FAQ: Tournament Organizing (TOing) by Juggleguy

Are you an aspiring Smash tournament organizer? The Smash scene continues to explode in 2014, and the need for tournament organizers (or “TOs” for short) is as critical as ever in our collective effort to keep up with the surge in attendees. In my experience with the community, I’ve noticed there are many people who are interested enough to host a tournament, but they simply don’t know where to begin. I’ve also noticed there are many current TOs who are capable enough to host a tournament, but simply don’t know the answers to all the possible scenarios that come up. Perhaps you fall into one of these two categories — if so, I want to help you on your quest to host good tournaments and grow your local Smash scene. I’ll be writing blog posts each week to address the most requested topics below until this entire FAQ is eventually filled out. Consider this the master page with all the links to my eventual blog posts.

This FAQ will be contained within the scope of what is required to host a basic, local Smash tournament, which I very loosely define as a one-day tournament that features anywhere between 10-50 attendees from a local 2-3 hour driving radius where one specific Smash game is the focus. Eventually I plan to expand the FAQ to blog about what is required to host a regional Smash tournament and even a national Smash tournament, but for now it’s best to limit the scope to a local. While it’s great to be ambitious as a TO, it’s also important to not lose sight of your fundamental hosting ability, which you should hone through hosting local Smash tournaments before trying to go big.

So why should you listen to me? Well, you don’t have to. There isn’t a truly “right” or “wrong” way to host a tournament, but there is definitely a way that is most effective for tailoring to the needs of Smashers, who have grown accustomed over the years to a specific tournament routine. I believe I’m as qualified as anyone in the world to communicate what that routine entails, although you’re advised to seek input from others and create your own final product. As a prospective tournament organizer, it’s probably in your best interests to maintain the status quo at first, but it’s also good to exercise creative control over your event. And as an established tournament organizer, there’s always more you can still learn, so I hope this guide can be a good resource for awhile to come.

With that said, you can find the list of topics below. I’ve put together what I think are some of the most relevant TOing topics, but please feel free to suggest more. Leave a reply to this Facebook thread to request the next topic or suggest a new one for me to write about.

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Training Tools: How much can you punish?

Top players win matches because they can maximize the amount of damage they get out of every opening. Often, we stand in awe when we see Mew2king execute a zero-to-death combo on his opponents. Armada was once quoted to say that people don’t punish hard enough and that improving one’s punishment game is the easiest way to improve and win more sets. In his earlier days, Dr. PeePee would watch his videos to see how much damage he got off of each opening. He strived to at least get 50% off of each opening.

What is a punishment?

Everyone has their own loose definition of punishment. In SSBM, there are a combination of things that are valuable which include stocks, percentages, stage position, and momentum. The maximum punishment that can be achieved is taking off a stock off your opponent. Increasing your opponent’s percentage is also a desirable trait of a punishment. Next is relative stage position. Having the center of the stage has great value and, in some instances, maintaining that center stage is more important than racking additional percentage. When I use the term “momentum”, I’m referring to the ability to move and cover a large amount of space. A “shielding” enemy covers much less than an enemy that’s dash dancing.

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MIOM | Tafokints advice for having a Better Tournament Mindset

There’s been a decent demand for mindset related questions. So here’s five tips from me on how to improve your mindset.

1. Focus on the match at hand

Often times, I see people beat themselves mentally by thinking about their possible place in the bracket based on things that haven’t happened yet.

“If I beat _____, then I have to play ______ and I might get top 5!”

“Ugh, if I lose, then I have to play my rival and I might do terribly”

To give a geeky analogy, our brains are like RAM. It can only handle so much information before it begins to forget things. By wasting resources on things that don’t matter, you’re spending fewer resources on the actual match itself. When you’re playing your match, nothing should matter besides the two characters on the screen and the stage itself. I see people frequently do worse in a tournament set because they are so preoccupied with how they will place or what other people think of them.

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