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The Kaijudo Code: Tournament Tips

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By Aiden Thorne Aiden Thorne Strategies and Tips The Kaijudo Code: Tournament Tips March 13, 2013

Kaijudo’s very first sanctioned tournaments are just around the corner. We’re launching our new organized play program with the set premiere of DragonStrike Infernus, on Saturday, March 16, followed soon after by Kaijudo Duel Days, beginning April 6.

In this first of an ongoing series, we asked Kaijudo fan Aiden Thorne to share his tips for how to excel in tournament play. Even if the Kaijudo Set Premiere is your first tournament event, with these tips, Aiden will have you playing like a duel master!  

Tip 1: Keep a Calm Head

Much of this game is mental. In order to be on top of your game, you need to be aware of everything going on.

Sometimes I don’t have time to eat before a tournament, and by the end of the night, I’m starving and can barely concentrate on the game. There have been times I’ve lost a game and got so caught up in trying to figure out what had happened that I kept making misplays that continued the trend.

Getting enough sleep, eating enough, and staying hydrated are all very important to remember when you’re on the tournament scene. This goes for emotions as well. If you’re frustrated or demoralized it’s likely going to show in your play. Keep a calm head and you’ll be playing better in no time!

Tip 2: Know When to Charge Mana

Knowing when to and when not to charge mana for your turn is one of the most important aspects of the Kaijudo trading card game. I’ve seen countless games end by being one mana short because players stopped dropping mana. The exact opposite is true as well. The players played mana when it wasn’t optimal and ran themselves out of cards and lost control of the game.

When playing a control deck, you’ll find that you can’t afford to skip a mana drop until you have nine or ten mana, where you stay until the game ends. In rare cases, you'll find you need to continue dropping mana to play multiple combos in the same turn, but this is only really present in mirror matches.

When you're playing an aggressive deck, you'll be able to stop playing mana much earlier; normally around the time you can afford your most expensive card!

After six, I find myself sitting around nine or ten where I stay until the game ends, or I continue dropping mana to play multiple combos in the same turn.

Equally important is knowing what to drop for mana. That Terror Pit in your opening hand might not always be the best choice, as many players default to it without thinking.

Here’s an example that may help you understand a bit more: You're playing a Water-Darkness-Fire control deck, and this is the third game. You’ve seen your opponent’s Hyperspeed Dragon duck in and out now. And you know he greatly favors that turn seven Bolt-Tail.

In a game like this, you’re likely going to want to keep that Terror Pit from the beginning of the game as you have no other way of dealing with a Bolt-Tail dragon besides emptying his hand and bouncing it to a discard that you likely will not survive long enough to be able to do.

Tip 3: Learn the Metagame

What is metagame? Metagaming means using information from outside of the game to affect your gameplay decisions. In card games, “meta” often refers specifically to popular decks that show up often at tournaments or common cards/strategies used.

The metagame is an ever changing thing, what works now may not work tomorrow. As a competitive player understanding the metagame is going to be your top priority.

You'll need to know what you're likely to play against and how to deal with it when you do.

How do you keep up with the meta? Well there's a few different ways: watch what decks are getting results; the deck that wins is almost always copied and slightly altered. Watch for specific cards that are getting a lot of mention, it's likely they're going to pop up all over the place.

Keep track of what you see online and learn the decks that worked in the past. Understanding why these decks worked and what led to their moments of glory will help you better understand what is going to work in the future.

The meta will change every time a new deck consistently performs well. Some people will start playing a variant; others will begin playing cards that counter that deck. You'll need to be able to adapt and most importantly predict how the duel will play out. If you can master the metagame, you’ll start every duel already ahead of the curve.

Tip 4: Practice Shadow Dueling

I love watching games of other players and looking at their hands and fields. I also love thinking about what I would do and then comparing it to what they actually do. This is called shadow dueling.

Knowing what you’re up against ahead of time can truly be a life saver. When you’re not playing, walk around; see what everyone else is playing, get a feel for how the majority of the decks around you run. Watch some of the players who consistently win and note how they make some of their decisions.

Did they generate more of an advantage?

What was their reasoning behind the play?

Did they do it quickly or did they weigh options heavily?

These are all questions to ask while watching games. (Of course you can’t actually ask these questions in a tournament until after the game is done. Interfering is a big no-no.)

Tip 5: Get as Much Experience as You Can

Everyone has to start somewhere. And the best tip of all is just to dive in and get as much experience as you can. It’s not that the person who has played the most games is the best player. But the more you do anything, the better you get. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

As a player, the more you play, the more quickly you’ll learn to gauge the situation you are in as you play. You’re either at the advantage, neutral, or disadvantage. Also, the more you play your deck, the better you’ll understand how it works.

I hope these tips will help you as you get ready for the Set Premiere this Saturday. Most of all, remember tip five—get out there and duel!