February 16, 2018 by crew
At one of the world’s largest Warhammer 40k events held during the Las Vegas Open, a really interesting turn of events has sparked a huge amount of conversation due to one particular situation that was streamed live to thousands of viewers on Twitch.
Alexander Fennel playing Space Wolves and Tony Grippando playing Aeldari faced off against one another at the Semi-Finals of the event. A pretty huge moment with it being the culmination of the ITC season and a $4,000 cash purse which is pretty huge for tabletop gaming.
Both players knew each other and are actually both due to play for the American European Team Championships team this year.
In the match, Tony got first turn and as it happened, he ended up using one hour of the two and a half hour time slot given for the game. This is important, as it may have had an impact on what happened next.
As Alex’s first turn began he deployed one of his Assassins before moving any other units, however, this caused an issue as Assassins need to be used “at the end of the movement phase”.
Alex realised his mistake and openly admitted this on the Live Stream. Tony enforced an “order of operations” mistake which essentially meant that Alex was not able to perform any further movement with the entirety of his army.
With a primarily assault based army stuck in its deployment, Alex conceded the game right then and there.
However, quickly after decided that although he had lost that, rather than waste this opportunity he would play out the game with Tony, show off two top players competing on stream and in a real act of sportsmanship accept the outcome gracefully while still giving a great show.
Frontline Gaming who were covering the event will have surely been incredibly grateful for this selfless act as the stream avoided having to fill time or simply show a holding screen until the next round.
As it happened, one of the many viewers of the stream was Marc Merrill, co-founder of Riot Games, who was so impressed by Alex’s actions that he donated a $5,000 Sportsmanship Award to Alex.
To go even further, Alex decided to take this generosity and not only accept it but also pass it all on to a children’s hospital fund, not before asking his employer to fund match the donation for a total of $10,000!
You can actually check out an interview with the LVO organiser Reece Robins, Marc Merrill and Alex Fennell where they discuss how it all played out.
There’s a real success story here from Alex’s wonderful actions but it does beg the question, should it ever have happened?
At what point does “just take that action back” to keep an entire game feasible get overrun by “well these are the rules with all adhere too when we sign up”?
I don’t think anyone wants to win via disqualifications, mistimed actions or even due to time running out but rules are there for a reason.
What’s your view on appropriate conduct during competitive events and how do you think Alex handled this outcome?