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Welcome back to levelling up, where all things are fighting and everything ends in a ft10 fist fight. This week we take a look at what it means to be tournament ready. Something I have always struggled with personally and many others do too.

For some, to be tournament ready might mean that you remember to bring your arcade stick or your pad. For others it might mean that they have ensured a good night’s sleep prior to embarking enroute to the venue. Sometimes it might mean working out every potential outcome and match-up that they might encounter along the way and what “killers” have chosen to enter the arena on this occasion.

Come out kicking and screaming

Come out kicking and screaming

The latter applies to well seasoned tournament goers who are most assuredly in it for the glory. Although that doesn’t mean they are the only ones to look out for. For those who are still green around the horns, tournament nerves play an overwhelming part in the competition. You become jittery and impatient at times because you are intimidated or that the pressure to perform might be overwhelming. It’s common but here are ways to prepare.

Firstly the aforementioned good night’s sleep and remembering your stuff tend to be vital in the preparation process, putting on your lucky boxers might help too. Largely tournament preparation can be done well in advance of any tournament. Even holding your own mini tournaments or travelling to smaller tournaments helps build confidence or at least enables you to put those nauseating feelings to the side before the larger tournaments.

Practise Extensively

Other ways to prepare might include practising certain match ups that you are unfamiliar with, only if there are players known to use these characters in the tournament that is. By keeping specific match ups fresh in your mind you will be more prepared and know what to expect when the unknown match ups are so unfamiliar.

Also knowing your team inside out and potentially any counter picks will be a good approach, especially if you intend to counter pick the opposition, a few days practise with unfamiliar characters will do you no harm. The same applies to your combos too, ensure you know what converts are possible and that they work on all cast members or that you can at least adjust combos you already know to ensure they work on the whole cast. Nothing is more frustrating than dropping a combo on rocket Raccoon because of his tiny frame or Jack’s stumpy legs floating him out of a combo.

Although while you do practise extensively it is also important to make sure you don’t burn out on fighting games. There is nothing worse than having to face somebody when you are not mentally ready and are not feeling the game at all. Setting aside an hour or two a day is more than enough. If you can handle several hours it’s a good idea so long as you have the ability to not over think every opponent.

You also need to be able to adapt to the player’s level of skill that you are facing. Assuming that they know their character as much as you do, or the converse, assuming they may know more will also damage your mindset when faced with moves and tactics you are unfamiliar with. Never underestimate your opponent and treat every player as a potential threat. Assuming you are better will cost you the match if you don’t show them any respect.

The Iron Avenger doesn't get put in to losers.

The Iron Avenger doesn’t get put in to losers.

Fortunately for us, the gamers’ tournament season never ends. There are no windows of extreme down time unless we wish there to be. So if you need a break from the jet setting tournament lifestyle, take one; if you want to get more experience set up your own tournaments and travel to get the much needed practise in. Whatever you choose to do be, much like the scouts, always be prepared and don’t forget to level up!

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