Making the Cut: How to Prepare for the Big Yu-Gi-Oh! Day

Jonathan Moore back here with what I think are some very common mistakes I see in the tournament lifestyle of Yu-Gi-Oh! players everywhere, as well as what I would do to prepare for the big day, and the big day two should I make it that far!

It’s often pretty easy to get amped up, and even harder to wind down when heading to that major sweet sweet YCS you’ve been looking forward to for the past few months. You’ve planned out a car ride, or are going by air, and have had this mapped out for weeks. It might even be last minute, but that adrenaline is going to be pumping with the same intensity while your dreams of becoming the next YCS or ARG champion run through your mind. You’re going to have to play the best you can against the best players in the game. Well, to break it down for you in simple terms, if you want to play at your full potential, you have to be at your best mentally and in the gamestate.

Regionals are harder to rest up for, because you have to drive and play in the morning most of the time. It’s not really cost effective to get a hotel for people traveling to one. Pretty much you either have friends in the area, or you drive in at night. My best advice is to try to have people take shifts driving there so you all get a bit of sleep if it’s a decent drive away, or take turns on who has to drive to each one if they’re closer. These Yu-Gi-Oh! events aren’t as big, but it’s still amazing testing for the bigger events, and you want to do well at them.

So you’ve decided to make be big plunge. That four or even fourteen hour road trip with your friends to the next ARG circuit or YCS championship. The first step of planning is, don’t be cheap. Get a car full of friends and split that hotel bill to get there Thursday night, so you can rest up Friday before the event. DO NOT drive through the night Friday and get there Saturday as it begins. I’ve done this, and your mind will just not be in the game. If you want to be cheap, drive back Sunday through the night. Most people have work and school any ways. You already spent so much on a Yu-Gi-Oh! deck, or at least borrowed an expensive one. Don’t be cheap at this point.

Any energy drink is going to cause you to crash part way through the day, and your fatigue will set in sooner than you realize. Stay hydrated. Water, Gatorade, and anything that hydrates is good. Sodas can do the job too here and there since they don’t cause much of a crash, but I’d suggest sticking to water.

Now for a list off of more common things you should do or know to do.

  1. Keep your backpack zipped up – not everyone’s as honest as you’d like them to be. Protect your deck and binder!
  2. Meet up with your group each round. See how you’re all doing and what match-ups happened.
  3. Make sure your extra deck is in different sleeves, preferably MTG size. Don’t make a rookie mistake!
  4. Make sure to de-side after every round. This is a common mistake that can cause a game loss to a deck check.
  5. Write your decklist before the event. Don’t scramble pre-tourney. You can make the few changes there. Have it pre-made and avoid the mistake that could be a lame game loss
  6. GET SOME SLEEP. Don’t be the guy who playtested all night before. Playtest weeks in advance and get a few games in the night before.
  7. Wear something comfortable. I like gym shorts and a t-shirt. Have your mind on the game.
  8. Make sure of any ruling questions you might have with the head judge before the event. I’ve had one occasion where I’ve been able to show a head judge proof he was wrong on a ruling, but that’s very very rare and they usually make their calls on the spot, so make sure in advance that your cards work the way you think they do.

Now then, if you day two, you’ve got to be a little bit of a wet blanket to the rest of the group. This means getting to bed at a reasonable time to be the optimal monster you need to be for tomorrow. It’s probably already around 10-11pm by the time day one wraps up, so you have to get a meal in and pretty much get to sleep. You’ll have tomorrow morning to scout a bit and hear about your opponents and hopefully your team/roomates that stayed up and went out can get you a little information as well. There’s no use staying up all night and worrying about the situations or matchups. Most of the decks in the top cut you should have already prepared for, and the few you might not have tested against will have everyone’s head turned as it is. You’re also going to be heading into draft if you make it far enough anyways, so be sure to have at least become a little versed in battle pack drafting, and the current set of the tournament. ARGs and Yu-Gi-Oh! WCQ’s are different, and you’ll be competing with your build all the way, but either way your best friend is rest. Do your sight seeing Friday from 6-10:30, get rest, and then look forward to getting those wins.

I can not stress enough, playtest in ADVANCE. You can go around Friday night seeing or hearing of anything that might be new, such as the hot new tech, but don’t switch up your deck last minute. Work hard for weeks on something and stick to it. If it’s a tech and it suits your playstyle or is super broken, toss it in. If it’s a new combo or deck, you’re going to do better with your current deck than switching last minute. I see countless players switch their decks last minute, and it almost never goes well. Put in the work to get the reward!

So what are some common mistakes you see happen around the Yu-Gi-Oh! tourney scene? How can they be prevented? Are there some things you think tournaments could provide to players (WITHIN REASON) to help out the experience? Question, comments, concerns, and criticism all welcome in the comments below!


Add yours
  1. 1

    I think that the Regional/YCS host could maybe provide you trail mix/water at no cost. Getting two bottles of water and a small bag of trail mix probably wouldn’t add too much on cost-wise and I’m sure the players would appreciate getting the free snack so they don’t have to run around between rounds looking for food or something.

    • 2
      Jonathan Moore

      Trail mix is shockingly expensive, and typically contains allergen foods such as nuts. As a tourney provider, I would never want to be responsible for any foods that could cause allergens, which can even be gluten. The water idea isn’t bad and I would honestly support it ($4 for a 28 pack, 14 people, $40 into 140 people, $80 into 280, etc but regionals can be very big) but again the venue usually has water fountains, and some kid is bound to mess up and spill some water on a table if everyone has it. I know one suggestion was something like chess clocks where you can time an opponents move, and I think it has been put into place before somewhere but I don’t know how results turned out.

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