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PSP Paintball World Cup
Orlando, FL - October 23-30, 2005
2005 NXL Champions - Baltimore Trauma
2005 Open Class
XBall Champs - Dynasty
First Place DI
X-Ball - Doc's Raiders
First Place 5-Man
DI - Runnin Wild
The 2005 PSP Paintball World Cup marked the tournament’s fourteenth year of operation, a mainstay in the world of tournament paintball. As it has for the past three seasons, the NXL Professional X-Ball league has held its competitions concurrently with the PSP’s open X-Ball and 5 man circuits.
Since 2003, the Paintball World Cup has made its home at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, just southwest of Orlando, Florida. The site with its ample parking, lush green playing fields, and Disney support staff has set a high standard for paintball tournament venues.
For 2005 over 370 paintball teams from around the world converged on Orlando for their stake in the cup. Some of the 5-man and X-Ball teams were after a prestigious Paintball World Cup win, while others were looking to place well enough to tie in a season championship title based on their performance not only at World Cup, but at the previous four PSP events of the year.
For the pro teams in the NXL, the World Cup was their final showdown for the year. Their regular season play was over, and the World Cup represented their playoff rounds and final championship match. Only one team would walk away with the right to wear NXL championship rings.
Adding to the excitement of World Cup was the intervention of Hurricane Wilma, a mass of wind and rain bearing down on Florida at the start of World Cup week. Only time would tell as the week unfolded, how and where the storm would hit, and how the tournament would have to adjust.
The first games of the event were for the NXL. Starting before the PSP tournaments, the bottom ranked four teams of the NXL had to play a qualifying round to choose the two teams that would enter the NXL quarterfinals in the bottom two rank positions (for more on NXL rankings and finals click here.)
The first game of the day pitted Miami Effect against the league’s two time champions the Philly Americans. That game went to Philly 11 to 5. The next game was between New York Xtreme and San Diego Legacy – a battle that went in favor of New York 11 to 10. Like the rest of the event, these teams had to win two out of three games to advance, so Philly faced Miami again, this time taking them 9 to 7. New York triumphed a second time over San Diago, 13 to 6.
The NXL schedule only placed games on Monday the 23rd if there was a need for a third game. Since there was not, the next NXL games would be the start of the quarterfinals on Wednesday October 26th. At 9:00 am, the Philly Americans would face off against the Oakland Assassins. New York Xtreme would then play the league’s top ranked team, Boston Red Legion. Next up at 1:00 in the afternoon would be Detroit Strange against Chicago Aftershock followed by the Los Angeles Ironmen against Baltimore Trauma. Thursday would see the same teams locking horns in their second round, with third round games being played on Friday if needed.
The start of PSP X-Ball and 5-man was originally scheduled to begin on the morning of Tuesday, October 23rd. As the storm approached, Division II and III X-Ball as well as 5-man games were shifted to start at 8:00 am on Wednesday. Hurricane Wilma was expected to deliver hurricane force winds and rain on Monday. As of Sunday afternoon, weather predictions estimated the rough weather would pass by Monday evening (for more on Hurricane Wilma and World Cup click here.)
The upshot of the hurricane was the cool weather in its wake. Heat and humidity are typically standard features at Florida paintball tournaments, but the passing of the major storm was expected to bring in temperatures in the upper sixties and lower seventies for the remainder of the week.
With hurricane Wilma out of the way, cool weather and cleared skies were ushered in. This allowed for field setup, player registration, and players walking fields before games started on Wednesday. While the weather didn’t stop the action at World Cup, it did have small impact on attendance, with a few vendors and teams backing out, something understandable considering that during the day Tuesday over 6 million Florida homes were without power, and gas stations had gone dry in parts of South Florida. With a few minor delays, games got underway Wednesday morning and rolled at full-tilt throughout the day.
The NXL bounced its first planned game to Wednesday afternoon making the first game of the day the Oakland Assassins against the Philly Americans. Oakland started off with an early lead, and held it steady for the remainder of the game. They finished with an 11 to 5 win. Detroit Strange beat Chicago Aftershock 9 to 7. The Los Angeles Ironmen played a strong game against Baltimore Trauma, winning 11 to 7. The rescheduled game between New York Xtreme and Boston Red Legion was won by the Legion 11 to 7. Each of these teams would face each other again on Thursday, to play their second game, and if necessary would play another on Friday to determine the best two out of three winner in each pairing.
The rescheduled 5-man competition played all eight of their preliminary round games on Wednesday. The twelve teams were competing for eight semifinal slots. San Diego Ravenous, Pro Advantage Factory, PIMP Sweden and Effusion were knocked out of the group led by Runnin Wild and MiamiRage/Str8killas.
On the X-Ball fields, Divisions II and III fired up their first and second rounds of play, with teams playing in the double elimination format. A single loss moved a team from the winner’s bracket to the loser’s bracket where a second loss would remove them from the competition.
Action was taking place off the field as well as on, as meetings were held discussing what form PSP’s divisional X-Ball series and NXL will take in the 2006 season where the two may become more closely entwined, as well as what the ramifications would be of tying in with other tournament series.
Like the day before, Thursday greeted players with clear, cool skies that warmed into the afternoon but stayed comfortable. While DI 5-man teams had already finished their preliminary rounds, DII and DIII got their first taste of action. In divisional X-Ball DI started their first games in the morning – and drawing bigger crowds were the Open class games that started mid-day and ran into the afternoon. Scheduling of the event put the Open games on PSP’s new showcase field, set up with grandstands and a viewing box on par with that of the NXL. The two side by side fields drew the heaviest crowds throughout the day.
Thursday’s first NXL game was between Boston Red Legion and New York Xtreme. At the end of the game’s two halves the score was tied at 7 to 7, and in sudden death overtime, Boston scored a point. Protests were loud over a call near the end of the game, when New York players interpreted a ref’s move as signaling a Boston player to be eliminated, only to later be shot by the player who wasn’t actually out. The win eliminated New York, and advanced Boston to the semis. When Oakland Assassins faced the Philly Americans, Oakland took the lead and was looking strong as the game neared the end, before Philly turned things around with a quick three points – one earned during a four on one bunkering – to finish with a win at 9 to 8 points. With each team having a win the two would face each other again for a third round on Friday at 9:00 am – the winner would advance, and the loser go home. Detroit Strange beat Chicago Aftershock by a single point, 10 to 9. With their second win, Strange moved on to the semis. Baltimore Trauma earned 10 points over the LA Ironmen’s 6, sending the two teams to a third quarterfinal round on Friday at 10:30.
Friday afternoon at 2:00 and 3:30 would be the first games of the NXL semifinals, the team pairings dependant on the winners of the morning games, as the teams would be seeded by regular season ranking points (editor’s note, game times listed reflect revisions to the originally published schedule.)
In Division I X-Ball San Diego Ravenous took down the Bushwackers 10 to 4, while Doc’s Raiders beat Fusion 9 to 4. Jax Warriors grabbed a single point victory over Hogan’s Alley Factory Team 7 to 6. Diesel soundly defeated Gridlock 8 to 4.
The first Open Class X-Ball game of the day was late in the morning, but played to a pumped up crowd, as two power house teams faced off – Dynasty and Joy Division. While Dynasty grabbed an early lead the Swedes grabbed points back, but not enough. Dynasty won 7 to 6. When Infamous faced Avalanche, ‘Lanche looked ready to wrap up a win, leading by two points with barely over a minute and forty seconds on the clock. Infamous rallied, with strong support and coaching from the crowd for a quick two points and a strong lead on a third when the clock ran out. Tied at 6 to 6, the game went into sudden death overtime. That point, and the win went to Infamous, followed by chants of “Pony Boy!” from the stands as Infamous front-man Chris Lasoya danced across the field shaking his pony tail, followed by a bow of thanks to those who called out positions from the sidelines. Naughty Dogs Inc. faced Ultimate next, and quickly grabbed the first point. The next two went in fairly rapid succession to Ultimate which played a serious game against a strong team. In the end, the Dogs took the win 8 to 6. In the last game of the day, Excessive rolled over Miami Rage / Str8killas 11 to 3.
Friday unrolled as another day of perfect paintball weather, only a few high clouds in the sky, and temperatures again in the mid 70s.
The NXL came one step closer to selecting their 2005 champions as the quarterfinals wrapped up in the morning. The Oakland Assassins defeated the Philly Americans 13 to 4, taking the two time champions out of the running for the title. Baltimore Trauma took down the LA Ironmen with a similar margin at 11 to 4, sending both Oakland and Baltimore into the semifinals. The first semifinal game between Boston and Detroit was won by the Red Legion clearing a single point over Strange at 11 to 10. Baltimore took Oakland 10 to 6. Both teams would face each other for the second time on Saturday morning, with third games, if needed to be played in the afternoon. By Saturday night, only two teams would be left, and these would face each other on Sunday morning to slug it out for the 2005 title.
Five man prelims kept on rolling. With 72 teams, Division II kept on running, with more games to be played still on Saturday. DIII did the same, while the Young Guns waited until the weekend to take to the field.
In divisional X-Ball, the DIII teams kept at it. At the start of the day, there were only four teams left that hadn’t lost any games. San Diego Aftermath faced off against Data Support Systems and took it to them, and then took it to them, and then took it to them again, for a final score of 10 to 1. Tippmann Effect beat East Coast Empire 9 to 4, and this meant that Tippmann and Aftermath would play each other for the right to be in the finals game, while the remaining teams had it out on the left side bracket.
In Division II, the winner’s bracket had Denver Altitude falling to Great West 9 to 3, and Team Extreme defeated Rock-It Kids 7 to 6. These two were then destined for a Saturday afternoon faceoff.
Moving up the ranks to DI, Doc’s Raiders beat X-Factor 6 to 3 and Jax Warriors beat Diesel 8 to 3, making Saturday’s winner bracket game a Florida showdown.
Open Class X-Ball started with winner bracket games. Dynasty plowed through Infamous 14 to 2. The Naughty Dogs edged out Excessive by a point 7 to 6. On the left-side bracket were the teams that had lost in the first round. Joy Division knocked Avalanche out of the tournament 7 to 6. Ultimate was eliminated by a 7 to 6 loss courtesy of Miami Rage/Str8killas.
With more fantastic paintball weather Saturday was filled with 5-Man and X-Ball. One hundred and thirty nine DIII 5-man teams were trimmed down to 32 semifinalists that would play on Sunday, a pretty harsh thinning of the herd. Team Siege led the group, having no losses through the prelims. Second and third ranked Skull Hunters and Overhead also played undefeated. The last team to make the cut was Team Overkill Factory II with 584 points in total, from their eight preliminary round games. They edged out Team God Squad who finished just two points (the value of one live player at the end of a game) behind.
The 72 teams in DII 5-man were also shooting for 32 semifinal slots. Legend had the lead, with no losses, and it was Team Impalers that defined the cut at 486 points. This knocked out N-Tense Sports at 424, as well as the lower ranked teams.
The Young Guns played their prelims on Saturday as well, in what has become the worlds most geographically diverse youth league. Thirty-three teams were battling for eight semifinal slots. DC Effect ruled the roost, ranking in first with no losses, and three out of their eight games as maxes, or perfect scores (eliminate all of the opposing players, take and hang the flag, while losing no players) which was a stronger performance than even the top ranked DI team. MN Krew made their way into the eighth slot with 569 total points, edging out ninth ranked DBS Kids which finished the round with 520 points.
The five man quarterfinals further ripped down the field of competitors. Split into groups of four, each team played three games against the three other teams in its group. The top teams in each group went forward, while the bottom two went home (or more realistically went to watch the rest of World Cup and check out the other things to see at Disney World.) The Young Guns would not see their quarterfinals until Sunday, the day when the rest of the 5-man divisions would go into the semifinals.
In DIII X-Ball San Diego Aftermath beat Tippmann Effect 6 to 2. This put Aftermath in Sunday’s finals, and sent Tippmann Effect to the left side bracket where East Coast Empire had taken down Ultimate Kidz. Tippmann would play Empire in the semifinal game on Sunday, the winner would then face Aftermath for the trophy.
DII saw Team Xtreme defeating Great West 9 to 6, to head to the finals. On the left side, the teams had narrowed down to the Rock-It Kids and Denver Altitude. The Kids beat Altitude 8 to 7 and would see Great West in the semifinal game on Sunday.
The DI Florida showdown saw Jax Warriors falling to Doc’s Raiders 6 to 8. This meant that Sunday Jax would be up against X-Factor, which defeated Diesel 9 to 3. The winner would see Doc’s Raiders for the final game.
And then there was open class. Action for the day started in the left bracket, with the teams that had already lost a game. Excessive took down Joy Division 12 to 4, knocking them out of the tournament. Infamous sent Miami Rage/Str8tkillas packing with a 13 to 2 score. On the winner’s side things had boiled down to Naughty Dogs, Inc. and the series leaders, Dynasty. Dynasty took the win 10 to 6 sending the Dogs to the left side, and securing their position in Sunday’s finals game. That win meant that even if they lost the finals game, they would still finish the tournament in at least second place, earning 92 series points, and winning the 2005 series championship. With the Dogs positioned to finish the tournament in at least third place, and Avalanche out in the first elimination round, the Dogs were well placed for third place in the series, and the finish of both teams fell directly in line with the performance trends tracked in the Road To World Cup. On the left side bracket Excessive defeated Infamous 12 to 6, taking them out of the running. The remaining games for Sunday would see Excessive against the Dogs, with the winner facing Dynasty.
In the NXL things got hot and heavy. The first semifinal games had already been played, and Baltimore Trauma had taken down Oakland. Another win for Baltimore would put them in the finals, but that was not to be, at least not in the morning. The Oakland Assassins took out Trauma with a solid 15 to 5 victory. Detroit Strange had already fallen to Boston Legion on Friday, and Saturday Boston took it again with a 14 to 4 win, securing their place on field Sunday. When Trauma faced the Assassins for the third time, they came out on top, winning 10 to 7. Sunday morning at 9:00 am Boston and Baltimore would face each other in the first round of the best two out of three finals (rescheduled to 9:00 12:00 and 3:00.) The winner would be the 2005 NXL champions taking home a forty thousand dollar prize purse, while the team losing the round would be in second place winning twenty five thousand dollars. At 10:30, Oakland and Detroit would face each other for a single game to determine third and fourth place, a game that placed a ten thousand dollar prize purse on the line.
While the various divisions played on Sunday, the NXL was a major focus of attention. Boston Red Legion the newest team in the league, and the team that showed the strongest performance in regular season play lost 6 to 8 to Baltimore Trauma in the first game of their best two out of three series. In the battle for third place, Detroit Strange beat the Oakland Assassins 10 to 8.
In DIII X Ball Tippmann Effect beat East Coast Empire 9 to 4, to face San Diego Aftermath in the finas game. DII saw Rock-It Kids taking down Great West 9 to 7, routing themselves to the finals game against Team Xtreme. In DI, Jax Warriors fell to X-Factor 4 to 7. That made the division’s finals game a pairing between X-Factor and the undefeated Doc’s Raiders. In Open Class, Excessive beat the Naughty Dogs 9 to 8. This put the Dogs in third place, and Excessive up against Dynasty in the finals game.
On the NXL field Baltimore Trauma came out victorious over Boston Red Legion 8 to 7. This gave Trauma the 2005 NXL championship. Looking forward to 2006, the NXL franchise team owners considered plans put forward by commissioner Mike Ratko, which would allow the NXL to expand to 16 teams, with the inclusion of non-franchise teams, to compete for per-tournament prize packages. These plans are expected to further unfold and solidify during the off-season.
On the PSP Stadium Field, the divisional X-Ball teams played their finals games. In Division III San Diego Aftermath defeated Tippmann Effect 7 to 4, taking first place for the tournament. Team Xtreme grabbed first place for DII by a single point, beating Rock-It Kids 5 to 4.
Division III 5-man teams played semifinals in four divisions of four, with 3 games each, sending the top team from each division to the finals, where they played each other, and were ranked by total scores. Lost Generation finished out in first, with three wins, followed by Team Zone, Black River Xtreme and EAS2. Division II also had four semifinal divisions, which were trimmed down to just four finalists. These finished with Team Splatball in first, TPA in second, Team Spray Paint in third, and Reign City Huslers in fourth. Division II, being smaller, went straight to finals, with Runnin Wild finishing first, followed by Miami Rage/Str8killas, NebraskaPaintball.com and San Diego Aftermath. The Young Guns also went straight to finals, with DC Effect beating all three of their fellow finalists for a first place finish. SoFlaKidz Jr finished second with HKN Allstars YG in third and Impending Disaster in fourth.
Back on the PSP Stadium Field Doc’s Raiders beat X-Factor 6 to 3, becoming the Division I X-Ball winners. Then came Division I, where Dynasty took home the first place trophy by beating Excessive 8 to 4.
PSP’s Paintball World Cup 2005 was a major event with a long history. For the fourteenth year in a row, paintball teams converged from around the world to find out who was the best. For the 12th year in a row, World Cup was held in Kissimmee, Florida. For the third year in a row, the event also hosted the NXL season finals, and was located at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. For the first year, the NXL finals weren’t won by Philly.
In previous years the World Cup has been an indicator of how much paintball has grown since the year before. This year the event had a different feel. While the competition on the fields was as fierce as ever, most of the paintball manufacturers were discussing a slow summer of sales compared to the phenomenal growth the sport and its market has seen since the late 1990s. In years past there have numerous attempts to create paintball trade associations. Most have failed to flourish, often many believed, because the different manufacturers were more concerned with working against each other than with each other. In a meeting of almost every major paintball and equipment manufacturer, the direction of the industry was discussed from various aspects, including how the move to take paintball out of the woods for the mass market may actually be slowing things down today. Time will tell if this new attempt will result in long-term cohesive cooperation with both large and small companies to bring more new people into paintball.
Editor’s notes: For the
twelfth year in a row, the World Cup results were published on the WARPIG
web site. For the tenth year in a row WARPIG.com provided on-scene
coverage of the event. It seems like only yesterday we came from
California to the Cup at Paintball World, with the games back in the woods
where players used palmettos for cover and wore camo, where the whole trade
show fit in one tent. It was great to have a chance to visit again
with folks we don’t get to see that often. Boogie – a fixture in
Florida paintball playing the game since the early 80s, and a tireless
NXL ref for the last 3 years. You will be missed, but we hope you
enjoy your retirement. Your support has always been appreciated.
The UK Refs – you make it fun to be on the field.