Steps to Success – The YCS Mindset

Hey what is going on Yugioh players? Sorry its been awhile, but now I'm back with another article that will hopefully help a lot of players out there who are looking for success in the competitive circuit. With all the 2012 YCSs having been over for a while now and our new YCS and Regional schedule for 2013 just getting announced recently, I figured the downtime between now and the time all the events start rolling around would be a perfect chance for playtesting and practice, which is what this article will be centered on.

When I am at my local card shop on the weekends I see people playing for fun and playtesting all the time, I occasionally see people misplay which happens from time to time since nobody is perfect. However, the phrase "It's just for fun" or "we are just playtesting so it doesn't matter" is one that I hear too much. I also sometimes hear people discounting their misplays because they are at locals so it's no big deal or sometimes it's taken even further to where I am talking with some experienced players at a Regional and they talk about how its just a regional and how they only take YCSs seriously, I am not too fond of this mindset as it does not help one improve as a player, after all I'm pretty sure that when you enter a YCS you will be trying your hardest to win so why not play your best when you are testing for one? If you are looking to top or even win a YCS the best mindset you can have is to try to win every match you play with the best of your ability, you should always play in every event you attend with your best effort to win even at your locals that you go to every weekend. If you have the mindset that locals and regionals do not matter and that you will only take YCSs seriously, I believe that you will not be able to play to your best ability the weekend of the YCS. When you enter a YCS you need to know which plays to make with your deck, when to make what moves, and so on. Your brain might not be able to recognize the best move in all the scenarios that you should because you do not practice with the intent of making the best play frequently when testing. Sometimes at an event you think you are doing the right play as you are sitting there and making your move, but sitting down after the match you might have realized some of the better plays you could have done whether you won or lost, this show that your mind might be slower in finding and making the best play for the situation because you do not do so on a consistent basis when playing. Let's say that you enter a YCS in September and than you do not play in another one until around December, that is a pretty long time for one to be out of practice even if you have been running the same deck all that time, it doesn't take too much for a player to get rusty.

One big thing I have noticed in many people is also the lack of motivation to even play in their local tournament or regionals. Some people I know of choose to never play at another regional once they get their invite or they play with troll decks, but if you have a YCS a few weeks after the regional you plan on attending, you might want to consider playing in it and with your real deck, especially if you not get the chance to play very often. I know the joys of trading all day when going to regionals events might seem more inviting than play at times, but when you an event coming up in the future that you desperately want to top you m­ight want to fill out a decklist and play in that regional with the deck you plan are thinking about registering for the YCS, regionals are a great testing ground when trying to find out which cards you do and don't like in your deck or even if you like what you are currently running. Playing at your locals and regionals with a competitive attitude will help you keep your mind in gear for when you head to a YCS in the future, though it is not always necessary as sometimes we all like to just play around with new decks and ideas.

There are many things you can do to keep yourself playing at your best even while playtesting, cause I know even I sometimes have trouble doing it. One thing that my good friend Mike Steinman said that he does is he makes small bets when he plays with friends, even sometimes something as small as a Reese's! You don't always have to put up a big card out of your binder or anything, doing things like loser buys the winner a pack of sleeves or loser pays for the winner's entry into the next local, anything to get you thinking your hardest! Some people play better when they have multiple people watching, so if you are one of these people try getting some of your friends to watch your match and also tell them to point out any mistakes they think you made afterwards, this way two things will get done at once. While playing in your local tournament, one thing you can do is treat every round like you are at a YCS or that you are on the bubble at a YCS you are planning to go to. One thing I do is when I am at a regional to try to make myself play my best is I treat it as if I am playing in Day one of a YCS and my goal is to at least go X-1, X-2 not being acceptable since I would most likely not make top eight and is not a record you want to be going into Day two of a YCS with. At the most recent Rhode Island YCS, I had a little contest with Mike to see which of us could lose the least number of games Day 1, unfortunately I lost but I got to realize that the drive not to lose a single game, let alone match could help greatly improve my performance, so now I try to get a friend or two to do the same thing with me at any regional I attend to keep my game up. Sometimes it might be a good idea for you and your testing partner to switch decks after a few a few matches, especially if it's a deck that you have never played with before. For instance if you are testing using Chaos Dragons testing versus Mermail-Atlanteans switching it up and running the water deck for a few matches could be beneficial for you, though you may not pilot the deck 100% correctly, playing with it lets you see the flaws of the deck, what cards are hard to play around, and what plays hurt you the most which in turn will help you play against the deck better, not to mention it might be fun to play with decks that you rarely get to play with.

A good thing you could try to do which was brought up by Mike is try doing team battles or warring. Whether it be in real life or on DN, I'm pretty sure most of us wouldn't want to let our teammates down by continuously losing matches and dragging the whole team down especially if the others are constantly winning. This is a great way to get yourself to play on a YCS level, since you want to win as many matches as possible to keep up with everybody else and you don't want to let everybody down by losing, also getting your name out there as a dominant team might be a good accomplishment for you as well! When I am at a YCS I try to play in one of the sponsored tournaments held near the convention center Friday night which usual give out pretty satisfactory prizes for topping. Besides trying to win some nice prizes, this gets me ready for the next day and also helps me test against players and decks that I might not usually get to play against. One great place for testing online is DN, unfortunately it is a place that I know that is hard for a lot of people to take many of your matches seriously because of the decks that you can face, and I hear "I would never face this unreal deck at a YCS, so no point in really playing" a lot, but this statement couldn't be further from the truth. I have seen and heard people playing against all these decks at recently YCSs: Dragunity Assault Mode, Macro, Vayu Turbo, Machine Heros, Beast Beatdown, Fiends, Salvo Rabbit, Fableds, and Counter Fairys all these decks which people think they will probably never face outside maybe round one of a tournament, which all of them besides the Machine Hero in fact were round two and beyond. There were a few times where I faced a few unexpected decks at a regional or YCS (like Worms) and I won simply because I played against the deck on DN (choose to not quit out) and knew what his cards did and what to stop. You can try to do any of these things to help keep your head in it and playing at your best, just try different things and use whatever works for you.

You can try many, many different things while we have this break in Yugioh to try to prepare yourself for some of the upcoming events. I'm sure everybody wants to be at the top of their game by the time they sit down for round one and face their opponent at any major event! That's all I have for this article, thanks for reading! I hope a lot of you got something out of reading this, comment below on some other things that you do to help keep yourself playing at 100% no matter what kind of match it is. Until next time, I hope 2013 will be a great year for everybody!