Beginner's guide to esports lingo

This is a beginner’s guide to esports glossary and terms. Some of the jargon can be hard to grasp even for old-time gamers. Gamers constantly create an endless language that gets “updated’’ every new year and every new game, one such example is the word “scrim”.

Without delving too much into game-specific terms, I hope this list will help you understand some of the words commonly used by casters and analyzers:

  • Pro: A shortened version of professional. Usually used to refer to esports players.
  • ACE: When one player from the team eliminates all of the opposing team’s players in a match or a round.
  • AFK: Away From Keyboard
  • Clutch: When a player is the only one left alive from a team and manages to kill everyone from the opposing team whilst outmanned and outgunned.
  • Comeback: When a team or player is badly beaten but manages to turn the tide around and win the game. Self-explanatory.
  • Scrim or Team Scrim: Scrim or scrimmage is when a pro or competitive team plays a practice match against another pro team in a competitive setting to work on their strategies and tactics. It’s not a match that’s played to win, but sometimes teams refrain from scrimming with other teams in fear of getting their tactics discovered by their potential opponents.
  • AoE: Area of Effect. This is a spell or attack that hits anyone standing within a particular radius.
  • Buff: A temporary or permanent increase in a character’s power.
  • Crowd Control/CC: These are abilities that limit the control or abilities of another character or an NPC. By staggering them, or blinding them for example.
  • Cooldown: This is the period after using an ability in which the ability can not be activated again.
  • Caster: Someone who provides commentary on a broadcast
  • Denying: This is when you stop an enemy from killing either a friendly player or an NPC. “Denying a kill”.
  • DPS: Damage per second. It’s usually used to refer to a character that deals very high damage compared to others.
  • Tank: A meat shield character with high hit points that usually acts as a buffer between the enemy and the damage dealers (DPS).
  • GG: Good game.
  • GLHF: Good Luck Have Fun.
  • Draft/Drafting/Picks and Bans: The phase before the game where opposing teams decide which maps or characters they want to play and ban the ones that they don’t.
  • Meta: stands for the metagame. Meaning the currently most effective characters, weapons, spells, abilities, tactics, that are considered to be the best in the game. It may change in time or with updates.
  • Boss: Usually a very powerful foe in a game.
  • RNG: Stands for random number generation. Used when a game has an element of randomness in it. Card games such as Hearthstone and Gwent have RNG in them.
Image Credit: CD Project Red
  • Farming/Mining: Process of acquiring certain items, or currency in a repetitive manner to progress in a game.
  • EZ: Eeeazzieeeeh. Meaning easy. Written to show off when a player kills another player without breaking a sweat.
  • Hype: Extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion. I love the dictionary definition of this word.
  • Grinding: Like farming, but usually associated with boringness and repetition to progress in the game.
  • Snowball: When a player or team has become much more powerful than their opponents in time.
  • Rushing: A term in which a player or team quickly attacks and causes as much damage as possible before the opposing player can react.

A perfect example of a rush:

  • Zerg Rushing: A term originated from Starcraft’s Zerg faction. Used to describe early and cheap aggression tactics or swarming.
Image Credit: Tomberry

This is how a Zerg Rush looked in 1998. Hence the low resolution of the image.

  • Swarming: Tactic of beating your opponent by outnumbering them. Quantity over quality.
  • K/D/A: Kill, death and assist ratio of a player.
  • Mob: Refers to any moving and mobile computer controlled entity in a game.
  • Nerf: Opposite of buffing. decreasing the power of a certain character, item, weapon etc.
  • PvP: Player versus player.
  • PvE: Player versus environment.
  • Spawn/Spawning: A place where an item or a player materializes in-game.
  • XP: Experience points.
  • Lane: MOBA games are split into lanes where players need to hold or advance in order to win.
  • Circuit: All of the events that are happening in a title across the year such as the Dota 2 Circuit that include Majors, Minors, and The International.
  • MVP: Most valuable player, self-explanatory.
  • Elo System: A matchmaking system that uses players stats and performance across games to determine a rating. Age of Empires uses this system for example.
  • Split: Refers to a specific part of a season.
  • Title: Refers to a game
  • Push/Pushing: When a team moves together to achieve an objective or kill an enemy.
  • Splitpush: When a team pushes at the same time but on different sides of the map.
  • Dive: When a character moves into an unsafe position to kill an enemy. For example diving under a tower to kill an enemy character in LoL.
  • Carry: Carry is a term describing a champion or player that largely influences the outcome of the game by either dealing high amounts of damage or by providing decisive utility in form of crowd control or peeling.
  • Peeling: Peeling describes the act of reactively protecting an ally or a carry
  • Carrying: When a single player is so good that they win the game almost on their own. They “carry their team on their back”.
  • Aggro/Aggroing: A tactic used to make NPCs or enemy players attack a player-controlled character. For example, a tank character takes the aggro of an enemy player or an NPC whilst the DPS player deals high damage from afar.
  • Feeding: Feeding is when a character dies repeatedly to the same enemy or team. This normally results in the enemy being more powerful than the rest of the players in the game.
  • Kiting: Kiting is when a character is moving away from a character who is chasing them while staying at a safe distance.
  • KDA: Stands for Kills, Deaths and Assists in the scoreboard. These are important statistics to look at when determining a player's value and contribution to the match.
  • Laning: A term used in MOBA games to describe the process of moving down a particular lane in order to farm or push. It’s usually in the early and middle parts of the game where players are focused on gaining gold and experience for the late game.
  • Ulti/Ultimate: A character’s most powerful ability. Normally has a long cooldown and is often shortened as Ulti.
  • Overtime: Overtime or extra time is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport to bring a game to a decision and avoid declaring the match a tie or draw where the scores are the same.
  • In-game leader: The player who is responsible for deciding team tactics in the game and who issues instructions to other team members to follow.
  • Line of Sight (LOS): What a player is able to see on the map.
  • HP (Hit Points): Overall amount of health of a character.
  • Regular Season: The main scheduled league competition for an esport in a specific region such as Europe. In the regular season, all teams in the league will compete in a group tournament. At the end of the regular season, the top teams will then enter the playoffs to find the ultimate winner.
  • OP: Meaning overpowered.
Image Credit: Activision

Remember these wreaking havoc in warzone? then they got nerfed.

  • Ganking: It’s the tactic of going behind an enemy to gang up on them whilst your teammates are fighting with them. For example in a MOBA game: it’s the process of a roamer/jungler going in behind enemy lines to entrap laners.
  • Leet or 1337: leet is when numbers are used in place of a few letters. 1337 for example: 1 = L, 3 = E, 7 = T. I.e. S1mple.
  • Trading: It is an aspect of professional matches where kills should be traded and not fed. For example, if your teammate is killed by a player, that player also must be killed quickly in that firefight in return. Think of it as trading blows in a boxing match.
  • Rotation: Rotation can be used to describe a team’s movement from one area of the map to another. It’s also used as the optimal order in which abilities should be used.
  • FPS: First-Person Shooter. A very popular genre among esports. Games such as CS:GO, Call of Duty, Quake belong to this genre. This term refers to the genre of game in which you see the world through the eyes of your character.
  • MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or Action Real Time Strategy). Popular games such as LoL and DOTA belong to this genre. An offshoot of RTS  that began as what’s known as DOTA mod for Warcraft 3. It has more players working as a team. Each player controls an avatar instead of all the units on the map as in the case of an RTS game.
  • RTS: Your classic real-time strategy. Age of Empires, Starcraft, Warcraft belong to this genre. Where you control all the units belonging to your faction. Grow your resources, advance your units and take over the opponent’s base.

We will make game-specific lingo guides in the near future. Make sure you follow our news page and stay updated.

We have come to the end of our list, but the tournaments continue non-stop. You can watch tournaments and place bets on Luckbox.