Subject: So What Exactly Do You Do Before a Big Tournament?

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: GenkiOfTheAir23

hey matt, i was wondering if you could help me out a bit. I was wondering if you could tell me, like lets say there is a regional tournament, in a week.
How do you prepare for it the week before it. Do you practice with your friends like crazy, or anything like that. And then what do you do the night before the regional tournament. Is your deck made up already, what time do you usually go to sleep, do you play a lot that day, things like that. And then what
do you do the day of the regionals. What time do you usually wake up and
what you eat (lol), and what supplies you bring with you besides your deck.
Thank you so much for everything, and i look forward to hearing you.


I must admit this is one of the most thought provoking emails I've ever gotten. Major props for it.

Unlike many gamers I know, I keep the same deck that I use and reuse from tournament to tournament. Even so, I still often am a couple cards over and debating over an idea or two, and usually am that way coming into the tournament morning. And thus, my deck is for the most part built, because I like having something I'm familiar with instead of building one the day before.

Anyway, when a tournament creeps closer and closer, I'll try and get as much preparation in as I can. I'll print off my deck list off of Deck-Zone. I'll pack and make sure I have stuff like preregistration, flight, and hotel all taken care of. But usually I'm going insane because I have to get homework due the Monday I get back done before I leave, so a lot of focus goes toward getting work done.

Since I moved to college, I don't have locals to playtest against, so I play over the internet using a program called Apprentice. I might play a couple more games than normal, but more or less I'm just trying to make sure I have a feel for my deck after all the changes I've done on it. Normally I don't have a lot of time with trying to get ahead on HW, but I try. The key is making sure you are confident in your deck, which helps you a lot in the self esteem category when the day shows up.

I try not to go insane, but many times the anticipation kills me. I try not to fret too much while I'm on the plane, but the key is not to let it get to you. Just keep calm and play to the best of your ability.

The night before I'm normally dead tired, but normally what I do is get basically ready for the next day and crash. A good night's sleep, in my opinion, is a good thing. Some people don't believe in that, but I do. I try to get to sleep no later than midnight if I can. Sometimes a couple real life games are good to prepare yourself, because real life is much different than internet. Key is when you get in. Often I'll ask my friends over my last minute changes, and take their advice into consideration while I drift off to sleep.

I try to wake up by 8 AM, giving me time to pray, shower, eat breakfast (food is a necessity, if you don't eat you will forget), and get over to the convention. The tournament normally starts at 9-10 AM, so the last thing you want to do is run in being late, turning your deck list in, and sitting down in front of a calm opponent when your heart is beating and your head is somewhere else.

Also, getting to the convention early is good because you can play some pick up games with your friends to calm your nerves. It also helps refresh your mind on your deck as well.

Breakfast is normally whatever the hotel gives us to eat. If not, something simple like cereal works fine. The key is getting something into your body instead of nothing, because lunch is never certain when it comes to when. Lunch is whatever I can get my hands on. It varies from convention to convention, depending what is around. At GKI, there was a Pizza Hut downstairs, so it was pizza every day. At KublaCon, I think we had sandwiches and stuff like that. At ComicCon my dad picked up some nice deli sandwiches, and at OrcCon he got McDonalds for us. Don't get anything to upset your stomach though; the McDonalds salad drove me crazy 5th round at LA and it was pain playing through that round with an upset stomach. Dinner normally we eat out after a long day. Dennys seems to be a favorite.

Keep in mind you eat whenever you finish a round early, so you don't know when that will be. Sometimes some snacks are good, and bring water. Hotel water is like $3 a bottle, where you could easily buy a couple bottles for that much at a gas station.

I bring a backpack with me to the big tournaments. Normally I bring two, but taking more than one on a plane is a pain, so I normally leave most of my trade at home. I bring one trade binder, two deck boxes (Standard, TE, other varations like Rainbow, and a fun deck), my scouter box (for allies), and another box that holds URs and stuff to trade. I of course have lots of extra supplies like swords, Physical Attack Tables, and other stuff just in case. New sleeves is definitely a good idea. Extra copies of good cards is also good to have, hence extra decks so if your friend forgot his HUH??? he'll have one. I also bring paper sometimes, and a pen, because sometimes you might randomly need them. The backpack is nice to carry extra cards that you earn as well.

As each round goes by, the nerves either calm if you start to win, or go insane if you lose a round. Big key is to keep calm and just play your best. Have fun whatever you do. This is generally what I do, but key is not let the pressure get to you. Each event is unique in its own. Once you make the top cut, things start to get a bit edgy, but make sure you keep calm, because the last thing you want to do is make a stupid mistake.

Hope that helps. If you ever want to watch what I do at a big tournament, feel free. Each has their own style, but I try to make sure I'm doing things right, and if I did make a mistake, I watch it and make sure I don't make the same one ever again.

"You will not be allowed to do this to anyone else!" - Gohan