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This page lists terms and abbreviations commonly used when discussing Prismata. For the Base Set units, their abbreviation is the same as the first letter in their name, and is also the hotkey for making them.

Terms[ | ]

The ability of units in Prismata to instantly heal any damage that they take, as long as it isn't enough damage to kill them. Any unit that isn't Fragile and has more than 1 health can absorb. When defending, you can absorb damage by sacrificing blockers until the incoming damage is small enough that it won't kill the unit you want to absorb with, and then blocking with that unit.


The unit you choose to absorb on each turn. Usually you want this unit to have as much health as possible, so that it can absorb as much damage as possible. Just because a unit can absorb doesn't mean it's an absorber - it has to actually be absorbing. Otherwise, it's soak.

Absorb Barrier

The maximum absorb possible in a set. Determined by the health of the biggest non-fragile blocker in the set, minus one. If Centurion is the biggest blocker in the set, the absorb barrier is 5. The bigger the absorb barrier is, the more economy you want to make before switching over to making attack.

Advanced Units

Units that aren't in the base set. These units are balanced to be slightly stronger than base set units, to make sure that each game is different from the last.

Base Set
The 11 basic units that are in every standard game of Prismata.

Base Set Only

Playing a game with only the units from the base set. Often shortened to 'BSO'.

Game type where five random units are available in addition to units from the Base Set.
Game type where eight random units are available in addition to units from the Base Set.
Big Blue
Unit that costs a lot of Blue resources to build, typically three.

Build Time

The number of turns after purchase before the unit is active on the field. A Gauss Cannon bought on turn 7 will first attack the opponent on turn 8. A Tarsier bought on turn 7 will first attack the opponent on turn 9.

When a player destroys all of their opponent's blockers. A player can breach their opponent when their attack is greater than or equal to their opponent's defense total. Once a breach has occurred, the attacker gets to choose how any remaining damage is dealt, and not the defender, which lets the attacker target their opponent's most valuable units.
Breach vulnerable unit
High value unit with limited health. These units will be the first ones targeted by a player who breaches their opponent.


A strategy where a player makes sure none of their units are breach vulnerable, and then allows a breach. This leaves their opponent with no good targets to attack after breaching.

Burst Damage

A one-time large amount of damage. Usually less efficient than constant attack, but if it forces inefficient defense - for example, if the opponent is forced to hold Drones to avoid a breach - then it can be very valuable.  Examples of units that do burst damage: Cluster BoltThe WincerGrenade Mech.

Build order
Plan for purchasing units during early part of the game.


An ability that stops a blocker from blocking for one turn if it is chilled by an amount greater than or equal to its health. Chill does no direct damage, but it can deal damage by denying absorb. It can deny absorb in several different ways: by breaching an opponent, by making their defense non-granular, or by freezing their absorber. Chill is also referred to as 'freeze'.

Deny Absorb

Not letting an opponent absorb for the full amount. Some units that can be used to deny absorb: BloodragerLancetooth, and Auride Core.


Usually this only refers to how many Drones a player has, but it can also count income from tech buildings. When alternate Drones like Vivid Drone are in the game, the income contributed by these units is also counted towards economy.


Denying absorb by attacking for an amount that the opponent can't absorb fully against. For example: Attacking for 4 damage against someone with two Walls and one Engineer on defense. There's no way for them to get 2 absorb against that attack number.

Fake Chill

When a player can't use all of their chill effectively, that means that some of that chill is 'fake'. For example, if a player has two Nivo Charges but the biggest blockers the opponent has on defense are Walls, the attacking player can only freeze 6 health worth of blockers, but the damage total will show that they have 10 freeze.

Fake Damage

When the attack total the game displays is more than the player can actually deal. For example, if a player has three Drakes but only two Blastforges, the game will count the three Drakes as being able to deal 12 damage together, but in fact they can only do a maximum of 10 damage, because they only have two Blastforges to sacrifice. As with fake chill, when a player has fake damage, the game will display a breach warning even when you are defending correctly. Can also be referred to as 'Fake Threat'.

Fake Exploit

When a player exploits their opponent's defenses, but does not get any benefit out of doing so. For example, holding a Steelsplitter back in order to hit for 4 damage instead of 5 against an opponent with just two Walls on defense, when they won't need to block with the Steelsplitter. In this case, there is no difference between attacking with the Steelsplitter or holding it back - in both cases the opponent will lose one Wall on defense, and it won't affect your own defense either.


Ending your turn with unspent Gold or Green. For example, "Float 4 Gold". Usually you want to avoid floating any more than two Gold or Green per turn. Floating one or two Gold or Green is extremely common, and usually not a concern.


Fragile units can be damaged, and so they cannot absorb. Contrary to the name, Fragile units, like Gauss Cannon or Gauss Fabricator, often have high health.

Golden unit
A unit that is under construction. Units that are under construction are invulnerable.


These units can be targeted by the opponent, even if the defending player hasn't been breached.


Intentionally allowing your opponent to breach you, at a price. Often, that price is using one-time Chill units like Frostbite.

Granular Attack

Being able to attack for different numbers in the same turn, so that they can exploit their opponent's defense if it isn't granular. Can also be called flexible attack.

Having blockers that can take any attack number and get it down to exactly one less than the absorber's health, so that the defending player can absorb for the maximum each turn. Often accomplished by having a pair of Engineers on defense.


How important it is to get value immediately, rather than in the future. For example, getting a Drone on turn 3 is better than getting two Drones on turn 7, because if a player gets the single Drone on turn 3, by turn 7 they will have already gotten 4 Gold from the Drone, which is enough to make a second Drone and have money to spare. In general, inflation increases as the game goes on, which means that later in the game short-term units like Grimbotch that get all of their value quickly are better than long-term units like Blood Phage that get their value slowly over the course of the game.


Only lives for a limited amount of time. When a unit finishes building, its lifespan begins at the amount displayed on its info panel. At the start of each turn after that, its lifespan decreases by one. When it reaches 0, it dies instantly, without doing anything that turn. So, a Thunderhead, with lifespan three, that is bought on turn 7, will attack the opponent three times - once on the turn 8 (with lifespan 3), once on turn 9 (with lifespan 2), and once on turn 10 (with lifespan 1). At the start of turn 11, it will die without attacking.

Legendary unit
Unit that has supply of one.


A planned series of moves, usually in the opening - similar to a 'build order'.


When both players are doing a similar strategy - for example, if both players go for Odin, that would be an Odin mirror.


A common beginner's mistake. Typically a unit costs 3-6 Gold for every one Tech Resource, and so if a player has a lot of Tech Buildings, they won't have enough Gold to spend all of the Tech Resources coming in each turn. This leads to Tech Resources depleting, or, in the case of Green, being floated.


A way to easily spend tech resources. For example, Nitrocybe is a 'red sink'. These can help you avoid being overteched.


Any blocker that isn't absorbing. Soak dies on defense, and because of this, must be remade each turn. One caveat: there are units, like Borehole Patroller, that are blockers but usually aren't used for either defense or absorb. These units aren't soak unless they are actually used on defense.

Tech Buildings

Units that makes tech resources, primarily the Conduit, Blastforge, and Animus. There are also tech buildings in the advanced set: Chrono FilterFlame AnimusSynthesizer, and Steelforge.

Tech Resources

 The Green, Blue, and Red resources. You need these to make attack and defense, and typically one unit will cost 3-6 Gold for every one tech resource it costs.


Anything that forces your opponent to make extra defense without doing damage. This includes chill, but also includes units like Drake or Odin that can click to deal extra damage, but usually won't.


Buying one or two defensive lifespan units each turn - for example, a Chieftain train or Doomed Mech train. When those units hit 1 lifespan and are held back on defense, they provide a steady stream of defense.


When a player is in the mid-game, but doesn't have enough Tech Resources coming in to spend all of their Gold efficiently. Being underteched is less of a problem than being overteched, because a player can solve the problem by making another tech building.


Any unit that can block while also doing something else useful is vigilant. Often this means attacking, but not always - for example, Ossified Drone is vigilant. Vigilance is a counter to threat. This is because the value of threat comes from forcing your opponent to make useless defense to guard against the threat, but vigilant units can block while also doing something else useful. The phrase is not an official trait that shows up in info-panels, but is a natural consequence of a unit being a Blocker while also having a useful effect at the start of each turn. The term comes from Magic: The Gathering.

Abbreviations[ | ]

Blue resource or Blastforge
Energy or Engineer
Green resource or Gauss Cannon
First player
Second player
Red resource or Rhino