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Duel Masters Guide: Tournaments, and You
by Stegyman - Feb 23, 2005

    Hello, readers!  I'm Stegyman, and I once reviewed cards for Pojo's Duel Masters.  I took a break for a few months, to focus on school and college searching, but I have recently come back to the game, and I'm ready to play.  I remember that the last tournament I played in was at Origins, at the Origins Duel Masters Championship; I took seventh.  It wasn't my first year being at Origins either; I had gone the three years before last year, and I was prepared, both with my deck and with my 'stuff', for a lack of a better term.  In this article I will tell of how I prepare for every tournament, how you should, and what kind of 'stuff' you should have with you.

Where are you going?


    One of the most obvious, blunt questions to any Duel Master is, Where am I going to play my next tournament?  I personally find this question to be very important, and I'll tell you why.  How well would you prepare for you local card store's Saturday tournament? and how about a nationwide, one day tournament?  I'd hope you would spend more time preparing for the nationwide tournament than your local card store's tournament; but why?  I find that smaller tournaments, like the small card store tournaments, are a fantastic way to test decks.  The more you play with a deck, the more you can figure out how it runs, what it's weak against.  Do you seriously want to take an untested deck to a tournament and hope to do well?  I wouldn't!  You should test your deck at your local card store tournament, then play it at a bigger tournament.  If it doesn't do well, so what!  You have a whole week to tinker with the deck, make it better, and bring it to the tournament next week.  Anyway, the point that I'm trying to make is this:  you don't need to worry whenever you play at your local card tournament. Have fun!  Enjoy yourself.  You can trade and hang out with your friends.  Yes, I know that tournaments can be nerve-wracking, even small ones, but you shouldn't worry yourself.  Have fun when you go to local tournaments.  Of course you should play competitively, but a few losses won't hurt you in the wrong run; you can always play the following week.


    But what of larger tournaments?  Nationwide tournaments?  Those are stressful, let me tell you.  The first Duel Masters Tournament I played in had about 16 people, and that was probably the average for the few other "minor" tournaments I played in.  I seriously felt like I was playing at a card shop.  The big tournament, though, had around 30 or so competitors, so I was nervous (am I the only one who gets nervous at a tournament with a lot of people? ;x).  I had a right to be nervous:  my deck wasn't the greatest, and I had little experience playing against other duelists.  The few tournaments I had played in before really helped me realize what my deck needed, and what it didn't need.  I will admit that the stakes are higher at larger tournaments:  more, better prizes, and, of course, pride and the honor to be recognized as a great player.


    And for both small and large tournaments, make sure you know what time the tournament starts.  Try to get to the tournament about fifteen minutes to half an hour early, so you can trade and play a few games before the tournament starts.

What should you bring?


    Ah, the 'stuff' issue.  I didn't address this earlier because I wanted to address it now.  Here's what I do before I go to a small, local card store tournament:  I make sure my deck is how I want it, I have spare cards for the said deck, and my trade binder is with me.  When I go to a tournament, I have the deck I want to play in mind and I test it for the few days prior to the tournament.  I try to feel optimistic when I go, and you should too.  Now, count your deck the morning of your tournament and make sure you have at least the minimum amount of cards, then check to make sure you have how ever many cards are in your deck, and the specific copies of each card.  When that's over, have a few "spare, emergency cards" with you; cards that you can use in your deck incase you lose a few or if the tournament doesn't allow a specific card or a certain amount of a card.  I would suggest that you try to bring cards that would fit the theme, or strategy, of your deck, or wouldn't hurt your deck at all (for example, adding an Aqua Vehicle to a Water deck.  The said card has nothing special to it, and it wouldn't hurt the deck at all).  Next, if you play with sleeves, bring extra sleeves, just in case.  There has been a few times when I was playing in a tournament, or a friendly game, and one of my sleeves has ripped.  A ripped sleeve is/could be considered a "marked card", so always be careful when you shuffle and replace a ripped sleeve immediately, even if it's during a game (unless your opponent doesn't mind, of course). So, bring extra sleeves of the color of your deck, and make sure they're alright and not ripped or anything.


    Cards to trade are always a hit.  Whenever I met a new player, he/she would ask me if they could see my cards to trade.  Afterwards, when I had shown my trade binder, I would usually play a game with the other player.  Walking up to someone and asking if they would like to trade is just the first step to making a new friend.  At Origins, the first person I talked to was a guy named Adam, and we traded cards.  We played a few games afterwards (he beat me every time!), and we slowly began to talk a lot.  He played in every tournament I played in, and we would play each other; ironically, I would win, which was a reoccurring "theme", so to speak, of our tournaments.  But I had made a friend, and it simply started when I had asked him if he wanted to trade.  So, readers, never be afraid to ask someone if they would like to trade or play a game, because you never know what would happen.

What should you do while you’re at the tournament?


    Now this differs from person to person, I think.  At smaller tournaments, I talked and traded between my games.  I'm a pretty quiet guy in public, though, so I only piped in every once in a while.  What I would do after I played my game was to just walk around, checking out all the other decks being played.  You can learn a lot from watching other two other players play a game:  you have the option of knowing what's in each player's hands, how they play, how they recover, etc.  At Origins I played against one of my new friends in a smaller tournament in the finals and lost the two first duels.  He was playing a Diamond Cutter deck, and I had no idea how to counter it.  I watched him play against one of the judges, and I saw how the judge beat the Diamond Cutter deck.  The next tournament I played against my friend in was the big Origins Duel Masters tournament, and I beat him, because I knew how to handle the deck, just like the judge.


    Another thing you should do at a tournament, no matter how big or small, is to eat and drink!  I will admit that I was a stubborn kid and didn't eat or drink until after I played in a tournament.  I suggest that you bring along a few snacks and a drink while you're playing in the tournament.  You feel better after eating (at least, I do), and you're re-energized for the next game.  If you're playing at an all-day tournament, make sure you either bring a lunch or buy a lunch, because you don't want to be running on empty when the last few rounds are announced.  Also, make sure you bring something to do other than play a friendly game;  bring something like a book or a Gameboy so you're not bored.  At Origins one day I had planned to play in a one o'clock tournament, and then play a four o'clock tournament right after.  Unfortunately for me, the one o'clock tournament ended early, and I had a little more than an hour to kill.  So what did I do?  I had to wander around the area where all the booths were set up and waste time.  I didn't have a book with me, nor a Gameboy, so I had to make due.

What I do


 Here's what I would do if I would go to a tournament:


1.) Decide on what deck I want to play
2.) Test the deck, making sure it's what I want
3.) The night before, make sure my trade binder is in order, I have extra cards and sleeves, and money
4.) Eat breakfast the morning of the tournament
5.) At the tournament, check out the competition, make any corrections or additions to my deck
6.) Play in the tournament (duh)
7.) Have fun!



    And that's all there is to it!  I tried to meet the most basic issues of attending a tournament, as well as write in what I do in the same situations.  Remember, know where and when you're going to a tournament, what you should bring, and what you should do while you're there.  After all, you don't want to go to a tournament and have nothing to do!  =D


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me at Stegyman@aol.com.  I'm always happy to respond to any e-mails.


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