A full list of Hearthstone slang and terminology

This handy guide should help you understand the game better.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone has an influx of new players on a constant basis. If you’re new to the card game genre, you might find it difficult to follow all the slang and terminology you might encounter during your matches. This handy guide should help you understand all the words you’ll hear during your games.

We’ve grouped it up in a couple of categories to make it easier to browse so you can easily scroll through this guide during your Hearthstone match to quickly understand what’s happening on the board if your opponent uses an unknown spell or minion.


Aggro – Shortened from aggression, related to a tactic or type of deck. They usually have a lot of cards with low mana costs and aim to rush the opponent’s health.

AoE – This acronym stands for area-of-effect and refers to various cards with effects which affect two or more creatures on the board.

Bounce – Some cards allow you to return a creature from the board to your or opponent’s hand.

Burn – This can relate to either direct-damage spells or cards burned via various effects or overdraw.

Cantrip – Cantrip is a common term in card games that relate to cards with multiple effects, including one that allows you to draw a card.

Classic – This format resembles playing Hearthstone before there were many expansions.

Combo – This is another two-meaning word that can mean either a deck relying on a combination of cards to win the game or an effect from Rogue cards that provide additional effects if a card was played earlier during the turn.

Constructed – This is the main Hearthstone format that consists of Classic, Standard, Wild, and Casual. You can build decks with cards from your collection.

Control – These decks use beefy minions with Taunt and various spells to control the board until the later stages of the game.

Cycle – This is a card that can draw another card. While some cards allow you to trade one for one, others allow you to draw two or more.

Direct damage – A spell or effect that can be targeted to deal damage to the target of your choosing.

Draft – The secondary format in which players are given a choice from three classes and one of three card choices to build a 30-card deck. The term was coined by other games and is called Arena in Hearthstone.

Face – Every player has a Hero Portrait. By “going face,” you’re attacking the player directly and bypassing their minions. Normally you can target and attack the face of your opponent without issues, but you might be stopped by Taunt minions or other effects.

Face tank – This phrase means you’re using your “face” to take down a minion and receive damage in the process. Some classes with weapons have to face tank damage to take down minions to control the board.

Ladder – Ladder is the ranked play rankings. By climbing up in ranks, you are climbing up the ladder.

Meta – Meta is defined by the current popular decks dominating the game. By having a good read on the meta, you can modify your deck to counter it.

Midrange – This deck type has a lot of cards with mana costs around five or six. The main goal is to survive against Aggro and beat Control decks.

Mill – These types of cards allow you to burn through your opponent’s cards either from their deck or their hand.

Mulligan – The mulligan phase is the first phase of a match where you get to keep your cards or put them back in your deck and draw others. You can select one or more cards with no restrictions to how many you want to keep or redraw.

Nerf – Nerfing refers to the process where developers reduce a card’s power. If a minion had three attack and it was brought down to two attack next patch, it was nerfed.

Netdeck – This means using various websites to copy the deck code without creating your own based on your own strategy.

OTK – An acronym for “one-turn kill,” this refers to various combos which allow the player to kill opponents from a high health amount.

OP – Short for overpowered, this term relates to cards that have powerful stats or effects and are defining the meta.

Ping – Usually referred to as the Mage hero power, a targetable ability that can deal one damage.

Ramp – Some classes can increase their mana crystals permanently or temporarily. Druid is the most renown class with such “Ramp” effects.

RNG – This is an acronym for randomly generated number. Various cards have effects to add a random minion or spell to your hand.

Roping – Every turn has a certain amount of seconds to execute and some players aim to extend it till the last second instead of passing their turn.

Standard – The main Hearthstone format with constant changes and updates.

Tempo – Relates to either board state or decks and means you’re one step ahead of your opponent. These decks or board states mean you have an innate advantage over your opponent.

Token – Cards generated from other cards.

Top Deck – Drawing the required card from the top of your deck.

Value – Trading a card for multiple of your opponent’s and building an advantage as a result.

Wild – Wild is another Hearthstone format and has some old expansions unlike Standard.

Zoo – Zoo is an archetype mostly related to the Warlock class, which consists of a lot of cheap minions.


Adapt – Choose one of three bonuses given.

Battlecry – An effect that comes into play when the card is played from your hand.

Charge – Allows the minion to attack immediately opposing creatures or your opponent.

Choose One – Mostly found on Druid cards and allows the player to pick an effect from two or more.

Combo – Combo cards are often found in the Rogue class and get a bonus effect if a card was played earlier this turn.

Counter – Stops a card from having any effect.

Deathrattle – An effect that happens when a minion dies.

Discover – Pick one of the three randomly generated cards to add to your hand.

Divine Shield – The first time the minion takes any amount of damage, ignore it.

Enrage – While damaged, the minion has additional effects.

Freeze – Can be temporary or permanent and stops the minion from having the ability to attack.

Immune – Usually an effect on heroes, which makes them protected from attacks.

Inspire – Something happens when you use your hero power.

Jade Golem – Related to an expansion where cards would summon 1/1 Golems during its first effect and then those would gain +1/+1 for each additional card played to summon one.

Mega-Windfury – A rare effect thatallows minions to attack four times in a turn.

Overload – You have less mana next turn, depending on the amount of crystals noted on the card.

Poisonous – Instantly kills any minion damaged by it. Doesn’t go through Divine Shield since the target doesn’t take any damage.

Quest – Cards that start in your hand and require some actions to be completed to benefit from them.

Secret – Some classes have access to cards that can be played during their turn, but only activated during their opponents. They are shown as question marks and are unknown until the effect is revealed.

Spell damage – Some cards give you this type of stat, which increases the damage of abilities by the noted amount.

Stealth – Minions or heroes that can’t be directly targeted until revealed.

Taunt – Minions that cannot be bypassed by the opponent. They are usually played to protect a player or a certain key creatures on board.

Windfury – Allows a creature or hero to attack twice during a turn.


BM – Acronym for bad manners, which could be spamming emotes, roping, or delaying a victory when you have a clear win condition.

BGH – Acronym for the Big Game Hunter card, which destroys minions with seven or more attack.

Dennis – Usually referred to a player who makes a misplay or a suboptimal play.

Disguised Toast – The infamous streamer who got his name from a creature called SI:7 Agent. When played, the creature says “Heh, this guy’s toast.”

Dr. 7 – Short for Dr. Boom, a creature which costs seven mana and defined the meta in the past with his effect.

Dudes – Usually referred to the Paladin hero power which summons tokens.

Fiery Win Axe – Referred to the Fiery War Axe, which was a huge tempo play in the past due to it costing only two mana and having three attack and two durability.

Frog – Related to the Shaman spell Hex, which converts a minion into a 0/1 Frog.

Get down – Referred to the Noble Sacrifice secret from the Paladin.

Rag – Short for Ragnaros the Firelord.

Sheep – Similar to the Shaman Hex spell, Mage has access to Polymorph, which transforms a minion into a 1/1 sheep.

SMOrc – A Twitch emote that looks like the default Hero Portrait. The emote is associated with the player going for the opponent’s face by ignoring the board.

Yogg – Referred to a creature Yogg-Saron, Hope’s End, which has random effects when played.