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This year we will be continuing a bit of tradition. I am inviting some of the top players from the previous Final to this year’s Final. Each year will still be dependent on the space available and the number of stores participating. I sent out a few questions to the current Finalists to get a glimpse of history, insight, perspective, and advise.

First we start with Jason (a.k.a. JD) from the Mobile area. JD won Best Sportsmanship in the 2013 CAGE Match and is always a pleasure to play. He rounds out the 2014 Finalists to make 32 players.

JBW: Hey JD, Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. We generally start with, how did you get into 40K?

Dude, 40k got into me…wait that sounds creepy.  Back in ’92 I picked up a squad of Blood Claws, because they looked awesome. My friends and I had other minis, such as Ral Partha stuff, and were just making up our own rules, I figured 10 guys with giant machine guns and ridiculous armor (I soon found it was “armour”) would give me an edge.  Well normal escalation of arms ensued… An then we discover these models had actual rules!!!!

JBW: What other Games/ Systems do you play?

I am getting back into Warmachine/Hordes, we have a very… Enthusiastic Press Ganger in the area, and his love for the game is infectious.

JBW: Do you have other armies? Would you mind giving us a quick list of them?

At the moment I have my Swiss Army Knife Homebrew Chapter, the Saints of Revelation, and Space Wolves.  I also have some Dark Eldar I don’t use.  I’ve had Orks and Tau in the past.  Got rid of the Orks cause I decided I’d never really use them, and the Tau because they sucked and would never be good.  Good call on my part huh?

JBW: In your opinion what do you think makes a good tournament player? What qualities do you think a player needs to bring to this event and tournaments in general?

A good tournament player huh? Not sure I’m the best one to ask this… as I seem to get rocked in the biggies. However, I think knowing what you’re doing when it comes to your own list is the most important.  How it fits together, have a plan, and then a back up plan for when Plan A falls through.  Knowing the other armies is important too, the other day I played against a new Inquisitor for the first time and had no idea about Rad and Psycotrope grenades….that CC sucked!

As far as qualities a player needs to bring?  Realistic Expectations.  This is the biggest thing I try to get across to new players that go to a big tournament.  A big fish in a small pond gets eaten by a medium fish in the giant ocean.  Every area is different in skill level and play style, and what works in one corner of the state, doesn’t at the opposite corner.  I think last year was a good eye opener to our guys from down here as far as Tournament playing goes.  We got a little embarrassed at the CAGE Match as far as W/L record is concerned, and that certainly lit a fire to get better and more competitive.  At the same time, I play this cause it’s a game. Do I wanna win? Of course.  Am I going to get fired, lose my house or wife if I lose? Doubt it.  It’s still partly a game of chance, and no matter how good your tactics or lists, sometimes it just doesn’t matter, and there is no sense losing sleep over it.

JBW: There will be even more players this year that you haven’t met or played before. Is there any tips you would share on playing new players?

I cheat.  Not in a sneaky for real way, but in an outlandish, see of you’re paying attention way.  If my chapter master starts having FA 13, you’ll understand.  If I can convince you that your missile that misses me, hits your own flyer, you’ll understand. *cough* Alex *cough*

JBW: You recently attended the American Team Championship in TN. What did you see there that might be at the 2014 Final?

Tau….and you Jeff.

JBW: I’m always impressed with the growing activity in the Mobile area. How is your gaming club prepping for this event?

Practice…..and more Practice.  We have had a practice tournament every month since November.  And then during pick up games we are almost exclusively playing our CAGE Match lists, twerking, er tweaking and polishing.  We want that Banner!

JBW: What sort of events can someone expect to see while visiting the Mobile area?

Well, during February and March, we have Mardi Gras.  The summer is a great time to come down and go deep sea fishing, or go to the beach.  In the fall we have Bayfest, and it’s just a short hop to Gulf Shores for their beaches and Shrimpfest!  But if you mean for gaming, then we have something going on almost every weekend, be it for 40k, Warmahordes, X-wing, or Malifaux.  There is always something happening.  I believe we will start posting a calendar of events to both Gamers n Geeks, and South Alabama Wargamers Group on Facebook.

JBW: So to put you on the spot; who do you think is player to beat this year?

Personally or Objectively?  Shawn Williams, Jeff O’Neal, and Steven Brooks of course, they are always strong.  I think Clay Williams out of Huntsville is good.  Unfortunately I don’t have too much experience from the other areas to be that knowledgeable about their players.  Its a little sad Brad Waugh isn’t making the trip.  That being said, I really hope you Northern boys aren’t discounting Mobile this year.  I think we have one or two that will surprise you. On the other hand, Will Clayton is going down!

JBW: What did you learn last time that you plan on using this year?

Don’t wear Sandals.  Two days on your feet is hell if you aren’t comfortable.  That and I’ll be buying two bricks of dice, one for each day, and mine only last for one before they are useless.

JBW: Say there was someone reading this who wants to try and qualify for the 2014 CAGE Match at their local store. What advice would you give them?

Have fun, but this is a very competitive series of tournaments.  Bring your A game.

JBW: Well thanks again for doing the interview.

You’re Welcome, I’m pretty excited to see everyone again and have a great weekend!

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