In the 40k universe one voice stands above the rest as the defender of non-competitive play that person is Andrew Sutton otherwise known as Stelek founder of the website Yes the Truth Hurts.
…this is his story.
Normally I let my own words do the talking, but this post over on YTTH was so rich that I have to let it speak for itself. I want to emphasize that people really should read this post COMPLETELY I understand that it is long, but it encapsulates everything that is wrong with Stelek’s ego and his tactics. So if you ready for a the perfect dissection of Stelek read on because boy does it hit everything on the head.
Rikimaru here, as you know I have been reading your blog for a while and on the whole you do good work, sometimes your rule interpretations leave a bit to be desired but hey we are all guilty of that from time to time. I would like to run something past you, which I think, really works against the effectiveness of your blog though. This will be long for which I apologise in advance.
The problem with your site lies with your credibility in certain areas. Please bear with me on this because this is not a troll or an attack but a valid observation made after many months of reading your blog.
I think you will agree that you have made some quite strong statements on your blog and on various forums in the past (Dakka is the one on which I have seen your most outrageous claims); the ones this post is concerned with are these two in particular
That you can beat anyone, no matter what they have won (GT etc), their experience level, skill level etc, you can beat them even if they use a premium army and you use a sub par army. You are a better general than anyone out there and you state that you can use any army and beat anyone who dares to play you.
Ok fair enough, I suppose we can take that on face value and give you the benefit of the doubt; however it is a very big claim to make. It is human nature for anyone to look at a claim like this and doubt its veracity. By making the claim you have put yourself in a position where demands for validation of the claims and proof of the statements will inevitably follow.
Making this claim is bad enough in itself because with it you have pitched your claim to the alpha pack position and you will always have challengers to this position. Being alpha means you need to constantly prove you are the alpha, this is Human nature.
The big problem you have with credibility though, is the various statements you have made in the past in answer to critics who have quite rightly pointed out you have lost and your lack of proof of wins in tournies etc. The statements in question are these (all paraphrased)
“I choose to let my opponent win”.
“I take no pleasure in crushing (newbies, scrubs, babyseals etc etc) so I don’t”
“I used a fluffy army so I expected to lose”
Sorry your credibility just disappeared with that first statement. It can be seen as nothing else but a contrived ploy to cover any loss you suffer.
You take your best army; you play someone who you by your own statement you know you can beat (after all you stated you can beat “anyone”) but you lose, what do you do? Yep you simply state, “I let him win”.
Very very very clever, because how do we prove differently? Tell me Stelek how would you react to anyone claiming the same thing. Picture it:
Random Forum dude” I can beat anyone with my foot Eldar list of doom, anyone”
Stelek” FootDar suck, I can beat your shitty army with any army you care to mention, no matter how bad”
Random Forum dude “OK I will play you, but I want to face your best list and I want you to play to your best, I will play any mission you want, anywhere you want because I simply cannot lose”
Stelek “OK I will use (insert best list here) I will choose the scenario and the venue and I will play my best so be ready”
Random Forum dude “Bring it on”
Game is played and he loses badly, very badly but smugly states that he let you win, the win means nothing because he saw how bad a player your were and let you win to save you embarrassment. Would you accept that? No you would not but you expect us to accept it from you as explanation for some of your losses.
There are various other reasons put forward for these ‘given games’ such as “I do not need to crush the new kid on the block” (how noble) or “Sometimes losing can illustrate a point/tactic etc better than a win” (precarious reasoning methinks). Those reasons are just about valid, though giving someone a game is always in my opinion devaluing and insulting the opponent. You are in effect saying, “You cannot beat me but I will let you win because I am so magnanimous” man that is arrogance of the highest order.
I cannot think of any occasion where I or anyone I know has let someone win, tempering the way you play so you do not utterly humiliate the opponent yes but let win sorry no. Why would you ever do this? It accomplishes nothing, how can you learn if someone lets you win? How can you improve if someone lets you win?
You have a real problem in that you have set yourself up as the place where the buck stops regarding competitive war gaming and especially 40K. You have put it out there that you are ‘the’ ‘expert’ in 40K list building and competitive play. You have stated that you can, not just beat anybody, anytime, anywhere, using any army but you can ‘crush’ them. Claims you made, not claims made by others about you.
Now even leaving out the fact that this statement is ridiculous to the point of lunacy because nobody can ever win every game in a system inherently built around the premise of the randomness of the roll of a dice, you are still left with the problem of validating such massive boasts/statements.
Anybody with even an ounce of intelligence and common sense knows those statements are un-provable, so how do you get around that problem. Ahhhh yes you use the old “I let them win” or “I could have won easily but I decided to let them win” explanation because if I let them win its not really a loss is it.
Now this on its own is not going to be enough, so you have to have something else as back up to your credibility and what better way than attacking the credibility of every other player (and sorry bud but that is exactly what you do).
The GW GT has been around a long time and is held (rightly or wrongly) as the pinnacle of a 40K players playing career. If you won a GT you had something to show that validated your skill at 40K. Nobody can take that win away from you and you have something very few players have ‘proof of your ability’.
You Stelek have never won a GT so you cannot hold this up as proof of your prowess, so what do you do? You post what appear to be un-provable claims that you have beaten and crushed many GT winners and try your very best to discredit the GT system (yes you say it was the best of a bad bunch but you still knock it).
What is contradictory though is the fact you claim to have entered numerous GT’s but to what purpose? To win a tournie you actively discredit?
You never won though, did you? What happened did you let them win?
Did you enter with some cunning plan to beat and devalue the game-playing prowess of the previous GT winners? If you can do this then why not just win the thing AND beat them? You have your proof right in your hands then. Did you do this? No you did not but why not? See it just does not add up.
Then we have the ordinary club players who are according to you usually stuck in the mire of local club metagaming or the fluffy player who will never be competitive. Both of these by virtue of the limitations YOU assign to them can apparently never be used as proof of the lack of your skill because they can never provide you with a challenge because you see they have no skill of their own.
So what did you do when they beat you (which they have)? Did you play to their level? Did you handicap yourself because you do not want to appear to be an asshole?
Any game against these types of player can never be used for or against you because according to you the opponent either lacks the skill (for whatever reason) to beat you or you let them win because you don’t like to club the seals, play the metagame etc, see very very clever.
It can be argued that what you are actually doing is cleverly and deliberately removing the ability of anyone to challenge your credibility. You are doing this by devaluing player’s skill levels, even GT and other tournament winners.
Then we have the insidious tactic of devaluing the opponents of those who post on wins reports etc on your blog or other forums using lists you say are sub par. You see if someone wins with a list that you say is useless (or one similar to it) then it leaves you with three possibilities
(1) You are wrong and the list is not useless
(2) The player using the list is a very good player and is in fact better than you because he can win using it
(3) The player must of course be playing really bad opponents, ones who are so bad they lose to a bad player using a list you have declared as “shit”
Now one and two make you look bad so they can never be accepted reasons because that would eat into your credibility as the self proclaimed “best player and list builder in 40K” so it has to be number three. So again you devalue a players skill simply because you have ‘no other option’
Remember the game you had with Haddatt, the one you lost and then posted various reasons why you lost such as
“Wish I had my Eldar, I’d have rather played that myself but they aren’t available. They are the only army that I think can take a Tau list like the one I faced, it’s very vulnerable to mass assaults as it isn’t mounted.”
“Thought I could turn it around near turn 4, but a impressive array of dice failures crushed my will to live. ”
But I thought you could crush anyone with any army, so why do you need to use your Eldar army? You yourself made this claim yet you contradict yourself.
What about the Nid zilla Ardboyz list you posted about which you said, “I have yet to find a way to beat this list” so what are you saying there then? That if a player used that list against you then you could not beat it? But I thought you could beat any player using any list? If you cannot validate your statement then retract it.
If you can crush anyone why blame the dice for the loss? Should you not be able to use your superior tactical ability to mitigate the dice luck? But hey at least you did not claim you let him win.
The biggest problem here though is you lost and you made excuses for the loss, instead of just putting up your hands and saying “yep I lost” no instead what you do is attempt to devalue Haddatt’s win. Deny this as much as you like but make no mistake this is what you did, by blaming the dice and claiming you used a sub par list for the job (but did you not claim you can beat anyone EVEN with a sub par list).
Whether you realise you are doing this or instead think you are cleverly and subtly devaluing the win and Haddatt’s abilities is hard to decipher.
The thing is though you see you have no choice but to do this, lets consider the possibilities thrown up by said game:
(1) Haddatt had a decent list and played better than you
(2) Haddatt had a really good list and played better than you
(3) You had a shit list, played well but lost
(4) You had a good list but played badly
(5) You both had good lists, both played well but the dice were kinder to Haddatt
(6) Haddatt had a shit list but played better than you
(7) Haddatt had a shit list, you had a good list but he played better than you
(8) You let him win
(9) You should have used a different army because the one you used made it hard to win
I will stop there.
1, 2, 3,4,6, 7 and 9 are all bad for you given your previous boasts of your ability to crush anyone regardless, 5 is I suppose acceptable but surely a player of your self proclaimed immense talent would need to have bad luck of monumentally bad proportions to lose. So we are left with number 8 which you have used as a reason in the past. However in this instance you tried to go with three and none but unfortunately they contradict your previous boasts.
You see you cannot repeatedly use number 5 or 8 or 9 as reasons so you are left with nothing else but to devalue the player’s skill/ability or list building skill.
No doubt if he posted the list he used (in that battle) on your blog you would tear it apart (I mean Torch squads are never any good are they?) but dude he beat you with it. You could play him again, will you? Probably not and even if you did and lost again you would still have your carefully constructed and pre conceived reasons to trot out to ‘explain’ the loss (5,8,9); however if you won which of numbers one to none would apply to to Haddatt? Of course none of them would because you simply applied your skill and superior list to beating him, you would brook no excuse for his loss.
You have basically left yourself only one possible means of validation and that is to routinely devalue both players of 40K and the whole tournament system, you simply can do nothing else.
What you seem to miss though is that by doing this you devalue yourself because what is the point of being the best of a mediocre bunch, all it means is you are slightly less mediocre.
And now we come to that other divisive ploy you throw out there, you know the one “I do not consider anyone a challenge apart from maybe John (or insert name here)” but you see even this is contrived and does not swing true. Are those players who you deem worthy of your full game playing prowess as good or better than you?
No of course they aren’t how can they be because you already stated that no matter who you are no matter how good you will crush them. So this is shown up to be the worthless and valueless platitude it is and you devalue the people you supposedly respect by virtue of your boasts (do your fanboys realise this I wonder?).
We in turn have to devalue their value as players because we are left with no choice, They can in reality only ever be losers, they are the best of the losers but losers is what they are. They are apparently worthy of your respect but what is that respect actually worth when you have already claimed that nobody is as good as you. Is there anyone better than you Stelek?
So where does this leave us then, well it leaves us with these choices:
(1) We believe you, even though you have supplied very little proof. We blindly place faith in your statements regarding your 40K prowess and give you the benefit of the doubt (hey blind faith has worked for the church for 2000yrs+)
(2) We apply some common sense and see your claims for what they are un-provable, unsupportable nonsense and therefore treat the rest of what you posts with this in mind
(3) We call you out and ask you to justify the claims THAT YOU MADE and you answer those demands of justification
To me the only thing that makes any sense what so ever for you is number 3. You have claimed you can beat anyone, anywhere at anytime with any army, so do it.
If someone challenges you and is willing to travel to play you then play them. After all what does it cost you?
We all know you play games so fit these challenges into your schedule.
The challenge is how every game/sport works, there is the best and there are the challengers, the up and coming pretenders to the throne. The reigning champion has to see meet these challenges or he is not the champion.
If you are the champion, the pinnacle of 40K then you need to meet the pretenders to your throne, it is how it works. Or you can just trot out the oft used “I don’t have to prove anything” or the even more used “I have a wife, I am unemployed, all null’n void walkin around like pretty boy floyd” (sorry got into a serious Grandmaster flash thing there) etc etc.
You know the excuses and justifications that you repeat endlessly to avoid having to prove what you know is un-provable that you are un-defeatable and the best.
If you display an unbeaten record then fine, we are all proven wrong and we all must bow to your skill; however if you lose just once to anyone (no matter their skill level, luck, list used etc etc) then you must immediately withdraw the statement that you can beat anyone, if a title holding boxer goes into the ring and loses a fight can he claim to be the worlds best?
Will you do this? Of course you won’t because you know to beat everyone is simply unattainable in 40K. You see Stelek you and you alone have painted yourself into this corner, you contributed much to and help create all the emo drama that you say makes you despair. All those players on BOLS, Dakka etc that challenge your record and doubt your veracity, credibility and skill are all utterly and entirely justified in doing so because you give/gave them the ammunition, how do you react? Predictably is how, you doubt their veracity/credibility and skill.
You know for a supposed master tactician and student of all that is wargaming you show a very poor grasp of the tactics of real life.
The biggest mistake you can make as a general is backing yourself into a position that leaves you no avenue of escape or retreat and that is just what you have done. By making ridiculous claims and issuing unattainable challenges like you did on Dakka and continue to do so, you have painted yourself into a corner that you have only two ways of getting out of.
What are those ways? Well one way is to admit that the claims you made are ridiculous, admit that you are cannot prove you are the best player, and admit that you can never guarantee that you can beat anyone. Basically by being humble and admitting that you were arrogant and made regrettable claims you would gain a lot more respect, I for one think it is obvious you are a good and talented player and others do as well, if they believe this then should that not be enough for you? Is it? Or is your ego that big that you have to believe that you are the best of the best?
If you believe that then you have to prove it to everyone else because that is the way games and sport (hell the world) works. Anyone can talk the talk but not many can walk the walk. You have displayed knowledge and have given some damned good and useful advice, have you shown you are the best? No you have missed that mark by a country mile, is that a bad thing? No it is not. Does it matter? Apparently it does to you.
The other way is to prove to the readers of your Blog, (the ones who you expect to trust you and your advice) that you are in fact unbeatable, how can we trust your opinion that a list is crap if such lists beat you? Take the Tau list Haddatt used, you would never say that list was good, you would piss on it if he posted it to you for evaluation, but you lost to that list. So how can we trust your judgement because you claim to be unbeatable but lost to a list you would say is less than optimal against a player who by his own admission is decent but by no means the best Tau player (you are aren’t you?).
The other thing you have been forced into is this, your knowledge of lists and the game rules has to be utterly flawless. If you play a game and you use a tactic that is proven to be dodgy or a rule in a way that is illegal then you immediately lose all credibility as the best, if you are the best you do not need to bend unclear rules (Piranha Drones for example or Rage) so why do it?
You actually mentioned revamping your blog and I think that is a good idea. The first thing I would do is rethink this whole “I am the best” approach and simply put yourself out there as a good resource to help players attain the level of skill you have.
Stop with the emo drama; admit that you are just as much to blame for all the blog/forum back and forth drama as everyone else.
Admit to yourself that you made a mistake making totally ridiculous claims/boasts and statements and just make more realistic claims, such as:
I am a good solid player who is capable of giving you a very challenging game. I am confident enough in my list building ability and tactical skill to say that anyone will find beating me a real challenge. It is probable that I can improve your game even if I lose by virtue of the fact that I will stretch your skill as a player.
Forget all the former glory stuff, it has been shown by yourself and others to be whistling in the wind so why even bother with it. Start again from a more humble and realistic position; take the ammunition the Stelek haters need to have a go at you away from them.
I hope you will see this for what it is, an attempt to show you that the way you have portrayed yourself in the past only serves to devalue yourself, the mission and the blog. That you have your fans is undeniable but the problem is you have a lot of haters as well and you have lost and lose a lot of respect. The constant attacks on you, emo drama, attacks by yourself on other blogs/forums and constant devaluing of other players serves no valuable purpose and I am at a loss to see what you think you gain from it all. Yes the truth does hurt but not all hurt is the truth.
You may say this is rich coming from me Rikimaru the king of dissention and probably one of the most annoying 40K t’internets personas in existence but this should make you take what I say all the more seriously.
I respect anyone who stands up for what they believe, sticks to their guns if they know something works for them and is not scared to say what they think. You Stelek do all these things as well and I commend you for it, what I do not do though is make claims I know cannot be seen as credible such as:
Claim to be unbeaten?
Claim to be unbeatable?
Claim to have the best Tau (or any other army) list?
Claim to know all there is to know about Tau (or any other army)?
Claim to have beaten GT winners?
Claim to have positioned well in tournies?
Claimed I am the best player?
Claim I can play each and every army well?
Clam I can build the best lists out there?
Claim I can beat any army with any army no matter how bad?
Do I get up peoples noses and piss them of? To right I do. Do I actually care? Nope not in the slightest but the thing is Stelek unlike you, I do not put myself out there as the best there is, I do not claim to be able to beat anyone, I do not claim to know more than anyone else. So I can carry on blithely annoying asshats because I have nothing to prove. I try to help and that is enough for me (if I piss off an asshat well that is a welcome bonus).
You on the other hand have straight out said you are the best and have put a blog out there stating this repeatedly, you have unfortunately put yourself in the position of put up or shut up and that is not a good place to be in unless you can put up. It simply works against you and discredits you. My point is this you obviously feel an amazing amount of passion for the 40K game and you want to change it for the better so why then are you shooting yourself in the foot with the approach you have choosen.
I have e-mailed this because I did not and do not want to add to the drama on your blog. Many will perceive this as an attack (You will probably) so I thought it best to e-mail you. I would like to see your blog reach the potential it obviously is capable of achieving but I do not think it ever will if you persist in using this (sorry) arrogant, antagonistic, egotistical and bombastic approach, making unattainable and un-provable boasts adds nothing to the blog and simply work to detract from it, as does the constant derogation of other players. I hope I have helped you to see this. If you want to publish this then fine its no skin of my nose but a reply would be appreciated (by e-mail) even if it is to rip me a new one. I just wanted you to know that it was not meant as a public attack or attempt to have a go at you for the sake of it, I am just trying to help you see how the claims you make do nothing but work against you.
Ok, if you survived that I am guessing you can handle my little reply. Until Stelek is more humble and changes his mission statement I do not see how he can get out of this box. All his emo drama and my responses are based on the fact that he cannot back up his claims nor can he show just a wee bit of contrition. Like it or not his claims form the basis of his advice. His advice is like taking High School English it only wets your reading palette. This is my biggest problem for all his advice (not mentioning his ard’boyz list spam) is simple and repeatable, anytime I open up a new codex I can see exactly where he is going and yawn. Any good advice is nothing you cannot learn from just playing.
So that leaves me only reading Stelek for the drama, I admit I do enjoy. Still what does he get out of it? Does being a constant train wreck really that important? Or does constantly grossing me out about how much sex he has with his wife really make good 40k reading? Now he has added a little bit of Fascism to the mix by moderating comments that he finds hurt his feelings too much. I thought the site was called “Yes the Truth Hurts” not “I Cannot Handle the Truth”. Anyway enough reading and typing what do you think?
Disclaimer: Blood of Kittens has always been douchey so please do not put Blood of Kittens on any pedestal. Blood of Kittens has and will always be some what petty so don’t expect any change in behavior.