Well, the time has arrived at last. Grand Prix Birmingham starts tomorrow, and we here at Master of Magics are super buzzed to get underway with a long weekend of magic filled mayhem. While myself and Chris Vincent have been hard at work preparing to match our wits against some of the best players in the country in the main event, the other members of our little group have been gearing up for side events and hitting vendors. A Grand Prix offers a wealth of options for all kinds of people, from casual players to more enthusiastic competitors, and I would highly recommend that you attend one if you haven’t done so already.
While these events are a ton of fun, they are very long and can leave you wiped out by the time of closing. What’s more the main event is judged at competitive rules enforcement level and can be a little daunting for first time attendees. So how do you keep on top of things and makes sure you get the best experience possible? Well, before I get in my car and head to the NEC with the rest of the team, I will give you my best tips for surviving a Grand Prix. So let’s get to it, we have no time to lose.
Tip 1: Stay Hydrated
You are going to be moving around from table to table all weekend, playing tons of magic and buying staples for your decks. You may not feel it during the first day of play, but by the end of play on the Sunday you will be tired and out of steam. Most people try to battle this with sugary energy drinks to keep them alert. This however is the worst thing you can do for yourself. While you might feel great after a quick boost of sugar, your body will soon use up that energy and you will start to crash. By around nine on the Saturday you will be making mistakes and missing plays, which could make the difference between day two and scrubbing out. So how do you best fight against fatigue? Water, lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated will keep you alert and responsive as the days go on. Yes, you might need to hit the toilet more times than you might have done before, but you will be grateful come Sunday when you are playing better magic than your opponent.
Tip 2: Eat Healthily
Grand Prix are for the most part fairly well catered, providing many tasty treats such as pizza and hot dogs for the masses. While grabbing a slice might be okay for your lunch, some people will see the temptation to binge on sweets and crisps. Most commonly this is due to the time constraints of competitive play, but these habits can lead to the same issues as energy drinks. The best thing to do is to do your best to eat healthily. If you need to grab a quick snack in-between rounds you should try to eat some fruit, such as raisins and apples. It might be less exciting than some other foods types, but you will feel much more alert than if you binge on pizza all day.
Tip 3: Get Some Sleep
Picture the scene. You have just won a GPT on the Friday before the main event. You want to celebrate with your friends and figure ‘Hey, I have a two-round bye, let’s go and party’. Sounds fine, right? Well that’s what I did last year at Grand Prix Manchester, and I scrubbed out 4-5 on day one. Now I’m not saying this was the sole reason for my performance, I did make some misplays and played some very good players, but staying up late the night before didn’t help matters any. I’m not saying not to have fun with friends, in fact I would encourage it, but just make sure you get enough sleep over the weekend. The days will be long and fatigue is a real concern for all players.
Tip 4: Don’t Over Do It
There is a lot to do at a Grand Prix. With loads of vendors, artists signing cards and side events galore, you don’t need to be playing in the main event in order to fill up your days. With so much to do it is easy to overdo it and tire yourself out on day one. Remember, you have three days of magic to fill, and there is no need to cram it all in straight away. Play a GPT during the Friday morning, then hit up the vendors in the afternoon. If you don’t have time to break away from an event to get your cards signed, then ask if one of your friends is free to help you out and take them for you. The goal is to enjoy yourself each day, so take your time and you will get everything done, trust me.
Tip 5: Stock Up On Supplies
Whether you are tackling the main event, or getting in as many drafts as possible, the weekend will be full of action. One of the most important things you must consider if you are playing competitively is that you have everything you need. Dice, tokens, spare sleeves, pen and paper, these are the first thing you should be packing after your deck, and it is vital you don’t forget them. Yes, the vendors on site might have all the bit and bobs you could ask for, but the last thing you need is to be told by a judge that you need new sleeves and have to fight through the crowds before the next round begins. So save yourself the hassle and stock up before you ship out.
And that’s all we have time for folks. If you are going to Birmingham this weekend, I hope you have a great time. GPs celebrate our shared hobby, and are a great place to meet people and make new friends. If you are going and want to say hello to us we would love to hear from you, provided we are not in the middle of a game of course! If you have enjoyed today’s article why not like and share, it is a great way for you to help support and grow the site. But until next time, remember, GLHF!