Hello again 60 Cards readers! I know it has been quite a while since I have written an article, but I am here today with some refreshing content after what seems like a flood of articles talking about the same subjects. As some of you may know, back in 2011 I won the US National Championship in the Masters division. I was only 17, not nearly as experienced or skilled as I am right now. I have played 5 National Championships to date, and have had my heart broken by bad luck, lucky opponents, bad deck choices and even bad gameplay. Coming into this National Championship, I have something to prove to myself. Nationals is typically a tournament I take lightly due to its extremely competitive nature and the low odds of you actually winning the tournament. But this year, I decided that the mindset I used for Nationals was weak and the wrong way to approach the tournament. I believe I have mentally prepared myself for this tournament and I hope what I am about to share with you guys helps you out.
Believe in yourself
Something many of us fall victim to is the thought that we won't be lucky enough to do well at a tournament as competitive as US Nationals. The odds are not in our favor, but why should that matter? The odds aren't in the favor of the person who wins the event either! Picture yourself as that person, see the finish line if you wish to make it there. Confidence is key to success, but try to keep confident and not let it become arrogance. It is a pain to deal with the arrogance of other people and sometimes arrogance can be detrimental to your game play. Stay focused on that finish line, because the truth is that everyone has a shot at being the one holding the first place trophy.
Choose the deck you feel most comfortable with
I know that Yveltal/Garb is just that good. But if you haven't won a game with the deck, maybe it just isn't the deck for you. People have done well with weird decks and mediocre decks for years now, and it won't change for this tournament. Playing well is something that is underrated by many players, and if playing that weird deck is what will get you to play well, then so be it. If you play well and don't get the results you want, at least you did give it everything you had. The matchups and luck just didn't go your way. A big part of this game is what you play against, so you never know if that weird deck will end up hitting those matchups it wants!
Get very good sleep before the tournament
Playing your best tournament of the year is required to do well at Nationals. Going to bed at 3 AM may work for some people, but I bet they would do equally as well if not better had they gotten more sleep. Sleep won't hurt, it will only help. My gameplay suffers greatly when I am not well rested, and I am sure that applies for most of you as well. With the new best 2/3 system, a tournament like this will be fatiguing you mentally. Make sure you do whatever you can to stay alert and focused before the days end. Eat breakfast, take a shower(hygeine is important!), maybe listen to some music if that helps get you energized and ready for a long day.
Playtest against decks you think you will see the most, playtest against decks you don't think you will see a little bit
Knowing how to play a matchup right off the bat could be the difference between a win and a loss. Make sure that when you sit down against a certain deck, you have a solid game plan ready to go. Being confused on how to approach a matchup can definitely cause mistakes, and mistakes turn into losses. If you think you will see at least 2 or 3 Virizion/Genesect decks sitting across from you, know the matchup in and out. You want to be able to make the most out of those opportunities. As for decks you don't think you'll see, play a couple games so you can be prepared if you do happen to sit down against one. Sure, you won't be as familiar with the matchup as you would the more popular/expected decks, but at least you'll have a general idea of how things may play out.
Take any information you have learned about an opponent's deck and use it as an advantage
If your friend just whined to you about how he lost to some guy with 4 max potion in his deck, keep that in mind in case you happen to sit down against him. Sometimes we make judgement calls when we don't expect someone to be playing more than the normal count of a card, and information like that can be crucial to making the right move. Count your opponents cards in discard so you have an idea of what he plays for the next game.
If you feel your opponent is slow playing you, call a judge
I can't seem to tell this enough to my friends. I understand that you don't want to seem like the bad guy, but you didn't come to this tournament to lose because you did not want to be the bad guy. Call a judge over to watch the pace of play. Personally, I have no shame when it comes to this. I will give my opponent a warning to hurry up, and if they do not comply I will call over a judge. You do not deserve to be slow played out of a win.
Keep calm when you are put on tilt
Yes, we've all N'd our opponent's to one for them to draw their Juniper. It sucks, I'm sour, lets move on to the next game. This can not only affect our next game, but our mentality for the entire tournament. Bring a positive energy with you to the table and to each game. Remember that it is only one game, or one match, and there are likely more to be played.
Random closing rant
With all of those points being made, I want to wish everyone here good luck at the US National Championships. This is the time of year that Pokemon players are turned into Pokemon legends, and someone you didn't know about may just become the next big thing. With the increase in skilled players making their way into the game, I expect this to be the most competitive Nationals yet. Leave comments if you have any questions you would like to ask about the National Championships. Until next time readers, adios!