Hello, fellow Warhammer 40k fans! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio, and one of the Las Vegas Open Head Judges, here to bring you my weekly article on the ITC. This week I have an interview with ITC and Hobby track number 1 Jim Vesal!
Jim Vesal has been dominating the ITC this season in more ways than one. While he has obviously been sitting on top of the ITC in terms of competitive play, being ranked number one overall for the vast majority of the season, he has also gone on quite the tear. Winning multiple events. Early on Jim had great success with his Chaos army centered around Plague Bearers, that army’s viability has changed somewhat and, if you follow Jim on Instagram, you’ll know he’s been working on a new Marine army. I wanted to talk to Jim directly about his season so far, changes in his army selection, and the run-up to the LVO. Before we get to the interview let’s look at the ITC top 10 and Jim’s record in particular.
It really has proven to be quite the impressive season for Jim. He graciously agreed to answer my questions and share some images of his new army! If you don’t already, give him a follow on Instagram to watch his progress.
SJ: You’ve been number one according to the ITC for a lot of this season, how has that felt? Has it had a major impact on you personally when it comes to how you approach your hobby?
Jim Vesal: It’s felt good but I haven’t let it go to my head, there are a lot of excellent players who have almost completely caught up to me including my man and home slice Richard Siegler, who is probably the nicest guy in 40k and my brown brothers Nick N and Mani. It’s been cool to be a little more well known on the scene but at the end of the day, I think the ITC is still anybody’s game especially with how the meta is shifting this close to the end of the season. As for hobby/Gaming, my approach has only changed since Nova, as I stopped taking my usual list and have been having a lot more fun with quirky/off the wall lists that play fast.
SJ: You’ve also spent a huge portion of the season on top of the ITC Hobby Track. What does it mean to you that you’re the current number one ambassador of the hobby in both the competitive and hobby aspects?
Jim Vesal: Super proud of this, I have and always will be a hobbyist and painter first before a competitive gamer and I am lucky to have developed a painting style that lets me paint things fast with a great final look. I spent a lot of time converting, building and painting and it’s nice to be recognized for it. I still have more best-painted awards than best general awards and I am super proud of that.
SJ: Where did you cut your teeth painting and modeling wise?
Jim Vesal: I worked for GW when I was 17, and spent a lot of time painting. Over the years with the advent of Youtube and Instagram it has been a lot easier to improve. It’s something that I never had growing up and at the end of the day I have been painting for 15+ years on and off, nothing beats practice.
SJ: Where did you cut your teeth to make the run you have this season competitively?
Jim Vesal: All over really, I have competed in both the west and east coast metas, as far south as San Fran and LA, and as far east as New York. I would say the regional metas are all very interesting and different, and I have had success in each region playing some amazing players. I am really lucky I get to travel a lot for work which helps me sneak in events here and there.
SJ: You played a large portion of this season with an army that centered around Plaguebearers and CSM/Daemons. That had to change partway through the season due to various nerfs and new codices. Do you find it frustrating that you couldn’t just continue to play a list with the same basic design the whole season? If so how? If not, why not?
Jim Vesal: Absolutely, obviously the meta is ever-evolving but at the end of the day It’s not like my list got directly nerfed but got proxy nerfed by virtue of Space marines being so good. the fact that a Single thunder fire, 1 unit of eliminators and a chapter master upgrade basically negates my whole list with very little investment on the part of the SM player is really frustrating. At the end of the day though good players find a way to win, just like people like John Lennon have to switch from GSC to marines late in the season and doing super well. So I’ve also decided to get with the time.
SJ: Besides having a great time, because it’s Vegas, what are you planning for LVO? What will you be bringing to the table and how, if at all, do you plan to prepare for it?
Jim Vesal: I am torn on this. I am currently painting a space marine Soul Drinkers army. I was patiently waiting for al the various meta changers like the Fall FAQ, Psychic Awakening, and now chapter approved. So far none have provided chaos with the teeth I think they need to compete at the top echelon over a 9 round super event like LVO. With that in mind, I have been painting my space marines to prepare in case I need to swap to them last minute. I have about 5 weeks off going into December as I have a busy work schedule but my prep will really start post-CA with Charity Hammer in early Jan then a few practice events and small events leading right up to LVO. I don’t usually practice too much but need to give myself the best shot possible.
SJ: Last question, I follow your Instagram and I encourage all the readers to follow you too. I have always loved the Soul Drinkers in their fluff, the Soul Drinkers omnibus joins the first Space Wolf omnibus and Eisenhorn omnibus as the only 40k books I’ve worn out. (HH don’t count those are just too good). I am really excited to see you working on Soul Drinkers, what drew you into making a Soul Drinkers army?
Jim Vesal: I have loved the Soul Drinkers since I first read the novels way back when they came out, I still have the soft covers from the early 2000s. I wanted a chapter that could easily use any chapters’ rules, so having a non-codex chapter that didn’t have rules was key. I also wanted a chapter that already existed in the background and the soul drinkers already have some great lore so that was another plus. I love painting purple which is another reason and finally, the Soul Drinkers have a touch of Chaos in them which is super fun as I get to low key claim I am still an evil heretic. Plus lots of cool conversion potential in the future. Overall an awesome chapter that ticks a ton of boxes for me painting wise, and cool fluff wise.
Thanks again to Jim for answering the questions. I really look forward to seeing how well he does at the LVO this year and if he can do well enough to take home the ITC overall! Here are some shots of Jim’s old Daemon army and his new, quite beautiful Soul Drinkers army!
As always leave a comment with any suggestions on what you’d like to see me cover as the season comes to a close.
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