As I promised last week I am going to continue to interview as many of the top players in the ITC as I can as we head into the Las Vegas Open and the end to the 2018 ITC season. The top 10 is unchanged from last week.
Having taken a look at the unchanged top ten in the ITC let’s jump right into what everyone clicking this link actually cares about. Mike Porter and his stellar ITC season. Mike isn’t a resident of the United States and I don’t personally know him, or interact with him online as I do with many of the other top players in the ITC so I felt it was important to ask a few more background type questions than I normally do. First take a look at his impressive list of accomplishments this year in the ITC.
You’re a resident of the UK correct?
Mike Porter: Yes, I live in the UK near Liverpool.
Could you give me a little biographical information?
Mike Porter: I’m 36, married with 2 kids (6 and 10), a primary school teacher and keen sports fanatic.
Where do you usually play your practice games?
Mike Porter: I play my practice games at a local gaming store in Preston (Harlequins) and a group of us gather at a friend’s house (Bob Doran’s) every couple of weeks for ‘beer and 40k’.
What 40k team do you belong to?
Mike Porter: My team is called Lords of War (although I believe that’s already been taken in the US)
How does your team help you prepare for events?
Mike Porter: Between the 2 groups, we’ve got most lists you could imagine so whenever I’m prepping for a tournament then I can play against the armies my list will struggle against and practice different missions. I probably get to play about 2 games a week / 3 in the build-up to a larger tournament.
Do you work in the gaming industry at all, write for any gaming blogs, produce battle reports etc?
Mike Porter: I don’t do any gaming blogs but I am thinking about doing a short series throughout January to cover the tournaments I’m going to attend with a view to the build-up to LVO. We’ve done some very badly produced video battle reports in the past as a gaming group but not for a good few years!
With the ITC Season coming to a close, can you give me a rundown on how you feel the ITC is going as a whole and where you would like to see it go in the future?
Mike Porter: The ITC has grown massively in popularity over here in the mighty UK since the start of the year. The ITC has always been something I’ve looked at and wanted to be able to compete in but as there weren’t enough large events then it just wasn’t possible. This all changed with the London GT as we now had a Super-Major (?) to rival the likes of the LVO and Adepticon (in terms of pure numbers at least).
If you look at the calendar of events over here now, then you’ve pretty much got an 80-100 player level event every 6-8 weeks and they all now give out ITC points so it’s a much fairer playing field when compared with the US-based players.
Looking to the future, I hope the ITC continues to gain popularity across the UK and Europe as it’s been really fun meeting so many new faces from around the world to the tournament scene here at home; many of whom only started playing due to the ITC.
How do you feel overall about your ITC season? Clearly, you had some great successes, probably some setbacks too.
Mike Porter: My season really got going in May when I won the London GT. Up until then, I’d just been going to tournaments as a casual gamer as I was waiting for 8th edition to settle. After London, I started attending loads more events and won quite a few with a variety of lists. My main set back was a few weeks ago when I had done really well on the first day of an event and I was going into day 2 in the top 3/4 players but I was unable to get to my table on time due to feeling unwell! Hopefully, those potential points lost won’t affect my standing at the end of the season!
What do you think was your greatest accomplishment this season? Greatest failure?
Mike Porter: I suppose my greatest accomplishment was winning the London GT. There were some really top players at the event so finishing top of the pile there was really nice.
My greatest failure was at the start of the year when I was in with a chance of a podium at a tournament and missing the final game so I could go and watch the world’s greatest football team (Liverpool) play a match that they then went and lost. Bad times.
Are you planning to attend the Las Vegas Open?
Mike Porter: Yes.
If you’re planning to attend, how do you prepare for the largest Warhammer 40k tournament in the world? Is it different than preparing for a regular Major or GT? Explain.
Mike Porter: Practice, practice, practice. I’m playing in lots of tournaments in January and I intend to keep a lookout for list ideas as well as testing a variety of lists. I also have a really great gaming group who I’ll be pestering to play at every available opportunity!
The main difference will be I’ll want a much longer time to practice my list as I can see that the margins are going to be much finer with so many players taking part. Even a single point could make all the difference and so I suppose I’ll have to make sure I know my army inside out, as well as the missions to gain every advantage possible.
What do you like, or anticipate liking if you’ve never been, most about the Las Vegas Open?
Mike Porter: Well, I’ve heard the nightlife isn’t too bad! No seriously, I’m just super excited about meeting loads of new people and having some good-natured banter with the US players. Also, that buzz at the start of the tournament when there are 800 people all competing for 1 prize really appeals to my competitive spirit!
Do you know what you will be running for the Las Vegas Open yet? If so, or if not, how do you think Chapter Approved is going to shake up your choices and the overall meta of the LVO?
Mike Porter: I’ve got a rough idea but not decided yet. I’m hoping CA brings more armies up to a level playing field with Aeldari/Ynaari as they’re really dominating tournaments over here. If GW can make the likes of Tau and Guard more competitive then I think that could make things much more interesting.
What was key to your winning the LGT this year in your opinion? Do you think your participation in an event that large will be beneficial to you heading into the LVO which is set to be nearly 800 players?
Mike Porter: The key to winning the LGT was rolling lots of 4+ invulnerable saves and getting lucky matchups! Other than that, I playtested my list (Custodes bikes) against a lot of different armies and realized there was a big weakness against psychic heavy lists and gun lines so I changed it to include a cullexus and 2 eversor assassins. Those 3 models won me at least 2 of my games as they gave me some options to counter the bad matchups I ended up playing in.
It’ll certainly help to know that I did so well in a large event going into Vegas. I learned a lot from that event and hopefully, it will serve me well going into the absolute beast of a tournament!
A big thanks to Mike Porter for being so gracious in answering all my questions. I can’t wait to see how he performs at the Las Vegas Open this year. Let Mike and I know in the comments what you thought, and let me know who from the top ITC players this season you’d like to hear from next!
If you’re looking for some tournaments to practice before LVO, and you live in or near the South West of the US, there is a last chance GT January 26th-27th in Arizona! Athorias’s First Last Chance GT
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!