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Planning for Nationals: Beyond Deckbuilding

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Big tournaments are not the easiest thing to navigate.

Now that Nationals are close - just a week away! - plenty of questions have been tossed around about deckbuilding, strategy, and tactical decisions that need to be made.

However, the hardest parts of the tournament will have nothing to do with that. I don't mean the prep work, the travel, the play testing, or the expense. I'm talking about some of the less tangible factors that contribute to your success.

Namely, YOU.
Fuel up.

I don't mean that you need to make sure that your car has enough gas (Ha ha! Right?). I'm talking about yourself.

While you'll be sitting around playing the game rather than doing an hour of cardio, you still need to make sure that you've eaten enough. You have enough decisions to make during the game, don't let a grumbling stomach intrude. Eating beforehand is easy. During is another matter.

Rounds have a finite time limit, and then you're on to the next. If you're participating in both qualifiers, or the main event on day two, you have a lot of games to play. Buy food beforehand, stash it, and make sure it's something filling enough. If you want to pack a $5 footlong in your bag to wolf down when you can, great. If you prefer something like a granola bar, that's fine too. Just make sure that it's something that will keep you going, and unless there's some reason you need to (diabetes or hyperglycemia, for example) don't eat during a match.

You don't want to forfeit a match because you couldn't get back from the Sbarro in time.

And water. Be hydrated. Stay hydrated. Start and end each day with a big glass of water.

...But, avoid a caffeine crash.

Again, you have a lot of games to play. A lot of analysis paralysis. A lot of thinking.

The last thing you need is for your brain to suddenly slow down, to feel that burning behind your eyes. I recommend avoiding caffeine entirely for the event, but if you are someone who fills up on the stuff normally, really consider how and when you drink that Monster. Besides, you should be OK as long as you...

Sleep well.

It'll be tempting to stay up and play a lot of Dice Masters or other games. You might meet new friends, socialize, and these are all things that are good. The weekend could be a little mentally taxing, and it's overextending yourself that leads to Con Crud.

[/b]When we were discussing things to put in this very article, one topic came up repeatedly. It's not a comfortable one, and it's not one I like writing about, and we discussed many different ways that we could say it without sounding like we're trying to be huge jerks.

So, I'll say it as delicately as I can, juxtapose it with a basic action card from a game that we love for humor, and leave it at that.

You will be in a room with a lot of people for many hours. If you do not want the room to smell like a locker room, do your part.

Layer Up.

If you're traveling to the event from afar, remember that this is Spring in the Mid-Atlantic You may well experience four seasons in the same day.

Practically speaking, we'll also be in a large space but with many people - the amount of people could make it too warm, or the thermostat could be adjusted to compensate and make it too cold. Start with a hoodie at least, you can always take it off.

Don't let this happen to you! Conversely, don't do this to others.

'Nuff said there.

Keep an eye on your collection

Maybe don't even bring it with you to the site.

It's tempting to bring all of your cards and dice with you so that you can play with others before or after your tournament or perhaps trade your cards. But you're inviting the potential for heartache. Your cards are no good without the dice. And, of course, some of these cards sell for a pretty good amount. Your team is your team, it isn't changing, and if you want to play something different, there are draft side events firing all weekend.

If you bring anything extra with you, keep it close by and don't forget it.

I'd like to think that this is something that isn't a problem as this community is very good, but it's a public place and you never know what can happen.

Make friends!

This is just as important as everything else. Get to know others who love the same game as you! Gaming is a social activity. Connect with them! Maybe you'll find your new regular Skype or Vassal opponent.

* * *

We are excited for Nationals! If you're going, say hello! If you're not, live vicariously through us! Keep it at TRP for all of your Nationals 2015 News!

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  1. Ben Webb imported's Avatar
    Lol, way to go being a presumptuous dick "Dave". It's pretty telling that you think so lowly of the game's community that you thought it necessary to post an article about basic living. The real stinking cloud is you.
  2. Dave imported's Avatar
    I did a lot of reading into things that people are blindsided by at their first big tournament - especially the difficulty of sleep with everything going on, and how hard it can be to find the opportunity to eat during the event. I'm sorry if this rubbed you the wrong way, but not everyone is an experienced tournament-goer.
  3. Dave imported's Avatar

    If you've never done this before (and we get plenty of emails from first-timers) then these sorts of things aren't necessarily assumed. The tournament environment is quite different from "basic living."
  4. Tim Scott imported's Avatar
    Dave is not mistaken. Tournaments have people like us, so there will be a spectrum of people. There WILL be some tournament goers that might have showered a few days before, might have not packed deoderant, etc. I especially agree with keeping an eye on your collection, there have been occurrences that have happened in MTG where backpacks have been stolen, decks, so definitely keep an eye on what you bring. Eating is an important point because you can easily go the entire day without eating because they most likely won't have any sort of meals there, if you don't eat you can have all sorts of issues. Remember as always, Crack kills.