The Slow Regard of Silent Play

Matt Ludwick brings us another perspective on what occurred at Adepticon and Josh Death’s dropping from the event.

This past weekend saw one of the biggest and most traditional 40k tournaments come to a close with a brilliantly played game between Stephen Fore and Jim Vesal. Both gentlemen played 40k at a high level and competitive 40k was on display in a manner that enriches our hobby and reinforces that competitive play is a place to be celebrated and not feared. Unfortunately, this was not the story that was brought to light for a lot of people. Accusations and dispersion was cast on a players list and summarily the rumor mill began to spin into motion concerning the play of Joshua Death and his list and how he had cast a shadow on an overall great event. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth. My name is Matt Ludwick, Co-Founder of The Enclave, Host of The Chainsword Diaries, TO of The Cleveland Chainsword Championship, Proud member of #CLE40k, Team mate of Joshua Death, and person who informed him of the illegal list entries. This is the story of how misconception became reality.

I, like every other tourney addicted home bound gamer, watched our glorious leaders Frankie and Geoff broadcasting the first round of Adepticon and was wondering if maybe those Plucky Thousand Sons could have everything fall their way and eek out a win against Stephen Pampreen and his mighty Ork Horde. When in the chat mention came up of my teammate, my rather sizable ears perked up and I clued in to what was being said. “Geoff, Can you talk about how Joshua Death is illegally using cult Keywords on Brood Brothers?” asked a fellow viewer in the chat. Geoff being the consummate pro, let it slide and focused on the game at hand. I on the other hand went to my teammates list to see what was up. I knew this wasn’t his normal preparation for a large event and Josh had put less than maximum practice into playing this faction combo. Sure enough, along with the other 3 legal entries that had the <Cult of the 4 armed emperor> Keyword His brood brothers entry had them as well. I don’t play GSC (Glory to the Dark Gods) and knew that something maybe up.

I messaged Josh towards the end of the round (as I was at work and had it on in the background) to let him know. Right around the middle of round 2 I get a text confirmation that Josh hadn’t reviewed the list he typed up before registration that morning and two words that I won’t repeat in front of the kiddos. Josh went dark for a little while and as I was waiting for another teammates’ results in BCP I saw Josh’s opponent with a 40-0 win and Josh’s name removed from the tourney.

At this point I’ll switch views on our story and reference communication I received from the Adepticon head Judge/TO Jason Lippert. As I can obviously understand the perceived Bias one could assume I have I’ll quote his communication about the issue in full below.

“With respect to Josh Death’s disqualification, on day one, shortly after the second round of the AdeptiCon Warhammer 40K Championship began, we [‘we’ meaning the AdeptiCon Judges/Staff] became aware that there was an allegation, somewhere on social media, that Josh Death’s list was illegal due to assigning a <Cult> to his three Brood Brother Infantry units. I was informed shortly after we became aware, at which time we reviewed published AdeptiCon policy regarding the discovery of illegal lists/models, taking into account my stated position that I refuse to be obligated to any action by someone not actually at my event. We also interviewed his first round opponent to see if we could determine whether the way in which the list was illegal had an impact on the game; according to the player, it did not.

Our discussion and investigation resulted in the following decision: If Josh qualified for the Top 16, he would be disqualified. That is the step at which we accept responsibility for list legality, so that is when we would enforce the sanction. In the meantime, if any of his opponents made a complaint, Josh would be immediately disqualified. This is in keeping with AdeptiCon policy.

A short time later (well before the end of the second round), Josh himself became aware that his list was illegal. He came to me personally to let me know exactly how his list was illegal, and offer both apologies and to withdraw immediately. I told him to hold his offer for the moment, and repeated the process described above, including interviewing his current opponent and re-interviewing his first round opponent. I made my top judge argue on behalf of Josh staying in the tournament. We decided that if Josh’s play had been perfect and the illegality had not impacted his games thus far, we would strike the illegal part from all of his lists (with me signing off on them), and he would continue.

During our investigation, one of his opponents pointed out that Josh had, in fact, misplayed a GSC rule. I do not feel it necessary to share exactly which one it was, as all that mattered for my decision was that his play had not been perfect. I will share that it had nothing to do with the misattribution of <Cult> to the Brood Brothers Infantry. I informed Josh that I accepted his offer to withdraw. His second round game was scored 40-0 in favor of his opponent, and he was dropped from the tournament. Josh comported himself with dignity and humility during this process, and went on to participate in the AdeptiCon Warhammer 40K Team Tournament without even a hint of any kind of misconduct.

Going forward, we will consider revising our policy to establish that we will acknowledge information that comes to us from outside sources and act on it as soon as we become aware of it (i.e. considering it the equivalent of a player complaint). We have not adopted this idea yet. If we do, it will be included in the 2020 rules packet, which is typically made available (in draft form) in November.


Jason Lippert, Head Judge/TO

AdeptiCon 40K Events”

As you can see, there were many many things that could be said of Joshua this weekend. But ill intent on a player I have come to call friend and brother is not something I can rightfully stand by and let happen. My name is Matt Ludwick, Joshua Death is my teammate. He made a mistake. He owned it. He lived up to the most stringent version of the ITC player conduct pact and self reported and removed himself so that a tournament could go on to have an untainted outcome. The tournament organizers handled it in a manner consistent with the ITC player conduct and Adepticon rules and the system worked. I’m proud of his actions, and I thank you for your time.


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15 Responses to “The Slow Regard of Silent Play”

  1. Mike Earley April 5, 2019 12:34 pm #

    Yeah, it’s fine. He made a copy/paste error, and because it was simply a copy/paste error, he didn’t abuse it in game. Why? Because he wasn’t attempting to cheat. Simple. Josh has a past. He knows that, and owns it. But that past is in the past, and I’m happy to have Josh playing in the community at a high standard.
    He didn’t attempt to abuse the mistake. He wasn’t even aware of the mistake until it was brought to his attention. He did the right thing, and personally I wouldn’t have DQ’d him or accepted his DQ, but I get why they did. The reason they did is silly, but they didn’t want to have drama, and I get it.
    No Josh Death hate, peeps.

  2. Vincent Morgado April 5, 2019 1:46 pm #

    Why are we seeing people whitewash one of the most notorious cheaters in the community?

    • WestRider April 5, 2019 4:13 pm #

      Why is it so hard for you to grasp that people are capable of changing, and improving themselves?

  3. Heldericht April 5, 2019 2:33 pm #

    Wait, what’s your name again?

  4. matt ludwick April 5, 2019 4:18 pm #

    Fair point. In my head it sounded more literary. It could just be me being a tool. Im open to that.

  5. Blackmoor April 5, 2019 5:42 pm #

    “During our investigation, one of his opponents pointed out that Josh had, in fact, misplayed a GSC rule.”

    #1. That is more than making a list building mistake.
    #2. There have been numerous postings of past issues at tournaments (I have not been keeping track, and I have not personally witnessed any misdeeds). If this is a one off thing, then no one would care, but it seems to be a pattern of behavior.

    This also goes to illustrate what I hate about the tournament scene is TOs pussyfooting around any issues that come up. I guess they do not want to create feel bads, or want to stop people from coming to their events. Very rarely do TOs have the balls to call out what really happened like what happened with Alex Harrison at the London GT, or Team Happy at the ATC. TOs need to state what happens at their tournaments so we know who the bad actors are in our community. Most of what we hear is from the guilty party, and they always whitewash it, or spin it in a way where it is just a mistake. If your justice system worked this way, then the prisons would be empty.

    • abusepuppy April 5, 2019 10:15 pm #

      If the standard we’re holding players to is “never, ever, ever make a single rules error at any point or be disqualified forever” then I’m pretty sure that our 40K tournaments would be empty, too.

      Josh’s “pattern of behavior” in the past two years is that he has twice dropped from high-profile tournaments over extremely minor issues because he wished to try and prove that he is making an effort and that he doesn’t want to taint the competitive community with bad press. He did it at LVO, and he did it again here.

      Is a letter from the Adepticon judges and their official ruling on the matter “from the guilty party”? The TOs were quite explicit in this matter- they stated what the error was, their ruling to it, Josh’s response, and the final result of the events. What more do you think should have been provided, if not that?

      • Blackmoor April 6, 2019 1:05 am #

        I was going to write out a long response to you, but I like Josh. When he use to live in So Cal back in the day we were always competing for the wins at RTT with each other. He has always been a cool guy to me, and I hate to see what is happening to him.

        That being said, because of past mistakes that he has made he is under a ton of scrutiny. He has to stop making these mistakes over and over again, and play a good, clean game of 40k. It is at the point now that if an error is discovered he drops, but he needs to stop being in the position where he has to withdraw.

        There is a lot of nuance to the rules and I know he codex hops a lot, but perhaps he should stick with just one for a while and get it down to the point where there are no errors made.

    • Zweischneid April 6, 2019 6:48 am #


      At least there is progress and acknowledgement regarding mistakes discovered by people watching streams or lists.

      I remember the Twitch chat repeatedly pointing out during the January 2018 LVO finals that you couldn’t quicken Shining Spears after deepstrike, yet both players in that final game did it (and we had to organise a mass email to GW to get it into the latter FAQ).

      The correct action would’ve arguably been to have both Nick and Tony disqualified from the LVO 2017 season (or at least nullify all points gained playing Ynnari).

      Also, there was clearly a misplay on the first Adepticon game streamed with a player Warptiming after using DMC, yet that player, having committed a far more serious rules violation than Josh Death, was never disqualified.

      • abusepuppy April 6, 2019 8:00 am #

        Adepticon explicitly ruled that you were allowed to Warptime after DMC. That was not a mistake on the players’ parts.

        • Zweischneid April 12, 2019 12:33 am #

          That’s super weird.

          Well, here’s hoping the FAQ at least finally gives us an absolute crystal clear, non-ambigious answer on how all the reinforcment/tactical reserves jazz is supposed to work. DMC/Tide & Warp time, 1st turn summoning, intercept rules, etc.,. etc.. , etc..,

  6. red3_standingby April 6, 2019 9:54 am #

    The only thing that matters is that tournaments have defined procedures for rules violations in a game and that such rules are followed when applicable. That happened, end of story. Time to move on.

  7. Draaen April 7, 2019 9:10 pm #

    So this player reports his clerical error during the second round and upon investigation it was found that the clerical error had no impact. However the organizer decided his play was required to be perfect which is a fairly high bar. A totally separate unspecified GSC rule was found to be not played correctly when they looked closer at the games and he was DQed.

    If he made an honest mistake, which by playing correctly and self reporting is a fair assumption, then any other rules infractions should be assessed on their own merits. Upping it to perfect play seems a fairly high standard. Anyone playing this game for a while has had a rules dispute and been on the incorrect side of it.

    There is and should be a higher bar at tournaments for exact play. I just don’t think the bar should have been raised because he reported the error.

    • magnisprime April 8, 2019 11:17 am #

      Keep in mind that Josh volunteered to self DQ and the TO told him to wait until the end of the investigation. We can’t know if he would have been DQ’d at this point if he hadn’t volunteered.

  8. Amof April 9, 2019 10:26 am #

    At this point FLG really seem to be going out of their way to clear Josh’s name.

    To be honest I just zeroed in on this line “During our investigation, one of his opponents pointed out that Josh had, in fact, misplayed a GSC rule.” If someone is trying to turn a new leaf, after a colored(to say the least) past then its on them to play above and beyond. Get a rule wrong isnt playing above and beyond, Now the sarcastic response to this is EveRy OnE GeTs rUlEs wRong. Well everyone doesnt have this kind of reputation at the same time. I don’t understand this hysteria around “clearing his name” he misplayed a rule and then won a game, we all know something as small as a single good charge or damage roll can shift a game, let alone a rule getting played incorrectly in someones favor. Let him eat his lumps and just present the facts of what occurred.

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