This Week in the ITC: BIG BALANCE CHANGES, and a Look at Lesser Played Factions.

Warhammer 40k players! SaltyJohn here from TFG Radio with another installment of my weekly article looking at what’s going on in the ITC.

Before we get into specific factions let’s look quickly at the top 15 in the ITC! There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement but the top 15 is impressive as the power of Goonhammer is so strong that James Kelling now occupies two spots instead of one!

Kelling has been performing well this season, but it might be a bit much for him to have two spots in the top 10, that’s plain greedy James, or perhaps pure hubris. The top 15 has become veritable who’s who of competitive 40k with players from all over the ITC Regions and with Art of War still occupying many of the top spots. This past weekend we had the Mid-Mo Maelstrom which wasn’t won by Orks. Instead, it was won by Drukhari with Mechanicus coming in 2nd, followed by 3 Space Marine armies.

Does Mid-Mo represent a true look at the Meta? With 61 players it doesn’t have the same sample size as one of the Super Majors but if you remove Admech and Drukhari from the equation you get Space Marine dominance! This is of course a bit tongue in cheek on my part, so please send your hate mail and comments directly to Reece’s personal Facebook page as public posts. I hear he loves that.

I had high hopes for Necrons at the start of 9th edition. I even have a whole Necron army sitting mostly unbuilt and unpainted because those hopes were dashed upon the rocks like a ship in a storm against a shore with no lighthouse by the reality of the Codex. That didn’t deter other, vastly superior Necron fans from continuing to try and win with a clearly underpowered faction. Necrons are really just a slight point adjustment away from being a pretty good army.

Dick van der Harst has performed really well with Necrons so far this season and he deserves that top spot in the Faction at the moment. With a first-place finish over the Summer and a 19th place showing at a Major, all with Necrons, Dick is a true Necron Overlord.

Imperial Knights are in an odd place at the moment. There are builds that certainly hold their own in a competitive environment, but they struggle to win anything larger than an RTT. The codex has been discussed as a Gate Keeper (a codex or army build that is a hurdle to overcome at an event before you can get to the upper levels) kind of army for so long that perhaps it’s just part of the Codex personality at this point. The Freeblade Army of Renown was a well-written and conceived addition to a faction that was struggling. Giving Knight players a way to build a list that has Knights with a way to hold objectives reliably.

Adam Baker has been tearing it up with Imperial Knights and is in a commanding position in that faction ranking. His 12th place finish at So Cal Open going 5-1 with a House Raven list that consisted of a Castellan, 2x Magaera, and 3 Warglaives was impressive.

Now the big news! As many of you have undoubtedly already seen on the interwebs Games Workshop published the first in what was promised to be a quarterly Matched Play Balance Adjustment which included point changes to Adeptus Mechanicus and Drukhari. Combined with a change in how Orks can run buggies, and how all factions run flyers, this adjustment will do wonders to balance out those three codices. In addition, they gave a big boost to some of the worst-performing factions. Including the two I just wrote about, Imperial (and Chaos) Knights, as well as Necrons. Another big winner is Astra Militarum. Seriously, check out those AM changes, they are spicy.

As in all things balancing a game takes a lot of dedication and work. It also takes trial and error. Some people might feel the balancing went too far, some people will feel it didn’t go far enough. In the end what matters is the game has become, more balanced than it was and I think everyone can agree that’s a good thing. Well. Almost everyone.

Don’t be THAT guy. Nobody actually likes them.

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.

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