Zoe ‘CadenZie’ Summers is a full-time professional StarCraft player and streamer from Scotland, currently living abroad in South Korea. Zoe has been a huge success in South Korea playing for the top teams in StarCraft leagues and is one of the best female esports player in the game. Having taken part in many tournaments both online and offline for StarCraft, Zoe walks us through her top 5 tips for how to prepare for any esports tournament.
1. Combatting the nerves
You may be prone to becoming nervous on stage in a big tournament, or even nervous in smaller events too. My best tips to combat nerves is to avoid things that amplify the problem such as; too much caffeine, overthinking, pressure. Think over what makes you calm normally – only you know yourself well enough to figure out how to control your nerves! What I like to do is spend some time on the day of the tournament relaxing, so find what relaxes you best and put your mind at ease.
Extra Tip: Try meditation! This is a very common way many players relax before tournaments to get their mind and body at ease.
2. Don’t let your body be sluggish
Avoid eating a heavy meal before playing important games, and it might sound strange but visit the bathroom before you play. These steps can really help make your body feel light and comfortable, making all the difference. Also make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before, as you don’t want to start feeling sleepy and make bad decisions.
3. Teamwork is essential
If you’re playing in a team event, even if the game mode is 1v1 and you’re playing in separate sets, teamwork can be really important. There are lots of ways you can help improve the success of your team and try to make them feel comfortable; chat and make some jokes to lighten the mood, support each other’s performance, and relax your minds together! Take the burden off their mind when they perform poorly and lose, and also cheer them on when they’re doing well. Good team work can make all the difference.
Reminder: Know your own allies’ strengths and weaknesses! This helps in any decision making for the event. For example, maps they might be better suited to play on for their particular style.
4. Prepare a mental game
Especially when preparing for multiple set events it’s important to consider the mental game. When I come up with a plan for a best of 5 series, I will always consider how my opponents mental state will be and how I can use that to my advantage. For example, I may user very aggressive strategies in the first few games to make them feel that I’m going to play only using aggressive strategy today, and then take a surprise win in the 4th set with a fake-out forcing them to over defend against a strategy that isn’t really coming at all. Even if I may be likely to lose the first game of a set using a crazy aggressive strategy, I might consider that it’s worth the risk just for the mental game alone. If I can take a lead in the psychological warfare then – even if I’m losing – I will still feel in control of the series.
Remember: It’s all about the mind games – make the enemy feel like you’re in control.
5. Study your opponents
These days so many people are streaming their practice games so it ‘s possible now more than ever to study your opponent. It’s important to understand the playstyle of your opponent so that you can decide the best way to play against them and what tactics/strategies to use. However, be careful not to fall into their trap! Both players are aware of the opportunity to study each other’s playstyle and will also use that knowledge to trick you. Consider their tendencies but be aware they may use them to get into your head.