Leaving that Happy Place
Wow, some stories just keep on going and going…
While I was knee deep in website coding purgatory, the American Warhammer 40k tournament scene was rocked by a drama explosion likes of which hasn’t been seen since Scott killing himself on Beverly Hills 90210 or if that is too old a reference maybe this will help…
something tells me I am still missing something…
If you didn’t know over the last weekend the largest Warhammer 40k team tournament (outside of Adepticon) in the World was held: the ATC.
The ATC has been going on for years, it started out as a very casual affair, held somewhere between Deliverance and Graceland. Over the years though the ATC has slowly morphed into the crowning 40k bitchfest, where past and current American ETC team members, along with 40k “celebrities” reenact grudges developed over years of cosplay and inside jokes that only make sense if you ever paid for Serbian hookers.
Under this coonskins cap, the same teams repeatedly try to make the ATC the ultimate test of who can become the beta cuck Primarchs of 40k America. One such team who had won the ATC for I think more than three years running, “Team Happy” was caught cheating. Now initial reports across the internet flew left and right with team members being accused of slow playing to rumors of swearing matches with event judges. No matter what is true and not true, the ATC after what looks to be numerous backroom chats decided to ask Team Happy to leave the event on the final day of the event, with the final straw being the team having models built to an unfair advantage. This was after some sportsmanship warnings and penalties for using wargear not purchased.
To put this in even more context, Team Happy is composed of the founding and newest member of the 40k Pariah’s Club: Aaron Aleong and Tony Grippando, we are only missing Joshua Death and Julio Rodriguez to complete the set. Let me start by saying if you have those two players on your team don’t delude yourself into thinking you and your team are not going to be under a microscope. Add a helpful layer of jealously and you can see how certain other participants might play an active role in trying to disqualify Team Happy. The official statements from both the ATC and Team Happy tried to either minimize the drama or make everything seem like a ticky-tack witch hunt. Of course, these narrative relies on believing both sides to a certain extent.
I certainly don’t believe ATC timeline of the events, it is clear they were being confronted by other teams about Team Happy’s behavior and to say they didn’t feel pressure is equally as absurd as to think Team Happy wasn’t going to push every button possible to try and keep their ATC winning streak alive.
Since I wasn’t at the event, and the story has too many hentai tentacles to keep track of, I can only go on my gut feelings based on past player behavior. So in other words, Team Happy probably acted like asshats because it is a feature not a bug at this point, and the rest of the 40k good ol’ boy network browbeat the ATC into action.
The biggest thing though about this latest episode and everything that has happened since the Las Vegas Open, is the community is becoming more and more engaged in removing bad actors and having some real sportsmanship standards and good etiquette enforcement.
The ITC is even going as far to thinking about, maybe creating, after everyone votes, just before getting Games Workshop’s permission, buried in some post after the latest FLG mat sale ends for some new tournament standards that won’t be enforceable in any way and won’t have Reece take any side.
Obviously if the competitive scene wants to grow, it also needs to grow up. Finding the right balance evolves creating preventative measures so peer pressure or innuendo don’t incur player penalties, certainly actual facts should drive any real action. Ultimately a group of independent arbitrators might be needed or God forbid Games Workshop gets involved and sets the standard; using the carrot of prize support and stick of revoking playtesting/early access privileges. This is though only a fever dream I know won’t ever happen.
Finally, I hope this brief rant summarized the 3 or 4 articles BoLS has already posted related to what happened at the ATC, but if you cannot get enough of the drama here is a horde of links to satisfy your lust.
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