Improvement in Smash 4 VI – Preparing for a Tournament

**If you’re unfamiliar with Smash, this probably isn’t the post for you unless you’re curious. In order to get a full understanding of this, you should be familiar with Smash’s game mechanics and lingo (EX: Forward Air = Fair), specifically the mechanics for Super Smash Bros. Wii U.

In a stroke of a luck, I actually have a tournament I’ll be attending this weekend! All of you who read this series and find it insightful can now meet me in person (if you haven’t already). Don’t worry, I’ll have a pen ready to sign autographs!

But blissful dreams aside, preparing for a tournament is a crucial part to how you’re going to play the day of. You need to be prepared if you want to maximize your chances of succeeding. With that in mind, let’s jump right in!

Research

The first thing you want to do is research. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local*/monthly/regional/national – you need to do your research. Are Miis allowed? Customs on or off? What about stage list?

*Obviously, if this is a local that you’re a regular at, you should know the rules

Next, research the players. Who’s attending? Any top names? Also try and find prominent local members of that area’s community. Are other players from different areas in the stage going? Who’s in the top 15 of the state/region/area?

What characters do all of those players use? What’s the area/state’s most popular character? Chicago, for example, is heavy on Mario and Sheik.

If you’re traveling, make sure you’ve got stuff planned. The more stress you can reduce before the tournament, the more you can focus on training and health.

Where are you going to eat? See the food options available at the venue.

Training

Here’s where you take your research and apply it to your training. When it comes to a monthly/regional/national, you need to change your regiment. Play a little more and narrow down your training. If you’re from State Y and you’re coming to a Chicago monthly, you’re going to want to practice a little more against Sheik and Mario. Obviously, don’t neglect any characters, but your focus should be more on the popular characters and top players in the region and those characters. Is someone Out of State coming that’s a top player? Prepare for them too.

When you’re watching videos, study the top players to get a feel for how they play.

For stages, make sure you practice all the stages legal for that tournament. Give special attention to stages that aren’t legal in your local scene.

Remember when I said play for 30 minutes a day? Bump that up to 45 minutes to an hour. Try and attend as many locals as you can. If you want to win, you need to put in the time and effort, and you wanna ramp up before a tournament to maximize how well you’re playing.

A Few Other Things

SLEEP – You may want to play into the night before a tournament, but believe me you want to be alert, and coffee ain’t gonna do it for you. Get proper rest. If you’re staying up hella late you’re cutting your chances of winning.

SHOWER – And let me be clear, this doesn’t just benefit everyone. Cleaning yourself gives you a better chance of warding off being sick. You play worse when you’re sick.

EAT WELL – Don’t get a goddamn McGriddle before you play. You want sustainable energy that’ll help keep you alert and not exhausted. So, seriously, try and eat better the day of. Get chicken instead of a burger. Get a salad instead of fries. Eat a meal bar or a protein bar.

WATER – Drink it. Love it. Be it. Don’t drink poison *coughsodaenergydrinksanythingnotwatercough* Stay hydrated.

At the Tournament

Play friendlies!!! I can’t stress this enough. Play as many friendlies with as many different people as possible, preferably with either your main or a very comfortable secondary. The goal here is to attain as much knowledge as possible about your prospective opponents. Even if it means throwing down a little cash, get in those games with top players and talk to them. Most top players are actually pretty nice, and should be more than happy to offer you some tips.

Also, friendlies are a very good way to learn without going through the stress of a tournament match, which helps you conserve energy. You’ll want to make sure you don’t burn out over the course of the day, so make sure you do whatever it takes to stay in tip top form all day.

Most Importantly

When you’re at a tournament, have fun. Your mood is crucial to how well you’re going to be playing that day, so make sure you’re not focused solely on winning and stressing yourself out. Enjoy yourself! Plenty of times you’ll read articles from top players where they play insanely well because they were just enjoying themselves and somehow ended up winning the biggest tournament of their life.

——

Seriously, come say hi to me if you’ll be at Mashfest this Saturday, September 5th, if you haven’t already met me in person. I’ll be there, available for questions, chatting, friendlies, etc… you’ll know it’s me because I’m super loud and I’ll be wearing a gray Fedora with a Paper Mario pin on it.

Also, one more blog post before I wrap up the improvement series!

Just Sayin’

The tournament I’m going to is called Mashfest. Check out the FB page for it! Go to it! Y’know…to get my autograph 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/events/724406491038862/

I – Fundamentals
II – A Different Way to Look at Match Ups
III – Attitude
IV – Friendlies
V – Stages
VII – Training Regimens
VIII – Character Loyalty

Check out the BONUS series!

IX – The Plateau
X – Practice Methods I
XI – Practice Methods II
XII – Practice Methods III
XIII – At a Tournament
XIV – Practice Methods BONUS IV
XV – Game Flow

Salt (and why it can be good for you)

Salty (Adjective) – To be (usually to a somewhat high degree) angry when losing. Generally used in competitive gaming.

I get angry when I lose in competitions.

Like, really angry.

I just want to punch whomever beat me in the face for outplaying me and taking advantage of things I did wrong. Why couldn’t I have done that instead? I should be the one advancing to the next round, I know I’m better than this. I want to rematch them right then and there to prove it. I want to beat whomever just beat me so badly.

And yet, here I am, writing about how it feels like my opponent chained me to a 300lb weight when I lose, and I’m unable to lift it. It’s incredibly frustrating.

How do people take losses so cleanly? I really don’t understand it. I can’t smile after I lose.

I’ve literally spent hours of my time looking up how to take losses better. I thought it was a problem that I couldn’t take my losses cleanly – that I wasn’t learning from them like the best players do.

Then it hit me earlier today while thinking of something to write about for today’s blog post; being angry about a loss is fine. I can be angry that I lost a match, as long as that anger can force me to look at the match and learn from it in a healthy way. Basically, channeling your anger into something useful so you don’t just sit there yelling at yourself on the inside.

Being angry can actually be an incredible motivator for improvement, but there’s a lot of stigma to being angry which prevents it from being used. “Going on Tilt” is to get angry and start playing at a sub par level, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re just getting angry and that’s it, of course you’re going to start playing worse. I think the problem is that people have a really negative impression about anger in competition, when I think it might be a great way to psyche yourself up and continue to play at your best. When I lose a stock in Super Smash Bros., I get angry. Did I really just let myself lose a stock? It’s not happening again. I’ll nod that my opponent made a good play, even tell him it was a good play, but I’m still angry that I’m one step closer to losing. That doesn’t make me play worse – I play better, harder. I don’t want to lose, because I loathe losing.

I think the reason people go “on Tilt” when they’re angry is because they realize they’re angry and don’t want to be, which affects them more than they may realize. I say be furious, but be in control of what you’re doing and feeling (mainly because if I were actually furious all the time I’d probably have a heart attack or something). Don’t just be angry – channel that emotion to have a purpose. You don’t want to just sit there and be angry and then play your next match. While it seems weird, it’s entirely possible to feel angry and motivated at the same time, and that’s the good kind of anger.

You can say good games at the end, admit your opponent played better than you, and be a good sport. But that doesn’t mean you’re not seething inside and are itching to beat them next time so you can pop off and say you’ve gotten better.

Just Sayin’