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Hearthstone slang part 4: In-game

We continue our Hearthstone slang explainer with a few notable words thrown around while describing important in-game situations.


Your opponent’s Face is their Hero portrait, which also happens to display their life total. ‘Attacking face’ is going straight for the enemy hero, instead of attacking their minions. Same goes for spells.

Face is also an umbrella term used to describe the most aggressive types of decks. They usually try the end the game by turn 5 or 6, which is achieved by throwing everything at the opposing hero, practically disregarding the board state and their minions. The most prominent of these archetypes is the Face Hunter.


A player enters in Fatigue mode after they’ve drawn every single card in their deck. The first time a player draws a card from an empty deck, they take 1 point of damage. Then they take 2, 3, 4 and the progression goes on until they inevitably die. Fatigue is also used to describe a niche type of Control deck – one that relies on stalling the game long enough for the enemy to completely exhaust their resources and start taking Fatigue damage, while the Control player remains safe by having lots of cards remaining, lots of armour, or lots of healing.


Having ‘Lethal’ means having just enough damage in the form of minions, spells and weapons, to finish off your opponent. If the enemy has only 6 health remaining, and you’re holding a Fireball in your hand, you have lethal.

However, these situations are not always so obvious – sometimes you need to do a little bit of mathematics in your hand and take into consideration Deathrattle effects, Fatigue damage and other factors to close the game. ‘Finding the lethal’ is one of the most exciting things in Hearthstone and an old meme in the community. It is also one of the many reasons why Hearthstone is so popular among spectators, not just players. 


A term originally coined in the game Magic: The Gathering after a particular card – Millstone, ‘Milling’ means removing cards from a deck without drawing or playing them. In Hearthstone, the maximum hand size limit is 10. Once you draw (or are forced to draw) your eleventh card, it does not go in your hand, but is destroyed instead, and there is no way to play it or take it back. And remember, Fatigue is a thing, so you can defeat an opponent by ‘Milling’ them to death. Arguably the most iconic Mill-style card is Coldlight Oracle – forcing your opponent to draw cards, which sometimes is a boon, and other times is what kills them.


All cards that destroy minions are called Removal. These can come in the form of damage, or more intricate things such as returning them in your opponent’s hand, cursing them to die on the next turn, or shuffling them back in a deck. Regardless of the flavour, if the minion is no longer on the table, or at least not as big of a threat (in the case of Polymorph or Hex), it is considered removed.

Next time we will be talking about some deckbuilding terminology. Stay tuned!