Following on from our conversations with Randal Brasher and Baz Norman Jr, we’re back in North America this week and talking to Jeremy Veysseire.
Jeremy has appeared in so many top three list articles over the last year I’ve lost count of his GT wins and podiums!
Jeremy Veysseire – The Stats
Win Rate: 93.5%
Current World Woehammer Ranking: 3rd
Current North America Woehammer Ranking: 2nd
Current US Woehammer Ranking: 2nd
Thank you for agreeing to the interview Jeremy! Those who follow Woehammer’s Top Three Lists are used to seeing your name at on the podium many times a year! But what we want is how did this all begin? When did you start playing Warhammer and when did you start playing competitively?
Thanks for having me on first off. and to get right into it with your question. I was 9 years old (so 28 years ago) when I got my first boxset of Warhammer miniature boxset (the Lizardmen and Brettonian one) and it was a bribe from my parents when we moved from Paris France to Palo Alto California as I did not want to leave my entire extended family and didn’t really want to move to a country that I barely understood the language. My grandfather is a collector of Napoleonic & World Wars miniatures and I hung out a lot with him watching him assemble and paint them so I guess they thought it would be a good bribe but little did they know it would dictate so much of my life going forward haha.
I started playing competitively after I graduated from University and moved to Portland Oregon, I had an income from my new job and noticed that that the Pacific Northwest that I lived in had a vibrant Warhammer tournament scene as I got back into the hobby full time after University. Of course for me those days were mostly Warhammer 40,000 as this was the days of 5th edition and it culminated in my first ever east Coast GT being Nova Open. I ended up 3rd there with Sisters of Battle at the onset of 6th edition. Eventually Frontline Gaming started their own event called Bay Area Open which then created the proto circuit now known as ITC and I was hooked. While I never won ITC for 40k, I did get close a few years running. When 8th edition dropped for 40k, I remember going to the first GT in the US with Index Harlequin and losing only to a Blood Angel army that had nothing but Flyers/Planes and thats when I saw the writing on the wall for me and 40k. And its also when the first General’s Handbook came out which gave AOS the structure it needed for me to become a full convert. I swapped to it and never looked back.
A fellow convert! Did your experience of list building and competitive play in 40k transfer over to Age of Sigmar?
To an extent, at the time the game systems were fairly different in how you would achieve a win. Most 40k players I believe look at the double turn potential in AoS as the primary different reason for that but in my experience, the games approach the win condition very differently. I started out in competitive AoS with Ironjawz and got my ass handed to me by 1.0 Tzeentch over and over and while that army at the time was just this powerhouse of just straight ability to remove your models off the table, I noticed that all my losses were always because I kept trying to feeling like I had to kill the threats that killed my army which is usually at the time a good 40k tactic but in AoS it turns out doing that meant I was always giving my opponent the ability to maximize his output versus making him have to take risky position to get into effect while retaining superior board state.
Eventually, I transitioned to 1.0 Fyreslayer which grew from my experience early and I was luckily blessed with a new tome when 2.0 dropped and it greatly rewarded that type of approach to the game. Age of Sigmar is a game that rewards board positioning more than anything, be it you are a super shooty or super melee army. If you choose to be super shooty or fighty, at the end of the day winning the game wasn’t so much about waht you could kill but where you could kill it. Had a really good year with 2.0 Fyreslayer, I think I had a 95% winning rate with them in 5 Roung GTs, went to the final at LVO against pre nerf 2.0 Slaanesh and the game was pretty close, but with that finish at LVO it assured me my first place finish in ITC and best Fyreslayers.
I do want to point out to the audience, that I do not think AoS or 40k is better than one or the other. I played both competitively for a long time and still play 40k today a bit but I personally prefer AoS (who knows now that Leagues of Votann is out, yes I am a Dwarf guy. Ungrim Ironfist is one of my favorite characters from the old world) because the game currently is one of the best its ever been. I will say that I find that the experience and skills I have learned from AoS today have translated very well into the games of 40k I do play and as the games keep moving towards a rule singularity like they are maybe one day being a great player at one also means being great at the other, who knows.
You mentioned your win rate of 95%. By my calculations you’re at 93.5% this season after 6 GT’s. That’s insane! 29 wins and just 2 losses. What’s they key around your army lists to give you such success? How do you go about constructing a tournament winning list?
Honestly, the percentage is a point of pride but also I fully admit its a bit silly. Fyreslayers in 2.0 were perfectly designed for that edition and nowadays I am more going into the hobby with a bit less severity. I think I played probably close to 300 games in and outside of tournaments with 2.0 Fyreslayers and I believe I won more coin flips than my opponents when the game came down to that in 2.0. Today, I am playing KO, Legion of Blood, NoMorathi DoK, 6 Grimwrath and Gotrek FS and taking a lot more of what I think is cool and interesting but still follows some core design philosophy with how 3.0 Winning dynamism works.
KO is just good nowadays because so many Battle Tactics in Season 2 of 3.0 reward you for killing things without always being on max primary points, Legion Of Blood is an army that can just punish aggressive armies and dictate the rules of engagement in the center of the board while still scoring BT, NoMorathi does the same but with more punch and arguably less durability/attrition play and then there is my Gotrek and Grimwrath list which is more of an army this about trying something different. Honestly, I took it for the NOVA invitational because I wanted play something that was fun and since the event was single elim and that I would be playing potentially be playing 15 games at NOVA (4 games at the invitational, potentially 8 at the GT and 3 at the RTT) and the weekend before I just had a 5 round GT so 20 games in 1 week but man did that backfire. I ended up winning the invitational with it and making it to round 6 of the GT with NoMorathi and played all 3 RTT games with NoMorathi so 18 games, I had hit Warhammer Fatigue. But back to the original topic at hand, why play that Grimwrath and Gotrek list outside of fun, it is honestly pretty good in the current format because it has a lot of diversified threats and the fight of death gives you the ability to get any value out of them and the double activations gives you trade up value plus the ability to activate at the end of the combat vs strike last means you can use that toolkit to lock up units into combats and rob them of their plan to do what they wanted with them the following turn.
I struggle with 3 games over a weekend, 20 in one week must be a huge ask. Do you have any methods for keeping your focus?
Oh god, well I have methods that I should apply more often than not ahahah. When I was younger, getting drunk day 1 and sleeping only 4 hours the night of, was no issue with focus and play but now as I get older, I notice that method is really not helping anymore. Nowadays, while I still drink (Scotch Single Malt preferably, thanks) during my games if we are allowed, I do have more reservation about how much. I try to drink a lot water nowadays on and off the table and try to sleep 7-8 hours during the event and most importantly go into the event with zero to little sleep debt. When I “coach” newer tournament players, I try to educate them about tournament fatigue. The idea that there is no way you can play all of these games at max mental acuity and physical one as well especially when the game is so social; as in people aren’t just there to game, they want comradery, they want to share moments with new strangers/friends over our ridiculous game.
The way to deal with it is in 2 ways, at the table and off the table, at the table there is always the rule of have as much fun as you are afforded be it your own personal energy level and what is your opponent energy level but make sure you don’t tunnel on the bad things that happen and same for the good things, never lose focus on scoring points and don’t seek some personal vendetta on a unit you feel deserves to die, etc… Just have fun, score points and try to do it without having to kill things at the table. When you can do that effectively well, then you can start adding the new complexity to that and that is: How can you do that now and next turn with the decisions you are making now, and keep moving the time horizons as you get more comfortable with that. The off the table is really about people’s own preference but as I mentioned earlier that knowing what your limit is very important. While its important to win don’t forget to have fun, god I sound a like a lame Dad.
No! That’s great advice that I think many of us forget mid game. You must face many new players who have recognised your name on the tournament circuit, have you found that this recognition affects their game judgement? I guess what I’m trying to say is, do mind games come into it very often?
Yes, I had a few events where people recognize me and yes there is sometimes some self defeatism that happens at the table but I often remind my opponents especially the newer ones on how to go about either defeating a combo of mine or how to approach the game with of course as many mulligans as they want to take as long as we have not moved too far into the game. The issue is that some players either rise to the moment or fold perhaps because they don’t trust that I would give away pointers to my detriment or because they want to prove me wrong. I fully recognize its pretty condescending for someone to approach a table and offer up advice in a competitive environment as if they know that empowerment of their opponent is somehow not able to beat the cocky player. But the reality is that I play so many games where I am trying to coach people outside of events that I find that I just revert to that. I get a lot more value out of a game where my opponent grows in skill during the game as much as me facing a challenging new paradigm. Most folks forget that top players can suffer from impostor syndrome and my way of tackling it is by trying to maximize my opportunities into playing what I consider good or better players than I. I too want to become better than what I am today and elevating everyone’s game even mine is an important reason why I go to competitive events.
Regarding mind games, I do not try to engage into it too much but I know some folks I play regularly who joke that I own real estate in their mind. My type of mind games is maybe playing or designing armies which are maybe a bit off meta I guess. I do love the call out videos and the bit of jabbing that happens here stateside between the teams and players because its just good ol fun but I know some folks could consider them a form of mind game. I think the only mind games that end up affecting players is they one they give power to. I have seen it, folks who approach a game versus Bill Souza and just give up before the first roll happens and it breaks my heart. That player would have gotten so much more value from the game against Bill in growth and learning if he went about it with a winning attitude and heck people like me and Bill can lose. Queue: “If it bleeds, we can kill it”
If you could give advice to new tournament players what would it be?
Outside of making sure you give yourself the proper expectation how mentally tiring and how its hard to keep the same level of play after 5 games and a night out, my biggest advice to new players is to come to an event with achievable goals. Some players like a ratio of wins to losses but I prefer more of things related to the game such as: “Not dropping a Battle Tactic.” or “Sequencing combat activations correctly” or “Did I always make sure to pile in advantageously?”. I find that while everyone wants to go to events for games and the overall communal experience, its also nice to go for a more personal reason such as making sure you are getting some growth out of it. I personally attend tournaments to hope to play against certain players as a way to learn how to improve my game in those situations. Finally, tournaments are fun but you will always get what you put into them; meaning that if you choose to go there for just games, you will get that, if you go to improve your games, you will get that and if you go there to have fun, you will have fun and if you are transparent and obvious about those things, you will find that people will put the same energy into the game.
Jeremy, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you, thank you. All the best for the remainder of the season!
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