Essential Magic Articles

Magic Lingo

by Kevin Weber

Magic is filled with lingo.  Some of it makes sense immediately, some is insider knowledge, and some of it is just invented on the spot to bewilder newer players (ever heard someone yammering about 'State Based Effects'?  Sorry, they're just yanking your chain.)

So let's go over some of the more commonly heard terms and define just exactly what they mean.


A card you played against that you didn't like.  For instance, if you like playing your Red Deck Wins, Lightning Bolt is definitely not broken.  But, if you're a Bant Aggro player, then it most certainly is.  Things get tricky when you're playing a RDW deck against another RDW - because then Lightnig Bolt is both broken and not broken (identifying which is a skill the pros have to develop in these mirror matches.)


The process of breaking down materials such as wheat into small particulate.  It's not particularly relevant to Magic.  If someone tells you they're "milling" or that they "milled," they're trying to play Magic's version of the Snipe Hunt.  Firmly tell them that you're not an idiot and that you won't fall for their stupid jokes.  Here's an example:

Them: "... and then they Twincast their Sanity Grinding, milling me for 47 and winning the game."
You: "Liar."

Time Walking:

As in, "I time walked my opponent."  Back in the early days of Magic, there was a card called Time Walk, which for {1}{U}, would let you take an additional turn.  It was very seldom played; it took blue mana, after all - a historically underplayed color.

Purists may insist that the "Time Walking" mimic all the effects of taking another turn, such as denying your opponent their draw, land drop, untap step, etc.  They're stupid.  "Time Walking" is a term to make your opponent look completely devastated after you make some marginal play.  For example:

"... and on turn 3, I played Excommunicate on his 2 drop, completely time walking him!"

Sure, the opponent got an additional land drop.  And got to untap his lands.  And got to untap and swing with his first turn Akrasan Squire.  But that's hardly the point - which is to make it look like your play completely demolished him.  Some other examples: "I countered his Behemoth Sledge, time walking him," and "I played a fog effect, utterly time walking him."


A preemptive attempt to justify a bizarre card inclusion.  For example:

You: "Take a look at this deck I built."
Them: "Dude... you're playing Resounding Scream.  Idiot."

You: "Take a look at this - and it's got the tech card: Resounding Scream."
Them: "...."

See?  By using the word Tech, you were able to not only silence your friend's doubts about your deckbuilding prowess, but even make them feel like a fool when they couldn't figure out how it was "tech."

Last edited 8/21/2009 1:42:06 PM Page 1 of 2  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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