Dear Game of Thrones Community,
You are a wonderful community but there are those among you, some much praised and others much hated, that make this game not fun to play competitively. So much discussion has passed on these forums about colluders and how they show up to play with their friends instead of just playing random decks by themselves, so I will start with the snakes.
John Bruno is a snake, and not a rattler or something like that who makes himself obvious. Bruno is more like that snake from the garden of Eden, befriending you while he brings paradise to an end. I know this because everyone seems to love him without realizing how he actually behaves. "The Good Guys win! The Good Guys Win!". Anyone who was at worlds until the end of the joust last year heard those words shouted. Apparently, no one was watching his run up to the top though and no one seemed to worry about all his snide, sarcastic, and self aggrandizing forum posts following his regional wins. Everyone was too focused on lamenting their lost melee icons.
Let me tell you a story now that shows another side of the champion. I have a jovial friend, a kind friend, a lover of games both card and board, who had the opportunity to sit across from Bruno during the Swiss at worlds last year. My friend was playing the winter agenda (Greyjoy, not Stark, keep your heart rate in check) and Bruno would routinely ignore its activation. Whenever he was first player, he would draw his two cards for the draw phase and immediately take a marshaling phase action. I do mean immediately, lift two, drop one. My friend, at first amused by this, said or would say:
Friend: "You skipped my winter agenda, you have to discard one before you can play".
Bruno: "I have already taken an action, we can't go back."
I'll let that sink in for a moment. Bruno is saying that I or anyone can ignore passives at will by taking an action immediately.
Friend: "It doesn't work like that, you rushed your action, probably on purpose to try and make me forget winter."
Bruno: "Decisions have been made, we can't go back because you missed a passive."
Friend: "Well, lets see what the judge says."
The judge, KTOM or Nate, I can't remember, is called over. Bruno takes the lead, talking over my friend.
Bruno: "He is trying to go back to the draw phase for a passive he forgot after I took actions during the marshaling phase. I have made decisions based on not discarding that effect the game."
Friend: "I didn't forget, he rushed into the marshaling phase, and took an action before I could say anything. He did it intentionally to skip the discard."
Judge: "Decisions have been made, you can't go back now."
Bruno goes on to win the game by a slim margin, all the while attempting to skip passives and ignoring negative effects. My friend, not normally one to be so, was forced to harshly enforce the basic rules and mechanics of the game against a player who should and does probably know the rules better than anyone. The judge consistently ruled with Bruno because he is known and probably friends with the judge. Is this fair? Is this in the spirit of friendly competition? How can a community that will condemn someone for building decks with friends glorify another who will behave so pettily around strangers, just to win then talk ****? I am not even opposed to this. Bruno is a competitor, he came to win, as well he should to an event labeled a "Championship". What I don't understand is how he is not the one loathed by a community that absolutely hates "negative player experiences", which he undoubtedly brings to the table through his attitude.
So I make this plea, to the community at large, without further singling out the players who collude or attempt to take advantage, bully, man-handle, lie, cheat (mostly a European problem it seems), or just plain are petty and mean:
Be decent. Play it straight up. Be kind. It's a game. It's fun. You can probably win without bullying your opponent or cheating. If you can't, then at least don't talk **** about him afterwards. Don't hate the player who beat you, just because his deck and play are better.
If everyone comes to Gencon and Worlds with a smile on their face, a good deck in their hands, and basic human decency in their hearts, it should be a very different and positive experience from the one last year, which was obviously tense and hate filled. Then certainly, whoever wins, it will be a win for the good guys. Should Bruno himself play it fully straight up and win, I will be the first to cheer.
Who is with me?