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PSP World Cup

October 23-28, 2007

2007 NXL Champions - Ironmen
Open Class Champions - San Diego Aftermath
DII X-Ball Champions - Vicious
DIII X-Ball Champions - DBS Kidz
D2 5-Man Champions -
D3 5-Man Champions - Team Encounter
D4 5-Man Champions -

Open Class X-Ball First Place - Avalanche X
DII X-Ball First Place - Dynasty Entourage
DIII X-Ball First Place - Speedin Dirty RNT

Masters X-Ball First Place - EGO Maniacs
DII 5-Man First Place - swatpaintball
DIII 5-Man First Place - Team Unlimited
DIV 5-Man First Place - Gravity Kids

Thousands of players and spectators packed their bags and headed to the Sunshine State for the Paintball World Cup this week. A destination spot with much acclaim, Orlando has been the home of the World Cup for sixteen years. With many venues over time, the Cup has moved from Florida woodlands to concept fields on a cow pasture to the well manicured playing fields of Disney's Wide World of Sports, where the games have been playing since 2003.

The venue was packed on Tuesday with teams not only walking fields, but also checking out the new products in the vendor's area. While some companies were still in the midst of setting up their displays, most were in full flow by noon with new guns, new gear and lots of music to draw in the interested parties.

paintballStarting off the event, the NXL teams faced off on Wednesday morning after a season of intense battle for seeding points. Heading into World Cup, Dynasty and Ironmen had earned the top seeding points for the league, but rather than earning them points towards a season title, this merely decided their position in the NXL World Cup schedule. While this structure gives even low ranking teams a shot at the glory, it isn't just a free ride. The bottom four teams didn't get to play World Cup, and the lower ranking teams would play their first games against the highest, playing through elimination rounds to fight for the title of Series Champion at the end of the tournament on Sunday.

In 2006, pro games at World Cup were kicked off with the Intercontinental Cup - a competition between pro X-Ball teams from the NXL and those of Europe's Millennium Series. Following a new format, the top four NXL teams from the 2007 World Cup would play 2007's top Millennium teams for the title of Intercontinental Cup Champions during the start of the 2008 season, at a yet to be determined venue (to be played at either the first Millennium or first PSP tournament of the year.)

Beginning their rounds of play at the start of the tournament on Wednesday were the over-40 crowd in the Masters Division. Made up of not only veterans of the sport who have by and large retired from the top competition, but also new players who appreciate the level playing field, not facing off against 15 year old powerhouses. The camaraderie and friendly banter on the fields during the Masters games are always a lot of fun, a glimpse into the past when games were played with passion, but even the fiercest of competitors were friends.

paintballAlso hitting the fields on Wednesday were the Divisional teams in D2, D3 and Open Class.  Like the rest of the classes, these teams were fighting not just for a World Cup victory, but for points that would apply towards the series championship - the overall best of the best for the entire season.

The Open Class play for 2007 season was dominated by San Diego Aftermath who held the ranking points by nearly 44 points after two first place finishes in the season.  In Division 2, the top teams were far more closely tied up in points with Vicious in the top spot and TX Justice League behind them.  Denver Attitude and CDR coming up in the third and fourth spots.  Division 3 had the top four teams facing off, as in D2, but it was a close pair between first and second, then third and fourth were also facing off with just a couple of points to spare between them.  DBS Kidz were heading into World Cup with two wins to their name for the 2007 season followed by Gridlock-Black who were trailing them by 4 points.  Hershey Heat had 345.8 points after four events and were trailed by a couple of points by Speedin Dirty RNT.

Wednesday NXL games started off with Oakland Infamous taking their game against New York Hurricanes with a score of 10-3.  The next match in the day was Philly Americans facing off against Sacramento XSV 13-2 going to Philly.  Jacksonville Raiders dropped to Chicago Aftershock by three points with a score of 5-8.  Detroit Strange went to overtime with Seattle Naughty Dogs and carried the game to a 7-6 win.  Chicago Aftershock won their second game of the day with a 6-5 win over Oakland Infamous.  Seattle Naughty Dogs gave Philly their first loss with a 9-4 win.  New York Hurricanes lost their second match with a 5-6 win going to Jacksonville Raiders.  Sacramento XSV lost their second match 4-5 against Detroit Strange. 

On Thursday games continued for divisional X-Ball teams while the NXL teams battled it out on the grandstand field at the Wide World of Sports.  Starting off the second day of play, Oakland Infamous hit the field at 7 in the morning against Jacksonville Raiders, the game going to overtime with a 9-8 win for Infamous, delivering Jacksonville their second loss.  Chicago Aftershock lost their first match in a face off against New York Hurricanes which ended in a score of 5-7.  Philly Americans beat out Detroit Strange 6-5, then Seattle Naughty Dogs took on Sacramento XSV to give XSV their ticket home after three losses with a score of 12-5. 

The next round of games began with the  Philly Americans beating out the Los Angeles Ironmen with a 6-5 score at midday.  For both teams the field was new. While the the divisional teams had only one field layout to be concerned with, the NXL switched up some key bunker positions as their competition moved through each of its three rounds (follow the virtual fieldwalk link on this page to see the layouts.) Dynasty took out Infamous with a 10-4 win.  Boston Red Legion gave Chicago Aftershock their second loss with a 10-5 game and wrapping up the day on the NXL field were X-Factor and Seattle Naughty Dogs with the game going to X-Factor 8-5.

By the weekend, X-Ball teams had battled through their prelim games and were rolling into more advanced rounds, opening up the availability of fields for the 5-man teams, at what has always been the league's largest 5-man tournament (and often the largest 5-man in the world.)

For the pros of the NXL, things got tougher. Their prelims had already finished on Thursday morning, and their afternoon games were the beginning of round two (hence the change in field layout.) Round two took the top eight teams from the prelims and paired them up by rank for a best two out of three knock-out, meaning that for the following two days the paired teams would be seeing a lot of each other.

Friday morning's NXL games were the second of these matches and started with the Los Angeles Ironmen taking the Philly Americans to sudden death overtime, and getting the game winning point at 7 to 6. This was followed by Oakland Infamous edging out Dynasty by a point at 8 to 7, and Boston Red Legion earning their second win against Chicago Aftershock 10 to 4.  This took Shock out of the running, and made the Legion the only team to get through the round via back to back wins, avoiding a third game. Seattle Naughty Dogs brought their A game against X-Factor and took them down 12 to 4.

paintballThe afternoon was filled with the third group of NXL round 2 games in which LA Ironmen knocked out the Philly Americans with an 8 to 5 victory.  Dynasty turned things around on Oakland Infamous taking them out of the running with a score of 8 to 5.  In the last game of the round, X-Factor and Seattle Naughty Dogs were desperate to see who would be the final team making it into the top four.  Both teams played it tight, tying the score at 7 to 7 when the final buzzer blew. Going into overtime, the Dogs grabbed the game winning point for an 8 to 7 finish. The four teams that survived through Thursday and Friday were matched again by rank to play each other in Saturday's semifinal games - LA vs Seattle and Dynasty vs Boston. These too would be played to the best two out of three, giving the packed weekend crowd of spectators ample opportunities to see the top pros go at it. The two winning teams of the day would then face each other Sunday in the finals pairing to play for first and second, while the two teams that were cut would be ranked into third and fourth place by their Friday seeding.

Through the duration of the tournament, the trade show, one of the largest in the paintball industry, was buzzing with activity.  With manufacturers and distributors setting up display trailers and tents bigger than the homes most players live in, and all of the in-between nooks and crannies being wedged with small, innovative designers and organizations, the venue was a showcase for all that is new in paintball.

Certainly, new markers are always an attraction at World Cup, and this year was no exception. Leading the pack in sheer numbers was Smart Parts, unveiling not just one, but four new markers, aimed at players ranging from the beginner to tournament level.  The Vibe is a lightweight electropneumatic marker priced close to many entry level blowback mechanical paintguns, and its counter part, the SP-1 uses the same internals in a milspec/scenario body that is covered in accessory rails. Both of these markers have bolt out back designs. The Ion XE and EOS are poised to replace the Ion and Epiphany in their product line, with most of the same features and the addition of a bolt-out-back body.

DYE showed the latest iterations of their Matrix line, the Dye and Proto M8s, with the new Hyper 3 reg. This reg does away with the traditional ASA fitting, allowing for a narrower front end on the marker, and the Proto design has been compacted even further by a new vertical LPR arrangement. The Proto Matrix Rail released in '06 was not redesigned, but now ships in a variety of configurations with some of the more popular accessories (UL grip frame, metal feedneck, etc.) already installed. DYE's all new marker, the Proto SLG is the most affordable they have ever produced, and boasts a very simplified operating design, with a solenoid tripped sear firing a regulated blow-forward valve system protected by anti-chop eyes.

While Tippmann's newest marker is still the X7 that was released last year, it's modular design has them cranking out more and more accessories, leading to X7 packages built up to resemble specific firearms, like the X7 UMP. Also announced by the company is their new partnership with the US Army.  This will have them producing the official US Army brand of paintball equipment focused on durability and affordability. This new product line is expected to launch in Spring 2008.

Drawing many stares were the newest versions of the Ego in Planet's booth. The 08 Ego is designed for further reduced recoil regardless of speed, and is showing just how slender the back of a stacked tube electropneumatic marker can become. Graphic anodizing designs on display with American and British flags annoed into the marker bodies blurred the line between art and utility.

The folks from down under, Mac Dev, along with their US distributor, Mac Dev USA were displaying and providing tech classes for not only the 2008 Cyborg, but also their new single tube spool valve marker, the Droid. The Droid is not replacing the Cyborg, but rather offering players a choice between styles from the same company.

Alien Paintball's Remains marker is now complemented by their new Independence. While a similar stacked-tube electropneumatic design, the Independence features more airspace for a greater volume of gas adjacent to the valve.

While the Angel One was not brand new at this event, the company showing it was. Angel products are now among the numerous product lines being carried by uber-distributor, KEE Action Sports (a company formed through the acquisitions of both National Paintball Supply and PMI.) Also in their booth was their newest loader - the Magna. Born from the HALO and Reloader B designs, the Magna sports a new shell that allows for tool free battery changes, and both radio frequency linked, and audio triggering of the loader system. An adjustable magnetic clutch system provides protection from the feed mechanism over-driving and smashing paintballs.

Industry meetings at previous World Cups have finally come to fruition over the past year with the formation of the Paintball Sports Trade Association. In a Friday press conference, representatives from various member companies explained the group's goal of promoting the paintball to the public. Formed as a sub-group of the Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association (SGMA,) the PSTA's initial membership includes DYE Paintball, JT Sports, Kingman USA, Planet Eclipse, Procaps Paintball, Special Ops Paintball, Tippmann Sports, and Zap Paintball. Future expansion of the group is planned to allow for representation from the paintball media, store and field owners, and players. The group's web site was launched just prior to World Cup at, a domain donated to the cause by ActionVillage. Stopping in to lend his personal endorsement to the new organization was Bob Gurnsey, an organizer of the first paintball game ever held, and the man who got the paintball industry started by launching National Survival Game, Inc.

Saturday morning's NXL action started with the first two games in the best-of-three semifinals. Los Angeles Ironmen took it to the Seattle Naughty Dogs, winning with a score of 8 to 5.  Dynasty faced off against Boston Red Legion, and took it to the clock with a score of 8 to 8. In overtime, Legion scored the point for a 9 to 8 win.

In their second go at it, the Ironmen beat the Naughty Dogs again, 8 to 5, and Boston Red Legion took down Dynasty 10 to 9, lining up Legion and the Men to go at it in the finals. This left the final ranking for the year with Dynasty in third, the Naughty Dogs in fourth, X-Factor in 5th, Chicago Aftershock in 6th, Oakland Infamous in 7th, Philadelphia Americans in 8th, Detroit Strange in 9th, Jacksonville Raiders in 10th, New York Hurricanes in 11th and XSV in 12th.

Sunday morning, the big show was the Russians of Boston Red Legion going up against the guys from So-Cal - Los Angeles Ironmen.  The weather warmed up to muggy levels quickly, with less cloud cover than the previous days, and both teams were taking as much as they were giving. It looked like the game was going to overtime at a score of 7 to 7, until the Legion earned a hang with only 3 seconds left on the clock. A second win during their 1:00 o-clock game would give Boston the annual series championship, but if the Ironmen rallied for a win, it would all come down to a third game at 4:00.

Divisional X-Ball teams had started out in their preliminary round, where each played four X-Ball games and was ranked via standard X-Ball team ranking. A win earns two points, and teams that are tied on points, are then ranked by total wins, and further tie breaker criteria, including their total point margins (how many points they won or lost their games by.)

The bottom of the totem pole was Division 3. Not surprisingly as the entry level, it was packed with the most teams, 84 in total. The top 36 of these teams advanced to the ochofinal round, as did the top 8 of the 39 Division 2 teams. The Open division (open to D1 teams and pros who are not in the NXL) saw 13 teams, and sent four of those straight to quarter finals, while the 11 teams of the Masters (over 40) division were simply narrowed down to four semifinalists.

From the winnowing rounds, each division eventually produced four semifinalists. These teams were ranked according to their finish in the previous round, and the strongest team played the weakest, with the middle two playing each other. The semifinals did not eliminate any teams, but ranked them for the finals, where the semifinal winers would play each other for first and second place, and the losers would vie for third and fourth.

In the Masters it was EGO Maniacs finishing on top, with a roster that included Avalanche owner Ed Poorman, and former member of that team Steve Rabackoff as well as Bushwhacker's Ron Kilbourne, the man with his own video game, Greg Hastings, Gerwin Henn and more. Their finish came from a 5 to 1 win over the Wild Bunch.

On the five man fields, games started out with Division 2 hosting 20 teams, Division 3 with 59 teams and Division 4 with a whopping 133 teams battling for first place.  After the first round of games, Division 4 was whittled down to 64 teams, sending more than half of the competition home.  After another three games in round three, Division 4 was halved again to 32 teams.  Division 3 faced a similiar reduction, from 59 to 32 in the round three games.  In the Ochofinals, both Division 3 and 4 were cut down yet again to half of their previous number with 16 teams from each division competing in three matches.    Finally, awaiting their turn at the games again, Division 2 got to hit the fields again during the quarter final round, with just 8 of their 20 teams fighting it out in three games each.  Division 3 and 4 also send just eight teams to the quarter finals, the games being decided based on highest scores.

During the semi-final round of 5-Man, each division sent 4 teams to the games, with a best two out of three matches deciding who would play for the top spot in the final round. 

In the finals, Division 2 five man saw swatpaintball's Warped Army up against CDR.  After the first match going to CDR with a max, swatpaintball came back hard to win both the second and third match, giving them the win for the division.  Division 3 five man had another two solid wins for Team Unlimited, giving them the win over Reball Madness who finished second.  Third and fourth place in D3 were secured by Fearless Factory and JFK.  Division 4 teams continued the trend with solid wins, Gravity Kidz beat out Who What for first place, giving Who What second, while Team RNT beat Viper Kids twice in a row for third and fourth place.

Speedin Dirty RNT out of south Florida took home the D3 X-Ball trophy after beating Zero Tolerance 5 to 3 in a finals game.

D2 X-Ball's winner was Dynasty Entourage, which took down TX Justice League 7 to 2. Avalanche X grabbed first place in the Open Class, beating out division leader San Diego Aftermath with a 7 to 6 score.

In finals game two, the Ironmen came back with a vengance and took down the Legion 11 to 5, leaving the championship balanced on the third game. While it was closer, the Iornmen got the upper hand, taking the 2007 Championship with a 7 to 6 victory. Ironmen now join the ranks of the Philly Americans, Baltimore Trauma and Boston Red Legion as the only teams to have achieved this title. As the PSP and NXL head into the off-season, the time now comes for the lowest ranked NXL non-franchise teams to possibly be replaced by high-ranking open class teams for 2008, and the top teams from this year will be able to face the top teams of the Millennium-Series in the Intercontinental Cup which will be held in conjucntion with either a Millennium or PSP tournament at the start of the new season.

<>Special thanks from both of us to Rosie for friendship that only gets better over time, to Russell, Tommy, Simon & Anthony from the UK Refs for the laughs, to Caroline & Sunny for hard work, to Gerald Fish for the tremendous work with the NXL reffing crew, you will be missed.  Congrats to the teams who played hard and fair and to Shaner - we're happy for you, buddy.  To Ryan and Pete, it won't be the same without you guys.   And last but not least, to Simon, thanks for the rugby explanation and for taking time to visit before the madness began.

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