This weekend is the last weekend of the Battle Roads tournament series for both the spring season and for this year’s tournament cycle. For experienced players it presents a chance to “tweak” their decks for Nationals or try out a new strategy for the new format beginning July 1st (I’ll post more details on that next week). However, for many, it may be their first entry into a Premier event. So here are a few last-minute reminders for everyone.
First things first… before you leave home, double-check your deck. Check to make sure you have all 60 cards there (even experienced players have been known to misplace a card). Make sure that all cards are legal for the Modified Format. If you use sleeves, make sure they are all the same and all cards are sleeved. If any sleeves are damaged, replace them (tournament organizers have to check for marked sleeves and cards). Once you’ve done that, check your deck against your deck list and verify that everything matches up and that your deck is in the same order as your list. All of these things make checking in at the tournament quicker and easier for both you the player and the tournament staff.
Be sure to bring some sort of damage counters (markers or dice) and a “randomizer” (either a coin to flip or a clear, six-sided dice with rounded edges). Most players won’t mind if you borrow theirs, but it is better to have your own. If you play with a game mat at league, then bring it to use at the tournament. The mats from theme decks are excellent tools to help you set up properly and also handy to have as a reminder of what you can do every turn and how to apply special conditions.
Tournament organizers will post match ups for each round. Find your table and set up only after the staff says it is ok to do so. Always offer your deck to be cut by your opponent after you shuffle (they may decline, but you should always offer). When the game begins, play your match as if it is a game at league. Relax and play out your strategy. Don’t get frustrated by a bad start… it happens from time to time and all you can do is keep playing. You will play your way out of one much more easily if you keep a cool head and make the best play with what you have in your hand.
Bring your trade binders. If you are searching for certain cards, tournaments are often the best place to trade for them. Most competitive players have been collecting for a while and in general just have better stuff. You may have the card they need as well… most of our really good trades have happened at organized events.
Have fun! Win or lose, playing pokemon is a great way to meet new people, learn about the game and see strategies that you may not have seen before. You may have an amazing card in your binder at home that you’ve never given a second thought. Learn from what you see in each match and learn from your own gameplay. You will see what works in your deck and what does not. Playing in competitive tournaments is the best way to improve your deck. Most importantly, enjoy the experience and be a gracious winner and an even better loser.
Good luck and see you at the tournament!