List of unofficial terms

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This article lists a variety of unofficial terms used by players to describe game mechanics and gameplay situations in Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Terms[edit]

  • Terms primarily used in Magic: The Gathering that are occasionally used to describe equivalent concepts in Yu-Gi-Oh!:
  • 3-of - A card that is considered good to the point where 3 copies of it is always run for that Deck.
    • 6-of - A card that, on top of being good on its own, is also able to be put into play by another card's effect, thus increasing the chances that card is seen. This can be extended to any number, depending on how many effects can interact with that card this way. For example, "Malefic World" (Unlimited) can be activated directly from the Deck with "Malefic Territory" (Unlimited), and also added to the hand with "Terraforming" (Limited) and "Metaverse" (Limited); "Malefic World" is therefore an 8-of card.
  • Advantage - A general term for the gain or loss of cards currently in play.
    • Hand advantage - Having more cards in your hand than your opponent.
    • Field advantage - Having more cards or monsters on your field than your opponent.
    • Plus / Minus - Increasing or decreasing the number of cards in one's own hand/field, relative to the opponent. Cards that affect this may be described in terms of this: for instance, "Pot of Greed", which costs itself and adds two cards to the player's hand for a net gain of one card, is a "+1", and "Raigeki Break", which costs itself and a card from the hand while destroying an opponent's card, is a "-1."
    • X for X - The amount of card advantage removed and gained during the resolution card effect, usually including the card being played itself as a "-1" in the exchage. For example, "Smashing Ground" is a 1 for 1, "Icarus Attack" is a 2 for 2, "Reinforcement of the Army" is a 1 for 1, and "Cynet Mining" is a 2 for 1.
    • Cycling - Cards that allow the player to increase their hand size by the same number of cards they use to do so (i.e. net 0 hand advantage).
  • Ban - The act of forbidding a card from being used.
    • Banlist - List of Forbidden, Limited or Semi-limited cards.
  • Beatstick - A monster whose main purpose in a Deck is to provide a body with high ATK to damage the opponent's LP.
    • Glorified beatstick - An Effect Monster with high ATK whose effect is rarely utilized in its Deck, and thus spends most of its time being a beatstick.
  • BKSS - Short for "Because Konami Said So", BKSS is typically used sarcastically to refer to card-specific rulings, especially when the ruling of a card seemingly contradicts the rulings of other cards with similar effects, or with the description in its card text.
  • Blowout - A single card (typically a Spell/Trap) with a high-power effect that can rapidly shift the tempo in its user's favor.
  • Board - A player's field, more specifically the cards they have in play.
    • Break a board - The act of removing or neutralizing the threat of a player's field. Usually used when that player's field has multiple effect negations and/or various stun cards.
    • Establish a board - The act of Summoning and using card effects to fill one's own empty field with monsters and Spells/Traps.
    • Board wipe / Nuke - The act of removing multiple (usually all) cards on the field (or opponent's side of the field) in a single turn or effect.
  • Book / Blanket - The act of flipping a monster to face-down Defense Position; the former term is named after "Book of Moon".
  • Boost - The act of using an effect that increases ATK or DEF.
  • Boss - One of the most powerful monster(s) of an archetype or Deck, either by ATK/DEF or by effect. For example, the boss monster of the "Cubic" archetype is "Crimson Nova Trinity the Dark Cubic Lord". Another example is "Lightsworn", whose Decks have multiple bosses: "Judgment Dragon", "Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn", and "Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn".
  • Bounce - The act of returning a card from the field to the hand.
  • Blast / Pop - The act of destroying a card on the field.
  • Body - Another term for the ATK stat of a monster
  • Break - This term has two distinct usages:
    • The act of destroying a card on the field (see also pop).
    • Making a card broken, through interaction with other card effects. Usually used in context of newer cards making older cards far more powerful through specific interactions.
  • Brick / Dead draw - Describing a hand that results in the player having to make a sub-optimal play, if they can make a play at all, or (especially the latter term) a card that isn't useful when added to the hand.
    • Garnet - A card that is crucial to a Deck's strategy, but can become less useful, or even useless, when drawn into. Named after "Gem-Knight Garnet", a commonly played card played as a one-off in the "Brilliant Fusion" engine, who, if drawn into, disables "Brilliant Fusion".
  • Buff - A positive effect applied on a monster OR the act of using it. Alternatively, it can also be used to refer to an OCG/TCG card's effect being made stronger than its anime/manga version.
    • Debuff - A negative effect applied on a monster OR the act of using it.
  • Burn - Effect damage and the act of using it.
  • Bury - Placing a cards(s) on the bottom of the Deck.
  • Cancer - A card or a Deck that is frowned upon, usually due to focusing on lockdown, excessive negation, burn, Deck out, and/or removing cards from the opponent's hand.
  • Caveman / Caveman Yu-Gi-Oh! - A Deck that is primarily focused on the Battle Phase, without regard for board building or breaking. Also used to refer to "War Rock" (who actually are cavemen). Also referred to as "unga bunga", typically in a derisive context.
  • Chain blocking - When multiple Spell Speed 1 effects simultaneously meet their activation conditions, such that they could all be activated during the same Chain, deliberately placing more desirable effects at a lower Chain Link so that the opponent cannot activate other cards in response to them. (For example, if both "Reeshaddoll Wendi" and another "Shaddoll" monster activate their effects due to being sent to the Graveyard as Fusion Material, placing "Reeshaddoll Wendi" as Chain Link 1 and the other "Shaddoll" as Chain Link 2 will prevent the opponent from responding to the effect of "Reeshaddoll Wendi" with "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring".)
  • Cheat - Special Summoning a Special Summon Monster using a method other than its standard Summoning procedure.
  • Combo - An interaction between several cards that work together (typically through searching or trigger effects) to achieve a certain goal (such as Summoning a boss monster or doing a board wipe). Combos are often started by the interaction of 2 cards.
    • Combo starter - A card(s) that kickstarts a combo.
    • Combo piece - A card that makes up a combo.
    • 1-card combo - A combo that can be kickstarted by using only a single card. (For example, "Aleister the Invoker" can search for "Invocation" upon Normal Summon, then be used for the Link Summon of "Salamangreat Almiraj" followed by "Secure Gardna" to set up at least two "Invocation" Fusion Summons.)
    • 1.5-card combo - A combo that can be kickstarted by using only a single specific card, then any non-specific card as fodder. (For example, "Swordsoul of Mo Ye" can easily kickstart a combo in "Swordsoul" Decks by itself, but requires a Wyrm monster or "Swordsoul" card in the hand to be revealed for its effect.)
    • 3-card combo - A combo that requires 3 cards to be kickstarted; usually used mockingly or sarcastically.
  • Counter - Using a negation effect in response to an opponent's card or effect.
  • Counterattack - A monster that had been attacked, but was not destroyed, destroys the attacker after the attack OR a monster gains enough ATK/DEF to overpower an attacking monster.
  • Crashing / Ramming / Suicide - Intentionally attacking knowing the attacker will be destroyed.
  • Defend the Castle - A strategy that involves summoning a single powerful or versatile monster, usually one with exceptionally strong protection or disruption effects, and keeping it on the field as long as possible.
  • Disrupt - Any form of interaction on the opponent's turn that can prevent one of their plays, typically negating a card effect or removing a card from the field on their turn.
  • Ditch - The act of sending a card from the hand to the GY as part of a Deck's strategy.
  • Dump - The act of getting cards (of any number or specification) in the GY so that those card would be used later from the GY.
  • Engine / Package - A number of cards that helps a Deck achieve a certain action or helps a player draw a good card. For example, a player may use a "Windwitch engine" consisting of "Windwitch - Snow Bell", "Windwitch - Ice Bell", "Windwitch - Glass Bell", and "Windwitch - Crystal Bell" to Special Summon "Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon" quickly.
  • Evolution - A card that is better than another card while the two cards holding a similar design OR the act of using one.
    • Retrain - A specific kind of evolution that is clearly designed to replace the original, usually having identical stats and appearance but gaining effects which the original lacked (typically a Normal Monster being retrained into an Effect Monster).
  • Extender - Cards that are usually less useful early on, but becomes more desirable after the player made their initial plays.
  • Floater - A monster whose effect replaces itself as a resource, resulting in no loss in advantage. For example, "Aluber the Jester of Despia" searches a card on Normal Summon (no hand advantage is lost), and "Denglong, First of the Yang Zing" Special Summons a monster when it leaves the field (no field advantage is lost).
  • Floodgate - A card with a continuous or lingering effect that restricts one or both players from performing certain actions.
    • Monkeflip - A derogatory nickname given to floodgate cards (usually one-sided ones with lingering effects) that are relatively easy to setup in its Deck, and can completely lock the opponent from doing anything unless they managed to immediately find an out to it or prevent its activation in the first place.
  • Fizzle - Resolving without effect. For example, if "Monster Reborn" is activated, but the targeted monster is subsequently removed from the Graveyard before resolution, the effect resolves with no effect.
  • Fodder - A card that is used solely as a Tribute, material or for costs.
  • Foolish / Dump - A card that sends a specific card from the Deck to the Graveyard, in reference to "Foolish Burial".
  • Generic - Cards that can be played in most Decks without causing conflict, or can be used to refer to Extra Deck monsters with non-specific materials.
    • Semi-generic - Cards that are less generic, but nonetheless can still find space in many Decks (e.g. Type- or Attribute-specific supports).
  • Gimmick / Gimmick Deck - Decks that uses an unconventional strategy or card effects to achieve its win condition. Notable examples including "Last Turn OTK" and "Frog Burn FTK".
    • Table 500 - Decks that use impractical, usually unorthodox strategies. Usually used in the context where such Decks appear in high-profile tournaments and go up against competitive Decks.
  • Goodstuff / Cookie Cutter - A Deck built using many different cards that are individually strong but whose effects have little to no synergy, instead of being built around a specific archetype, series, card, or combo.
  • Grind game - A state, usually later in the duel, where both players have spent large amounts of resources and neither has a clear advantage.
  • Hand traps - Cards (usually monsters) with effects that can be activated from the hand on the opponent's turn. Some famous hand traps in the metagame's history include "Effect Veiler", "D.D. Crow", "Maxx "C"", "Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring", and "Nibiru, the Primal Being".
  • Handloop - Repeatedly removing cards from the opponent's hand, especially on the first turn.
  • Helmet - A Deck perceived as taking little skill or intelligence to play.
  • Highlander Clause - A card that prevents the player controlling more than 1 copy of it, or that prevents either player controlling more than one copy of it. The term references the film Highlander and its tagline, There can be only one.
  • Highlander Format - A fan-made format where Decks can only contain one copy of each card.
  • Homesickness - Describing a monster that requires a Field Spell to be in play in order to be on the field, for example the "Earthbound Immortal" monsters.
  • Laddering / Climbing - Summoning progressively stronger monsters in succession by using the previously Summoned monster as a material or Tribute to Summon the next one.
  • Lethal - The state of having enough ATK presence on the field to win the Duel.
  • Limbo - A pseudo-location used to describe the location of a monster that is currently being Summoned, but has not been successfully Summoned yet (i.e. during the Chain in which its Summon can be negated). A monster being Summoned is not in its previous location nor on the field, so it is often said to be "in limbo" at this time. Also used to describe Xyz Materials, which are "on" the field, but not quite "on the field".
  • Lock / Bind - The act of keeping a monster useless on the field with difficulty in removing it.
  • Lockdown - A situation in which a player has an extreme field control.
  • Lucksacking - A situation in which the player is at a large disadvantage and draws a card that ends up turning the game in their favor, or is relying on drawing such a card. Also referred to as "Drawing the out" and "Heart of the Cards".
  • Meta - Short for "Metagame". The collective strategies and Deck themes used at competitive events. The metagame constantly shifts and evolves as new cards are released. "Meta Decks" are the Decks that are considered the best in the format at the present moment, but can quickly change as new cards are released or the Forbidden & Limited lists are changed.
    • Anti-meta - Decks that are built specifically to counter current Meta Decks.
  • Mimic / Copy - Having a card gain the property (usually Effect or ATK) of another card, such as with "The Tyrant Neptune" or "Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom".
  • Mirror Match - Two opposing Decks using the same archetype, strategy, or theme; often shortened to "mirror".
  • Mon - Monster Cards.
  • Nerf - A card had its usability reduced, either by ruling or card effect. Alternatively, it can also be used to refer to an OCG/TCG card's effect being made weaker than its anime/manga version.
  • Netdeck - The act of completely copying a Deck (often those that win the YCS or placed high in a competition) from online sources without any modification. This practice is often frowned upon, as it is perceived as a lack of creativity in the interest of getting a cheap win. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - Episode 018 and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - Episode 019 takes a jab at this phenomenon with Dimitri, a Duelist who copies the Decks of others.
  • Omninegate - A card that can negate monster, Spell, and Trap effects.
  • OP / Broken - A card that is too powerful compared to other cards of its peer.
  • Out - Eliminating an opponent's card that disrupts the player's strategy.
  • Overextending - The process of a player filling their Monster Zones and/or Spell & Trap Zones with more cards than necessary, leaving the player at risk from nukes (such as "Dark Hole" or "Black Rose Dragon"). Having a full field may also prevent them from playing new cards.
  • Pile - A stack of cards, referring to the Graveyard, banished cards, the Main or Extra Deck etc. Also refers to Decks (typically of sizes greater than 40 cards) built using many different generically strong cards or archetypes that lack specific synergies between them (synonymous with goodstuff).
  • Play - An action involving playing a card or cards, often a combo, e.g. "making a play."
  • Playset - 3 copies of a card, the maximum amount that could exist in a Deck.
  • Powercreep - A general term for the phenomena of new cards outclassing old cards.
    • Powercrept / Strictly better / Strictly worse - A card that fills the same role as another card, but is mechanically superior or inferior in every significant fashion: for instance, "Ookazi" to "Sparks."
  • Rage - Force Attacks in effect.
  • Recycle / Recover / Recursion - The act of adding cards from the Graveyard to the hand or Deck.
  • Reload - The act of recovering cards to use them as fodder.
  • Reset - The act of having a card returned to its initial state when it is placed on the field.
  • Revive - The act of Special Summoning from the Graveyard.
  • Row - Series of card Zones, with "Frontrow" referring to the Monster Zones and "Backrow" referring to the Spell & Trap Zones. Can also refer to cards that would normally be placed in that Zone.
    • Backrow hate - Cards that are mainly used to destroy or disable cards in the opponent's Spell & Trap Zone. Examples of such cards are "Mystical Space Typhoon" and "Cosmic Cyclone".
    • Backrow removal - The act of removing Spell/Traps from the field. Can also be used interchangeably with "backrow hate".
  • R4NK - Referencing Rank 4 Xyz Monsters and Decks that make heavy use out of the more powerful ones.
  • ROTA / Stratos - A card that searches key cards from the Deck for any broad theme. Named for "Reinforcement of the Army" and "Elemental HERO Stratos", which serves this purpose for Warrior Decks and "HERO" Decks, respectively.
  • Run over - Destroying an opponent's monster by battle. Usually used within the context where no card effects are involved.
  • Sacrifice - Using cards as Tributes, materials or costs.
  • Scaling - The act of weighing Booster Packs to determine which pack has a rare card.
  • Scoop - Surrendering a duel. Named after the act of a player "scooping" up all of their cards to reform their Deck in preparation for the next Duel.
  • Search / Tutor / Recruit - The act of adding a card from your Deck to your hand, except by drawing, or Special Summoning a monster from your Deck.
  • Shadowstrike / Shadow Dive - direct attacker in effect.
  • Shiny - Cards that are reprinted in elaborate high-rarity foils, such as Gold Rare or Ghost Rare.
  • Shotgunning - The act of using the effect of a card (usually a hand trap) that has no activation condition or requirement before the situation calls for it. For example, immediately activating the effect of "Maxx "C"" at the start of the opponent's turn, before they even attempt to Special Summon anything.
  • Shut / Knock / Nope / Strike - The act of Negating, whether temporary or permanently; the last one being a reference to the popular negation card Solemn Strike.
  • Smokescreening - In a Match, catching the opponent off-guard by running a different strategy on the second or third duel to render the opponent's Side Deck counter cards useless. Usually done by specifically running 2 strategies that consist of 15 or less cards (one as the Main Deck, and one in the Side Deck) and filling the rest of the Main Deck with staples, generic techs and cards that work with both strategies.
  • Snipe - The act of choosing and discarding a card from the opponent's hand.
  • Solitaire - A strategy that either has little interaction with the opponent (i.e. attempting to draw out Exodia pieces) or involves the player taking extremely long turns where they make a large number of plays and combos, especially in reference to Synchro and Link-focused Decks. Typically used derisively.
  • Spawn - The act of Summoning the same monster, usually a Token or low-Level Monster, with another card from time to time.
  • Speed - In the context of Deck performance, Speed refers to how quickly can a Deck access its key cards.
  • Spell Speed 4 - A card whose effect cannot be responded to by other cards or effects, such as "Super Polymerization". (Note that these effects are not actually a higher Spell Speed—for example, "Super Polymerization" cannot be Chained in response to a Spell Speed 3 effect.)
  • Spin - The act of returning a card from the field to the Deck.
  • S/T / S&T / ST - Spell and Trap Cards.
  • Stack - The act of arranging one's own Deck with a card effect to ensure they draw a good card; inversely, it can also refer to the act of arranging an opponent's Deck with a card effect to ensure said opponent won't draw a good card.
  • Stall - The act of prolonging the game with a card effect. Depending on the context and severity, this may be met with penalties at tournaments.
  • Stand - The act of changing a monster to face-up Attack Position OR a monster remains on the field with high ATK/DEF for its current Battle Position.
  • Staple - A good card that can be used in many Decks, or is almost obligatory for use in a certain Deck type; the name refers to the idea that such cards "hold the Deck together".
    • Splashable / Semi-Staple - Cards that can function in a wide variety of Decks, but aren't necessarily as vital to the Deck as a staple card. Popular Side Deck choices.
    • Tech - A card placed in a Main Deck, Side Deck, or Extra Deck for the purpose of supporting a Deck with cards that help it run smoother, deal with cards that would counter the Deck, or to combat specific Deck builds often run in the current metagame.
  • Starter - A card(s) required to initiate a Deck's important combos.
  • Steal - The act of taking your opponent's monster, or their card's property, for your own.
  • Suppress - Prevent a card and/or effect from activating in a certain timing.
  • Surprise / Spook - A harmful effect is put in play at a certain timing without the opponent foreseeing it.
  • Swarm / Spam - The act of Summoning many monsters in a turn, regardless of battle power. Examples of archetypes that specialize in swarming are "Blackwing" and "Six Samurai".
  • Swing - To attack.
    • Swing for game / Attack for game - The final, duel-winning attack (usually, but not always, a direct attack).
  • Tag out - The act of a monster removing itself from the field and replacing itself with a different monster.
  • Tier 0 - A Deck that can only be reliably beaten by itself, usually marked by tournament results where the majority of players use a single Deck or its variants.
  • Thinning - Removing cards from the Deck with card effects, so that the player will have a higher chance to draw into high-power cards.
  • Throw - The act of placing a card on your opponent's field in order to hinder them.
    • Lava Golem'd / Kaiju'd / Nibiru'd - Tributing an opponent's monster(s) to Summon monsters to their field, so that the card's removal cannot be responded to and ignores protection from card effects.
  • Towers - A near-invincible boss monster. Named after "Apoqliphort Towers", a monster that is unaffected by most card effects.
  • Toolbox - Searching for a monster to be used in a specified situation.
  • Trade - Using the player's cards to remove the opponent's cards.
    • One-for-One - Using one card to remove one of the opponent's card.
  • Turn 0 - The opponent's first turn when they go first; usually used in reference to the turn as viewed from the player's (going second) perspective.
  • Turbo - A Deck which strategy involves aiming for a single, specific goal (usually Special Summoning a specific boss monster) as quickly as possible, usually with no backup plan or alternative strategy to ensure the most speed and consistency in executing its primary directives.
  • Turtling - Sitting behind a monster(s) (usually in Defense Position or ones with defensive effects) to buy time as one tries to recover from a losing situation.
  • Vanilla - A Normal or Non-Effect Monster.
  • Wall - A monster that is difficult to destroy by battle or card effect.
  • Win condition - A card or set of cards that is considered sufficient to win the game, and serves as a goal for the rest of the Deck to work towards: for instance, a powerful monster or a set of lockdown effects. Can overlap with alternate win conditions.
  • Win more - A card that is only useful in a situation where the player is already in a highly advantageous position, such as "The Six Shinobi".
  • Xenophobic - A card theme that prevents the player from using cards outside of the theme, typically by preventing the player from Summoning monsters outside of the theme.

Card/theme names[edit]

Certain well-known cards and overarching themes have also been given nicknames or shorthands that get picked up by a portion of the community.