The Importance of Tournament Preparedness

Last Saturday, I was at a PPTQ. I did pretty well, considering, making the top 8, but that isn’t that big of a deal with a field of 33. However, I could have done much better.

Before the event, I decided to play this deck:

I didn’t have time to practice and this is quite a complicated deck. That definitely backfired. I missed triggers on Courser of Kruphix as well as forgetting to reveal the top card, I sequenced my spells badly, I forgot I had mana in my pool when going to combat and I kept forgetting the activated ability on Whisperwood Elemental. I also ended up making very bad decisions with Genesis Hydra. Probably other mistakes as well, which I just can’t remember right now.

Despite all that, the deck at least functioned and I went 4-2 in the swiss making it to the top 8 as the only player with only 12 points. I lost in the quarterfinals, in a match I could have won easily, if I wasn’t in such a bad shape.

So, why was I in a bad shape? It was an assortment of things.

First, again, the lack of practice. This kind of a deck has a lot of moving parts. They are strong enough to be very forgiving, but if I had remembered everything and done certain things better, I would have definitely played better and I would have used less mental energy on the decisions.

Second, I didn’t sleep very well the previous night. I had to get up around 5:30 to make the train and I didn’t fall asleep until very late because my shoulder kept hurting. That also kept me from sleeping on the train.

Third, I didn’t have time to get my usual supplies. I try to bring plenty of water and some healthy snacks (usually bananas and nuts) to the tournaments. This time I was so late home on Friday and I had to build my deck before the event on Saturday that I didn’t have time for this. Playing this game can be mentally exhausting and especially with this deck. You need fuel for your brain.

Fourth, the air quality at the venue was horrible and since I hadn’t practiced enough, I didn’t have enough time to go outside between rounds (and it was too cold to stay there for extended periods of time, as well).

All this lead to me having a massive headache from the third round on. Of course, that made me miss even more stuff and made the experience generally horrible. I think especially my fourth round opponent kept thinking about how he was losing to this guy, who can’t keep it together for one of his rounds. I probably made a horribly bad play on most of my turns.

In the quarterfinals, I lost 0-2 and my opponent told me afterwards that I missed using Whisperwood Elemental in both games and would have definitely won the latter one if I had just remembered it. At that point, I was just out of it and I was actually happy to have the tournament be over and done with.

It would have been nice to win and I definitely would have had a chance if my brain was on the same level as my deck. Well, in all honesty, I probably would have lost the semifinal anyway, because my deck isn’t generally fast enough to compete with the RG decks (its hedged much more towards beating control decks).

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