humanoids that appear on more mundane cards, such as vanilla and French vanilla creatures. The characteristic creatures are:[3]

Chase rare[ | ]

A valuable rare card that is highly desirable.

Cheat out/in[ | ]

To play a card, typically with a large mana cost, without paying that mana cost or at a significantly reduced cost. This is commonly done with spells and abilities that put cards from the hand or graveyard on to the battlefield. Contrast with hardcast.

Cheerios[ | ]

0-cost spells, or a deck which plays a large number of these spells. The many 0's are reminiscent of the American brand of cereal, which consists of pulverized oats in the shape of a torus.

Cheese[ | ]

  • An early term used to describe any direct damage spell, or a deck that relied on direct damage spells to win. Early Red Goblin/Lightning Bolt/Fireball decks were called "Cheese and Weenies".
  • More recently: any tactic which hopes to avoid the opponent having the right response before it wins the game. Usually a tactic that shouldn't work, statistically speaking.

Choice[ | ]

  • High choice: the player is making decisions about that game element. Their input affects how it functions.[15]
  • Low choice: the player is not making decisions about the gameplay element. They don't have any input into what it's doing.[15]

Chonky[ | ]

A deck archetype with a higher mana curve (than another deck), thus presumably having more impactful threats (see Big).[16]

Chump-block[ | ]

A block made solely to preserve the blocking player's life total, where the blocking creature dies without killing the attacking creature.[9]

Clock[ | ]

A threat that will lead to victory over an opponent in a finite number of turns, thus giving the opponent a known time limit in which they must either win or answer the threat. For example, if a player is at 20 life and an unblockable creature with a power of 4 is played by their opponent, that player is said to be on a 5-turn clock.

Color bleed[ | ]

A situation where a card has an effect that is usually not found in its colors, such as Mana Tithe, a white counterspell.

Color screw[ | ]

A specific type of mana screw where a player, while perhaps having plenty of mana/acceleration, lacks the correct color to play certain spells. e.g. A player may have six Mountains, but lacks the Swamp they need to cast a Wrecking Ball.

Combo[ | ]

  • (noun) Short for "combination".
    • Card combination: Any combination of two or more cards which produces a beneficial effect, designed to gain an advantage over the opponent.[17][18][19]
    • One of the three basic archetypes along with aggro and control.
      • Combo deck: A deck or archetype which uses a combo as its victory condition. The deck is designed entirely for the purpose of setting up and protecting the combo.
  • (verb) to use the effects of multiple cards to create an advantage or game winning state. Also: "combo off"

Commune with[ | ]

A green naming convention that began with Commune with Nature for looking at the top few cards from one's library and taking one of a particular subset.[20]

Control[ | ]

Ways in which players use cards to control the flow of the game.[21]

  • Control card: Any card designed to help a player control cards in the game. Control cards might destroy an opponent's useful cards, keep an opponent from playing useful cards, or force the opponent to discard their cards before they can use them.
  • One of the three basic archetypes along with aggro and combo.
    • Control deck or archetype: A deck or archetype which attempts to gain a decisive advantage using control cards to hinder the opponent and protect its victory condition. A control deck makes sacrifices in speed in order to improve chances of playing past an opponent's defenses.
  • Part of a deck: The controlling elements in a deck.

Control Slaver[ | ]

A control deck designed to control all of the opponent's turns by recurring Mindslaver with a Goblin Welder.

Crack[ | ]

  • To open a booster pack or equivalent.
  • To sacrifice something for an effect. Most often said of fetch lands or artifacts. See also Pop.
  • To attack (usually used as "crack in").
  • Overpowered; very good or too good (as "cracked", compare and derived from "broken").

Crackback[ | ]

A counterattack following up another player's attack with most or all of their creatures. The damage that a player might receive "on the crackback" is an important factor in deciding whether they should attack or not.

Creatureball[ | ]

A creature with an X in its cost determining how big it's going to be. Mostly green. Named in analog to Fireball.[22]

Crimp[ | ]

Crimping is the rippled press at the top and bottom of each booster pack to press it closed. A crimped card was misaligned and got caught in the press.[23] Crimps can happen on the top or bottom of a card. While crimps are a little less common than miscuts, they're usually desired less by collectors.

Cubing[ | ]

Playing Cube Draft.

Curiosity[ | ]

A saboteur ability that draws a card.[3] Named for Curiosity, an Aura granting this effect.

Curve[ | ]

  • See mana curve.
  • The notional mean power level of cards. The power level of a card can be judged by players as being "above," "on," or "below" the curve. For example, the power and toughness of creatures with mana value 2 is traditionally 2/2. A 2/2 creature with mana value 2 is considered on the curve, while a 3/3 of the same cost would be above the curve and a 1/1 creature would be below the curve. Often, but not always, creatures that are above or below the curve have a corresponding drawback or ability to balance the card.

Curve out[ | ]

To cast a series of spells “on-curve.” For example, a 2-mana card on turn 2, a 3-mana card on turn 3, and a 4-mana card on turn 4. See mana curve.

Cut[ | ]

To remove a card from one's deck. Alternatively, a card that “makes the cut” is included in a deck, especially at the time it was built, although often just barely.

D[ | ]

Damage race[ | ]

A damage race (or simply a race) occurs when neither player is able to take firm control of the game. Their only course of action is to try to win the game before the other's creatures strike the finishing blow. Races are most often driven by one or both players having creatures with evasion (flying, "can't be blocked", etc.).[24]

Daunt[ | ]

A design term for the creature ability, "Can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less."[25]

Dead card[ | ]

A card in hand that is irrelevant or unplayable. This may also be expressed with the phrase dead draw if the card was just drawn from the deck.

Dead on Board[ | ]

A game state where both players know, based on the state of the battlefield and other public information, that one player will lose the game without the further commitment of resources.

"I'm at 4 life and I only have one blocker. If I don't draw a creature this turn, I'm dead on board to my opponent's alpha strike."

Deciduous[ | ]

Mechanics that are not evergreen, but may show up from time to time in a set that needs it. It's a tool in R&D's toolbox that they're allowed to use, but it's not something they expect to use in every set.[3][26] Deciduous mechanics are protection, hybrid mana, split cards, Treasures, and double-faced cards.[27] Colored artifacts, Curses, Vehicles, and Sagas[28] are also considered to be deciduous.

Decking[ | ]

To run a player's library out of cards, thus causing them to lose the game for being unable to draw cards when required to do so (see winning and losing). The original method of doing this involved the card Millstone, and is therefore also commonly known as milling (see mill) - typically "decked" or "decking" is used when the last cards are removed.

Deck thinning[ | ]

Reducing the size of one's deck to increase the chances of drawing needed cards. This can occur during deckbuilding (when deciding what cards go in or out of the deck) or during a game itself, by taking some action that moves cards out of the library. For instance, fetch lands thin a player's deck by removing lands from the library.

Devil's Deal[ | ]

Permanents that start out helping a player, but that may end up hurting them in the end. Primary in black, as it is the color of "power at any cost."

Digging[ | ]

Looking for a specific card(s) in the deck for the current matchup or situation, primarily through the use of draw effects, looting effects, or looking at/revealing a number of cards from the top of the deck.

Dimir[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {U}/{B}. Now used as an allied color pair nickname for any Blue/Black card or deck.

Discard outlet[ | ]

An ability that allows a player to discard cards at any time, often without paying a mana cost. This allows the cards to be used while in the graveyard and triggers madness effects.

Disintegrate[ | ]

"If that creature would die this turn, exile it instead." Named after Disintegrate.[29]

Disruption[ | ]

Cards that try to impede opponents' plays or get in the way of their strategy. Usually, this refers to hand disruption, like discard spells. However, counterspells or removal, for example, can also disrupt a combo.

Dog[ | ]

Short for “underdog.” A deck (or player) that is not favored to win a certain matchup.

Dome[ | ]

  • (verb) To deal direct damage to target player.
  • (noun) A player being targeted by direct damage (as in the expression "to go to the dome").

Dork[ | ]

A creature with unimpressive combat stats, to the point that players tend not to use them in combat at all. Commonly used to refer to utility creatures which have some other relevant ability. For example, mana dorks, like Llanowar Elves, tap for mana.

Drain[ | ]

A card that causes an opponent to take damage or lose life, while its controller gains life. Originated from Drain Life.

Draw Engine[ | ]

A card or small group of cards that allows the controller to draw more cards than usual in a turn, to create or keep up with card advantage in the game. Often used in the context of the components and strategy of a deck.

Draw-Go[ | ]

  • A type of control deck that, because of its reactive nature, often plays no spells on its own turns. So named due to the control player's turns consisting of drawing a card and passing the turn by saying "go".
  • A stagnating period of gameplay in which each player simply draws a card and passes the turn. A draw-go situation can occur because each player is waiting for the other to make the first move, or when neither player has a beneficial spell to play and controls no important cards on the table. E.g. "We played draw-go for several turns until I found a creature."

Draw Hate[ | ]

A player draws hate when they are targeted by their opponents due to the power of their deck or a specific play. Usually used in the context of EDH.

Drop[ | ]

  • A permanent which can be played without major strategic consideration. Usually used in the context of "2-drop", "3-drop" etc., referring to the turn when a permanent can first be played, which is usually equal to its mana value.
  • See land drop.
  • A part of the Secret Lair Drop Series (see also Superdrop).
  • To willingly leave an organized event before its conclusion.

Duals/Dual lands[ | ]

Any lands that produce two colors of mana, especially the original cycle of double-typed lands (Tundra, Underground Sea, Badlands, etc.).

Dud[ | ]

A card that is generally not worth playing, either because its mana cost is too high for whatever benefit it gives, or because the benefit it gives isn't particularly advantageous. Also Dreg or Dirt.

Dude[ | ]

A creature. Used more often when describing token creatures.

Dude Ranch[ | ]

Nickname for Kjeldoran Outpost, but can also refer to any land capable of creating creature tokens every turn.

Duel[ | ]

In the early days of Magic, each game was called a duel (cf. Duel Decks).

Durdle[ | ]

Taking game actions that do not have a visible effect on the board state or do not lead directly toward killing one's opponent; taking game actions that "do nothing."[30] The purpose of durdling is generally to improve one's in-hand card quantity or quality. Durdling is a common feature of defensive decks.

"Dude, you're playing Boros, why all the durdle? Just burn her dudes and swing."

E[ | ]

E[ | ]

Design shorthand for Energy.[1]

Eat[ | ]

  • To block a small creature with a larger one so that only the attacking creature dies.
  • Of a creature, to cause another creature to be sacrificed; "My Thallid Omnivore eats my Saproling."
  • Of a creature, to die to a removal spell preventing that spell from being used elsewhere; "My elf ate a Lightning Bolt, which is as much value as I could have hoped to get out of it."

Edict[ | ]

Cards like Chainer's Edict, Cruel Edict, etc. which force a player(s) to sacrifice a creature.

Eggs[ | ]

Cheap artifacts that can be cracked to get mana and/or draw cards. Almost always seen in the context of Second Sunrise decks like Stanislav Cifka's winning deck from Pro Tour Return to Ravnica.[31]

Derived from the Odyssey "egg" cycle (Skycloud Egg, Darkwater Egg, Shadowblood Egg, Mossfire Egg, Sungrass Egg).

EDH[ | ]

Shortened form of Elder Dragon Highlander, the old name of the Commander format before it was officially recognized by Wizards of the Coast. See also Highlander.

Emergency Valve[ | ]

A card that is meant to be a hoser to a specific set or mechanic, in case the mechanic is too strong as if the card was a "valve" for a "hose" meant to be used in emergencies. For example, Grafdigger's Cage is a hoser made in case graveyard-based effects in the original Innistrad block were too strong. Many color hoser cards are designed to be used in case a specific color or deck becomes too strong, the idea being that such a card will not be included in the main deck, but can be swapped in from the sideboard for specific matchups, such as Knockout Blow.

Enabler[ | ]

  1. A card that helps facilitate a certain mechanic or strategy.[2]
  2. In the context of Limited archetypes, they are typically two-colored cards that help make the archetype work, such as how Form a Posse creates multiple Mercenary Tokens for the Mercenaries Aggro draft archetype ({R}{W}) in Outlaws of Thunder Junction.[32]

Enemy colors[ | ]

The five pairs of colors opposite on the color wheel from one another. The five Ravnican guilds associated with enemy colors gave them names: Orzhov ({W}/{B}), Golgari ({B}/{G}), Simic ({G}/{U}), Izzet ({U}/{R}) and Boros ({R}/{W}). These colors are ideologically opposed to each other, although they still have things in common.

Engine[ | ]

A card or combination of cards that produce a powerful (and often repeatable) effect that does not win the game on its own, but is effective in “powering” other strategies. An engine often converts one resource into another. For example, Channel converts life into mana, Mind Over Matter converts cards in hand to untaps of permanents, Skullclamp converts small creatures into cards in hand, and so on. Engines often form the heart of combos and are often restricted in tournaments due to being too effective.

EOT[ | ]

End of turn.

Esper[ | ]

Alara shard representing {U}/{W}/{B}. Now used to describe any Blue/White/Black card or deck.

ETB[ | ]

Short for "enters the battlefield", used to refer to a variety of abilities which trigger when a creature enters the battlefield. Before M10, this was "comes into play" or CIP, and following Bloomburrow in 2024, this is reduced to "enters."

Errata'd[ | ]

Named after the official document errata, the past verb of modifying of cards or mechanics due to rules quirks or evolving language. In common language, the term should simply be "corrected", but has developed as a verb by the community.

ETBT[ | ]

Shorthand for "enters the battlefield tapped", a common drawback on nonbasic lands. Sometimes pronounced "itty bitty". Before M10, this was "comes into play tapped" or CIPT.[3]

EV[ | ]

Expected value, a statistical acronym from poker. The calculated mean of profit for a given action, taking all probabilities in account. Can be applied to events by calculating prizes and entry fees against the number of players, or packs by calculating average prices of cards. Can also be more casually for card evaluation or deckbuilding, but these are often done in jest as the equations would be supercomputer-level-complexity.

Evasion[ | ]

Any ability of a creature that improves its chances of damaging the defending player by restricting which creatures can block it (if any), like flying, landwalk or "can't be blocked".

Explode[ | ]

To destroy (usually one or more permanents). Used interchangeably with "blow up." "I cast Armageddon. Everyone's lands get exploded."

F[ | ]

F6[ | ]

Passing priority until the end of turn. Born from Magic Online's shortcut key for this action.

Face[ | ]

The opponent, in the context of targeting a spell or ability "to the face." Also dome.

Faction[ | ]

A mechanically and flavorfully distinct group of cards within a set, interacting with other groups within that set (e.g. Ravnican guilds).[33]

Fade[ | ]

  • To dodge the opponent potentially having or drawing a specific card that will win them the game, heavily disrupt one's plans, or otherwise swing the game in favor of the opponent ("I need to fade their fourth copy of Cryptic Command this turn to have any chance of winning"). Frequently used late-game or when one or both players are in topdecking situations. Another poker term ported into Magic.
  • In reference to the fading mechanic and/or its associated fade counters.

Fast land[ | ]

A dual land that enters the battlefield untapped if the player controls a low number of other lands.

Fast mana[ | ]

Any effect that gives the user more than one mana greater than the mana they untapped with at the beginning of their turn. It may refer to the powerful mana artifacts like the moxen, two-mana lands like Ancient Tomb, or single-ability effects that generate more mana than spent, such as Seething Song. Generally avoided in recent times due to the density of effects making larger formats more combo-focused; was in primary red and secondary in black and green before its effective retirement. See also ritual.

Fatty[ | ]

A large (usually 4/4 or 5/3 or greater) creature, generally offensive in nature.[34] A fatty is the opposite of a weenie.[35]

Fat Pants[ | ]

A creature enchantment or equipment that increases the creature's toughness more than it increases its power. Originates from the card Hero's Resolve (aka Heroic Pants), which gives the enchanted creature +1 power but +5 toughness.

Fetch[ | ]

  • Noun - A fetch land.
  • Verb - To use a fetch land's ability and sacrifice it to find another land.
    • Similarly, "fetchable" lands are lands that can be searched with fetch lands. The design of fetchlands tends to refer to nonbasic lands with basic land types.
  • Verb - To tutor up a card; searching the deck for a card and putting it into the hand. Also "tutor."

FBB[ | ]

Foreign Black-bordered. Usually referring to the first printing of an older core set in a non-English language.

Finisher[ | ]

A card capable of winning or “finishing” the game outright.

Firebreathing[ | ]

A creature ability that allows the creature to get a power boost for a certain amount of mana (usually red), multiple times in a turn. The ability was first seen on the Alpha set's Shivan Dragon, which had the basic form of the ability "{R}: Shivan Dragon gets +1/+0 until end of turn". The name comes from the aura Firebreathing, which grants any creature the ability. The concept is that the red mana (fire) turns into a power boost (the fire hurts the creature's enemy more).

Fire Up[ | ]

Temporarily turning a noncreature permanent, such as a manland or a vehicle, into a creature.

"I'll move to combat, fire up Mutavault, and attack for 2."

Fish[ | ]

Merfolk, or a deck using the Merfolk typal as its core.

Fizzle[ | ]

When a spell or ability fails to resolve and leaves the stack due to an illegal target(s), or that otherwise resolves without doing anything.

Fixing[ | ]

  1. Short for mana fixing, as in "to fix one's mana."
  2. The process used by Wizards of the Coast to create less powerful versions of older, popular, but broken (overpowered) cards. For example Shock is considered a fixed version of Lightning Bolt.

Flickering[ | ]

Exiling a permanent, then returning it to the battlefield, as with Ghostly Flicker or Flickerwisp. Originated with Urza's Destiny's Flicker. Used interchangeably with blinking; attempts have been made to differentiate between returning immediately or at the end of a turn, but as spells with Flicker in the name have used both styles, it is still in progress.

Flipwalker[ | ]

A double-faced card with a (legendary) creature that transforms into a planeswalker.[36]

Floating[ | ]

Refers to a player's unspent mana, especially after that player has just played a spell or ability. Usually, a player will only tap as much mana as required by the particular spell or ability they wish to play, and only when they wish to play it. However, in various situations, a player may leave some amount of mana in their mana pool. Before the rule changes, this caused players to undergo mana burn upon losing unspent mana.

The most common situation in which this occurs is when a player is using a recurring loop of spells or abilities to produce an arbitrarily large amount of mana. Each iteration of the loop produces extra mana, which is left floating until the player has acquired enough excess mana to achieve their desired end. A play might also do this in cases where they will cast a spell to destroy all lands by making sure they have tapped all the mana from their lands first before casting it.

The rules require a player who has mana in their mana pool after spending some, or when passing priority, to announce what mana is left. This is usually accomplished with a set of dice or a notepad.

Flunge[ | ]

To alpha strike without doing combat math. Named by LoadingReadyRun.

FNM[ | ]

Abbreviated form of Friday Night Magic.

French vanilla[ | ]

A creature that only has an evergreen keyword ability.[37]

FTW[ | ]

For The Win. Often declared as "X for the win" where X is the card that wins the game (directly or indirectly). The worse the card, the more likely the phrase will be used. "Chimney Imp for the win!!"

FWB[ | ]

Foreign white-bordered. The regular printing of a core set in a non-English language.

G[ | ]

G[ | ]

Design shorthand for Green.[1]

Gas[ | ]

Cards that you would like to draw, that are relevant, or that “fuel” your game plan. Generally, non-land cards. "This hand is nothing but gas!" Conversely, when you're at the end of the game and are low on resources, you've run out of gas.

Gauntlet[ | ]

A group of decks that are expected in a metagame or top decks to playtest against. "Running the Gauntlet" usually means playing an event where a lot of top decks will be played.

Geddon[ | ]

An effect that blows up all lands (or at least a lot of them). A shortened form of Armageddon.

GG[ | ]

Abbreviation for "Good Game." Also said as "geeg" in a more sarcastic form.

“Gingerbrute ability”[ | ]

R&D slang for “can only be blocked by creatures with haste”.[38]

Glass cannon[ | ]

A deck with high potential, but easily disrupted. Glass cannons are usually combo decks such as All-In Red and Elf-Ball.

Glue[ | ]

Cards or mechanics that allow the player to have cards that work in different typals or lets the player play typals together.[39] It keeps the typals from being siloed. A glue example is changelings in Kaldheim.[40]

Go big[ | ]

To invest some resource (mana is common, but it can be cards in hand or the graveyard, or simply a particular card sequence) to create an effect that is too large for the turn it is cast.[41]

Go deep[ | ]

To play a strategy that is exceptionally ambitious, unlikely, and/or high-risk high-reward. Used primarily when discussing Limited formats. "You're playing seven copies of Foundry Street Denizen?" "Yeah, I went really deep in this draft."

Go off[ | ]

When a combo player does their (usually game-winning) combo.

Go over[ | ]

  1. To be able to have a more powerful strategy than the opponent, so when both decks operate to their full capacity, yours wins. Strategically puts the onus on the opponent to interact rather than race.
  2. Attacking with flying creatures, which “fly over” your opponent's non-flying defenders.

Go tall[ | ]

  1. A creature-based strategy to overwhelm the opponent by attacking with a small number of large creatures. These creatures often outclass or evade the opponent's creatures.
  2. Strategy where things get stronger over time, e.g. green putting a lot of +1/+1 counters on its creatures.

Go wide[ | ]

A creature-based strategy, often making use of tokens, to overwhelm the opponent by attacking with a huge number of small creatures, rather than a few very large creatures (which might be called going 'tall').

God[ | ]

For the creature type, see God.
  1. Optimal, as in "God hand" or "God draw", the best a player could have. E.g. "With a God hand, this deck can pull off a turn three win." The best possible hand is also called "the nuts" or a "nut draw".
  2. One of the God cards from Theros block: legendary enchantment creatures with the subtype God that have indestructible, an ability that makes them not a creature unless you have enough board presence of their color(s), and some other enchantment-like abilities.

God pack[ | ]

  1. A booster pack that contains more rares than may be expected.
  2. An exceptionally rare pack from Journey into Nyx containing all fifteen Theros Gods.[42]
Goodstuff[ | ]

Also known as "Goodstuff.dek" in online variants of magic. "Goodstuff" refers to a deck that is usually built by including the "best" cards in a single deck. "Delver" decks in Eternal formats are a common example of a Goodstuff deck.

Goldfishing[ | ]

Playing without an opponent by drawing a starting hand and proceeding to play until a hypothetical opponent who does nothing is defeated. Used in basic initial deck testing.

Golgari[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {B}/{G}. Now used as an enemy color pair nickname for any Black/Green card or deck.

Gravy train[ | ]

Within the world of professional Magic, "being on the gravy train" means being qualified for all the Pro Tours. This typically means being a Gold- or Platinum-level pro in the Pro Players Club. Can also refer to Grave Titan.

Gray Ogre[ | ]

Any 2/2 creature with no abilities that costs three mana. Comes from Gray Ogre. See also: Bear, Hill Giant.

Griefer[ | ]

A player who enjoys another player's misery, tormenting their opponent by playing land destruction, countering all of their spells, or playing a deck that wins before the opponent can get off the ground. Also a card that furthers that goal.[43][44][45]

Grinder[ | ]

Someone who plays game after game after game in order to get qualifying points, esp. at mid-level tournaments like PTQ's.

Grindy[ | ]

In Limited play especially, attempting to win through card advantage and attrition. It can also refer to formats where players amass large board states with no incentive or good ways to attack others.

Grip[ | ]

A hand of cards. A player with seven cards in hand is said to have a "full grip".

Grixis[ | ]

Alara shard representing {U}/{R}/{B}. Now used to describe any Blue/Red/Black card or deck.

Ground pounder[ | ]

A creature with a decently large body but without evasion or many relevant abilities.

Group Hug[ | ]

A strategy in multiplayer games based on helping the opponents with effects like Howling Mine or Heartbeat of Spring. A similar strategy known as Bear Hug helps opponents in a way that will ultimately harm them or provide them with an advantage.

Group slug[ | ]

A play on "group hug", a group slug is a multiplayer archetype involving shared pain, usually in the form of direct damage, life loss, or sacrifice. It typically involves permanents with triggered abilities that deal damage to opponents. Group slug decks are most often red or black.

Gruul[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {R}/{G}. Now used as an allied color pair nickname for any Red/Green card or deck.

H[ | ]

H[ | ]

Hack[ | ]

To change the type of a card, as with Magical Hack.

Hard cast / Hardcasting[ | ]

Hardcasting, or "paying retail", describes playing a spell by paying its mana cost instead of using an alternative cost or other ability. For example, casting a pitch spell for its mana cost rather than its alternative cost.

Hard counter[ | ]

A counterspell which counters any spell unconditionally, like Cancel. The opposite would be a soft counter, which can't counter a spell all the time, such as Mana Leak.

Hard removal[ | ]

A removal effect that directly removes the target (usually a creature) as opposed to e.g. dealing an amount of damage to it or rendering it unusable.

Hate[ | ]

  1. "X hate", "hate for X". Altering the composition of one's deck not to make it generally better, but to try to lower the effective power of an opponent's powerful card or deck.[3][47][48] For example, in Vintage, blue cards and artifacts are considered to be considerably more powerful than other cards, and decks often include hate for blue or artifacts. See also: Metagame, Splash damage.
  2. Hate card. A card that seeks to inhibit the effectiveness or power level of another card or strategy. These cards help to balance the metagame in the event that one card or strategy has become too dominant.
  3. Hate draft, hate pick. In a draft, a hate draft is a card that a player picks solely to deprive someone else of the opportunity to use it, rather than intending to use the card themself.[49]
Hate Bear[ | ]

A hate card that is also a Bear, such as Leonin Arbiter or Ash Zealot.[50]

Heater[ | ]

Taken from the vernacular of poker, a "heater" is when everything is going right; a lucky streak.

Heft[ | ]

R&D nickname for a word representing combined power and toughness of a creature.[51]

Hellbent[ | ]

Having no cards in hand. Originated from the hellbent mechanic.

High flying[ | ]

A creature with flying that can only block creatures that also have flying, such as Cloud Djinn. Generally, a creature with high flying costs less than an otherwise-equivalent creature with flying.[3]

Highlander[ | ]

A casual format in which, excluding basic lands, there can be no two cards with the same name in the deck. The term has its origins in the catchphrase of the movie Highlander: "There can be only one". This format goes by the name "Singleton" in the official Wizards of the Coast communications and advertising even though the format is almost exclusively referred to as Highlander by players. This is most likely to avoid any trademark issues that might arise. An ancestor of the now more popular Commander.

Hill Giant[ | ]

Any 3/3 creature with no abilities that costs four mana. Comes from Hill Giant. See also: Bear, Gray Ogre.[52]

Hit[ | ]

To deal damage (by attacking with a creature).

Hold up[ | ]

To keep resources needed to take a game action available, sometimes at the expense of taking other actions. A fairly common example is when a control player chooses not to cast a spell they could have, and instead passes the turn "holding up" mana in order to be able to counter a spell on their opponent's turn. " "He was holding up two blue, so I had to play around Counterspell."

Hoser[ | ]

A card, deck, or style of play that is extremely powerful against another certain deck or archetype. E.g. Wrath of God "hoses" or is a hoser of creature-based decks. See also: Hate.

House[ | ]

A card that is extremely powerful.

I[ | ]

Iconic creature type[ | ]

Each color has an iconic, or marquee, creature type which is well known as the creature representative of everything the color embodies. Iconic creatures show up only a few times per set (and many times only once).[3] They are almost exclusively rare or mythic rare and show up on splashable cards.[53][54] The current iconic creature types are:[55]

Imprisoning[ | ]

To stop a creature from blocking and attacking.

Impulse draw[ | ]

An effect that exiles cards from the top of your library and lets you play them on that turn only, such as Act on Impulse.

Impulsing[ | ]

Not to be confused with impulse draw.[56] Effects that make you look at the top N cards of your library and put a card of a certain type in your hand. Named after Impulse.[57]

In the air[ | ]

When attacking, combat damage dealt by creatures with flying. See also on the ground.

Inevitability[ | ]

In a given matchup, the deck with inevitability is the one that becomes more and more likely to win as the game continues. While still a theoretical science, inevitability can go to the deck with more threats, a better late game, an unstoppable trump card, or the deck that simply has more cards in its library to prevent decking.[58]

Inflatable[ | ]

See Pumpable.

Instantment[ | ]

An enchantment with flash. Mirage and Visions both contained spells of this sort, as did Mercadian Masques, Theros Beyond Death, and Prophecy.[59]

Izzet[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {U}/{R}. Now used as an enemy color pair nickname for any Blue/Red card or deck.

J[ | ]

Jam[ | ]

  1. To play a spell confidently or enthusiastically. Often implies that a blowout is possible, but the caster of the spell has weighed the odds and decided that it is the right play. Also to pick a card in a draft under similar conditions.
  2. To attack, usually with all your creatures (or team as in "Jam with the team").

Jank[ | ]

A card or deck that does not appear to be very good, often with regards to consistency. Also: a janky card.[9]

Jacetice League[ | ]

Derogatory term for the period of time where the main story of the game revolved around a group of planeswalkers led by Jace Beleren and Gideon Jura, formally known as the Gatewatch.[60] Previously used due to a perceived overuse of Jace and the rest of The Gatewatch in the storyline from Magic Origins til Hour of Devastation, being also in a cultural time period where superhero adaptations (and subsequent crossover team-ups) were prevalent. The term lessened in usage when the Gatewatch was soundly defeated in Hour of Devastation, and the group's importance in the story diminished greatly after War of the Spark. Derived from "Justice League".

Jeskai[ | ]

Clan of Tarkir representing {U}/{R}/{W}. Now used as a wedge nickname for any Blue/Red/White card or deck.

Jund[ | ]

Alara shard representing {B}/{R}/{G}. Now used to describe any Black/Red/Green card or deck.

Junk Rare[ | ]

A rare card that is considered to be of little or no value, and is quite cheap as a result. Examples include Dismiss into Dream and One with Nothing.

K[ | ]

Karnstruct[ | ]

A 0/0 colorless Construct artifact creature token with “This creature gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control.” Named for Karn, Scion of Urza, the first card to make such tokens. This nickname persisted because all of the next five cards to make such a token were associated with Urza, Karn's creator.

Keeper[ | ]

  1. A deck built to abuse the most powerful cards in Vintage.
  2. A favorable initial hand of cards.

Kitchen table[ | ]

A casual play environment, often without clear formats. The name stems from the idea that it's players playing magic with what they have "on the kitchen table". The opposite of tournament play, kitchen table or “cards I own” is also the most popular way to play the game.[61]

Knobbiness, knobby[ | ]

The versatility of a mechanic. A knob is a variable that Play Design can adjust to balance a card. The more variables, the knobbier the mechanic is and the greater chance play design can balance it.[62][2]

L[ | ]

L[ | ]

Design shorthand for Land.[1]

Land drop[ | ]

The one land you can play every turn, as opposed to any other lands you may be able to get onto the battlefield. See also drop, curve.

Landfall[ | ]

Triggered ability that occurs whenever a land enters the battlefield, named after the Landfall mechanic. For example, Evolution Sage or Tireless Tracker.

Landstill[ | ]

A deck featuring Standstill and manlands.

LD[ | ]

Land destruction — a viable but unpopular strategy for victory in which a player uses spells and abilities to destroy an opponent's land, making it impossible for them to play any spells.

Life swing[ | ]

A measure of a player's damage to the opponent plus any life gained in the same turn. A metric usually only used in racing situations, as both player's life totals are under stress, or in a single impactful combat that changes the tempo of the game.

Lightning Bolt Test[ | ]

AKA Bolt Test - A relatively simple test that measures the viability of a creature through whether or not it dies at a tactical loss to the one-mana removal spell Lightning Bolt, relevant in Modern and Legacy. Not necessarily definitive, but is a general starting point. While Fatal Push is another benchmark, Lightning Bolt is more pertinent due to being usable in all archetypes, while Fatal Push has been limited to midrange.

Legs[ | ]

Refers to a creature or other permanent that has an ability that a non-permanent card can produce. For example: Spore Frog is a "Fog with legs".

Lenticular[ | ]

Cards that appear on their surface to be very simple, but once you understand more about how to use them, they become more complex. The term comes from a technique, sometimes used on trading cards, where multiple images are stuck on a card with a system that allows you to see different pictures as you tilt the card.[63] Force of Will, Brainstorm, and even fetch lands can all fall into this category.

Lethal[ | ]

Opportunity to deal enough damage to deplete the opponent's life to 0. "Swinging for lethal" refers to attacking with enough creatures to win the game.

Lobotomy[ | ]

A spell or effect that allows a player to search a zone - particularly a player's library - for specific cards and exile them. So-called since the first card printed with this effect was Lobotomy; other more recent examples include Surgical Extraction, Lost Legacy. and Slaughter Games.

Lock, lockdown[ | ]

During a match, a period where a player, through card interactions, has made it difficult or impossible for the opponent to mount an effective defense. "Breaking out" of a lockdown takes skill and luck, but often an effective lockdown will allow the lockdown player to secure victory before the other player can break out. In many tournament communities, decks are built with the tools to break out of locks, reducing the effectiveness of most lockdown cards. As a result, some decks specialize in lockdown strategies and use an arsenal of locks in order to form an exceptionally strong lockdown, followed by a swift victory.

Loose[ | ]

  1. Loose play: a play that could have had a bad result. Often, it implies a mistake or incorrect play which could have been bad but wasn't.
  2. Loose deck: a risky, inconsistent deck.

Loot[ | ]

The action of drawing then discarding a card. Originated from Merfolk Looter.

Lucksack[ | ]

A consistently lucky person, usually used with a slightly resentful tone, i.e., "He is such a lucksack, that Wrath of God won him the game!" Also can be used in verb form, i.e., "He lucksacked into that Corrupt!"

Lucky charms[ | ]

Cycles of artifacts that let you gain 1 life when you cast a spell of a certain color.[64]

M[ | ]

M[ | ]

R&D lingo for a mana symbol of a specific, arbitrary color.[1] Additionally, N and O are used for a second and third color in multicolored card costs. Commonly used for discussing cycles. See also WUBRG. Usage:

Before Oath of the Gatewatch, the letter "C" was used, in the context of "CDE". Now "C" is used for {C}, colorless mana.

Maindeck[ | ]

To include a card in your starting deck. Most often used in reference to cards that are usually placed in the sideboard, but for various metagame reasons are desirable to have in the first game of a match. For example, one might maindeck Hurkyl's Recall to have an advantage if artifact decks are prevalent in the metagame.

Magical Christmasland[ | ]

A theoretical situation where a deck or combo goes as hoped, such as a situation where your deck has no disruption or a perfect opening hand. Usually a derogatory statement to refer to a highly unlikely event, such as someone being able to win the game on turn one with a specific hand.

Manland, man land[ | ]

A land that can change into a creature. The most famous of these is Mishra's Factory from the Antiquities expansion, but may have been supplanted by Mutavault from recency bias.

Mana curve[ | ]

The distribution of mana values of spells in a deck. A deck is said to have a low curve if it has mostly cheap spells, or a high curve if it has more expensive cards. The top of the curve (or "top end") is the most expensive card(s) in your deck. A card is said to be "played on curve" if it is played as early as you could intend to cast it (usually on the turn corresponding to its mana value). A well-designed curve makes it likely that the first series of turns will have cards to play on curve, maximizing its tempo advantages and known as "curving out".

Mana dork[ | ]

A low-cost creature such as Llanowar Elves, Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch that produces mana. Variant of dork.

Mana fixing[ | ]

An effect that helps you avoid color screw by helping you get the correct colors of mana to cast your spells. Dual lands are a common example.

Mana flood[ | ]

During a match, a situation where a player draws too many land cards and/or acceleration cards, resulting in too much available mana and too few useful spells.

Mana optimization[ | ]

A theory that is the basis for the mana curve. Mana optimization theory states that a player who best uses the mana available to them in every turn will win the game. Its most basic level applies to the player who uses the most mana in a turn, e.g. a player who spends 5 mana in a turn will be able to do more and more powerful things than a player with only 3 mana available. Conversely, the player who spends fewer resources to produce the same effect will have greater mana optimization.

Mana rock[ | ]

An artifact that taps for mana, such as Manalith, Fellwar Stone, or Dimir Signet. See Mana stone.

Mana sink[ | ]

A card that provides an opportunity to spend excess mana on.[2] They usually are activated abilities and thus can be used turn after turn. Examples are Sacred Mesa ({W}), Sphinx of Magosi ({U}), Pestilence ({B}), Dragon Roost ({R}) and Centaur Glade ({G}).

Mana screw[ | ]

Having too little mana, too much mana, or the wrong color(s) of mana.

  1. When a player doesn't draw enough mana generation cards (usually land) for their deck to work effectively.
  2. When a player doesn't draw cards that produce the correct colors for their deck to work effectively (also known as "color screw"). In multicolored decks, there is a chance of having lands that provide mana of one color and spells in hand that require another color.
  3. When a player draws only land cards and/or mana sources (usually called "mana flood"). They won't have enough spells in hand to cast. Rarest usage of this due to being the opposite of the other two meanings.

Mana threshold[ | ]

The minimum amount of mana needed to be able to cast most of the spells in a deck.[59] Rarely used.

Mana weaving[ | ]

The act of separating the main deck from the land cards, shuffling the deck, and then sticking the lands one by one into the deck to evenly distribute the land throughout the deck and reduce the chance of mana screw. This is against the rules and is one of the most well-known ways to cheat but endures due to be often told to beginners and with casual games.

Mardu[ | ]

Clan of Tarkir representing {R}/{W}/{B}. Now used as a wedge nickname for any Red/White/Black card or deck.

MBC[ | ]

Mono-Black Control or Mono-Black Creatures.

Ménage-à-Tron[ | ]

The event of having Urza's Tower, Urza's Mine, and Urza's Power-Plant (the Urzatron) in one's opening hand. From "ménage à trois".

Memory[ | ]

A design term for what a player must remember to play correctly. Visual aids for the game state such as counters or the tapped motion reduce memory requirements. A card or mechanic that is confusing to play with correctly because of this factor is said to have memory issues.

Metagame[ | ]

(noun) The game outside the game – choices about what and how to play dictated by logic or community standards, rather than rules.

(verb) To make choices about what deck to play or specific cards to include in a deck based on known or anticipated choices other players have recently made or will make.

Midrange[ | ]

A general archetype of deck focused on playing for the best efficiency on all spells. Proactive decks that flip the standard aggro-control deck archetype by playing fewer curve fillers and more efficient removal and card advantage.

Mill[ | ]

  1. Putting cards from a player's library directly into their graveyard. Originally slang for the effect of the card Millstone[9], it became an official keyword action in Core Set 2021.
  2. A deck built around forcing the opponent(s) to empty their library. If a player attempts to draw a card while their library has no cards in it, they lose the game.
  3. A "self-mill" deck is a deck built around emptying your library, and then winning by playing a card such as Laboratory Maniac and attempting to draw another card. Alternatively, a player may self-mill to facilitate graveyard-based strategies, such as reanimation.

MIP[ | ]

Magic: The Gathering IP (as opposed to Universes Beyond.[65]

Mirror breaker[ | ]

A sideboard card that is incredibly powerful in the mirror match, though not as efficient elsewhere. Most commonly used about large blue uncounterable creatures (Pearl Lake Ancient, Sphinx of the Final Word, Hullbreaker Horror) that are control mirror breakers, which are the most important subset of these designs, as otherwise control mirrors would take far too long in rounds.

Mirror match[ | ]

A match between very similar or identical decks, as though each player were playing their image in a mirror.

75-card mirror[ | ]

Mirror match in which both players' decks and sideboards are identical, often from being in the same testing team.

Semi-mirror[ | ]

Match where the decks are not identical by color or several spells, but the strategic designs and a portion of cards are identical.

Mise[ | ]

A very lucky happening, most commonly used to refer to a needed card being drawn at the right moment ("Drawing that Black Lotus was an excellent mise,") or the act of doing so ("I mised that Lotus just in time"). MiseTings (so named for the expression) defined a mise as "something unusually great or unexpected" or the act of obtaining such. The expression "mise" is derived from the phrase "might as well" - as in 'mise well draw that wrath'. Its meaning has since changed to the usage described above, however. The joke set Unhinged had a card called Mise, which played on this by giving the player a great card advantage, but only if that player is lucky enough to know the top card of their library.

Misplay[ | ]

A mistake or blunder.

Mono-[ | ]

A prefix describing composed of a single aspect. Colors are most common, such as mono-blue, mono-red, but also strategically (mono-counters, mono-enchantments) or even facetiously (mono-2-for-1s, mono-Cats).

Multi-Culti[ | ]

A chic, less ridiculous expression for five colors aka WUBRG.

MWM[ | ]

Abbreviation for Midweek Magic, a weekly event in Magic: The Gathering Arena.

Mythic Uncommon[ | ]

An uncommon (or non-rare) card that is extremely powerful in Limited, and so is picked more aggressively than most of the rares in a given set.

N[ | ]

N[ | ]

Design shorthand for an unnamed number.[1]

Narrative equity[ | ]

The concept in card design that people give weight to choices based upon the ability to later tell a story about it.[66]

Narrow card[ | ]

A card that is only effective in a specific set of situations.

Naya[ | ]

Alara shard representing {R}/{W}/{G}. Now used to describe any Red/White/Green card or deck.

Netdeck[ | ]

Any deck copied from the internet or a published tournament listing. The practice of using such decks is referred to as "netdecking". Sometimes used in a derogatory manner towards players who copy a deck simply because it is popular or successful, without actually understanding how to play it.

New World Order[ | ]

R&D lingo for the practice of strictly limiting the complexity of commons. Introduced to the community by Mark Rosewater in one of his columns. Abbreviated NWO.[67]

Nonbo[ | ]

An interaction between two or more cards that is disadvantageous instead of having a profitable effect (which would be a combo). An example is Crystalline Sliver and Magma Sliver, since Crystalline Sliver gives shroud to each Sliver, preventing them from being targetable by other Slivers with Magma Sliver's ability.

Nope[ | ]

Slang for counterspells typically found in blue decks. Nope also represents the symbolic phrase for a deck commonly composed of control or removal spell cards. Nope —Counterspell and often symbolizes a blue mage.

The Nut[ | ]

A very good draw or play.

Nut Draw[ | ]

The ideal opening hand.

O[ | ]

O[ | ]

Previously design shorthand for gold cards (multicolored). Now shorthand for a specific, arbitrary color. See M.[1]

Off-color[ | ]

An effect with a cost not in the main colors of a deck. It may refer to splashes, activated abilities (Shalai, Voice of Plenty), additional or alternative spell modes (Travel Preparations, Vigorous Charge), or mana producers (Temple of Plenty or Mox Emerald in a nongreen deck).

On a stick[ | ]

Refers to a permanent that has a repeatable ability that another card can produce. For example, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is "Overrun on a stick". Can also refer to a card imprinted on an Isochron Scepter, which itself is sometimes referred to as "The Stick". More often than not refers to an artifact having the ability (hence, stick).

On the ground[ | ]

When attacking, combat damage dealt by creatures without flying. See also in the air.

Orzhov[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {W}/{B}. Now used as an enemy color pair nickname for any White/Black card or deck.

Outs[ | ]

Ways for a losing player to get back into the game. See also mise, topdeck mode.

Usage: "When he enchanted his Uril, the Miststalker with Shield of the Oversoul, my only out was to topdeck a Terminus."

P[ | ]

P[ | ]

Package[ | ]

A subset of cards in a deck for a specific purpose, often a set of cards that can be found off of a tutor, that does not take up much space in a deck. For example, a common Stoneforge Mystic Package can include Lion Sash, Batterskull or Kaldra Compleat, for a total of 5-8 cards.

Pain land[ | ]

An untapped dual land that deals 1 damage to its controller to produce colored mana.

Pants[ | ]

An Aura or (less commonly) equipment that buffs a creature. Most often used in reference to Bogles decks wherein the goal is to play a cheap creature resistant to removal, such as the namesake Slippery Bogle, and then attach many cheap but powerful "pants" to it to make an unstoppable cheap threat.

Parasitic[ | ]

A term that refers to a mechanic or card that can only synergize with other specific card qualities, and thus requires cards specifically from a particular release window when said cards were being printed. For example, Evermind is a parasitic card because it can't be cast normally on its own and must be spliced onto an Arcane spell, nearly all of which were released in the 2004-2005 release cycle of Kamigawa block.

Pass out[ | ]

A card that is the last one picked in a booster draft.

Paupers[ | ]

The players of the Pauper Magic format. Paupers spend less money on their hobby than players who also use uncommons and rares (especially chase rares).

Payoff[ | ]
  1. An element of a card that rewards the player for jumping through whatever hoops the card is making the player jump through. Usually used when you want to communicate that a card doesn't have a big enough reward.[2]
  2. In the context of Limited archetypes, they are typically two-colored cards that reward the player for doing what the archetype is telling them to do, such as how Ertha Jo, Frontier Mentor rewards using the Mercenary Tokens' activated abilities ({T}: Target creature you control gets +1/+0 until end of turn. Activate only as a sorcery.) by copying them in the Mercenaries Aggro draft archetype ({R}{W}) in Outlaws of Thunder Junction.[68]

Permission[ | ]

A style of play that involves hardcore/dedicated counter-magic. The permission player attempts to counter every important spell the opponent plays, and simply to draw plenty of extra cards to ensure more counters are available. The term "permission" comes from the way the opponent will end up asking whether each of their spells resolves or is countered.

Piker[ | ]

A 2/1 creature for two mana. Named after Goblin Piker.

Pile[ | ]

  1. A deck or collection of cards that are either unplayable or would appear to be unplayable. Cards that are unreliable or anti-synergistic or weak may constitute a 'pile'. This term is often used to describe a deck that attempts to do something, and succeeds, but does so inefficiently. For example, "My deck is an absolute pile, but somehow it wins." Some powerful decks of low synergy such as Legacy's Czech Pile may also use the name ironically, as there is not much deckbuilding that goes towards it.
  2. "The Stack", a collection of interesting cards used as a shared deck in the format of the same name. This usage is primarily to distinguish it from the concept of the stack.
  3. The groups of cards that one sets up as an effect of divvy cards like Doomsday, Gifts Ungiven, and Fact or Fiction.

Pinger[ | ]

A creature with an ability that deals 1 damage to a target ("pinging" it), usually by tapping. The archetypal examples are Prodigal Sorcerer and Prodigal Pyromancer. See also Tim.

Pip[ | ]

A colored mana symbol in a card's mana cost (or other cost), when counting them. Not to be confused with mana value. For example, Yawgmoth's Will has 1 black pip and mana value 3.

Pitch[ | ]

To discard or exile a card from your hand as part of a cost. For example, Force of Will may be cast by pitching a blue card and paying one life (see pitch spell). Wild Mongrel allows you to pitch a card to give it +1/+1.

Pivot[ | ]

  1. In gameplay, a dramatic shift in the assessment of "who's the beatdown" in a match, usually flipping the defender into the aggressor, by a large swing in tempo. Distinct from "turning the corner", as the defender does not necessarily have full control of the situation, but can make it unfavorable for the aggressor to continue being aggressive.
  2. In drafting, to begin drafting a different archetype to the one currently being drafted, due to perceiving the signals being superior. Usually termed as such as a player would keep one color, pick up a new color, while dropping another, which could be visualized as rotating around the kept color.

Play around[ | ]

To play in such a way that you neutralize a given card that you suspect your opponent has in hand. "He was holding up two blue, so I had to play around Counterspell."

Play pattern[ | ]

The most common way a card or mechanic gets played.[2] Developing patterns that are enjoyable for even the loser is the ethos for Play Design. Conversely, cards like Tibalt's Trickery or Cauldron Familiar were deemed as unfun play patterns, regardless of their actual strength.

Playable[ | ]

  1. A card that is good enough to be played in a certain format, e.g. “This card might be Standard-playable.”
  2. A designation of drafted cards that are acceptable to play in a draft deck, often in contrast to the "unplayables" one may be forced to play ("If I don't splash red, I'll have only 20 out of 23 playables, but I have no fixing").

Player types[ | ]

The characterization of a Magic player by psychographic or aesthetic profiles.[69] Cards are usually designed with one or more of these profiles in mind. References to them in casual Magic play are usually in jest, but most players do nonetheless tend to subscribe to one of the styles or a combination of them.

  • Timmy/Tammy. Playing for the experience (swinging big creatures, making big plays and spells).[70]
  • Johnny/Jenny. Playing for the mental challenge, building complex and creative decks (such as making unique archetypes, trying to make a deck that goes against the meta).[71]
  • Spike. The tournament player, aggressive and competitive. Spike gets their greatest joy from proving something by winning.[72]
  • Mel/Melvin. Someone who enjoys the delicate and interesting interactions between the mechanical components and mechanics. They like to try and create combos, and try to pull them off in a game.[73]
  • Vorthos. The "flavor player", someone who enjoys the flavor of Magic separated from the game itself. A Vorthos evaluates the components like the name, the illustration, and the card concept both in isolation and in conjunction. Vorthos players might prefer decks that share some theme, such as zombies, or of one of Magic's various factions.[73]

Playset[ | ]

Four copies of a card. This phrase is generally used either when referring to the number of cards in a deck or the number of which a player is in possession. Cards are often bought and sold in playsets.

Poke[ | ]

See ping.

Politics[ | ]

Players using their cards to help one another to defeat other players in Commander games. From a game design standpoint, “political” means that some decisions are based on an element of diplomacy, that players have the ability to talk to each other to influence how their opponents choose to play. If you’re playing a multiplayer game and the rules don’t dictate your priorities, it’s political. The only way for it not to be political is if you have house rules that dictate your actions (“you must always attack the opponent with the highest life total.”). If your opponents are able to suggest what you should do, it’s political.[74]

Pop[ | ]

The act of sacrificing a permanent, usually for an effect, e.g. popping Pyrite Spellbomb to deal two damage to a target. In some areas, also known as "cracking" said permanent.

Pre-revisionist[ | ]

Any Magic: The Gathering literature published before the advent of the Weatherlight Saga in 1997. Much of this information has since been invalidated by more recently published material, but anything not specifically contradicted is still considered canon.

Pro-[ | ]

Short for protection from something, e.g. pro-blue means protection from blue.

Prison[ | ]

An effect, usually white but sometimes blue, which prevents a creature from attacking and/or blocking. Owes its name to Prison Term, but also includes effects such as Pacifism.

See also: Prison deck.

Proxy[ | ]

A card that represents another card in casual play. (Not used in reference to checklist cards, which are allowed in tournaments.)

Pumping[ | ]

To temporarily increase a creature's power and/or toughness with a spell or ability. A “pump spell” is a spell that does just that (e.g. Giant Growth).[75]

Punch[ | ]

When a spell or ability causes a creature to deal non-combat damage to a creature, player, or planeswalker based on its power. Differs from a fight in that no damage is dealt in return, and from biting in that it is not limited to damaging creatures.

Punt[ | ]

An extremely bad play, or the act of making such a play. "I punted pretty hard when I cast an Obliterate against an opponent with Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre in play."

Q[ | ]

Q[ | ]

Design shorthand for Untap.[1]

R[ | ]

R[ | ]

Race[ | ]

A board state in which both players are attacking every turn. They are “racing” to deal 20 damage first.

Rainbow[ | ]

Five-color. Used to describe a deck, card, or activation cost. Similar to WUBRG (for White blUe Black Red Green), or Chromatic (since cards like Chromatic Lantern or Chromatic Orrery provide 5 color fixing).

Rakdos[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {B}/{R}. Now used as an allied color pair nickname for any Black/Red card or deck.

Ramp[ | ]

An effect that accelerates your mana, giving you an additional, reusable mana source beyond the usual one land per turn.

Rate[ | ]

The evaluated power level of a card, used instead of power due it being a game term otherwise. Usually an R&D term, and used by other game designers, as they are likely to refer to things as intentionally designed "above" or "below" rate rather than "broken" or "weak" as players would. A rate monster is a card where the mana cost is very aggressive for its effect.[2]

RDW[ | ]

Red Deck Wins, used to describe a monocolored Red Burn deck.

Reanimation[ | ]

An effect that returns a card from a graveyard directly to the battlefield. Named for the card Reanimate, from Tempest.

Reclamation[ | ]

Any effect that gets cards out of the graveyard for reuse. Used most often to refer to effects like Reclaim and Disentomb that return a card from the graveyard to the hand.

Recursion[ | ]

A combo or strategy in which the goal is to reuse the same card or cards repeatedly to gain an advantage. For example, using Ghostly Flicker with Archaeomancer and another permanent with an ETB ability to get the Ghostly Flicker back and trigger the ETB effect multiple times.

Red Zone[ | ]

A previously imaginary area where creature combat occurs. "Sending them into the red zone" is slang for attacking with creatures. Some official play surfaces now have a red area where attacking and defending creatures are moved to make it easier to see which creatures are in combat. [76]

Removal[ | ]

Spells that destroy or otherwise remove an opponent's permanents.

Reset button[ | ]

A card which wipes out one or more whole categories of permanents as if resetting the board state back to where it started. For example Armageddon, Jokulhaups, Nevinyrral's Disk and Wrath of God. See board wipe. Typically only said in the context of "pushing the reset button".

Response, Responsive strategy[ | ]

Plays made in order to neutralize an opponent's threat. Responsive cards form the strategic base of any control deck.

Reverse sweep[ | ]

A match win where the player or a team loses the maximum amount of games in the match and wins out from there. Often used only in larger number of games than the standard best of three. Most common for five-game Pro Tour Top 8 matches where the structure is two games without sideboard and three games with; most decks do not have sideboards so impactful as be favored three games in a row (three games of an 80%-20% matchup gives a player 51% to win overall) which makes the event notable and becomes more impressive from there.

Rip[ | ]

To draw one or more cards. Usually implies that the cards are good, or were drawn exactly when needed. See Topdeck.

Ritual[ | ]

Cards like Dark Ritual or Rite of Flame that add a certain amount of mana as a one-time effect. More specifically, rituals tend to refer to the instant or sorcery spells that generate a net positive of mana for the purposes of Storm combo decks. Some creatures and other spells generate some mana less than or equal to their cost but are rarely considered in the same category. Rituals originated in black but have been shifted to red.[77]

The Rock[ | ]

Short for "The Rock and His Millions," a term referencing WWE wrestler The Rock, who always spoke of his millions of fans. Describes most Black/Green midrange decks. The original version of the deck abused the combo of Phyrexian Plaguelord and Deranged Hermit.

Rogue deck[ | ]

A deck that does not seem to follow the trends of a particular metagame. Using a deck or strategy that is unorthodox or non-conventional.

Roping[ | ]

The act of intentionally disconnecting a digital Magic client rather than properly conceding, causing the winner of the match to waste a few minutes while they wait for the timer to elapse. The name comes from the MTG Arena timing bank which is visualized as a slowly shortening golden rope. On Magic Online, the chess clock could also be forced to run out, but stronger ban enforcement made it rarer. May also refer to stalling or slow play.

RTFC[ | ]

Abbreviation for "Read The F***ing Card" or "Read The Full Card". Used facetiously against players who ask questions that the card itself answers if they had read it more carefully.

Rules baggage[ | ]

Design term for when the mechanics of a keyword, subtype, or other aspect of a card requires remembering additional rules that aren't very clear just from the text.

Rule Zero[ | ]

A philosophy in casual play groups that broadly states that rules changes are permissible, as long as the asker communicates their intentions beforehand.

Rummage[ | ]

The action of first discarding a card then drawing a card. Originating from "Rummaging Goblin". Also known as "red Looting", since this variant is red-exclusive.

Run[ | ]

  1. To include a card in a deck.
  2. To play a card, especially when you think there is a high chance it will be immediately countered or destroyed.

S[ | ]

S[ | ]

Design shorthand for Snow.[1]

$.25 word[ | ]

R&D slang for big words in names most players don’t know.[78]

Saboteur[ | ]

An ability that triggers when a creature deals combat damage to a player, e.g. Scroll Thief.

Sac[ | ]

  1. Sacrificing a permanent. As an example, a player might remark, "I'll sac my Chromatic Sphere to my Grinding Station." A sacrifice is often done to pay a cost, so a player might also say "I sac two mountains to play Fireblast."
  2. Short for Lucksack (q.v.)

Sac Outlet[ | ]

Short for sacrifice outlet. An ability that allows a permanent to be sacrificed. This kind of ability is useful to fizzle spells that have other useful text, like Electrolyze (preventing the caster from drawing a card), or to prevent side-effects, like the exile clause on Lava Coil (allowing the creature to go to the graveyard, where it may be used again). Sac outlets are also a key component of strategies and combos which rely on creatures dying, such as those involving Academy Rector.

Sandbag[ | ]

To stockpile cards in one's hand rather than playing them. Sometimes done as a bluff but often for value, like holding lands to utilize landfall or retrace, or holding creatures to play around board sweepers.

Sarnath'd[ | ]

A slang term used on Internet Magic forums indicating acknowledgment and occasionally frustration that a user has been beaten to the punch; specifically, the term denotes that the user has expressed an essentially identical thought as another user who has posted immediately before the user. The term "Sarnath'd" originates from MiseTings, where a user ("Sarnath") would repeatedly beat others to the punch.

Scam[ | ]

A Modern deck based off the combination of Grief and one-mana reanimating combat tricks such as Not Dead After All, or occasionally something like Ephemerate if paired with White. The end result is on turn one, the Scam player has 4/3 with Menace and the opponent has lost two cards of the Scam player's choosing from their hand. Due to how difficult it is to interact it was granted said nickname as their opponents have little agency to win from that point onwards. Fury was also another card in those lists but was "fairer" as it largely was "only" a 4/4 double striker. Compare to "cheese".

Scoop[ | ]

To concede the game, "scooping" one's cards off the table. As lands are typically arranged in a line left-to-right, it provides a convenient way to collect cards together.

Scrub[ | ]

  1. A player (noun) that makes consistent, unwise choices; whether in regard to the construction of a deck or decisions made during gameplay. Usually, this is someone who is relatively inexperienced with tournament play. Another characteristic of such a player is the outright refusal to improve.
  2. To scrub (verb) can also be used to describe an adept player who makes one or more significant player errors during a game or tournament. In that situation, the player in question is said to have "scrubbed out".

Seeding[ | ]

An element in a standard set that is meant to synergize with an element in a future one, "seeding" synergy between the two sets. For example, Outlaws' Merriment (Throne of Eldraine) is meant to synergize with the Party mechanic in Zendikar Rising, as it makes Warrior, Cleric, and Rogue creature tokens, which are three of the four creature types needed for a "Full Party".

Selesnya[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {G}/{W}. Now used as an allied color pair nickname for any Green/White card or deck.

Send in[ | ]

To attack with (a creature).

Serve[ | ]

To attack.

Shadowban[ | ]

  1. A change in the competitive system that renders a previously high-profile card or deck to become unplayable - in effect, the target is not banned in the conventional sense, but the community recognizes that the change renders the target functionally banned. Can also derive from bans when the linchpin of a deck is banned but the expensive cards are not, but the banning drops the value of the expensive cards regardless. Examples are the Companion rules change (affected Obosh, the Preypiercer and Umori, the Collector), the Davriel's Withering errata (demolished the Vesperlark combo), and the banning of Felidar Guardian (devalued Saheeli Rai as a card).
  2. A blacklisting of a player outside of the DCI. As the DCI has no general authority on non-Magic behavior, the DCI cannot issue official actions against players that have not violated tournament rules. However, there are anecdotal incidents of players being excluded from sanctioned tournaments with no public statement. The term is controversial due to the severity of actions that tend to warrant such an action and the nebulousness of the standard of which such actions are judged.

Shard[ | ]

A three-color grouping of a color and its two allies, forming an unbroken chain or arc on the color wheel. The five Shards of Alara gave them names: Bant ({G}/{W}/{U}), Esper ({W}/{U}/{B}), Grixis ({U}/{B}/{R}), Jund ({B}/{R}/{G}), and Naya ({R}/{G}/{W}).

Shave[ | ]

To remove one or more copies of a card from a deck but still keep at least one copy, especially when sideboarding.

Shell[ | ]

An overall deck type or archetype which houses a particular card or combo. A shell might be a particular set of cards that are central to making a deck function, while the other cards in the deck might be freely swapped in and out as one pleases. A Legacy Nic Fit Deck. for example, usually has a shell of Veteran Explorer, Cabal Therapy, and Green Sun's Zenith, and is notable for being a shell that can house a variety of cards.

Shock land[ | ]

A dual land with two basic land types that enters the battlefield tapped unless the person playing it pays two life. Named for Shock, a spell that deals two damage, since having the land come in untapped is similar to shocking yourself.

Skies[ | ]

A draft archetype composed largely of flying creatures and various defensive measures. Almost always {W}{U} due to the distribution of flying amongst common creatures.

Side (in/out)[ | ]

The act of exchanging cards to and from the sideboard between games. A card added to the main deck is sided in, and a card removed from the main deck is sided out.

Signal[ | ]

The derived information from a drafted pack that players infer the colors of which the player passing to them intends to play. By evaluating the aggregate power level of the remaining colors and rarities, one can infer the sorts of cards that will be available to them in the draft. A player can also consciously signal by taking a card that will skew the rest of the pack in certain colors, and so signal to the player they pass to.

Signpost[ | ]

An uncommon gold card, usually two colors, that points you in the direction of what a color pair should be doing in a certain set i.e. what the draft archetypes are.[79][2]

Singleton[ | ]

  1. A single copy of a card included in a deck or sideboard.
  2. A format in which only one copy of each card is permitted.

Silver bullet[ | ]

A card that, while not necessarily used all the time, is particularly good in a specific scenario or against a certain type of deck, especially if only one copy of the card is played in your deck. These cards are often found in sideboards and some decks play a wide variety of silver bullets with tutors to find the correct one for the situation.

Simic[ | ]

Ravnican guild representing {G}/{U}. Now used as an enemy color pair nickname for any Green/Blue card or deck.

Sligh[ | ]

A mono-red deck archetype that usually wins by gaining tempo on the opponent by playing cheap creatures followed by red damage spells that are used to destroy possible blockers. Named after a player who popularized the archetype.

Slow land[ | ]

The opposite of a fast land. A dual land that comes onto the battlefield untapped if the player already controls a certain number of other lands.

Slow-roll[ | ]

Deliberately delaying a play. Tactically, a player may avoid playing a winning spell if they believe the situation is probably — but critically not a certainty — to win. Theatrically, stalling after drawing a card may also be considered slow-rolling, giving their opponent a small amount of hope that they haven't lost yet.

Smash[ | ]

To attack.

Smirk[ | ]

To attack, especially for a low value with a low number of weak creatures that you wouldn't normally be able to, because the opponent currently has no defenses (e.g. their creatures are all removed or tapped).

Snap[ | ]

  1. To do something with confidence that it is the right decision. A "snap-[action]" (snap-pick, snap-block, snap-mulligan, etc.) is decided upon quickly without requiring much thought.
  2. Using Snapcaster Mage to recur an instant or sorcery from your graveyard.

Sol Land[ | ]

A land which taps for {C}{C}, such as Ancient Tomb (Tempest) or City of Traitors (Exodus). Named after Sol Ring (Alpha), an artifact which taps for {C}{C}.

Solidarity[ | ]

A combo deck featuring many blue instants and capable of winning on its opponent's turn.

Sorcery speed[ | ]

Refers to effects that can only be played at times when a player could normally cast sorcery spells. In contrast to fast effects, which may be played whenever a player has priority.

Spellslinger[ | ]

A draft archetype in which you play a minimal number of permanents and generally win by some sort of combo or massive burn spell.

Spellslinging[ | ]

Employees of WotC sitting down at a table at a tournament and challenging any and all comers to games of Magic, often showing off new cards.[80][81]

Speed bump[ | ]

A small creature used to block a large attacker, holding it off for one turn.[59] See also chump-block.

Splash[ | ]

To add cards of one color or strategy to a deck predominantly of another color (or colors) or strategy. E.g. "My deck is white-blue splash red."

Splash damage[ | ]

A situation where hate against a popular deck hurts the strategies of other decks, even though they hate may not have been directed at them. This is an important consideration for deck-builders. See also: Metagame

Square[ | ]

A creature whose power and toughness are the same, for instance, a Kalonian Tusker (3/3) or an Angel token (4/4). A square creature is equally strong on attack or defense, such as a Bear.

Squirrelcraft[ | ]

The combo of Squirrel Nest and Earthcraft, which generates any number of 1/1 Squirrel tokens.

Stabilize[ | ]

When one player is on the defensive (i.e. is not the beatdown player) they can be said to have “stabilized” when the aggressive player can no longer make profitable attacks and cannot win the game on one or two draw steps. Functionally, the aggressive player has run out of tempo and the game is now about attrition and card advantage. Also known as "turn[ing] the corner".

Stalking[ | ]

A design term for the creature ability "Can't be blocked by more than one creature." A reference to Stalking Tiger.[82]

Staple[ | ]

A basic effect that occurs in most sets: things like direct damage, counterspell, or discard.[2] Also a prominent card in many decks in a particular format, eg. Sol Ring is a Commander staple.

Stats[ | ]

Also “combat stats” or “statistics”: a creature's power and toughness, as well as any relevant combat abilities, like first strike.

Stax[ | ]

A Vintage artifact deck designed to lock down the opponent with cards like Smokestack, Sphere of Resistance, and Crucible of Worlds. A Deck originally created as a metagame deck to counteract Gro-A-Tog and its fragile land base. Origin of the name has multiple theories: a derivation of the phrase $T4KS, which means The Four Thousand Dollar Solution; or partially inspired by the deck's extensive use of stacking multiple triggered abilities in upkeep; or the card name plural for Smokestacks is homophonic with "stax". The name has now come to refer to the archetype of prison decks that specifically cause the continual sacrifice of permanents.

Still Had All These/Deez[ | ]

Named after a song created by group of Magic players "The Gatherin'" (amongst whom were Patrick Chapin), a form of poor sportsmanship by a winning player in which they reveal part of their hand after the game, showing "all these" other spells they had yet to cast. Despite the grammatical inconsistency, the term is used like a verb (i.e. "Don't 'had all these' your opponent").

Stompy[ | ]

An aggressive mono-green deck consisting of outrageously cheap fatties, generally with a mana curve topping off at two, and pump spells. Several Stompy decks run only nine lands total; by comparison, a lean Sligh deck wouldn't dare run less than eighteen, and most tournament-quality decks run a minimum of twenty-four.

Strictly better, strictly worse[ | ]

A card is "strictly better" than another card if it's not only better overall, but there's also no reasonable situation where the other card would be better - there's no drawback to balance out the advantages. For instance, Counterspell is a strictly better Cancel in almost every situation where both cards are legal.

Strip[ | ]

  • To sacrifice a land to destroy another. Comes from Strip Mine.
  • To remove cards from an opponent's hand, usually by causing them to discard. "I stripped his counter with Duress so I could combo off"

Stripland[ | ]

Any land card that can be sacrificed to destroy another land.

Sultai[ | ]

Clan of Tarkir representing {B}/{G}/{U}. Now used as a wedge nickname for any Black/Green/Blue card or deck.

Super trample[ | ]

See Unstoppable.

Superdrop[ | ]

A collection of drops in the Secret Lair Drop Series that are released at the same time.

Superfriends[ | ]

A deck primarily focused on planeswalkers.

Sweeper[ | ]

A board wiper.

Swing[ | ]

  1. To attack with one or more creatures.
  2. A dramatic change in the game such that one player who was previously losing is now winning.
  3. A change in the difference between life totals. E.g. casting Lightning Helix targeting an opponent creates a "6-point life swing."

Synergy[ | ]

The small, positive interactions of individual cards in a deck.

T[ | ]

T[ | ]

Design shorthand for Tap.[1]

Tabling[ | ]

If a card “tables” while you are drafting, that means you have seen it twice, i.e., you passed it once and it went all the way around the table. See also wheel.

Tapped out[ | ]

Describes a player who has run out of mana, usually because all their mana-generating permanents have been tapped. Generally describes an player who shouldn't be able to act until their untap step. An important strategic and game design term, as high-impact spells are meant to tap their controller out and are vulnerable to uninterrupted counterplay. Conversely, a player who does not tap out could play instants, but their spells should be weaker for that luxury.

Tank[ | ]

To tank, or go into the tank, is to think about your next play for a long time. Derived from "think tank".

Tax[ | ]

An effect that makes opponent's spells more expensive to cast, as if imposing a tax on them. For example, Reidane, God of the Worthy taxes certain spells by {2}; they each cost {2} more than normal.

Team[ | ]

The collection of all your creatures in play. As in, “I’ll send in my team.”

Tech[ | ]

A previously undiscovered improvement to an existing strategy, deck, or archetype. A card or use of a card which is an improvement on deckbuilding “technology” in the current metagame. Often an individual's innovation appearing in large tournament events, serving to throw other strategies off balance by changing some part of how a deck usually works. Tech is generally researched in secret by an individual or a team prior to a large tournament in order to keep competitors from knowing what tricks will be put into a competing deck. Tech cards are frequently advantageous in specific scenarios and are thus included in response to expectations of the metagame.

Telegraph[ | ]

To make play decisions or tap your mana in a way that leads your opponent to believe you have a given card.

Tempo[ | ]

How efficiently a player uses their mana. Tempo decks are usually mid-range decks that want to try and keep playing efficient answers and threats.

Temur[ | ]

Clan of Tarkir representing {G}/{U}/{R}. Now used as a wedge nickname for any Green/Blue/Red card or deck.

Threat[ | ]

A card, usually a creature, puts an opponent under pressure. A threat puts the opponent under a clock or forces them to have an answer in order to avoid losing the game.

Titan ability[ | ]

R&D slang for “when this enters the battlefield or attacks…”[83] Also called "titan trigger".[84]

Throw[ | ]

AKA fling, chuck, etc. The act of expending cards (discarding from hand or sacrificing permanents) for the output of targeted damage. Usually in the context of having a repeatable engine capable of doing this conversion. Supposedly named after Fling, as many mechanically similar cards suggest an improvised projectile using that said resource. Examples include Goblin Bombardment, Seismic Assault, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, Goblin Grenade, Stormbind.

Tier[ | ]

Tiers are a 'measurement' to classify a card's or a deck's power level (tier 1, tier 2, tier 3).[85] The power level can mean that a deck becomes popular — but weaker decks can be counted as tier 1 due to popularity, while stronger decks may live in lower tiers due to difficulty.

Timewalking[ | ]

  1. To take an additional turn. Originates from Time Walk, the first card which allowed a player to take an extra turn.
  2. To prevent an opponent from taking meaningful action on their turn, essentially giving yourself two turns in a row.

To the Air(!)[ | ]

Originating with the card Angelic Blessing, this can be said whenever a creature without flying gains flying. More frequently said when the now-flying creature is about to deal lethal damage.

Top 8[ | ]

In tournament play, a single-elimination tournament whose participants are chosen from those of a previous Swiss tournament. Winners will play each other in later rounds, and losers play each other for ranking. Placing anywhere in the top 8 is widely seen as a success for the player, their deck, and their team.

Topdeck[ | ]

  1. To play a card you just drew, especially at exactly the time you need it. This is also known as a "mise" or "rip". Many non-scientific "techniques" have been developed to perform a perfect topdeck, but many tournament players build their decks using "tutors", which are cards that actually move desired cards to the top of the deck. The chances of a top deck are dependent on the number of "wanted" cards left in the deck. For a burn deck to top deck something Bolt-like is not as impressive as drawing a card of which there is only one copy of in the deck and which only covers a single situation.
  2. To have no cards in hand so that you are topdecking (sense 1) every card you draw.
  3. To put a card on top of your library from somewhere else, usually your graveyard or elsewhere in your library.
  4. A deck based around the idea of manipulating the cards in your hand and library to have certain cards at the top, such as Miracle cards.
Topdeck Mode[ | ]

Topdecking (sense 2): where a player has no cards in hand and relies solely on the cards they draw each turn to be able to play effectively. It is a situation players try to avoid as it means the player relies entirely on the luck of the draw. See also Draw-Go.

Top-down[ | ]

An approach to design that builds a card, set or block around a flavorful concept, molding mechanics to fit that concept.[2] For example, Theros block is a top-down design based on Greek mythology, and many of its cards are top-down designed with specific myths in mind.[86][87] The opposite is bottom-up design, where the mechanics come first and the flavor comes later.[88] All sets based on a real-world mythological setting are designed with a top-down approach. the head/dome/face[ | ]

'X to the head/face/dome' is a term used to announce damage dealt directly to a player instead of a creature. E.g. 'Deal 3 to the head' or 'Fireball for 6 to the dome'.

Tradebait[ | ]

A card that a player trades for not because they want the card for a deck or their collection, but because they might be able to trade it later on to someone else for cards that they are after.

Trade up[ | ]

Both definitions have the same connotation of getting more out of an exchange.

  1. (outside the game) When a person trades card(s) that are worth a lower value for cards that are worth more. This generally refers to the value of the individual cards, not the total value of all cards traded—for example, trading fifteen $1 cards for one $10 card is still considered "trading up."
  2. (within the game) Getting an exchange that is equivalent on the card advantage front, but other factors make it clear one side is advantaged, through mana spent (e.g. Flame-Blessed Bolt on Belligerent Guest), inherent card power (e.g. Grisly Ritual on Olivia's Attendants), or using a temporary or irrelevant resource (Daybreak Combatants trading with Hookhand Mariner). An important concept in regards to leveraging combat tricks.

Tribe[ | ]

A large group of creatures which share a creature type and work well together in a deck. Such a deck is called a tribal deck. An example of a competitive tribe is Goblins, which work together in order to win with astounding numbers and force. Rebels previously had a similar strategy, allowing the Rebel player to win with sheer numbers and utility of creatures. Many other competitive tribe-based decks also exist. Wizards of the Coast replaced their use of the term "tribal" with "typal" in 2023 but has not discouraged players from continuing to use either term.

Trick, Combat trick[ | ]

A spell or ability used by a player to alter the outcome of a combat. Common ways in which this is achieved include increasing or decreasing a creature's power and/or toughness and by granting or removing abilities from a creature. Some instants remove the creature entirely from combat or play, and typically only count as a trick if the target is restrained to creatures in combat. Giant Growth is a classic green combat trick.

Tuck[ | ]

To put a card on the bottom of its owner's library, or shuffle it into its owner's library. For example, Condemn tucks an attacking creature.

Turn On[ | ]

When a deck is able to activate its game plan. Usually this means its combo can be activated, its engine is available, or its combo is ready. For example, a Tron deck is considered to have "Turned On" when all of its Urza's lands are in play, as it can then cast large spells for cheap.

Tutor[ | ]

A spell that allows a player to search their library for another card. Many such cards have "Tutor" in their name, a pattern established by Demonic Tutor and the four tutors from Mirage block (Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor, Worldly Tutor, and Vampiric Tutor) and continued throughout the years with cards like Diabolic Tutor. Can be used as a verb, as in "I'll tutor up my combo piece." See also silver bullet.

Typal[ | ]

A deck or strategy that relies on using many creatures that share a creature type and/or mechanically care about that creature type. Typal decks aim to utilise the unique strengths of a creature type to their advantage. Sliver decks focus on playing creatures that buff each other while Goblin decks use cheap Goblins and burn spells to defeat opponents before they can respond. Wizards of the Coast replaced their use of the term "tribal" with "typal" in 2023 but has not discouraged players from continuing to use either term.

U[ | ]

U[ | ]

UBER[ | ]

Acronym for "Ultimate Big Endgame Ramp." A drafting strategy that aims to accelerate its mana development (e.g. with card draw, non-land mana sources, etc.) and survive the early game with defensive creatures and removal spells, in order to win with an expensive late-game threat.

Ultimate[ | ]

A planeswalker's ability that provides the biggest effect at the cost of removing most loyalty counters. For example, the ultimate effect of Garruk, Primal Hunter has Garruk's controller put a 6/6 green Wurm creature token onto the battlefield for each land they control.

Un-sets[ | ]

Joke sets produced by Wizards of the Coast. So far there have been five Un-sets: Unglued, Unhinged, Unstable, Unsanctioned, and Unfinity. Cards from the first four Un-sets have silver borders (for example, Ass Whuppin' affects only silver-bordered permanents, meaning cards from Un-sets) and are not legal in any tournament, except for basic lands (which have black borders instead, or no borders in the case of Unstable). Beginning with Unfinity, all cards in the set have black borders and some are Eternal-legal. The non-legal cards are marked with a silver acorn symbol at the bottom of the cards, instead of a silver border.

Utility land[ | ]

A land that has an effect other than mana generation, such as Rogue's Passage.

V[ | ]

Value[ | ]

Any sort of advantage or extra damage or effect that a player can get. Often, it is card advantage but for example, also playing a card with kicker without paying a kicker cost gets less “value” than waiting until you can cast it kicked.

Vanilla[ | ]

A creature with no rules text[37] (text that grants the creature extra abilities), for example Grizzly Bears.

Variance[ | ]

How differently a gameplay element plays out from one play experience to the next.[15][2] Circumstances or factors that are not entirely under a player's control, such as what decks they get paired against, which cards they draw and how often they win the opportunity to play first in a match. Players often talk about reducing variance by making plays whose outcome they can predict more accurately.

Voltron[ | ]

A deck archetype with the goal of casting one creature, then using other cards such as Auras and Equipment to enhance that creature and making it a true threat to the opponent. The archetype's name derives from the Japanese animated series Voltron which features several small robots that combine into one large robot.[89]

Vomit out[ | ]

To play or cast a lot of cards.

"Once I cast Eureka, I'll just vomit out a bunch of stuff."

W[ | ]

W[ | ]

Design shorthand for White.[1]

Walker[ | ]

Short for planeswalker.

Wedge[ | ]

A three-color grouping of a color and its two enemies that form a wedge shape, or an acute triangle, within the color wheel.[90] The five clans of the Khans of Tarkir set, each associated with a wedge, gave them names: Abzan ({W}/{B}/{G}), Jeskai ({U}/{R}/{W}), Sultai ({B}/{G}/{U}), Mardu ({R}/{W}/{B}), and Temur ({G}/{U}/{R}).

Weenie[ | ]

A small creature, with low power and toughness. Any archetype or deck which uses Weenies as the victory condition is also referred to as a Weenie Deck, most commonly in white, hence "White Weenie". Usually abbreviated to lowercase 'w' to distinguish it from the color W and preceding it by the color of the deck; White Weenie becomes Ww, and Black-White Weenies becomes BWw.

Whale[ | ]

A player who is willing to spend large amounts of money on collectible products. Usually a whale constantly buys high value sealed product, such as Secret Lair drops, From the Vault cards, and Collector Boosters.

Wheel[ | ]

  1. Of a card in booster draft, to make a complete lap around the table without being drafted.[2]
  2. ("wheel everyone") To force all players to discard their hand and then draw cards, as with Wheel of Fortune.
  3. Effects like Wheel of Fortune and Windfall, usually designed to make one or more players discard their hand and draw a new set of cards.

Whiff[ | ]

When using an effect that causes a player to look at a number of cards from the top of their deck, pick some of them and get rid of the rest, a situation when there turn out to be no legal choices for picking.

Win condition[ | ]

The method that a deck uses to win; for example, a rapid stream of cheap creatures for aggro, a specific creature (e.g. a Voltron) and support, milling the opponent's library, or an alternative win condition card such as Azor's Elocutors. The power of individual cards would then determine the strength of the deck's win condition, while disreputability and stability determine its consistency. Often shortened to "win-con".

Windmill slam[ | ]

A booster draft pick that is especially easy to make because of how powerful and exciting the card is. Can be a noun or a verb. Comes from the "windmill" action of taking a card from the pack, raising one's arm high, and slamming it down on the table in excitement. Often shortened to "Slam". See also: bomb, snap-pick.

"Archangel Avacyn is a windmill slam first pick in Shadows over Innistrad draft."

"Hey, what would you have taken out of this pack?" "Slam the planeswalker. It's a bomb."

WotC or Wizards[ | ]

Short for Wizards of the Coast, the company behind Magic, sometimes humorously pronounced as "Wot-see".

Wrath[ | ]

A spell or effect which destroys or removes all creatures in play – named for the original card, Wrath of God.

WUBRG[ | ]

The five colors of Magic: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Pronounced "woo-berg."

X[ | ]

X[ | ]

Design shorthand for a variable on a card.[1]

X-spell[ | ]

A spell with X in its mana cost.

Y[ | ]

Yard[ | ]

Short for graveyard.

Z[ | ]

Z[ | ]

Design shorthand for Multicolor.[1]

Obsolete terms[ | ]

Changes in the game have rendered some slang terms obsolete, while others have simply fallen out of use over time.

0-9[ | ]

187[ | ]

A creature with a "comes into play" ability which damages or destroys another permanent, like Flametongue Kavu or Nekrataal. The term "187" comes from the California penal code for a murder [91] (Flametongue Kavu and Nekrataal, both tournament staples in their time, killed a lot of creatures.[92]).

Mostly deprecated, with most people using CIP (Comes Into Play) or ETB (Enters The Battlefield) instead.

A[ | ]

Arc[ | ]

A three-color grouping of a color and its two allies, which form an arc (or an obtuse triangle) within the color wheel. These tricolor combinations are now known as Shards.

B[ | ]

Barn[ | ]

A player who follows around much better, more famous players, hoping to benefit from their experience and success (short for "barnacle'). Usually negative. Its history comes from its association with the term "Hull". This, however, is the more popular of the two words.

Basilisk[ | ]

The Basilisk-ability refers to variations on deathtouch, especially mechanics which have a similar effect but work differently. First seen on the Alpha set's Cockatrice and Thicket Basilisk, it also includes variations like Sylvan Basilisk and Cruel Deceiver.

The introduction of Deathtouch as a keyword has rendered this term obsolete.

C[ | ]

C (lingo)[ | ]

R&D lingo for a mana symbol of a specific, arbitrary color, prior to Oath of the Gatewatch colorless mana symbol {C} introduction.[93]

CC[ | ]

Short for Casting Cost, the pre-Sixth Edition term for the overall number of mana required to cast a spell, regardless of color. This term was changed to "converted mana cost" (CMC), and later mana value.

CIP[ | ]

Short for "comes into play", the phrase for "enters the battlefield" prior to M10 rules changes.[94] CIP was correspondingly replaced by ETB.

CIPT[ | ]

Short for "comes into play tapped", the term for "enters the battlefield tapped" before M10 rules changes.[95]

CMC[ | ]

Short for Converted Mana Cost, the term used between Sixth Edition and Kaldheim for the overall number of mana required to cast a spell, regardless of color. This replaced "Casting Cost" (CC), and was eventually replaced by mana value.

COP, CoP or Cop[ | ]

Circle of Protection, one of a series of enchantments with an activated ability that prevents damage from particular sources (usually of a given color, such as Circle of Protection: Red, but also Circle of Protection: Artifacts). Also used as a verb: "cop your Bog Wraith" would mean prevent the damage from your Bog Wraith by using my Circle of Protection: Black. Pronounced either "cop" or "cee oh pee".[59]

The last printing of a Circle of Protection was in 2005, so this term is rarely seen today.

E[ | ]


"End of turn, Fact or Fiction, you lose." Fact or Fiction has such versatility and ability that it can win the game solely by forcing your opponent to give you at least one card that you need from the top five cards in your library. Michelle Bush coined this phrase after playing the card at its debut tournament.

G[ | ]

Global enchantment[ | ]

An enchantment that does not attach to something but rather affects the entire game, i.e. that is not an Aura. Since the introduction of the Aura subtype in Ninth Edition, they are referred to simply as "non-Aura enchantments".

Gro[ | ]

Refers to a class of decks featuring Quirion Dryad. The original gro deck was Miracle Grow, first piloted successfully by Alan Comer, earning 9th place in the 2001 Grand Prix Vegas,[96] though others followed (such as Super Gro).

Mostly obsolete, as Quirion Dryad left Extended in 2008, and the powerful Tarmogoyf is available at the same mana cost for contemporary decks.

H[ | ]

Hull[ | ]

A player who attracts many players, often less skilled. Associated with the word "Barn": The Barns (barnacles) are constantly following the Hull around in order to leech off of them or simply to attain another level of play or social status.

L[ | ]

Long.dec[ | ]

An explosive combo deck in the Vintage format that abused Burning Wish to fetch Yawgmoth's Will, eventually building up a high enough Storm count to win with Tendrils of Agony. Long.dec boasted the impressive ability to win more than half the time on the first turn, prompting the restriction of Burning Wish and Lion's Eye Diamond in Vintage in 2003.[97] Later versions of the deck included "Grim Long" and "Death Long", featuring Grim Tutor and Death Wish as ways to replace the restricted Burning Wish.

M[ | ]

Mana burn[ | ]

An obsolete game concept in which a player lost a certain amount of life equal to the amount of unused mana in their mana pool at the end of a phase. Common slang for this term was "burn", for example, someone might say they "burned for 3" when they lost 3 life due to Mana Burn. Some decks forced opponents to generate mana to kill them with mana burn. Now defunct in tournament Magic, as the rules for mana burn were removed with the release of Magic 2010.

P[ | ]

Prosperous Bloom, ProsBloom[ | ]

An old Mirage-era combo deck based around Prosperity, Cadaverous Bloom, and Squandered Resources.

R[ | ]

Raffinity[ | ]

Ravager Affinity, the deck using cards with affinity for artifacts and an Arcbound Ravager - Disciple of the Vault combo that dominated Mirrodin block and standard. Raffinity is despised by most players (who did not play the deck) for its simple yet dominating and flexible gameplay. Raffinity is designed to take out one player as fast as possible, and it caused a huge series of bans in Standard and Mirrodin block.

Rectal Agony[ | ]

A deck featuring Academy Rector and Tendrils of Agony. The deck uses Rector to fetch a Yawgmoth's Bargain. The Bargain draws many cards, allowing the player to play many spells and Tendrils as a finisher.

RFG[ | ]

Removed from the game, the term used before M10 for what is now called exiled.

S[ | ]

Super Shroud[ | ]

Hexproof. Before it was keyworded in M12, it was written explicitly on cards as "[Object] can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents' control", and known as super shroud because it's better than shroud. Also (formerly) known as trollshroud.

T[ | ]

Trix[ | ]

A combo deck based around the interaction of Illusions of Grandeur and Donate.

Trollshroud[ | ]

Hexproof. Before it was keyworded in M12, it was written explicitly on cards as "[Object] can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control", and known as trollshroud due to its use on Troll Ascetic. Also (formerly) known as super shroud.

Card nicknames and abbreviations[ | ]

The Magic community has given many nicknames to cards, and a number of those nicknames have passed into the mainstream and become part of MTG terminology.

#[ | ]

5ML[ | ]

Five Moxes and a Black Lotus. Once considered by many players to be essential for a winning Vintage tournament deck.[59]

A[ | ]

Academy[ | ]

Tolarian Academy, one of the key components of decks during Combo Winter.

AK[ | ]

Accumulated Knowledge.

Ancestral[ | ]

Ancestral Recall.

B[ | ]

BBE[ | ]

Bloodbraid Elf.

BEB[ | ]

Blue Elemental Blast.

BFEP[ | ]

"Best Fatty Ever Printed" is a nickname for Verdant Force, coined by Jamie Wakefield.

Big Blue[ | ]

Time Walk, Time Twister, and Ancestral Recall, part of the Power Nine.[9]

Blinky[ | ]

Blinking Spirit, once known as "the most annoying creature in Magic".[59]

The Blob[ | ]

the collection of cards in the Affinity deck.

Bob[ | ]

Dark Confidant, which is based on the card submitted for the 2004 Magic Invitational Tournament by the winner, Bob Maher. Other cards which have the same or a similar effect (i.e. to draw the top card of the library at the cost of its mana value in life) to Dark Confidant may also be referred to as "a Bob" (e.g. Ruin Raider), or a singular such effect "to Bob". Stronger cards that cause that life loss to opponents sometimes are considered to "Bob wrong" or is an "anti-Bob" (e.g. Twilight Prophet, Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow).

Bolt[ | ]

Lightning Bolt or, sometimes, Chain Lightning and other 3-damage burn spells, such as Incinerate.

Buffy[ | ]

Rashka the Slayer, originally designed to block and kill the Sengir Vampire, provided it hadn't increased in power. The nickname is derived from the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the T.V. show first aired after Homelands was released.

Butt Stallion[ | ]

Diamond Mare. A reference to the Borderlands video game series, in which the main antagonist Handsome Jack has a pony made out of diamonds whose name is Butt Stallion.

C[ | ]

Cap'n Tickles[ | ]

Giant Solifuge. The origin of this nickname is unclear, but its usage was popularized by Evan Erwin of Star City Games in his web show "The Magic Show."

Cat Jesus[ | ]

Leonin Arbiter. Named due to its incredible importance in modern Death and Taxes to turn Ghost Quarter into a Strip Mine and Path to Exile into the best removal spell ever made.

Chimney Pimp[ | ]

Chimney Imp, an incredibly underpowered card from Mirrodin. Often written in a variant of leet speak (such as 7he p1mp, t3h p!mp, etc). In a similar manner as Throat Wolf, it became a common joke in the official Magic forums that the Pimp was an extremely broken card because "it untaps for free", which in fact is a trait shared by almost all permanents.

CoB[ | ]

City of Brass.

CoCo[ | ]

Collected Company.

CoP[ | ]

Circle of Protection.[9]

D[ | ]

Darcy[ | ]

Dragon's Rage Channeler, from the abbreviation DRC

David Bowie[ | ]

Goblin King - a reference David Bowie's role as the Goblin King in the film Labyrinth.

Deed[ | ]

Pernicious Deed.

Deep Anal[ | ]

Crude nickname for Deep Analysis.

Dexter[ | ]

Dockside Extortionist

Dog[ | ]

Isamaru, Hound of Konda.

Drain[ | ]

Mana Drain, or cards with effects similar to Drain Life.

DRS[ | ]

Deathrite Shaman.

Dr. Teeth[ | ]

Psychatog. Sometimes this card is announced as "The doctor's in."

Dude Ranch[ | ]

Kjeldoran Outpost, a land that produces 1/1 soldier tokens (dudes).

E[ | ]

E-wit[ | ]

Eternal Witness

ECD[ | ]

Elspeth Conquers Death

Edict[ | ]

Diabolic Edict, Chainer's Edict, Cruel Edict, and other cards that force a player to sacrifice a creature.

Ernie[ | ]

Erhnam Djinn.[98]

ESG[ | ]

Elvish Spirit Guide.

Fat Moti[ | ]

Mahamoti Djinn, so called because it is a fat creature.[9]

F[ | ]

Finkel[ | ]

Shadowmage Infiltrator, which is based on the card submitted for the 2000 Magic Invitational Tournament by the winner, Jon Finkel. Occasionally called "Infilmage Finkletrator" as an affectionate play on the name.

Finkel's Cloak[ | ]

Sleeper's Robe, because it grants Shadowmage Infiltrator's abilities to the creature it enchants, even though the Robe was printed earlier than the Infiltrator itself.

Finkel Suit[ | ]

Mask of Riddles from Alara Reborn, because, as Equipment, creatures can slip in and out of the suit, becoming Finkel whenever the player has the mana and inclination.

Force, FoW[ | ]

Force of Will.

Fishstick[ | ]

Elvish Mystic.

G[ | ]

Gary[ | ]

Gray Merchant of Asphodel [99]

Goyf[ | ]


H[ | ]

Hippy[ | ]

Hypnotic Specter, one of the most beloved cards in Magic. Sometimes also alliterated as "Hippy Spook".

Hymn[ | ]

Hymn to Tourach.

I[ | ]

I am Superman[ | ]

Pemmin's Aura. The designer who named the card decided to make a tribute to Morphling, which was known as "Superman". Since it was an enchantment that gave the enchanted creature Morphling's abilities, he named it Pemmin's Aura, an anagram for the phrase "I am Superman". When asked "Who's Pemmin?" he simply responded "The guy who made the aura", as there was no background for said character, although it did end up in the flavor text of another card in Scourge: Stifle.[100][101]

Ineffable, The[ | ]

Yawgmoth. Used on some Magic: The Gathering forums. For example, 'Will of the Ineffable' refers to Yawgmoth's Will.

J[ | ]

Jens[ | ]

Solemn Simulacrum, which is based on the card submitted for the 2002 Magic Invitational Tournament by the winner, Jens Thoren. Also known as Robo-Jens or Sad Robot due to the pensive facial expression in the artist's portrait of Thoren.

Jewelry[ | ]

The original five moxes[9]Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Mox Emerald, and Mox Pearl.

Jigsaw[ | ]

Plaguecrafter. Plaguecrafter's flavor text could easily be interpreted as something Jigsaw, the recurring villain from the Saw horror movie franchise would say.

K[ | ]

Keg[ | ]

Powder Keg.

L[ | ]

Lab Man[ | ]

Laboratory Maniac

Larry Niven's Disk[ | ]

Nevinyrral's Disk. "Nevinyrral" is Larry Niven spelled backward. The disk is evocative of a magical device in his short story series "The Magic Goes Away".

Looter Scooter[ | ]

Smuggler's Copter. A vehicle (scooter) that "Loots" on attacks and blocks

M[ | ]

Mana Birds[ | ]

Birds of Paradise.[9]

Mis-D[ | ]


Miss Tickles[ | ]

Falkenrath Aristocrat, due to the card's similarities to Giant Solifuge (both 4/1, both have haste, both are difficult to deal with via spells, both have an evasion ability).

Misty[ | ]

Stoneforge Mystic

Mom[ | ]

Mother of Runes. (See also Steppe-Mom)

The Monkey[ | ]

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Often called “That Stupid Monkey”, “That *******Monkey”, or simply “Monke”

Moti[ | ]

Mahamoti Djinn[2]

Moxes[ | ]

Plural short form for Mox Pearl, Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, and Mox Emerald. Can also refer to Mox Diamond or Chrome Mox.

Mox Monkey[ | ]

Gorilla Shaman, with the ability to destroy low-costed artifacts quite inexpensively, is called the "Mox Monkey" because he can destroy (or often "eat") the oft-used Moxes for a minimal cost, netting a great card advantage.

N[ | ]

Necro[ | ]

Necropotence. Also a verb, for example "I necro for three" means "I pay 3 life to take 3 cards".[59]

O[ | ]

Oath[ | ]

Oath of Druids, or a deck featuring the card.

Ophie the One-Eyed Snake[ | ]

Ophidian, a card that powered many blue control decks to victory with its card-drawing mechanic which could be used every turn. Its art depicts a one-eyed snake, giving him the nickname among control players and their opponents.

Order of Light Beer[ | ]

Order of Leitbur

OwN[ | ]

One with Nothing, a card from Saviors of Kamigawa previously perceived to have no practical purpose, though the results of Pro Tour Honolulu has had some players suggesting it as an answer to the "Owling Mine" deck that had gained prominence during the tournament. It is sometimes, ironically, used as a pun for the term owned.

P[ | ]

Panharmommycon[ | ]

Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. Derived from a combination of Panharmonicon and Mother of Machines.

Pat Sajak[ | ]

Magus of the Wheel. The card shares an effect similar to Wheel of Fortune. Named after the host of the American version of the Wheel of Fortune game show.

Path[ | ]

Path to Exile, a powerful removal spell similar to Swords to Plowshares and shortened in a similar way.

PORN[ | ]

Often used to refer to the card Masticore due to its similarity to the word "masturbate', and the phallus-like structure coming out of its mouth.

Powerpuff Girls[ | ]

Three legendary angels from Avacyn Restored, named after the cartoon characters Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup who are three superhero girls who can fly and are dressed in red, blue, and green. — Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Bruna, Light of Alabaster and Sigarda, Host of Herons.[102]

Primetime[ | ]

Primeval Titan

Pump Knights[ | ]

Four functionally equivalent white and black knights from Ice Age and Fallen EmpiresOrder of Leitbur, Order of the White Shield, Order of the Ebon Hand, and Knight of Stromgald. The name refers to their +1/+0 pumping ability.

PV[ | ]

Elite Spellbinder, the Player Spotlight card for 2019 World Champion Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (“PVDDR”)

R[ | ]

REB[ | ]

Red Elemental Blast.

Ritual[ | ]

Dark Ritual. Alternatively shortened to "Dark Rit" or even further to just "Rit."

S[ | ]

Sac Elder[ | ]

Sakura-Tribe Elder, which is usually sacrificed (see "sac") for mana acceleration (see "accel"). Other nicknames include Saccy Tribe Elder, Tribe-Elder, Snake Jesus, Steve (S.T.E.-ve), Saccy Chan and sometimes just Elder.

Sammy[ | ]

Samite Healer.[9]

Scooze[ | ]

Scavenging Ooze, Often accompanied by the phrase, “You lose to Scooze.”

Sex Monkey[ | ]

Uktabi Orangutan. Its art depicts monkeys in a position that resembles the sexual act in its background, hence the appellation. The background was noticed during the reign of the "Artifact" block, where it became wildly popular because of its ability to destroy an opponent's artifacts. The flavor text of the card also reinforces this interpretation, as it refers to monkeys in gold coats marrying. In Unhinged, there was a parody of the card, called Uktabi Kong, with a larger version of the original Orangutan in the foreground, and an expectant pair of monkeys in the background, playing on the original art and its implications. The effects of that card are relevant to the act, too, allowing you to tap two Apes to generate another one. The story was continued in Jumpstart 2022, with the new art and flavor text of Uktabi Orangutan entertaining a young Kibo, Uktabi Prince who is implied to be the offspring of the original two monkeys[103]

SFM[ | ]

Stoneforge Mystic.

Snape[ | ]

Thieving Amalgam, named 'Snape' due to its creature types.

Snappie[ | ]

Snapcaster Mage

SoFI[ | ]

Sword of Fire and Ice, pronounced like “Sophie”

SoLoMoxes[ | ]

Sol Ring, Black Lotus, and the five Moxes from Alpha.

Splice Girl[ | ]

Blade Splicer

Steppe-Mom[ | ]

Giver of Runes, a slightly different version of Mother of Runes or “Mom” (so a Step-Mom), and a Kor from the steppes of Zendikar

STEve[ | ]

Sakura-Tribe Elder. See also Sac Elder.

Stick[ | ]

Isochron Scepter, a powerful card in the Mirrodin set which allows a player to imprint an instant on the Scepter and activate the Scepter to cast a copy of that card. The name is derived from the card's art, which shows a humanoid woman holding the scepter (which obviously looks like a stick).
Card on a stick[ | ]
An Isochron Scepter in play with a particular card imprinted on it.
"No" stick[ | ]
1. Counterspell, when imprinted on the Stick, since it lets the player say "no" to an opponent's spell once per turn.
2. A popular deck which imprinted Orim's Chant on Stick, preventing the opponent from playing anything except instants and cards with Flash.
X on a stick
A creature with some useful ability. For example, Temporal Adept is a "boomerang on a stick", because his ability resembles the card Boomerang, while being a creature.

Stripwaste[ | ]

A combination of Strip Mine and Wasteland.

Sunny-T[ | ]

Sun Titan.

Superman[ | ]

Nickname for Morphling, used because it could fly and was practically invulnerable. The nickname was acknowledged by WOTC in Pemmin's Aura, which is an anagram of "I am Superman", and grants Morphling's abilities to the creature it enchants.[101]

Swords[ | ]

Swords to Plowshares, the best creature-removal spell ever printed. Creatures exiled by a Swords to Plowshares are said to be "Plowed". Sometimes abbreviated STP.

T[ | ]

T3feri[ | ]

Teferi, Time Raveler. So called because it's the first (and so far only) Teferi card with a mana value of 3. Also, War of the Spark is the third set in which Teferi appeared as a planeswalker, but is not the third Teferi planesawlker, due to two being in Dominaria, but as Teferi, Timebender is usually passed over it is sometimes mistaken as such.

Tim[ | ]

The classic nickname for the card Prodigal Sorcerer, named after the enchanter from Monty Python's Holy Grail. Rod of Ruin was sometimes referred to as "Tim on a stick", while Pirate Ship was of course "Tim on a ship" [9]

Thoracle[ | ]

Thassa's Oracle.

'Tog[ | ]

Psychatog, once the most powerful creature in Magic.

U[ | ]

Urzatron[ | ]

The combination of Urza's Power Plant, Urza's Mine, and Urza's Tower all in play, which provides {C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C}{C} (seven colorless mana) with three lands. Often shortened to Tron.

V[ | ]

Vic[ | ]

Enthralling Victor.

W[ | ]

Walk[ | ]

Time Walk.

Welder[ | ]

Goblin Welder.

WoG[ | ]

Wrath of God, long a staple card due to its ability to destroy many creatures using only one card.

Y[ | ]

YawgWin, Yawgmoth's Win[ | ]

Yawgmoth's Will, which allows all previously played cards to be played a second time, netting an enormous advantage, and usually wins the game for its caster immediately.

Yoshi[ | ]

Yotian Soldier

Young Peezy[ | ]

Young Pyromancer. Has given rise to other -eezy names like Seezy Peezy (Seasoned Pyromancer), DeathReezy (Deathrite Shaman), and Seezy Deezy (Seasoned Dungeoneer)

External links[ | ]

References[ | ]

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