What's your favorite jargon?


When I was a kid there were two sections I read as soon as I got a newspaper in my hands: the comics and the Bridge recaps.

I have never played Bridge. I don’t know the rules to Bridge. Heck, if I saw a bunch of people playing Bridge, I don’t even think I would know what they were playing! But the play-by-play summaries of those games are stuffed with jargon, overflowing with a bounty of obscure terminologies and verbage.

My modern-day equivalent of this (I just tried to find Bridge summaries a second ago, but I couldn’t) is to dip into a game-specific subreddit and sort by “controversial.”

I know fuck-all about Hearthstone but I love reading detailed threads about why Priests are OP and obscure game rules are open to exploit. I could spend hours digging through threads about M:tG, which I have also neer played and don’t know the rules for, learning about the intricacies of a perfectly balanced deck. I haven’t played WoW since 2006 but I love learning why specific armor sets were garbage, why they were great again, and why they suck more than ever even though I don’t know what 90% of the character classes are referencing or what that particular armor might actually protect.

Some of these threads are nearly indecipherable with their frequent use of highly-specific jargon but I don’t care - in some ways, that makes it even better.

Are there communities whose jargon (game-related or otherwise) you love? Ones you know fluently or ones that mystify you?

Please share so I can read them with confusion and delight.


This comment is actually what made me think to ask this question. I don’t know what any of this means but damn if I wasn’t my nodding my head along and wondering how I would compose my own army of imaginary space beings.


Topdeck, from Magic: The Gathering and probably a lot of other TCGs refers to a few things relating to the top card of one’s deck. In short, it can refer to living off the top of your deck.

If you’re out of usable cards in your hand and you’re relying on drawing something good in order to do something meaningful, you’re topdecking. Likewise, if you’re in a bad situation but you just drew a card that can turn the situation around, you’ve just topdecked it.

Not too sure why I like it, but I sorta do. I can probably talk about more later.


Competitive Pokémon is pretty jargon-heavy in it’s own way, there are some good guides and such but watching a VGC match (the official format) can be pretty satisfying. There’s also some even more jargon-y videos of team composition, I’ll see if I can dig up some good ones.


The names of glitches and techniques in speedruns are charming and those being explained in commentaries make me feel like I’m welcome into something I know nothing about


One I like is STAB. Whenever a move is the same type as the Pokémon using it, it gets a 50% power boost, and this is called Same-Type Attack Bonus or STAB for short.

Another is “shiny” Pokémon, which are differently-coloured Pokémon that sparkle when they appear. As it has little impact on competitive play, this isn’t quite competitive Pokémon jargon as it is more general Pokémon jargon, although it’s been simply not-officially-used fanterm until really recently. For a long time, the only official term for this was “Color”, used in, I think, Pokémon Stadium 2.


STAB is fantastic, some of my favorite sets have been referred to as “STAB-less wonders”. I’m also really fond of the way commentators and players discuss the strategies? Because they mutter mysterious jargon-y things to themselves while plotting out their next move and it’s just straight-up impressive.


Oh jeez Pokémon has some great jargon and it’s one I’m semi fluent in, so I didn’t think of providing it as an example but reading random Smogon entries are perfect examples of what I’m talking about.


I’m so fluent in it that I forget what’s super-jargony and what’s not but I’ll dig up a Smogon article or too. There’s some fantastic ones about the math behind the games that are way beyond my reach, and some slightly more accessible ones about the competitive scene.



I had forgotten exactly how jargony it is oh my good lord. There’s jargon for the tiers of the metagame itself, jargon for roles Pokemon can play on teams, and jargon for tactics in battle.


competitive video games always have fun jargon. Pokemon’s got great ones, Overwatch has at least one fun one (“Eugene” for a character’s ultimate), and Dota 2 was my shit for a while so I knew a lot of those (probably the coolest sounding is “orb walking”)


I love the varying degrees of “bulk” which is itself kind of abstract. “Somewhat bulky”, “bulkiest”, “very bulky.”


Bulk is interesting because it’s also relative to the spectrum of attack strength in the current meta, and you can train an individual pokemon’s stats to be more or less bulky. I also love the term “wall-breaker” for both it’s obvious meaning and it’s vagueness.


Jargon is one of the reasons I love reading TV Tropes so much! Even short pages like that for Glass Cannon are teeming with great jargon.

I also watch Pokémon TCG videos (games, commentary and news) despite enjoying playing the game more (and only really collecting the cards) because I like the language of it. I think my favourite jargon word (which is general to all TCG’s) is “Draw” for picking up a card from the deck. I know it’s using the definition akin to “draw water from the sea” (i.e. to obtain part of a large pool of items) but it’s the only context I frequently hear it. I can’t stop imagining it as if you were to get a blank card, and illustrate the words and picture on it as you draw it from the deck.


Oh my yes, TV Tropes is like the Library of Babylon of jargon. It’s really beautiful.


Not gaming related but it sometimes ends up in it.

Fuzzing: Using tools to generate input that hopefully causes a program to crash or worse.

Smurfing and it’s cousin Fraggling: Sending constructed packets out into the internet that have the targets IP address listed as the sender which in turn causes everyone who picks up the packets to try and respond to the sender.

Honeypots: You make something like a server purposely vulnerable so you can monitor the kinds of attacks trying to be executed on it. Sometimes combined with a Canary Trap to try and track what attackers are doing with the “valuable data”.

Shadowrun has some really good jargon/acronyms as well my favorite being G.O.D. (Grid Overwatch Division) who are basically the cybercops of the net.


Huh, TV Tropes? I haven’t been on that site in about a few months.

~10 hours pass while traveling from trope to trope, reaching trope singularity and back~

Huh, TV Tropes? I haven’t been on that site in …


A lot of general video game jargon is a lot of fun. I think “cheesing” might be my favorite, especially because I’ve heard someone refer to a strategy as “complete cheese” once.

The term Wombo Combo isn’t from or unique to Overwatch competitive, but its still really funny to hear announcers talk about a Wombo Combo seriously. Plus, seeing one pulled off properly is usually pretty impressive and fun to watch.


my fav dumb pokemon term was “flinchlock” which is a (probably wildly un-viable? im not a big comp fan so i wouldnt know) strategy that’s dependant on paralyzing the enemy and then using your guaranteed faster move to try and flinch them, preventing any moves. the only reason i know about this is cause my comp pokemon friends wanted me to make a team for fun and i insisted on using dunsparce on whatever team i made, so they suggested that strategy to me

i also love “flinchlock” cause if you didnt know pokemon, it’d sound like a Hearthstone deck archetype


Huh, I’ve heard that strategy called “paraflinch”, which is using paralysis followed by flinching as you described. The suffix “-lock” is used a bunch in games jargon to mean forcing a target to do a certain action, or this case, a non-action. In Hearthstone, however, it’s used to reference the class Warlock, which can make things confusing.

Speaking of Hearthstone, I find it weird that very aggressive on-curve decks are called “zoo”, taking its terminology from Magic: The Gathering where the similar type of aggressive decks used a number of exotic animals(Savannah Lions being the most prolific example), but in Hearthstone, the creatures/minions used are quite different.