Interview with Jared McGraw: 2018 Nova Champion


Dan: Jared McGraw, you recently just won Nova and you did it with Anvil as your captain for every game. The internet is running rampant with speculations and opinions about your success with this “scrapheap” model. Congratulations on making waves and winning NOVA!

Dan: So who were your tournament ten that you took to Nova?


Jared: My tournament ten was Anvil, Furnace, Burnish, Ferrite, Hearth, Alloy, VCinder, Bolt, Sledge, and Iron.


Dan: Now that we know the ten, can you simplify what exactly you’re route to success with Captain Anvil looks like? The model has been out for over a year but no one other than you, the Irish Champion, Fraser Mcfetridge, and a few other keyboard cowboys from vassal have piloted Anvil to success.


Jared: I may be playing Blacksmiths a little differently than some of the other known Anvil enthusiasts.  I also find myself still adjusting to the playstyle and learning how and when to switch gears during certain matchups.  The majority of the time I find myself performing active ball killing with a focus on scoring a goal for tempo or to finish a game.  Lastly, I feel this line up is a clock advantage team in that it puts a lot of pressure on my opponent’s clock trying to figure out how to get around all the synergies.


Dan: Are you more looking to kick or receive with Captain Anvil?


Jared: I don’t have a preference for kicking receiving. When I kick, I kick with Alloy


Dan: I notice you include Burnish and Ferrite in your ten, both are popular captain options, yet in your last eleven tournament games (all wins) you’ve selected Anvil as your captain for every single game. Is there any matchup where you feel like Ferrite or Burnish are the better play? If so, when and why?


Jared: This recent tournament run I have attended was a thorough playtest of what matchups I enjoy Anvil in, and which ones I feel he is not that helpful.  I have to admit though that I am addicted to Anvil as a Captain, and it is hard moving off of that.  I do feel however, I am leaning towards Burnish for Morticians, and quite possibly Ratcatchers as well.  I feel that Burnish threatens Obulus with four influence, and I am still up in the air on the Ratcatchers match up.


Dan: In the finals of Nova you played against Mike Ireland and his Ratcatchers. Everyone loves an underdog story and you guys gave the internet two underdogs, Anvil and Piper fighting for first! This game was actually your narrowest win of the tournament, 12-10. Were there any highlights of this game that you can remember and share?


Jared: I really enjoyed playing Mike in that he is an experienced Warmachine player, and it showed in how clever he was in his utilization of Piper activations.  I gave Mike a hard time with his dilemma on VCinder turn one using a KD parting blow from Burnish.  This forced him to pass the ball with Piper, missing the pass, and ending his activation with a pointless Reverie.   Constant ball pressure throughout the game forced me to think outside of the box.  A late VCinder activation involved charging Squeak with Skulk also being engaged, finishing Squeak off with two more attacks, Grim Vengeance dodge into the loose ball, and using her final influence to kick the ball off the edge of the pitch scattering from the center.  His entire team was on the left side of the pitch at this point so it allowed me to move the ball as far away as possible from his team.


Dan: After you won, the narrative that stirred from that game was mixed. For some, your win with Anvil sparked an interest in re-exploring Anvil & Sledge, it was proof that they were good models. For others, your win with Anvil wasn’t validation on the models but mostly further recognition of your skill as a player and your ability to win with anything. I’m curious, what is your take on this internet debate?


Jared: Anvil & Sledge are in a good place, and I feel that VCinder helps them become viable as a fighting team.  Blacksmiths fit my playstyle and allow me to be passionate about playing them.


Dan: Shortly after your win at NOVA, Steamforged put out a spoiler on what S4 Anvil and Sledge will look like. Both models were given significant buffs. What’s your opinion on these changes?


Jared: I am going to straight bushwhack people with them.   Stoic on Anvil’s Legendary is amazing!  The stoic makes it more difficult to separate Anvil & Sledge for that free piledriver in that the opponent wants to push one or the other outside the six inch aura.


Dan: In little over a week you will be heading to Poland to represent USA at the Guild Ball World Team Championship. There you’ll be taking this hot Blacksmith tech with you to battle against Europeans and hopefully secure the gold for USA. How confident are you feeling right now about your chances? Do you think the foreign metas are prepared for Captain Anvil?


Jared; I am a highly competitive person and consider myself to be extremely driven.   My teammates Mike Klein and Frank Kumitis are ideal for me in that I consider both to be fearless.  This is the most prepared I have ever been for any event, and I am not traveling halfway across the world to socialize or come in second place. 


Dan: After the WTC, what’s next for Jared McGraw? Will you be making a run for winning US Nationals East and then hopefully taking on the world a second time at the world championships?


Jared: I won a Steamcon US badge at NOVA.  I plan on playing in the qualifier, and enjoying the new Season 4 toys.


Dan: Jared, rumor is your done being The Nice Guy of Guild Ball and you’re looking to re-brand your image into something more serious, something more raw and uncensored. How are you planning on accomplishing this transformation? Will there be another mustache? Are you going to get banned on the GUBS? Will you be making a podcast tour on Double Dodge to sledge the world?


Jared: I have some choice attire that I may be breaking out for pre-match warmups.  Double Dodge?  I’ve never heard of them.


Dan: Is there any truth to the rumors that you may be returning to Anatomical Precision as a cohost?


Jared: I would like to join the cast once my life has settled and the main tournament season has ended.  I am going through the process of selling my home, and its hard to find the time in the evenings at the moment.


Dan: Lastly, where/how can people contact you if they want to know more about your tactics and tips?


Jared: I chat with a lot of the community through Facebook messenger.  I also have a semi-active account on Twitter @JaredMcGraw36.



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