Greetings Duelists. With the new set Cosmo Blazer right around the corner, regionals, and YCS Miami coming up, its time to get back into the grind of things and give you all a little insight on how I prepare for certain events. This article is going to be how I prepare for local events. Im not going to go into much detail about regionals because to me, those are just a "testing tool" for a YCS or a deck I have no used in competitive play. But training for a YCS, that will be coming before YCS Miami so be on the lookout for that!
I know most people out there are not 100% serious when it comes to locals and they kind of think of them as a joke. But by my own perspective, I take locals seriously. Yea I may have a great time there, have tons of laughs, act like a clown, but that doesnt mean im not playing for the win. Locals to me are the "stepping stones" for beginning duelists because that is where you start your journey into Yugioh. Then becomes regionals, YCS', Nationals, and maybe even Worlds! I know when I first got back into the game after my injury (check out my article Where it All Began to find out more), I was the "new kid" because for one, it was a new local I have never been too. And for two, I was not playing a "meta" deck by ANY means. This was around the time when Dark Armed Return was the boss deck and only a few people at my new local had them. One of them being my best friend, Steffon Bizzell. Til this day, whenever we are clowning around and making jokes, I always refer to the time when him and I played our very first match against one another. His Dark Armed Return vs my BATTERYMAN OTK deck. Yup, you all read that right. And who won that match? I sure did! (Steffon, I know when you read this you will most likely start laughing and call me a bum). Over time, I became more in the "flow" of that local. Playing the meta/standard decks like Lightsworn, Gladiator Beasts, Tele-DAD, etc.
Another thing to take into consideration (and the main point of this article) is that when you attend a local, you should be preparing your SIDE deck according to the local area. What I mean by that is if your local is mainly Wind-Up and say Mermail Atlanteans and have 0-1 Darkworld/Inzektors, you might want to dedicate most of your side deck according to Wind-Ups/Mermails rather then siding more cards for Darkworld/Inzektor. I know some of you might think of this as a way of putting the odds in your favor, but what else are you going to do when your trying to win? I am NOT saying to cheat. That is not anywhere that I am going with this, what I am saying, is try to side deck according to the matchups you will mainly face at your local area and then alter your side deck according for a regional or YCS. That is all. I know that when I attend locals, I ajust my side deck occasionally. Since there are two different locals I go to (Friday nights and Saturday/Sundays during the day if I get out of work on time). I know on my Friday nights, my sidedeck is more leaned towards Darkworld, Machina Gadget, and Mermail since that is primarily what that local consists of. Then on Saturday/Sundays I lean my sidedeck more towards Wind-Ups, Agents, and Dino Rabbitt since that is what that local consists of. As of right now, I am playing Mermail/Atlantean and that will pretty much be my deck of choice for upcoming regionals and maybe even YCS Miami. If anyone is attending the Edison New Jersey Regional this coming Saturday, you can see how my current build of the deck is and how I am side decking and everything!
Back to side decking for locals, I try to prepare myself for locals drastically different then a regional or YCS obviously simply because the stakes are not as high. Now when I say the word "prepare" I do not mean getting into grinding detail about my main deck or analyzing strategies like I may do for a larger scale tournament. Like I mentioned before, the local area is a "stepping stool" to get better at the game. I consider locals like a big playtest session and the person with the best record gets the prize. Both of my locals are usually 4 rounds of swiss and then cut to top 8 or 16 depending how many players show up. I would sometimes switch decks every week for locals because it gave me the mindset on how each deck plays, their power plays, and learned their weakness when I were to play against them. That is something I casually will do depending on what upcoming events I have. Like for example right now, I would not consider doing that for myself because of the YCS in just about a month or so. With that being said, I have been playing Mermail/Atlantean since the deck came out and I believe the only time I have switched away from that deck in a tournament was at the Philadelphia regional when I decided to play Chaos Dragons. The next deck I plan on playing honestly in my local area is going to be the Fire-Fist, Fire-King, or Machina Gadget. Locals are ment to be a place where you can have fun, but in my eyes they are a place to also be taken seriously due to the fact they can train you to become the best player of your own ability. Without locals, how much do you all really play? Leave comments below roughly how much time outside of locals/regionals/or YCS events that you really dedicate time to playtest. And this does NOT include Dueling Network. Granted Dueling Network is a great tool to playtest with and deck ideas, its most of the time better to physically have the cards right infront of you in your hands so you can really work through combos and game breaking decisions during game play. I do enjoy going on Dueling Network myself from time to time to test decks but I would much rather enjoy getting a group of friends together or going to my locals and playing there.
The last thing I will talk about your local area is say you are like me when I first came back into playing seriously and was playing a meta deck, but it was a completely new local that you have never been to before and you are unable to "scout" the competition you could say. What do you make of your side deck then? This is actually a serious question a player came to me about at my local this past Friday. The first thing I asked him was "What is your decks weakest matchup and do you know what side deck cards are good against that matchup?" His response was "I just started playing again (he was playing Darkworlds) and I only know of a couple cards that hurt my deck." With that being said, you should always try and figure out your decks worst matchup for games 2 and 3 so you have a greater chance of winning against them of course. Say if you are playing Mermail Atlantean, your initial worst matchup is going to be Macro Dino Rabbitt. So you should dedicate your side deck according to that bad matchup so you can control the outcome of the match better. This can be used with whatever deck you are playing. Even if you are arriving to a local you have never entered before. Simply because you get 15 card slots in your side deck that can be played around with and ajusted to your playstyle and the deck you are running. I am a fan of the 2 of side deck and the 1 of a tech card or power card. Or a 3 of 1 card and the rest 2 of. Some kind of combination depends on the player also and how they like side deck. Going back to my Side decking article before YCS Indy, I stressed how important the side deck is during your match/tournament. So be sure to work on your side decks because they are just as important as your main deck. Until next time duelists. Play Hard, or Go Home!