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GeneralZorpa on Yugioh
Getting Back In the Game: Regional Tournaments

September 30, 2008

This One's For All the Donuts
For most players Regional Tournaments are the highlight of competition in this game. Shonen Jump Championships are few and far between, so Regionals provide a rather competitive environment that has decent prize support. You are also only able to qualify for the National Championships through a top 8 qualification. So there are a ton of reasons to go to these events as well as a ton of good reasons to do well at these tournaments.

Unlike a local tournament or other low-key event, it is simply not enough to show up 30 minutes beforehand still building your deck. I know I'm gonna sound like a character from the show, but you have to be one with your deck. You have to know it's moods, it's powers and it's slumps. One of my married friends who plays says that he knows his deck better than he knows his wife. I don't advocate this, but the moral is that you need to prepare for a high-level tournament.
Preparing mentally is probably the single most important thing you could do to prepare for an event. Like with all competitions, if you think you are going to lose then you probably are. Even if you take a huge hit, then it is a good idea to keep optimism. you're still in the game, and as long as you have cards in your deck you still have a fighting chance. I can't tell you how many times myself and other people have beaten ourselves just by thinking that we lost. I am not a big advocate of scooping either. My corny quote is "Never Give Up! Never Surrender!".
Such an attitude can really help. It keeps you focused on what is at hand, as well as projecting your confidence upon someone else. In any social situation, the person that projects dominance upon the other will usually come out on top. That is just the way that our social system has evolved. Even if you're not confident, pretending like you are can win with just that bluffed Heavy Storm can advance you one round closer to the finals.
To prepare mentally for a Regional, I find that it is best not to play the night before. Even though you might want to get some last minute testing done, I don't recommend it. When I got my invite last year, it was on a full nights rest. I know all of the tournament reports say "I stayed up all night doing whatever" but these people are not going to be playing at their best. Playing tired is probably almost as bad as not showing up with a deck. You severely decrease your chances of putting together winning reads and moves when you can barely stay awake.
Also, you should not play too much a couple of days before the tournament. I have experienced this as card game burnout, to the point where you just don't want to play anymore. That not only isn't fun, but takes away from your chances at winning.
The day of the tournament, there are a few things that I do to get mentally prepared. The first is to have a set routine for the morning of the tournament. I usually get up at a specific time, and do things in a specific order. You should do whatever suits you the best. However, the best thing to do mentally the day of is to listen to music. Traveling with music is also a lot more fun. it gets you energized. It is not permitted to listen to music during the game, but in between rounds it can be a life saver. It not only gets you pumped back up, but it takes your mind off of the game and whether you are doing well or not, takes you to an all time high.
I have a few favorites for yugioh playing, but it depends on what kind of music you like. "Burnin' Love" by Elvis, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, "The Eye of the Tiger", The "Rocky Theme Song and "The Touch" by Stan Bush usually make my playlist for the day.

It might seem like there is not a lot physically that you can do to prepare for a tournament, but you'd be surprised. It always, always pays to be organized. Here is a short list of what I usually go through before I play in a tournament.
Day Before
-Check My Deck (legality, deck size, make sure all the cards are there)
-Check With My Ride (time, place, do I get a ride back)
-Check My Binder (all the cards I want to trade, nice and neat)
-Check My Alarm (the most important one!)
-Check My Wallet (cash and UDE card)
Day Of
-Brush Teeth
-Deodorant/Anti-Perspirant (second most important one, PEOPLE NOTICE)
-Get Dressed In Comfortable Clothes
-Call My Ride
-Eat Quick Breakfast
-Fill Water Bottle
-Chill Out
I am not saying that if you do all of these things you will win a Regional Tournament. Actually, that depends on your skill and deck. These things are just the little extra things that can get you off of the bubble and into the top 8. Once you're there it's all up to you and your deck.
Preparing Your Deck
Regional Tournaments are unique. They are not quite SJC's and not quite Local Tournaments. They combine the attibutes of both styles. Many people will make an inaccurate metagame read based off of what happened at the last SJC. Regionals are Regionals because they are not the National Metagame. The metagame for each Regional is slightly different than most. My last Regional in Sacramento had a ton of zombie decks, where in the SJC coverage right before there were none. Based on this, my team and I were completely unprepared for the matchup.
It is not a local tournament too. There will be tons and tons of the most popular decks out there, but still quite a few Rogue decks that do not conform to the rest of the metagame as a whole. Your deck and side deck should be made to style after your metagame. It is good to ask people about the last Regional that they went to and what decks were there in force. In a Regional metagame it rarely shifts drastically, so people will likely still be playing versions of the same deck they played at the one before.
Looking up tech cards that counter the metagame is always nice too. Packing 3 copies of Prohibition in your side deck is of no use when you are going up against Tele-DAd, and Shadow Imprisoning Mirror is useless against a Lightsworn filled metagame. If you are unsure of your metagame, then go with the national one. This way you will be prepared for all of the major matchups that you are likely to face. You can always change your side and main deck when you get to the tournament and find out what everyone is playing.
Playing in a major tournament is like an athletic event. You need to be focused, strong, well informed and adequately hydrated and fed. Keeping yourself that way during a 7 hour tournament is not an easy task. That is why I often bring a water bottle and some munchies to snack on. This way I never run out of fuel while playing an important game. A towel is also a useful tool, as the sweat from your hands then won't gum up your card sleeves and make them stick.
While playing it it best to keep yourself calm, focused and relaxed. This way you always make your plays with a clear head. I'm not saying to play like a robot, but don't get too tied up the next move. If you portray confidence, then you are that much more likely to unnerve your opponent. Sunglasses are great for this, as you can still have a good time having fun without your opponent seeing certain tells from your eyes.
Always keep your hand to yourself. You have no idea how many times I have won because my opponent accidentally showed me their hand when otherwise they didn't have to. Keep your hand up close to your chest and face and for heavens sake, know which cards you have face-down. Torrential Tribute won't be able to stop Giant Trunade, but that face-down Solemn Judgment could.
Play quickly, but know what your moves are before you make them. If you need extra time, take it until your opponent hassles you or you figure it out. There is no shame in slow play. It might even make your opponent ancy and make mistakes because they are not as calm and relaxed as you are. I am NOT encouraging slow play for tactical reasons, just for practical ones. Slow Play is a strategy, but I find that you get a bad rep (like Jason Holloway) or nobody has any fun at all. I prefer to have a good rep and have fun.
Whew, this article was a whole week in the making, so I am pooped. If you have any questions about this or anything else, contact me at raptor1k@hotmail.com . Until, next I write, thanx for reading!




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