Trading Card Game Tournament Tips (How to have the best time even with an ehh record)

I’ve attended in my short life:

  • 2 Yugioh Regionals
  • 1 MTG PPTQ
  • 1 ARG Tournament
  • 8 MTG Pre-releases
  • 3 Yugioh Tournaments held at Anime Conventions
  • 1 Magic Tournament held at an Anime Convention
  • and more Magic Drafts than I can count…

From these events I have concocted a short list of tips to make the most of your trading card tournament experience. These tips should apply to both Yugioh and Magic venues (and maybe other games too hopefully).


Bring enough money for your tournament entry fee if you haven’t already pre-registered for the event online (if amenable)

In addition to your entry fee, bring extra money for the following:

  • Lunch (FOOD), depending on how long your event is nothing will make you more happy than taking a break to eat after multiple hours of playing. The physical strain you can impose on yourself during these events is absurd.
  • Buying Cards, a tournament is a great time to buy and trade for the cards you’re looking for. Most events will have onsite vendors actively selling cards also. Be weary though as said vendors will  likely mark up the prices of the cards they’re selling.
  • Buying into side events, if you get knocked out of the main event/tournament you can always try to regain your glory in a smaller side event. The larger the tournament venue, the more side events it can hold. These are usually single-elimination mini-tournaments with large prizes (see win-a-box).

However, do not bring too much money to any event as while amused by your hobby you can easily get distracted and spend way too much (this happens to me every time!).


Leave early and reach the event with time to fill out your deck list, possibly grab food and gauge the area. If you arrive late not only do you risk a potential game loss, but you’ll also be far more flustered going into your first match.


Bring one bag as some events will only let you enter with a single bag.

My recommendation is pack minimally.

The only items you should definitely bring are your:

  • Deck
  • Deck box
  • Playmat
  • Dice
  • Trade Binder
  • Wallet
  • Phone (And Phone Charger!)
  • Paper/Pencil or Pen (Only if you lack a calculator app somehow)

The less you bring the less you have to carry around all day. You can usually purchase food for a decent price by leaving the actual event venue (which will be selling a $5 hot dog for example) to find cheaper food nearby. Also the less you bring the less you risk potentially losing.


Always keep a direct eye on your property. If you’re sitting down for a match only take out whatever is needed and keep the rest of your belongings sealed in your bag. Also keep your bag either next to your seat on underneath your chair minimizing the blind-spots where someone can reach for the zipper without you noticing. While playing keep your eyes on your property on the table (i.e. your deck). If you’re trading though, while looking through someone else’s binder glance back at them every now and again to make sure they’re not moving the cards from your binder out of your view (from the binder to their pocket for example).

It goes without saying not to trust strangers with your property or to leave your stuff unattended. If you actually do either of these things I’ve very sorry, but you’re asking to be robbed.

Emotional Support


This is a very biased and demanding tip, but I would honestly never go to a large event alone. In everything you do you should try to find support and trading card games are no exception to this. Whether it’s to celebrate your victory or to give you a shoulder to cry on you’ll be a lot better with a friend by your side.

And that wraps up my tips for “now”. I hope this helps you plan for your upcoming tcg events. I’ll be hopefully practicing said tips at the Yugioh Regional in Philadelphia this weekend (with the likely exception of spending too much). Thanks for reading.


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