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PSP Chicago Open
Story by Dawn Mills
Photos by JJ Ontiveros
Avalanche - First
Place DI X Ball
Chicago, The Windy City, the middle leg of PSPís five event annual series has long stood as a pillar in the league, second only to the series finale, World Cup in attendance. In years past it was only the Chicago Open and World Cup that included 5-man competition along with the 10 man series. In 2004 The Chicago Open returned to its birthplace, the Badlandz paintball field with five man, 10 man, open X-Ball and NXL competitions.
The Badlandz is located south of the city of Chicago, on the grounds of the Balmoral Park racetrack, and serves as the home field for Chicago Aftershock. In addition to the wide open spaces used for air fields, the park boasts some of the countryís best known pipe fields, and the woods fields used in tournaments of years gone by. Those same wooded fields are scheduled to see action later in the summer during the 5 Man Chicago Open, an event not tied to the PSP series, but designed to bring out the best and the strongest 5 man teams who want to play old-school ball, battling it out in the woods and pipes of Chicago like it was played five years ago.
The competition started off on Wednesday morning with the preliminary rounds of 5 man games. As with all the PSP events of the season, competitors are required to register and receive identification cards through the American Paintball Playerís Association.
Fifty-seven rookie teams hit the field in the five man to be whittled down in a single day to the 16 that would advance to semi-finals on Thursday morning in four divisions of four. The top from each of those divisions would then face off in the finals to be held on Thursday afternoon to crown the top Rookie team at the event.
As the day went, Team LTZ had a flawless day only losing 11 bodies in the 8 games played taking the first ranked slot into semi's. Kamikaze Kids came in after them after dropping their first match and coming back strong, winning the rest of them. DP United, SCP, and SplatDome Factory all weighed-in in the 600 point range for third through fifth place. Team Slerious, Ginxd, Mantis Kids, CN Turmoil Blue, No Limit, Riptide, Parassey, Team Epiphany, Disaster, Lake Effect joined the others along with Dark Legion who hit the cut at 422 with 3 loses and a stalemate in their first match.
No surprise to anyone, NebraskaPaintball.com ranked first into the semi-finals for the Novice bracket that held 33 teams during the preliminaries. Like the Rookie bracket, the Novice would take 16 to semi-finals in the same format of four divisions with four teams competing for top score in their bracket. Nebraska started the day and ended it on a high note of 788 points, dropping only 6 bodies throughout the day. Team R.U.S.H. also had a flawless day with 8 bodies lost in the course of the 8 games, followed by equally ranked team Anger Management who lost just 9 bodies for a third place ranking into the next round, United joined them in the line up of top teams with 11 bodies lost and a total score of 778. MW Army dropped a single game and started the cascade of teams into the top 16 with Team Splatball, Team Savage, FSL Effect, ISR, Division, Zumbro Factory, EXS, Dysfunctional Power Rangers, Vintage, ABV and Dynamite Bush Apes who made the extraordinarily high cut at 590 with two losses.
The 32 teams would face off on Thursday morning at 9 o'clock for the start of semi-finals while XBall would get a start an hour earlier under predicted cloudy skies with a chance of rain for the afternoon. On the up side, the weather was uncharacteristically cool for the Chicago event, which in the past had been a scorcher for players.
DP United topped the rookie semi-final round in their bracket as well as getting top score of the four brackets competing. Losing 7 bodies in their three games, they entered the final round in top seat. Following them in score was Kamikaze Kids with a max, a win and a stalemate. Team LTZ, a rookie favorite took third into finals with a stalemate and two wins and SplatDome Factory brought up the fourth team to go to finals on Thursday afternoon.
Novice semi-finals were no surprise with Nebraskapaintball.com taking the first seat into the finals with just five bodies lost in the semi round. They were joined by MW Army who also lost just five bodies but was ranked into finals lower because they went into the semi-finals ranked lower. Division joined them in third place ranking after a body count of 7 lost and rounded out the four teams into finals with Vintage having lost 10 bodies.
The finals matches for the Rookies were a tight squeeze between Kamikaze Kids and Team LTZ, but the Kids won over LTZ in a max during their first game, and took home first place with LTZ in second. LTZ packed up fast and hopped on a jet to play the other half of the double-header weekend. Saturday morning they hit the fields at the XPSL tournament in Los Angeles. DP United and SplatDome Factory came in third and fourth respectively after DP United won against SplatDome Factory and both dropped to both LTZ and the Kids.
Nebraskapaintball.com took home the first place win for the Novice bracket with three wins, giving up some extra bodies in the final round, 8 players. MW Army beat everyone but Nebraska giving them a second place win followed in third by Division who beat Vintage in their last game. Vintage dropped to each of the finalist, giving them a fourth place finish.
Division III X Ball started off with OTB Factory defeating Entity by a single point 7 to 6, but most of the other first day matches were more decisive. Wild Fire knocked down Empress 11 to 3. X Factor defeated CT Shif 16 to 6. Demented Kidz posted a sound 15 to 4 victory over the Iowa State University Cyclones. Rodents defeated Dark Damage 15 to 2. Aftermath eased just barely ahead of Cincinnati All Star 11 to 10. Gravity had a solid win, 13 to 4 over Hudson Valley X-treme. Downfall fell to DC Devastation 4 to 18. With X-Ball's double elimination format, the teams loosing on day one were moved to the loser's bracket, and another loss would knock them out of the event.
Division II is the largest X Ball division in the PSP Series, and is growing fast enough that PSP changed division sizes, converting a planned 10 man field to X Ball in order to allow more teams to enter. Asylum Factory got off to a good start with a 14 to 3 win over Tippmann Effect, and Atomix Factory did the same to Top Gun Factory 11 to 5. Ignition gained a 2 point lead over the AGD Factory team for a 9 to 7 win. PB Fanatics Twisted Revolution soundly defeated Punishers 11 to 2. Wicked Air Sportz Factory fell to Hostile Kids 14 to 3. B*Slap was defeated by Outlaws 4 to 10. Docs Raiders finished up 10 points beating Virus 13 to 3. Fat City brought it to Method 12 to 1. Drive fell to Underworld 4 to 10. Fury Defeated Anger Management 13 to 3. Precision fell to the Oklahoma Outlaws 8 to 6. Oklahoma Legion didn't fare so well. They had a single point loss, 7 to 8 against Team Xtreme.
In the second round, Xtreme Sports Factory defeated Asylum Factory 9 to 7. Atomix Factory beat Ignition 7 to 6. Doc's Raiders defeated the Outlaws 12 to 4. Hogan's Alley hit Underworld hard for an 11 to 1 win. Fury won their second round match doubling the Oklahoma Outlaw's score, 8 to 4.
Division I, the Pro/Am division drew only 6 teams. Dynasty, the team leading the league heading in to the event was given a bye for the first round. Arsenal A defeated San Diego Ravenous 13 to 4. Naughty Dogs Inc. fell in their first round to Infamous, who have brought their NXL experience to Division I. That hard fought game ended 6 to 7. Avalanche, the second ranked team took a bye for the first round, and would face Infamous on Friday, a match up sure to keep the fans on their feet, as much of Infamous' roster consists of former Avalanche players.
On the NXL field the first game of the day was a hard fought battle between Miami and San Diego. With the Miami Franchise recently purchased by Bill Gardner Jr, it's an all new squad on the field, under the leadership of long time All Americans player Rowdy Macdonald. Their match up with the league's second newest team, San Diego Legacy ended up in an eleven to eleven tie. This gave each team a single point towards the series title, half of what is earned by a win. Chicago Aftershock, the team which leads the league in the least amount of penalties pulled, played Baltimore Trauma later in the morning, the game finishing out at 9 to 12 in favor of Trauma. Detroit Strange, hit the field a little bit lighter than usual, most of their members shaving their hair into mowhawks - criteria for getting a free t-shirt from Game Face, their franchise owner, posted a 12 to 8 victory over the Los Angeles Ironmen. The New York versus Philly match finished closer, at 11 to 9. That victory went to New York Xtreme. The final match of the night was between Chicago Aftershock and the Oakland Assassins. The Assassins won by a single point 9 to 10.
Friday morning, a whole new group of teams hit the field, the 10 man competitors. They began their two day preliminary rounds, while the X Ball teams continued on in their second round of double elimination prelims and the NXL professional teams played each other for series points.
Friday's weather unfolded with the sun out and temperatures in the 70s, a rarity for the Chicago Open which has a reputation for hot humid weather.
While the 10 man teams went at each other, for the first half of their prelims the X Ball teams started sending people home. In Division III Entity Defeated Downfall 8 to 7. As Downfall's second loss they were eliminated. Team CDR faced off with Wildfire, winning 16 to 4. This was Wildfire's first loss, so they were moved to the loser's bracket to keep fighting for a chance in the finals game. X Factor handed Demented Kidz their first loss at 12 to 4. The Rodents took down Aftermath 8 to 5. DC Devastation devastated Gravity 15 to 3, this was Gravity's first loss. In the next round of loser's round games Hudson Valley X-Treme defeated Entity 10 to 4 knocking them out of the running. Dark Image did the same to the Cincinnati All Stars 8 to 7. CT Shift defeated the Iowa State University Cyclones eliminating them. A 12 to 4 game between OTB Factory Team and Empress took Empress out of the running for this event. In the next round Demented Kidz knocked out Hudson Valley Extreme 9 to 6. Dark Image's 11 to 4 game over Wildfire took Wildfire out. Gravity was paired up with CT Shift. That game finished 8 to 4 in favor of Gravity, putting an end to the event for Shift. Aftermath's game with OTB ended up ended up finishing off OTB, sending Aftermath on 8 to 5.
Friday's Division II X Ball games started off with a round in the loser's bracket, where each team had already lost once. AGD Pride soundly defeated Top Gun Factory 12 to 3 taking them out of the running. Punishers finished off Wicked Air Sports Factory 8 to 5. Virus eliminated B*Slap with an 8 to 6 game. Team No Name punched down Drive 13 to 5. Team Precision knocked out Anger Management 9 to 5. The next round was for the winner's bracket. Xtreme Sports Factory gave Atomix Factory their first loss 9 to 6. In an East Coast, West Coast battle Hostile Kids defeated Doc's Raiders 8 to 7. Hogan's Alley Factory Team posted a 10 to 6 win over Ground Zero Silver. Team Ultimate defeated Fury 9 to 7.
In the following loser's bracket round Team Xtreme defeated Tippmann Effect 14 to 2, taking them out of the running. AGD Pride was knocked out of the event by Oklahoma Outlaws 7 to 6. Underworld sent home Punishers after an 8 to 3 game. Virus took a single point win over Fat City eliminating them. Outlaws had a sound victory over Method at 14 to 4, knocking them out of the tournament. Twisted Revolution had almost as strong a win at 13 to 4 eliminating Team No Name. Precision knocked out Ignition 10 to 5, and Oklahoma Legion did the same to Asylum Factory 10 to 6.
While Division I held some of the most anticipated match ups, only two of them were held on Friday. Dynasty defeated Arsenal A 11 to 3, and the anticipated Avalanche game against Infamous ended 9 to 8 in favor of Avalanche. Both of the losing teams from Friday would play again on Saturday, Arsenal against the Dogs and Infamous against Ravenous. Saturday afternoon, a match up between Avalanche and Dynasty would determine which of those two teams would head straight into the final game on Sunday.
On the NXL field the pros battled it out. New York Xtreme managed a one point win over Detroit Strange 9 to 8. Los Angeles Ironmen defeated San Diego Legacy 14 to 5. The Philly Americans beat Baltimore Trauma 11 to 9. Chicago Aftershock did heavy damage to the new Miami squad 16 to 4. Oakland Assassins showed why they are the league leader in average points earned per game by defeating San Diego 20 to 3.
Again with excellent, and unseasonably cool weather Saturday would be the end of the line for a lot of teams. The second half of the 10 man preliminaries would take out all but the semifinalists for Sunday morning, and the X Ball divisions pare down to the few teams playing the last games on Sunday.
With 17 teams of rookie players hitting the field for 10 man, only 8 would make the cut to semi-final games on Sunday. The cut started relatively low going into the Sunday games, with the top ranked rookie team having dropped two of their 8 preliminary games for a first place rank at 527 points. Central Florida Paintball lost 3 of their games to join them in the second ranked slot, and Team Aggressive lost half of their preliminaries along with Excaliber. Backdraft, Team Abbeys, and Hyperactive all dropped 5 games each, but earned the points to take fifth through eighth into the semi round. The end cut with just three wins was 319 points.
The novice slice of the ten man event saw another 8 teams fighting for top placement amongst another 17 teams. Enemy won all of their games for a top spot with 768 points. Joining them were Momma's Boys with just one loss and Cypress who also dropped a single game. Rock It Kids dropped two games for a fourth place spot and Misfit Toys with three losses for fifth place. Dominion V3 dropped half of the games along with Fox 4 Darkside and Sin for a cut of 423. The last games were a tight squeeze for the finalists with ISR wrapping up at 422, missing the cut by a single point as well as Crush who missed it at 419.
All 8 of the ten man pro/am teams would advance to semi-final games, it was just a matter of ranking them into the divisions they would play. Team Rage hit the top rank at 770 just ahead of Brimstone Smoke at 769 and Justice at 764 with all games won for each team. Fusion dropped two games along with Shockwave Canada. Nasty X dropped three of their games with Mantis twelve points behind and Nemesis rounding out the pro/am slot with 503 points.
In Division III X Ball DC Devastation beat Rodents 15 to 5, giving them their first defeat. Team CDR defeated X-Factor 13 to 7, giving X-Factor their second chance in the loserís bracket. This pitted CDR against DC Devastation later in the afternoon for a spot in the finals game. Demented Kidz pulled off a one point win over Dark Image at 9 to 8, sending Dark Image home. Aftermath did the same to Gravity with a score of 8 to 7. Team CDR defeated DC Devastation 12 to 8. This put CDR in the finals game guaranteeing at least second place.
Division IIís games started with Team Xtreme defeating the Oklahoma Outlaws 8 to 4, finishing off the Oklahoma Outlaws. Underworld rolled Virus 13 to one, knocking them out of the running. Outlaws fell 3 to 12 in their match against Twisted Revolution, marking the end of the tournament for them. Precision defeated Oklahoma Legion sending them home 7 to 6. Docís Raiders pulled off a single point win, eliminating Team Xtreme 9 to 8. Underworld took out Atomix Factory 11 to 7. Twisted Revolution knocked out Fury 9 to 8. Precision removed Ground Zero Silver with a 7 to 6 win. In the winnerís bracket Xtreme Sports Factory defeated Hostile Kids 10 to 8. Team Ultimate beat Hoganís Alley Factory Team 7 to 6. This meant that Team Ultimate would face Xtreme Sports Factory on Sunday morning to vie for the finals game. In the loserís bracket Docís Raiders took out Underworld 10 to 4, and Twisted Revolution eliminated Precision 12 to 2.
In Division I, Infamous ripped into San Diego Ravenous 17 to 4 eliminating them from the running. Naughty Dogs took out Arsenal A 12 to 5. In the winnerís bracket Avalanche proved that Dynasty is stoppable by defeating them 10 to 9, securing themselves a spot in the finals game. Infamous then defeated the Naughty Dogs 11 to 6, earning the right to play Dynasty on Sunday morning. The winner of that match would then go on to face Avalanche for the top slot.
The NXL games were fast and furious. The Los Angeles Ironmen got the day off to a good start by defeating Miami 13 to 7. New York Xtreme earned a 13 to 8 win win over San Diego Legacy. The Philly Americans fell to Oakland by a single point, at 10 to 11. Detroit Strange defeated Chicago Aftershock 8 to 6. The last game of the day ended in a 10 to 10 tie between Baltimore Trauma and New York Xtreme.
The 10 man semifinals played through the morning. Each rank of teams was run in two divisions of four teams, with the top two teams in each division advancing to the finals. For the rookies it was Cartel Kidz, Team Aggressive, Backdraft and Excalibur moving on. The semis ranked Mommaís Boys on top, followed by Enemy, Rock-It-Kids and Dominion V3. For the pro-ams, it was Fusion, Brimstone Smoke, Team Rage and the Mantis Factory Team.
On the X Ball fields Demented Kidz faced X Factor in Division III and was taken out of the running by a 4 to 12 game. X Factor went on to play DC Devastation who had been knocked out of the winnerís bracket the previous afternoon. That match went to X Factor by a single point, at 9 to 8. The final game came down to X Factor against the undefeated CDR. By a one point, X Factor beat CDR 10 to 9, winning the first place DIII Chicago Open Trophy.
In Division II Hoganís Alley Factory Team took out Docís Raiders 6 to 5, and Twisted Revolution knocked out Hostile Kidz 11 to 3. These two teams faced off with the game going to Hoganís Alley 7 to 4. Hoganís Alley Factory team then played the last team knocked out of the winnerí bracket Ė Xtreme Sports Factory Team, defeating them 9 to 6. This put them in the final game against the undefeated Team Ultimate. Ultimate kept up their winning streak winning not only the game but also the tournament, scoring 7 to 5.
Division I was the big show. Infamous versus Dynasty was fairly decisive at 10 to 6, giving Dynasty a third place finish. This matched Infamous up against Avalanche again. The first time the two teams faced each other the game went to ĎLanche. So did the second, giving the win to Avalanche.
The Rookie 10 man finals saw Cartel Kidz beating the three other teams in the division to secure the first place trophy. Team Aggressive finished in second after beating Excalibur and Backdraft. Excalibur took third. They had lost to Aggressive and Cartel Kidz, but pulled off a 91 to 18 win against Backdraft.
Novice 10 man was much closer. In the first round Enemy played Rock-It Kids, defeating them, and Mommaís Boys beat Dominion V3 98 to 4. Second round match ups had Enemy beating Dominion V3 98 to 4, while Rock It Kids beat Mommaís Boys 95 to 10. At that point three teams were within reach of first place. Mommaís Boys beat Enemy 95 to 10, and Rock-It Kids beat Dominion V3 92 to 16. That brought in Enemy on Top with 204 points and Mommaís Boys in second with 203 points Ė Had Mommaís Boys kept just one more player alive on the field they would have gained a point and Enemy lost two, reversing the position of their finish. Rock-It Kids finished in third place and Dominion V3 in fourth.
The Pro-Am finals had a more evenly spread finish. Mantis Factory Team beat both Fusion and Brimstone Smoke, but fell to Team Rage. That yielded them first place with 209 points. Fusion finished second, losing only to Mantis. Team Rage lost to Smoke and Fusion, but beat Mantis, finishing third, and Smoke finished fourth with their victory over Rage.
NXL games on Sunday showed the Philly Americans on top of San Diego Legacy with a 16-6 win. Detroit Strange dropped to Baltimore Trauma 13-10 while the Los Angeles Ironmen beat out Chicago Aftershock 11-6. Oakland Assassins won against New York Xtreme 11-9 and finally Baltimore Trauma won in their second game of the day against Miami with a high point ratio of 17-6.
Recent NXL rule changes have allowed for the players of the NXL to compete in other leagues and events. The franchise is holding fast to the rule of the names of the teams being wholly owned, so while you may see players of the NXL at other events, they won't be playing under their franchised name.