This Week in the ITC: GW US Open in New Orleans is in the Books, So Cal Open approaches!

Warhammer 40k players! SaltyJohn from TFG Radio bringing you yet another breakdown of the week in the ITC.

This past week in the ITC didn’t see any huge shake-ups in the top spot, but there was some significant movement in the top 20. Matt Root is beginning to make his presence felt late in the season, Brad Chester is hot on John Lennon’s heels in second, and Jack Harpster had risen to 3rd. Putting Art of War in positions 1-3 in the ITC headed into the home stretch of the season.

The top 20 is a very interesting field, with every member within a single big finish of swapping up a spot or 5 at once and coming within striking distance of the top spots. Two seasons ago around this time Jim Vesal was still holding strong at number 1 and many people thought he would just run away with the ITC Overall Champion prize, but that season showed that a slight shift in the meta and an uptick in participation by some key players and the tables turn quickly! With 4 number one placings using Drukhari and his army of choice, Orks, getting a brand new codex that’s primed and ready to Waagh all over the competitive scene Matt Root is poised to pull some more big numbers, could he be the one to pull of an upset and take the prize from Lennon and the other Art of War players circling the top spot?

The new codices on the block, Grey Knights and Thousand Sons, couldn’t quite get it done in New Orleans this weekend at the GW US Open there, but they put in some really good showings. A Thousand Sons list went high in the number one bracket and Robert Hawkins piloted a Grey Knight list featuring a Land Raider Crusader to 5-2-1! He dubbed the list “Libbyana Jones and the Raider of the Lost Meme” in honor of the Land Raider being a literal meme choice. The record is impressive and given the inclusion of such a sub-par unit, perhaps doubly so.

I was a “Marshall” at the US Open again and it was great to see so many players having a fantastic time, competing, and enjoying the hobby. I think one of my favorite parts of the format they use with the brackets is that it frees people up to go on Sunday and enjoy the city, or continue competing. Given that New Orleans was such a fun place a lot of the players appreciated that. I had never been to NOLA before and I have to say, I will be going back for sure, it was such a great town and I didn’t even get to see it at 100%! I remembered to snag a picture with the huge Primaris Intercessor statue that GW takes with them to these events this time around.

With Facebook down yesterday there was a dearth of memes and other things to discuss in the 40k world until it came back and now we have a slew of new things from the Black Templars to take into account competitively! First, let’s give it up for this chonky boy who I personally cannot wait to add to my army.

I am loving the return to the OG Black Templars artwork for inspiration with these new models. The new rules for Black Templars are also looking like they might be able to breathe new life into the Space Marine line in the current meta. Black Templars were already a fairly popular choice this past weekend at the US Open and with their new vows, and being able to tailor the vows game to game, they might become an even more popular choice. Outside of specific Blood Angel and Dark Angel (read Deathwing/Ravenwing) builds the Marine books just don’t seem to have the same teeth as the newer 9th ed codices and perhaps the Black Templar book can fix that. Another bright spot in the competitive meta is the continued acceptance of new terrain paradigms.

The feedback, from players at the events actually using the setups, has continued to be overwhelmingly positive. Both Games Workshops terrain maps, 1 and 2, and the accompanying terrain keyword explanations; and the Player Optimized terrain used at the last few Frontline Gaming Majors have been getting fine-tuned and accepted readily by the players. They also both seem to have a positive impact on things like the go first win rate, and the dominance of specific codices. Not everything unbalanced in the game right now can, or will, be fixed by terrain but using terrain to level the playing field is not only a good idea, the idea is bearing fruit. I can’t wait to try out the FLG Optimized Terrain system in a few short weeks at the So Cal Open!

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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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