James Pei won his second Caesar title ten years after his first in true upset fashion—overtaking the record breaking five-championship performance of Nick Henning at WBC 2014 to become the surprise BPA Top Gamer of the year while adding to his record laurel total of 2,146. It was a result only a rules lawyer or an accountant could love. James lost the 2013 Caesar award when his 36 laurels for a second place fnish in his trademark For The People specialty was not credited because the email event had not officially finished before the yearend while awaiting consolation matches to finish. Those laurels were thus pushed into the next year and proved to be the difference in overtaking Henning's great WBC week a year later. Adding to the irony was that his 176-laurel year topped Henning's WBC haul by exactly seven laurels—the same amount by which he would have won the 2013 Caesar title over Andrew Emerick had they been credited in 2013. As they say, one door closes, another one opens.
Mini-con tournaments no longer played a role in the outcome but email tournaments did, enabling James to bank a 60-laurel headstart before WBC 2014 began. James then added 116 laurels in four CDWs to overcome Henning's quintet. Nick amassed 169 laurels in eight different events—mostly Euros—including 60 in the shark-infested Though the Ages tournament that began the week, but lesser sums for the smaller Trial events enabled James to overtake his total.
Rounding out the top six BPA competitors for 2014 were Richard Beyma, Robert Kircher, Nathan Barhorst and Nick's bother, Karl Henning. Only seven of last year's Top 25 players managed to retain that top billing led by Pei who alone of all BPA's Top Dogs has managed to remain in the Top 25 for each of the past six years. In fact, you have to go back eight years to 2006 to find the last time "The Master" did not place in the Top 25. The other top scorers to retain their Top 25 standing in 2014 were Nick Henning and Robert Kircher (both fifth year in a row), David Platnick, Randy Buehler (fifth year), Sceadeau D'Tela (4th year), and Trella Bromley.
For the second time in the same year, Nick Henning was denied in a surprising upset as Richard Beyma surpassed his WBC total to take Consul honors for 2014. This time, Nick was done in by the loss of 60 laurels for Through the Ages when it was determined that the event should be considered a Pre-Con since it was not possible to laurel in the event by playing in only the Monday heat. The result was ironic because Richard scored most of his laurels in Grognard events whose preliminary round was also partially contested in the pre-con. However, none of those events required play during the Pre-Con and could be won without Pre-Con attendance. It is a distinction which blurs the lines between which events are eligible for the various metagaming awards and will be revisited by the Board in their 2014 session to determine whether Pre-Con events should be included in Consul scoring in the future. If so, the only difference between Caesar and Consul would be the addition of email tournaments to the former.
Caesar James Pei was third, 30 laurels off the pace. But perhaps the most surprising contenders were Nathan Barhorst and Karl Henning in their first appearance in the Top 25. Nathan parlayed a 1st and 2nd in only two events (both level 6) to finish 4th with 96 laurels. Karl completed the Henning's brothers magical week with a pair of firsts to claim fifth with 92 laurels. Bruce Young edged David Platnick on the first tiebreaker to claim sixth with 90 laurels.