Hearthstone is a digital card game that has lots of unique terminology and phrases. Players who are new to the game might get a little puzzled by the considerable amount of Hearthstone jargon on the web. These are some of the more essential Hearthstone terms and phrases for players who aren’t entirely up to speed with the game’s lingo.
1. Aggro (deck)
Aggro is one of the primary deck types in Hearthstone. It is the most aggressive deck form in the game with which players try to win matches as quickly as possible by inflicting lots of damage during early turns. Effective aggro decks can feasibly win matches in four to five turns.
2. AOE (Area of Effect)
An AOE (area of effect) card inflicts damage to multiple minions on the board. There are a wide variety of minion and spell cards in Hearthstone that can inflict damage to all enemy minions on the board. Some AOE cards also inflict damage on your minions.
3. Arcane Dust
Arcane Dust is the in-game currency for crafting new cards. Players can buy (craft) new cards with Arcane Dust and sell (disenchant) cards to get more Arcane.
Buffing a minion means increasing its attack and health values with other cards.
5. Card advantage
Card advantage is a state of play when a player has access to a bigger hand of cards than an opponent. If one player has several cards in his hand and an opponent one, that player would have a considerable card advantage over the other who has depleted his hand. More cards in your hand amount to more options, which is an advantage. Card advantage can be gained with drawing cards that enable players to expand (or replenish) their hands throughout games.
6. Control (deck)
Control is another of the foremost deck archetypes in Hearthstone. It is a type of deck designed to win most matches in the late game. Unlike aggro, a control strategy is a defensive one during the early phases of matches. When more mana crystals become available, control players can attack with their high-mana cards.
7. Classic (now Core)
Classic was a card set in Hearthstone that included cards that didn’t rotate out of Standard format. Note, however, that card set has now been replaced by a Core set, which is now the game’s primary card set.
8. Deck tracker
Deck trackers are third-party tools for Hearthstone that track the cards you’ve played during a match and record win/loss stats for decks.
Fatigue is a Hearthstone game mechanic that reduces your health when you’ve played all the cards in your deck. Without any more cards left, you’ll start to draw Fatigue cards that reduce an increasing amount of health each turn. Some control deck players try to win matches on Fatigue by exhausting their opponents’ decks.
10. Highlander (deck)
The Highlander deck type is one based on cards with effects that get activated in decks that don’t include any card duplicates when they’re played. Thus, a Highlander deck is typically one that doesn’t have any duplicate cards in it.
A keyword is a minion effect, or ability, that’s displayed in bold on cards. There are lots of different keywords effects that have in-game tooltips that provide brief explanatory details for them.
12. Late game
The late game means the latter stage of matches when players have the full 10-mana crystals to play cards with.
Legacy is a special Wild set of cards that includes former Basic and Classic ones. It’s a repository for former Basic and Classic cards Blizzard doesn’t want to include in the Standard game anymore.
Meta (or the metagame) refers to the most popular decks, strategies, and cards that players are currently playing in Standard format. The metagame is somewhat dynamic as it changes with every Hearthstone expansion Blizzard releases. New cards and game mechanics can make notable decks in a previous metagame somewhat obsolete.
Milling refers to a strategy in which a player plays cards that draw lots of cards for an opponent. A milling strategy aims to destroy opponents’ cards by inflating their hands to 10 cards (you can’t hold more than 10) and exhaust their decks quickly to Fatigue them.
A minion is any Mech, Beast, Demon, Dragon, Murloc, Elemental, Pirate, or Totem added to the board with attack and health values.
Mulligan is a slightly more universal card game term that means to change (swap) cards in a starting hand at the beginning of a match with others in your deck.
Players who netdeck are those who get their decks from website sources, such as Hearthstone Top Decks, instead of building original ones from scratch. A lot of players at the sharp end of Hearthstone’s ranking ladder play with the best meta decks provided by websites.
Neutral is a type of card that you can include in decks for all Hero-classes.
A Hearthstone nerf is a change made to a card that weakens it. Blizzard’s nerfs most typically amount to raising the mana costs of cards that are a bit too strong. However, Blizzard also nerfs cards by reducing their stat values.
21. Removal card
A removal card can destroy a minion or transform it into a much weaker one. Hard removal cards, such as Siphon Soul, are those that can destroy or transform minions irrespective of how high their health values are. A soft removal card eliminates a minion by inflicting damage on it, such as Omega Devastator.
Standard is the primary game format in Hearthstone for which cards rotate out of annually with the first expansion of each year, which Blizzard usually releases in March or April. New expansion cards replace those that rotate out of the Standard game. Players can’t play any cards that have rotated out of Hearthstone in Standard format.
Trading is when a player sacrifices one of his minions on the board to eliminate an opponent’s minion. Efficient trading is when a player sacrifices a lower mana minion to eliminate one with a higher mana value.
No, vanilla isn’t an ice cream flavor in Hearthstone. Vanilla is a type of Hearthstone minion with no type of effect or ability (keyword). Those vanilla minions generally have good attack and health values to compensate for their lack of effects.
Wild is a Hearthstone game format in which players can include cards that have rotated out of Standard in their decks. Players can play with all collectible Hearthstone cards in Wild format.
26. Zoo (deck)
Zoo is a type of Hearthstone deck that includes lots of low-mana minion cards. Players with zoo decks aim to win matches by proliferating the board with lots of cheap minions and buffing them. Although zoo decks have similar mana curves to aggro ones, they tend to place greater emphasis on trading and establishing board control to win matches than pure aggro alternatives.
Those Hearthstone terms and phrases are a big part of the game’s jargon. However, there are quite a few other terms and phrases, and the Hearthstone Wiki is probably the best place to go for further clarification about the game’s terminology.