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The following words are commonly used by players to describe certain game mechanics but are NOT official terminology in Yu-Gi-Oh!, and therefore is not absolutely necessary to be followed/used. These word usually came from other card games, direct translation from other language (mainly from Japanese), or is a simplification for an entire action.

When referring to cards, players generically use the easier name between English and translated Japanese name.

Other wordings

  • Absorb - The act of using a monster as an Equip Card or treat it as Xyz Material, then possibly gain its power.
  • Advantage - The amount of cards one player has relative to another. Generally the player with more cards is seen as the one with better advantage.
  • Anti-Meta - Cards, Decks or strategies specifically designed to counter the best decks.
  • Ban - The act of forbidding a card from being used.
  • Book / Blanket - The act of flipping a monster to face-down Defense Position.
  • Board - The entire Field.
  • Bomb - A card that makes a large impact on the game when played.
  • Boost - The act of using an effect that increase ATK, DEF or effect's affection capability.
  • Boss/Boss Monster - The most powerful monster(s) of an archetype or Deck, either by ATK/DEF or by effect.
  • Bounce - The act of returning a card from the field to the hand.
  • Blast / Break - The act of destroying a card on the field.
    • Pop - To destroy a single card on the field.
  • Brick / Rot - A bad card combination in the hand that results in the player having to make a sub-optimal play or no play at all.
  • Bubble - In a tournament, to be in contention for one of the last few positions in the top-cut.
  • 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.
  • Bump - In terms of card rarity, when a reprint of an individual card has its rarity upgraded higher then either its initial release or other previous reprints of a lower rarity (e.g. "Dinowrestler Pankratops" going from a Common in its initial release in Soul Fusion to a Secret Rare as its first reprinted instance in Battles of Legend: Hero's Revenge.)
  • Burn - Effect damage and the act of using it.
  • Cancer - A card or a deck that focuses on lockdown to the point of being frowned upon.
  • Ceiling - A Deck's maximum potential "power" at its disposal.
  • Chase card - The most highly sought-after cards in a Booster Pack, usually attested to that card's power or value (e.g. "Heavymetalfoes Electrumite" in its first TCG release within Extreme Force).
  • Chimeratech - Multiple attacker in effect. This slang is taken from the name "Chimeratech Overdragon", arguably the most well-known multiple attacker.
  • Combo piece - A card that serves as a component to another card(s) that either work together better than those cards individually or aid in the Deck's functions (see Combo).
  • Control - A type of Deck whose core tenet is manipulating what the opponent can and cannot do (both proactively and reactively.)
  • Counter - Spell Speed 3 OR The act of using effect that would negate.
  • Consistency - The frequency at which a Deck performs the way it is intended to perform.
  • Cost - An action that must be performed in order to activate a card or effect.
  • Counterattack - A monster that had been attacked, but was not destroyed, destroys the attacker after the attack OR A monster gains ATK/DEF enough to overpower an attacking monster.
  • Dead Card - A card with no ability to impact the game.
    • Blank - To make an opponent's card have little to no value.
  • Deathtouch - An effect that destroys a monster during or after an attack.
  • Debuff - A negative effect applied on a monster OR the act of using it.
  • Degenerate - Something (typically card combos or plays) that require little-to-no thinking in its execution and is viewed as unfair by players.
  • Disrupt - The continual use of Floodgate and/or Counter Trap Cards.
  • 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 - A number of cards that helps a Deck achieve a certain action or helps a player draw a good card.
  • Extender - A card that can either facilitate larger plays or allows for recovery to proceed with a current play (e.g. "Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights").
    • Overextending - Unnecessarily wasting resources furthering a position that would have otherwise won a game.
  • Evolution - A card that is better than another card while the two cards holding a similar design OR the act of using one.
  • Fetch / Search / Tutor - The act of adding a card from your Deck to your hand, except by drawing.
  • Fizzle - A card resolving without applying its effect.
  • Flash - Spell Speed 2.
  • Flexible - The quality of a card being effective in a variety of situations.
  • Floater - A monster that generates card advantage either when it's Summoned or when it leaves the field; in the case of the latter, typically replacing itself with another card on the field (e.g. "Madolche Magileine" for its Summon and "Mermail Abysslinde" for if it's removed from the field.)
  • Floodgate - A card that restricts one or both players from performing certain actions.
  • Fodder - A card that is used solely as a Tribute, Material or for Costs.
  • Freeze / Suppress - Preventing a card's activation (e.g. the secondary effect of "Trickstar Light Stage".)
  • Fusion - "Polymerization" cards.
  • Game / Lethal - A combination of cards and actions that result in one player winning the Duel.
  • Garnet - Referencing "Gem-Knight Garnet", which is most often the "Gem-Knight" used in the "Brilliant Fusion"/"Gem-Knight Seraphinite" engine, a card that is a mandatory engine requirement, yet its completely useless while in the Hand.
  • God Box - In referencing Booster Boxes or similar non-Deck or promotional Yu-Gi-Oh! packages that offer more cards than a Booster Pack but don't have guaranteed cards (e.g. Duel Power,) the description for such a packaging that contains outstanding pulls from boosters.
  • Grind Game - A situation where both players are making a minimal amount of moves and neither player can pull ahead.
  • OPT - Once Per turn; Limited activations.
  • Helmet - A deck that's linear and easy to play.
  • Inherent - Unofficial term for a type of Summon that neither requires an activation, nor starts a Chain.
  • Ignorant - Something that wins games on its own with little or no play interaction.
  • 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 extensive field control.
  • Loop - A series of action that results in the same or at least similar effect that can be used over and over again.
  • Lonefire - Referencing the effect of the monster of the same name, a monster that Tributes itself to Special Summon another monster from the Deck.
  • Lottery card - Card(s) in core Booster Packs that exist as multiple rarities, of which the higher of the rarity in question has obviously more value and a lower chance of being pulled (e.g. in its first International release, "Marincess Sea Horse" existing as both an Ultra Rare and the extremely hard-to-get Prismatic Secret Rare in Rising Rampage.)
  • Lifelink - A negative effect that applies when a card leaves the field.
  • Link climb - Link Summoning Link Monsters typically in ascending order in terms of their Link Rating value, hence the name (e.g. in "Gouki" Deck strategies during 2018, Link Summoning the Link-2 "Isolde, Two Tales of the Noble Knights" to use her effect(s) only to then use this monster treated with a Link Rating of 2 (along with another monster) in order to then Link Summon the Link-3 "Summon Sorceress".)
  • Make - To traditionally Special Summon a Fusion Monster, Synchro Monster, Xyz Monster or Link Monster from the Extra Deck (as in to use applicable monsters (and sometimes card effects in conjunction) in the appropriate manner(s) to do such.)
  • Meta - Competitive decks in the current banlist and card pool.
  • Mill - The act of sending cards from the top of a player's deck to the Graveyard.
  • Mimic / Copy - Having a card gain the property (usually Effect or ATK) of another card.
  • Minus - Decreasing the number of cards in one's hand/field.
  • Mirror Match - Two opposing Decks using the same Archetype, strategy or theme.
  • Missing the timing - The inability to activate a card/effect when it would meet its activation timing because it is not possible to activate it (stylized as When X: You can Y.)
  • MST / Cyclone - "Mystical Space Typhoon" OR the act of using it.
  • Mulligan - (Via a card effect,) Shuffling your hand cards back into your Deck and drawing a new hand; typically this term is used when this new hand has fewer cards than the old hand had.
  • 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.
  • Nuke - The act of destroying many/all cards on the field at once.
  • OP (Overpowered) / Broken / Busted - A card that is too powerful compared to other cards.
  • Open/Open with - A player's starting hand cards before the Draw Phase. "Open with" specifically pertains to one's initial hand to initiate combos or big plays (i.e. opening with "Noble Knight Medraut" in a "Noble Knight" Deck in order to best start this Deck's best Summoning strategy.)
  • Out/"The Out" - Specific card(s) that can be used to effectively counter either other card(s) or specific play(s) by your opponent.
    • Hate - Specific card(s) that can be used to effectively counter entire Decks or strategies (e.g. "Light-Imprisoning Mirror" against LIGHT Decks.)
    • Over/Get Over/Go Over - A monster with a high enough ATK that can destroy a noticeably annoying monster in terms of its high ATK/DEF.
  • Pile - A stack of card, usually Graveyard.
  • Pitch - Discarding a card or sending a card from the hand to the GY.
  • Play - An action involving playing a card or cards, often a combo, e.g. "making a play."
  • Plus - Increasing the number of cards in one's hand/field.
  • Powercreep - The process of which new cards outclass old cards in terms of strength.
  • Rage - Force Attacks in effect.
  • Record - A player's current standing in a tournament. In Yu-Gi-Oh!, it's usually represented in the X-0 or X-1 format in which X represents the number of wins and the right digit is the number of losses.
  • Recycle - 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.
  • Reborn / Revive - The act of Special Summoning from the GY.
  • Rip - Forcing your opponent to discard a card (e.g. the effect of "White Magical Hat").
  • Rogue - A deck that sees little to no play in a competitive environment.
  • ROTA - A card effect that adds a card from the Deck to the hand. The term is an abbreviation for the Spell "Reinforcement of the Army", which is arguably the first meta-relevant card to have such an effect.
  • Row - Series of card Zones, with the "Front Row" referring to "Main Monster Zone" and the "Back Row" referring to "Spell & Trap Zone"
    • Backrow removal - The act of removing Spell/Traps from the field.
  • Rule-sharking - The abuse of Yu-Gi-Oh! rules to gain an unfair advantage. This form of unfair conduct is often used on less experienced players. Punishable in tournament.
  • Sacrifice - Tributes, Materials or Costs and the act of using them.
  • Sack - Getting a lucky draw or having the perfect counter to an optimal play.
  • Scale - The act of weighing Booster Packs to determine which pack has a rare card.
  • Scoop - Surrender; this is so-called because tournament players that admit defeat typically gather (hence "scoop") up their cards quickly to prepare for the next Duel or Match.
  • SEGOC - Simultaneous Effects Go On Chain.
  • Shadowstrike - Direct Attacker in effect.
  • Shut / Knock - The act of Negating, whether temporary or permanently.
  • Spawn - The act of summoning the same monster, usually Token or low-Level Monster with another card from time to time.
  • Spell Speed - A system that dictates whether or not cards can be activated in response to one another.
  • Spin - The act of placing a card on the field on top of the deck.
  • S/T / S&T / ST - Spell and Trap Cards.
  • Stack - The act of arranging cards to ensure a player draws a good card while the other doesn't.
  • Stall - The act of prolonging the game with a card effect, which will be met with penalties at tournaments.
  • Stand - The act of changing card 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, for example "Pot of Duality".
  • Starter - A card that serves as a player's play opener and sets the rest of their Deck in motion.
  • Steal - The act of taking your opponent's monster, or their card's property, for your own.
  • Suicide / Ramming / Crash - The act of intentionally attacking knowing the attacker will be destroyed.
  • (Synchro, Xyz, Pendulum or Link) Rule - Master Rule 1, 2, 3 nand 4, respectively.
  • Surprise - 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.
  • Swing - The act of declaring an attack.
  • T-Set - Setting a monster face-down and then setting a face-down Spell/Trap in the same column; so-called because this set-up results in the shape of a "T".
  • Tag Out - The act of a monster removing itself from the field and replacing itself with a different monster.
  • Tap / Rest - The act of changing card to Face-up Defense Position.
  • Thin - The act of removing cards from one's Deck during a Duel to increase the chances of drawing particular cards.
  • Tech / Spice - A card(s) 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.
  • Tempo - In a Duel, how one player's resources matches up against another's and the pace in which the game is played.
  • Time Bomb - A card that will destroy itself at certain timing, with harmful effect upcoming from that.
  • Tier n - Tiers are grouping systems win which Decks are ranked on their competitive viability and performance in a particular format. Tier n equals a number that can be beaten by other Tier n Decks of the same or higher-tiering (those whose numbers are less than n.)
    • Tier 0 - A deck that can only be beaten by itself.
  • Throw - The act of placing a card on your opponent's field in order to hinder them.
    • Lava Golem'd / Kaiju'd - Tribute an opponent's monster to replace them with your card, usually with those specified cards.
  • Piercing / Trample / Penetrate - The act of inflicting Piercing Battle Damage.
  • Toolbox - Searching for a monster to be used in a specified situation.
  • Top - Achieving prizing from a tournament or making it to the secondary stage of larger tournament events.
  • Topdeck / Heart of the Cards - The top card of the deck OR The act of placing a card on top of the deck. Can also refer to entire Decks where the sole outcome is dependent on cards that reside at the top of the Deck.
    • Clutch - A drawn card from the top of the Deck that perfectly suits the player's specific situation or goal.
    • Top-Decking / 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.
  • U-Link - An Extra Link. Most likely named due to the shape the Extra and Main Monster Zones viewed from the turn player's field if five Link Monsters (two in the Extra Zones and three in the middle three Main Zones) form the Extra Link.
  • Vanilla - A Normal monster.
  • Wall - A monster card that is difficult to destroy by battle or card effect.
    • Body - A monster with a high original ATK/DEF regardless of its effects (if any) or its Level.
  • Win Condition - A situation or combination of cards that effectively win the game even if both players still have LP.
  • Win More - A card that has no impact on the outcome of a game when you are already winning.
    • "The Nuts" - An extraordinarily powerful hand usually resulting in victory.
  • x of - The number of copies of certain cards one runs in a Deck, where x equals the number of copies.
    • Playset - 3 copies of a single card
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