Competitive TCG Dictionary

Discussion in 'Deck Help & Development' started by Mr_Rumpleteezer, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Mr_Rumpleteezer

    Mr_Rumpleteezer Hovercat Mod

    Hello 6Prizers,

    Posted here is a list of common PTCG terms and phrases. If you're unfamiliar with some of the terminology you see on forums and articles, come here!

    Thanks to PokeBeach user Gale for this. This is not my original work and I will not take credit for it. However, I will be updating it as the format progresses and decks develop.

    The original thread can be found here:

    Please let me know what you think needs changed/added to!


    Deck Names
    One important thing to know about are the deck names. There are many different decks, all with different names. While there are some decks with names that make it easy to figure out the important cards in it (Rayeels; Rayquaza and Eelektrik), there are some that have acquired nicknames that need to be outlined (Fluffychomp; Garchomp and Altaria)

    TDK: Thundurus EX/Deoxys EX/Kyurem:

    A standard abbreviation for Team Plasma Basics

    Empire: Empoleon/Dusknoir

    Hammertime: Darkrai EX/Sableye/Hammers

    A Darkrai variant that focuses on the heavy use of Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer

    Big Basics: Landorus EX/Tornadus EX/Mewtwo EX/other attacker

    These deck lists can vary, but anytime you have a combination of those attackers, you have Big Basics

    Abbreviations and Acronyms: People often use, and even say, the abbreviation of a card name or term instead of typing or writing it out, simply because it takes less time. If someone would have to type out "Professor Oak's New Theory" every time they mentioned that card, instead of PONT, its abbreviation, then so much time would be saved (PONT is a commonly used card as well). Let's take a look at some of the abbreviations players use.

    Ability Boar (Abiliboar) (Abilityboar): Emboar (BW 20/114)
    Ability Boar has become a staple in Fire decks as Ability Boar lets you attach as many Fire Energy as you want during your turn.

    Bad Boar: Emboar (BW 19/114)
    The other Emboar from Black & White. It's called "bad" because it does not have the excellent Ability its other card does, but people have made use of it successfully.

    BCIF: Best card in format

    BDIF: Best deck in format
    Plox;Gardevoir/Gallade, the BDIF in the 07-08 season, won Worlds.

    Benchtini: Victini (NVI 15)

    Refers to the fact that you need a full bench to utilize its attack. This card is a common tech in Rayeels decks.

    DCE: Double Colorless Energy

    Fliptini: Victini (NV 98/101)
    Players run Fliptini to help increase the odds of getting heads in an attack.

    GG: Good game
    It is good sportsmanship to say, “Good game.” to your opponent at the end of each game whether you won or not.

    SD: Secret deck
    He did not reveal his SD until Regionals where he swept.TournamentsYou wouldn't think it, but there are also "special" words used for tournaments. While most of these words are simply the real word shortened, or abbreviated (for example, City Championships are usually called Cities or CC's by most players), I decided to put them under Tournaments instead of Abbreviations because of how many there are, and that there are also several other terms that could go into Tournaments.

    Age Division: What age group you are in in Play! Pokémon tournaments.
    Since the player was born in 1992, he was in the Masters division, while the player born in 2001 was in the Juniors division.

    League: A P!P event that does not affect a player's record. These events are "fun" events, with no Swiss rounds or top cut, where both TCG and video game players can gather and play against each other. By playing many games in Leagues, you can earn prizes for playing enough games. Some Leagues host mini-tournaments for players to compete in. Leagues can only be run by League Leaders.
    He goes to League every Sunday to meet with his friends and play against other players.

    League Leader (LL): The person running a League. He or she sets the rules of the League.
    The League Leader was nice enough to host mini-tournaments during the League.

    Pokémon Professor (Professor): A player who has passed the Professor Test. These players are allowed to judge and host tournaments, run a league, and are able to get cool rewards for doing the stated options.
    His league leader became a Professor a long time ago.

    Professor Test: A test players can take to become a Pokémon Professor. Players taking the Professor Test must be 18 years old. Failure to pass the Professor Test will result in having to wait before retaking the test.
    On the day that he turned 18, my friend took the Professor Test. Sadly, he failed the test, and had to wait a month before he could retake it.

    Professor Points: Points Professors can earn for hosting or judging a tournament, running leagues, etc. These points can be spent on cool prizes, and can be added to the opportunity of judging at a very large tournament.
    Thanks to him getting a lot of Professor Points, he was able to judge at the World Championships.

    Professor Cup: A tournament during Nationals where Pokémon Professors with 75 or more Professor Points or more can compete.
    Many Professors judge and tournaments and run Leagues just to participate in the Professor Cup.

    30+3: The format's current time limit. Each round lasts for 30 minutes, and at the end of those 30 minutes, players still playing are given three extra turns (each player's turn counts as one of those three turns). At the end of the three extra turns, the player with the fewest remaining prize cards wins the game. If both players have the same number of prize cards at the end of the three extra turns, the next player to take a prize card wins.
    Thanks to the 30+3 time limit, tournaments have become shorter, and players still have an opportunity to win even if his or her opponent stalled him or her.

    ELO rating: The old rating system, where points are gained or lost, to determine a player's ranking. Still used today as tiebreakers.
    Although both players had 30 Championship Points, since he had a higher Elo rating of 1642.30, he had a higher ranking.

    Swiss: The system used in Play! Pokémon tournaments to determine your opponent in each round, before top cut. Your opponent is determined by how many wins and losses both you and your opponent have. No player can play the same opponent twice during Swiss rounds.
    Since him and his friend both were the only players with a record of 4-0, they were paired against each other in the last round due to the Swiss system.

    K-value: The amount of points added or reduced to a player's ELO rating by winning or losing a match in an official Play! Pokémon event respectively. The higher the K-value and the difference between the amount of points the players have, the more points won or loss by winning or losing a match.
    The K-value of City Championships is 8, so players try to go to as many City Championships as possible to get more points.

    Play! Pokémon (P!P): A system of official tournaments and Leagues where plays can compete to win prizes.
    She competed in five Play! Pokémon events.

    Pokémon Organized Play (POP): Play! Pokémon's old name.
    As of Fall 2010, POP became P!P

    Top cut (TC): The highest ranking players in the tournament's Swiss rounds play each other in a best-two-out-of-three single elimination game to determine the winner of the tournament. Top cuts can go from top two (T2) to top 128 (T128). The amount of players advancing to the top cut depends on how many players participating in the Swiss rounds and the tournament they are playing.
    At Nationals, the TC was T128 because of how high the K-value and how many people participated in the event.

    Kicker: The amount of people who receive Championship Points based on the attendance of an event.
    There was a kicker of four in the Battle Roads, because 52 people showed up.

    Championship Points: Points rewarded to players for having a high standing on a sanctioned tournament. These points lets players participate in large events such as the World Championships. Each type of tournament provides a different number of Championship Points.
    He received 15 Championship Points for winning Battle Roads.

    Play! Points: Points rewarded to players by attending Play! Pokémon events. These points give access to special events, and players with the most points in each division earns a special reward.
    He had five Play! Points because he attended five Battle Roads so far.

    Resistance: In tournament-terms, how often you win your games and how often your opponents win their games. The higher your resistance, the higher your standing will be compared to other players with the same record as you.
    Both players had a record of 2-3, but since he had a higher resistance, his standing was higher.

    Bye: Automatically winning a round, usually because of having no opponent. Hurts resistance.
    He had a bye on the second round, so he didn't make top cut.

    Up-pair: Playing against someone with a higher record than you. Winning helps resistance.
    Although he was 4-1, he got up-paired against someone who has 5-0.

    Down-pair: Playing against someone with a lower record than you. Hurts resistance.
    Although he was 3-2, he got down-paired against someone who has 2-3.

    Tournament Organizer (TO): The person hosting official P!P tournaments.
    The tournament organizer hosted four tournaments in North Carolina.

    Battle Roads (BR's): The first and third-to-last P!P tournament of the season. Takes place during the Fall (Fall Battle Roads) and the Spring (Spring Battle Roads). Battle Roads have a K-value of 4, and provides a maximum of __ Championship Points.
    Players begin the season with the Fall Battle Roads, and then if they cannot go to Nationals or Worlds, end the season with Spring Battle.

    City Championships (CC's) (Cities): The second P!P tournament of the season. Takes place towards the end of the Fall and ends in early January. City Championships have a K-value of 16, and can provide a maximum of __ Championship Points.
    Many players get a lot of points at City Championships because of its K-value and because there are many City Championships.

    State Championships (States): The third P!P tournament of the season. Takes place during two weekends in March. State Championships have a K-value of 32, and can provide a maximum of __ Championship Points.
    State Championships are much more difficult than the past tournaments, since players are more serious due to the better prizes and higher K-value.

    Regional Championships (Regionals) (Regs): The second or fourth P!P tournament of the season. Takes place on one weekend in November and April. Regional Championships have a K-value of 32, and can provide a maximum of __ Championship Points.
    Taking place after State Championships, there are very few Regional Championships, so Regional Championships have much more people.

    National Championships (Nationals) (Nats): The fifth P!P tournament of the season. Takes place during one weekend in late June/early July. National Championships have a K-value of 32, and can provide a maximum of __ Championship Points.
    Since there are only one National Championships per season in a country, they are filled with players looking for more points. Invites are available as travel money, and even if you don't do well, you can participate in side events.

    Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) (Grinders): A tournament right before the World Championships as a last chance for players to enter the World Championships.
    By succeeding in the Grinders, the player was able to make it into the World Championships.

    World Championships (Worlds): The sixth and final P!P tournament of the season. Takes place during one weekend in August. Only players who have an invite can participate in official tournament in the World Championships, or players who have done well in the Last Chance Qualifiers. The World Championships provides a maximum of 25 Championship Points.
    World Championships cycles between a location in Hawaii, California, and Florida, and many players from around the world come to participate in it. Even if you aren't able to compete in the official tournament, you can play in many other side events.

    Constructed Format: A tournament where the player enters the tournament with a pre-constructed 60-card deck. There may be no more than four copies of a card, by name, in a deck, with the exception of basic Energy cards. There are six prize cards in games in the Constructed Format. There are two types of Constructed Formats: Modified and Unlimited.
    Most sanctioned tournaments, excluding prereleases, follow the Constructed Format, since it's easy to make a 60-card deck with your collection of cards.

    Modified Format: The format used at all sanctioned Play! Pokémon events, unless specified, where players are only permitted to use cards from certain sets. All cards that are not in the Modified Format, yet have been reprinted in the Modified Format, are allowed to be used but must follow the updated wording. All new sets are added to the Modified Format. In any tournament where multiple countries are involved, the Modified Format it the United States format.
    Every main tournament, excluding prereleases, all follow the Modified Format.

    Unlimited Format: The format where all cards released in the United States may be used. Any older cards must follow the wording of its most recent print.
    Most tournaments don't follow the Unlimited Format, as it is too unbalanced.

    PR (Prerelease): A mini-tournament occurring two weeks before a sets release. This tournament allows players to earn promotional items and the set's cards before it's official release. 6 booster packs from the upcoming set will be given out for the Sealed Deck format of the tournament, and 2 more booster packs will be given to each player after the tournament. Prereleases are not free, and usually cost around $25 (before tax).
    Players come to prereleases since the promotional items and 8 booster packs are both worth the entry price.

    Limited Format: A tournament where the tournament organizer provides the cards, and each player creates a 40-card deck using the provided cards. All cards, unless specified, are permitted to have more than four copies by name in the deck. There are four prize cards in games in the Limited Format. There are four different types of Limited Formats: Sealed Deck, Booster Draft, Rochester Draft, and Solomon Draft.
    All prereleases follow the Limited Format, since it's hard to make an effective 60 card deck with only six booster packs.

    Sealed Deck Format: A type of Limited Format, the Sealed Deck Format is where a player receives booster packs of the same set from the tournament organizer and creates a 40 card deck with the cards from the booster packs and basic Energy provided by the tournament organizer in 30 minutes. During the deckbuilding time, players may not trade cards the pulled cards with other players, and after the first round of the tournament, players may not alter his or her deck.
    The six booster packs you receive at a prerelease is used for the tournament's Sealed Deck Format.

    Booster Draft Format: A type of Limited Format, the Booster Draft Format is where a player receives booster packs of the same set from the tournament organizer. All players split in equal sized groups, and sit in a circle with no more than eight players per group. When the tournament organizer says so, each player opens one of his or her booster packs, and chooses and keeps one card from the booster pack, and pass the other cards privately to the player to the left. The cards should remain private at all times. This cycle continues where a player selects one card from his or her handed until all cards have been passed around, where on the tournament organizer's signal, the process repeats and the direction of where the cards are passed alters. After all booster packs have been opened, each player creates a 40 card deck with the cards he or she selected and basic Energy provided by the tournament organizer in 30 minutes. During the deckbuilding time, players may not trade cards the pulled cards with other players, and after the first round of the tournament, players may not alter his or her deck.
    Unlucky for him, the player was constantly handed bad cards in the booster draft.

    Misc. Terms:There are other words commonly used that don't fit into any of these categories.

    Bench Sitter: A Pokémon that remains on the Bench only to use its Poké-Power, Poké-Body, or Ability.
    KlingKlang, Blastoise, and Eelektrk are bench sitters, though they sometimes may attack.

    Consistency: How often you are getting good hands and constantly being able to draw cards. The more of a certain type of card you have in your deck, the higher the chance you will get that card when you need it.
    Due to the deck’s consistency, the player never once had a bad hand.

    Copies: The amount of a single card in a deck.
    The player ran four copies of Reshiram in his deck.

    Dead Draws: Not drawing into anything helpful.
    He had dead draws for four turns.

    Deck Archetype: Deck ideas that are known widely to the public.
    Darkrai/Sableye is a popular deck archetype.

    Donk: KO'ing all of your opponent's Pokémon in play on the first or second turn.

    FA Legend: Full Art Legend, a card in the BW era where the artwork covers the entire card.
    The two FA Legends released in BW were Reshiram and Zekrom.

    Lines: The number of Basic Pokémon and its evolution stages in a player's deck. For example, 4-2-4 would mean 4 copies of that Basic Pokémon, 2 copies of its Stage 1 Evolution, and 4 copies of its Stage 2 Evolution.
    He ran a 4-0-3 line because it was the main focus of his deck.

    Lock: To prevent your opponent from doing anything.
    Gothitelle/Accelgor locks its opponents by preventing trainer cards from being played while consistently paralyzing the opponent’s active Pokemon.

    Lost Zone: A location on the board, usually above your prize cards, where cards cannot be taken out of. Cards can only be send to the Lost Zone by an effect of an attack.

    Lucksack: Getting lucky.
    He lucksacked four heads.

    Matchup: A deck's performance against a deck archetype.
    His Blastoise deck had a bad Rayeels matchup.

    Metagame (Meta): The most popular decks in a given area. Metagame can refer to either the most popular decks of the country, or the most popular decks in a certain state.
    The current metagame in the United States is filled with Darkrai and Team Plasma Basics.

    Mill: To discard multiple cards from either player's deck.
    Durant milled the cards off the top of the player’s deck.

    Misplay: Making a mistake.
    He misplayed, attaching the Energy card to the wrong Pokemon.

    Mulligan: Showing your opponent your hand at the beginning of the game because you do not have any Basic Pokémon in your hand.
    He had two mulligans, so his opponent drew two extra cards.

    PlayTCG (PTCG): An unofficial Pokémon TCG online simulator. This simulator allows players to build a deck without the need of pulling any cards and battle each other.
    The more commonly used Pokémon TCG online simulator, PTCG is hosted by

    PTCGO: Pokemon Trading Card Game Online: The officially sanctioned online simulator.

    Proxy: Putting a card in place for another. Not legal in tournament play.
    Players proxy their cards so they can test a deck with cards that they don't have. Most players would then by the necessary cards to fill the proxies.

    Pyramid Lines: A line of a Pokemon that has more copies of a Basic Pokemon, less copies of the Stage 1 Pokémon, and less copies of the Stage 2 Pokémon.
    The player ran a Pyramid Line in his deck, running four Snivy, three Servine, and one Serperior.

    Redshark (RS): An unofficial Pokémon TCG online simulator formerly hosted by PokéBeach. This simulator requires the download of Hamachi in order to connect to other players. This simulator allows players to build a deck without the need of pulling any cards and battle each other.
    Even though they lived on opposite sides of the country, by using Redshark, the two players could play against each other.

    Rogue: A deck that is not seen in the metagame.
    The Truth/Ross.dec was the most recent Rogue to perform well.

    Rotation: When several sets become illegal to use in the Modified Format starting on a certain date.
    The rotation usually occurs on September 1st, where four sets become unusable.

    Run hot: To have your deck perform extraordinarily well during a tournament. This includes getting lucky topdecks and drawing well off of your Supporters.

    Run (Running): Use (using).
    You should run a 4-0-3 Blastoise line.

    Scoop: Forfeiting the match.
    When the player realized he could not win the game, he decided to scoop instead of play out the game.

    Snipe: Attacking one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon.
    Kyurem PLF can snipe a benched Pokemon for 30.

    Speed: How fast it takes for a deck to setup.
    Plasma Basics is considered a fast setup deck, whereas Gothitelle/Accelgor takes more time.

    Spread: Doing damage to multiple Pokémon.
    Kyurem NVI can spread 30 damage to all opponent’s Pokemon.

    Stacking: Manually reordering the cards in your deck in order to give you an advantage. This is illegal.
    He stacked his deck, and thus got into trouble.

    Stall: Purposely playing slowly to run-down the clock, illegal in tournaments.
    While he attempted to stall his opponent, he got a penalty.

    Staple: A card that is required in a deck.
    Pokemon Catcher has become a staple in every competitive deck.

    Swarm: To quickly be able to constantly get out multiple lines of your attacker out at once.
    Jumpluff is able to swarm its opponent, since the deck is able to keep setting up Jumpluffs very quickly.

    Tank: Either taking a lot less damage from an attack or being able to consistently heal off any damage done to a Pokemon. Tanks usually can do lots of damage, but are slow.
    He was able to tank his Black Kyurem EX with the help of Rush In, Max Potion, and Energy Retrieval

    Tech: A small line of Pokemon used to support a player's problems in a deck.
    His 1-0-1 Venasaur tech helped him set up his Pokemon more consistently.

    Topdeck: Getting a lucky draw at the beginning of your turn.
    The player topdecked his last Pokemon Catcher, allowing him to win the game.

    Variants: Different decks based around certain cards.
    Many Garbodor variants are based off of Big Basics.

    Whiff: Not being get a needed coin flip or not being able to draw a certain card.
    He whiffed the Energy and thus lost the game
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
    Acidmind and galldrin like this.
  2. Greenpariah

    Greenpariah First year competive player in masters.

    Thanks for posting this. =)
  3. coolestman22

    coolestman22 Now Has Techron

    Found a small error here, Lost Remover can send to the Lost Zone without attacking, as well as Palkia G Lv. X.
    Alastair and Zarco like this.
  4. Serperior

    Serperior Well-Known Member

    You should add that using a card to stall is not illegal. E.G. Catchering up a Landorus EX with no energies.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  5. PallyPander

    PallyPander Member

    Getting Railed=Got Destroyed
    Roadboy09 and Greenpariah like this.
  6. SheepInSpace

    SheepInSpace Italian PokéDad

    Could you write the definition of "clutch", or "clutch play", please?
  7. baby_mario

    baby_mario Doesn't even care

    A clutch play is the play that turns the game, or is crucial to the winning of the game.

    Hitting heads on that Laser was so clutch
    Catchering the Garbodor was the clutch play

    Can also refer to card(s) that have the same effect on a game

    Enhanced Hammers are really clutch in the Plasma match up
    SheepInSpace likes this.
  8. Otaku

    Otaku Well-Known Member

    I am linking to an older article about TecH, Metagaming, and Structure. No, not written by me. XD

    As in the past I have been very insistent about using popular terminology with older definitions that are no longer popular, it still seems useful as a reference/footnote. It is important to know how words are commonly used... but it is also important to know why they are defined a certain way; sometimes it is better to resist popular usage when it strips a word of useful meaning. It also helps when dealing with older players that may still use them.

    I do wonder if the above definition for TecH is too limiting; it originally was used to refer primarily to Trainers and the last time I paid attention, was still not limited to only Pokémon.
    baby_mario likes this.
  9. baby_mario

    baby_mario Doesn't even care

    The article might be old, but it's still good.

    I don't think there is a better definition of 'tech' than the one it gives: