From Liquipedia Artifact Wiki

This page contains a list of terms and definitions that are commonly found when discussing Artifact.

General Game-play terms[edit]



Action Phase
Each round has three action phases, one for each lane. During the action phase, players play cards from their hand and activate abilities on their creeps and heroes.
One of the three major archetypes in card games, along with Midrange and Control. Aggro is short for "aggression". Aggro decks look to end the game quickly by rushing their opponent down with low-cost and high-Attack cards, and are typically uninterested in running defensive of high-cost cards.
Stands for "Area of Effect". This term is often used interchangeably with the terms "board wipe" and "board clear". An AOE card is one that has an effective on an entire lane.
Each point of armor reduces all incoming damage to a unit by 1.
Armor item
An armor item is a type of item that is equipped in a hero's armor slot. All armor items increase a hero's armor, and may additionally have other abilities.


Board Advantage
Not to be confused with Card Advantage, the player with board advantage is the player who is currently winning in one or more lanes.
Amount of gold awarded to the opponent when a unit dies.
Board Clear
Also referred to as a "Board Wipe", a board clear spell is one that either kills or deals damage to all of the units in a lane. The classic example of a board clear spell is Annihilation.
Board Control
To have board control in a lane is to have a dominating presence in a lane. If one player has board control of a lane, their opponent would need to invest significant or powerful resources into that lane in order to regain control of it.
Buy Phase
One of the primary phases of an Artifact game, the buy phase occurs at the beginning of each of turn but the first. During the buy phase, players use Gold they earned from creep and hero kills to purchase items.


Card Advantage
To have card advantage is to have a significantly greater amount of cards than your opponent. The player with card advantage more options available to them, which means that they typically have a greater ability to leverage the resources and build a board advantage.
When blocking during combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the blocking unit, also deal the Cleave damage to that unit's neighbors.
Used to refer to the amount of turns left until a tower or Ancient is destroyed. For example, a 2 Attack creep puts a 20 Health tower on a 10 turn clock.
Mark a unit, improvement, or equipment for death. Death Shields may save a condemned unit, but Damage Immunity does not.
A consumable is a type of item that is not equipped and is played during the Action phase like a spell. Consumable items have one-time effects and are removed from the game after use. Consumables do not cost mana to play and may be played without a hero in the lane.
One of the three major archetypes in card games, along with Aggro and Midrange. Control decks typically win games by playing defensive and reactive cards to slow down their opponents, so that they can play powerful finishing cards in the late game.
Cross Lane
When played, Cross Lane cards use mana and heroes from the active lane, but can be played into any lane.


Damage Immunity
A unit with Damage Immunity does not take damage. It will still die if condemned.
Death Effect
An effect that is processed after this unit dies.
Death Shield
If a unit would die, instead remove its death shield and it survives with 1 Health. A unit may only have one death shield at a time.
A disarmed unit does not attack its target during battles.
A draft is the portion of Artifact's limited game mode where players select the cards for their deck. The terms draft and limited are often used interchangeably.
The word drop is often in used as a substitute for the words "Mana cost". For example, a 5 drop is a 5 Mana cost card.



The Flop
Used to refer to the placement of each player's initial three heroes at the start of the game. A borrowed term for Texas Hold 'Em.
When a hero dies, it is returned to the Fountain for a full round before it may be redeployed. When heroes enter the Fountain, they are fully healed and temporary effects on them are purged.


When a unit dies, its opponent is rewarded gold equal to that unit's Bounty. Gold may be used to purchase items during the Shopping phase.


One of the five primary card types in Artifact, every Artifact deck must include five heroes. Heroes are powerful units which are deployed to the battlefield during the hero deployment phase, and can be used to play cards of their color from a players hand. Each hero automatically adds three copies of their signature card to a deck they included in.
Hero Deployment Phase
During the hero deployment phase, heroes that are currently in The Fountain may be placed into any lane.


Improvements are cards that have permanent effects on towers. Improvements can be played into any lane, and are not considered as units.




The term "line" is often used as a shorthand for the phrase "line of play". Players often use this term to refer to a sequence of actions which constitute an entire turn.
Cards cannot be played as long as they are locked. Lock is applied for a duration in rounds. At the end of a round, all locked cards lose 1 lock.


One of the three major archetypes in card games, along with Aggro and Control. Midrange decks bridge the gap between Aggro and Control decks, typically containing elements of each. They aim to win games by going over the top of Aggro decks, and underneath Control decks.
Modifying a target places a permanent buff or debuff on it. Heroes retain modifiers through death.



Players often use the term "outs" to refer to a number of cards which need to be drawn on a future turn in order to win the game. It is very useful to think about the game in terms of outs when you are in a losing situation, because you may need to take actions in the present as though the next card you draw will be exactly the one you need in order to win the game.


Piercing damage is not reduced by the target's armor.
Removes modifications and temporary effects, but not damage. Purging does not affect abilities or external effects, such as those from equipped items and continuous effects from neighbors or improvements.


After using, reduce cooldown by 1, but not below 1.


Rapid Deployment
If killed, a hero will return to play at the the start of the next round.
The unit heals this amount during the combat phase. Regeneration is applied before checking for death.
Restore this amount to the specified target.
When attacked during battle (even outside of the combat phase), deal this much extra damage to the attackers.
The River
Used to refer to the hero which is deployed at the start of the third turn. A borrowed term from Texas Hold 'Em.
An abbreviation for Random Number Generation, RNG is a term used to refer to random events which occur during the game.


When blocking during the combat phase, in addition to battle damage to the combat target, also deal the Siege damage to the enemy tower.
A silenced unit cannot use its active abilities or item active abilities. A silenced hero cannot be used to play cards of its color.
The majority of Artifact decks are two colors. Splashing a color is to add a small amount of cards in a third or fourth color to your deck, usually to increase the deck's overall power level.
Create a unit and immediately put it into a random empty combat position.
A stunned unit is silenced (cannot use any active abilities and cannot be used to play cards of its color) and disarmed (does not attack its target during battles).


When a unit taunts all of its enemy neighbors change their combat target to that unit.
To draw a needed card off the top of your deck, as opposed to having a needing card in your hand already.
The Turn
Used to refer to the hero which is deployed at the start of the second turn. A borrowed term from Texas Hold 'Em.


A unit is any any creep or hero in a combat position. Towers and Improvements are not units.


Value Trade
A value trade is an exchange of resources between you and your opponent which end up favorably for you, either because you were able to trade less valuable resources for more valuable resources, or because you were able to trade fewer resources for a greater number of resources.
An abbreviation for "Value Over Basic", VOB is used to refer to the gap in power level between a hero or item card and the basic heroes (Fahrvhan, Debbie, J'Muy, and Keefe) or basic items (Short Sword, Traveler's Cloak, and Leather Armor).


A weapon is a type of item that is equipped in a hero's weapon slot. All weapons increase a hero's attack, and may additionally have other abilities.