Archmage - Magic Jargon
Helpful Phrases to help the beginning MTG player.
By Coyote, updated 8/1/94
Aboyne: (Verb) To beat an expert at a game of skill by playing so
appallingly that none of his clever tactics or strategies are of
any use to him. (From "The Meaning of Liff," Douglas Adams & John Lloyd)
"Beginner's Luck": A generally derogatory term used when a fledgling
player is smart enough to beat the deck that You Payed Good Money For.
Belgium: A perfectly innocent if rather dull country. The last place
on earth where anyone would print a fast-selling card game, particularly
anyones who live in California.
Black: The branch of Magic devoted to death, disease and Entrophy. For
some obscure reason, practitioners of Black magic can accumulate more
Mountains than any other wizards.
Blue: The branch of Magic devoted to the psyche and the elemental forces
of Water, Air and Fishliver Oil.
Bully Brick: Mythical artifact which allows only creatures with powers
greater than two to be untapped. The theoretical counterpart of the
Changeling: Any worthless or near-worthless card whose title has been
scratched out and replaced with "Demonic Hordes" or "Aspect of Wolf."
The idea is that the card's owner does not wish to damage his valuable
Rare cards, and will be more than happy to replace the Changeling with
the original card, as long as he doesn't have to shuffle his Rare in
with the rest of the deck. When faced with a Changeling deck, it's often
a good idea to examine your opponent's card collection to find out exactly
how many Gaea's Leiges he really owns. I hear the National Mint has
problems of this nature.
Changing Currency: Destroying a 1/1 critter in order to pump up a
Christmas Deck: Red and Green.
An annoyance of Scrybs
A gaggle of Lords of the Pit
A brace of Sammies
A cord of Tree Folk
A chorus of Tims
A hoard of Moxen
Collector: Any person who doesn't play, but has more rares than you do.
Collectors are good, but essentially misguided.
Dark, The: Expansion set released to give Black the power to reduce
every other color to a thin, red/white/blue/green pulp. WARNING:
excessive Darking has been linked to the sudden disappearance of
playing decks. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Die Horribly: To meet a final, spectacular demise, as when a Sprite
is used to block a 16/16 Lanced Sengir Vampire. Rel.: "Go foom,"
"Go BIG foom," "Flambe'," "Fall down go boom," "Is reduced to slag,"
and to a lesser extent "Is Fungasaur kibble."
Dust: Fallout registered from a Disintergrated creature. As used in
the phrase "Be sure to wipe your Serra's dust off the table."
Eat: (Verb) To take damage. As in the phrase "Okay, so--I play my Black
Vice. You have the Library of Leng, uhh...eat twenty-seven."
Elvis Archers: An incredibly rare Alpha-printing typoed card.
No, the king isn't dead! Just out of print.
Epic Saga: The story of how you got your Gaea's Leige, Lord of the Pit,
Shivan Dragon or Timber Wolf.
"Fish 'N Ships": Mono-Blue
Flavor Text: Little bits of trivia added in italics. These little bits
of trivia, often considered something of an afterthought, will no doubt
become vitally important when the Wizards of the Coast release
Magic: The Role-Playing Game.
Force of Nature: A magical effect that moves all of your lands to the bottom
of the deck.
FTL Effect: A spell effect with speed that far exceeds so-called
"fast effects." (Example, proposed by WotC rules group: damage caused
by Psychic Venom may not be negated by a Circle of Protection, Blue,
AS LONG AS the CoP is being powered by the mana of the Venomed land.
Presumably, then, this is an FTL, or "faster-than-light," effect.
Surprisingly, mana from a different land may be used to defuse the Venom
effects. I'm not making this up, you know.)
Green: The branch of Magic devoted to Nature, Life and cute furry
woodland creatures. While other Wizards will be able to bring out
more medium-level Creatures and spells, the Green sorcerer will be able
to smile wryly with the knowledge that his cards have the best
Grey Deck: Black and White. The best of both worlds, as this combination
gives you all the protection you need against your own spells.
Guru: The person who just spent his entire college fund on Magic.
Hanging Plant: Any flying green creature. (From Magic, the Mangling)
Happy Fun Ball: The Chaos Orb. From a well-known Saturday Night Live
Irish Deck: Red, Green and White.
Legend: Any of a hundred different and exceptionally powerful cards
which you do not own. Actually OWNING a Legend tends to take away
from the fun of it. On second thought, owning a Legend is fun, but
not for the other players.
Masochism Deck: Black and Blue
Masochism, Vulcan: Black, Blue and Green
Metagame Effect: Any card or card effect that involves the space outside
the actual Play Field, such as the Happy Fun Ball, which must be launched,
the Djinns which involve coin tosses, and the Chaos Table, a mythical
Sorcery which involves physically throwing the game table.
Mono-: (Prefix) Used to describe any deck built of one color, as in
"Mono-Red." When not used with the suffixes "White" or "Blue," "Mono-"
has much the same meaning as "Suicidal."
Nickle-And-Dime: (Verb) To destroy an opponent with 1/1 and 2/2 creatures.
Not to be confused with "Quarter-And-Half-Dollar," which is much worse.
Rel. "Dink": To destroy an opponent with a single 1/1 creature.
Not Nice: A title of respect given to any of the following cards or card
--El Hajjaj backed with 15 Wyluli Wolves, Bad Moon and a Howl from Beyond
--Fastbond used in conjunction with Library of Leng and Stream of Life
to play 28 forests and heal the damage
--Any collection of lands which contains more Deserts than you have Life
--Blaze Of Glorying Abu Jafar
--Protecting Ali From Cairo with the Jade Monolith
--Any given Legend, any given Legends card
--Gaea's Leige with Instill Energy
"Done.": A multi-functional phrase, used both to declare the end of your turn
and, when used as a question, to annoy your opponent.
"Done, and finished.": Used to declare the end of your turn AND the end of your life. Generally,
this phrase is followed by the sentance "Tap, tap, tap..." Serves the
same semantic function as "Well Done."
"Is That Legal?": Handy when an opponent begins his game with only eight cards: Mox Gems,
Channel, Healing Salve, Forest and Fireball--the "one-round game" hand.
Also useful when a Royal Assasin attacks your Pirate Ship. ("You gotta
hit between the shoulder blades...")
"That's the way we play it at _______": Immensely useful phrase when one is attempting to use the Rukh's Egg as
an Artifact Creature.
"WHY?!?": The only appropriate thing to say to someone who just cast Control Magic
on his own creatures, or tapped his Samite Healer to prevent his Prodigal
Sorcerer's "poke" that would have killed his own Healer...
"Give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above--don't
fence me in.": Secret ritual land-gathering phrase.
"Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap...": A general warning that someone is about to make you wish you had never
picked up your first Deckmaster set.
"I concede.": If you have recently bought your first deck of MTG cards, be prepared
to use this phrase frequently.
Pip: Mana symbol. Useful in confusing your opponent, because the
Aladdin's Lamp costs 10 mana points, but only has one pip.
Player: Any borgoise who RUINS his cards by shuffling them. Don't they
realize the VALUE these cards have?
Poke: Damage done by the Prodigal Sorcerer's or Coumbajj Witches' special
abilities. Differs from "POKE!", which refers to the damage inflicted
by the Aladdin's Ring.
Alpha: First printing, badly typoed cards.
Beta: Second printing, black-border and roughly 30% error-free.
Mu: The sound a cow makes.
Pro-: "Protection From," as in "Pro-Green," "Pro-Red," "Pro-Blue,"
Puce: (Adj) A color mentioned by the Wizard Snark in a file of MTG rule
clarifications. Puce is now widely recognized as the sixth Magic color.
As it was used in a general example ("Circle of Protection: Puce") Puce
has been assigned the role of "Any Color," and hence is the color of
Artifacts and uncolored lands. Besides, does anyone really know what Puce
looks like? *
Puce Deck: (Noun) A library composed of uncolored lands and Artifacts.
A well-rounded Puce Deck is one of the few combinations capable of
destroying a notorious user of Circles of Protection.
Pump: (Verb) To use mana to increase a monster's statistics--a natural
ability for Frozen Shades, the Dragon Whelp. (Pumped, Pumpable)
Rat-Fling: (Verb) A very roundabout way to kill a Plague Rat. Requires
a red-and-blue deck: First, the wizard must launch the Rat into the
air using Flight, and then must Earthbind the poor beast. Note that
the Jump/Grapeshot Catapult works equally well, and that a Plague Rat
is merely the example card--it's still "rat-flinging" if you launch
a Tim or Wall.
Red: The branch of Magic associated with Fire, Earth and War. Spells found
in the Red deck include Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Shivan Dragon and
Red Light: The Meekstone
Rolling Thunder: (Noun) An invisible Juggernaut
Scissors of Fate: (Noun) A mythical Artifact used to snip other cards
neatly in half. Used when faced with many of the unbelievably powerful
monsters. ("Arggh! A Force of Nature! I use my Scissors of Fate.")
Snark: (From "The Hunting of the Snark," by Lewis Carroll.) Any
horribly rare and almost compleatly worthless card, such as the
Timber Wolves or Savannah Lions. Rel. "Boojum" (ibid.), any rare
card with "instant death" effects, such as the Northern Paladin or
Royal Assasin. Assassin. Asassin. Whatever.
Speculator: The bane of both major Magic factions, the Collecters and
Players. These terrible people bought all the Legends before WE could.
Evil. Useful as a pejorative, curse, or in the phrase "Speculators should
be reincarnated as Scryb Sprites, Icy Manipulated, thrice nettled and fed
to the Gates of Phyrexia."
Spin: (Verb) The act of tapping a Basalt Monolith and using the resultant
Mana to untap the artifact, or using a Time Vault's free turn to untap
the Time Vault. A futile act when the artifact being spun is unenchanted.
When Relicbind is in play...
Technicolor Deck: Red, blue, green, black, puce and white. Also called
the "VGA" deck. By this, I assume Red, Green, Black, White would be the
"CGA" deck, and Green and White would be the "MGA" deck. Amber just
isn't an option.
Tim: (Noun) The Prodigal sorcerer, after the wizard of the same name in
Monty Python's "Holy Grail." Also called the Prodigal Nuisance.
Other cards in the "Tim" series:
Rod of Ruin: "Tim on a stick"
Coumbajj Witches: "Tim with a kick" or "Tim with a bite"
Aladdin's Ring: "Tim's Ring"
Samite Healer: "Anti-Tim"
Tournament (or Tourney) Rules: A diverse, ever-changing collection of
restrictions designed to reduce the power differential between a carefully
honed theme deck and a starter pack.
Wak: (Exclamation) The noise made by the strange head-shaped fruits
of the Island of Wak-Wak. Also, the noise made by a player when his Lord
of the Pit is reduced to a 0/7 monster.
Wall of _________: Generic term for non-attacking critter. Some
A single red 0/1 creature: Wall of Kobold
Flying Scimitar (Arabian Nights): Wall of Sword
Heavily Armored Archeologist: Wall of Wimp
Red, w/ Meekstone: Wall of Dragon
White: The branch of Magic devoted to healing, Light and General Goodness.
Keep telling yourself this when your forces are being eradicated by triple-
Wyluli: (Verb) To increase the statistics of a given creature by use of
the Wyluli Wolf. "No, the Dragon dies. My Scryb Sprite's Wylulied."
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