Magic: The Gathering Glossary - Terms, Lingo, Slang, And Jargon Explained

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Genoslugcs · January 29, 2023 · 10 min
Magic: The Gathering Glossary - Terms, Lingo, Slang, And Jargon Explained

Magic: The Gathering has a pretty crazy amount of terms, lingo, and jargon as a whole. Some are technical terms for the game and others are colloquialisms that have been adopted by players. Either way, if you're a new player these terms can be a little hard to understand. Whether you're one such new player or a veteran looking to get a refresher on the exact definition of something we have you covered. Today we have a full glossary of MTG lingo, jargon, and terms for your convenience.

"I was playing a grindy Orzhov aristocrats deck at FNM and I kept a starting seven without a sac outlet and got mana flooded. My opponent had natural Tron and then top-decked an Ugin. I wasn't waiting on him to ultimate so I just scooped - Guess I should have mulled." _ Example of just how much lingo there is!

If that made perfect sense to you, you've probably been playing for a little while. If it sounded like an alien language to you, worry not. We'll have you speaking like you have been playing since Urza and Mishra were still pals. Ok, let's get started.


The color combination of White, Black, and Green

A strategy focused on winning the game quickly (Usually by attacking with creatures)

Colors that have similar interests, ideals, and playstyles

Any card that is used to deal with a problematic opposing permanent

A card or effect that gives all of your creatures a power and toughness boost

An established, commonly used deck strategy

An application that allows players to play MTG online

An archetype where a player sacrifices their own creatures to deal damage. Example - Cartel Aristocract.

The color combination of White and Blue.

The color combination of White, Blue, and Green.

Lands with the "basic" land type.

A two-mana creature with a power and toughness of 2/2.

A creature (usually large) that is good for attacking.

An effect that causes a creature to be exiled and immediately returned to the battlefield (Usually used to get the creatures "enter the battlefield" effect again)

Commonly refers to permanents on the battlefield as a whole.

Board Wipe:
A card that destroys all creatures (and/or other permanent types) all at once. Wrath of Godimage

The power and toughness of a creature.

A Lightning Boltimage

A term usually used in Draft or Sealed that means a game-winning threat.

The color combination of White and Red.

The act of returning a creature or permanent from the battlefield to the hand (also known as Flicker). Rona's Vorteximage.

Verb- Coming up with unique ideas for a deck instead of using established decks. Noun- A unique deck you've built.

A card or deck that is overpowered.

Dealing damage directly to a player. Also refers to decks built around winning by dealing damage directly to opponents

A card that draws a card in addition to some other effect. Thought Scourimage.

Card Advantage:
Cards or effects that give you access to more cards.

Card Pool:
The cards that are available to use in a particular Draft, set, or format.

Competitive EDH (Commander)

Check Land: 
A dual land that "checks" to see if you control a basic land of a certain type and enters untapped if you do. Isolated Chapelimage.

Chump Block:
Using a small creature to block a larger creature to avoid taking damage even if it means the small creature dying.

A combination of cards that work together (usually to win the game on the spot).

A highly synergistic combination of cards that work together but do not win the game on the spot.

An archetype built around controlling the game by countering and/or removing opposing threats early and playing their own threats in the late game to win.

Dealing with a spell will it's still on the stack. Counterspellimage

The act of opening a booster pack.

The distribution of different mana-value spells within your deck.

Using a spell or ability to send a permanent from the battlefield to the graveyard.

The number of colored mana symbols on cards on your side of the battlefield for a given color.

The color combination of Blue and Black.

Drawing a card from your library.

Dual Land:
A land that taps for two colors of mana.

Enemy Colors:
Colors that have opposing interests, ideals, and playstyles.

The color combination of White, Blue, And Black.

Any ability that makes a creature difficult to block. Examples include Flying and Menace.

A card or effect that causes a creature or permanent to leave the battlefield without sending it to the graveyard. Path to Exileimage.

Fast Land:
A dual land that enters the battlefield tapped if you control two or more other lands. Seachrome Coastimage.

Fast mana:
Non-land cards and effects that give you access to large amounts of mana (often for a single turn) Irencrag Featimage.

Cards, effects, and lands that allow you to get a specific land card from your deck. Marsh Flatsimage.

The act of turning mana from one color into another. Cascading Cataractsimage.

When a card is cast and is thwarted because all legal targets for the spell are removed.

Adding mana to your mana pool that isn't used imminently or the mana left over after casting a spell.

Stands for "Friday Night Magic" which are low-level tournaments hosted at game stores.

An effect that prevents all combat damage for a single turn. Fogimage

Good game.

Go Off:
When a deck does exactly what it was designed to do.

The color combination of Black and Green.

The color combination of Blue, Red, and Black.

Group Hug:
A strategy in Commander where your deck gives resources to all players.

The color combination of Red and Green.

A card that is used very specifically to stop a certain thing. (Examples include Graveyard and Artifact "hate".) Tormod's Cryptimage, Fragmentizeimage.

Hate Bear:
A 2-mana creature that has an ability that disrupts opposing strategies. Thalia, Guardian of Thrabenimage.

The color combination of Blue and Red.

A deck or strategy that isn't an established archetype that oftentimes isn't very competitive.

The color combination of White, Blue, and Red.

A player who enjoys creating/playing decks with niche strategies - often focused combos or synergies.

The color combination of Red, Green, and Black. Also, a value-based strategy/archetype that plays these colors. 

Kitchen Table:
Very casual games of magic often played without regard for formats or ban lists.

Land Drop:
Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control.

Drawing a card, then discarding a card. Merfolk Looterimage

A creature that boosts the power and toughness of a particular creature type. Lord of Atlantisimage.

Luck Sack(ed):
When a player is getting extremely lucky - Particularly with the cards they draw each turn.

Man Land:
A land that can be turned into a creature at times. Creeping Tar-Pit.

The resource produced by lands (and other spells) that is used to pay for the cards you cast

Mana Dork:
A creature that can tap to produce mana. [[Llanowar Elves].

Mana Fixing:
A card or ability that helps ensure you have the colors of mana you need. Birds of Paradiseimage.

When you draw too many lands and not enough spells.

An artifact that can tap to produce mana. Sol Ringimage.

When you draw way too few lands and don't have enough to cast spells.

An ability you can spend any access mana you have each turn on so that it doesn't go to waste. Legion's Landing // Adanto, the First Fortimage.

The color combination of White, Black, and Red.

The decks and cards that are being played in a particular playgroup or format.

A strategy that wants to turn early game plays into bigger threats as the game goes along. These decks fall between control and aggro and often adapt depending on what they are matched against.

Putting the top card of a library into its controller's graveyard. There are also decks built around this strategy that uses the same name. Mill Stone.

A deck or card that is only a single color of mana. Colorless cards don't have a color.

Take a muligan.

A card or ability that destroys an artifact or enchantment. Naturalizeimage.

Natural Tron:
When a Tron Deck has at least one copy of Urza's Power Plantimage, Urza's Mineimage, and Urza's Towerimage in their opening hand.

A very popular, established, top-tier deck that has lists available on the internet.

The opposite of a combo - Cards within a deck that are counterproductive to one another.

The best possible start for a deck.

The color combination of White and Black.

Pain Land:
A land that deals you one damage whenever it's tapped for colored mana. Caves of Koilosimage.

Noun- The card Path to Exileimage. Verb- Using Path to Exileimage on a creature.

A creature with two power and one toughness. Snapcaster Mageimage.

Dealing something one damage at a time - Usually with a repeatable source. Prodigal Sorcererimage.

Games two and/or three (in a best-of-three game of magic) where players have access to their sideboard cards.

Nine rare cards from the Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited sets, that are widely considered to be the most powerful cards ever printed.

The cards that you got from opening booster packs.

Giving your creatures a boost to their power and/or toughness. Giant Growthimage.

Noun- The card Fatal Pushimage. Verb- Using Fatal Pushimage on a creature.

The color combination of Black and Red.

Cards or effects that give you access to more mana than you would have by playing a land on each turn. Rampant Growthimage.

Any aggressive deck that uses only the color Red.

Cards that destroy or exile opposing creatures or permanents.

Reserved List:
A list of cards that the makers of Magic have said can never be reprinted. The list has some of the game's rarest and most expensive cards.

When a card or set becomes no longer legal in Standard.

To sacrifice a permanent (usually a creature)

Sac Outlet:
A card that gives you a way to sacrifice creatures. Ashnod's Altarimage.

When a player is aggravated or annoyed by an opponent and/or the cards they play. "I destroyed Timmy's creature and he was salty."

To concede a game when you know you've lost.

The color combination of White and Green.

A term that refers to the three-color combinations from the Alara block - Bant, Esper, Grixis, Jund, and Naya.

To take two damage from playing a "shock land" like Godless Shrineimage untapped. Comes from the card Shockimage dealing two damage.

Swapping cards in (side in) or out (side out) of your deck to or from your sideboard.

The color combination of Blue and Green.

Slow land:
Dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped unless you control two or more other lands. Deserted Beachimage.

A deck or strategy that revolves around casting many instant or sorcery spells.

Cards and themes are not commonly used by are good.

A player who only plays the game to win.

Stax: A strategy built around cards that make basic game actions harder to do in an attempt to stall opponents out. Stasisimage

The color combination of Black, Blue, and Green.

A card that removes several creatures or permanents from the battlefield. Similar to a board wipe.

To attack with a creature.

Swing Out:
To attack with all of your creatures.

Turning a permanent sideways in order to attack or activate its abilities. Being sideways shows that it can't be used again this that same turn.

All of your lands are tapped and you have no more access to mana for that turn.

A card or strategy that makes opposing spells cost more to cast/use. Thalia, Guardian of Thrabenimage.

A strategy that looks to control the pace of the game by slowing opponents' strategies down.

The color combination of Blue, Red, and Green.

The Stack:
An imaginary area between your hand and the battlefield where spells and abilities are placed before they resolve.

Tick Up:
To use the + ability on a planeswalker to add loyalty counters to it. Liliana of the Veilimage.

How good a deck is compared to other decks being played. For example, Tier 1, 2, 3, etc.

The opposite of a Johhny. A player who focuses on playing whatever unexpected, less common strategies they want, even if they lose.

Tribal Deck:
A deck built around a particular creature type. For example, Zombies, Elves, or Spirits.

When something in the game causes another action to happen.

The "Urzatron" lands Urza's Power Plantimage, Urza's Mineimage, and Urza's Towerimage that generate seven mana if you control all three. Decks built around these lands go by the same name.

When a spell or ability moves a permanent from the battlefield to a certain number of cards beneath the top cards of a player's library. For example, the second ability of Teferi, Hero of Dominariaimage.

Noun- A card that allows you to search your library for another card. Vampiric Tutorimage. Verb- The act of searching your library for a card.

When you use one card to deal with or remove two opposing cards.

The last (and most powerful) ability of a Planeswalker.

The part of a turn after you untap but before you draw a card.

A land that has an ability beyond tapping for mana.

Vanilla-Creature: A creature without any abilities. Rotting Fensnakeimage.

An archetype that wants to make a single creature into a game-winning threat, usually via Aura's and/or Equipment. Also known as a "go tall" strategy.

A player who enjoys the story and lore of the game and often prefers themes or settings over optimization or mechanics when deck building.

A planeswalker

An archetype that wants to play lots of small creatures (weenies) and pump them up to win the game. Also known as a "go wide" strategy.

Noun- An effect or ability that causes a player or players to discard their hands and draw seven cards. Verb- The act of causing a player or players to discard their hands and draw seven cards. Wheel of Fortuneimage.

Wheel (booster draft):
When a card makes it back to you after being seen, but not taken, by every other player in a draft.

The card or cards that a deck uses to actually win the game.

Noun- A card or effect that destroys all creatures in play. Verb- To play a card or effect that destroys all creatures in play. Takes its name from Wrath of Godimage.

The color combination of White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green.


There you have it folks - A complete list of Magic: The Gathering terms, lingo, slang, and jargon explained. If you can think of any that I missed comment down below and let me know and I'll add it to the list.









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@NotForcingStorm Tax/Taxes was one I already had.:) Other than that, I added the others you mentioned. Thanks.
Hate bear - a low mana-cost creature that disrupts an opponent's strategy [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]
Tax - an effect that increases the amount of mana needed to play a spell or activate an ability
Evasion - abilities that make a creature difficult to block or remove (Flying, hexproof, etc.)
Mana fixing - a card that facilitates the ability to cast different colored spells (Dual lands)
@NotForcingStorm Great suggestions - I'll add them in. Thank you.
Johnny - A player who enjoys creating/playing decks with sub-optimal or niche strategies often focused combos or synergies.
Vorthos - A player who enjoys the story and lore of the MTG Universe and often prefers themes or settings over optimization or mechanics.
Wheel (booster draft) - a card remaining in a pack after being seen, but not taken, by every other player in the draft.
Slow lands - dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped unless you control 2 or more other lands [[Deserted Beach]]
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