With the Challengers Cup fast approaching, this would be an excellent time to talk about how to prepare yourself for a Major TCG Tournament. If you’ve had experience with Major Tournaments from Yu-gi-oh, Magic, and the like, you most likely have a pretty good idea of what it is you need to do. For the others, lets go over a few of the basics.
1. Knowing the Metagame
It is extremely important that you prepare yourself for the types of decks you will need to face. In Vanguard, there are actually only a few that I would call “write-offs”, the decks that you won’t be seeing or even if you do see, there’s no real reason to prepare for them. This is different from other card games, where you can pretty much go in being prepared to face 4-5 other decks and anything else you will have no troubles with. Due to Set 5 being released before the challengers cup, I would say that the write-offs would more than likely be Granblue, Megacolony and Tachikaze. If you come across these decks, you should be able to defeat them with little to no issues, but I would expect that the amount of players playing them will be extremely small.
The main decks to prepare to face are Kagero, Royal Paladin, and Shadow Paladin. With the release of Set 5, these will most definitely be in the majority at every tournament. You will see a smattering of Gold Paladin, but it will most likely be a drop in the bucket compared to these. If you prepare for this match-up, you will be the better for it, as you will be prepared for most of the day.
2. Knowing your Deck
This is one thing that many of us are guilty of, myself included. Due to how varied the decks in this game are, we get drawn into not really focusing on a single deck. This would be all well and good, except that the more you play a deck, the better you will be. There are small intricacies in each deck that are extremely important and will make the difference between victory and defeat in many games.
As an example of this, think of the number of people that thought Superior Intercepts were not a strong choice. Then think about what happened when people started running those cards in old Royal Paladin, and in Gold Paladin. We suddenly realized that by running these cards and Superior Calling them from deck, it actually netted us more advantage than Superior Calling a different unit. While this is now considered general knowledge, you only discover these types of things by paying close attention to your deck and practising with it on a consistent basis.
3. Rest and Food
Many a contender have dealt with this. The day before a large event can be exciting, stressful, it can make you nervous, paranoid. Many people have trouble sleeping before an event, I know I have. My first major Yu-gi-oh events involved me staying up well into the night, leaving me with little rest for the event. This, of course, affects how you play as you may not be thinking as clearly as you would with plenty of sleep. Making sure that all your travel arrangements are in order before hand, as well as going to bed early is the best way to avoid this, as the longer you are in bed, the better a chance you have to go to sleep even with all the emotional baggage.
Another thing that will affect your performance is Food and Water. If you are doing well at an event, you will obviously not wanting to be missing any rounds or the like. However, what if each of your rounds goes longer then you expected it to? You wouldn’t have an opportunity to go out and get food, leaving you thirsty and hungry. Very often you hear of people that make it to top 8 or top 16 and haven’t had anything to eat all day. More often then not, you will then watch these people lose. This is not necessarily because they were worse players, they just put themselves at a disadvantage as they are distracted by how hungry they are.
4. Know EVERY Rule
At every tournament, there will people that will be completely cut throat in their attempts to win. Rather then leaving anything to chance, they will look for any and every opportunity to take victory. This means that if you do something incorrectly out of order, anything, you will be called on it.
A common example of this, is at the beginning of your turn. You must first stand your units, then draw a card. If you draw your card first, your opponent is actually within his rights to not allow you to stand any of your units. This, of course, would probably mean you lose the game if this happens.
The way you avoid these issues is being sure that you understand various rulings, so nobody is able to call you out on small errors and make you lose a game that you would have otherwise won.
This is pretty much the basics of preparing yourself, as anything else you do is actually personal preference. Many players prefer to gather with their friends the night before a Major Tournament to practice, calm themselves, and test various strategies. One thing to remember when you go to these tournaments is to always have fun, as once you lose that feeling, you will lose your concentration. Don’t dwell on past mistakes, and continue to push forward.