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Twn2dn

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Everything posted by Twn2dn

  1. @Dennis: Any idea how many from DC are coming up to the Red Saturday tournament? @non-NYC players: Anyone else traveling in? I suspect we'll have a couple, but just want to confirm I have you down (and have contact info, if need to get in touch about timing, etc.).
  2. @Erick: Jeez, you really do like to fan the flames. /shakes head @Everyone else: Maybe we can just ignore the ridiculous posts and discuss the more serious stuff? Not sure that's possible anymore, but one can hope….
  3. I like the changes, Erick. I think you were right to add in much more rush… all of my GenCon games went to time, except for the semi-finals game, which was given a special time extension to help us finish the round (and in doing so, the fourth player hit 15 power). I would also like to note that I would have (and did, as a matter of fact) share this deck list with anyone who asked. I urged a metamate to play it along with me at GenCon, not because I was colluding, but because I thought it the best deck in the environment. I was unable to attend FFG's worlds event, otherwise I would have been playing my own version (likely not Erick's) which had more control and less rush. Glad control did so well in melee. Sorry it ended so controversially.
  4. I see I get slops and props for the same thing. Unfortunately, I hadn't quite figured out the power level of Hellholt Engineer at GenCon, until I was in the semi-finals round and went for 5+ rounds without drawing into one (still reached 13 power). I kept kicking myself for not using my Summoning Season to grab the Engineer when I had the chance. The other three rush players together had 7-8 locations that knelt during the challenges phase…it would have been an easy win with just one copy of that Engineer, and assuming I took that lesson to heart, I think I could have pulled out an overall win at the finals as well. (Ugh, live and learn.) As for the slops, sorry for the failure to warn you. I honestly didn't at all predict a popular negative reaction to the appearance of good control decks in melee. In fact, my prediction for Saturday's headline would probably have been something like: "For the First Time Ever, Control Deck Wins Melee Championship!" Boy, what a disappointment when I checked the FFG threads on Saturday morning.
  5. playgroundpsychotic said: dcdennis said: Seeing as how this is the first time it has ever happened, it doesnt really bother me. However, if future final tables play out in a similar manner containing non DC folks (like that would ever happen ), and those folks are not disqualified as well, then I will take this year's decision in a much different light. They have now set the precedent, here's hoping they stick with it, whatever 'it' is. I do have one question. If I'm not mistaken, the Hellholt Engineer can potentially provide an unlimited combo if used by two players. Did this ever occur in any game? FFG has taken a dim view of unlimited combo's recently. I believe this happened in earlier games (preliminary round 1, I think?). My understanding is then that Erick was "warned," though I have no idea if he was actually involved in that particular game, or if as one of the "leaders" of the DC meta, he was somehow culpable by extension. In any case, he was asked to warn the other people who came from DC. At this point, it's still unclear what this warning involved, though it seems from Dennis' post that the warning was ambiguous, at least by the time it was delivered to metamates secondhand.Based on how the melee finals table played out, I would say the infinite combo was not a factor in the decision, since it wasn't used at the finals table to remove all icons from all opponents' characters AND Erick never had an Engineer in play (or am I misremembering?). The ruling seems to be in reaction to the normal use of control effects and a view that "too much" of the control (though not as a % of card effects, because that wasn't actually the case) was directed toward the Targ player, thereby "locking him out" of the game. I remain unclear how this "locking out" ruling was determined, but that was the reason given. I believe Greg would agree that the only way to justify the disqualification would be to assume that a group of players who brought the same deck, despite knowledge it might result in an NPE combo if they happened to be paired at the same table, embodies an intent to collude. In other words, in-game justifications just aren't enough to explain what happened. Collusion as defined in the rules is all about premeditated intent irrespective of execution. The moment any of the DC players began using the combo, they should have all been disqualified regardless of whether or not everyone used the combo. I also think Greg would agree that, had FFG felt that bringing the same decks = collusion, FFG should have just disqualified all DC players during or ideally before the first round, rather than disqualifying some and not others only after they had reached the finals table and played for 3 hours. Greg, I believe I have accurately represented your views here, but if not, please correct me. While I disagree with Greg's conclusion, his reasoning is logically consistent, unlike the myriad other explanations that involve alleged collusion of plots/triggered effects to "lock down" the opponent. As I pointed out in my original post, working together to reveal plot effects isn't illegal, so long as you don't name cards. Past precedent allows players to ask "want to help each other out this plot phase" or say "guys, Jeremy is going to win…we really need to hold him back this round." My interpretation of the finals round was that no illegal actions were taken, and that had these not been metamates, or had they not been playing the same deck, everything would have been fine.
  6. AGoT DC Meta said: I'm still hoping my plans change and I can actually go. :-/ Just let me know…you're welcome to crash at my home, if that will make things easier. We aren't doing the typical Thanksgiving Dinner that we've done the past several years, but you'd be welcome for Friday/Saturday nights, if interested.And yes, Chapter Pack 6 is legal!
  7. Just FYI, here's what we have for prizes: Trophy 1-2 playmats, depending on number of players. (There will be a special "Black Friday" playmat, as well as a League Kit playmat.) Chapter pack(s) Sansa prize = custom deckbox that prominently features a sad Sansa Custom "NYC Champion" house card that features an image of the Iron Throne Power counters/other items included in the League Kit Beyond the prizes, we'll have a grand time drinking beer, etc. after the event. Given that FFG's World's event was last weekend, I don't expect as many people this time around, but I'd love to be pleasantly surprised! If it's a small group, it will still be competitive… we have some great players in NYC and I'll be playing Targ, as usual
  8. Dobbler said: widowmaker93 said: Remember when Melee was a viable format for competitive play? Me neither. That is simply nowhere near the truth. The melee game has absolutely grown on me over the years. I would still play in Melee worlds even if it no longer factored into the overall championships. Some people might find aspects of it not to their liking. Thats fine. But it is still a viable format for competitive play. I agreed 100% up until the November 9 ruling. Frankly, there are now so many murky rules and even murkier enforcement that it's just not fun, and I certainly can't consider it a serious format. I enjoy playing control decks, and it seems to me the vast majority of decks (probably all of the decks) that will be affected by the murkiness of this collusion ruling will be control decks. Had DC brought rush decks to the melee, nobody would be complaining if three were at the finals table. Since they brought control, they were disqualified.Does this mean that any group of metamates who bring the same control decks to melee should be DQ'd, while bringing rush decks is OK? I guess it really comes down to whether they win. If you don't win with your control deck, as Chad pointed out in another thread, then you're OK. But if you win, better watch out because winning with the same deck = collusion.
  9. I have been having trouble with my NBN deck, saw your list and made some adjustments. Love how it plays now… Just played this afternoon. I think the big thing was adding the snares. Thanks so much for your sharing!
  10. Greg, I appreciate and respect your attempt to explain why FFG ruled there was collusion. But I don't agree. If one follows the logic, then it seems inevitable that we will condemn players for playing the same decks, regardless of their intent. Several personal accounts and tourney reports have explained that the DC players believed their Martell build was the best deck possible. They state, and I believe them, that they ran this build for its overall strength, not because it was powerful in the infrequent situation in which two meta mates play at the same table. Whether or not that deck had a potentially NPE combo when paired with other similar decks seems to have been a minor consideration, if it was a consideration at all. As you know, I ran a variant of this build at GenCon, and you may remember that I placed 10th in the melee (and placed third overall at GenCon). I can attest to the power level of the Hellholt Engineer + Scorched Earth + Brimstone in melee, with or without other Martell players at the table. I think it also relevant to consider that Erick consistently runs the tightest decks possible. I suspect he would never have chosen this deck had he felt it was the best deck ONLY when paired with a metamate. I would also remind you that this is hardly the first time the DC meta has brought the same decks to a tournament. This seems to be regular practice for them in melee and joust. So I think it extremely problematic to assume intent to collude simply because DC players all had the same deck, even if there happened to be an NPE combo when compared with other similar decks. This was the best melee deck in the environment, and just as DC players all play identical builds in joust, they played identical builds in melee. Finally, I would point out that in the finals game, Erick never had a Hellholt Engineer in play (I think..my memory of the game is hazy now), so any explanation for his disqualification that involves his use of broken combos is inaccurate. But even if he did have the combo in play (let's say my memory has failed me), that has never been nor should it be grounds for disqualification. Broken combos are grounds for errata/restriction of the cards in question after the tourney. Greg, if I understand your argument correctly, we should ask players from the same meta to intentionally play weaker decks and go out of their way to avoid broken combos, while smaller metas or players without metas can play anything they want? Again, I will restate for the record (since we've begun a new thread and I haven't mentioned it here) that I have no personal stake in who wins, and frankly the DC players are more "rivals" to the NYC meta than anything else. Us New Yorkers typically appreciate stomping on them when we have the chance. That said, I think the line of reasoning presented in this thread is problematic. At best, enforcing collusion rules based on the decks people bring will cause confusion; at worst, it will result in many more charges of collusion at future tournaments, further eroding the reputation of the melee format.
  11. KhalBrogo said: I was watching it live on and off while doing other stuff but throughout the entire game I definitely got the general sense that the DC guys were definitely planning on making Maekar last place and for the rest of the game they were trying to figure out who would get 1st 2nd and 3rd. Just curious, was your impression that Rick was going out of his way to make maekar 4th as well, or was he simply "playing the game of thrones" and shooting for first?
  12. @Playground: I think we mostly agree. At least, I think you and I would act similarly when put in the same situation. That said, my memory of the collusion rules at GenCon this year is that FFG allowed people to negotiate for first/second place, once the game had begun, so long as it was clear you were negotiating to help yourself in some way…not just throwing the game. (Can anyone else at GenCon confirm this? My memory has been known to be shaky at times.) So while it may make some people angry that this is what DCDennis was doing, my guess is at 3am in the morning after 8+ hours of gaming and FFG past precedence on his side, he and Erick thought they were acting in accordance with rules. Assuming my memory is wrong, or the rules interpretation changed mid-year without notice and seemingly on the fly, I still don't understand why Rick was considered colluding. I definitely agree that I wouldn't help a friend simply because it's a friend. In fact, my metamates will tell you that I frequently go after them in melee, especially if I feel they are the threat. I used GoHH on the first and second round against a metamate in a melee tourney last year. That said, I lost the same tourney's finals round to two friends playing at the same table. One friend realized he couldn't win, and so handed the game to the other before I could win. This isn't strange. I strongly suspect that there are a lot of people out there who would, all things being equal, help their friend over a random stranger. Rules that expressly forbid this type of behavior do little to change the dynamics of the game…they just make people afraid to negotiate (an intrinsic part of melee) with someone they know, or encourage silence when friends swap favors. A final note: I've been posting a lot on this thread…possibly too much. It doesn't matter to me whether a DC player wins melee or not. Erick and Corey have designed plenty of World Champion cards, and Erick I think still has another world champ card that hasn't come out yet (as does Corey). The reason I care so passionately about this ruling is that I fear it will have a big negative effect on the community and the direction of the game. Already, it has confused a lot of people, made people angry (on both sides), and resulted in a lot of name calling. The lack of clarity around these rules further undermines the legitimacy of the melee competitive format, and by extension the "Overall Champion." No insult to Derek…he's a great guy, but it seems strange to me that someone who didn't play at the finals table got third in melee when someone who played in both finals received nothing. That happened to Greg last year when Corey won overall champion, and it was equally weird, as discussed at length on 2 Champs 1 Chump. This year FFG resolved to fix the problem, but when it came time to live up to promises, judges stumbled over their own rules. Most importantly, this ruling concerns me because it makes the game feel arbitrary and creates negative play experiences that are avoidable. I realize it's just a game, but I spend on average 20+ hours a week buying products, building decks, reading forums and discussing strategy on this "game." I spend thousands of dollars a year traveling to tournaments, and advocate on behalf of the company by growing my local meta and encouraging local players to buy products. When I created the Thrones Times newsletter, that was even more time and money. I've invested a lot into building communities over the past 7 years in Vancouver, WA; Washington, DC; and New York City. In short, because I spend so much of my personal resources related to FFG-sponsored competitions, rulings that dramatically and negatively impact competitive play have a very personal impact on my life. This is personal, and I have a strong urge to quit melee competitive play altogether.
  13. playgroundpsychotic said: Twn2dn said: I too will avoid FFG's competitive melee tournaments (will continue to participate in joust) so long as the rules remain opaque. And I will advise new players who join our meta of the risks of putting too much effort/devotion into melee. If they want a serious tournament, they had better focus on joust or find another game altogether. If you and a bunch of meta-mates travel to a tournament how do you approach the Melee? Do you make a bunch of different decks and just have at it, crushing friends and enemies alike? To me this at least preserves the appearance of propriety. Speaking on behalf of friends, we wouldn't build the same decks (boring) and we're just as likely to turn on each other as someone else. I still need to extract revenge for losing Epic Spell Wars recently. Not sure what I would do exactly the same as what you mention, but I can tell you… (a) I was part of a melee finals game in DC awhile back (late last year?) where two players from PA helped each other. Basically, one PA player had the choice of canceling two effects with Sunspear Tourney Grounds, mine or his friend's, with whoever's he didn't cancel winning the game. During the game, his apology went something like "I'm sorry, but I have to ride several hours home in the car with my friend. If I don't give her the win, I'm going to hear about it for hours." That was before the collusion rules were announced. I assume that the collusion rules haven't changed what this friend would do… no doubt the PA player would still give a friend the win, except that now he just wouldn't apologize because he wouldn't want to be officially on the hook as colluding. For the record, I don't have any hard feelings about losing that game. It was a fun game with four different houses represented (me Targ, the winner Bara, her teammate running Martell, and the fourth playing Stark), and it seems logical that friends help each other. The big problem is that there are no in-game disincentives to avoid collusion. Vaguely worded rules that can apparently be interpreted multiple ways haven't change incentives, they have merely created new NPE moments. (b) DC is not the only meta where players run similar/same decks at tourneys. I've played in a variety of tournament settings against many players, and though it's not an absolute rule, metas tend to build the same deck similarly. I've helped out new NYC players build Targ burn decks similar to my own, and I've even seen it happen that two stark players from the same meta play identical Siege decks. Obviously, the DC players take this to a new level, but fundamentally it's all the same. If there's nothing wrong with helping a friend build a deck similar to your own, then why is it a problem if you help 8 friends build similar decks? Let me ask you this: Would people be complaining right now if all the players who brought the same deck lost all their games rather than won? I doubt they would. Regarding your note about Matthieu not needing friends to make it to the final table, my understanding is that some/all of the 3 disqualified finalists won preliminary rounds in which they didn't have friends at the table. Just because you have a lot of metamates in a tournament doesn't mean you will play at the same tables as your firends. And if you do, is that really grounds for penalizing those players? The big reason these decks compliment each other, in my mind, is that they are control decks… three Targ burn decks would also compliment each other, as would three Lanni Kneel decks running Flogged and Chained, or three GJ decks that run Valar and lots of saves. In these cases, each of the decks would feel 'broken' because of the added synergy of players running complimentary card effects/plots. And if three players work together to burn the opponents' characters, kneel the opponents' board or valar away every character on the board that couldn't be saved, that should be entirely within the rules. With this new ruling, I'd say now that any two players who work to kill a character of mine are colluding… at least, that's how I interpret the precedent set on November 9.
  14. Shadowcatx said: I'm a fairly new player (4 months in), and I was hoping to go to either Worlds or Gencon next year, but honestly, this whole situation is a bit off putting. I love melee and especially the deal making aspect of it. However, I have no desire to deal with this kind of crap, inside or outside of the game. Apologies for the double post, but this is my exact concern. I too will avoid FFG's competitive melee tournaments (will continue to participate in joust) so long as the rules remain opaque. And I will advise new players who join our meta of the risks of putting too much effort/devotion into melee. If they want a serious tournament, they had better focus on joust or find another game altogether.
  15. widowmaker93 said: The fact that this happened only 24 hrs ago and neither he, nor Erick, nor the other meta-mate have said anything to defend themselves or even seem the least bit surprised or is even a little bit upset about the ruling tells me that this was a premeditated plan. Most likely in order to make a mockery of the rules FFG has put forth. A lot of other people are probably thinking it, I just happened to be the one to say it because I couldn't care less what those guys(or anyone else) thinks of me. I don't doubt that Erick is a good player…hell I know he is a good player, but he has brought this reputation on himself for the actions of his past. If you have a problem with me saying what I've said then take that up with the man himself. This line of conversation concerns me as it begins to sound a bit like that "who is Penfold" thread. I think it's really important to take a moment and reflect on what we hope to accomplish by posting on these forums. My personal hope is that through dialogue we will discover the reason for the disqualification, or at the very least clarify what the exact rules are so that competitors do not unintentionally violate them.The line of "personal attacks" against the DC meta (and Erick specifically) concern me greatly for several reasons. First, I would point out that the burden in this case is not on the disqualified players to prove their innocence, but on FFG to prove their guilt. At least, that is the tradition of western democracies, and FFG is headquartered in such a place. But since this isn't a democratic process, and TO's can disqualify someone for any reason without justification, the analogy of a democracy is probably a bit far fetched…the truth is it's more like a benevolent dictatorship. (I'm not saying that's bad, but just pointing out the obvious so everyone is on the same page.) All that said, it's somewhat unrealistic to assume that all players involved have access to a computer while traveling AND the time to post online. If the melee went until 3am, I think it more than understandable that players spend the "free time" they have resting rather than defending themselves from online personal attacks. Second, these are people, and grouping all people together as a mass of "other" is what leads to bias, hatred and unfounded contempt. Several players have noted that even if Dennis and Erick in theory colluded, Rick was also disqualified. But more to the point, I know most of the DC players, and those I know are very generous, friendly people. I have traveled to their events, slept on their couches, consumed their food (free of charge) and swapped stories into the evening. A couple of them are young dads, and as an expecting father, I've received advice. The reason I play AGOT is for the people, and after more than few years of knowing these guys, I can say that I haven't been disappointed. Third, my personal opinion is that these specific personal attacks are unfounded. That these players would inevitably cheat because they have the same decks, there's precedent for collusion, etc. confuses me. After following the past three years closely, I would argue that if one reviews past precedent, the DC meta will do everything within the legal limits of the game to optimize the team's odds at winning. They are a close-knit meta, and approach competition as a community, a team. When collusion wasn't restricted by the rules, they openly colluded. Since collusion is now prohibited, they work together before the tournament to help each other with deckbuilding. Though they take this process to the extreme, I think it extremely problematic to condemn them for helping each other improve their decks. If you draw any conclusion from the past, why wouldn't it be that the DC meta "games" the system…in cases where there are "vulnerabilities" in the rules, the meta identifies those vulnerabilities and uses them to their advantage. To me, that is a sign of a good strategist, not a morally questionable person. It saddens me that some people on these forums would assume the worst in people they don't know.
  16. The Red Woman said: I'm sure FFG will come out with some official statement or at least some updates on the rules so that things are somewhat less vague, but as far as the official reason on camera, yadda yadda: It was almost 3am. Every judge there was working their asses off to create a phenomenal environment since early that morning. Whether or not they used the specific wording that was necessary to placate everyone likely wasn't on their minds. It was a tough ruling and a huge change in the game, so I feel like nitpicking the exact wording doesn't change anything. The ruling was made for reasons the judges found necessary. It's stated explicitly in the tournament rules that they may disqualify anyone at their sole discretion, so I feel that breaking apart the specific wording at a huge moment at 3am in the morning just isn't worth it -- it doesn't change the ruling. Thanks for this…good reminder about timing too. Maybe holding a competitive event until 3am, when judges' judgements were potentially getting strained (if you can't articulate why you DQ'd someone, then can you accurately track rules for four players and make sophisticated rulings?) was the problem. FFG may need to think of a different approach to scheduling. Wonder how popular those warm up tourneys are. Possibly consider cutting them, given the trade off might help protect the integrity of the actual world event (the reason people travel there in the first place)? Better to do a few things right than many things poorly.
  17. Yeah, he had the dragon location that drew him a card for winning for each dragon participating, as well as GoHH, to help him further sift through his deck. Not saying targetting dragons was the only option, or even necessarily the best, but I dont think it's fair to say he wasn't a threat, especially since he was challenging first.
  18. Drakey, not sure I follow your logic. 1. 8 power is withim striking range for a rush deck. All of the recent tournament melee rounds I've played typically involved swings of 5+ power, given events, etc. 2. The main point here though is that the Targ player had no tools to support negotiation. Nothing personal, but I would have held back the rush decks first too, and been more reserved in my negotiations with other control players. Control is designed to control rush, and it takes more diplomacy against non control decks. 3. You suggest they were ganging up on the Targ player, but that implies exhausting resources. Hellholt Engineer was in play,repeatedly standing The Scourge, and the Brimstone was triggering frequently…in fact, in the last round the Targ player seems to have intentionally triggered the Brimstone (using GoHH on himself and reminding people to trigger the Brimstone). It Wasnt hard to control the Targ player, and controlling his characters was the first check point on the road to victory. 4. My understanding is that Dennis extended the deal to the Targ player first, and he didn't take it. Dennis then offered a deal to other players. Doesn't seem like favoritism to me. I don't mean to jump on you. Im just afraid that if our community doesn't collectively demand an explanation from FFG, the rules will continue to remain extremely vague. I believe clarity here is important more than ever to protect what little integrity the competitive melee format has (if any).
  19. Francisco G. said: Hey Dan, so to change the conversation to a more useful one….what would you consider should be counted as collusion? Is it just talking between games and scouting? cause you can just talk after the game begins and do the same Is it having 25% of the field being your friends with the same deck that feed of each other, getting at least 2 rounds having one or 2 friends in your table constitute collusion or strategy? Is it talking inside the game of positioning? Is it ganging up on 1 player? I think those are things that have to be outlined in the collusion rules. On another note…..How fun would have been if one of the 3 friends had fake a deal to win XD This is a really good question, and really tough to answer. If I read FFG CEO Christian Petersen's note correctly, alliances and then backstabbing are supposed to be part of the game. If alliances are encouraged, then sorting out which types is relatively hard. I guess I'm saying that I don't have the answer, but I know what happened is the wrong answer. Ultimately, I think we need to take a step back and think about the purpose of the game rules and design. If its to make the game fun, then what can be done to make things more fun. Certainly vague rules with muiltiple interpretations are not the answer, and maybe collusion should be addressed through card design rather than rules.
  20. I agree with 90% of this, MeatLoaf. Where I slightly disagree is that the Targ player had no chance at winning because he didn't know the other players. I think he had 0% chance at winning because he had nothing except plot effects to negotiate with. If he had sat down with Targ burn instead of Targ dragons, I think the other three would have negotiated for him not to kill their characters. Or if he had played Favorable Ground, he would have been in the game. His card choices aren't the other players faults.
  21. Forum hiccup…deleting double post.
  22. MeatLoafX said: It's pretty apparent that, especially at the end, Dennis flat out says on camera something to the effect that he's trying to make Eric (sp?) get 2nd in consideration to the man that helped him get to the final table. It seemed that he was trying to set up a favorable ranking for the next day. Now, that's not the reason stated for the DQ on camera… Even if Dennis was cheating, that doesn't mean all three were, and in any case Dennis' remark wasn't the stated reason for disqualifications. I think it is absolutely necessary for FFG to not only comment, but fully explain all controversial rulings in order to clarify what is and what isn't illegal. Nobody can or should take a competition seriously if the rules can't be clearly defined. Melee already has its questions regarding how valid it is as a competitive format, and I now more than ever side with those who say it is a poor format. I do agree though that it's good the players were respectful of the TO. Kudos to Dennis for rising above on this particular episode.
  23. Three of the four players at the world’s melee table were disqualified for collusion last night. After watching the recorded video of the game (kudos to FFG), I have a complex and very negative reaction to the ruling. No doubt those who look for signs of collusion will find some. But for those attempting to understand the ruling within the context of past precedent and existing community understanding, the ruling raises series concerns and fundamental questions about the future of the competitive melee format. The Anti-Collusion Rule & The 2012 World Melee Finals Ruling For full transparency, I am working with the following understanding of the anti-collusion rule, based primarily on past precedent (application at GenCon) and what I think is the common community understanding, as represented through FFG forum threads and on the varies fan sites. Collusion may apply when players decide in advance of the game that they will help each other, or potentially during in-game situations when players explicitly work against their own selfish motivations to help a friend. It is worth pointing out that while a strong case may be made for disqualifying someone who selflessly assists a friend to win, in reality such circumstances are difficult to identify, since the ruling has also previously been interpreted (at GenCon) that assisting someone so that they may win is not necessarily collusion if in doing so you increase your own competitive tourney score—so that you may advance to the next round or have an increased likelihood of winning overall tourney champion. Fast forward to yesterday’s Melee World Championship. The explanation provided upon disqualifying three of the four players was that the fourth player was “locked out” from challenging the remaining three players. Though no further explanation is provided via the recording, the rationale is presumably that the fourth player was unable to overcome the various card effects—most notably The Scourge and Shadows and Spiders—to successfully make challenges. In addition, one may deduce from the timing of the disqualification that the conversation in the final round of the melee about who would take first, second and third played a role. Unfortunately for the participants and for the community as a whole, past precedent and common understanding do not perfectly align with yesterday’s practice. There is no clear evidence that the players colluded in advance of the game. The video documents how the three disqualified players actually worked against one another for hours, removing icons, attacking and negotiating the whole time. Frankly, it’s a tedious video to watch—quite unlike the 2011 World Melee Finals, in which collusion resulted in a somewhat brief game. This is, of course, not to say that all rules are set in stone. Nor do I mean to imply that FFG cannot make minor adjustments along the way or even mid-game. But such changes should at a minimum reflect the spirit of past interpretations. They should also be preceded by warnings, if such behavior is detected. FFG is at a Crossroads – and Risks Failing its Players After two consecutive melee world championships were affected by collusion—one admittedly so by participants, and another by the anti-collusion rules—it seems important to take a moment and reflect on whether the structure, rather than the players, are to blame. In my opinion, there is a fundamental problem with competitive melee that FFG’s anti-collusion rule fails to address. The source of this problem is the conceptual conflict between yesterday’s interpretation of the anti-collusion rule and the structure of the melee format. When FFG CEO Christian Petersen announced on December 21, 2007 that the multiplayer format would take a more prominent role in competitive play, he observed that: “In addition to the solid mechanics, you have the politics, backstabbing, hyperbole. Some multiplayer sessions seem as a page ripped out of the novels themselves.” In other words, the difference between melee and joust is that melee openly encourages in-game alliances and relishes in the moments when they crumble unexpectedly. In more concrete terms, these alliances are frequently expressed through short-term exchanges, such as “trading” plot effects or agreeing not to attack an opponent who offered a favor in a previous round. Not only are such alliances commonplace, the game mechanics actually encourage such arrangements. And since these games are not considered collusion, one is left wondering why a series of these trades between several players in a position to negotiate was considered collusion on November 9. A Vague Line The problem with yesterday’s ruling was that it left much to personal interpretation. Is a negotiation in which two players coordinate so that they play Valar Morghulis in consecutive turns rather than on the same round collusion? If so, such an event is rarely if ever enforced. What if two opponents both have a copy of The Scourge in play and agree not to use that effect against each other? When this happens once, it is collusion? If this agreement is made two rounds in a row, is that collusion? What about three? What if three players control The Scourge? Is it collusion if those three players agree with each other not to use the location against one another? It is important to note that in last night’s World Melees Final, the three players each had a copy of The Scourge, but they used it as much on each other, if not more so, than on the fourth player who by default won the event. There appears to be an unexplained rule on how players may use their card effects in game. An Inherent Bias against Control Effects in Melee Up until this year, melee winners typically played aggro “rush” deck types. Baratheon power grab, Targaryen dragons, and Stark Siege all remain popular variants. This year, however, the three players who were disqualified were apparently disqualified for using control effects too effectively to “lock out” the fourth player. The decision leaves me confounded. It suggests that one may use control effects in melee, but if these prove too efficient, or if an opponent who plays the stale “rush” build is unable to effectively counter-offer or protect their own board position, then by default the control players are somehow cheating. Here is the bottom line: Last night’s game was NOT a situation in which three players somehow stone-walled a fourth player and refused to negotiate with that person, so that the three may take first, second, and third places. RATHER, the game was about a tired old rush deck getting beat by an innovative, new control build, with little the rush player could do but watch. The problem is, if I take a tired old deck to a joust game, I expect to lose. Why should it be any different if I take such a deck to the melee? In my opinion, FFG owes an apology to all four players involved, and to the community as a whole for this travesty of competitive play.
  24. Melee top 16: Table 1 is Rick Branagan, Alexander Hynes, Derek Shoemaker, and Jonathan Andrew Table 2 is Dennis Harrison, Matthew Strehlow, Ryan Jones, and Thaya Cristobal Table 3: Chad Jamnik, Steven Strehlow, Erick Butzlaff, Chad Baumgardt Table 4 Brian Aurelio, Bradley Ring, Mathieu Hosahe and Michael Pandorf
  25. Good idea! I hope you include some photos too. Always interesting to see the actual participants/event space… at least for those of us who have never been able to play at FFG's HQ.
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