It Happened in the Rocky Mountains!

May be an image of one or more people and people standing

Guest author Lou Rollins brings us a report on the recent Salty Alliance Major!

Well, it happened! “What happened?” you might ask? The “Salty Alliance Major” ITC Tournament! The first Official, ITC Warhammer 40k Major in Utah! With thousands watching the more than a hundred and twenty folk descended into Texas to “Remember the Alamo” and roll dice in a 40k event, we had an event with half the crowd, but no less the caliber of player!

Some of you reading this, are now probably googling a map of the U.S. and trying to figure out where Utah can be found.  You may even be wondering if it is a legitimate state, or still a territory.  My travels have taken me all over the country, and I still bump into people when they find out I am from Utah, that think there are still saloons, gun-toting cowboys and folks tying their horses up to a hitching post. Its mostly just ATVs now… mostly!

Well, if you are a serious competitive 40k player, and you are bucking to be the best-of-the-best, the fact of the matter is you can’t claim that title unless you come roll dice out West! I am not talking the other side of the Mississippi; I am talking the other side of the Rocky Mountains.  Let me share with you why…

Here are few things about this major tournament that ya’ll probably don’t know, and why you can’t claim to be the best-of-the-best without paying us a visit! (Yes, “ya’ll” is a real conjunction of “you” and “all” out here—that’s real cow-poke talk.) Just for side-show glamour, remember where ya’ll come for the Las Vegas Open; that’s right… to the South-west!

Here are some important statistics for context:

  1. There were five states represented: Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Colorado, and California.
  2. In attendance were twelve currently ranked, Best in Faction (BiF) players, including four previous Best in Faction players.
  3. At the time of this article, four of the players in attendance are currently ranked in the top 100 players, and one is ranked in the top ten.  They are worth mentioning:
    1. Marshall Peterson, sitting at 4th place with Necrons
    1. Nicholas Wenker, sitting at 14th with Death Guard
    1. Rich “the Old Warboss” Kilton, at 41st with Orcs (what else would he play?!)
    1. Evan Stump, at 73rd (unfactioned) a Darkhorse going into the play-off round for finals at the LVO in 2019.
  4. Fourteen of the sixty-three players present finished in the top 5% of ITC tournament played at season’s end in 2019. (c’mon, the stats are more reliable!)
  5. Six players, 10% of the player pool, finished in the top 150 in 2019; that is the top 0.015% of over 10k registered players world-wide, or some of the Best-of-the-Best!
  6. Only fourteen of the players that showed-up were unranked. That’s scary when they’re good!
  7. One of the players present is a former member of Warhammer 40K’s Team U.S.A.
  8. One of the players has been awarded Runner-up Renaissance Man at the LVO… Twice!
  9. One of the players present is one of the judges at the main event, the Warhammer 40k Champs at the Las Vegas Open every year.

NOTE: While maybe not critical to game state play, we would like to acknowledge that eleven of the people that attended are military veterans, and four of the participants are actively serving in local law enforcement and fire department agencies.

Starting to get the picture? That layered background is important to inform the player pool and tournament game state before we recognize the winners!

The big Congratulations goes to Nick Wenker from Utah, who took the top award of the tournament, the Renaissance Man!  The Renaissance score is calculated with the best overall scores from: Best General, Hobby Track, and Sportsmanship.  Nick, placed second overall in the tournament and only lost to the best general by one point!  Nick, is currently sitting in fourteenth place overall for the ITC circuit. He is a dedicated Death Guard player, and just may be a Dark Horse going into the tail-end of the season.

Congratulations to Scott Rumple also from Utah, taking the Best General for the tournament!  Scott won Best in Faction for Space Wolves last year, and before you roll your eyes, recognize that he has been swinging top three BiF for Wolves for the past three years—so it was not just a fluke.  He is a player to keep an eye on during the rest of this season.

Third place went to Aaron Knafla from Cedar City, Utah with Thousand Sons.  Aaron is an increasingly talented and competent competitive player, with a factionless commitment.  He played Grey Knights last year.  In a major upset, he beat Ben Cromwell from Team Zero Comp (former member of Team U.S.A.) round two and which gave Aaron the juice to go on to secure his third place seat.  Aaron, is also a former Marine, and we say “Thank You” for your service, and I’ll give a shout out with a hearty “Semper Fi!”

The Hobby track winner went to Ben Cromwell.  Ben is a well-established player from Idaho, and as stated, is a former member of Team U.S.A. and a current team member of Team Zero Comp.  It is always an honor to have such a distinguished player in our midst.  Besides being a very capable general, Ben is also a very talented and skilled painter, modeler, and hobbyist. This particular army was painted by his buddy, Collin Ward.

We need to recognize a few folks that deserve recognition, without which this event likely would not have occurred.  First, to Thomas Hegstrom-Oakey, Rich “the Old Warboss” Kilton and Chris Morgan.  The local community, and the ITC at large would not be what it is today without these three gentleman scholars.  Next, Seth Beddes along with Thomas, from the Rudder Group laying the groundwork for where we are today in Utah for competitive play in Warhammer 40k.  Mario Cappizo, the local ITC rep and first generation real, Warhammer Hero (He actually has a star on the wall at Headquarters, London!) James Davis, and several folks from the “Lightly Salted” team, as well as Dallin Burns and his mates from team “Alpha Strike Alliance” coming together to bring us the “Salty Alliance GT!” Jonathon Richardson, for helping to serve as a judge. 

A special nod and recognition to Dave Johanson.  Dave is a native Utahn, and former game store owner.  Dave, has impacted the scene in ways folks do not know, and work has not allowed him to be physically present in recent years.  Dave is the driving force behind so many list builds and play testing for several of the top tier players, that he has indirectly impacted hundreds, maybe even thousands of games.  If you have played against the likes of Rich, Thomas, Scott, and several others, you have (indirectly) played against Dave! He has recently taken a job re-assignment out of state.  He and his influence are going to be missed! Lastly, and most importantly, thanks to all who came out to roll dice, make new friends and get on their game! Without the players, the tournaments do not happen!

Well, I think that’s a wrap!  If you haven’t been to Utah, you really should come out.  Aside from having tremendous 40k players, you will find some of the most diverse terrain in the country, in this state! From some of the tallest mountains in the Rockies, to the babbling brooks and fishing trout streams.  The Great Salt Lake where you find historic Antelope Island, to the salt flats and ATV trails.  World renown climbing cliffs and red rock deserts.  Overlooking it all are the beautiful snow-capped ski-slopes with the “warmest Snow on Earth!”  There are five national parks within two hours of each other in Southern Utah, including the Grand Canyon.  Las Vegas is only ninety-minutes south of St. George, Utah. 

Besides, you will not find a player base like this one! You will have joyous match-ups against some phenomenal players, with great smiles and warm handshakes.  You will feel good walking away from a very pleasurable game while scratching your head, wondering how you just got the pants beat-off you! That’s because you not only lost to some of the best players in the intermountain west, but by a statistically ranked track record… to some of the best players in the world!

P.S. We have another GT happening in a few weeks, June 12th-13th with a few slots left! If you cannot make the ACO that weekend, come on out and roll some dice… if you dare!

Here is the link:

See you at the gaming tables!

Article by: Lou Rollins

Lou, is the inaugural Hobby Track Winner of 2018, and is a life-long advocate and good-will ambassador for the game and hobby of Warhammer 40k.  When he isn’t busy being a father or grandfather, or tackling his several work and business interests, he paints miniatures and tries to give his opponents a reasonably competitive game at the tables. Lou, is a former Marine and veteran of Desert Storm and is found to be an affable guy, who loves to “nerd out” with other 40k enthusiasts.

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1 year ago

Was definitely an incredible event and everyone in attendance is a pleasure to play against. Happy to have made the out of state trip and will be going again soon!

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