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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 include.

  • Absorb - The act of using monster as an Equip Card or Xyz Material, then gain its power.
  • Ban - The act of forbidding a card from being used.
    • Banlist - List of Forbidden, Limited or Semi-limited cards.
  • Book / Blanket - The act of flipping a monster to face-down defense position.
  • Boost - The act of using an effect that increase ATK, DEF or effect's affection capability.
  • Boss - The most powerful monster(s) of an archetype or Deck, either by ATK/DEF or by effect. For example, the boss monster of the "Cubic" archetype is "Crimson Nova Trinity the Dark Cubic Lord". Another example is "Lightsworn" deck which has multiple bosses: "Judgment Dragon", "Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn", and "Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn".
  • Bounce - The act of returning a card from the field to the hand.
  • Blast / Break / Pop - The act of destroying a 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chimeratech - Multiple attacker in effect. This slang is taken from the name "Chimeratech Overdragon", arguably the most well-known multiple attacker.
  • Counter - Spell Speed 3 OR The act of using effect that would negate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Disrupt - The continual use of Floodgate and/or Counter Trap Cards.
  • Engine - A number of cards that helps a Deck achieve a certain action or helps a player draw a good card. For example, a player uses a "Windwitch" engine consisting of "Windwitch - Snow Bell", "Windwitch - Ice Bell", "Windwitch - Glass Bell", and "Windwitch - Crystal Bell" to Special Summon "Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon" quickly.
  • 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.
  • Evolution - A card that is better than another card while the two cards holding a similar design OR the act of using one.
  • Flash - Spell Speed 2.
  • Floating - The act of a monster replacing itself upon being sent to the Graveyard.
  • Floodgate - A card with a continuous effect that restricts one or both players from performing some action.
  • Fodder - A card that is used solely as a Tribute, Material or for Costs.
  • Fusion - "Polymerization" cards.
  • 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 an extreme 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.
  • Lifelink - A negative effect that applies when a card leaves the field.
  • 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.
  • MST / Cyclone - "Mystical Space Typhoon" OR the act of using it.
  • 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 / Broken - A card that is too powerful compared to other cards.
  • Pile - A stack of card, usually Graveyard.
  • 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.
  • Rage - Force Attacks in effect.
  • 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.
  • Revive - The act of Special Summoning from the Graveyard.
  • Row - Series of card Zone, with "Front Row" referring to "Main Monster Zone" and "Back Row" referring to "Spell & Trap Zone"
    • Backrow removal - The act of removing Spell/Traps from the field.
  • Sacrifice - Tributes, Materials or Costs and the act of using them
  • Scale - The act of weighing Booster Packs to determine which pack has a rare card.
  • Search / Tutor - The act of adding a card from your Deck to your hand, except by drawing.
  • Shadowstrike / Shadow Dive - Direct Attacker in effect.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spectral Strike - An effect that would harm an opponent upon their monster gets destroyed by battle with your monster.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Suppress - Prevent a card and/or effect from activating in a certain timing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tech - A card 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.
  • Thunder Mine - Harming effect that activates when a specific action is preformed by an opponent.
  • Time Bomb - A card that will destroy itself at certain timing, with harmful effect upcoming from that.
  • 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.
  • Trample / Penetrate - The act of inflicting Piercing Battle Damage.
  • Topdeck - The top card of the deck OR The act of placing a card on top of the deck.
  • 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.
  • Toolbox - Searching for a monster to be used in a specified situation.
  • Vanilla - A Normal monster.
  • Wall - A monster card that is difficult to destroy by battle.

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