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.
Jeff plays in the Birmingham area. Jeff took 2rd in the 2013 CAGE Match.
JBW: Hey Jeff, Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. So how did you get into 40K?
I have played miniature war games since I was 16 years old, however, the problem was finding an opponent who owned miniatures and the same rule set that I played. Therefore, in 1994 I looked around and found a thriving 40K community that provided numerous opponents. At that point I abandoned my other wargames and bought my first mega armor nobz.
JBW: What other Games/ Systems do you play?
Currently I only play 40K as I just don’t have the time to play other games. However, in recent years I have played Fire and Fury, Warhammer, Flames of War, and Gruntz.
JBW: Do you have other armies? Would you mind giving us a quick list of them?
For 40K, I have Orks, Chaos Marines, Daemons, Imperial Guard, Necron, Dark Eldar, Space Marines, and Eldar. For Warhammer I have Orcs and Lizardmen. For Flames of War I have Germans. For Fire and Fury I have a confederate army.
JBW: In your opinion what do you think makes a good tournament player?
You have to be flexible. Every tournament has different victory conditions, different quantity and quality of terrain, different rules interpretations, and different opponents. You walk up to the table and have little time to determine your setup and your tactics. The ability to be flexible is probably the weakest part of my game. I typically do not play well against new things (rules, units, armies, etc.). My strength is that once I have seen something 3-4 times, then I am very good at figuring out a solution and then being able to apply that solution on a consistent basis.
JBW: What qualities do you think you need to bring to this event and tournaments in general?
1. A reasonable attitude. Treat your opponent the way you want to be treated. This will provide a reasonable experience for both players and will allow you to enjoy the event.
2. Play hard! Give your opponent your best game. This means make your best moves and take your best shots and do so as fast as possible. Be enthusiastic and go for the win. (playing hard does not mean acting like a jack-ass.)
3. Get your head on straight before you walk in the door. If winning is the only way you can enjoy the event, then you don’t need to show up. The competition is strong and experienced, and ultimately only one player wins all of his games. Last year I lost one game and I probably enjoyed it the most as it was a close game, and a very tactical game, and we did not have one rule question or dispute.
4. Don’t slow play. This may be a viable tournament gimmick, but don’t be that person.
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?
If you have a strange rule interpretation that you plan on using to your advantage, I would discuss it with the TO and each opponent before every game. This will avoid a devastating ruling from the TO that costs you a game. Also, bring an army list that fully documents your army. Abbreviated lists that don’t disclose all details will lead to unnecessary problems.
JBW: So to put you on the spot; who do you think is player to beat this year?
I expect Shawn Williams to be the favorite. He had an outstanding year in 2013, his army selection is always strong, and he is a very tactical player. As noted above, flexibility is the key and that is one of Shawn’s strengths.
JBW: You have been toying with a lot of other lists in the 2013 GW quick release schedule. Yet it’s no secret that your true love is Orks. What brings you back to the green skins time and time again?
I like playing an army that is not popular. In a tournament environment there are very few opponents who truly understand what the ork army can and cannot do. The orks are a very forgiving army as they can take a devastating punch, and yet still be able to counter punch. Unfortunately, the current rules environment has hurt orks every way possible and right now I don’t think it is a very competitive army.
JBW: You played some tough matchups in the 2013 CAGE Match. One in particular was against a Necron Airforce army, and that game really generated a crowd of onlookers. You won that game with Orks, baffling the onlookers. You also played Shawn for the top rank in the Final. What advice or tips would you give the readers about playing Orks, or an ‘unfavored’ Codex?
I think most players want to play the latest, best thing. As a result, they play a good army poorly. I take the approach that it is better to play a poor army well than a good army poorly. The only way to play an army well, is to play it a lot, against all opponents, and over time you will know exactly what your army can do. I think last year my success was due more to my experience than the “power” of the codex.
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?
Seek out the best competition you can find and play those people. Most of us learn more from a loss than from a win. Over time you will become a better player and you will achieve more tournament success.
JBW: Well thanks again for doing the interview.