While this article may have originally been written with Nationals in mind, its principles and purpose are still every bit relevant today - especially since tomorrow is the start of S/P/T in the United States! I hope you all do your best, and put up some great fights for the titles you want. :)


Pitfalls to Avoid at U.S. Nationals States/Provincials/Territorials

An Impromptu Article by HeyTrainer

"      So...You've been testing for weeks on end, have purchased countless cards (or in some of our cases, borrowed), and pretty much know the metagame inside and out. However, there's just one itsy, bitsy little problem:

      You haven't been testing for or with the 1,200+ people who stand in your way to become national champ, so many of them are going to inevitably switch things up due to their whims.

 (Keep that word,"whims," in mind, because it highlights the whole theme of this article. Webster defines "whims" as "...capricious or eccentric and often sudden ideas or turns of the mind"...Ignoring the fact that these guys just used at least one relatively big piece of diction to describe a mid-level piece, the point is this: PEOPLE ARE LOOSE CANNONS!)

      This brief article will be discussing the relationship between two major ideas in each subpoint: first, what kinds of whims develop at large events; and second, how to avoid the common mistakes that occur due to your own whims.

Pre-Tournament Hype:
This is without a doubt the number one killer of players at large events like States, U.S. Regionals, Nationals, or Worlds, and is often the reason why elite players mess up. Resultant whims of pre-tourney hype include increased anxiety, the playing of new techs, or even the playing of new decks altogether. Pre-tourney hype is NOT limited to the things listed already, and may include many of the below in some way as well. Also, pre-tournament hype is not necessarily bad; it can actually give you valuable intel on the metagame you didn't have before, and inspire you to make a final deck choice if you're up in the air.

      Remedies: do your best at reading the tea leaves, and have the wisdom to not rush into a bad decision. If you know the cards excellently, know how to play them well, and feel ready to jump into a risky last-second decision, then do it; however, if you don't, then FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DO NOT JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON!!! IT WILL CARRY YOU TO A RAPE HOUSE WHERE YOU WILL BE REPEATEDLY RAPED BY NAZI RAPISTS, SO DONOT DO IT!!!

      Example of a well-calculated risk: Jay Hornung, Sami Sekkoum, et al, Worlds 2009. In what was a very last second decision, Jay and many other players decided to run Flychamp at Worlds, thus severely altering the metagame. However, few to none of these players outright bombed, and many saw some great success.

      Example of not rushing into a bad decision: Stephen Silvestro, Nationals and Worlds 2009. Despite a metagame full of bizarre developments, situations, and upheaval, Steve Silvestro's T32 at Nats and 1st at Worlds are not a result of what he did, so much as what he didn't do. In my opinion, the greatest reason why Luxdrill won Worlds was because its controller had the patience and confidence to see his deck through, no matter what pre-tournament hype came his way.

      Example of neither: me, Nationals 2009. Up until the last day before the tournament, I had been heavily testing a straight Luxray GL LV.X build (with Sunyshore and Toxitank) that had many positive matchups. Unfortunately, I let the pre-tournament hype convince me to go...Luxape with Dialga and Ditto. Needless to say, the build was horrendously random, horrendously inconsistent, and horrendously...Horrible. And all of this was because I didn't feel comfortable about my matchup with Luxape itself! The best decision in hindsight would have been to simply take the loss to Luxape, and settle with amazing matchups vs Flygon, Machamp , Gengar, and DPL.

Zany Placeholders:
sometimes, for whatever reason, a person is forced to downgrade because he or she cannot access the optimal tech, or feels an inexplicable inspiration of the scrub kind.

      Remedies: Usually when these inspirations occur, players are better served with something more generally useful in those slots, such as some universally decent tech, consistency, or the sort. So if you get caught trending towards this, then simply

Example if you're missing the optimal card: running Rampardos GL instead of Toxicroak G promo.

Example of ill planning: running Ditto LA where it shouldn't be ran. Highly specialized techs often don't deserve a place in a list if the justification isn't strong enough.

Example if you're just being crazy: running a 1-0-1 Jumpluff line in a Donphan deck; running over excessive splash line counts, such as 2-1-2 Dusknoir DP. Good luck with THAT!

[This is where the original impromptu article ended.]"

   I might add more sage advice for Regionals, but the bottom line is: don't screw yourself over! You've been playing all season for this moment, so don't chuck everything out the window due to a few whims here or there - march boldly on your path to become StateChampion!