The world of esports can be a daunting one to get into. That’s why we’ve begun a series of beginner’s guides to help you figure out how to watch. You can find links to them at the bottom of this page. But one of the trickiest parts of learning to watch and consume esports can be the lingo. To help you get through it, here’s a handy esports glossary of common terms you may hear.
General Esports Terms Glossary
Bracket Reset: A term found in the final round of double-elimination tournaments. The winner’s bracket competitor has not lost a match yet, where-as the loser’s bracket competitor has. If the loser’s bracket competitor wins, it ‘resets the bracket’ so that both competitors have now lost a match. At that point, the next winner takes all.
Buff: Inside of a game, a buff is any positive status change for a character. Buffs can include shields, bonus health, increased movement speed, and more. Outside of the game, a buff is any increase to a character’s stats or strengths by the game developer. Usually done to make characters more viable to play as.
Composition/Comps: The composition of a team. The strategy a team employs with how they take the field. Examples: Running 2 tanks, 2 DPS, and 2 healers in Overwatch. A traditional sports analogy would be the formation in Football.
Crowd Control/”CC”: Abilities that limit the movement of an opponent. Stops, Slows, Knockbacks, Boops are all examples of types of CC.
Debuff: Any negative status change for a character.
DPS: Short for “Damage Per Second”. Often refers to characters that specialize in dealing lots of damage to opponents.
Flank: Coming up behind the enemy team. Some esports have characters or heroes specifically design for this purpose. Flanking heroes.
Ladders: Refers to the online ranking of players in a video game. Many games rank their players competitively based on wins/losses and other stats. To climb the ladder means to become better ranked.
LOS: Stands for Line of Sight. Something is out of LOS means its view is obstructed by an object or part of the environment.
Map: Where the game takes place. Some esports have multiple maps that require different strategies Replaces the traditional sports “court”, “field”, “pitch” etc.
Meta: Current established optimal team composition and strategy for winning.
Meta Shift: When the established meta begins to change through the addition of new characters, abilities, buffs/nerfs, or new strategies.
Nerf: Any decrease to a character’s stats or strengths by the game developer. Stops characters from becoming too strong or unfair to play against.
Off-Tank: Big characters that are a little more versatile than tanks. They have something else to offer but can be a meat-shield when needed.
Poke: Minimally damaging moves that can be done from safe distances.
Push: The team makes a move together, usually converging on a single point, objective, or enemy.
Solo Queue: To play a game competitively by yourself. To be paired with other people online versus playing with a squad of your friends or teammates.
Support: Characters that excel at healing, protecting, or augmenting their teammates.
Tank: Big characters that stand on the front lines taking the damage for their allies. This can be done with shields, high health, or abilities that stop damage altogether.
ThrowingFeeding: Intentionally losing on purpose and/or giving up. Letting yourself be killed by the enemy team.
Ulti/Ultimate: A character’s most devastating ability. If used correctly can change the tide of a battle.
League of Legends Esports Glossary
Baron: Short for ‘Baron Nashor.’ Baron is a large neutral enemy on the map. Defeating the baron grants the team a massive buff for three minutes.
Creep Score/CS: Creep Score refers to how many killing blows you’ve gotten on enemy minions.
Drake/Dragon: Drakes/Dragon is a large neutral enemy on the map, which can be fought by either team. They spawn as one of the four elements and grant the killing team a buff based on which element they are.
Gank: Killing an enemy in a lane with the assistance of a jungler or another laner.
Inhibitor/Inhib: Both teams have three inhibitors, one in each lane. Destroying the inhibitor of an enemy team will cause super minions to begin spawning for your team.
Jungle/Jungler: The jungle is a neutral territory on both sides of the map. It is the role of a team’s Jungler to roam through the jungle area and level up by slaying monsters.
Lane: Summoner’s Rift is a symmetrical map, divided kitty-corner by a neutral river area. Each team’s base has three lanes that lead to the enemy base. They are simply known as Top, Mid, and Bottom lane.
Minion: The Nexus of both teams will spawn minions, also known as creep. They march down the lanes, attacking enemies they come into contact with.
Picks and Bans: In competitive League of Legends, games are preceded by a pick and ban phase. During this phase, teams take turns banning champions out of the available pool and picking the champion they want to play from what’s left.
Rift Herald/”Shelly”: The Rift Herald (aka Shelly) inhabits the baron pit in the early part of the game. Slaying the Rift Herald will cause her to drop the Eye of the Herald, which will allow you to summon Shelly to help in lane.
2/2/2: A team composition consisting of 2 tanks, 2 damage dealers, and 2 supports.
Back Cap: The act of taking or completing an objective behind an enemy when they’re focused on the rest of your team or not paying attention.
Boop: Any hero ability made to push enemies back while dealing with minimal damage. Good for knocking opponents off the map or into hazards.
Death Ball: Sticking close together with your team behind a tank and moving together.
Dive: Highly mobile heroes that are able to converge on a point or target quickly and dispatch it with focus and teamwork.
Flex: Flexible. Willing and able to play multiple heroes and fill multiple roles. A Flex player or flex hero.
Hit Scan: Hero that instantly hits their target without delay in projectiles often to deal with long-range targets.
Peel: The act of forcing the enemy team’s heroes away from your support heroes.
Pick: Is a term used when a player gets a kill on a member of the opposing team. “The early pick lead to team fight win!”
Pocketing: When a healer focuses specifically on aiding or healing one other player. “The Mercy is pocketing the Pharah.”
Pulling a C9: C9 is short of Cloud9 an endemic esports organization with teams in multiple games. When used in Overwatch, “they pulled a C9!” it refers to a team losing an objective because they weren’t on the point despite having players present that could have contested it.
Snowball: Keeping up a winning momentum and easily killing or capturing an objective or point.
Stagger: Killing an enemy several seconds after their team has already re-spawned so they’re forced to wait longer to re-engage or to do so at a disadvantage.
Trickle: Is when a team or members of a team engage the enemy separately. As they trickle back in they’re never at full power because they’re separated.
CS:GO Esports Glossary
AWPer: A player who uses a sniper rifle, frequently the AWP.
CT Side/T Side: Counter-Terrorist side or Terrorist side.
Kit: Refers to a defuse kit on the counter-terrorist side. Defuse kit lowers the time it takes to defuse from 10 to 5 seconds.
Lit <number>: When you die in CS:GO, you’ll be able to see how much damage you did to the person who killed you. Saying “Lit 40” would tell your teammates that the player has already taken 40 damage.
Long/Short: Refers to the way of entering the bomb-site on certain maps. There’s frequently a long path in and a short path in.
On-Site: Refers to a player being located on one of the bomb sites.
Pistol Round: The 1st and 16th round of a standard 30 game match. So-called because players will only be able to afford pistols.
Play the plant: The concept of guarding the bomb once you’ve planted it on the terrorist side. To win, the counter-terrorists will need to defuse it. Theoretically, they’ll be defenseless while disarming.
Smokes: Smoke grenades.
Fighting Games Glossary
Dragon Punch/DP: A move that makes your character rise in the air with an attack that hits both standing and jumping opponents. Named after the iconic Ryu/Ken move from Street Fighter.
EX Moves: A Street Fighter term that became a catch-all for any special move that uses your Super Meter. Usually changes the properties of special moves making them safer to use, deal more damage, or add special effects on hit.
Frame: A unit of time measurement. 1 frame = 1/60th of a second. Example: “Ryu’s standing hard punch has 6 frames of startup and 10 frames of recovery.”
Meter: A small gauge that fills as you deal/take damage. It can be used as a resource for Super Moves, EX Moves, and much more. Using moves that take up these resources is referred to as “spending meter”.
Normals: Move that requires no special inputs to execute. Usually mapped to a single button press by default. Crouching light punch or standing hard kick would be considered “normals” in Street Fighter.
Read: Correctly predicting what your opponent is about to do and countering successfully.
Safe/Unsafe: Moves that leave you with frame advantage (where your opponent cannot counter-attack) are considered “safe”. Moves that leave you at frame disadvantage (where your opponent can counter-attack) are considered “unsafe”.
Special Move: Moves that require certain directional inputs in a sequence and then a button press. Often they include projectiles, dragon punches, special throws, and counter moves.”Down, down-forward, forward, PUNCH” is one of the most common special move inputs fighting games.
Super Move: The fighting game equivalent of the Ultimate. It can be used to clinch a round or come back from a massive life deficit. Often completely depletes super meter.
Whiff/Whiff Punish: Any move that fails to hit an opponent is a whiff. Properly countering a missed move is a “whiff punish”.
Zoning: Peppering an opponent with long-range attacks or projectiles to stay at safe distance.
CheckpointXP – Your Home for Esports and Gaming
It’s our turn in the gaming community to show our support for the heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and Make It Blue. This will take many forms, and your creativity is encouraged! We all have something special we offer to the gaming community. Whether it be a live stream, fan art, music, memes, singing, cosplay, or even competitive esports, you have something to offer. And we’re asking you to make that special something blue! Use #MakeItBlue as you show off the special twist on your talents!
Lead Photo by Michal Konkol/Riot Games