Chapter Tactics #74: Addressing the ATC controversy, and Predicting the 40k Summer Meta

Chapter Tactics is a 40k podcast which focuses on promoting better tactical play and situational awareness across all variations of the game. Today the guys address the ATC controversy, and cover top lists and their meta impacts across 4 ITC Majors from all over the world.

Show Notes:

Visit their store!

got a list

Need help with a list idea? Got a rules question? Want to talk tactics? Then email me at… 

Please do not send an army list in a format such as Army Builder, send them in an easy to read, typed format. Thanks!



About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

87 Responses to “Chapter Tactics #74: Addressing the ATC controversy, and Predicting the 40k Summer Meta”

  1. Nightman July 17, 2018 4:55 am #

    Great show as always.

  2. Don July 17, 2018 6:03 am #

    Enjoyed the podcast. However, many of the comments suggest the “unhappy” players may have an undeserved reputation and then Geoff says oh yeah I totally called a judge over to watch my whole first round LVO match against our friend who was playing the gator/turtle dollar rough riders. Many of the folks involved in this scandal have a well known reputation and quite frankly it is deserved.

    I remember back in 2015 when one of the “premier” tournament players slow played me at the ATC to where we only got through the top of his second round because he got first blood by killing a squad of obliterators and we both knew the outcome based on the match up if the game went to its natural conclusion. I had a pretty good ATC this year, because we were down at the mid tables. Every tournament where I have played someone who is considered one of the “top” 40K players, the poor sportsmanship, loose play, and poor attitude has made me not want to return. I was just happy that this year at the ATC we were down at mid table obscurity where we could have enjoyable games with people who weren’t interested in slitting each other’s throats.

  3. Tfla803 July 17, 2018 6:37 am #

    If you have to cheat at plastic army men you really need to re-evaluate your life. This is just pathetic.

    There needs to be a published list of players that are caught blatantly cheating.

  4. Captain568 July 17, 2018 7:37 am #

    Beast coast can play clean games and not slow play. 90 out of 100 people that play them would probably say they were great opponents. Some of the players on team happy are notoriously horrible to play against and for some reason none of you guys reviewing this are bringing up that they did slow play until they were being watched by a ref, which to me is insane because it means they are clearly doing it on purpose, but hey lets keep excusing this behavior because they are big names. A lot of what you guys are calling hearsay was coming straight from the tables that the controversy happened and while some of it was absolutely over exaggerated, a lot of it wasn’t specifically the slow playing. They then have the nerve to try and talk the game out for 4 turns to allocate points how they think it would have happened. I and many other players are seriously tired of knowing that people are going to get away with this because everyone tries to down play the cheating. I had a blast at ATC this year, but you guys need to acknowledge the bullshit and stop acting like the teams are the bad guys for being frustrated at the situation.

  5. iNcontroL July 17, 2018 7:44 am #

    What? Are you guys saying I wasn’t disappointed or upset with this behavior? I’m confused…

    • Captain568 July 17, 2018 8:05 am #

      Not at all, I think that the disappointment is pretty clear, but its starting to feel like top level players are given chances that others wouldn’t be, and that may be a presumption on my part. It just seems like no one is able to just out right say, yeah they clearly cheated whether it was intentional or not. I get that its not just that simple, but it seems like the major issues people had which at least in my opinion was the slow playing is just brushed over and then the only things talked about are how the other stuff wasn’t as bad as it seemed. I don’t want them to be banned and I personally hope they come back next year and do it the right way, but to me it just seems like people are light handed when high level players especially ones that have earned their reputation on the table. I don’t know if they are or aren’t good people as its hard to discriminate and personally I don’t care, but come to the tournament prepared and play y our games correctly.

    • Don July 17, 2018 8:13 am #

      I think you are pretty firmly onboard with being against all of it Geoff from listening to all of the podcasts I have heard on here and especially your interview on Caledonian D-Watch.

      My point was the message regarding the behavior we expect kind of gets mixed when to me it sounded as if Petey spends significant time being apologetic for team happy at and saying it is not as bad as alleged at the beginning of the episode. I get that he doesn’t want to scare people off from coming to tournaments, but at some point we really need to address the elephant in the room and say that bullying and other forms of poor sportsmanship just won’t be allowed at our events….and it seems like the same people keep getting accused of this stuff time and time again.

      Whether we are at the ATC or any other event, there should never be a need for a judge to be permanently stationed at a table due to slow play or other bad behavior…is being an internet celebrity for a game that literally 98% of the population has never heard of really that important?

      IMO, we are starting to reach a watershed moment in the community and a lot of these things are going to continue to come to light the more we try to position 40k as a quasi e-sport.

    • Kraig July 17, 2018 11:18 am #

      Not you, but the theme of the discussion seemed to be to downplay it. If the risk of cheating is the same as just losing at a tournament, why are people going to stop?

    • Petey Pab July 17, 2018 11:50 am #

      Hey guys, how about we chill with the misplaced aggression?

      I try to stay neutral and keep the podcast as professional as possible in these kinds of situations. I understand where you are all coming from. No one wants cheaters in these games, and if we ever talked behind closed doors I think that each of you would find that there is a lot we agree on.

      The fact is, this podcast sheds light on these scandals. One of the best things Geoff brings to the podcast is calling out these things, and speaking his mind about issues that I might have to keep my mouth closed on. criticisms without me.

      You all know who the members of Team Happy are. You can all draw your own conclusions and criticisms without me. So continue this discourse elsewhere and try to remember you are dealing with real human beings. Like we said on the show. Not puppy kicking, cheating, monsters.

      • Don July 18, 2018 5:00 am #

        I am a real human being too who has had unpleasant tournament experiences because poor sportsmanship so is prevalent when you play one of these so called top tournament players at any major GT. I don’t think winning a game of action figures is worth stooping to the level of cheating, intimidating my opponent, or otherwise engaging in the behavior discussed. When I listened to the podcast early Monday morning on my way to work your comments were very apologetic for their behavior and I understand you do not want to dissuade people from going to tournaments. However, if you don’t call these people out for this stuff and just sweep it under the rug or downplay it, then it will continue. You know what will kill people from coming back to your tournament, hitting one of the unhappy players in your first tournament experience. Just from talking with folks during the intermissions last weekend, two teams said they were never coming back. I don’t blame them. I go to these things and hope to place nowhere near the top because I don’t want the perpetual bickering or arguing about literally nothing that goes into playing one of these people.

  6. Maraach July 17, 2018 8:24 am #

    Please stop sugar coating all the cheating at the top tables. T.O. have to ban people for cheating, that is the only way this crap is going to stop. There is basically no penalty for cheating in 40k. You have to remove cheaters from the ITC standings or the standing actually don’t mean crap. Slow playing is cheating and chess clocks will not fix this issue.

    Top players that are caught cheating or slow playing on purpose are not “Top Players” just please stop idolizing them. Top table and prize support is not a excuse to cheat or act like a horrible human.

    If you wanna solve at least slow play on the top table for the final event. Remove the Game time and make them play out all turns. Its the main event and filmed so why not make it something extra. Then you don’t have slow playing and you actually get real results of the game and not 4 turns of a 6-7 turn game.

  7. Tomguycot July 17, 2018 9:01 am #

    This is completely out of control. EVERY single major tournament has some sort of cheating scandal. Then after the fact all of the various talking heads go online and downplay and apologize for the accused. This has to stop. It is doing serious harm to the reputation of the game and to tournament 40k in general.

    Please, please take a look at the DCI and adopt for the ITC some sort of uniform tournament rule guideline for how to handle infractions. Yes, Magic the Gathering isn’t 1 to 1 comparable to 40k but you can at least get a good guideline for adopting a Rules Enforcement level for different types of events (likely divided by Rouge Trader, GTs and majors) and from there a set uniform punishment for different infractions (that doesn’t require diving intent) ranging from escalating warnings to game loss to disqualification with an after tournament review of disqualifications for possible bans. Yes it will lead to some people getting punished for innocent mistakes but it will lead to a lot more cheaters getting punished because they can’t argue which can almost never be proven anyhow).

    It is long past time for this.

    • Ujayim July 17, 2018 11:00 am #

      “It’s impossible!”

      “It’s too difficult!”

      The excuses are shouted into the void as every single major event continues to have scandal after scandal.

  8. Venkarel July 17, 2018 9:16 am #

    I am about to listen to the podcast but wanted to leave this comment first.
    These are the instances of cheating (inadvertent or otherwise) I have collect with the source that informed me of the infraction.
    A Team Happy member slow playing a Has Beens member for advantage round 4, source Ben Mohlie.
    A Aleong using illegal wargear round two, source Juice from Wobbly Modelers.
    A Aleong using illegal wargear round three (after the warning round two), source Shane Grubb and all members of Team Brohammer – Meh Plus.
    Beast Coast breaking a gentleman’s agreement for a draw after a game did not get out of turn 1 in the first two hours round 3. Source Jesse from Forgeworld Colombia.
    PJ pants trying to use a star lance on his Shining Spear Exarch that was not on the list round 5, source Nathan Lara Endless Gaming.
    Dan Woods of Quality Control using an illegal list, source the list.
    Ben Mohlie registering an illegal list, corrected pre tournament, source Ben Mohlie. I do not believe this was cheating as it was corrected pretournament with the TO’s approval but others have brought it up.
    Team Happy modeling for advantage, source Shane Grubb.
    Discloser: I was at the tournament, I played on Endless Gaming. I did not find out about the PJ Pants infraction until after the tournament and I am in the process of composing a letter to Shane to make him aware of the issue as PJ Pants most likely played his Exarch with illegal wargear in prior rounds.

    • Venkarel July 17, 2018 9:19 am #

      Correction: the illegal war gear round three was only sourced to Shane Grubb, That is my mistake as I read my notes wrong.

    • Venk July 17, 2018 4:29 pm #

      I also should add myself to the list because I tried to double soulburst my spears round 6, and thankfully Kevin of Team Name Pending caught it before the turn progressed. We need combined tournament floor rules set for different types of tournaments, we need independent certified judges (preferably by GW), and penalty guideline with the possibility of multi tournament bans. Our game is in the exact same place MtG was in the late 1990’s. The push back against Team Dead Guy Ale (who lead the clean up of Magic) from the established old guard players and tournaments was immense but they persevered and changed the game for the better, and its entire future by legitimizing high level tournament play (which basically is the PR side of Magic the Gathering tournaments).

    • Venkarel July 17, 2018 4:47 pm #

      I also should add myself to the list because I tried to double soulburst my spears round 6, and thankfully Kevin of Team Name Pending caught it before the turn progressed. We need combined tournament floor rules set for different types of tournaments, we need independent certified judges (preferably by GW), and penalty guideline with the possibility of multi tournament bans. Our game is in the exact same place MtG was in the late 1990’s. The push back against Team Dead Guy Ale (who lead the clean up of Magic) from the established old guard players and tournaments was immense but they persevered and changed the game for the better, and its entire future by legitimizing high level tournament play (which basically is the PR side of Magic the Gathering tournaments).

    • jifel July 17, 2018 8:12 pm #

      I know that you posted already your correction, but as the captain of Brohammer: Meh Plus, I want to reiterate that we are not a source of any allegations against Team Happy. We were at ATC, and heard many of the ongoing rumors, but we did not play against them and don’t have any first-hand information about their situation.

      • Venkarel July 18, 2018 6:07 am #

        We played you round four which is where the mistake with my notes came from. The round three illegal wargear usage while a rumor is non confirmed in anyway. I spoke with Shane and have issued my corrections. Please disregard that point.

    • Venkarel July 17, 2018 8:52 pm #

      Need to remove the round three infraction as Shane said after round three a player… not round three a player…

    • Gary Frank July 18, 2018 7:41 am #

      I played Aaron Aleong round 3 and he used no Illegal wargear. Shane even stats that in his announcement on the the ATC FB page

      • Reecius July 18, 2018 8:51 am #

        I don’t think it was every game but he certainly was using some Plasma Pistols that weren’t on his list. He played Frankie round 1 and was shooting him with them. Whether done on purpose or not I couldn’t say of course, but it did happen in at least a few games.

        • Gary Frank July 18, 2018 9:36 am #

          Yep I know the he used them against Frankie and tried to use them against Juice as well. He did not against me in round 3 though. Not defending him at all trust me.

      • Venkarel July 18, 2018 10:12 am #

        Again the round three thing was my error and is not correct as explained above multiple times.

  9. MJ July 17, 2018 10:23 am #

    After listening to that I have to say I’m disappointed – but not surprised – at the comments in the podcast. After the LVO incident it seemed to me that some people were going out of their way to give the benefit of the doubt to “top players”. Then we have the issues at the LGT where another “top player” actually gets called out for the sort of shenanigans that seems all too common at the top tables and again a lot of commentators shrug their shoulders and make excuses. Now we have the same thing happening here.

    Let’s call this what it is, shall we? It was cheating. Stop sugar coating things or telling us these people are really great guys, or it was a one-off, or any number of other reasons I’m sure we can come up with to excuse toxic behaviour. They are cheats. In this very podcast we have someone saying they requested a judge watch their game at the LVO because of who their opponent was and the reputation he has. What’s worse, the TO readily agreed, so the player’s reputation is clearly well-deserved. Maybe you guys are too close to the situation to realise it, but that’s not normal! That’s actually a pretty sad and shocking indictment of not only that player but the whole system of rules enforcement at tournaments.

    Having said all that, I agree that we need better rules for player conduct and rules infractions. Something that’s very clear and enforceable with penalties laid out for different types of situations. We don’t have to go full nuclear and ban anyone caught with an illegal list, for example, but a game loss for every game played with the illegal list would be appropriate. Without this I don’t think 40k can be taken seriously as a truly competitive game and the controversies at all of the last big tournaments are proof of that.

    • Petey Pab July 17, 2018 11:37 am #

      Hey man, I understand. I also think that you guys aren’t wrong to be outraged. I immediately thought the same way, and am not happy with the situation competitive 40k finds itself in.

      Though I am a professional. When I speak my words reflect the company I work for, and the organization i represent. I realize now that the 15 minute long tirade I originally recorded would not help the situation, and would just negatively effect my co-workers and the organization.

  10. iNcontroL July 17, 2018 11:01 am #

    hmm odd reading these comments. Maybe you guys are disappointed with how pablo worded it or something? He (at least at the time of recording) had a big rant about how bad this all is at the start of the podcast.. it wasn’t sugar coated or kind.. it was a call out.

    I personally said this was unacceptable and gave a dialogue on making sure YOU have fun by representing yourself. Not sure where these comments are coming from about us excusing them? I’ve ranted on nearly every podcast about top players slow playing, the scandal at LVO etc etc.. think it’s a bit odd that you guys are trying to be upset about OUR comments (ironically) when you want these top players held accountable.. yelling at us isn’t doing that lol.

    Anyways if there was any ambiguity at all let me be clear: This behavior is bad and will naturally be fixed but before that I’d love to call attention to what we as a community can do to improve our level of play AND our enjoyment of said play. Lynching people or witch hunting won’t actually do that.. hence why I am more interested in talking about the bad behavior then discussing what behavior can mitigate said actions.

    • Ujayim July 17, 2018 11:20 am #

      Likely somewhat misplaced aggression. People are mad. It keeps happening. Time and time again it happens, and it seems as though no changes are made.

      Unfortunately, you all have a voice, so when others shout back it’s not always to the same tune.

  11. Christian Teztor July 17, 2018 11:12 am #

    Just piling on more and more and more bureaucratic rules upon rules for chess clocks and floor rules and where to throw dice and whatnot’s not gonna improve the game, and certainly not gonna “promote a positive spin that isn’t focused on punishment”.

    Just bring back sportsmanship scores and, if painting is an issue, give painting scores a more significant factor as well. Maybe 1/3 sportsmanship, 1/3 painting, 1/3 game results, if you really wanna go for it, and you’ll get the “invisible hand” correcting it automatically.

    • Reecius July 17, 2018 11:14 am #

      Sportsmanship scores did not work. At all. They actually became a tool for the poor sport to undermine their opponents. It had the opposite effect of what it was intended to do.

      • Christian Teztor July 17, 2018 11:30 am #

        Sportsmanship and Army presentation scores work fine at Throne of Skulls, etc..

        Do they sometimes fail and can potentially be abused? Sure, as can chess clocks or other behavioral rules you draw up. And the bigger the added catalog of rules get’s the more it’ll be open to abuse.

        But for 99% of the reported issues, the work wonders in setting a much more “positive environment” as opposed to “focus on punishment” from the start as the podcast seemingly wants to promote/advocate.

        • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 2:04 pm #

          Do they work, though? Are you going to go so far as to say that Throne of Skulls has never had the same kind of problems that the other major tournaments have had, and that their sports/painting scores were in any way visibly the cause? Because I would be incredibly skeptical of that.

          Many of the events that people cite as evidence of the pandemic of cheating HAVE sportsmanship and hobby scores as part of the event, but that fact is conveniently ignored when the discussions happen.

          • masterstrider July 17, 2018 4:05 pm

            I think it’s sad times when hobby/sports scores are seen as a “problem” in the competitive meta.

            I attended an event in Melb, Aus (Preferred Enemy) on the weekend, and the sports and hobby scores were out of 25. After the results came out, only a handful of people had less than perfect scores (23 or 24). No one wanted to give each other a bad rap unless it was absolutely deserved. That sounds like the opposite in the ATC and other similar majors.**

            It’s definitely possible to use sports/hobby as part of the scoring. But from a non-US/EU citizen, I have to say that the way the US/EU play the game is a little WAAC, which is why you’re probably experiencing this type of behaviour.

            The spam, soup and hyper efficiency with which your meta approachs list building and playing is going to attract a certain type of competitor, and unfortunately, cheating to win is no surprise.

            I think TOs should consider introducing further restrictions in list building to curb some of the WAAC abuse e.g. limit allies to 25%. Maybe it’s also time to consider giving more points for hobby craft, or question sportsmanship scores. This might refocus the community’s attention back into the hobby. In the end, it’s the art that keeps us human.

            **In fact, fully half the points of their scoring game from Hobby, Sports and Composition, to further emphasise that this game is about skill, artistry and honour.

          • Venkarel July 17, 2018 4:45 pm

            Sports scores have been gamed forever. You had entire teams colluding to make sure certain players sport scores were low. This was not an ATC problem, if I remember correctly it started a ‘Ard Boy tourneys. We need to start perpetuating the WAAC sterotype. Playing a hard game by the rules is not WAAC (see Tony and Alex incident at LVO, this was not WAAC it was strictly by the rules, what was bad is that he and Alex agreed to play the game by intent before the game started to aid in the speed and entertainment of the game). Bringing a list that gives you the best chance of winning the game under the rules is not WAAC. Cheating happens in every game at every level, and does happen inadvertently, that is why you need penalty guideline that include warnings for these actions but can escalate to DQ’s suspensions and bans, like a yellow card and how two cards is a red in soccer.

          • Zweischneid July 17, 2018 9:16 pm

            Sure sportscores can be gamed.

            But my experience with chess clocks has been much the same. They are being gamed horribly to pressure opponents and distract from worse cheats, fast-rolling dice and more (and funny enough, the ITC crowd here went full rage-troll last time at the mere suggestion that their little (and rapidly growing) book of 40K behavioural red tape could be gamed, demanding all-out proof with names and tournaments, though they seem less picky at throwing the same doubts at sportsmanship scores).

            I think there’s a difference between out-an-out cheaters and the more casual mistakes, “heated temperaments”, etc.., etc.

            The podcast goes out of it’s way to make the case that Team Happy and other ATC controversies fall into the latter, not the former.

            If that is the case, sportsmanship would’ve been the perfect deterrent.

            If it truly was the former, sportsmanship probably wouldn’t have helped, but than the podcast is misrepresenting the situation.

          • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 9:47 pm

            What tournaments do you have experience with chess clocks at, Zweischneid? Because to my knowledge, none of the tournaments in the US have implemented chess clocks extensively or universally. (A handful have implemented them as an option or have used them at specific tables, but not for the player base as a whole.)

            The reason people “went full rage-troll” is because you made very specific accusations and claims about chess clocks. And I’m repeating my question again: what are you basing this on? Are tournaments in Europe or other areas making mandatory chess clocks a universal feature? If so, I certainly haven’t heard about it. And if you’re basing this all on supposition and assumption… well, that’s not very good evidence, is it?

          • happy_inquisitor July 17, 2018 11:26 pm

            Throne of Skulls has strong soft scores and positions itself as a much more casual event. As an overall approach it is much less attractive to the personality types that cause some of the problems we are seeing.

          • Zweischneid July 18, 2018 12:21 am

            Most major tournaments I’ve been to this year have implemented some variant of a “if one player wants to use a chess clock, it’s on the table”-rule.

            As I noted last time, Baltic Cup in Germany, Prague Open in,well, Prague and London GT come to mind where chess clocks have been abused in bad faith or been “gamed”.

            Perhaps things would improve if chess clocks are on all tables from the start by default, and not imposed upon games selectively by players who seek to abuse it against “unprepared” opponents who still operate in a “gentleman’s agreement/social contract”-state of mind, but I believe, as noted in the podcast, that explicit rules against abusing perceived or real time-pressure to fast-roll dice or fast-talk opponents into illicit points from theory-hammered late turns could provide players facing such abuse the “security” to stand up against it more often.”

            And sportsmanship scores are probably a good incentive to nudge people who “get emotional/caught up in the game”, as opposed to malicious fraudulent players (and the podcast says Team Happy and others involved in ATC controversy are the former, not the latter) toward better behaviour with dice, terrain, aggressive demeanor and language, etc.., etc..

            Army presentation and painting scored with significant impact on the result obviously improve the ästhetics of the games.

            But I simply don’t understand the double standard. Slow-play isn’t a big issue for most games either. The podcast itself makes the point that “most tournament games are great and the described problems are rare”. And yet ITC wants to throw a bunch of regulation at it.

            Yet other cheats are not addressed correspondingly, “because they don’t always come up”.

            There appear to be very different benchmarks for what ITC wants to regulate and codify and what not, which I cannot atm explain by anything other than strange personal biases.

          • Michael Corr July 18, 2018 3:50 am

            I think there is a disconnect between “slow play” (i.e. deliberately playing the game slow in order to win) and players playing slowly. I think chess clocks are a potential way to combat both.

            For example, I was at the recent Warhammer World GT and only one of my five games went to natural end (even then, it was when I conceded a game on turn 3). The others went to turn 4, turn 4, turn 6 and turn 3.

            I made a note of the time deployment took as well as each player turn. In each game, both myself and my opponent got roughly equal time for our turns (within about 10 mins for each game), but we were unable to finish our games.

            I’m not sure a chess clock would have fixed that, but it may have had some effect on the progress of the game. In a normal game without the clock, there is little incentive to forgo a units’ movement or shooting to speed the game up any. With a chess clock, this may change things to ensure that players only get the essential actions in to win the game.

          • Zweischneid July 18, 2018 4:34 am

            I understand what the positive effects of introducing chess clocks are supposed to have.

            I am just saying they can and have been abused, which a lot of ITC people appeared to have taken as an almost heretical proposition (while inversely, now, noting how sportsmanship scores can and have been abused seems to be a valid argument by the very same people)

            Which is where the disconnect is for me in this particular discussion.

            —— 1
            Pro clock: We’ll introduce chess clocks to improve X with 40K

            Caveat: It can and has been used in bad faith/gamed and can have unintended bad consequences Y.

            ITC: We don’t care. Clocks are in. Saying there are unintentional consequences is heresy.

            —— 2
            Pro-sportsmanship: We’ll introduce sportsmanship scores to improve A with 40K.

            Caveat: It can and has been used in bad faith/gamed and can have unintended bad consequences B.

            ITC: Oh damn, we better never ever use sportsmanships scores than. If there’s even the slightest theoretical hint of possible hiccups in a few cases with introducing this new rule, we’ll never, ever even consider it.

            That’s just so puzzling.

          • abusepuppy July 18, 2018 3:03 pm

            The difference is, many players have negative experiences with sportsmanship scoring systems because they have seen them abused by players who (intentionally or not) game the system. It’s a very, very common behavior and almost anyone who has been to an older-style tournament probably has a story about it.

            I don’t think that’s true for chess clocks. You cite the London GT as an example of where players were using chess clocks to abuse the time system, but other than you I hadn’t heard a single player complain about chess clocks at that event- and people were not exactly quiet about their problems with the LGT. So while I’m not saying that such problems can’t/won’t happen, I think you are drastically overstating how common they will be.

  12. Petey Pab July 17, 2018 11:23 am #

    Hey Geoff,

    I recorded over my original rant after Val pointed out ATC’s official statement. I figured it would be better to be more factual and neutral so I recorded a second intro.

    It’s still crazy though. A few guys on here (and a bunch more everywhere else) would have preferred my original rant, which I think was very much in line with their thoughts. Despite the fact that it villified, and promoted the harassment of human beings who dared to play with their toy soldiers harder than everyone else.

    I still called out Team Happy, and am very disappointed with their actions. Though I guess i’m the bad guy because I’m not demanding for heads to roll?

    The comments on here pretty much affirm my decision to re-record my original rant. These guys are already going to get a lot of heat. As someone within the organization I think it’s better that I don’t add fuel to the fire, and stay a little more neutral.

    • rollawaythestone July 17, 2018 12:59 pm #

      Understandable to want to stay neutral in your professional capacity. But what do you mean by “… who dared to play with their toy soldiers harder than everyone else.”

      Toxic behavior is not just “playing harder than others”.

      • Petey Pab July 17, 2018 6:58 pm #

        I mean, it is. It’s clearly playing so hard that YOU no longer consider it playing.

        That’s pretty damn hard.

        • Xerxus July 19, 2018 1:39 am #

          But do YOU think that these players are simply “playing”? Is that the only verb that describes their actions accurately, or does “cheating” also apply?

          • Petey Pab July 19, 2018 12:41 pm

            I mean, at this point we’re arguing semantics. But yes, you need to be playing to cheat. So they would be doing both.

            I think you’e confusing me with a Team Happy Apologist. I just think a lot of people here need to separate the player from the person. A lot of the attacks online are going to get very personal. Death threats, encouraging assault, lifelong bans, etc.

            Which was my main point.

  13. Don Tomaso July 17, 2018 11:33 am #

    So yet another “problem” with cheating?

    And this is what upsets people?

    What´s the problem again, ban these assholes for a year or three = solved.
    But hey, TO´s need their money so I guess we do have a big problem with repeat cheaters after all.

    Meanwhile we see tournaments plagued with 8th fails in the ATC such as a 200 cultist chaos space marine armies without a single space marine in (because power armour is sooooo strong and templates were turned into pathetic jokes) it but hey, lets not talk about these things while watching chaos marine armies without marines horde it out in 8th, the sell-moar-horde-boxes edition.

    A few idiots were cheating, pff. What a “hard problem” to solve, really.

    • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 1:55 pm #

      Yeah I bet these TOs are getting filthy rich off the $120 dollars these guys bring in. What a scam they have going, where they spend hundreds of hours prepping the tournament for free and then spend dozens of hours running it for free. Talk about greedy.

      But I’m sure that your keen, concise, and unbiased voice will bring light to the discussion, as it always has. Maybe you’d like to say something about cucks or snowflakes here, to really elevate the conversation?

  14. Josh Stuart July 17, 2018 12:44 pm #

    Cheater’s need to receive a ban no one needs cheaters too many times absolutely nothing Is done to punish cheaters…. Until ppl get banned for cheating it will continue to plague competitive play

  15. Maraach July 17, 2018 1:12 pm #

    Slow play is only an issue because games have a time limit. Make games go the rounds and people will play faster because there is no reason to play slow. Yeah at some point the games have to be called but any reasonable 40k player can get through 7 turns with any army. I can do it with 100+ models all day. I understand events have to set some kind of time, but that is putting a time limit on a game designed to have a turn limit. All these games ending turn 4 don’t do the game justice or show who is actually good at 40k.

    The straight up illegal lists and cheating is another story and only active judges with set penalties will change this.

    • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 2:01 pm #

      The problem with not having a time limit is twofold. For one, I would disagree with your statement that “any reasonable player can get through 7 turns”, because I have seen games go to 4hrs, 5hrs, and more when players have no impetus to play faster. Time limits force these players to end their games at a specific point, “finished” or not.

      And that plays into the second problem, which is that at a tournament ALL players have to be finished with their games before the pairings for the next round are announced- so if even one pair of players in a tournament goes slow, it delays the next round for every other person in the room. It is not at all fair to have two players that are going onto their fifth hour on a game hold up everyone else and worsen their game experience- can you imagine if, at LVO, 510 people were waiting for one single table to finish? It’s absolutely unprofessional and a highly negative experience for everyone else involved.

      If players don’t want games to end on turn 4, they need to play faster, pure and simple. Punishments for slow play also should be in effect, but the main onus should be on the players themselves because they are depriving themselves of a proper game as much as they are anyone else.

  16. Yakhunter July 17, 2018 2:01 pm #

    Good coverage guys! Loved listening to this with all the tournament coverage.

    A few comments:

    I don’t know if you caught it, but the Drop Podcast did a telephone interview with Aaron Aelong after the fact where he shows off the Rough Rider Turtles he got called out on and talks about what he saw as a member of Team Happy at the event. It’s an interesting listen for another person’s side of the story. I know there is a reputation there, but hearing all sides has its place. Btw, his alligator-riding Catachans do look kinda sweet, but are pretty tiny so I can see why there would be a modelling complaint.

    Pablo, you should have your daughter handle all your advertisements, that was about 250% cuter than when you do it (sorry).

    For your info, Preferred Enemy only allowed 1 codex for your entire army list so no Imperium/Chaos/Eldar soup combinations which may explain some of their ‘different’ results.

    I think the ‘be assertive’ advice we hear over and over after these tournament issues from you guys and others should really be the first thing added to any tournament rules packet. Just a line that says, ‘You are the first line of defense against shenanigans, real or imagined, see something say something.’ would be a great start. It is hard for a lot of people, as a stranger, to look someone in the eye and call out what they might perceive to be BS. From experience, it is doubly hard if you’re Canadian and dealing with someone from outside the country without apologizing throughout the incident and then thinking about it all night and trying to figure out how to make it up to the person later. I mean, do you bake them biscuits and molasses? Buy them a 12 pack? Is that too much? What if they are gluten intolerant? They probably don’t even put maple syrup on anything other than pancakes so that option’s out the window. All of the standard Canadian apology gifts are suspect! It is an eternal struggle. Having even the smallest blurb is empowering.

    Lastly, will the ‘my car blew up’ excuse work at Socal or LVO? Asking for a friend… >.> <.<

    • Petey Pab July 17, 2018 7:01 pm #

      Yeah, we recorded right as the live cast went on. But I watched it afterwards. Like all interviews like that, I felt like listening to the perpetrator humanized them. So I instantly went back to my Aelong voodoo doll in my closet and stuck some pins in him until I felt better. It worked.

      My daughter should just handle every aspect of my life honestly. Imagine the things I would accomplish!

  17. happy_inquisitor July 17, 2018 2:09 pm #

    I am going to go against the grain here and say that the ATC had a policy on poor behaviour and that – with delays – it did what it is supposed to do. The team causing bad feelings were asked to leave the building and did so.

    That is what is supposed to happen, TO’s have a pretty hard task when this sort of issue arises and they rose to the task and did it. Pat on the back to the TO’s of the ATC – just as there should have been a clear and simple pat on the back for hard-pressed TO’s after the LGT.

    Ultimately so long as TO’s are willing to enforce decent standards of play and conduct and the community support them in that then the problem will get resolved. Bad habits among parts of the player base will take time to get sorted out, if it takes more incidents like this before some people learn how to behave better then that is what it takes.

  18. Mark Hughey July 17, 2018 3:17 pm #

    Im of the opinion ITC needs to take action against cheating. Enforce actual BANS against players caught. And stope glorifying known cheaters like Josh Death. These people are theives. Myself and other honest players P A Y for these tournaments. To see cheaters at the top GET CAUGHT and have no real punishment is sickening. BAN CHEATERS FROM ITC!!!!!!! Its super simple. First offense one year ban and immediate loss of all points. Second offense, lifetime ban. If you create the standard and the standard is upheld, the problem will take care of itself.

    • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 3:51 pm #

      Is being ejected from one of the largest tournaments in the US really “no real punishment”? Most of those people spent months preparing for this event, and being summarily disqualified is not a trivial matter. You can argue about whether it’s a sufficient punishment, but let’s not pretend that there were NO consequences.

      Also, you might want to stop and think about what you’re suggesting in regards to your own person. If all it takes is the accusation of cheating to label someone a cheater- the entire matter with the ATC aside- then every tournament player is two unhappy opponents away from never being allowed to play again, you included. There is a reason that events have a stated policy on conduct that they follow, because simply escalating the punishment to the most extreme level “to teach them a lesson” is wholly unproductive.

      There is also the issue of agreeing on a universal standard of evidence and punishment for those accused. How do you prove someone was cheating, and not simply playing something wrong or misremembering? If playing a rule (or unit) wrong is the standard, there very quickly will be no players left to attend tournaments, because I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t play even their own rules wrong, myself included.

      • Mark Hughey July 17, 2018 5:53 pm #

        Obviously the problem still exists because punishment is too lax. These guys are still participating at other events and still cheating and being caught. There at least needs to be a 3 strike policy. You can’t deny this is a growing problem tjat needs to be addressed because what is happening now is not working.

        • WestRider July 17, 2018 6:55 pm #

          Harsh punishment as deterrent doesn’t actually work very well on individuals. Most people breaking the rules aren’t assuming that the punishment won’t matter, they’re assuming they won’t get caught or called on it. Or they just screwed up.

          The issue is that the Game is complex enough that it’s way too easy to sneak something by most people. Which is very hard to address without changing things so much that it isn’t really 40K anymore.

          • Mark Hughey July 17, 2018 9:39 pm

            Do you even hear yourself? It is not that hard to not be a scumbag and cheat. If you are going to cheat there should be punishment for your action. Period. How is that such a difficult concept.

          • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 9:50 pm

            I don’t think you actually read his response. He’s not saying that there should be no punishments, he’s saying _punishments aren’t a strong deterrent_, which is a view supported by most research into criminal psychology. People who violate the rules often don’t consider any possibility that they will get caught (or don’t care), and thus stricter punishments won’t deter them from attempting the violate the rules. They may still be useful in isolating such individuals who _are_ caught from the rest of the population, but they are not a good preemptive deterrent.

    • rvd1ofakind July 17, 2018 8:09 pm #

      ok, srsly, what’s up with the Josh Death hate?
      Maybe he has been different in previous editions. But in this one, afaik, he hasn’t cheated. Also in the LVO he made top 8, but recalculated his points over night and gave away his guaranteed spot. No one else could call him out if he didn’t do that. That was in the biggest 40k tournament ever. And he gave it up. That’s not something a cheater would do.

      • Venkarel July 17, 2018 8:36 pm #

        Agreed. Speaking with people that have interacted with him he has made an very intentional concerted effort to clean up his game play. This is in direct response to his wish to improve his past reputation.

        • Mark Hughey July 17, 2018 9:43 pm #

          Good for him. All I know is if he shows his face in central AR tournaments again he better have $700.00 in cash to return to the annual MM tournament that he stole after cheating his way to the top. He is not honest. I do not care what anyone says because myself and others here have seen him for what he is. A thief, liar, cheater and a scumbag.

          • abusepuppy July 17, 2018 9:51 pm

            You are incredibly angry about something that I don’t think anyone else has ever even heard about.

      • Mark Hughey July 17, 2018 9:41 pm #

        That may be true. Myself and about 60 others her in central AR alone know him for stealing a $700.00 cash prize pool, getting caught cheating, then refusing to return the prize money. He is a scumbag.

  19. Rob Butcher July 18, 2018 12:01 am #

    This is a GW game, yet none of the instances of cheating have been at official GW tournaments. I feel strongly that it should be GW issuing the guidance not internet podcasters or gaming store-owners. But there are too many trying to do their own unofficial thing.

    • Zweischneid July 18, 2018 4:47 am #

      Because it’s not a problem in the base game and nothing GW considers to be a problem.

      The entitlements that games must always run to turn 5/6 and/or that games must be played in in equal time for both players are extraneous conditions.

      You can check hundreds of “official” games on the Warhammer Twitch and clock them, if you want. Games from their tournaments. Games with and from game designers. Games with and from GW marketing and outreach guys. Etc..

      If it’s a game of 200 Orks/Gaunts/Poxwalkers/etc.. against 4 Imperial Knights, of course the horde-player takes 3-times as much time as the Imperial Knight player.

      If it’s a game of two time-intensive hordes against each other, of course they’ll wrap it at the end of turn 2 or 3, while a Knights vs. Knights game gets to turn 7 in the same time.

      Nobody even comments or remarks upon it, and why should they? That’s just normal 40K and how it’s always been since the 1980s.

      That’s not a problem of 40K, that’s a feature. It’s this very flexibility that allows 40K to have such a wide variety of armies in the first place. If GW had set out, in the 80s or today, to create a sci-fi miniatures game that can be played to the ideal of “it finishes in turn 6 after 3 hours and both players had equal time, no matter the army”, the very game would arguably look very different with more symmetrical miniature-counts and/or other mechanics like equal/symmetrical No. of activations independent of model count or whatever.

      If you wanna change the game to be played in equal time for both players and equal time for equal turns no matter the army in a modified tournament-40K, you’ll realistically probably have to also set max-limits to army model-counts, simplify more time-intensive phases like, for example, CC compared to Shooting/Psy to bring armies leaning on different phases more in line with each other, etc., etc.. (just brainstorming). Or perhaps replace the “base game” ITC runs on completely with a more tournament-friendly rule-set out there, and just sticking with the 40K miniatures.

      You cannot expect GW to issue guidance on a set of problems only created in the houseruled-ITC variant of the game to begin with.

    • Zweischneid July 18, 2018 5:01 am #

      Not to mention that if you’d want to have guidance from Games Workshop on how to (of course never 100%) avoid/reduce/help solve time-problems for tournaments and events specifically, their decision to drop to 1750 for their tournaments arguably would be just that (assuming it was done for time-reasons).

      If you’d want to have guidance from Games Workshop to on how to (of course never 100%) avoid/reduce/help solve other behaviour-related problems for tournaments and events specifically, their sportsmanship scores arguably would be just that (assuming it was done to address cheating/bad behaviour of players).

      But the “policy” of ITC seems to be pretty clearly that they precisely don’t wanna do it how GW does it or presumably would recommend.

      • Reecius July 18, 2018 8:55 am #

        Le sigh.

        GW’s choice to go 1,750 at Warhammer World is not official policy. The team that runs Warhammer World are independent and any choices they make regarding points limits do not reflect what the game devs think they game should be played at or what have you. They make choices based on what they want to see at Warhammer World, that’s it. Don’t read more than that in to it.

        And player scored Sports Scores that impact overall scores do not work in the way they are intended to work. We know this from years of running events and many repetitions of measuring their impact. They simply do not have the desired impact and end up becoming a tool for hurting players that don’t deserve it.

        The ITC does have a sports score but it doesn’t impact your overall score, it is purely to alert judges to problems and form there they can take any number of actions including removing the player from the event.

        • Zweischneid July 19, 2018 2:14 am #

          I am not saying it’s “official policy”.

          But GW, while probably the biggest company in this niche of niche-hobbies, isn’t a General Motors-style mega company either. Warhammer World is literally 30-40 feet max from the offices. There’s maybe max a dozend guys at WHW at any given time, and maybe max 8 to 10 guys doing rules for 40K/Sigmar full-time since they outsourced specialist games. People rotate through different jobs at GW anyhow and even if they don’t, they’ll meet in Bugmans (literally between WHW and the offices), play their after work and/or call people from WHW (and other departments) over for the odd playtesting. Lots of GW staff participate in WHW tournaments, etc..,

          If the issue with time and too many games not finishing at their “natural conclusion” came up and/or people at Nottingham had a chat about all the current slow-play hubhub, you can be certain they talked it over with one another over a pint at Bugmans or some British bacon and tea before the workday.

          If you wanna have a “hint” or “guidance” how the Nottingham people play, it’s not a terrible place to look at.

  20. Nightman July 18, 2018 3:59 am #

    From the outside looking in, reading/listening to many versions of the story it seems like a lot of people owe an apology to Team Happy (just my opinion).

    Don’t take my word for it though, i was not there. Try to gather all of the facts before throwing around accusations and calling people out.

    Again, just my opinion. But it seems like unlikable 40k personalties are taking more heat than they deserve based on a vocal minority spreading toxicity.

    • Don July 18, 2018 5:08 am #

      Although our team didn’t hit them at the ATC this year, my past experience from playing their members at Adepticon would lead me to believe it was all true…. and honestly probably worse behavior may have occured at some of the lower tables for players who felt too intimidated to say anything. The majority of folks in 40K who have reputations have them for well deserved reasons from my experience going to major GTs.

      I play a lot of local tennis tournaments and one of the guys who used to win a ton of them was a major line call cheat. He stopped showing up when they began allowing you to call a line judge over from the tournament to call the lines. Some people in life have such an overwhelming desire to win they will do anything to get there. Everyone knows who the tennis cheats are and until tournaments took action against them nothing happened to change their behavior.

  21. Brother Crimson July 18, 2018 6:15 am #

    Wow so many rage here.

    So if I recap out of 75 teams, one was displaying bad sportsmanship and probably cheating, a few more had mistakes on the list level (maybe they really tried to push this but let’s face it we need an official army builder app to prevent simple mess up)

    Ho yeah also there was ~70 other teams that were legit.

    Honestly I’m not surprised at all that on 300+ people you have a few bad player ( sportsmanship wise) disrespectful behaviour should result in DQ but the game must go on.

    • Don July 18, 2018 6:40 am #

      I think the problem is that we are in an environment where the folks who display the bad behavior get rewarded by being at the top tables. Being able to finish your game and treat your opponent with some level of decency needs to somehow factor into being the best player at one of these things. I hate sportsmanship scores, because there are all sorts of games you can play with that too, but I think people are getting tired of going to major events and watching the good old boy click treat everyone else like dirt and get special privileges. I can guarantee that if our team had done half of what occurred at ATC, we wouldn’t have had a private 45 minute convo with Shane and would have been shown the door. They eventually applied their policies, but I can tell you from being at the event, it sure felt as if they were getting special attention and the whole thing was revolving around them.

    • Reecius July 18, 2018 8:51 am #

      Yeah, generally speaking the event was a blast! We had a lot of fun despite some of the hiccups.

  22. Danny McDevitt July 18, 2018 11:14 am #

    So, I had a chance to listen to this today. I think that some of the comments about the team in question aren’t really fair comparisons – Geoff, as much as I respect you as a player and human, how can a game be a good game if you have to call the ref over before it starts and have them sit and watch the entire game? As a relatively unknown player, would I be able to make the same request of the judges and be taken seriously?

    As an assertive person, I have no doubt can help to avoid being played (probably), but I shouldn’t have to do that. Why would we allow people to continue to come to these events if they are known to be habitual line-steppers? At what point to we, as a community say, enough is enough? How do we start the process of policing the community to out players who have continually pushed the boundaries of what is fair play and what is cheating?

    I really think this is something we need to look at.

    • Petey Pab July 18, 2018 11:38 am #

      Danny, yes. At the LVO if you are playing a player with that kind of reputation you are perfectly within your right to ask for a judge to watch your game. Of course, there may be limitations. For example if multiple people ask for judges in the same round. But that’s something we will have to deal with, and will let you know about.

      Either way, a player should always feel empowered to ask for help from our judges no matter who they are.

      As for the game itself, I streamed pieces of it on facebook on our page. Check it out under videos. Draw your own conclusion. I personally think that it was a good game, and Matt Root being there certainly helped. Having to do that action to get a good game is probably where you’re going with your argument so I will say this. As long as we provide the judges and tools necessary for players to create a positive gaming environment for themselves, why does it matter?

      • Danny McDevitt July 18, 2018 2:17 pm #

        Thanks for taking the time to answer Pablo. And yes, you are picking up what I’m putting down here. It can’t be a good game as it’s the tournament equivalent of supervised visitation. At least that’s how I look at it (and I think a lot of other people do too). That being said, no, I have not watched the game, but I will attempt to do so now, and revise my opinion such that it is.

        It’s important for people to police their own community; when they see negative behavior happening it is so important to try and correct that whenever you can. I know how hard that is to do nationally however. I’m personally glad of the reaction to this online, as it shows how much the player bases honors and values integrity when they play, and decries poor behavior when it’s seen.

  23. Steven July 18, 2018 7:44 pm #

    Throwing my hat in the ring. I was on the warhogs team that finished 2nd at ATC.

    My day 2 I played Brad Chester, Josh Death, and Brandon grant. 3 super good players and Josh even has even had a bad reputation. I had 3 absolutely awesome games. It was super fun. We even had to get the judge a couple times for weird rules and it was totally fine.

    I played some of the best players at the event. With that being said, I encountered the absolute worst cheating game of my life round 2 vs a a guy no one has even heard of because their team got wrecked and who cares.

    There is definitely cases of player misconduct off the top tables that I hope we can address. It sounds like frontline is taking a leadership role.

    On a personal note, this sucks.
    We finished second, a brand new team. My little brother wrote a pairing algorithm to get us great pairings. We played awesome, completely crushed team zero comp, had the highest battle points over all by a ton.

    No one cares because team happy. Whether they did it or not, whatever. I’m just annoyed that our 15 minutes got completely overwhelmed.

    • Reecius July 18, 2018 8:13 pm #

      Woah, woah, woah there buddy boy! Completely crushed Team Zero Comp?!?! You may have won but you know, we had the sun in our eyes and our shoe laces were tied….and we were really hung over! Lol, perhaps only that last one is true but maybe don’t come to our own blog and throw it in our face quite so much, lol.

      • Steven July 19, 2018 12:45 pm #

        Lol! Take it as a compliment! A worthy foe was vanquished! I was just pointing out that no one cares either way because of shenanigans.

        I dont mean this as a slight but the “eldar guy”, Ryan olsen, that frankie played has been in the top 10 of the ITC for a while! But the community and you guys have been focused on dealing with issues rather than promoting the winners. So I’m really hopeful we can solve this problem and move on. I look forward to floor rules!

        • Reecius July 19, 2018 1:14 pm #

          lol, you have wounded our fragile male egos.

          We declare vendetta!!!! =P

          But yes, I see your point. Barely anyone is talking about team’s performances but instead focusing on the bullshit which is frustrating.

  24. Flavio July 19, 2018 2:46 am #

    They should bring back the armed guards carrying the AR-15s walking the aisles next year at ATC. That will keep anyone from getting lippy or back talking a judge. You will be so happy to just survive the weekend that you won’t even care about the rampant cheating.

  25. Alpharius Walks July 19, 2018 4:25 am #

    Certainly an interesting episode. With the example given of getting a judge based off of a player’s reputation at LVO I think another segment possibly including an interview with the judging staff is in order for the future. A couple of key questions that came to me after the example was given:

    If a player has such a bad reputation that invoking their name gets you a a full game’s access to a limited resource in the form of a judge why are they allowed to participate in the event?

    How are these requests treated and prioritized? As an example if a player unknown to you males the same complaint about someone who does not have a reputation with the judging staff how would you handle the request?

    If a player has a reputation that poor why is a judge not just assigned to them? Especially in the lower rounds where a player may be less familiar with their past behavior and either not looking for it or more willing to write questionable behavior off of as an honest mistake your past cheater has the best opportunity and incentive to continue their poor behavior. It seems like this is when the judging staff should have them under the greatest scrutiny to prevent them from ruining the event for a player who is not aware of the past misdeeds of their opponent.

    As far as Team Happy and the same subject of the podcast, their team apologist over on Dakkadakka is consistently getting key details wrong (based on Arm’s statement of what happened) in an attempt to defend their ACT behavior. When the same people are consistently getting key details wrong at and away from the tabletop, but always to their benefit, it becomes rather difficult to have any trust in them or the integrity of their actions.

  26. PowerofTwo July 22, 2018 7:16 am #

    Regarding the opening statement, yep, 8th is in this wierd spot of ‘alternate sports’, similar to WoW’s arena, League of Legends, Overwatch… these leagues are run by the game devs / publishers and they DON’T allow players to use the in-game cosmetic skins they made, only base dafault skins (even tho it’d be nice advertising) to avoid the posibility of a tasset or something peaking around a corner when it shouldn’t.

    While 40k is nowhere neeeear as big as the “traditional esports” (god thats a wierd statement) the bigger it gets the more scrutiny it’s going to be under.

  27. Andrew Cook July 26, 2018 8:17 am #

    Jeff and Val are awesome. They’re far superior to the nasally and pedantic contributions from Sean.

    • Reecius July 26, 2018 8:30 am #

      Let’s not resort to personal insults, please. It’s not helpful.

Leave a Reply