The Road to Nationals – An In-Depth Look on How to Prepare!

This Is What This Article Will Do.
This is what this Article will do.

Hello PokeBeach article readers! Welcome to my first article for the site. To start, a little introduction about myself. This year is my 6th year of competitive Pokemon TCG. I started playing Pokemon back in 2009 as a first year Senior, and now I am a second year Master. This year, I have accumulated 627 CP so far, and am really looking at getting any amount of points at the United States National tournament to secure my spot in top 16 in the U.S. and Canada rating zone. You can bet that I am for sure trying the hardest I have ever tried for a large tournament. I have very recently seen article writing as one of the coolest things to do with the Pokemon community, and want to go ahead and give it a try! I feel as a player I have grown a ton since I started back in 2009, and am more confident about my abilities to make significantly less misplays, much better deck choices, and much better deck lists that are more optimal. This is why I feel the information that I give will be helpful to the community.

For this article, I want to go over how to prepare for large tournaments which includes figuring out what makes you comfortable, how to analyze the meta, my analysis of the meta (going over some of the decks we will be seeing at the upcoming U.S. National Championships), and finally figure out how to find the deck you should play! Of course, to see all of this you will need to be a subscriber to PokeBeach’s premium article program, which does include more features than just reading articles, like having access to the Secret Subscriber Hideout in the forums to get help on deck lists. If you feel unprepared for Nationals, or just want to reassure some of your ideas, now would be the time to upgrade your account!

How to Prepare for Large Tournaments

I Guess This Won't Apply To Those Flying To Nats. :/
I guess this won’t apply to those flying to Nats…

The road to Nationals starts here. Watch out for road signs, and pay attention to the road at all times. We will try to make this a nice, smooth ride. Here we go!

Knowing Yourself

The things almost all preparation articles will say is the following: get good sleep, eat a good breakfast, and play tons of Pokemon. Here is how I see these though.

Honestly, you do not have to do those things. Do whatever makes you feel right. If you are someone who can live on little sleep, and would rather worry about your deck choices the night before in a hotel room, do it. One of the things that helps me out is staying up late with one of my friends who I came with and constantly talking about the meta. We don’t want to torture ourselves or anything, we are usually fine on less hours of sleep. Now, if you are the opposite and need more hours of sleep, just plan accordingly. Clearly you can still talk about the meta and your deck choices right before bed. You just need to do it earlier. I hear a lot of people at Pokemon tournaments complain about not getting enough sleep, when simply planning ahead might be better to ensure you get the amount of sleep you need. I purposely stay up, and plan for it because I know I enjoy doing so. This does not harm me, which is why I do not complain about sleep at all.

Next is eating a good breakfast. Breakfast is suppose to help you wake up right, however, I am very off and on when it comes to wanting to eat at tournaments. Due to being nervous about deck choices and constantly having the mind on Pokemon, sometimes eating is worse for me due to making me feel sick. I have a few friends who are like this, and usually we all barely eat at Pokemon events. When it comes to lunch break, usually I am hungry enough to eat something, but stuffing yourself will make you tired, bloated, and potentially uncomfortable. So figure out how your body works with nerves and food working together.

This Is A Command. Play Pokemon!
This is a command. Play Pokemon!

Finally, playing tons of Pokemon. Before large tournaments, especially ones that are as important as this upcoming Nationals, I cannot stop thinking about Pokemon. I am constantly thinking of what I could do to my deck list, how my matchups look, and what I expect to see at the tournament. In the past few months, I have increased the amount of PTCGO I have played as well, and encourage others to constantly play Pokemon online to get in that much more playtesting. Online versions of Pokemon allow you to get so many more games in than ever before, and really is an amazing way to playtest due to it being similar to real life when you random battle. You have no idea what you are going up against, meaning you are going in blind, just like you would a large tournament. When you battle friends in real life, more than likely you are going to end up knowing what they are playing, and it might adjust your play style. This will negatively affect playtesting, like knowing your friend’s list, knowing what would be an optimal starter due to knowing their deck. An example would be not benching a Landorus-EX to start the game due to knowing your opponent is playing a Seismitoad-EX focused deck, even though you are going second, and would therefore risk losing your Landorus-EX to a turn one N by your opponent, which could ruin a good start if it was against another deck. Having no insight on your opponent’s deck list is the best for playtesting.

To sum it all up, just be comfortable. You do not need to copy exactly what the person you admire does. It may just not work for you. Some people try not to play or think about Pokemon too much before tournaments because they say they will burn out. For me, I can never burn out on Pokemon it seems. Some people enjoy eating prior to tournament, or maybe you are more like me and cannot stand the thought of food during Pokemon tournaments. And once again, people say rest is best, but I say less sleep means more prep time! Perhaps that is not the best advice, but understand that this portion is about what makes your comfortable. If what I say sounds fun, relaxing, and an improvement to what you do currently, then change! If you are opposite of me, that is fine as well! The best thing is to know exactly how you are, what works for you, and plan to do so at tournaments. People might even try telling you more than just these things I have looked over above, just the main thing once again is apply this to those other things. Listen to yourself above everything else.

Now that you know how to prepare for a big event, it is time to look at how you want to choose your deck for these tournaments. If you are having trouble deciding what deck to play at Nationals, the rest of this article will definitely help you out! There is a lot to go over, so I would strongly suggest upgrading your account now to get all the best information you can before U.S. Nationals!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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