Useful card game terminology – Part 1

Ladies and Gentlelions!

We are also seeing an increase in players (both old and new) communicating with each other about the game. A point that had been raised before comes up again – some generic terms to refer to things in-game, and to talk about around-the-game.

So, here’s a little useful list of terms (both from established games as well as from within Duelyst) that can hopefully provide a level of consistency to our interactions.


Aggro – A combination of cheap minions and spells that aim to quickly finish the game. Often utilising Rush, plays that gain tempo and spells that deal direct damage, an aggressive archetype.

Burn – A style of play involving card effects, minions and spells that deal direct damage to the enemy general.

Burst – Dealing a large amount of damage (8 or more) without visible preparation. Often the result of a combination using both in-hand cards and on-field minions, and sometimes purely out-of-hand, involving buffed Rush minions.

Board Wipe – A card (or cards) whose effect clears minions off the board.

Bounce – Returning a card to hand. Can be opponents’ or own.

CCG – Collectible Card Game. For Clarity!


Combo – short for Combination, two or more cards that can produce a synergistic effect when played one after the other. Order of play is often important in getting maximum effect out of the combo. Whole decks can be built around one or more synergistic combos.

Control – A style of play involving big late-game minions and spells. Usually combined with many forms of removal to make the early game survivable. Often a defensive archetype.

Draft – The completed deck after the Card Selection process in the Gauntlet Mode or sometimes the process itself.

Finisher – A reliable way of ending the game, often requiring protecting a card or cards that will bring about the win. Divine Bond based decks use it as a finisher.

Hand – the Action Bar – you have a maximum of 6 cards you can keep in your hand.

Hand Advantage – Having more cards in hand over the opponent. Usually this translates into better control over the possible threats the opponent will generate that turn.

Hurting – When you are unable to draw a card when you have room in your hand/action bar, you will take 2 damage every time you attempt to draw one.


Infinite/Going infinite – In current context, usually used for Gauntlet, where getting 7 or more wins gives you a Gauntlet Ticket, which allows you to run a future Gauntlet free of cost. If you can chain Tickets, you are able to earn gold, spirit and cards indefinitely. ‘Infinite Combo’ is a combo that runs itself due to automated spell/card effects – in Duelyst, these are very specific and not often achievable in game.

Lethal – A declaration of doom for your opponent, implying that you now have enough damage from all available sources this turn to win the game. (Often ‘missed Lethal’ is also used – meaning that a confirmed win was misplayed.)

Limited – A game Mode where the players use a deck with restrictions, often rarity-gated. A general term that includes Draft among other card distribution systems. Usually used in cases where the players would otherwise have a huge gulf in their card collection in a pre-constructed deck match.

Mana Curve – The graph formed by putting all your cards in Cost order.
A ‘low’ mana curve allows for many more cards played in the early 2-3 turns compared to their opponent, and usually aims at getting control of the board and using aggression to win the game quickly.
A ‘high’ mana curve is more aimed at winning later in the game, early game often not summoning many minions, removing enemy threats instead. Later on, the higher curve will allow strong cards to be played every turn.

Meta/Metagame – The knowledge of what type of deck is working well/strongest/most likely to be faced at the level you are playing in a given format – Ladder, Tournament or Gauntlet. Allows for countering those styles in your own deck, as well as anticipating common threats.

Mid-range – Decks that are honestly paced – rather than going Fast Aggro, Mid-range aims at pulling their weight over the early-mid game with beneficial minion trades, and overwhelming the opponent. The deck does not usually try to stall for late game – it tries to gain board control by consistent use of force against slower decks.

On the Play/On the Draw – You’re “on the play” if you’re playing first. You’re “on the draw” if you’re playing second. The terms are drawn from Magic, where you wouldn’t draw on the first turn. The asymmetry of the board in Duelyst makes it imperative to have strategies planned for both cases.

Resources – Anything that both players have to utilise to gain an advantage in the game. Mana/Cores is the simplest. Cards in hand is another. Minions on field are another form. Having more resources generally means you have more options to gain or maintain control over the board. Such advantage is not always visible, as burst combos will let you know.


The list continues in the next part!


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