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Team Interview – (Cpt.) Tom Adriany

mrt 21, 14 Team Interview – (Cpt.) Tom Adriany

Hi Everyone,

My name’s Kobe Keymeulen, and I’m one of the many guys who gets to enjoy the benefits of this beautiful website without being a part of any actual team. Like a lot of other people here, I love going to tournaments and all likes, but, I believe 40k is not only a fun wargame, but also a great spectator sport. However, it’s not really fun to watch any form of spectator sport when you don’t know any of the star players. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this series of blogposts. 
Because, here, I essentially get to interview some of Team.BE members. I said it’s one of the reasons, because, obviously, they’re a bunch of really nice guys with some cool stories to tell. 

So, today I get to adress the elephant in the room. I mean, there really wasn’t much competition for the first interview. Tom Adriany is not only the captain of this (and previous) years team, or a part of the ETC organising Inner Circle, but also the guy who has the highest tally of tournaments attended and organised. Anyone who’s ever met him in a tournament will confirm he’s a really nice to play against and is always willing to give some advice.
But that’s enough praise, I’ll let him tell you all about it himself:

 

Let’s start with the most obvious question: how did you get into 40k? And tournaments specifically?

Some 14 years ago now, my cousins boyfriend got together with a bunch of his friends, his regular 40k crew, in his attic and I spectated while they put in a game of 2nd Edition 40k. It wasn’t until after I had  talked to the guys and heard about the background of the game that I was hooked without knowing it yet. When I was in Brussels shopping I passed the GW store that was featuring some great models in their display cabinet, and after drooling over them for a while I went in and instantly purchased some boxes of Space Marines and Orks. The start of a never-ending collection. I then played at my cousins place occasionaly while my collection grew steadily and my knowledge of the 40K universe expanded as I absorbed every book I could find and borrow from my cousin and his buddies, but it wasn’t until I moved to Leuven and joined the Gaming Lords some years later, who back then still had a great gaming space at the local Dicepool store, that my gaming picked up by quite a fair margin. I played everyone, everything, and as much as I could. I played my first tournament some 8 years ago, as I quickly outgrew my local opponents and was looking for a new challenge. My first tournament was Full Tilt ran by the Gaming Club ‘De Witte Ridder’ from Leopoldsburg, who ran the biggest tournament in the Benelux, with 120 places for fantasy and 120 for 40K. They are also responsible for starting the Ranking Der Nederlanden, an organsiation called into life to promote cross-border gaming from belgian and dutch players, and to promote the tournament aspect of the hobby a bit more. I still look back fondly on my first game vs Gustav van Leeuwen, whom dissappeared from the scene now, but occasionaly surfaces again (I played him two years ago in the finals from exterminatus when the WD Sisters release just came out). I was playing my Blood Ravens at the time and he was fielding a fully tricked out Dark Eldar army, and he handed my ass to me as my list was far from ideal, but he took the time afterwards to go over our battle and give me pointers on how to do better. As I faced more experienced players, my level of play picked up and I learned to counter a lot of builds and started to do better gradually as I adjusted my list. But the thing that kept me coming back was the fact that along the way, I met a lot of cool people that I’ve come to call friends over the years. The social aspect of it was always the most gratifying, and the thing that kept me in the game this long.

 

And the ETC scene? How did you get involved in that?

Back when I was playing my Speedfreak Orks at the end of 4th edition, I basically won everything there was to be won locally, and people noticed. Some of the Fantasy ETC guys, Klaas and Christophe, whom had been attending the ETC for a year or two back then already, got in touch to get a 40K team to tag along. Back then it was pretty spur of the moment, with everyone that wanted or could field the cash necessary to go, making the team. We were a rowdy, somewhat incoherent bunch made up of both sides from the language border, but the experience of attending the first time stuck, and again, we made some friends along the way. The Scots, The Welsh and the Northern Irish especially gave us such a good feeling about the games, and especially the friendly chats we had that we decided to go back the year after, and gradually we put more structure and thought into it. The ETC is a tournament ran by and for the players, and as such most things are decided by a combined captains council. I noticed after a while that only a dedicated few were keeping the cogs turning, but since it was an enormeous task, and I always invested heavily into the hobby and knew I could put in the time, I decided to step in and help out Pierre, who was almost solely responsible for putting out rules clarifications and such for the 40K side. Klaas was an ETC Chairmen at the time and as we got to know each other a little better kind of petitioned for me to vie for a chairmen spot as I think he recognised I was cut out from the right material. I honestly didn’t think I’d be voted for the first year as I was still pretty new to the whole thing when I ran for ‘office’, but the 40k captains saw the work I put in and so I was rewarded for it by being involved with all the major decisions involving the ETC from then onwards, and i’ve been a part of it ever since. Like I said, the social aspect is something that always appealed the most to me, and there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing 500+ people from across the world meet each other every year to share their love for the hobby. I can honestly say it has had a very positive input in my life as I’ve met so many great people over the years, and it has enriched how I experience my hobby in ways I cannot begin to describe.

 

So what can you tell us about the job of an ETC chairman?

Well, to be honest the chairmen’s role is not all that you make it out to be. We’re more the connecting part between the organisers and the player community, and act as a living memory to remind the organisers of what pitfalls there are and what areas could use improving as compared to previous ETC’s. There’s quite some specific topics that need working on, and generally the chairmen meet up once every two weeks to discuss things over Skype. Current things on the table are getting an ETC portal going complete with statistics from previous years, picture galleries, history, personal accounts, and a dedicated forum, an on the organisatorial level we are discussing terrain (which needs to improve), sponsorship, a possible new charter for the ETC, and things like that. When I first joined the Captains forum, I saw that Pierre (chtiofonce on the forums) was almost solely responsible for creating the 40K rulespack, clarifications, getting a referee team together (which is a big concern and hassle every year as we want competent referees but mostly no-one wants to spend money from his own pocket to come play referee at an event the likes of the ETC) , getting a Merc team together in the case we would be uneven, … All of this is extremely time-consuming so I decided to step in back in the day to help take some load off of Pierre this way. Most of it is just delegating stuff, and getting things organised by proposing votes here and there, and putting things up for discussion. The way the clarifications were done in the past is once the referee team was assembled, which was always close to June, the ref team got working on getting the FAQ’s done as soon as possible, but it always led to a rushed job, and most if not all of the refs didn’t participate as much as we wanted. So last year Pierre installed a seperate forum, the ‘houserules’ forum, where a select bunch are discussing issues that crop up on a day to day basis to get some sort of a consensus going, and to identify potential problems. I play a big part in that, together with the Romenian and Spanish Captain, so I guess you could say those people form the core of the ETC rulings that get made. There’s a lot more to it than that of course, as there’s a lot of internal kitchen and problems to sort out each year, but nothing that needs to be mentioned here. As you can guess, getting 6 blokes from across the world together for a skype meeting can be a bit of a pain in the ass, so progress is a bit slow always, and the efficiency at which things get done or decided at the chairmen level leaves a bit to be desired. If the ETC wants to keep growing, I think that needs to change, but there are some structural problems that stand in the way of that. With the new charter that has been worked on, we hope to clear those obstacles.

 

On the topic of rulings, maybe we should talk about the new uprising of escalation units and dataslates. Although the rulings have been voted for, how do you think the Imperial Knights or any other further release of super-heavies are going to be incorporated?

I don’t think they will be incorporated at the ETC. Most of us can agree they have no place in any kind of competitive play. Like I said before, the Deathstars already kind of take the participation out of a game sometimes as the rock/paper/scissors aspect is very apparent in those kind of matchups, but things like Escalation and the Imperial Knights really further enhance that feeling (even though unjustly in my opinion where it concerns the Knights as they are really balanced as a unit!). No-one wants their game to last under 50 minutes, and step away from the table with the feeling that you weren’t able to at least put a dent in the opponents army. Especially not at the ETC, where you spend 500+ euro to travel and attend. The ETC is well known for it’s ‘comp’ system. It is heavily present for the Fantasy side, and if things keep to evolve like this I’m sure we will get the same kind of system for 40K. Where it concerns local tournaments I hope most of the organising committees have the common sense to not include them, but I’ll be going to tournaments regardless, and will adjust my army accordingly. I have already taken the first steps towards such as I think GW isn’t going to abbate with releasing cool new kits and stuff to match the Knights.

 

You also mentioned Speed Freaks. So, as a renowned Ork player, what’s your opinion on the new rumours regarding a certain upcoming codex release? Hopes, thoughts, any Mork gifted fantasies? 

Orks have become my mainstay army. I have parted ways with a lot of armies over the years but my orks are special. They have become a bit obsolete right now, and are gathering dust at the moment, but I hope that come summer they will be ready for  more glorious battles. I don’t ask much really. Some cool kits would already be enough to get me playing them again. I’ve won all there is to won, and while I do enjoy to win, I have come to a point where I am ready to just field whatever army I want and not be bothered by the kind of results I generate. I do want to have the feeling that I stepped away from the table having done everything I could to steal points from the other guy across the table, so the army would have to have some form of teeth and bite, but with the way the deathstar 40k has been evolving as of late I’m not so sure I will want to go through the chore to keep up. A lot of the current games are extremely one-sided. Ultimately, that eats away from enjoying the game, and I think that should still be the prime focus of everyone’s involvement into the hobby. I hope we get something cool and big like the Riptide or Wraithknight kit, that we get some updated rules that actually make them somewhat more viable in 6th edition. The Orks have a psychic gestalt, and as such should be very prone to having devastating psychic powers when they have big numbers, so there’s hopes that that will come back into play. I love the idea of having a freebooter orks or deathskulls army, so seeing the different clans more prominently featured again would be awesome, as would be an update and preferably models for the Flash Gits, a unit I would love to field. Orks are a very forgiving army, as in terms of modeling and their background, everything makes sense. Some way to incorporate the ‘looted’ aspect more into their army, with units or vehicles stolen from a variety of codexes, is probably too much to ask for, but would give a definite boost to Orks, and the game in my opinion. I’d be more than happy if the head honcho’s at GW simply streamlined the army for 6th edition to give them more of a fighting chance. Nothing needs to be over the top, and I wouldn’t be displeased if they got a bit of the Tyranid treatment, if only they get cool new models.

 

Ouch, the ‘Nid treatment… Well, you did play Orks at the ETC in 2010. However, 2012 was for Grey Knights and 2013 belonged to Tau. So what’s in the bag for this year? I think everyone at the Caledonian Open would agree your daemons look fantastic on the tabletop.

I don’t know what I’ll be taking really. We kind of changed our Team Strategy this year in terms of who’s taking what, but there’s still a long way to go so things might still change a lot. Since we have a player pool that is kind of limited in which armies they are familiar with to go compete at an ETC type level, I think I’ll have to take my responsibility as a Captain and take an army that is needed by the team but that no-one wants to invest in model-wise or playtime wise. I’m looking at CSM, Necrons, Daemons, Tau, Grey Knights at the moment as potential armies to take. I have been playing the Daemon army for quite a while now, and I like the playstyle a lot. It is very resilient and requires a lot of thoughts on how to approach the game in progress, which is something I like a lot. Every game is different and it requires adaptive tactics more than any other army I’ve played so far. It can’t quite compete with the big guns, but it sure is a lot of fun to play. That the army is so beautiful is courtesy of Geert Cleynen, one of my buddies that just loves painting and converting and always amazes me with giving a certain look and feel to an army. He helped me by fleshing out the paintscheme (which is pretty simple) and learning me the techniques (also quite simple) to paint the army, but he’s largely responsible for the final pimping. The problem I have now is that I want to expand the army a lot to be able to play anything I’d want, and that is going to take a while… Expect to see my daemons for a long time at local tournaments, as I can’t see myself part with them anytime soon.

 

Speaking of local, what are your thoughts on our own Belgian scene?

I actually think our 40k scene is more healthy than it ever was. It’s just a happenstance that a lot of tournament organisations fell flat on their face because of inner turmoil in their local clubs lately. That has nothing to do with the state of the game at this point really so it wouldn’t require much to change that, although I admit the tournament scene has become a lot more polsarised with people not liking the flyers or big monsters, and the return of the 40K deathstar builds. I’ve been here since 2nd edition, so I don’t particularly mind that as I’ve seen 6 Eldar models race through 3 or 4 complete armies at a time, but it does turn away more people from playing the game at the tournament level at this point. This hobby of ours is also getting more expensive by the minute for the competitive gamer, as the release schedule is insane and it is hard to keep up with all the new rules and additions, and their impact on lists and builds, but I think the casual gamer is having the time of his/her life with some awesome models out there. So I think it comes down to us seeing a transition period where some of the old garde is laying down their arms, and ome of the new garde not being aware of the joys and benefits of tournament level play, or being too young to take the step to actually start organising. We have the disadvantage of being a small country, so every loss of organisation or club activity is felt heavily. But I’m sure it will pick up at some point. Plus, there’s more than enough opportunities to play across the borders if one wants.

 

Indeed there are, and I think you’ve had quite some 40k experiences abroad yourself. Anyone who has every played against you knows you’ll pop up an Adepticon turn counter, and roll dice from all sorts of different events around the world. So what are the things you enjoy most when going to these events?

Like I’ve said, I’ve been doing this a long time now, and I’ve seen and experienced mostly everything there is to be seen. The thing I enjoy most and take out of this personally is playing new people, who have a different meta or take on a particular army and bring new tactics or tricks into their game, which ultimately helps me developing my game a little more. But mostly it is the sense of cameraderie. Whether it is the local people we meet or the buddies I happen to travel with, it is great to go away for a weekend with toy soldiers serving as an excuse to have a good time. I think my focus personally will lie there in the future, and I will expand on those experiences a lot more. I have made up my mind to attend NOVA for instance, and as we are developing the team a bit more, those experiences abroad will come in handy when the ETC finally comes around.

 

Yeah, you often mention the importance of the social aspect of the game. And ehm, well, I think we’re all behind you on that. However, since you are known (in a positive way) for having a strict code of honor when it comes to 40k gaming, can you tell us a bit more about that?

You know, I was a hothead myself when I was getting into this game, and I’ve always had a penchant for playing things ‘right’, and going into rules debates, but a lot of times people are forgetting there’s another bloke at the other side of the table. We have a small scene, and as one of the top dogs and being one of the players to beat, people seem to want to go to extreme lengths to pull that off. There’s just a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and I decided to take a stand against it, and continue to do so up to this point. I’ve been doing this a long time now, and  I’ve seen behaviour like that turn a few people away from the hobby, which is a great shame. Like I said, our scene isn’t all that big, and fringe behaviour should be called out. Some people also need to be protected from themselves, as getting a ‘name’ is something easily done, especially in a scene as sall as ours, but difficult to rectify at later stages. At the end of the day, this is still a game about plastic toy soldiers, and we should always remain vigilant that some borders are never crossed. As to how someone should behave during a game? I don’t know and I don’t think that’s for me to decide or discuss either. We should not forget that everyone gets something different out of this game, and we should respect that. Some want to have cool batles, others want to stomp face, others want to do both at the same time. Everyone should be mindful that they should not impose how they want to live their hobby onto their opponent, and show the proper respect and understanding for that. What I personally always do is be very lenient when I play someone, especially when it’s for the first time. I will explain some of my moves, question him whe he does something that will cost him the game in my opinion, and I will always let my opponent go back on moves or do things he forgot, even when we’re at a different phase, or when it might impact the game. I would not want to win a game because my opponent forgot something or did something out of sequence. Unfortunately, those things are quite strictly applied at the ETC, and as such you have to adjust your mindset to it – which isn’t for everyone-, but it is not generally something I carry into a battle. I’ve learned that a quick discussion about this with your opponent(s) is a good idea and to avoid situations cropping up. Especially when playing someone for the first time.

 

Yeah, indeed, that’s a good rule of thumb.
And finally, obviously we all want our team to get into the top 10 this year, but what strengths do you think Team.BE has over all the other teams? Why should they wet their underwear at the thought of playing Boss Teefstrukk and his 7 Nobz?

I think we were already quite close last year. If we would have had decent games in vs the Serbs I’m sure we would have pulled out on top as the pairing really favoured us. I’m still a bit bummed of not playing the Americans in their stead. That being said, I think the top 10 is really hard to achieve at the ETC level, especially for a country with a small player pool like ours, and a tournament scene where the nasty lists and builds aren’t really prevalent. That is our biggest achilles heel I think, that we don’t get enough practice and games in vs those kind of builds. But that is why we have changed our training days and our approach this year, and I think we’ve been bridging that gap by quite a margin. A core of our players also invested in going abroad to enhance their playing experiences, so I am positive about our progress as a team. I think our biggest strength is that more than most other teams, we’re a tight-knit group, and that we don’t have any real ambitions going into the ETC other than having a good time and doing our best. Everyone should wet their underwear this year, because Da Boss is demanding a good clobberin’ this year! Team.Be coming ta get ya, laddies! Best be ready!

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