Players Comprehensive Guide to MTG Slang/Lingo/Jargon

players complete guide to mtg magic jargon and slang

Players Comprehensive Guide to MTG Slang/Lingo/Jargon

The hardest part of getting into any game is figuring out what fellow players are talking about! It can be quite overwhelming going into a community, store event, or playground not understanding what is going on on the table. We’re help to help anyone struggling with these terms or jargon, without worrying about embarrassing yourself!

The list doesn’t include the vast number of game mechanics, but rather terms used in conversations, analyses and social media where people tend out to spill out lingo without explaining them. That said, the list is also non-exhaustive and if you’ve noticed something we’ve missed that would be really helpful to the Timmys (see below), please drop us an email!

What Does EDH Mean?

EDH is an acronym for Elder Dragon Highlander, the original name for the multiplayer format now named as Commander by Wizards of the Coast. The format began in the mid-90s and it took many years before gaining mainstream popularity. Today many seasoned players still refer to Commander as EDH out of habit or because it rolls off the tongue more easily.

What Does cEDH Mean?

C stands for “competitive,” while EDH (see above) refers to the original name of the format now known as Commander. CEDH are games where high-powered and extremely fast decks are used to win early, often in a few turns.

What is a Cantrip in Magic?

In standard English, cantrip is defined as a mischievous trick. In Magic, a cantrip is often a trick spell that nets you value against your opponent, either by drawing a card to replace the spell you just cast, or by generating additional value in some other form. For example, an Defiant Strike on your 3/3 attacking Creature lets you to kill two 2/2 blockers when it would have only killed one. In addition, you draw a card to replace the Defiant Strike cantrip that you’d just cast.

What Does it Mean to Scoop?

A term endeared to paper Magic, to scoop means to concede the game since a player literally ‘scoops’ up his cards to show that he/she has surrendered.

What Does it Mean to Rope?

Roping is a recent phrase that came into prominence after the release of MTG Arena. The game uses a burning rope to illustrate time running out to make a decision. Sometimes a losing player will let his turn slowly time out out of spite, thus the term “to rope” was born.

What Do One-Drop, Two-Drop etc. Mean?

A One-drop refers to a spell that costs only 1 Mana. A Two-drop points to a spell that costs 2 Mana, and so on and so forth. It’s called a “drop” because you would drop the card onto the Battlefield, ideally matching the number of turns you’ve played.

What Do BO1 and BO3 Mean?

BO1 stands for Best-of-One, a game format that involves no Sideboards and is just a single game to determine the winner. BO3 is Best-of-Three, the traditional way of competitive constructed formats where players have to win 2 out of 3 games to win the match. After the first game, players have access to the Sideboard to make changes to their deck.

What Does ETB Mean?

ETB is short for Enters the Battlefield. This is often a triggered ability found on various cards, and specifically means the exact moment a Permanent resolves and touches the Battlefield.

A Magic card with the ETB jargon - what does it mean?

What Does Proxy Mean?

Proxies are placeholder cards that are meant to represent a specific card that the player doesn’t own or doesn’t want to physically place it in the deck to prevent it being damaged. These are only allowed in casual play.

What Does Sac Mean?

“Sac” is short for Sacrifice, an effect within the Magic game. It is a form of removal effect, alongside Destroy and Exile. However Sacrifice is unique in the sense many players just use the syllable “Sac” to mean Sacrifice.

What Does Midrange Mean?

Midrange is a deck and gameplay strategy that focuses on building a bigger and more stable Mana base and Battlefield state so as to utilise bigger spells in the later part of the game to win.

What Does Aggro Mean?

Aggro is short for “aggressive,” a deck and gameplay strategy to win as quickly as possible. Also termed as “rush” in other games, an aggro deck uses very cheap spells to swarm the opponent because he can respond with bigger spells.

What is a Limited Format in Magic?

Limited refers to a format category that involves unpredictable elements in deck building. Draft and Sealed are two such formats that fall under the Limited category. In Draft, a pod of 8 players pass a total of 24 packs around the table, where players pick 1 card each. In Sealed, each player gets 6 packs and build their deck from those packs.

What is a Constructed Format in Magic?

Constructed is a format category that involves pre-building a deck, with no restrictions apart from card legality within that format and basic deck building rules (e.g. only up to 4 copies of each card apart from Basic Lands). A Constructed deck allows for more streamlined and predictable gameplay as the players has had time to fine tune and practice with that deck. For example, Standard and Modern are constructed formats.

What Does a Playset Mean?

In Magic, playset means having 4 copies of a specific card to put in your deck. Apart from Basic Lands and unless specifically mentioned in the card or format rules, a deck can have up to a playset of each card.

What Does a Pod Mean?

In general, a pod means 4 or 8 players needed to kickstart a Magic event. For example a Limited or Constructed event will allocate 8 players to a pod. At times when a pod of 8 cannot be achieved, event organisers can make do with 4 players. Four and 8 are often used because they allow for easier pairing in a league or elimination structure.

What is a Timmy in Magic?

Timmy is rather derogatory slang in Magic to represent a new player who doesn’t make optimal financial or gameplay decisions due to inexperience. This includes overpaying for card singles or making inefficient plays in a game.

What is a Tutor in Magic?

A tutor spell, such as Demonic Tutor, Mystical Tutor and Worldly Tutor, lets its caster search for a specific card from the entirety of their deck and play it. More modern tutors may not exactly have the word “tutor” in its name, but it might have a similar search effect, hence “tutor” is a slang to represent the acquisition of a specific card.

What is a Win-Con?

Win-Con is short for your winning condition. Every deck, regardless of format should have a strategy to win, called the Win Condition, and this can revolve around a few specific cards that starts some kind of combo. It can also refer to a general strategy on how the deck hopes to win, e.g. Milling an opponent through multiple avenues and not just by a handful of specific cards.

Missing some MTG Jargon? Let us know!

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After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.

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