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PSP Paintball World Cup 2010
October 21-24, 2010 - Polk City, Florida
Pro First Place - Boston Red Legion
Since 1992, the first Paintball World Cup was held as a Pro/Am tournament in New York. Originating as as a stand-alone tournament, the World Cup became sanctioned and served as the season finale for the original NPPL. In 1994, the tournament changed locations to Kissimmee, Florida, part of the greater Orlando metropolitan area. Over the years, the Paintball World Cup, originally produced by Jerry Braun, and later by PSP Events, a paintball event production company in which Braun was a partner, has been affiliated with two different incarnations of the NPPL, and since 2003 has been the last event in each year's PSP tournament series. Always featuring 5-man competition, the focus shifted in 2003 from 10-man competition as "the big show" to X-Ball as the prime focus, and now the X-Ball derivative "Race to" competitions.
In 2009 the Paintball World Cup found a new home, relocating from Disney's Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee to Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida. Although in a rural area, about 20 minutes drive from the Kissimmee/Orlando area, the Polk City location is still accessible to inexpensive flights into Orlando International Airport and post-game activities at Orlando theme parks and attractions.
With the slow economy and contraction in the paintball market, the PSP annual series has gone from 5 tournaments a year to 4, and despite World Cup being smaller than in years past, it still managed to bring out a solid core of teams from around the world, showing that tournament paintball is still vital. Games were spread over a total 7 fields, with an 8th field being used on Friday, the tournament's busiest day. As has become the standard format for the event, the fields were opened for walking and trade show began on Wednesday with games starting on Thursday. While smaller than in years past, the trade show still showcased the products that will be coming to market for the 2011 season.
As it was in the days of old, when World Cup was a part of the original NPPL, and one of only two tournaments in the series to include 5-man divisions, the 5-man competition at this year's cup drew out more teams than the league's primary format, likely due to the fact that it is more economically and logistically feasible to get a smaller team together and to the field. With many people forming "throw-together" teams for this one event only, World Cup also includes lower level skill divisions, to better classify these teams, some of which have never played tournaments before.
5-man teams played in a best-of two out of three games format format, making their competition more of a Race To 3 X-Ball game than traditional 5-man paintball. With 4 match-ups each in their preliminary round, each team played between 8 and 12 games in the first round of competition.
Division V 5-man drew out 13 teams, and by the end of the preliminary round, saw CFP Factory D5 as its top-ranked team. Division IV 5-man had 54 teams competing. Here it was Wreckage Krew that was the division leader. Thirty-one teams played in Division III, with Doom at the top of the pack when the preliminary round games were finished. Division II was the highest round of 5-man competition available at World Cup, providing the opportunity for some of the more experienced players to jump in on the 5-man action as well. Twenty teams played in this division, with Majestic leading the pack.
A competition division started at World Cup that has become a continuing tradition is the Race-To Master's Division. With the criteria that players in that division be over 40 years of age, it is meant as a chance for the "old guys" of the sport to take to the field and have some fun together. This year's Master's division drew 8 teams and played a four game preliminary round, at the end of which Capital Edge Hitters took the top rank based on total of wins and score margins.
Division IV teams, at the entry level of competition, played their games racing to a total of four points or the clock running out, whichever came first, most games were ended by point total, keeping the competition moving at a brisk pace. The division's 38 teams played in 7 groups, each team playing 4 games in the preliminary round. The top teams, based on their performance were able to advance to the next round, led by Palm Beach Venom Kids
Forty-three teams took to the fields for the preliminary round of Division III games. Also playing 4 games each, the advancing teams were topped by ZULU Warriors.
The prelims round for Division II was tighter, with 24 teams taking to the field. Grouped in flights of 6 teams, here also teams played 4 games each with Distortion holding the top seat at the end of the round.
Division I drew 10 teams, split into two groups. As it is in the NPPL, there are fewer teams at the top amateur level trying to work their way into the pros than there are pro teams, competing, which may lead to a continuation of the down-sizing of pro divisions seen over the last few years. The Ton Ton Flingeurs, who came from France to compete, finished the preliminary round as the top ranked D-I team.
The professional teams, with a division of 11 competitors also played in two groups, each team getting in four games, the top teams ranked on their wins moving on. Boston Red Legion was the stand-out leader in the opening round. The pro team's games were capped at 7 points, and Legion never let any of their competitors get more than 3 points before finishing them off. Boston Red Legion was the only pro team to win all of their preliminary round games.
Because of its size, Division IV 5-man was the only group of teams to play a 24/32 round, where the mid-ranked 16 teams played single-pairing knock-out games. Similarly, the Division IV 5-man and Division III 5-man took 16 teams each through ochofinal games, with single-pairings knocking out losers.
Each of the 5-man divisions ended up with their top 8 remaining teams paired up for their last elimination round. The winners moved on to the semifinals, and the losing teams ended their world cup run.
In the 5-man semifinals, the 4 remaining teams of each division were paired with the highest ranked against the lowest, and the middle two teams paired against each other. From here, the winners advanced to play each other in the finals. The winner of that finals pairing would rank in first place for the tournament, while the loser would finish in second. The losing semifinal teams were not sent home. Instead they moved on to the finals to play each other, the results of which would determine third and fourth place.
In the Division V 5-man finals, Ba kids beat out Postal for third place, while CFP Factory D5 lost their first game to NYC Vengeance but won the next two finishing in first place. For 5-man Division IV, Richmond Rage took third place from Outpost Outlawz, and Seek & Destroy took first place with a pair of victories over Average Joes. In Division III 5-man LSD aced out Detroit Action for third. Worthless won their first game against Doom, but Doom rallied and won the second. The last game between the two teams, won by Worthless decided first place. In the highest ranked 5-man competition - Division II, Bad News grabbed third place from Infusion, and Caracas Fusion finished in first by defeating Jungle Boyz.
In the Race To games, Divisions III and IV sent 12 and 8 teams respectively through ochofinal rounds before the quarterfinal round games started up. Divisions II, III and IV each had 12 teams in the quarters. These teams played 2 games each, in groups of three, with the top team from each group being tapped to move on to the semifinals and finals. Division I, with its smaller turn-out, simply sent its top four team to the semis and finals, as did the Master's. The pros held a quarterfinal round for the 3rd through 6th ranked teams from the prelims, to determine who would face the top two teams in the semis and finals. That was decided with LA Infamous' win over X-Factor and Tampa Bay Damage's victory over Dynasty.
Like the 5-man teams, the Race To teams played a semi-final round of one game each, which re-ranked the teams for the finals games.
The Master's Division saw the Wild Bunch Wheelchair Warriors finishing fourth as they were taken down by the Fluffy Bunnies. First place went to Capital Edge Hitters with their 4-0 victory over Just 4 Fun. LIFT Kids had a 4-1 win against Palm Beach Venom Kids for third place in Division IV, while Blind Aggression took first place with a hard-fought 4-3 game against second place HULK.
In Division III Topgun Union finished third by beating London Relentless. Assault finished second, falling 1-3 to Palm Beach Viper Kids. Division II finals saw No Limit finishing 3rd, with a close 5-4 game against Noble, while upTon 187 cRew finished first beating Distortion 5-2. X-Factor II decisively grabbed third place for Division I with a 5-0 win over DBS Kids. Chattanooga CEP finished second with a 2-5 game against the first place team, Ton Ton Flingeurs.
The pro finals were, as always, the big show. Tampa Bay Damage finished in third place with a 7-2 game against LA Infamous. The tournament was won with a 7 to 0 shut-down. Chicago Aftershock fell to Boston Red Legion. Legion's first place finish came as the crowning end to a stellar performance - they didn't lose a single game the entire tournament.
With both the NPPL and PSP seasons over for 2010, it's time for practice and recruiting, while the teams and leagues gear up for the 2011 season.