This Week in the ITC 5-9-19: Interview with Jim Vesal and Updates for the Week!

Hello, fellow Warhammer 40k fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio, and one of the Las Vegas Open Head Judges, here to bring you another article reviewing the ITC Standings for the 2019 season with the new scoring method in place.

I was gone last week in DC with my 8th grade students so we missed an article. In the interim there was movement in the top 10 but Jim Vesal still reigns supreme for now! The meta is truly set to change now that the new FAQs have hit. It’s hard out there for a Castellan and Knight player, but it might be getting good for Vehicles in general. The change to Fly working in the Charge Phase again means we might see a resurgence of some lost lists. Smash Caps, DPs, biker Custodes, among others all got a nice boost. It will be fun to watch the meta ebb, flow, and adapt over the next few months. It wouldn’t be a true SaltyJohn discussion of an FAQ without a few memes, enjoy! Or don’t, whatever.

This week I am going to focus mostly on my interview with Jim Vesal, before we do that though let’s take a look at the current standings.

New names in that top 10 and some cool movement from two weeks ago. Welcome to Andrew Ford who rocketed into 2nd place, Mark Perry, and Colin McDade. Also Richard Seigler jumped from 7th overall to 3rd! Well done, keep it up, the season is still young and interesting! Now, on to what you all came here to read, my interview with Jim Vesal current number one 40k player in the world. You can follow him on Instagram for more photos of his armies.

How long have you been playing 40k? How long have you been playing it competitively?

I played my first game of 40k in 3rd edition, but at the time I was mostly a fantasy player. I didn’t play again until 8th edition and have been playing competitively the last year and a half.

What got you into the hobby originally?

I walked by a GW when I was 15, and went in for a demo game. This was back during 5th Edition Fantasy when the Bretonnians and Lizardmen were in the starter set. I played the demo game, got my free model and never looked back. Shout-out to Owen Curtis who was the manager of the GW at the time, and still works as a manager for GW today, almost 18 years later!

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

I really enjoy the camaraderie, hanging out with my friends, having drinks and just being part of that community. I most enjoy however the competition and practicing and playing against other players. I have a competitive nature and so really enjoy testing my skill against other players.

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

I am on a team, but to be honest, my core group of 40k friends are all on different teams, so the actual team doesn’t play a huge role. We have about 5 chats going with various circles and that is a much bigger support system for me than the team.

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

The ITC has been such a huge factor in the growth of comp 40k, and with BCP it has made it so anyone can run a tournament. The ranking system has really been motivating me to get out to more events and travel and I am really enjoying seeing other players and how they rank. I think it has been incredible what the team at FLG has done to help grow the hobby in NA, GW owes them a big thank you.

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

I think consistency and practice. I played about 22 events last year and was a consistent 4-1, 5-1 player. I won a few overalls due to soft scores and a few RTT’s but hadn’t notched my first GT win until Dicehammer this, and then it just snowballed.

Of your 4 biggest wins this year: Adepticon, Wet Coast, Dicehammer GT, and Warriors Weekend which was the most difficult victory, and why?

Adepticon by far. I had to run through a gauntlet of excellent players including Chris Blackham and Stephen Fore, each game was extremely tactical and felt really interesting with the missions. 8 games over 2 days were also quite a slug-fest.

Of your 4 biggest wins this year: Adepticon, Wet Coast, Dicehammer GT, and Warriors Weekend which was the most satisfying win and why?

I think Dicehammer and Adepticon are tied for that. I went into a very tough field at Dicehammer having just come off a loss at the top table at Barrie Bash the week before. I had gotten so close to winning my first GT/Major and just fell short. Being able to come into dicehammer and win right off that big loss felt really good and boosted my confidence, obviously following it up with Adepticon was also incredible. It really felt like I had come full circle and all my hard work had paid off.

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

Read the mission, paint everything early so there is no stress. I don’t have much of a routine, I usually don’t get a ton of practice games on the missions in either, I always like to get to the venue early so I don’t feel stressed or rushed to set up.

What faction do you play? Why?

Chaos! I have been playing chaos since I started GW games playing both Warriors of Chaos in Fantasy and Chaos Space marines in 3rd edition. I love the fluff, the conversion and paint potential. I also just love being evil. Death to the false emperor!

What are your plans for the remainder of the ITC Season? Which events do you plan to attend, which faction(s) do you anticipate playing, and how does being in 1st place in the ITC effect your decisions for the rest of the season?

I have quite a few events coming up, Canhammer Team Tournament this weekend, BAO, Beef and Wing Brawl, The Basement Open take me to June. Then July sees the ATC and ETC in Serbia in August playing for team Canada, followed by Nova at the end of the month. Being in 1st place means I can relax and play a little more fun lists, I am planning to bring a demon engine list to events starting mid-season, once I get it all painted.

Huge thanks to Jim for agreeing to do the interview, I know he is highly sought after right now in our community and has been on a few podcasts. Again, follow him on Instagram, he does great work, more of which I will post below! Let me know who else in the top 10 you would like to hear from in the future and I will see if they’re willing to accommodate an interview!

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



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.

3 Responses to “This Week in the ITC 5-9-19: Interview with Jim Vesal and Updates for the Week!”

  1. Reecius May 9, 2019 7:21 am #

    Top in both hobby AND competitive track, that is pretty damn cool. Well done, Jim!

    Great interview, John.

  2. Needlessly Malicious May 9, 2019 9:21 am #

    Why was Aaron Aelong not included in the article? He is in the Top 10. Was he using alligators as rough riders again or biting off illegal plasma guns?

    • SaltyJohn May 9, 2019 9:44 am #

      I guess I just didn’t realize he had crawled into the top 10! He has had a bit of a slow start this season. My bad.

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