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Yu-Gi-Oh! Common Slang Glossary

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  • Gameplay Actions
  • Describing Cards
  • Mechanics And Other Terms

Getting into the Yu-Gi-Oh card game can be very difficult, whether you are playing the TCG, OCG, or Master Duel. With a plethora of different summoning mechanics to learn, as well as a library of hundreds of meta-relevant cards you need to be familiar with, becoming a proficient Yu-Gi-Oh player from scratch can seem like an impossible task.

Because of this, Yu-Gi-Oh players have developed an informal language for talking about the game, simplifying the game's notoriously complex vocabulary into a much more human form. But, learning all this terminology can be a challenge in itself, which is where this glossary can help: being able to understand your fellow players fluently will help you massively on your way to becoming a top duelist, whether you're chasing a Regionals top or trying to climb Master Duel's ranked ladder.

Gameplay Actions

Yu-Gi-Oh contains many types of action: cards can be sent to the Graveyard, they can be banished, they can destroy other cards, they can summon other cards… the list is almost endless. Players have many words to generalise these actions that help to quickly communicate to other players what they are doing during the heat of battle.

SearchAdding a card from your deck to your hand.
BounceWhen a card(s) is returned from the field to its owner's hand, e.g. by the effect of Compulsory Evacuation Device.
SpinWhen a card(s) is shuffled back into the deck from the field. Knightmare Unicorn is a massively popular card that utilises this form of disruption.
Foolish/DumpWhen a card(s) is sent from the deck to the Graveyard. These two words are used interchangeably, although 'dump' is more common. 'Foolish' comes from the card Foolish Burial.
PitchWhen a card(s) is sent from the hand to the Graveyard.
MillWhen a card(s) is sent from the top of the deck to the Graveyard. This most commonly refers to sending your opponent's cards – in fact, whole 'Milling' decks have been built with the purpose of winning by decking out your opponent – although some cards such as Chaos Ruler, The Chaotic Magical Dragon mill your own cards.
RebornWhen a monster is special summoned from the Graveyard. The word comes from one of the most iconic cards in the entire game: Monster Reborn.
PopWhen a card(s) is destroyed by a card effect. The difference between 'pop' and 'destroy' is that 'destroy' can also refer to monsters being destroyed by battle.

Describing Cards

Every card in Yu-Gi-Oh is different, so it's useful for players to have generic terminology to help them understand cards' effects faster. Knowing that a card is a 'Stratos' or a 'hand trap' is much easier than remembering its paragraphs of unique text!

Hand TrapAny card with an immediate effect can activate from your hand during your opponent's turn. The term 'hand trap' is a slight misnomer since these cards do not need to be traps at all, and indeed some of the best examples – such as the inimitable Ash Blossom And Joyous Spring – are actually monster cards.
SearcherAny card that searches a key combo piece for your deck.
ExtenderA card that allows you to get an extra monster on the field during your combos. Many top-tier decks have multiple extension options to allow them to better play through disruptions – the Phantom Knights Burning Abyss deck, for example, is notorious for playing many level three extenders to help summon Cherubini, Ebon Angel Of The Burning Abyss and get its combo going.
Boss MonsterA monster that you would consider the end goal of your strategy, often coinciding with your win condition. Your boss monster is your heavy hitter, be that from raw attack power (with cards like Blue-Eyes Chaos MAX Dragon) or from incredibly debilitating effects (such as the summoning restrictions of El Shaddoll Winda).
BodyA monster whose main purpose is its existence on the field – for example, you might need an extra body on field for a Link summon. Though modern decks are usually jam-packed with monsters worth much more than their weight in paper, getting bodies on the field can still be a commendable strategy in simplified game states, especially if you are facing down game-slowing floodgates such as Skill Drain.
WallA monster whose purpose is to stop your opponent attacking due to its significant defence.
FloodgateA card with a continuous effect that restricts gameplay. There Can Be Only One is a popular and often game-winning floodgate, although some monsters can also have floodgate effects, such as Abyss Dweller locking your opponent from activating effects in their Graveyard.
StapleA card that is not part of the archetype you are playing but is played anyway due to its sheer power or utility. Many hand traps and extra deck monsters are considered staples, as well as popular spell and trap cards such as the infinitely useful Forbidden Droplet.
GarnetA card that you don't want to see in your hand but is nonetheless required for your deck. The name comes from Gem-Knight Garnet, a normal monster that is useless when in your hand but is necessary to have in your deck if you want to use the powerful spell card Brilliant Fusion.
BrickAn opening hand that doesn't allow you to reach your full combo, or sometimes is so bad that you can't do anything at all. Blue-Eyes is so famous for bricking that it has become a meme, although any deck is in danger of bricking if it plays too many staples. This is also known as the worst feeling in Yu-Gi-Oh.
ROTAA card that searches a monster of your archetype. The name comes from Reinforcement Of The Army, which searches any level four or lower Warrior-type monster.
StratosA monster that, when normal summoned, searches an important in-archetype card. Many archetypes have a Stratos, but few are as powerful or as iconic as the first: Elemental HERO Stratos.
TowersA boss monster with impressive stats that is also protected from many forms of removal by its effect. The original, Apoqliphort Towers, is unaffected by spells, traps, and any monsters that are level/rank ten or less – the only thing harder than dealing with this monster is saying its name.

Mechanics And Other Terms

There is already a comprehensive library of official Yu-Gi-Oh terms for the game's mechanics, but that hasn't stopped players from coming up with a few of their own words to cover certain bases that Konami has left open. As well as describing game mechanics, many of the words here define specific game scenarios that are perhaps too niche to warrant a section of the official rulebook. such as the effect 'fizzling'.

Chain BlockWhen you arrange the order of simultaneous effects activating so that one or more of them are protected from negation. For example, if you summon El Shaddoll Construct by sending Shaddoll Beast to the Graveyard, you may want to activate Construct as Chain Link 1 and Beast (the less important effect) as Chain Link 2 so that your opponent cannot respond to Construct's activation. Understanding this mechanic well is vital at higher levels of play, especially if you are playing a deck such as Shaddoll or Floowandereeze where it is an essential part of your combo lines.
InterruptionAny effect you have that can activate on your opponent's turn to disrupt their game state. For example, if you have a Baronne De Fleur on your field and an Effect Veiler in your hand, you have a total of two interruptions.
Inherent SummonA summon that doesn't happen as a result of an activated effect, such as a normal summon. Some monsters, such as Berserkion The Electromagna Warrior, can be inherently summoned by their own effects, although other monsters that summon themselves such as Adamancipator Researcher are summoned via effect activation and so are not considered inherently summoned. The difference is subtle, and it will take some time to get used to, but it's definitely worth doing!
Spell Speed FourA card is 'spell speed four' if it cannot be responded to with other card effects. Spell speed is an official concept in Yu-Gi-Oh, but there are only three official spell speeds, whereas spell speed four is just an informal (and confusing!) term. Spell speed four cards are often very powerful, such as the massively disruptive Super Polymerization.
FizzleWhen an activated effect resolves but has no effect (even though the effect isn't negated). This may happen if, for example, your effect targets a card on the field, but that target is no longer on the field when the effect resolves.
PileA deck with no central archetype that is just a collection of disjoint engines. Pile decks such as BASED (Brave Artifact Souls Eldlich DPE) step in and out of popularity in the metagame, and they often have highly complex, non-linear combo lines that value skilled play.
ScoopAnother word for 'surrender'.

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