This Week in the ITC: Familiar Names and Terrain Debates

Hello, competitive 40k followers! Salty John from TFG Radio here to discuss a bit of the coming and goings of the ITC this past week.

So far in the 2021 Season, the ITC has been a true wild west, with many names cycling in and out of the top 10, a lot of regions having varying degrees of openness in regards to events, and massive meta shifts due to some fairly imbalanced codex releases. Though we are seeing the mid-season solidification of the top 10, this season has more extraordinary large events than previous seasons, so movement in the top 10 might prove to be more common now than in previous years. Here is a look at the current top 10, you’ll notice it has a lot of familiar names.

There’s plenty of big names up on that list. Almost all of them are players I have discussed before over the last 4 years (well, as in most things 2020 doesn’t really count) writing these articles. Nayden, Lennon, Chester, Nanavati, Kelling, Dade, and Cherwien are all players I have mentioned many times in the past and they’re also players who have a good shot of winning any event they enter. Let’s take a closer look at the top 3 player’s event results so far this season.

Sean Nayden is having an uncharacteristically awesome early-season run. I’ve mentioned before that he is usually a late starter, coasting through the early season without attending many events and then putting the pedal down later in the season and wracking up wins before making his usual big push at LVO. Sean is absolutely killing it with his patented unique Aeldari lists and with a big start I am interested in seeing how his season progresses, and ultimately how he finishes it all at LVO.

John Lennon has been putting up some big scores with a multitude of armies. Unlike Sean who is a representative of only the Ancient Empire of the Aeldari Lennon has no singular allegiance to a faction, however, his biggest win came with the new hotness. Drukhari. His three biggest finished have all been with 3 different armies, Drukhari, Ultramarines, and Deathwatch. There’s even a GT win in there with Tyranids, because you know, why not?

Brad Chester has been tearing it up with the big bad boys of 9th so far. Drukhari, Adepta Sororitas, and the arguably best Space Marine chapter at the moment Salamanders. Winning the inaugural FLG Atlantic City Open with Drukhari netted Brad a lot of points and if he can duplicate that feat at another uber Major event soon, he has a good shot at jumping Lennon and pushing Nayden out of first place.

The top clubs in the ITC right now also have familiar names, I wanted to put this up specifically to congratulate the US Army Esports team at putting up great numbers consistently. The various branches of the US military have Esports teams and it’s great that the Army, and Air Force, teams have been so active. I am uncertain if the Navy or Marine Corp have teams as active as the Army and Air Force but it’s a neat development that I know has been a few years in the making, so congrats on your success!

So a hot button issue right now in competitive 40k is the terrain. Players seem to be very divided on what exactly makes a good amount of terrain for a competitive 40k event. With even GW themselves weighing in. There are several different examples running around on the internet and they are quite different from one another.

Here are the Games Workshop terrain layouts. There are some big open areas, some big blocks of terrain, and it seems easy enough to move terrain to fit objective markers where they need to go. Some players are crying foul that it’s not enough terrain, others that it’s not diverse enough. One Facebook user even decried that there isn’t an option for a terrain less set up because not all battles happen in cities and some armies fight pitched battles in the open. While an edge case, I found that amusing enough to mention it here.

The table above is what the Show-Me Showdown will be using as their standard setup. There’s quite a big difference between the two terrain paradigms represented here, one might even be inclined to say these are the two extremes (obviously ruling out the no terrain idea as non-viable and so not worth entering into the equation). I am not stating which terrain layout I think is best for competitive 40k in 9th edition, but it is patently obvious that some armies would be near unplayable with these setups, and going from one event to the other without changing lists would be, for some builds, non-viable. Should we be pushing for a universal terrain setup, or is variety, and unique metas, part of what makes competitive 40k interesting?

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



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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1 year ago

I have issues with all the terrain layouts. They all make it virtually impossible to field non flying vehicles. These units are already weak. Imagine trying to get a squad of rhinos chimeras or imperial knights across the gw maps yet alone the dense terrain. You would be limited to a single unit on the top map and none on the rest. All of these should be playable and maneuverable if not good options.

Swapping big ruins for big LOS blocking hills could help

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