Alas, the tournament paintball season is now upon us. Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP) gets the competitive season going with the first major paintball tournament of the season in the U.S., this one held in Forney South, Texas just outside of Dallas. Held at Cousins Paintball Park Dallas, the PSP Dallas Open drew 116 teams spread across eight division from Pro RaceTo 7 to Division 4 RaceTo 2, and everything in-between.
As the event approached it was clear that there were going to be weather issues in Dallas. Solid rain leading up to and early on in the event led to mud the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Mardi Gras Open of the early 2000s. But this is paintball and there’s no crying in paintball, right?
Mud was only one of the storylines for this event. Uncertainty was another. In the weeks leading up to Dallas there were numerous rumors and a lot of speculation as to the league’s new sponsorship policies, some of the league owners being distracted with issues not related to the PSP, and even things like sideline coaching (or lack thereof) and rate of fire changes.
The games got underway to rain, lots of rain. And as the games wore on the grass wore down. You may notice in the photos there were grass fields when this event started but not for long.
You might remember that last year’s opening event in the pro division of Dallas was won by LA Infamous. For a team that came out on fire in 2014, winning in Dallas, they were never able to achieve that level of play the rest of the season. In fact, the best Infamous could muster in the remaining four events was a 9th place finish in the MAO.
And much like last year LA Infamous came out smoking in Dallas this year, winning all of their preliminary round games. And they not only won their preliminary round games, they won them big. With scores of 7-3, 7-2 and 7-5, Infamous was barely challenged in the opening round.
Likewise, Houston Heat won all of their first round games. After a tough first game win against what appears to be a much improved Seattle Thunder, Houston Heat won their next two games 7-1 and 7-1 and cruised into the next round.
upTon 187 cRew, with the newly acquired Nick Slowiak also balled-out and won their opening three game. Ditto that for Dynasty, who only had one challenging game and that was against San Antonio X-Factor.
For reasons I don’t quite understand, all 16 teams entering the PSP Dallas event in the pros made the cut to the Ocho rounds. That means the reward for ac Dallas, Chicago Aftershock, Trenton Top Gun Union and Baltimore Revo losing all three of their games is, who cares? They made it to the next round anyway. In the Ochos Chicago Aftershock came alive with a 7-2 win over Boom. Things didn’t go as well for Revo, Top Gun Union and ac Dallas however.
Some of the other big games in the pro Ochos were Houston Heat dismantling Tampa Bay Damage, LA Infamous beating X-Factor 5-3, Moscow Red Legion over Revo 7-3, upTon 187 cRew beating the Ironmen 6-3, Seattle Thunder 6-2 over ac Dallas and Dynasty just getting by Edmonton Impact 6-5.
The pro quarterfinals were full of great games and surprises beginning with Seattle Thunder sending Moscow Red Legion packing with a great 6-5 win. Seattle Thunder’s best finish in 2014 was 13th place, so making it to the semifinals and beating the Red Legion qualifies as quite a surprise. LA Infamous, who seems to love Dallas, beat San Diego Dynasty 7-4, Houston Heat beat upTon 187 cRew 7-3 and Chicago Aftershock continued to improve after their preliminary disaster, beating TradeMyGun Outlaws 6-1.
The dream tournament finally came to an end for Seattle Thunder in the semifinals (Pro Challenger’s finals) as they were soundly beaten 7-0 by Chicago Aftershock. That’s the bad news for them. The good news is they and Chicago Aftershock will move up to the Champions Pro Division for Nashville.
In the Pro Champions division it was an incredible final round matchup between LA Infamous and Houston Heat. After a back and forth battle LA Infamous would prevail with a 5-4 final round championship win.
Pro Final Standings
Professional – Champions Division
- 1st Place – Los Angeles Infamous
- 2nd Place – Houston Heat
- 3rd Place – San Diego Dynasty
- 4th Place – UpTon 187 cRew
Professional – Challengers Division
- 1st Place – Chicago Aftershock (move up to Champions Division)
- 2nd Place – Seattle Thunder (move up to Champions Division)
- 3rd Place – Moscow Red Legion
- 4th Place – TMG Outlaws
Nineteen teams entered Division One RaceTo 5 play. ac Dallas and Trademygun Outlaws finished the 2014 season on top of the rankings list, so both moved into the Challengers Division for 2015. Third place last season belonged to Carolina Collision, who was not present in Dallas. DC Devastation, last year’s fourth place Division One team was here and they got off to a tough start. After winning their first game, they could only manage a tie in their final three prelim games. Portland Uprising, last year’s fifth best Division One team, came to play. In their four preliminary round games they went 4-0 with a combined score of 20-6. New York Outlaws also won their four preliminary round games in Division One. The Charlotte BloodHounds had three wins and a tie in their four.
Seattle Uprising continued their dominance in the quarterfinals with a 5-1 win over Evolution and New York Outlaws stumbled badly losing 5-1 to Birmingham Prime. Charlotte BloodHounds and Distortion also advanced to the Division One Semifinals. Seattle Uprising would finish the job going wire to wire, round to round without a loss. In the finals they beat Birmingham Prime 5-4 to take the Division One championship.
Division Two RaceTo-5 featured 24 teams primed, practiced and ready to compete. Interestingly no Division Two team won all four of their first round games, but Tampa Bay Revolution and AFF had three wins and a tie. Tampa Bay Revolution worked their way through the ochos and quarterfinals and finally lost a game in the semifinals, sending them to the battle for third place. P.C. Katana fought their way through each round and eventually met and beat Supreme by a score of 5-4 to take the Division Two first place trophy.
Proedge Army beat Ralph Boyz in the Division Three finals while Pr1me2 took third place with a win over NC Xplicit. Chicago Warped Black won the Division Four title.
Division 1 Race to 5
- 1st Place – Seattle Uprising
- 2nd Place – Birmingham Prime
- 3rd Place – Charlotte Bloodhounds
- 4th Place – Distortion
Division 2 Race to 5
- 1st Place – PC Katana
- 2nd Place – SUPREME
- 3rd Place – Freestyle
- 4th Place – Tampa Bay Revolution
Division 3 Race to 4
- 1st Place – Proedge Army
- 2nd Place – Ralph Boyz
- 3rd Place – PR1ME 2
- 4th Place – NC Xplicit
Division 4 Race to 4
- 1st Place – Chicago Warped Black
- 2nd Place – H-Town Notorious FSU
- 3rd Place – DBS Supersonics
- 4th Place – OUTLAWS
Pump Race to 2
- 1st Place – LOCKOUT
- 2nd Place – True Semi
- 3rd Place – Short Bus
Division 3 Race to 2
- 1st Place – Cen Cal Alliance
- 2nd Place – Elite
- 3rd Place – Storm Riders
- 4th Place – Revolution
Division 4 Race to 2
- 1st Place – N.O. Bounty
- 2nd Place – Proedge Army 2
- 3rd Place – Toy Soldierz FYF
- 4th Place – Chi-Town Fury
As I finish this article there are more questions about professional than there were leading up to the event. It was recently announced that the National X-Ball League is returning and speculation is many of the PSP pro teams will bolt to join the new league. Where does that leave the PSP?
We’ll keep you posted!
Players Deserve Better
By John Amodea
For at least the past five years Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP) has inarguably run the best and largest paintball league in the U.S., if not the world. For someone that long ago was a tournament promoter on the highest level of play, I can tell you that producing events of the PSP’s magnitude is no easy task. It takes time, money and resources that very few in paintball possess. And it takes a commitment from those running the events to make every effort possible to give the players and teams what they pay for and work so hard for. And Dallas clearly was not on that level in any way.
Teams work too hard, put too much of their own money into this game, and sacrifice too much to be put in a situation where they (and their equipment) are covered head to toe in mud for three days. And this doesn’t even address the safety concerns of playing in these conditions. Months of preparation, practice, spending huge amounts of time away from family and sacrificing every last dollar should get the same effort in return from any league you play in. Your effort should be matched by their effort.
And I really don’t want to hear that the weather is not in anyone’s control. Have we not seen enough of Dallas to know that’s it’s too risky to hold an event there in March? How many first event disasters do we need to see to realize we need a change? Dallas is too risky in March. New Orleans is too risky in March.
All of this said, the best planning and effort in the world can still fail. If a hurricane comes through central Florida during the World Cup no one is going to fault PSP. Sometimes things just happen. But Dallas in March is not that. Dallas in March is irresponsible. The players deserve better.