Big Event Preperation
Welcome to the first Article written by a member of Team Brew House. This article will describe something fundamental to success at a competitive event, large or small. Besides making the correct plays, managing your time, and choosing your deck there is one other big factor into making sure you succeed at a large competitive event. That factor is the element of preparation. For people who have been playing card games competitively for a long time, event preparation begins to take its own shape. For new players however preparing for an event seems like an impossible question, but there are always a few simple steps that go into preparation.
Pre-travel preparation: If you plan to succeed at competitive events it is essential that you practice what you are going to play. Your favorite pro sports team wouldn't show up to a game without practice, you are the very same way. Find some time and friends to play against outside of locals, figure out a skeleton of the list are going to be playing, and then practice that deck over and over and over. For the more competitive players this seems obvious, very few of them would go to a competitive event with no testing. For people who want to get into the competitive scene this is a great way to make sure that you don't have a disadvantage going into round 1. Once you have a basic idea of what you are going to play to attempt to figure out what other people are going to play. Troll around on the U.S. page, read peoples posts, especially when they are meta discussions, and work hard to figure out a meta and build a sideboard to beat that meta. Don't just figuring out what cards you are going to sideboard in for certain matchups. Also learn what cards you will sideboard out, so you don't have to be wasting time pondering it during the pressure of the round.
When traveling to a big event you always want to arrive a day early. This gives you time to scope out the venue, get other players opinions on the meta, theory craft, and test more. Arriving early also lets you relax right before the big day, because you will be stressed. Do your best to de-stress, and enjoy your time wherever the event is being held. If this is your first big event, don't berate yourself for messing up, your only human. Big events are a lot of pressure, coming from someone who is sweating profusely during his rounds, so relax and realize that topping/winning this event is not the end of the world. There will be more AGPS and ARGS to play in. You will have a much better experience if you take your time to enjoy it.
These next tips are going to help you during the later rounds when hunger can take over. If you have ever tried to focus on anything while hungry you know it's impossible. Eat a big breakfast before you go to the tournament, swallow your nerves with your food. Pack yourself something to eat during the event. Especially if it's going to be a nine round AGP that won't take a lunch break. You are going to want to be eating throughout the day to keep your energy and focus at peak. If you don't snack, you will be hungry and grumpy, and then sad, because you misplayed thinking about your stomach and not about the board state. Try to avoid coffee, or other caffeinated beverages in the morning, Save the caffeine for the later rounds. Studies show that people who take the time to wake up naturally focus better. Wait till later to stimulate your brain artificially, because later rounds are when you are really going to need that heightened focus. These tips for the event all focus on your human needs, because focussing on little interactions that win games requires your full brain power, and you don't need a rumbling tummy to distract you.
These are all preparation techniques that i recommend new players who want to get competitive implement. This is not an all inclusive list, other players will have their own style, but they will prepare themselves in a similar structure. Taking these tips into consideration will help you do better in your next big event, whether it's an AGP, an ARG, or something else. Be prepared and you will be rewarded.