What follows is a testimonial by Papa D, one of Swedens most respected competitive players (and also the one who can hold down his liquor the best, but that’s for another time!). This was posted on the Swedish 40K Facebook page but we have the permission to share his testimonial and we are keen to do so as it offers a lot of insights into what it takes to be part of a WTC team.
A tutorial on how to become part of the WTC team – written by Papa D
I was first accepted into the ETC team and made Captain for the team preparing for ETC in Gorzow Poland, this was year 2012.
I was accepted to the team that year because I attended 15 tournaments and ended up top3 in most of them. As you see, I was a very active player and a regular in the competitive community in the whole of Sweden. The reason I was chosen to be captain was probably due to the tenacity and hard work I showed before and during those tournament but also because I developed a keen understanding of the game meta.
Ever since I have been part of the team and I left the captaincy after we took Silver in Prague 2015.
So how do You increase your chances of being picked to represent Sweden at the ETC 2020 and forward?
First and maybe most obviously, it is important to show interest. If you are not known to the captain, he will have a harder time picking you. That said, I know the captain looks closely to everyone on the top20. Following each player’s progress and what lists and factions said players use.
Second, at the ETC, every faction can only be represented once. So being the second best Eldar player in Sweden does not warrant you a seat at the table since the Eldar position is most likely already taken. There are two different strategies here really, become the master of your codex or become a jack of many trades. You can be picked on the skill set of that one codex you are a master of, or you can be picked on the fact that you do well in general but with many different codices.
My strategy has always been the latter. That have granted me the wild card position the last few years. When the 5–6 top tier codices are picked, the team needs players ready to dig deep in the pile of tier two and tier three codices to find the hidden gems.
Third, ranking is not everything. It is important to understand that ETC is a game format. Just as much as ITC-missions or “Comp” is a format. A captain will look at the rankings, but he/she will also look at where that ranking comes from. If you have five first place from fluffy nice friend tournaments with 20 people and zero good showings from competitive ETC like tournaments, well, it will probably matter less if you are top10. The same, I would say, goes for ITC-missions. ITC-missions is a very specific format that is VERY unlike ETC when it comes to army design and play style. I strongly advice people that wants to be part of the ETC team to travel and play different formats. A captain will most likely pick someone that can perform in ETC and other formats. Playing different missions and formats shows that you are an adaptable player and a skillful general.
Fourth, remember that ETC stands for European TEAM championship. Together Each Achieve More. A captain will look for team players, players that works within the group. So remember, be a sportsman and a friendly person at the table and off the table. After all, this is a hobby and the amount of time and money put into the preparations, practice games and the ETC itself is preferably done in a group where people respect, like and appreciate each other. That said, almost every year the team changes. Over the course of my 9 years in the team, I am the only player that is the same. I have had the pleasure to play with and represent Sweden with 21 different players during my years in the team.
Fifth, know what you get yourself into before you apply. I often talk about the journey to ETC and what it entails. There is no greater personal shame for me than when I come to ETC and underperform due to lack of dedication, practice or ignorance in preparations. I therefor play around 100 practice games with my ETC list or versions of my ETC list from March to July. Before that, I typically spend several 100 hours reading codices, understanding the meta, talking to the captain about my role in the team. The entire spring season I only attend tournaments with this said list or combination of codices, even if it isn’t the best and most opted list for single tournaments. On top of that, the team typically has two training camps. These are more or less mandatory so you need to spend time away from your hometown practicing with the group. I would also say that I spend around 300 hours in discussions on the team forums, or in the team chat. You have to be able to take criticism and give it. Helping your peers do list reviews, hardening lists and sometimes just bluntly chain sawing lists. You need to spend time understanding the overall meta, looking at other nations meta. In addition, before the actual event, you need to read every list in every team. You have to do your individual pairing against them and help your teammates with theirs. This year it was 36×8 lists. It took roughly 40 hours out of my vacation time to fill in and estimate the pairing against these 288 lists.
In the end, ETC is the best experience a 40k gamer can have. As usual, I will apply to the team and hope to have a chance to represent Sweden again, if the captain will have me. I strongly urge you to do the same when the application process opens up in the beginning of October.
Take from this what you want; it is just some ranting words from an old geezer.
Over and out,
Daniel “Papa D” Hesselberg