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NPPL DC CHALLENGE
Sept 16-18, 2011
Pev's Paintball Park, Aldie, VA

First Place Pro - Chicago Legend
First Place D1 - Impact Echo
First Place D2 - TCP Machine
First Place D3 - TKO Blackout
First Place D4 5-Man - Haze
First Place Pump - Total Greif

From around the continent, paintball teams converged on the US capital, but it wasn't to march and protest, it was to take part in the 2011 NPPL DC Challenge pro-am tournament at Pev's Paintball in Aldie, Virginia.

From being player, field owner and store owner to distributor and magazine publisher, Mike "Pev" Peverill is one of the people who has pretty much "done it all" in paintball. The field he founded in Virginia has a mix of tournament and scenario oriented fields. It's the tournament side that drew the crowds this September, hosting the third event in the NPPL's 4-tournament annual series. With Huntington Beach, and Chicago out of the way, DC marked the head towards the finals in Vegas, so the pressure was one to finish well and gain points towards the series championship.

The three-day event started on Friday with teams taking the field first for their preliminary round games, and continued into the weekend running on to finals on Sunday. Looking back over the years, the fall NPPL tournament - what used to be the 4th of the season, had some of the lowest attendance. For the DC Challenge most divisions managed a good turn out by modern standards, save for the pump division, where Total Greif and Rockin' Cocks were the only competitors. In their eight preliminary round games against each other, the two teams proved to be fairly evenly matched, trading off a pair of wins first for Greif then for Rockin' Cocks. At the end of the round, it was ultimately Total Greif that had accumulated more points, though barely more than 100 points (a perfectly scored game) separated the two. Despite only having two teams, the Pump division still played a finals round - which meant that if Rockin' Cocks won two more games they could still finish in first place. In the finals Rockin' Cocks did win the first game over Total Greif, but the purple crew rallied and won the next two, taking home first place.

Division 4 is the league's 5-man competition. Nine teams came out to compete in this format, also playing 8 games each, then ranked by their total score for advancement. The top four teams went on to play Sunday in the semif-finals, ranked the weakest against the strongest, they played three games each, with the winners of the round playing in the finals for first place, and the losers playing for third. In the final round, that was Iron Legion - MAPL posting two losses against third place finisher Syndicate, and Haze taking first place over Iron Legion with a win, loss and draw that was won in overtime.

Division 3 was the level where 7-man competition began. Seven players on the field for each team competed to grab the flag from the opposing end of the field and bring it back to their own side, earning points for the pull, the hang, eliminated opposing players and players still "live" at the end of the game. Fourteen teams competed in this division, with the top 8 advancing to the Elite 8 knock-out round. Ranked weakest against the strongest, the teams played a best two out of three win-or-go-home round. In every case, the four surviving teams won back to back games to advance to the semifinals which re-ranked them for the finals. There MBA defeated Justice twice in a row in the consolation round for a third place finish. Boom II won their first game against champions TKO Blackout, but lost the next two.

Division II, consisting of more experienced teams had a field of 10 teams battling it out. With a smaller attendance, they fought through the prelims for just four slots - the top four teams that would move on to the semis and be guaranteed spots in the finals. In the finals, Top Gun Evolution won back to back games against Cambridge Raiders for first place. TCP Machine won their first game against Marine Team 1, but lost the second, winning the third for first place.

Division 1, the top amateur division had 7 teams competing. These consisted of seven teams, so here too, the preliminary round was a competition for those four slots in the semis and finals. After re-ranking in the semifinals consolation round, ProPaintball.com won their first gama against the PAP All-Stars, lost the second and won the third. Meanwhile Impact Echo had two wins and a loss against Warped Army for a first place finish.

With sixteen teams, more than any other division, the pros played in two separate divisions. Their preliminary rounds of 8 games each were played just within their own divisions. Los Angeles Infamous was dealt a harsh blow early in the competition. After their first game it was discovered that a player who had signed on to their roster for the event and taken to the field with the team hadn't yet completed serving a 3-game suspension from a previous tournament with another team. As a result, Infamous was disqualified from the tournament, and all of their scheduled games, including one played before and one played after the discovery were recorded as forfeits, earning zero points for Infamous and 95 points for the teams they were matched against. For infamous, which came into the event ranked fifth for the season, a last ranked finish would have a devastating impact on their shot at the series title in Las Vegas.

From the prelims the pros advanced their top teams to a three-round elite 8 round, which winnowed the surviving teams down to the final four that were re-ranked by semifinals before their showdown in the finals. In the finals round it was Portland Uprising taking a win, loss and win against Chicago Aftershock for third place. In the battle for the first place trophy, Chicago Legend won their first game against DC Arsenal, but drew the second. The third game also came down to a draw, so it went into nail-biting overtime where Legend won for first place.

 

 

 

 


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