First off, having a deck that you’re comfortable with is key. Don’t just assume taking a build that has won a YCS will guarantee you a win. You’ve got to play with the deck and see what it can do with you as the pilot. Sometimes you have to change it to better fit your play style or even change it for what you may think will be played by others at the event. Playing a few games lets you see how it works but that sometimes might not be enough. Get out to your locals and play it a few weeks in a row. This way you can see what your matchups are like and what you might want to include in your side deck.
Side Decking is the 2nd tip I’ve got for you. Without a proper side, you won’t have any buffer against decks that have a favorable matchup over yours. Siding in and out certain cards for different matches will allow you to play you deck successfully against others. Knowing what to put in your side deck is always up to you and is 100% personal preference but having an idea of what everyone else is going to use and what has strong showings at other regionals and YCS events will help your decisions on what to include.
Here’s a few more quick tips:
1. While playing, sometimes you’ll get into a dispute about rulings with your opponent. Trying to know some of the rulings that concern your cards will help you have an edge while playing AND while talking to Judges if they get called to your table.
2. Getting your deck list done the night before and putting new sleeves on your cards is another quick and easy tip to keep in mind. This will give you more time in the morning for other things. You can print the blank lists out online from Konami’s website.
3. Keep an eye on all your belongings at all times. Some players will rob you blind of your cards, even a whole backpack. At Nationals ’08 in Columbus, roughly 25 entire bags were taken. Some people are really shifty, even while trading. Trade with ONE PERSON at a time. If someone else wants to trade with you, tell them to wait. If they really want your cards, they will.
4. While trading try to know your card values. Most players will over-value their cards and under-value yours. Everyone will always try to trade in their favor for profit. Know what you’re getting and what it’s worth at all times.
5. Have the necessary supplies for playing 7+ rounds. A playmat to protect your sleeves and cards from wearing is a must. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; a blank mat still does its job well. Having pen and paper to keep track of life points and mandatory effects is very important. You CAN use a calculator but if there ever is a dispute with players, Judges usually side with things written down. Having a dice to decide going first and keep track of counters is also a must. Most vendors at events have all this stuff ready for you to buy if needed.
Now, here are a few things that most players overlook before their first few events. Being able to stay focused the whole day of the event is HUGE. Most players don’t sleep well the night before, due to being nervous or excited for various reasons. With that lack of good sleep, getting up early and traveling can kick your butt. Not eating enough is another huge part of exhaustion at events. Years ago, players were given a break to eat after a few rounds. Konami rarely offers this anymore and I personally wish we would get this break again. Prepare a snack and take a few bottles of water with you and keep them in your car or a backpack. Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda or juice. A sports drink (like Gatorade), works just fine. If you don’t do that, most venues have food and vending machines within a short distance of the venue. Without proper rest, eating and keeping hydrated, after a few rounds, your eyes will feel heavy, start to lose focus, get hungry and here is where everything will go downhill.
Hopefully this information helps you guys out at any events you may go to. Just remember, at the end of the day, it’s just a game. Remember to have fun with it, regardless of results.
This is Steven Mihalson, signing out.