For Whom the Cheater Cheats

by | Apr 7, 2019

I swear things seemed to be going so well for the Warhammer 40k competitive scene of late, with the game moving generally in the right direction and the pariahs of the community mostly hiding the shadows. Then you know, things “happen”, and Adepticon just can’t help itself with its myopic deep dish pizza of egotistical behavior. Throw in someone with a continued history of biting the game that feeds him and you get rabies for anti-vaxxers everywhere. So for those who are unaware; a host of a 40k podcast for the socially awkward, only really understood by extra dimensional beings sworn to protect Mark Zuckerberg’s lizard babies, was caught/turned himself in for cheating/illegal list.

Now who cares, as many didn’t notice while getting the convention flu from people who ate at Sam & Harry’s House of under cooked meats. Still, the bad actor in question was none other than Joshua Death/Dearth.

Who you may remember from his greatest hits as the other guy who cheated on the top table at Feast of Blades, when that was a thing. He is also known as the guy with a service Dire Wolf who likes to bite and according to legend can be commanded to bump tables to move models when need be. This same guy who is paras non grata from multiple games stores and events. Josh has won major events across North America, typically using tricky lists that would be called creative by anyone else, but for Josh are suspect for typically easy exploitable loopholes magically built in.

This brings us back to Adepticon, the place where all your Wargaming dreams can be had in a suburban desolation just outside the Windy City. Adepticon is the grand daddy of Wargaming events, growing with each year, and with that an arrogance that only Adepticon has seemed to have mastered. So under that conceit,  imagine my not so big surprise by their official response to the Josh Death/Dearth removal saga.

“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 the story goes, this lines up with Josh’s side thankfully, but I wanted highlighted the real scandal of the whole affair.  Why in the great Emperor’s light would any event that knows someone is running illegal list LET them continue to use the illegal list?!!?!

Frankly, part of me would have appreciated some sort of cover up on this type of behavior, but no Adepticon is all about transparency, even if it is like when serial killer describes exactly how he perpetrated the crime. Well I since the Make Warhammer Great Again crowd can’t be bothered with much of a dissenting opinion this all makes kabuki sense.

Adding injury to insult, Adepticon would have done something if Josh had made it to the top 16, which BTW has not an insignificant probability. So let me get this straight, it is the job of the first four players to call him out or for Adepticon’s sake hope he loses a game? This is like MLB waiting to see what team players make the playoffs before handing out PED suspensions. Instead how about approach Josh in game one and stop it right there! Give him the L and then tell him he can change his list and keep on playing, problem solved! This is much easier to sweep under the rug, and at the very least an easy clean break for everyone involved, with a bonus that Josh can keep on playing.

Instead, Josh knowing his shady past had to man up and go to the TOs with a solution, which after some hemming and hawing was accepted. Good on Josh for “turning himself in”, but the cops should have issued the warranty well in advance.

Adepticon has had a long history with illegal/cheating at the highest tables by people with histories, like Aaron Aleong even before his Rough Riding Turtle days. If the policy though is only do something about when it gets to the top tables, you have missed the point. What about the players below who might have been playing for something to only find out, the event could have done something, but felt player policing was a better way to go for a game with almost infinity combinations and remembrances.

Events like Adepticon can do better, and the well if we policed everything and everyone we wouldn’t have anyone attending” is a tired argument. Sure, everyone “cheats” in almost every game, but that doesn’t mean events can’t do anything about illegal lists. It wasn’t like Josh was hiding his list, he posted the error!

Thankfully, the last part of Adepticon statement, acknowledges the possibility of changing the policy, I sure hope they do because the Europeans have figured this out for the last 20 years by having pre-list submission. Thanks to the Internet, the chore of checking lists doesn’t have to be on the TOs alone as well. I could write an entire article about how Adepticon can’t get out of its own bloated headed way, subscribing to the philosophy of self reflection and growing with the times is for dummies.

Ok, now to Josh Death/Dearth here is my unsolicited advise.


I get it this is your thing to take creative non-standard lists, but for all that is holy this crap needs to stop. Make straight forward lists and have everyone check them! Stop getting into random rules arguments based on interpretations of rules you have clearly “misread”. Every mistake you make always seems to be in your favor, and almost every time you get called out you turn out completely wrong.

Then whole poor is me victim shit sympathy tour stuff also has to stop. It is getting so, the Dark Angel who has cried Heresy level at this point, making people instantly question the validity. It has gotten so bad that many assumes you are lying before you even open your mouth. Now if you have some sort of pathology, you probably know all this, if that is the case maybe Warhammer 40k isn’t for you, because even with your multiple attempts at rehabilitation you seem to create more feel bads or attempt to gaslight the community into submission. You are turning into the Pied Piper of 40k, who seems eternally compelled to lead poor 40k players into a cave of built on pity and deflection, where everyone stumbles out of either gullible or just bitter.

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