What is a National Player?

Unlike a lot of the other contributors I’m relatively new and not a big national contender. People like to see what things are like from the big dog’s point of view so that they can glean some insight. That special something they feel like they are missing. Truth be told there is no secret.

I’ve been playing for about 3.5 years now I started in early ’09 right around the Legends release. I played pretty regularly about 2 days a week, and say 5-6 games total per week. I started hearing about the national scene at the time; and thought that it just wasn’t for me. Simply that I would never be able to aspire to that level and compete with the best of the best. Then something changed, I started to read the battle reports and the competitiveness wasn’t that far removed from my local group.

I resolved to try harder until I could make that national scene and from that point on started playing more and more competitively. When I say that I mean I would spend more time on list construction and lay out my list goals. I cut out extraneous models that weren’t proving worth it over time or really elaborate gimmicks that only worked some, if any of the time. I also started playing timed turns in casual gaming. I wouldn’t force it on my opponent but I would for myself. If I ran out of time my turn was over. This forced me to stop having analysis paralysis.

All of this helped shaped me into a better player not even really stepping up the amount of gaming I was playing but analyzing them more and seeing what I did wrong; what I could do better or differently. Then internalizing all of that information and building from there.

Lock and Load last year was my first attempt at a national level convention. I ended up in finals against Will Pagini; and lost due to excellent play on his part. While I do not wish to detract from Will’s victory, but I enabled him to win. I’ve gone over that scenario in my head easily over a dozen times on what I could have done differently. They all boil down to me not piecing the puzzle together.

The point I’m trying to make is that no plan is fool proof, and that everyone makes mistakes; even at high levels of play. In the end I hope that this article encourages some of you to get out there and try harder; as you don’t have to be a national player to be able to play at a national level.


I am a Menoth, Retribution, and Minions player. Who plays in the PacNW gaming scene.
  1. Jonathan Barket Reply

    I know what you mean about enabling a win. Wargames Con a few weeks ago was my first outing on the national level. I ended up in the semifinals in one of the lesser tournaments, and completely fell apart under the pressure of being watched carefully by judges and playing a skilled opponent.

    All in all, good advice. We have a pretty fledgling scene here in Arkansas, but we’re still going to try to continue to make it out to the big events and have some kind of impact.

    • Danny "IRSMARTLIKEROCK" Modesto Reply

      Keeping calm under pressure is another big issue at events. When it’s just you and your friends there isn’t that burden, but you can use that to your advantage. If you can think that hard about your games during and after them; you’ll have an easier time seeing things that could have been different.

  2. muffinman Reply

    Great article. I’ve been working with similar goals lately. I played 40K at a national level for several years, but have only been playing warmachine for about a year now. My first attempt at a national tournament was Adepticon this year, and it was one of the most humbling experiences i’ve ever had playing a game. I got trashed!

    That experience made me want to try harder and find a way to become competitive at a higher level. Wargamescon was my next big event, and i managed to win the hardcore and went 2-1 in the masters, losing to the guy who won the whole thing.

    • Danny "IRSMARTLIKEROCK" Modesto Reply

      Yeah playing on the national level in any system is eye opening. People are just far more likely to pull tricks or do things you’ve likely never seen before. It can be a huge eye opening experience, for anyone. I’m glad you got to level up a bit and placed well at Wargamescon. Any take aways from that experience?

Leave a Reply

Connect with Facebook


captcha *