Whether you're a new player or just not too familiar with all the terms out there, this glossary is for you!
This guide consists of three parts:
- Terminology for gameplay related words
- Common nicknames for Hearthstone cards
- Commonly used abbrevations for card sets
If you're looking for information about keywords and non-keyword mechanics, visit this guide.
The gameplay related jargon that makes you sound like a pro!
Aggro: A playstyle where a deck seeks to push damage to the opponent's hero as fast as possible. This strategy usually includes using plenty of low-cost minions.
AOE: Short for Area Of Effect, the term refers to cards (usually spells) that deal damage to multiple on-board minions at a time, e.g. Flamestrike.
BM: Short for Bad Manners. These include delaying lethal, spamming emotes and roping. See also Roping.
Bounce: Effect that returns a minion to its owner's hand, like Shadowstep.
Buff: Increase of a card's stats or addition of an ability.
Burn: Usually refers to the amount of direct damage that a deck has. It also has an alternative meaning when talking about burning a card, it means destroying a card from a deck by drawing it while having 10 cards in hand already; common strategy of Mill decks. See also Mill.
CCG: Collectible Card Game
Combo: A playstyle where a deck aims to utilize powerful multi-card combinations in order to win.
Constructed: Play mode formats (Casual and Ranked). Refers to players' ability to build their decks themselves.
Control: A playstyle where a deck aims to control the board in early game through AOE and defensive minions, and win with impactful high-cost cards in late game.
Cycle: To use a card to draw another (random) card. See also Tutor.
Elusive: A term sometimes used instead of "can't be targeted by spells or Hero Powers".
Exodia: Some one-turn kill decks are called as Exodia in reference to another card game's (Yu-Gi-Oh!) combo which instantly wins you the game. In Hearthstone the term has been used to describe Quest Mage (Archmage Antonidas with four Sorcerer's Apprentices) and OTK Paladin (winning through gathering the Four Horsemen). See also OTK.
Face: Your opponent's hero portrait. Going face means attacking your opponent's hero.
Face Tank: Killing a minion with your hero (with a weapon or an attack buff like Heroic Strike) instead of using your minions.
Ghosting: Watching a streamer while playing against them, gaining information about their hand and strategy. See also Sniping.
Highlander: A deck with only a single copy of each card included. Also called as Reno decks since they tend to include (now Wild-only) Reno Jackson.
Ladder: Ranked Play mode. Making progress in Ranked is often referred as climbing the ladder.
Meta: The combination of all decks currently played. A card/deck is meta-defining when it has significant impact in the entirety of decks.
Midrange: A playstyle that falls between Aggro and Control, being less aggressive than Aggro yet not as late-game oriented as Control. Midrange decks tend to have their most powerful turns between turns 4-7.
Mill: To burn a card by drawing cards when having a full 10-card hand. Also a playstyle that aims to win through burning opponent's cards and killing them through fatigue damage.
Miracle: A playstyle that focuses on heavy card cycling in order to draw your very specific, often times combo, win condition as fast as possible. See also Cycle, Combo.
MMR: Matchmaking rating, the basis of the system that pairs up players for a Hearthstone match.
Mulligan: The starting phase of each game where you decide what cards to keep and what to shuffle back into your deck.
Nerf: Reduction of a card's power level through changes to its mana cost, stats of card effect.
Netdeck: Using decks found from internet instead of creating them yourself.
OTK: Short for One Turn Kill, it's the extreme of Combo playstyle. As the name suggests, OTK decks aim to win by assembling a combination of cards that allow them to effectively inflict lethal damage in one turn. See also Exodia.
OP: Overpowered, a card with a power level deemed to be too high compared to other cards.
RNG: Short for Random Number Generation. In Hearthstone the term is used when referring to effects that include randomness.
Roping: Constantly using the maximum time for each turn, causing the fuse ("rope") to appear.
SMOrc: Derived from a Twitch chat emote, it refers to plays that deal damage to your opponent's hero instead of killing their minions.
Sniping: Watching a streamer and queing into a match at the same time as them, trying to get them as opponent. Often mixed with another term, Ghosting.
Tech: A card included as a counterplay to other decks, not instrumental to the decks own playstyle. For example Acidic Swamp Ooze can be included to a deck as a counter to weapons.
Tempo: Gaining tempo usually means gaining advantage on board through efficient Mana utilization, playing your biggest minions, or efficiently removing your opponent's minions. A tempo swing is a play that shifts the board advantage from one player to another. Also, a deck is described as "Tempo" when it can apply small but consistent tempo swings each turn.
Top-deck: Drawing the exact card needed for the situation at the start of the turn (i.e. from the top of your deck). Alternatively, playing with an empty hand, so the only card available to you is whatever's at the top of your deck.
Trade/Trading: Attacking (and killing) a minion. Trades that leave your minions alive are called value trades as they force your opponent to spend more resources to finishing them off.
Tutor: A card that draws another card that has a certain attribute e.g. Ancient Harbinger drawing a 10-Cost card.
Value: Value plays are those that force your opponent to use multiple cards to deal with one of your cards; or alternatively, dealing with multiple cards from your opponent with just one card. For example using Flamestrike on a board with three minions gives you more value than using it for a single minion.
Commonly used nicknames and abbreviations for Hearthstone cards.
4-Mana 7/7: Flamewreathed Faceless
BGH: Big Game Hunter
Dr. 6: Mysterious Challenger
Dr. 7, Dr. Balanced: Dr. Boom
Dude: The token of Paladin's Hero Power, Silver Hand Recruit
Fiery Win Axe: Fiery War Axe (when it still cost 2 Mana)
Flappy Bird: Vicious Fledgling
MCT: Mind Control Tech
Paveling Book: Babbling Book
Ping: Mage Hero Power, Fireblast
TBK: The Black Knight
Tony: Archmage Antonidas
Void Daddy: Voidlord
Card Set Abbreviations
The most common abbreviations used when discussing card sets. Capitalizing of letters may vary.
Hall of Fame: HoF
Curse of Naxxramas: Naxx
Goblins vs Gnomes: GvG
Blackrock Mountain: BRM
The Grand Tournament: TGT
League of Explorers: LOE
Whispers of the Old Gods: WOG, WotOG, OG
One Night in Karazhan: ONiK, Kara
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan: MSG, Gadgetzan
Journey to Un'Goro: JtU, JUG, Un'Goro
Knights of the Frozen Throne: KFT, KoFT
Kobolds and Catacombs: KnC, KaC, Kobolds
The Witchwood: WW
The Boomsday Project: TBP
Rastakhan's Rumble: RR, Rastakhan
Rise of Shadows: RoS
Saviors of Uldum: SoU, Uldum
Descent of Dragons: DoD
Did we miss anything important? Feel free to leave a comment and we'll add your terms to the glossary!