Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Good Player's Toolbox: Doing Well at Premier Events

We all like to win.  That’s why we play Yu-Gi-Oh!, right?  To have fun and to snag the occasional triumph.  With YCS Toronto edging its way closer and closer this weekend, many people need some pointers on how to make the most of these kind of events - not only YCSs, but also regionals and even locals.  There a few relatively easy and logical steps you can take to shine at these premier occasions, many of which are listed here:
Everyone seems to forget about or underestimate the power of a good night’s beauty sleep.  It’s essential that you get sufficient sleep before a big tournament - it affects you more than you think.  At least 7-8 hours are necessary if you want to function at your highest level!  Why?  Because, above all else, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a thinking game.  You need to think on your feet (or chair, in this case), analyzing your opponent’s moves and reacting accordingly.  No amount of playtesting until the wee hours of the night before will get you through those grueling 9 - 11 rounds of play.  If you’re more focused on sneaking in a nap in between rounds, odds are your playing will suffer as much as you will!
Be prepared!
If you’d like to save the hassle of scratching down your decklist 10 minutes before registration closes in a frenzy to get it submitted on time, and possibly delaying the start of the tournament (those last minute arrivals secretly annoy everyone awaiting the the first round!), then prepare your decklist early!  The Konami website has an online version of the decklist sheet you can print and fill out ahead of time.  In addition to saving time, this will prevent you from making last minute deck changes that can be detrimental to your success. 

As a sad example, if your friend has an extra copy of Two-Pronged Attack and swears by his success with it while playtesting, in a panic you just might add it to your side deck (read card advantage article and weep over this travesty!).  Mistake!  Big, bad mistake!  Avoid playing cards you are inexperienced with; if you haven’t played with it before, how can you expect to know when and how to use it (and if it’s actually good)?  On a side note, you’ll need some fresh card sleeves for each day you plan to play.  Doing this will hopefully prevent opponents from falsely accusing you of marking cards in your deck.  Ultra Pros are generally a good choice because they tend to have fewer spots on them after play.  I like the black, white, or pink ones best! Sexy!
Eat a great breakfast!
Yeah.  You’ve heard it before.  Your mom has told you this since you were born and has made it applicable to everything you do: school, work, play, and everything else she could possibly think of.  It’s true, though.  The food has as much to do with your brain functioning as it does with your stomach feeling satisfied.  Glucose is the primary energy storage in your food, and this is the energy that your brain runs off of!  As previously stated, you’ll be thinking all day, so you really need to have enough fuel to last you through the event.  Breakfast can help you here - let it!  However, that trusty glucose is metabolized throughout the day, leading to a problem for your hungry brain.  This leads us to the next tip:
Snack, snack, snack!
Once that brain food you ate for breakfast gets digested and your small intestines savor the last of that nutritious goodness, you'll need to refuel.  Drugstore goodies such as Ritz Bits (personal favorite), Cheez-Its, Gardettos, Pop-Tarts, and Gatorade are all excellent choices.  However, avoid those popular Monster energy drinks.  Sure, they’ll have you wired for 30-45 minutes, talking 90-110 MPH while vigorously shuffling your hand, but what happens when it wears off?  You crash, and you crash hard (and to no surprise, so does your playing!).  You need something more substantial than sugary caffeine.  Depending on the event location, there might be food provided for a cost, but it's not guaranteed, so it’s best to bring snacks!  
Watch your stuff!
Many have had it happen to them before.  Your Trishula goes missing from your extra deck after a group of guys was “admiring” it.  Your age-old 1st edition LOB Dark Magician that your best friend gave to you years back gets bent after some kid takes it out your binder to appraise it.  Odds are, if you’re still reading this article, your cards are important to you.  So don’t let this happen!  If you have to bring a trade binder, keep it in a backpack that you wear in front (yes, like a kangaroo pouch).  Watch others as they look through your cards, and try to limit it to one person at a time so it’s easier to keep track of your things.  Also, never trade while you’re playing!  This is the easiest way to get distracted and lose track of your stuff.
Get familiar with the event!
Get there early.  Before it starts, walk around, getting to know the place in case you get lost (it happens!).  Make sure you have a ride both to and from the location.  If the tournament is in a different state, make sure to reserve a hotel at least 2-3 months ahead of time.  It would help if you can get a place that is within walking distance from the event location.  For one, YCS events are usually held in a busy city center.  After the tournament ends, you can unwind and explore the cityscape then simply walk to your hotel.  Secondly, if your ride doesn’t show or if the area is too crowded, you could just walk to the event.  Dr. House and I like to use TripAdvisor to get reviews, locations, and telephone numbers of possible hotels and restaurants in tournament areas.
If you can keep these points in mind while preparing for your next big tournament, you just might be able to surpass your expectations and reign victorious!  Just remember there is more involved in doing well than being familiar with the meta, long nights of extreme playtesting, and researching your card choices!  You’re most likely prepared enough to play well, but what good is it if you can’t make it though the day?  Don’t stress yourself more than you need to!  Relax, follow the steps, and have fun!  
Ms. K  

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