Community Spotlight: Wargame Rankings and the Warhammer 40k Top-20 Players

Disclosure: the author of this article is a committee member of the Wargame Rankings organization.

Fresh on the scene in Warhammer-related content creation is the new Wargame Rankings, an independent, community-driven organization that seeks to assess the top competitors in Warhammer 40k. Focusing on player, organizer, and community leader input, the inaugural rankings have released today and are independent of the more access-based ITC algorithm. Instead, it focuses on a college AP/Coaches-style polling assessment by key community members. Today we’ll get a word from the founder, Bill Stineman, on his inspiration and where he hopes to take this new system, look at the results of these inaugural rankings, the structure of the voting, and the composition of Wargame Rankings itself.

An Introduction to Wargame Rankings

The Wargame Rankings vote is due out every two months after this initial release thereby resulting in rankings being released six times annually with the next release due out in October. Coinciding with this initial release I spoke with Bill Stineman, the founder of Wargame Rankings, about this initial push and where he would like to see this go:

A Bit about Bill

Bill Stineman

Bill started 40K during the pandemic and is a member of the Frozen North Gaming Team. He started in the hobby when his son bought him a pack of Tau Pathfinders as a gift. If you’ve not met Bill, he can most frequently be found on the mid-tables, generally tilting (pleasantly) after failing a 6″ charge.

Why did you create Wargame Rankings?

I really enjoy podcasts and streaming about the competitive 40K scene – meta, results, and even the spicy topics.  However, some of the meta trends in 9th (crusher stampede, liquefier spam, etc.) really seem to dominate discussions, especially in the competitive scene.  Also, there’s so many great players who don’t get a chance to travel or regularly attend big events, and I wanted to find a way to celebrate those folks who have careers or commitments that prevent them traveling to the major events.

Can you elaborate a little on your inspiration?

I really enjoy sports – particularly college sports which are a huge deal in the US.  For football and basketball, weekly rankings are published based on votes by the media.  These create a great deal of enthusiasm and discussion and create a lot of enthusiasm among fans and sponsors. 

There’s plenty of rankings/tiers about the 40K meta, but I was curious if we could try to replicate this ranking concept for competitive results.  Obviously, most players are not in major tournaments each week, so we’ve adjusted the methodology to something that we hope will work.

What are your thoughts on the inaugural release and where do you hope to see this going?

First – a heartfelt thank you to our first 22 voting contributors.  These individuals have graciously provided their input on this first go around and have been patient while we work things out.  Our two committee members have been tremendously supportive and active to get these first rankings created.

Looking forward – the next step is to fill out our voting seats and chairs and eventually provide rankings for other regions as soon as we can – our plan is to keep all the rankings regional to keep the focus on how these competitors match up on the tabletop.  Eventually, we’ll look to provide rankings for other games (AoS, Bolt Action, etc.) to follow.

Thanks Bill! Without further ado, let’s look at the results!

The Inaugural Rankings

The rankings are established by a voting panel of 24 members across five regions in the US and Canada. The voters are identified later in this article and can also be found over at the Wargame Rankings website under its Contributor section. Voting members individually assess their top-20 players (US and Canada only at this time) and then submit their votes. These votes award a recipient points in inverse order to their voted rank (for example, a 1st place vote is worth 20-points, a 2nd place vote is worth 19, 3rd is worth 18, etc). These votes are then aggregated into a final ranking with any tiebreaks being assessed by the number of first place votes a player receives, the results of which are as follows:

Ranked Player (Total Points – First Place Votes)

  1. Brad Chester (353 – 1)
  2. Thomas Ogden (342 – 7)
  3. John Lennon (295 – 1)
  4. Richard Siegler (283 – 9)
  5. Anthony Vanella (279)
  6. Jack Harpster (270 – 1)
  7. Nick Nanavati (203)
  8. Ben Cherwien (183)
  9. Sean Nayden (170 – 1)
  10. Brenton Weiss (151)
  11. TJ Lanigan (142)
  12. Anthony Birdsong (132)
  13. James Kelling (116)
  14. Austin Wingfield (112)
  15. Andrew Gonyo (105)
  16. Steven Crawley (103)
  17. Joel Wilson (71 – 2)
  18. Charlie Andre (71)
  19. Nathaniel Bjorge (71)
  20. Sam Procopio (65)

In addition, a list of fifteen honorable mentions are included – players who received more than a few votes but did not crack the top-20, they are:

Brandon Grant, Daniel Olivas, Colin McDade, Alex MacDougall, Matt Root, Richard Kilton, Treynor Wolfe, Brad Townsend, Skari Martinez, Marshall Peterson, Matt Estrada, Ben Jurek, Kyle Parry, Brett Urbanowski, Brandon Vallee, and Daniel Wohlmuth.

The Wargame Rankings Structure

As mentioned previously, the organization is based around five geographic regions encompassing the US and Canada – US East, West, South, and Central, and then Canada. Each geographic region is awarded 10-voting members and is headed by a non-voting committee member who oversees the management of the region’s membership and voting. Combined, the non-voting committee members, chaired by Bill Stineman, form the governing body of Wargame Rankings. These committee members are charged with establishing the structure, policies, and approving newly nominated members within the regions.

At the time of this inaugural vote, 22 of the 50 voting members and 2 of the 5 committee members have been filled. These members are as follows:

Canada – Open

  • Alex Macdougall
  • Jon “Jonk” Kilcunnen
  • Riley Tremblay

US East – Tom Ogden

  • Anthony Birdsong
  • Dom Erzengel
  • John DeFrank
  • Austin Wingfield
  • Pete Hoye
  • Brenton Weiss
  • Brian “Legion” Horton

US Central – James “Boon” Kelling

  • Matt Root
  • Rob “TheChirurgeon” Jones
  • Robert Moreland
  • Thomas “Goatboy” Reidy
  • Ben Cherwien
  • Eric Forsman
  • Josh Thomas

US South – Open

  • Nick Nanavati

US West – Open

  • Don Hooson
  • Jon Quennell
  • Stephen Corrales
  • Jason McKinzie

The full details of the WR vote can be found at the Wargame Rankings website.

What about the UK and other regions?

Those are on their way – separate committees will be built out to vote for the top players in the UK and Europe. Right now a big focus is on expanding the voter pools to get representative samples, so it’s not a bunch of Americans opining on players they seldom interact with.

Author’s Thoughts

I’m personally excited to see how this takes off. On it’s initial run Bill has gathered some of the most prominent and plugged-in individuals into the community and effectively aligned them around a common goal of creating an independent ranking. While the ITC is one method of rankings players, it’s problematic form of measurement tied to event access and frankly, dollar spend (armies and travel), are well known and something I’ve discussed at length before. What’s fascinating to me about this system is that by dividing out the voters by region and offering an [eventually] equal voice to each region, we start to identify those individuals who are strong competitors at the table but potentially overshadowed by being limited to regional competition.

I also like that these rankings take into account the perspective of individuals who have had the opportunity to see individual’s play at the tabletop. We all know that in one-off games that the result can often be dictated primarily by what faction did someone play, under what circumstances, and in what manner did the game unfold – the final results of these games and events often don’t indicate the true level of play at the table. When I look at this list, particularly the honorable mentions, names like Brett Urbanowski (who’s done incredible work piloting Astra Militarum) or Sam Procopio (ride or die Blood Angels) stand out to me. Similarly, these rankings account for far more than simple recency bias – names like Andrew Gonyo, Matt Root, Skari Martinez among many, many more stand out to me as individuals who are excellent whenever they hit the table but are not putting up the volume and size of events to noticeably impact the top of the ITC rankings.

It’s early going for the Wargame Rankings, and there’s a majority of seats to still fill for the US and Canada rankings (not to mention extending these to overseas), but I think what Bill has created here is filling a notable gap in our community. I welcome this new, fresh perspective on the competitive community.