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. This week we test my Hypothesis, what do the best 40k players have in common when it comes to their personal life that makes them more suited to succeed?
Before we get to the meat and potatoes of the article a few items of note. Firstly Jim Vesal’s amazing army was stolen when he was at the airport. The picture below, and link to his post about it. Keep on eye out for it! He is currently number one in the ITC Hobby track with that army, hopefully, it turns up.
I have been writing articles for Frontline Gaming on a regular, nearly weekly basis, for a few years now. I have been a head judge for LVO for 3 years and I have been playing competitively since the end of 4th edition. Through all of that and the wonders of social media, I have gotten to know quite a few of the top players in 40k fairly well. A few weeks ago I took a look at the top players in 40k and I began to realize something about them, which I wrote about in a previous article for this series. The basic idea, or hypothesis, I came up with was that with the changes we’ve seen to Competitive 40k the last 5 years, really since the ITC and LVO existed, the type of dedication required to win the ITC or LVO and be considered the, or one of the, best in the world at 40k has changed dramatically. That change includes a dramatic shift towards players with the free time and resources required to travel to multiple large events, while also playing a lot locally to keep their chops up as it were. Some of the things I began to think these players had in common were being unmarried, childless, and under 40 years old. So, with the inspiration from fellow teammate Jeff Poole, I set out to test this hypothesis by dredging the internet for info on the top 25 players in the ITC. Here are the current top players in the ITC, this is a slightly different list than the one I used. When I began the process of searching out information the last two weeks of the ITC events hadn’t been logged into the system yet.
So that’s the current top 25 followed by 3 sample players from it. I included Geoff Robinson, Rich Kilton, and Jim Vesal for specific reasons. Rich just won the Gentleman’s and Ladies GT in Vegas with his Orks, so congratulations are of course in order. But I also included him because he is an example of a player demographic in the top 25 that is rare. He is married, he has children, he is over 35, and he has only gone to two events that are of GT size or greater. Geoff is an example of a middle of the road player in terms of demographics of the top 25. He is unmarried, no children although he may consider his beloved Bulldog his child I’m not judging just stating, he is closer to 35than many, and he has gone to 4 GT/Major events and traveled for most of them. Jim Vesal our current number one is the opposite extreme of the demographics than Rich. Young, unmarried, no children, sub 35, and has traveled a lot to go to 8 events of GT size or more! There is a reason he is in the lead ladies and gentleman. Here are a few quick facts I gathered sleuthing through Facebook and the dark web. Mostly Facebook.
- Only 8 of the top 25 are married, of those 7 have children. So 32 % or roughly 1/3 of the top 25.
- That means the majority, a super majority in political terms, over 66% of the top 25 are unmarried and without children.
- 17 of the 25, 68%, have gone to 4 or more GTs/Majors.
- All but 2 have traveled more than 50 miles for 2 or more events.
- 25 of 25 have attended more than 2 GT or greater events, 23 of 25 have attended 3+.
- All but 2 are under 40 years of age. 18 of them are under 35, none of them are under 20.
So what does this information tell us? Competitive Warhammer 40k has become a game for the young. Having expendable income was always part of the equation, but expendable time and even more income for travel has become an important part of it now too. Besides just needing the requisite funds to travel the world, or your local continent, to play one of the many GTs/Majors that occur on a weekly basis now you need the time. Time, as anyone who is married and has kids can tell you, is a commodity that’s in some cases harder to come by than money. This may have already been obvious to you, and as a husband and father, I am not writing this as some kind of woe us piece, what may not be immediately evident is what this means for the hobby itself.
Many people are thinking, researching, beginning, to take 40k in a direction that is more “professional”. Meaning trying to make it something you can do for a living. That is what is so important about understanding the personal demographics of the top 25. Much like professional eSports players and professional athletes, the time commitment is so massive no person would do it without proper monetary compensation. Your prospects for marriage and family are also equally as slim if you are playing 40k often enough to be in contention for the top spot in the ITC but not making money off of it. That is a crossroads I think we are at right now in the competitive aspect of our hobby, this season. The precipice to professional versus amateur 40k is being carefully traversed by many. The players, TOs, Judges, podcasts and other content creators, etc. The number of 40k podcasts is at an all-time high, 40k based Twitch and YouTube channels pump out content regularly, there is massive saturation of ITC events every week across the world let alone in the US, the number of great 40k players trying to turn their niche fame and talent into something that supports them financially has also skyrocketed considering the fact no one was doing this 2 seasons ago. Where 40k is going to go really hangs in the balance the next 18-24 months. If people can figure out the legitimate business side of playing competitive 40k then we will see the world of comp 40k continue to grow exponentially, but if it proves to be an untenable prospect I think we will see a shrinking, or a recession of sorts, in 40k. A pullback from it as it proves to be less than a financially plausible endeavor. I don’t pretend to know which direction 40k and the ITC will go ultimately, and for all I know we passed the crucial point already, what I do know is we are going to see how all this shakes out very soon. Perhaps competitive 40k and the ITC will simply solidify into what it currently is, a competition for the young, somewhat well off, unmarried, childless men and women who have the time/money/inclination to try and conquer the world of competitive 40k in the ITC era.
As always, let me know what you thought of the article in the comments!
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