The Las Vegas Open 2020 the Waiting Game
What an up and down Las Vegas Open 2020. The downs were certainly in control for the first half of the event, only broken up by the awesome Games Workshop reveals of day 1 at the event. A testament to the growth of the event was continuous registration lines, easily wrapping around the hallways of the event. The real drama though didn’t start until round 2 of the 40k Championship event as as BCP, the app that determines pairings couldn’t handle the almost 800 players turning in scores! This delay was about 2 hours causing the Championships to be pushed back, and wreaking havoc across all the other events as well. Thankfully, the championship Judge Team filled the gap, by creating a spreadsheet that promptly crashed Frontline Gaming own website, but finally linked to Facebook to get everyone paired. This all overshadowed Jim Vesal 2nd ranked ITC player and 10th ranked ITC player Nick “Drunk Magic” Nanavati both losing before round 3.
Where Round 2 pairings was an earthquake set in the ocean, getting to Round 3 was a tsunami that almost took the entire event down with it. BCP crashed again and this time for about another 2 hours, forcing the 3rd round to start at 8pm. Now mind you this is Vegas, so we have a lot of people with partners and family who made dinner and shows reservations, this forced a lot players in tough spots. The LVO team when even as far of giving the unconventional option of allowing players to skip the night game and instead make it up the following morning at 7am! Most players were good sports, but the stress and anger levels of the event organizers not part of BCP were at volcanic levels.
This was a huge stain on BCP who for the most part has been the go to tournament pairing software of the last couple years, if a real competitor was to emerge now would be the time. Mercifully, the error causing the problem was triaged, with the BCP team worked non-stop to fix the issue from the safety of hotel rooms away from any potential angry mob. The rest of the event went smoothly with BCP only acting buggy from time to time, but nothing as crazy as Friday.
Day 2 of the Championship was surprisingly fairly quiet as even hangovers and sleep deprivation wasn’t able to bring players to dramatic outbursts. When Round 5 rolled around things changed a bit, when quickly becoming 40k pariah Aaron Aleong decided the time was right to get a 3 yellow card and became the first person to ever be kicked from the event. Now the story of getting a 3rd yellow card is one where he inflicted two wounds on yourself before the start of round 1: missing list deadlines and claiming to be part of a team that loathes him, just to avoid playing them against them in round 1. The final infraction came in the form of moving his opponent’s models. Now this final card had its own internal drama, with Aaron claiming his opponent told him it was ok to move his models, and this was a case of overactive judges. His opponent not wanting anything to do with the entire soap opera instead stayed out of it. Still, Aaron did his best, fighting his way up the LVO food chain only to plead his case on deaf ears.
The only other fireworks happened to suspected alleged cheater Justin Lois who in also round 5 got hysterically cornered by his opponent who took pictures of their entire game in a feeble attempt to manufacture a gotcha and get Justin kicked out. This exposed a potential flaw with the card system; as a player if they know their opponent has 2 yellow cards could potentially force a 3 card, even if it means they get one too for bad behavior. I can’t say this was what Justin Lois round 5 opponent was trying to do, but judging by his antics and the judges sticking at the table for almost the entire match you have to wonder.
This though wouldn’t be the end of Justin Lois drama as his ghost round match up against TJ Lanigan was showcase in player fatigue. It all started friendly enough, but as the game tightened and the game started to slip from TJ, both of players put away the chummy play and brought out the claws instead. The tipping point came as TJ attempted some hail Mary plays while not explaining himself well enough, only leaving both Justin and the Judges befuddled trying to understand him. Karma though might have played a role, as an improbable overwatch roll was made by Justin, causing TJ to attempt more mind jujitsu, pleading his losing case to an audience who didn’t want to listen. In TJ’s defense it does sounds like Justin was agreeing to things and then taking back things when it no longer suited him; either way Justin would face the Siegler freight train in the quarterfinals and any chance of him winning the event quickly ended.
The Championship rounds were for the most part anticlimactic as 5 Marine players made it in, leaving only 1 Ork, 1 Ad-Mech, 1 Eldar player to solo none marine survivors. Unfortunately, pairings also meant the Ork would face the Eldar causing much sadness on the stream and in the hall.
For those who still don’t know here are final 8 list links.
Las Vegas Open ended with a nightmare we all saw coming as Raven Guard (Brad Chester) and Iron Hands (Richard Siegler) faced off in a battle of what Space Marine broken things would determine your local tryhards would bring to the game store next week. Games Workshop design team were on hand to watch the outcomes, making you wonder if they actually will take the right lessons from Iron Hand Leviathan stupidity and make quick changes or wait for 9th edition to do so. The final game though did come down to exciting finish with a tie and going to tiebreakers to give Siegler the win.
The award ceremony felt like a changing of the guard as the Brohammer Team and Florida in particular took the mantle from the Northeastern players who had been dominating the 40k competitive scene for much of the last decade. No better was this contrast as Richard Siegler the most unassuming nicest guy took his victory lap, while Nick Nanavati (who is moving to Florida funny enough) stumbled around the convention hall debating to add, inappropriate touch coaching and bonus podcasts live from AA meetings to his Patreon paywalls.
This was a strange LVO and one I am not sure how to judge, it does though seem like outside the 40k bubble everything was a smashing success even with BCP almost bringing the entire house down.
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