Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Glorious Return - Who Am I Now?

When I started this blog it was designed as the documentation of the introduction into the UK tournament player. This player was an 18 year old kid who got his ass handed to him at Throne of Skulls, losing 3 games including 2 tablings and only picking up 1 win. If I had the opportunity to talk to this scrub I'd have instructed him to sell all of his 40k and to go and spend his money playing something that was more to his skill level. Like Minecraft. This kid went by the alias of Rampage, and despite the humiliation of getting bent over a table by a group of GW store egos, for some reason he wanted more (maybe he  just swung that way or it was some kind of weird fetish I don't know), and if this story intrigues you go and have a look at the 200 posts that proceed this, you'll be in for a fun evening if the alternative was attentively watching the BBC News Channel et al for the 8 hours that such a marathon would take. Still, it's a higher standard of writing than the 50 shades series that thing is trash.

But back to the point, not even I can understand the insanity that crossed this kid's mind, and to this day 2 1/2 years on his Win/Loss is very much mid table. That said, I am not the same player that I  was 2 1/2 years ago, I have moved on from such things as having a terrible alias and attending tournaments as merely an objective (seriously anyone can fork over some money and turn up at a table). Phase 1 of my journey as a competitive gamer was to consistently finish in the top half of tournaments and give top level British players a tough game, and when I'm on it I can do that. After about half a year's break from the hobby I'm back with a new objective. Challenge for podium spots at big tournaments, win small events with ease, and represent my country at the ETC. So let's begin with a quick rundown of where I am now.

As previously mentioned, when I first started this blog it was to document my first forays into the tournament scene. This was also around the same time where I picked up my first really competitive army in Space Wolves, I built a net list to the best of my ability  with the finances I had, meaning that it left out some of the crucial parts like rocket launchers on the Long Fangs. I didn't have much practice with the book or with 6th edition which had just dropped, went to Throne of Skulls and got my teeth kicked in. I started to experiment a bit more, before moving down to Oxford for University.

This gave me a great opportunity for practice than in Sheffield. Oxford had players like Mike Collins, a Welsh international player who had captained the country to the ETC that year, and BJ Mason, who was back as a core part of the 40kUK podcast as it was known at the time and a very strong Space Wolves player in his own right. I  played both of these guys in the league that was running at the Oxford gaming club at the time and got pretty badly bummed on each occasion, but each time I felt I was  improving and BJ especially was fantastic with me helping me improve as a player not just through the medium of the podcast but via personal advice and a plethora of 1v1 practice games.

That January I started hitting tournaments. I went to one at the Outpost in Sheffield where I struggled, drawing the first game by a hair coming very close to winning, then playing invisible Wraithguard in the relic as an impossible match up before another close game against Guard. I was starting to get more of an idea of how to win games and making people work for victories where the match up allowed, but still I was struggling to really take games by the balls.

I also headed back to Throne of Skulls, putting in a much more solid performance this time around, smashing every game on the first day before hitting what remains the most broken list of all time twice on the second day in the form of 27 flamers and 27 screamers from the White Dwarf update, and getting wrecked pretty hard. Edging me out of best Wolves.

This is when I started to step it up a bit going to harder tournaments. Over the next couple of months I headed to Battlefield Birmingham (mid table finish), I snuck into the GT Finale with the aid of the 40kUK guys (mid table finish), and Toy Soldier in the July (mid table finish, but didn't lose a game on primary all weekend). The latter was probably one of the best performances at a tournament I've put in to date given the context. Taking my famed Chaos Space Marine army for the first time and holding my own and even beating a couple of ETC players.

The list essentially comprises of the following, and has rarely differed over the last year and a half. 2 Beatstick Chaos Lords in Land Raiders with Marines in (loaded out to be much more cost efficient Khorne Berzerkers. When GW mess with stock Chaos Marines in the next Codex, I apologise.) 2 squads of spawn to hide behind the Land Raiders, some cultists to hold objectives and whatnot, and either a Bloodthirster or a Heldrake to annoy my opponent with. The main point of this was to show a bit of depth to the Codex, and also to show that taking a Khorne Chaos Space Marine list is not an excuse for a poor finish.

From here on out I started to try and challange for top third. I went to a doubles tournament with my Guard as a last horrah for the Guard Blob back at my home club in Sheffield. This remains the worst experience I've ever had in 40k given the amount I spent for travel, the 'people' I had to play against in the final round and the fact that the entire thing was rigged by the TOs so that they could win it themselves (confirmed as the Events Organiser in question left his post within a week after the tournament, although it was not widely publicised, which I presume was to keep the club's integrity).

I'm not particularly popular back in the Sheffield scene anymore for a number of reasons, but quite frankly. If you do something that I believe is immoral or just plain rude, I will call you out and I don't care how big a following you have, I will speak my mind, and if you have a problem with me for it then carry on hating, you're not the kind of person that I respect either.

But anyway, back to the point. I have since not been as active in the tournament scene. I qualified for the GT finale where I won Best Chaos Space Marine player 2013/14, I put up a good showing at Death or Glory, where I only lost to top UK players Dan Sackett and Rob Madeley.

Since then I've really been mucking around with 7th edition, I went to Toy Soldier where again I was middle of the pack, but it's been difficult for me the past year or so with 40k. I lost a lot of motivation towards  the end of 6th, and some of my best friends in the hobby have moved on. Now I'm trying to juggle Hearthstone, League of Legends, a bit of Runescape on the side, 40k and my final year of University in one big bundle. But really, it's all about priorities and weighting. This summer will be my first in the real world, and if I am jobless (which I can afford to be for a couple of months) I can dedicate that time to aiming to become one of the best 40k players in the country. Ever since I first heard of competitive 40k, I always dreamt of winning the ETC.

So, this is now going to be the chronicles of reaching a point where that goal is realistic. Sorry for the essay, but it needed saying. I have plans, this is going to be awesome.


  1. Nice stuff man, I wouldn't mind being a practice player with you, obvs I'm never moving of my chaos island, but i will always be about for a practice game via vassal :)

  2. Sounds good mate. We'll definitely sort something out. Hectic week this one so I'll keep you updated and maybe we can sort something.

  3. Hey Tom, All the best, I've signed up for the England ETC team, although I cannot go the ETC this year, I'm always looking for practice games, I live not far from Sanctuary Wargaming, so if you're ever in the area, let me know, I'm Embolden on the Warhammer Forum or Rob Edwards in real life ETC forum.

    See you at Heat3 of the GT if you're going.

    1. Thanks man :) would be good to get some practice in with you. I'm based in sheffield most of the year and the next time I'm there is around Christmas so we can try and organise something. I will be there yes, I don't suppose you have any Daemons I can borrow? I'm starting to get desperate. Dave still has mine.