This Week in the ITC: 12-5-19 The ITC Top 10 is Inaccurate?

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 let’s take a look at someone who should be in the top 10 but isn’t.

Running something like the ITC is complex. It requires a lot of moving parts, buy-in from independent events, the players at events, and it involves independent companies like Best Coast Pairings. There are a few levels where this can go wrong and cause issues. One such issue is that our current top 10 is missing someone, who by my calculation, should be in the top 10. But through the fault of his own, and it would seem the slow response of the people in charge of rectifying errors, he is missing. Steven Pampreen is a phenomenal player, and he should, I believe be in 9th place overall but is instead he is in 23rd! This is because Steven began the season using a pseudonym, Bilbo Baggins, and not his real name.

It was not uncommon early on in the ITC for players to use pseudonyms, or nicknames, rather than their real names. As time has gone by though this is not only less rare, it is discouraged. Steven changed early on in the season to using his real name but this has had the consequence that his 3rd place Adepticon finish, which amounts to 237.38 points, is being left out of his score, and instead is a score for “bilbo baggins”. I interviewed Steven for this week’s article for two reasons. First, he should be in the top 10, and second, he has a real chance of winning LVO.

SaltyJohn: You’ve been highly ranked in the ITC for several seasons now. Has it had a major impact on you personally when it comes to how you approach your hobby?

Steven Pampreen: Definitely. I get a lot more friend requests than I did before. Mostly from fellow nerds but also clearly scam profiles that Nick Brown somehow always accepts and subjects his friend list too.
The other change has been in preparation for events. People talk about the meta a lot but for me, I generally make a list of the players at the event first, then look at what armies they’re playing. I find it has been much more informative than looking at the total players.
When we got second at ATC in 2018, out of the two or three hundred players, I practiced against 6 players lists and actually played 3 of them. Similar to Montreal Warzone, I practiced for two players and built my list specifically to counter those two players and figured I could just outplay any inadvertently bad matchups.

SaltyJohn: You’ve also spent a huge portion of that time on the rankings board under a pseudonym “Bilbo Baggins”, why did you choose to operate under a pseudonym for the ITC for so long and why are you changing now?

Steven Pampreen: Well, I did it originally because I was worried about some scandal breaking out and my name getting smeared on the internet.
But I felt it slightly unsporting when I walked up to the table and people were unaware of who they were playing. I also wanted to just have everything in one profile so it was easier to view but that turned out to be much harder than I thought.

SaltyJohn: Where did you cut your teeth to make the run you have these past few seasons competitively?

Steven Pampreen: My first big finish was 7th at Adepticon several years ago. My roommate had moved out of our two-bedroom a few months before our lease ran out. So I had an extra room and set up a 40k table.
For over a week, I spent most of every night after work playing both sides of matchups. It helped tremendously. The meta was much more stagnant at that time so you could pretty much play every match up. I try to do the same now but it’s much harder. Not to mention I have a wife now!

SaltyJohn: You played a large portion of this season as Orks, Genestealer Cults, and then Astartes. What inspires you to switch from one faction to the next over the course of the season? Is it simply power creep, or are there other factors?

Steven Pampreen: Well, I’m an Ork player at heart. So I played them as much as I could. However, my goal for this year was to finish in the top 10, so I’m going to prioritize the best army that I can play. For most of the season, that was Orks and I was pretty thrilled.
I did GSC for a hot minute at ETC to make our team armies work but didn’t play them as a serious singles army.
Astartes well, if you’re reading this you’ve probably read 40kstats.com or listened to stats center or maybe peaked out from behind your rock. Marines shattered the power curve.
I like my Orks but not enough to lose with them. In the past year, I’ve lost two games back to back once, to Jim Vessal and then Nick Nanavati. My Orks went 5-0 to win Montreal Warzone, then marines came out, and I went 0-4 against people who aren’t ranked 1 and 4 in the world. So I put the Orks away and “borrow hammered” a whole army.

SaltyJohn: You played a large portion of this season as Orks, Genestealer Cults, and then Astartes. 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?

Steven Pampreen: I’m fine with being forced to play different designed lists throughout the year but I really dislike being forced out of my Orks. Since Renegade Open last year, I played with nearly every single unit in the codex except for buggies and walkers. I am fine with being flexible with what units the codex plays depending on meta but marines busted the power curve so it wasn’t a matter of adapting, they are just better. This is why every single player who prioritizes winning overpainting concerns, faction placing, or trying to be unique is playing marines. Maybe that will change after Chapter Approved but I’m not convinced.
Eliminators, assault centurions, and tremor shells removed Orks or at least my army from contention. Orks have ridiculously flimsy characters and 9 eliminators behind a wall will kill 2 Weird Boys, assault centurions will kill infinite grots, and tremor shells neuter da jumping boys.

SaltyJohn: 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?

Steven Pampreen: Well, my wife will coming and the last tournament she came to Team USA won a world championship so I’ve got that going for me.
Thankfully I live in a hub of solid players in Boston so we will be practicing like crazy I’m sure.
I’ll take a second look at everything after Chapter Approved but army wise I’ll likely be stuck playing marines.

Thanks to Steven for agreeing to answer some questions about his season so far and his plans for LVO! Let me know in the comments if there are specific players you’d like to hear from as we head into Las Vegas Open time.

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.

7 Responses to “This Week in the ITC: 12-5-19 The ITC Top 10 is Inaccurate?”

  1. Avatar
    JVail December 5, 2019 7:36 am #

    Great read, I played Steve in Saugus at the mini GT round 1 and got my shit pushed in, but he was still a great guy to play against, even when I failed my charges. I know what it’s like to be pushed out of an army, I started out playing Space Wolves this edition, they were great at first, then codices started coming out and it was a long while before the sons of Russ got theirs, and when they did… boy was that a huge let down. So I picked up some other armies and started playing with them, GSC being the most recent, which I have decided to shelf after constant nerfs and marine books.

    That being said my Sisters I’m very happy with and think they will have a solid place in the meta. I look forward to seeing everyone at LVO!

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn December 5, 2019 7:51 am #

      Steve is definitely a great player who would be a challenge for anyone to play against.

      • Avatar
        JVail December 5, 2019 8:39 am #

        Oh certainly, I had no idea who he was when I played him and then my friends told me. The aberrants failing their 7” charges with rerolls didn’t help though! I certainly would’ve still lost, just would’ve liked to have given him a game haha.

  2. Reecius
    Reecius December 5, 2019 9:36 am #

    Pro tip: if you want your score to be accurate don’t submit scores under a different name….lol.

    Also, use this to fix your scores: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeCirZtSv2Ipmydeb4KX8VCgVAcpOp59wVLKKScoan5OIqj8A/viewform

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn December 5, 2019 9:37 am #

      True story!

    • Avatar
      JVail December 5, 2019 9:57 am #

      Hey Reece I actually have some questions about this for events. Well, we just have a backlog of events that didn’t get reported properly. We’ve done the recreation of the event but it takes forever and doesn’t always work. Is there a faster process?

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 5, 2019 10:57 am #

        There isn’t and reach out to the BCP guys, we only go back int time so far.

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