THIS VERSION OF THE ARTICLE IS AN EDIT FROM THE ORIGINAL. Brandon Grant and Shane Watts were left out of the original article as Brandon wasn’t listed as a participant at the So Cal Open, he will be attending and has been added below. Shane, I just missed.
This week we have a big event on the horizon to look forward to. The So Cal Open is upon us at last! The So Cal Open is one of the last truly Major 40k events before the Las Vegas Open. With 189 people officially signed up we’re talking about a chance to score some major points towards your ITC score. So let’s take a look at the top 40 Players in the ITC right now and see who is going from that list.
That’s quite a list of players. There’s been a bit of a shift in the top 10 the last week, but a few of the players who dropped out of the top 10 are attending So Cal Open, and so have a decent chance to jump back into the fray at the tippy top of the standings. Let’s take a quick look at a list of players attending So Cal Open from the top 40.
- Nick Rose (10)
- Nick is making quite the trek out for this one, a former Texan turned Bostonian, and he’s been representing Tyranids and GSC all year in the ITC. I assume he’s bringing something similar to his NOVA list to the So Cal Open. Being in the top 10, but with no one in places 1-9 coming this gives a really great chance for Nick to jump up a few rungs heading into the holiday seasons before the Las Vegas Open. Nick is a definite favorite to go deep into the event undefeated, maybe even win.
- Geoff Robinson (11)
- Geoff fell out of the top 10 this week, but without the ability to play at NOVA because he was commentating for Warhammer TV that’s understandable. Geoff has been playing Custodes, for the most part, this year and with the nerf to Knights in the September FAQ it is definitely within reason that Custodes take a bounce back up the effectiveness tier. Custodes are a thinking man’s army, and Geoff has proven time and again this season that he can use that list with the deftness of a surgeon wielding a scalpel.
- Daniel Olivas (12)
- Daniel has a lot of 1st place finishes under his belt and he’s been representing Ynnari in a big way! Another player within 5 spots of the top 10 and a solid chance to get to a bump up before LVO and playing a great army well. That’s a potent combination. Similar to Custodes the Aeldari got a big boost from the FAQ nerf to Knights, and they were unaffected by the nerf to CP farms, meaning they got a decent boost back up the tier ladder. I think Daniel stands a good chance of winning it all this weekend.
- Don Hooson (15)
- Don, the Mastodon, Hooson is having a great year. Playing Death Guard lists with a ridiculous amount of CP in them and winning events like the Bay Area Open with TERMINATORS(!?) in his list? He even beat Geoff Robinson and his Custodes in round 6 to take it all. Don is the last of the players in the top 40 I think are within reach of easily getting back into the top 10 before LVO. Oh, and by the way, by a ridiculous amount of CP I, of course, mean 4. He starts with 4 CP. The madman.
- Steven Pampreen (22)
- Steven has been playing Chaos of some type all year. With a first-place finish at two RTTs, one with Chaos and the other with Chaos Daemons, multiple second-place finishes solidify his place in the top 40. Chaos is in a bit of a hard place right now, but I am interested in seeing what exactly he has planned for the So Cal Open.
- Sean Morgan (24)
- Sean is going to be representing the Tau at So Cal Open, according to the list he has uploaded to the Best Coast Pairings App. Sean has had a good season this year, playing Tau or Aeldari throughout. He has a few first place RTT finishes with Tau and a first place at the Harvester of Souls Major playing Tau. It is important to note that the Harvester of Souls didn’t use the ITC Missions, and it’s likely he did well at the event because Tau had a better shot in that format. None the less, you can’t write Sean and his Tau off at So Cal Open. You don’t get to the top 40 in the ITC this late in the season if you don’t have the skill, it isn’t all the list after all.
- Matt Evans (29)
- Matt has been splitting his time this season playing Tyranids, Death Watch, and Imperial Knights. I am hoping he brings Imperial Knights to the So Cal Open. I really wanted to be able to attend and take a version of my undefeated Bay Area Open list, but it’s not in the cards, so I am really hoping to see a legitimately good Knight player show up so we get a good gauge where the Knights are in the meta post September FAQ. No matter what Matt chooses to run this weekend he is in a good position to perform well and is a definite contestant for the top spots.
- Richard Cozart (32)
- Richard Cozart has spent this season being the bridesmaid and never the bride at GT or Major Events. He also plays a lot of tournament!
- Richard is overdue for a GT or Major win in my opinion. He’s been using Chaos to great effect and I am a particularly large fan of the Chaos Daemons list he’s been using well. He came in second at the Hammer of Wrath GT, drawing in the final round at the top table with my first Dark Horse pick. Richard is a great player who has been putting in the time necessary to really excel at this game. You can’t count him out this weekend.
- Brandon Grant (38)
- To say that Brandon is going through a bit of a slump in Competitive 40k is definitely not fair. That perception is due mostly to how dominant he was in the past two seasons, 2016/2017, where it seemed he was not only the favorite to win any big event he went to but often won every big event he went to. When he didn’t win, he would place in the top 5 easily. Nobody going through a slump would be ranked in the top 40 in ITC. It’s true Brandon has struggled to achieve the type of dominant play of previous seasons but his methodical, almost clinical, way of playing 40k and tailoring his lists to the missions means he’s a good bet to win, no matter the event. I would be unsurprised if Brandon were to win the So Cal Open and head into LVO with a good head of steam.
- Shane Watts (33)
- The current number 2 Custodes player is going to in attendance with the number 1 Custodes player. Shane has been doing well on the RTT circuit this season and with a 7th place finish at the NOVA Open, he cemented his spot in the Custodes and top 40 rankings. Having both Shane and Geoff at the So Cal Open could have some major impact on who goes into the LVO with a leg up in terms of Best of Faction points, not to mention the ever-present race for the top 10.
So that’s the players going this weekend from the top 40. There are also a few other notable players I think have a chance to Dark Horse their way to the top spot. First, let’s get it straight that referring to a player as a Dark Horse is not an insult. It just means they’re a player who can win it all but isn’t necessarily a favorite to do so because you’re an unknown quantity to many players. Geoff Robinson referred to me as an absolute dark horse when I went undefeated at BAO this year and took second place, I did not take it as an insult, because it isn’t one. My dark horses for So Cal Open.
- Jeff Poole (211) with a 1st place finish at Augusts Hammer of Wrath, and a top 8 finish at the 2017 LVO Jeff is a great pick as a dark horse to win So Cal Open. He also performed well at the Bay Area Open and Allies of Convenience. He usually plays an Aeldari army of some type but I have played against him when he plays other armies and he is just as good with them. Jeff is a fellow #REKT teammate, but he’s the only one I am picking as a dark horse.
- Aurelio Correa (63) despite being a player from Florida (that’s an inside joke between him and me please don’t write me mean comments Floridians) Aurelio has put together a great season so far. At one point Aurelio was in the top 10 of the ITC and he’s been doing well enough to keep him in the top 100 all season.
- Tony Myers (605) although he sits lower in the standings than my other dark horse picks I know Tony is a solid player who is only so low in the standings because he spends a lot of his hobby time running Hammer Head games, making some great gaming aids and templates for all sorts of game systems including 40k. He’s a player who I turn to often for advice when I want an opinion from outside my team.
- Ray Ahumada (99) a great competitive player from the Veteran Gamers Reenlisted Podcast, Ray knows this game and Aeldari inside and out. He will be a real force to be reckoned with this weekend at So Cal Open, and I would not be surprised to see his name in the top spots Sunday.
- Aaron Wisch (61) is perhaps the best Dark Angels player in the world. He is also my last dark horse pick for winning the So Cal Open. I honestly don’t know how he does it, those of you who listen to TFG Radio know I am pretty down on the current strength of the Astartes codices, and Aaron just seems to be able to take those DA and run roughshod over people. I expect a great performance out of him at the So Cal Open this weekend.
That’s a wrap for this week, leave some comments with your dark horse picks, or just pick on mine! I look forward to seeing the results from the So Cal Open, and I will be sure to talk about it in next week’s article!
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