How to prepare for high level tournaments

Most duelists only get around 3 chances per year to compete in a high level tournament like a National Championship or a Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series. It’s always a unique and fun experience to play in a big tournament; you can trade your cards with other players to complete your collection, learn from some of the best Duelists in the world and make new friends. However, there’s nothing like advancing to day 2 of an event like the YCS and become known as one of the few elite players! To reach this goal, you should always come prepared. This is how you do it.

As we all know, the best things come in threes. Incidentally, the first stop of the YCS in Europe marks the third chance for most participants to try their luck in a bigger tournament this year (after their respective National Championships and the World Championship Qualifier in Birmingham). I was lucky enough to talk to some accomplished players prior to the event. I summed up their advice and added some bits of my own:


#1: Know how to get to the location


Some dreams have been crushed before the first round even started. Not knowing the exact details of the location and as a result not making it in time to the tournament is an error that can easily be avoided. Simply check out our FAQ’s for the YCS Bochum and write down all those important details. If you’re making your way to Bochum by car, check out Google Maps or a similar map service. Just enter “Ruhrcongress Bochum” as your destination and you are all set.

If you’re traveling by train, use the website of the VRR, the public transport service provider in Bochum, to learn how to make your way from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the event venue (RuhrCongress).


#2: Get familiar with the metagame


Knowing how the most popular decks work is key to success. It‘s way easier to stop your opponent from succeeding with his strategy if you actually know what he’s trying to pull off. We will provide you with some more insights about the metagame in a later article and tell you about the conclusions you can draw from the YCS Toronto, so be sure to check back to our site and read his article.


#3: Know your deck


It doesn’t matter how well you know your opponent’s deck if you can’t master your own. Know your options so you can decide when it’s worth taking a risk and when you should play it safe and wait for one of those key cards to show up. Additionally, you should memorize the contents of your Side Deck so you don’t have trouble returning your deck to its original state prior to the start of a new round. Otherwise, you’ll receive penalties that will make it a lot harder for you to overcome your opponent.


#4: Be familiar with the rules


If you have to call a judge everytime you’re uncertain about a card interaction, you’ll give away information and make it easy for your opponent to draw conclusions what you’re holding back. It’s also less likely that you’ll lose to a card your opponent used unknowingly in the wrong way. I’ve seen players returning their Stardust Dragon to the field during an End Phase after they fell victim to a Bottomless Trap Hole, because they didn’t memorize the effect correctly and their opponent didn’t even stop them. Which brings us to our next tip:


#5: Focus!


While you’re playing, make sure your mind isn’t occupied with other things while you play. If you have trouble focusing during later rounds of the tournament, make sure you got enough water to drink and maybe a snack or two with you so you can access those Emergency Provisions and keep your edge.


#6: Bring the right equipment


Most players prefer to use a backpack to carry their belongings. It provides enough space for water and some food (you will be able to buy food in the event venue but sometime you don’t have enough time between rounds to stand in line, so better bring along something as well) as well as trade binders and sleeves. Make sure you got some spare sleeves with you in case some tear or show markings after you shuffled them too often.


#7: Every new round provides a new chance


Rumor has it that Lazaro Bellido lost his round 1 match, only to start a huge undefeated streak to become the winner of YCS Toronto! Learn from him and don’t give up after you’ve lost a match. Make sure you learn from your mistakes, don’t repeat them and leave the defeat behind you. Make sure to properly shuffle your deck before a new round starts so you’re not drawing into a hand full of monsters and do the same with your opponent’s deck.


Alright, those are the most important things to keep in mind. There’s still more if you want to make it to table 1 and day 2, like keeping your cool during a feature match. However, we need to save some of those secrets for future articles. We’ll just try and calm you down if that happens. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Bochum!

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