The days for Evolution 2011 have been announced (http://shoryuken.com/content/evo-2011-rio-las-vegas-july-29-31-2011-new-evo-tournament-season-3039/) and before you know it, it’ll be time to jump into the ring with the worlds heavy hitters.
So, you may wanna ask yourself, “Am I prepared?” You don’t want to go in not knowing what to expect. I am not in any way a “top” player, but I have been competing, and I have been to Evo. So, here are a little tips I’ve picked up along the years and advice from other players I have taken into my tournament readiness.
1. Make sure your gear is at 100%
I’m talking about sticks and pads, buttons, cords, batter life, etc. You don’t want to have to forfeit a round due to malfunctioning equipment. Tighten up those screw ins. Crimp your quick disconnects. Take compressed air and blow out the dust. A baseball player won’t bat with a bat that has cracks. Also, bring everything that will make you play as close to how you play at home (or wherever you practice) as possible. Gloves, a special pillow, good luck charm, wristbands, etc. There won’t always be that chair that has the perfect height for you to use. So, be prepared cuz anything and everything can throw off your game.
2. Get rest and stay hydrated
I made the mistake at Evo2009 by staying up until 6:30am drinking the night before I had 9am pools. Not a good look. The hype and adrenaline was enough to keep me energized, but it can take its toll on you in later matches. I’ve been told not to eat before pools, as it can make you get the itis. I can see where they’re coming from. Staying hydrated is important though. If you don’t want to eat, atleast a 64oz orange gatorade will help.
3. Learn to block distractions
Whether you use headphones, or are deaf, it’s noisy as hell in there. You will have people hyping up matches all around and possibly against you. Learn to drown out hecklers. Especially if you’re new and you have to go up against a “top” player, or even worse on the big screen against a top player, focus on the match and ignore everything else.
4. Use every legitimate and tourney legal strategy
Do you have a side preference? If not, ask if your opponent has one. Then pick it. Over hear someone hates Sagat’s tiger toe alt? Use it. Mirrormatch??? Pick their color. All are valid ways to get into the head of your opponent. Be aware that this can and will be used against you as well. Switch sides after winning. Ask for double blind select and wait for the timer to run to 0. The more they (or you) get frustrated and impatient, the less they are thinking about the match at hand. Slamming your buttons hard when you hit combos is an effective way of intimadating your opponent. I can find excerpts from Musashi Miyamoto’s Book of 5 Rings where he talks about this strategy, but I’ll save that for another blog. All is fair in love and war, and this is war.
5. Motivate and support your friends
Even if you are a lone warrior, having people cheer FOR you feels great. It helps keep your spirits up and confidence high. Cheer for them, and they’ll cheer for you. Winning with no one to celebrate with is not that great. Also, if a friend is in the same pool, plan to meet them by the finals. If you both do well, you’ll eventually end up playing each other.
Please, “gamers” have a bad reputation for being smelly basement dwellers. So, please do everyone, and yourself a favor, and BATHE everyday! It’s Vegas! C’mon people! It’s 20000 degrees in that room and people are sweating their asses off. Keep the hygene up. Also, if you have sweaty hands, please either wear gloves, or wipe them off before giving the other player a GG handshake. I, for one, am going to bring along disinfectant wipes. This goes along with #1, people will ask to use your controller/stick. Don’t just let anyone use it. They could make it all nasty, or even break it. Or even worse, let someone else borrow it and then your stock TE is a needle in a needle stack. Which brings me to…
7. Watch your stuff
There are some greasy people out there. Keep your belongings in your room if you dont want to watch it. Also, don’t let people you don’t know into your rooms without you there. I know people will want to MM and warm up, or drink, and waht not, but that’s a liability on your behalf. I work at a hotel, and whoever you let in your room, they’re your responsibility.
8. Have fun
Make friends. Make rivalries. Dick ride top players. Get drunk. Whatever you do, as long as it’s safe and you’re having fun. It’s Vegas!!! Make the most out of the trip and try not to spend all day in a hotel room playing street fighter.
9. Practice practice practice
This should have been part of #1, but I’m too lazy to go back. Don’t think you’ll make it out of pools after not playing for 4 months. Everyone needs to make sure their swords are sharp. Practice BnBs, go over match ups, watch some vids. It’s like stretching before a marathon. Also, it’s good to take small breaks between long sessions, so you’re not on auto pilot. I usually do better after a day or two break right after a long session. It lets your mind reset and then absorb everything.
That’s it for now, good luck everyone, and I’ll see you at the Rio!