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40K Op-ed: Best Sportsmanship is More Important than Best General

4 Minute Read
Feb 8 2018
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There’s been a lot of talk about what’s wrong with competitive play recently, lets talk about how we could fix them.

The past couple of weeks have seen a lot of talk about the nature, and the pros and cons, of tournaments.  In particular people have focused on issues such as sportsmanship, slow playing and the rise of cash prizes. These are all good topics and have serious implications for the competitive side of the game. Listening to and reading all this debate it can be easy to draw the conclusion that tournaments  are broken and no fun. While I disagree with this, most people have a lot of fun at them, but they do have some issues. After some thought I think I’ve come up with a pretty good way to fix a lot of the issues, lets take a look.

Right Now The Focus Is On Winning

The focus of large tournaments is on winning the event. Now most events offer a number of categories in which players can place. Best sportsman, best painted, most fluffy list, and many others. However pretty much all events place two categorizes at the top, Best General and Best Overall. These categories which prioritize winning games have the most prestige and the largest prizes. Of course this makes sense, these are competitive events, winning is a natural focus.

Lets Shift Our Priorities

While winning games will always and should always be a major focus of events, I think the best way to “fix” events is to focus more on sportsmanship. If we can refocus events to be more about sportsmanship, the environment of events will improve. Doing so would be pretty simple really.

Lets talk about the winners of best-sportsman more, lets honor them, and lets give them the biggest prizes.

If You Are Going To Give Cash Prizes, Give Them To The Best Sportman

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A lot of people have been talking about cash prizes in 40K and the ITC in particular. Writing about LVO Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson even notes the the ITCs cash prize might have been a factor in Tony Groppando’s sportsmanship “incident” at the event. Now personally I agree with Larry that 40K should’t have large cash prizes at all. However if you are going to give out large prizes they shouldn’t be for winning games. What if instead of for best overall the ITC gave out a $3,500 prize for best sportsman? (Better yet have the winner only get to pick a charity the money is donated to.) Can you dream of an event where the players are all competing to be the nicest best opponent they can? Alex Fennel was awarded an impromptu cash sprotmanship prize, which he reportedly donated to charity in an amazing move. What if all events were like that, and all players strived for that level of, well, coolness?

Don’t Give Prize To The Best Players

In fact what if you applied that logic to all prizes? Don’t give any prizes, beyond trophies and bragging rights to Best General and Best Overall. Meanwhile give the large prizes, to the best sportsman or other similar categories. People will still want to win, to the be the best, it is a competition. They will still get the honor and renown of being amazing players, and winning events. But it won’t be about winning prizes or cash. That base instinct to win for personal greed will be removed. Instead people will compete, and be rewarded for, to be the best and nicest person than can be.

Events Would Have A Wider Draw

I also think more focus on sportsmanship would allow events to draw in more people. The fact is most players know they can’t win an event, and aren’t trying to. Maybe they don’t get to play enough to be top tier, maybe they can’t afford all the latest models to be really comparative. Maybe they just don’t care all that much. They still have fun in events, they set personal goals and its fine. However ANYONE can be a best sportsman. That’s a goal that literately every player can aspire to. Suddenly I have another reason to want to go to an event, I might actually win a big prize. Its a goal we can all shoot for.

Final Thoughts

Lance OP, plz nerf

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I know this plan isn’t perfect. People will try and game any system, and it would need work put into it to work. However I do really think that refocusing tournaments to reward sportsmanship more and winning less would improve the community. Especially where cash prizes are concerned. With this simple reinforcing we could turn the whole idea of WAAC tournament players on its head.

How would you fix tournaments? Let us know down in the comments! 

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