The YCS is the biggest event that duelists will compete in. For us in Europe it allows players a chance to qualify for the European Championships, and winning it will cement their name in Yu-Gi-Oh! immortality.
But for a lot of players, its difficult to prepare for such a massive event, especially if they have never been in that sort of environment before. For novices and seasoned veterans alike, there are many things which would help a player play at a YCS at the best possible level they can.
Going to the YCS
Playing in a YCS should start Weeks, even months in advance. First and foremost, find out where the YCS is being held, and book your transport and accommodation. If you live in the same city as the venue, or can travel realtively easy, then this isnt so much of a problem as you can get to and from the venue relatively easily. For others, you want to try and find accommodation relatively close to the venue. Try make sure you have good transport links to where you need to get to. The sooner you book your transport and accommodation, the cheaper you will find it, which is all important. Finally, budgeting. Try and give yourself a budget of how much money you wish to spend each day. Take into account food, and transport costs. Try and make sure you have a little extra in reserves in case you go over budget or suprises happen.
You're going to the YCS to play, so the most important thing is the deck itself. Make sure its a deck you are comfortable with. Play test it with friends, enter as many locals as you can, all to the point where you know the deck inside and out. I made the fatal error of changing the deck i was going to use at Italy the night before the tournament. Yes its tempting to change, but when you have been playing a deck for so long and understand it so well, changing it will leave you the least prepared to play your best.
The side deck is equally important. Knowing how and what to side is crucial. Research the most played decks and previous YCS' and guage what would most likely be played and what best to side against the decks you may encounter.
Tools of the trade
When going into battle you want to have the best equiptment at your disposal. With this in mind, you want to have everything you need for the YCS. For your deck, you will want deck sleeves. My advice would be to have the same colour sleeves for your main and side deck and a different colour for your extra deck. You would want to have spare sleeves also in the event that your sleeves get marked or split during the event. A notepad and pen for taking down your lifepoints is also essential. Other things that you may want also are a dice, a playmat and a calculator. This way you're never scrambling around for things you need.
With all this in mind, you are now prepared as best as you can without actually participating. Now its a case of what to do at the tournament.
IT ALL BEGINS HERE
First and foremost, make sure you have a good shower, and your nice and clean. The cleaner you feel, the more refreshed and calm you will feel when you're sat at the table to play. Make sure you have LOTS of fluids throughout the day between rounds. It will be a long day and keeping hydrated will keep you alert and healthy.
Language barrier will be the biggest problem for you. There will be players from all sorts of nations and not everyone can speak the same language you do. Therefore, its important to make it clear each step you do, slowly and clearly. Remember though, you only have 40 minutes and can be penalised for slow play.
THE JUDGES ARE YOUR FRIENDS
If you ever have an issue, do not be afraid to call a judge, be it about slow play or ruling, they are there to help. Be courteous as they are only doing their job. The most important thing you need to remember is, the judges arent there to coach you, until a play has been made they cannot give a ruling. If you're not happy with the judges ruling you can always appeal to the head judge.
THE EVENT ON THE WHOLE
Be aware of your possessions. Unfortunate as it is, items can be lost of stolen and the staff arent responsible for your belongings, you are. Despite this, the main thing is to enjoy the event. If you do badly in the main event theres lots going on such as side events which you may enjoy. There are many people who you can meet and learn from, and furthermore people who in time you may call friends.
But above all this, the most important thing is to have fun. The YCS is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in other cultures and come together and share something that they all enjoy. For 1st timers and seasoned pros alike, they are all there to share their love of this game. After my 1st YCS in Milan, i found a new found passion for this game and would say to anyone if they get the chance, attend a YCS. Its an experience of a lifetime and maybe like Michael Gruner and Matt Collins, you could become a YCS Champion.