This Week in the ITC 9-19-2019: LGT Has Come and Gone, Top ITC Hobbyist Highlight with Thomas Byrd

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 past weekend was the London GT Invitational and Open, it seemed to be a great event overall with a pretty entertaining live stream on Twitch. They seemed to get over a few of the big hiccups they had last year and from friends who went I heard great things. Congratulations to Anthony Chew for taking first place with Aeldari! Aeldari Flyer Spam meta is still alive and kicking! Quite an interesting list Anthony piloted to victory, not a whole lot in the way of Infantry or board control outside of the vehicles and characters. Impressive looking list and performance, congratulations on the win.

The top 10 lacked the faction diversity we’ve been seeing all season, well really all of 8th for the most part. 3 Aeldari in the top 10 and the remaining 7 being some form of Imperium with 4 of those being Space Marines.

Space Marines do seem poised to dominate the ITC/Competitive meta in a fairly imbalanced manner for the foreseeable future. With each new release and preview it seems the Adeptus Astartes get more and greater rules. With the only real counter to some of them coming from another Space Marine supplement. It is a little worrisome to me. I spend a lot of the year playing mostly in leagues due to schedule restrictions but I also spend a lot of time researching the comings and goings in the Competitive meta for this article series. I have not seen a release like this from Games Workshop in a long time. A release that seems poised to so drastically impact the meta and imbalance it to the point of skewing the entire tournament field towards a single Faction. Not since 5th Edition Grey Knights, or perhaps the Taudar, have we seen the entire meta skew to a single archetype like this seems set on doing. I hope I am wrong obviously as a diverse meta, and diverse factions at events are much healthier for the game as a whole but also for the ITC and Competitive 40k in general.

Hopefully, that meme prophetic in nature. The ITC top 10 has seemed to solidify the past few months. So I will simply throw that graphic up and then we’ll get to the meat of this article my spotlight on top 10 ITC Hobbyist Thomas Byrd!

I have a good feeling one of the top 10 currently will win the Las Vegas Open this year, and also the ITC overall. Double winner! The ITC Hobby Track has been around for two seasons now and I want to try and highlight the players, and their armies, who constantly excel at events in terms of their Hobby Score. Today I’d like to shine the hobby spotlight on Thomas Byrd, currently ranked 5th overall in the ITC for Hobby!

How long have you been playing and hobby miniatures? 40k specifically?

I started collecting in 2000 just after I graduated college, though it wasn’t until 2 years later that I actually played my first real game of 40k.

What is your favorite part of the 40k hobby? Playing, painting, conversions, modeling etc.

At first, my real passion was for the game itself. The setting, the models, the tabletop action, all those things drew me in. However, once I started collecting and actually painting, I began to enjoy all aspects of the hobby as a whole. There’s nothing more satisfying than facing off against an opponent who’s army is fantastically painted. You want to measure up and provide a great visual battle as you play!

What is your favorite faction in 40k, and Age of Sigmar if applicable, to paint and model? Why?

I started out playing marines as it seems most people do. The Ultramarines being the guys in the starter box at the time became my first gateway into the hobby. I love their fluff and feel so they will always have a favorite place in my heart as the army that got me started. Marines of some form or fashion are really my favorites and I own many other painted armies besides the Ultras: Raven Guard, Iron Hands, White Scars, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Grey Knights, Adepticus Mechanicus, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, Imperial Knights, and Harlequins. That’s not even counting the built, but not yet painted armies like Thousand Sons, Genestealer Cult, and Adeptus Custodes! You might say, I have a large collection.

What is your overall feeling toward the ITC Hobby Track, and the ITC in general, for 40k?

I think tracking and ranking the hobby side of things is fantastic. That is just a big a piece of the game as throwing dice and pushing models and there are some fantastic hobbyist out there that should get recognition for their skills. I’m based out of Atlanta and we have a strong affiliation for Warzone format missions. Since I’m one of the founding members of that, it’s only natural that we play quite of bit of those missions, but it might surprise a lot of folks who don’t know our team, The General Staff, that we actually really enjoy ITC missions as well. Whatever your mission format preferences aside, being able to take those results and providing a ranking and reporting system for everyone has been fantastic for the hobby overall. It gives people a reason to go out to that next tournament to try to improve their score or 1-up their buddies. Just building, painting, and playing more games is great and ultimately what I think it’s all about!

Which events, if any, have you won awards at for hobby this year in the ITC? What were the awards?

I’ve taken Sigillite (best overall) at both Warzone Gigabites 2 and Warzone Gigabites 3 this year. I also took Overall at The Alpha Strike GT held also held at our local store, Gigabites Cafe. There are so many talented painters and players in our area, it’s always quite an honor to win.

What army, or armies, have you been playing this season that has earned you a spot in the top 10 in the ITC hobby track?

This year, it has been all Ultramarines! I’ve dabbled with a few other armies, but with the hectic tournament schedules and the heavy painting time investment to gear up a new army from scratch, it just is difficult to move too far afield. I’ve been playing pure Ultras all year, and with the addition of the ITC mono-faction rankings, I just couldn’t move away from my favorite boys in blue.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask you?

One of the things that I love best about the hobby is the social aspect of the game and the community. I comment all the time when we travel to large events that it is like a big family reunion. You get to see old friends and meet new ones and they become your extended family in this great big hobby of ours that we love so much. It’s really about sharing good times and having fun with your family. If you are ever out at a tournament and I’m there, please come up and introduce yourself! I’m hard to miss being the 6’7 Asian guy with the giant Ultramarine Stormbird!!

Thanks to Thomas for agreeing to be a part of this week’s article! His army is beautiful and deserving of a spot in this series. As always let me know what you think in the comments if you have suggestions for spotlight segments let me know. Player, faction, hobbyist, anything ITC related really I am open to trying to put together!

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.

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