This Week in the ITC 6-14-18

Hello, fellow Warhammer 40k fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio, and one of the Las Vegas Open Head Judges, here to bring you a wrap up of this week in the ITC!

This week in the ITC we had some movement in various factions and a little in the top leader boards, so we’re going to cover that for sure. Then I wanted to jump in and take a look at two of the top players I received responses from so far and give you some back ground on them. Then round out this week by discussing some potential new meta markers for tournaments that are coming up and some thoughts on what the Bay Area Open might bring as it gets closer and closer.

As always this whole process of ranking this many players would be a monumental task without the help of the Best Coast Pairings App and the people at BCP working tirelessly to provide us with such a great product.

The BCP app is starting to track all kinds of game systems to rank their players according to tournament results. If you organize a gaming tournament of any kind check with the guys at BCP and see how they can help you run your events in an efficient and effective manner!

The Standings:

The overall standings and team rankings have changed very little in the last few weeks. No major drop-offs from the top 20 of the overall, nor the top 10 in the team rankings. A few of the Faction rankings have shifted around but I will be covering that next week in more depth. Here are the leader boards for the ITC overall rankings and the top 5 Teams.

Matt Root, Josh Death, and Geoff, iNcontrol, Robinson continue to sit atop the heap with many other notable names still in the top 10. All 10 players currently have the max of 5 events reported into their ITC ranking. From this point forward movement up the ladder will only come from them performing better at future events than past events. Not a huge change, but now not just any score will help them, now they have to outperform their previous performances. You don’t get into the top 10 with a load of bad scores, so they have to continue to strive for excellence every tournament.

Beast Coast, CanHammer, and Frozen North Gaming are still sitting pretty atop the teams in the ITC. I like this category the most because it is so different from last years’ grouping at the end of the season. Notably Relentless D and #REKT are missing, both having taken the 4th and 3rd spots respectively last year, also both West Coast teams and the only West Coast teams in last year’s top 10. I am unfamiliar with Team Draco or Overwatch Wargaming, but I don’t think either of them is a West Coast team, perhaps the West Coasters are waiting for more of their regional GTs and Majors before they make their moves. Relentless D was powered into the 4th place last year mostly on the back of the big wins by Brandon Grant who has been pretty quiet so far, but the Bay Area Open is coming up fast! It will be interesting to see if many of the late season GTs and Majors shake up the Team, and Overall, rankings significantly as several of the Teams and Players in the top spots probably won’t be at too many of those events.

Who are the top players?:

Two weeks ago I posted in this article, and on several 40k Facebook groups, that I was looking for top-ranked players to get in contact with me so I could share some of their 40k background with the community at large. Thank you to Jeremy Applebaum, Anthony D’Amore, Ben Jurek, Richard Cozart, Tony Bellm, and Michael Snider for reaching out and answering my questions. These 6 players gave some really great responses and I want to share them with you here. If you’re a top-ranked player who would like to participate I am always open to hearing from you! Contact me via the SaltyJohn Facebook Page or via my personal email if you know it.

Question 1: How long have you been playing 40k? How long have you been playing it competitively?

Jeremy: That’s a tough question. I played for a few years in middle school. I quit right around the time high school started and didn’t pick it up again till a few years after college, right around the tail end of 5th. I played 5th for a few months and a couple months into 6th but then got busy with freelancing/didn’t really all the changes in 6th and quit again, only to start playing again near the tail end of 6th. I played all of 7th and so far all of 8th. For the most part we’ve always had a pretty robust tournament scene here in Chicago and have mostly been playing competitively my entire time playing from 7th onward, which is about 4 years.

Anthony: Started December 08 with Assault on Blackreach, competitively was maybe 2010 when I started going to more than just local store tournaments

Ben: First played maybe a total of 5 games of 40k between 07 to 17. Playing heavy and completely since October 17

Richard: This is my second year.

Tony: 3 years playing, 2 years competitive.

Michael: 20 years and 6 years, respectively.

Question 2: What got you into the hobby originally?

Jeremy: Originally, way back in middle school, all my friends at the time wanted to play so I started playing. I liked being able to imagine what was going on/being represented by the figures on the table top. Terminators were cool! Just the idea of super soldiers in a super suit of armor designed to operate deep within enemy lines kept my imagination going for days.

Anthony: My buddy from High School had an Eldar army and one day after school I saw his new revenant titan (painted very well) on his desk and thought it was awesome. The Christmas after we graduated high school I called him and told him I had some liquid cash I wanted to waste leftover from Christmas and I wanted to get into that game with that big model he had at his house.

Ben: Funny enough, my wife.

Richard: Friends in high school played the game and i was blown away by the models and artwork.

Tony: Friends played it and conned me into playing it.

Michael: My neighbor, and my soccer teammate (Brandon Grant).

Question 3: What is your favorite part about playing 40k competitively? example: do you enjoy list theory, math hammer, the competition, the camaraderie, your team etc

Jeremy: I like the camaraderie and writing lists. If it wasn’t for the friends I made in the game I probably wouldn’t be playing anymore.

Anthony: Meeting and playing people I’ve never met before, and if they aren’t assholes, showing them my mobile speakeasy that I take with me to Major events.

Ben: Competitive play. Nothing feels better then outplaying an opponent.

Richard: I’ve always been a very competitive person and once I found out that there were tournaments for competitive play I jumped in. Definitely my favorite part.

Tony: List theory and mathhammer.

Michael: I enjoy the opportunity to meet people from around the world, and I enjoy competition in any form. And trolling John Weyermuller is good too.

Question 4: If you’re on a team, what role does your team play in your competitive 40k life? Is it a support mechanism, sounding board, just a group of friends? etc.

Jeremy: It’s mostly just a group of friends.

Anthony: They’re the best group of shit talkers I know, and sometimes they help me figure out what to take in my lists. But mostly they’re just great pals.

Ben: My team is a great support mechanism and some of the best training partners I could ask for.

Richard: Just a group of friends really, I enjoy bouncing ideas and lists off of them.

Tony: We bounce lists off of each other and play practice games

Michael: My team is a group of friends first, and a sounding board for list ideas.

Question 5: What is your take so far on the ITC and BCP now that it’s several seasons in?

Jeremy: I really like BCP. I think they are doing great things for the hobby and the community as a whole. My only compliant, and it’s more of a side effect than anything, is that BCP makes it too easy to net list without really understanding what made that list so good or what the thought process behind it is. I like the structure and the ranking of ITC. It’s cool to see where you stand nationally/globally. I really respect Reece/Franky for the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and money they’ve poured into it. My main compliant with the ITC is the missions. It’s the only format that I’ve seen were you are actively punished for taking certain characters or builds and wish they would fix/close some of those loopholes. I.E. taking a mortar on a 10 man guard squad prevents it from giving up reaper. Then you have Celestine/Other characters giving up an absurd number of points or certain units that you have to deal with giving up no points (I’m looking at you Carnifexes!).

Anthony: I think the ITC is certainly on its way to becoming a legitimate competitive circuit in and among the gaming and online communities and the structure and transparency that BCP has brought to the ITC been instrumental in helping it along that path. But until there are integrity standards across the board regarding score fixing/colluding and what to do about rules violators, it won’t quite reach that next tier.

Ben: Seems like the only real game in town.

Richard: Since its my second year I have yet to see it really change, but I am happy how both run so far.

Tony: Both are invaluable assets to the competitive 40k community.

Michael: The ITC has been great for making a consistent tournament scene in the US, and giving people a way to compare results. BCP is amazing for tracking good players and keeping track of their army lists.

Question 6: What do you attribute your success so far this season to the most?

Jeremy: I think a lot of my success comes from my willingness to just stick it out, learn from my mistakes, and learn the game and not a list.

Anthony: Well I haven’t been to an event since my codex dropped so all of my current scores are from the index when literally no one wanted to run it. So I guess dedication to running a bad index? Yknow what, no. I’ll say it, straight up. Masochism and wanting to be a special snowflake. That’s 100% it. I’m a masochistic try hard with a penchant for trying to be a snowflake.

Ben: Hopping into a fresh new addition and grinding hard with my team. Using formulas for prior success in other hobbies to be better at 40k.

Richard: Really just practicing, and always trying to stay one step ahead of my opponent.

Tony: Obsessive list building.

Michael: Pink Horrors summoning, mostly SaltyJohn (He’s kidding here, I have had zero impact on his success. He probably does believe Pink Horrors can summon, it’s best he plays GSC)…

Question 7: How do you prepare for events, big and small? Do you have a routine or regimen?

Jeremy: I just try to get games in. We have 2-3 RTTs a month around here and although you generally see the same people/lists most of the time I feel any practice is valuable.

Anthony: If it’s a local RTT, I tend to spend the week before figuring out the best way to make sure I’m not the one who has to drive everyone there, or at least how to do the least amount of driving possible. If it’s a big event I have to stop at BevMo usually sometime in the week before to make sure I’ve got a solid assortment of adult beverages and make sure that I’ve got a solid variety for my opponents when we play. Also there’s something about list writing in most cases but it’s usually just “what was good last time”, “is it still legal this time”, “how has the meta shifted”, and “fuck the meta I’m bringing this anyway”.

Ben: We discuss the meta and likely opponents. Ask those more well versed in other armies strengths and weaknesses etc. Lots of talking things out.

Richard: I just wake up, take my nervous poop, and jump in the car and go. It seems to have worked out pretty well so far lol.

Tony: I ensure I have all my models, dice, tape etc before the event. Closer to the event I check my opponents list if available to make sure I won’t be surprised by any shenanigans.

Michael: Practice during weekly league nights and local events, and lots of mathhammer.

Question 8: What faction do you play? Why?

Jeremy: Sisters. I’ve always loved their lore.

Anthony: I play deathwatch because I’ve loved their fluff ever since I first heard about them and the synergy/generalship that goes into their army playstyle is super rewarding when I get it to work out in my favor.

Ben: Orks. It was my first army and I stuck with it. I feel confident in playing a handful of other armies now but with Orks I play with a chip on my shoulder. Its fun to roll people with an army they expect nothing from from a player they’ve never seen before.

Richard: Daemons, and honestly Nick Nanavati said he wasn’t impressed with the daemon codex when it came out and he was switching over to CSM. I just kinda wanted to prove to myself that daemons are really powerful and can be pretty nasty on the table.

Tony: I play Tau so that I can harvest the salt from my opponent’s tears as I murder half their army in their charge phase.

Michael: Tyranids were my first army, and they will always have a special place in my heart. Other than them I play everything that isn’t chaos since that’s what happens when you’ve played as long as I have.

Here are the factions these fine gentlemen represent, thanks again for participating!

Upcoming GTs and the Meta:

The Gentleman’s GT in Vegas

Dallas Open GT

The Boise Cup GT

Warzone Houston

ATC: American Team Championships in Tennessee

TSHFT in Washington

Bay Area Open in San Jose California

I am really excited to see what the Summer part of the ITC season brings. It’s when the West Coast really begins to get involved with a lot of smaller GTs, Bay Area Open, and then So Cal Open not too long after. With Imperial Knights set to stomp into the meta and shove it’s weight around followed quickly by Orks and Space Wolves it’s going to be a very interesting summer. As always let me know what you thought of this week’s article in comments and let me know what you’d like to see covered in the future. If you’re one of these top players in the ITC get in touch with me, I would love to include you in future articles.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

12 Responses to “This Week in the ITC 6-14-18”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius June 14, 2018 7:16 am #

    Another great article, John. I really like to hear other people’s opinions on what the competitive scene is to them, get honest takes on the ITC, etc. Helps us to improve.

    Also love that pretty much everyone said their club was a group of friends first, haha. That is absolutely true. Half of our club is helping Frankie move today. That is real friendship!

    We’ll probably talk about 40k and AoS the entire time too, so it helps it be less of a PiTA, haha

    • Richard S. June 16, 2018 4:53 am #

      I think the most common critique of the ITC Champions format, which I believe is the best competitive 40k format at the moment, is the varying difficulty of certain secondaries and the fact that some armies can more easily deny giving secondary points than others.

      One solution that I have been testing has both players choose 5 secondaries in the pre-game phase and then decide which 3 to active at the beginning of each battle round (still a maximum total of 12 secondary points possible). For example, I could select Old School, Recon, Headhunter, Big Game Hunter, and The Reaper as my 5 secondaries. Let’s say I am playing against an Eldar list with 3 characters (HH), 1 wave serpent (BGH), 2 guardian blobs (Reaper), and the typical reapers, spears, rangers, etc. In the current format, choosing any of the “kill points” secondaries against this list will automatically limit the total possible secondary points I can achieve before the game even starts, regardless of how well I play the match.

      However, if you choose from a pool of secondaries (whether its 4 or 5), you gain a greater amount of tactical flexibility to achieve maximum points. It’s still far from guaranteed to get all of those points, but it gives you a greater chance to do so and perhaps will open up further list building options as people become less fearful of giving up too many of one secondary, with which some armies struggle. Now it does add a further degree of complexity to scoring, but I think the benefits more than make up for that. Indeed, all the games I have played with it have been extremely close and down to the wire into turns 5 and 6.

      Thanks for all that you do for the hobby and competitive scene!

  2. Vercingatorix June 14, 2018 7:31 am #

    I think it’s funny how so many of the players just started with a certain army and ignore everything else to keep playing that same army. I think it shows how important balance is since so few people switch armies willingly. If you can pick up any army and play it that’s so important.

  3. GreenInk June 14, 2018 7:55 am #

    Team Draco is actually a UK team!

    We’ve jumped up into the top 5 mostly due to our good performance at the London GT (we made up a quarter of the top 20) and a couple of other good performances at GTs and RTTs.

    We’ve got some of the fewest scores posted and the most room to improve out of any of the top teams, mostly due to the fact that the ITC scene is in its infancy in the UK (but growing quickly).
    However, it might be hard to keep up once Nova and Adepticon roll around, and especially so after LVO, as only a couple of our players can make it over for that.

    • GreenInk June 14, 2018 7:56 am #

      That being said, we do have a couple more events lined up later in the year, so don’t count us out just yet!

      • Reecius
        Reecius June 14, 2018 8:23 am #

        Well done! Good luck coming down the home stretch. We often have Australian teams crack the top 5, too.

  4. Donthemagnificent June 14, 2018 9:43 am #

    Keep up the great job, John. Always a pleasure to read your articles.

  5. bj12y3 June 14, 2018 7:49 pm #

    Yeah Overwatch Wargaming is an Australian team! We’ve had a couple of guys take out a few decent tournaments and 2 teams come first and second in a big (for Australia) team tournament, 15 teams of 4.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 15, 2018 9:15 am #

      Nicely done! Great to see international teams in the top 5.

  6. Cheese Wizard June 15, 2018 6:27 am #

    One of the things I would love to see BCP integrate is a closed team function. Right now it appears that the app pairs people from different teams first if at all possible. What this leads to is people jumping from team to team based on who the best player in the room is. As a TO for a couple of different venues I can’t even count the number of times someone has come up to me after looking over the standings and informing me x person is not a member of that team.

    Additionally if the change could be made so players register into a region and those scores follow the player to that specific region instead of staying in the region the tournament is held.

    I do really think BCP is an incredible app and has helped our scene grow exponentially, please keep up the good work!

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 15, 2018 9:16 am #

      It is meant to NOT pair teammates round 1. If you have had a different result, please email the guys at BCP and let them know.

    • abusepuppy June 15, 2018 9:17 am #

      Personally, the #1 feature I’d like to see in BCP is an improved search function for events and players. BCP is great for running tournaments, and that functionality has been fantastic- but the reason I pay for a subscription is that I want to be able to look at lists and events. Being able to see all of a player’s performances across multiple events would be fantastically useful, and likewise being able to view all events of a certain size or larger would also be great.

      I honestly haven’t seen any of the “team-jumping” as you describe it; to the best of my knowledge, the app only avoids pairing team members in the first round of a tournament, so the benefit there is minimal at best, though I certainly wouldn’t put it past people to do so anyways.

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