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40K: Sportsmanship & Competitive Gaming – An Uneasy Pair

4 Minute Read
Feb 2 2018
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BlackBlowFly here to talk about the best and worst of sportsmanship he’s seen in competitive 40K tourneys this last week!

Last weekend was the much awaited Las Vegas Open featured the largest ever 40k grand tournament in the world with 500 players and three days of competitive gaming to determine the best general going 8-0.

Our Better Angels

I watched many of the televised games on Twitch. Unfortunately I did not get to see the Glacial Geek versus Reaperspam but I did see one of the quarter final matches featuring Mark Wright playing pure Blood Angels versus Jared Friedman playing Chaos Soup. They both made some mistakes – it happens – but this was an amazing game to watch. The battle swung back and forth every turn, both players were true gentlemen throughout the entire match. It was absolutely the best televised match I’ve ever watched and a perfect end to the second day leading into the finals.

A Bad Apple

The next day a very unfortunate issue occurred in a semi final round between Reaperspam and an Imperial Death Star army. A lot of bad things happened due to the Eldar player:

Very long deployment eating up a lot of the clock.

Very long first turn eating up even more of the clock.

Finally – the shot heard round the world: the Death Star player was trying to play quickly to save time and deployed some assassins before completing his movement phase. The Reaperspam player then informed him that his movement phase was over since deep strikes typically occur at the end of the movement phase. The Death Star player was the perfect gentleman and really did not argue accepting the Eldar player’s decree. This pretty much decided the game with Reaperspam advancing to the final round. Had the Death Star player been able to complete his movement phase there was a good chance he could have won. It should be noted both players discussed it amonst themselves prior to the start of the game and said they wanted to play more by intent rather than RAW.

What Goes Around…

The final round was Reaperspam versus Reaperspam featuring almost identical lists – a dreaded mirror match. The Eldar player to advance from the semi final versus Death Star had pretty much copied the list of the other Reaperspam player. As fortune or karma would turn out, the Reaperspam player to beat Death Star in the semi-finals made a very similar mistake to the one he jumped on the previous day. It cost him the game, yet he vehemently complained prior to finally accepting his fate.


It should be noted that a judge was assigned to the table during the final round to monitor the clock and observe the game. It was stated that a player exceeding 20 minutes per turn would first receive a warning… a third warning could result in ejection.

As a viewer watching these two games, the final day was a major disappointment, especially compared to the absolutely fantastic quarter final match that ended day 2. I think most people want to watch exciting games decided by great tactics and some luck. Watching two games in a row decided by rules lawyering was not entertaining with the exception of the abusive Reaperspam player getting a dose of his own medicine. Unsportsmanlike behavior like this streamed live to the world does not put the hobby or the competitive community in a positive light.

Now here is the thing – I am sure Reaperspam will be nerfed just like Ravenspam was at the beginning of 8th edition but there is no guarantee there is any incentive given for players not to abide by good sportsmanship if they really think they can win.

~Do you think something should be done to punish this type of behavior?



Author: Steve Turner
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