Warmachine Weekend Invitational Qualifiers are always going to be the gem of the regional events each year. That stamp that WMW* puts on your event says it will be competitive and have a decent to above average attendance due to people wanting the very important spot in the invitational. With many people traveling to Phoenix, Arizona this weekend we are going to see this burgeoning meta get it stripes with its first non-convention Invitational Qualifier. As this is our first event spotlight, I will set the criteria for all future ones right now! Let’s get into rating and explaining the different components that make up the weekend.
Attendance 3/5: For a store sized event, you may not get too much bigger than what the open is promising. Already breaking the first bracket of event size (>/=32, 33-64, 64<) with just preregistration, we are looking at a solid sub 64 player event. With the Midwest being littered with events, and many of them seeing poor performances over the last few months, Phoenix has made sure to rally the troops and test the mettle of the southwest. I do believe the venue and planning time will hold them under 64, but for its first crack at it we should see a solid showing.
Venue 2/5: The event is held at Imperial Outpost Games, a local game store in the Valley of the Sun. IOG** has really stepped up its game as far as quality of life with Frontline Gaming Mats covering the store, a solid set of terrain, and a FULL stock of WM/Hordes Minis. Its score may seem low for a place with such great amenities; however it is still just an LGS. Compared to a large convention with fantastic food and culture, it just doesn’t stack up. The only real gripe about IO is that it is a relatively small space for an event this big, but the amazing owner has made it possible without crushing everyone into the store.
Value 4/5: Going to this event just seems to pack tons of value for your gaming dollar. With a low price of only $20 for the weekend and more than 100% of fees going into the prize pool, we can walk out of IOG feeling great about our Phoenix Open attendance. You also can benefit greatly from the deal of getting a $40 ticket AND getting $40 to spend at the store. It is a huge win for anyone looking to pick up some models, as IOG has a collection of games and Privateer stock that is quite large, especially considering its physical size.
Players 3.5/5: This event is going to have some heavy hitters leading the way and many solid event goers by their side. The Phoenix crew has proved they are friendly and willing to invest in making the event the best it can be. They are even bringing in an outside judge whom has run large events with the utmost precision and has fantastic rules knowledge. The players themselves can certainly hold their own in a regional bout with 3 Team USA nominees and many WMW Invitees throwing down the gauntlet. Let’s take a look at some of the players that have not grabbed an invite yet that we think can make a splash this weekend.
Craig Conroy- Craig has been a regular on the tournament scene for over two years now, and is making a name for himself every step of the way. Known for going for tight assassinations, he has really leveled out his play with his move to Cygnar and his Circle caster pool moving into that patented grind we are seeing in the meta. Representing team Stripes for USA this year at WTC, he is looking to not travel to Poland without a WMW Invitational ticket by his side.
Joseph Hansen- A newer player in the southwest meta, Joseph has burst onto the scene pushing his Khador down opponents throats at every event he attends. With a conservative but firm attack, he has rolled over some very skilled players in recent events, and hopes Phoenix will be a stepping stone to bigger things. Look for him to also be playing the attrition game, but giving himself the patented Khador ability to turn up the damage and make surgical strikes to cripple his opponents.
Matt Shoup- A seasoned veteran of the game, Matt has been stepping up to the challenge that the meta has put before him. Wielding many different Menoth armies, Matt has slowly put his name deep in events and uses his long time game experience to push him to victory. Look for him to put his opponents in knots that they are not excited to have to untie, and, if fortune lends its hand in his games, he certainly has the tools to win.
There are TONS of other great players at the event so the only way to really keep up on the action is to be there or follow along. Find me on twitter @JBFlanz for more insight or, if video is what you crave, there will be a live stream pushing out content each day on Twitch! I am sure I will have results posted and let everyone know how this event goes and I am excited to see the events wrap up from around the nation as we head into the season ending WMW Invitational.
*WMW= Warmachine Weekend…check it out here!
**IOG = Imperial Outpost Games…Gotta support the LGS!