Written by Quinn Nadu, Iconic PB | NXLPaintball.com
Photo by Paintball Photography
The first day of action concluded at the NXL Windy City Major paintball event in the historic Chicago Gaelic Park and the day was full of excitement. From the high-stakes matches held on the pro field, to the bustling vendors arena, the first day of games were full of surprises and iconic moments that are sure to set the stage for the remaining matches this weekend.
The fields are immaculate here at the Gaelic Park in Chicago and the NXL is once again putting on an incredible weekend of paintball for fans and players from all over the World. With a strong field of teams all competing for the coveted Windy City Major event win, it should be a great weekend of paintball for the remaining two days of play.
Player of the Day
Alex Fraige is looking reinvigorated for Dynasty. He was nothing short of dominant against the Ironmen, easily scoring double digit eliminations in that game. In game two, he continued his strong play in another Dynasty victory over ac Diesel. His versatility up the center of the field, and as the first attacker in the snake has Alex looking well positioned at a run for the golden barrel this event.
Photo by Verbhal Photography
Move of the day
Clint Johnson of ac Diesel was in the midst of a back and forth slugfest vs Moscow Red Legion; he rose the occasion. Down on bodies in point 6, Clint Johnson streaked down the snake side after eliminating Maloy and then took down three more Red Legion players single handedly. The four-pack move may be one of the best counter punch moves we have seen this season.
Photo by MCPhotography | NXL Media
On the professional field
Photo by MCPhotography | NXL Media
Coming into the Chicago event, professionals players and coaches were notably positive about the layout. Most commonly they noted the aggressive nature of play that it promoted, while still allowing a defensive backline strategy from the back bunkers. Prior to the days start, teams like Infamous, Heat, Red Legion, and Impact seemed most primed to take advantage of the aggressive style of the field. The level of aggression we saw out of these top programs was nearly uncontainable for the rest of the pro division. However, in a shocking turn of events, Columbus LVL went undefeated on the day, taking down top pro team, Edmonton Impact, in the process.
Infamous took no mercy on New York Xtreme or Uprising, beating both of these teams to secure a 2-0 record on the day and sit atop of their bracket division. Their back line players like Cody Mickowski and Kevin Rudolph made it easy for Thomas Taylor, Harrison Frye, and Ryan Hall to relentlessly attack down the field. NRG Elite also put up a perfect day one record of 2-0 against Uprising and Thunder, who both lost their opening games and sit tied for last in the bracket at 0-2. NYX put up a strong win against the red hot Seattle Thunder squad but dropped match two to Infamous to sit at 1-1.
In the second set of games, Houston Heat picked up right where they left off. As expected, they were able to mercy rule win against the rebuilding ac Dallas program. More surprising though, was the authority they displayed in beating San Antonio Xfactor. Tyler Harmon is showing the league that he just may be the best player in the world and their 8-2 win over Archie and co. is an early indicator that Heat is here for another 1st place trophy. AC Dallas, XFactor, and Aftermath were all able to put up 1-1 records, while DMG dropped both games to sit in last in the bracket at 0-2.
The Los Angeles Ironmen looked really good in their first game against the MLKings in a 6-5 victory. They have a really good mix of methodical and measured aggression, and a strong defensive guard on the backline. However, Dynasty came out against the Ironmen and were too much for Los Angeles to overcome as they lost to Dynasty 8-3. On the day, Dynasty had a perfect 2-0 record and sat atop the division. Alex Fraige looks really good on this layout. In one of the best games of the day, the Red Legion and ac Diesel game gave fans everything they could ask for. Wild aggression, slow defensive games, and a back and forth match that saw Diesel come out on top. Diesel, Ironmen, and Red Legion all posted a 1-1 record with MLKings going 0-2
In the final Pro bracket, Columbus LVL was the surprise team of the day. Sitting in 20th place in the season standings, they came out and had a brutal mercy rule win over the TMG Outlaws, 7-1. In their second game they followed with a barn burner of a match against Impact. The wild game went all the way to overtime at a score of 4-4. In a grinding overtime point, LVL pushed Impact to the limit and beat Impact 5-4 to go 2-0 on the day. Revo went 1-1 on the day as well as Tampa Bay Damage. The TMG Outlaws dropped both games in tough loses to go 0-2.
Likely playoff teams
Los Angeles Infamous
San Diego Dynasty
Tampa Bay Damage
On the bubble
San Antonio X-Factor
Los Angeles Ironmen
New York Xtreme
Moscow Red Legion
San Diego Aftermath
Likely eliminated from contention
On the divisional fields
Not to be outdone by their professional counterparts, the players on the divisional field utilized the aggressive layout to provide exciting games throughout the day for fans in attendance. The most intriguing part about the divisional fields is the wide variety of strategies that are deployed on the layout. While the pro field tends to run a more limited set of plays for the field, the divisional teams showcase seemingly every manner of strategy that can be applied.
On the divisional fields in the semi-pro division, there is a hotly contested battle to win the season standings and earn a pro spot. Teams like A-Team, Noobies, Blast Camp, Hurricanes, and Arsenal are all in contention. A-Team surprisingly went 1-1 on day one after winning the previous event in Philly. Blastcamp continued their strong play after a win at Astra and are looking primed again for a deep run into Sunday. The Noobies played dominate and controlled all day and look like a clear Sunday team. Carolina Crisis and the New Orleans Hurricanes both posted 2-0 records, leading their brackets as well. Kyiv United has a surprise showing going 1-0-1 after the addition of recent Dynasty pro, Grayson Gladstone.
Austin Notorious looks like the team to beat in Division 2 thus far, and are playing well above their ranking. This is a team that has future pro program written all over it. The Killers and Colorado Blitz also put up perfect 2-0 records and will both play strong counterparts with Notorious on the path to Sunday victory.
On the Division 3 fields, a division loaded with up and coming talent, there were tons of good games and a variety of strategies. Typically dominant teams like Shut Up We’re Trying and NRG both looked great. Proedge Paintball Factory looks like the strongest team in this division, especially after a surprising loss from Mid Atlantic Major winner, NY Brave. This division should be hotly contested all weekend long.
On the Division 4 fields, Coalition, Texas Cyclone, and the Brooklyn Raptors all looked prime to make a deep run into this tournament. The Raptors especially are playing a very disciplined yet aggressive style that should pay off huge on Sunday.
In the vendors arena
Like every major NXL event, there is always a vendors area and trade show to accompany the event that is full of the best and newest gear on the market. Fans were thrilled to see some of the new product releases, especially the much anticipated DSR+ marker from Dye Precision. This marker is the second iteration of the DSR platform and features many exciting additions, most notably a mechanical frame scheduled to release later this season. This will be Dye’s first foray into the mechanical market since the Dye Autococker and it will assuredly be a huge hit.
Photo by FlockHouse Fotos
Reign Total Body Fuel is once again back on vendors row after being one of the hottest new vendors of the year at NXL Philly. Their total performance drink has been a huge hit among the athletes around the event and they bring a great energy to the vendors arena.
Photo of Ivan Gonzalez, Sacramento DMG by MCPhotography19 | NXL Media
Looking ahead to day two
Looking ahead to day two, we should be in for more exciting paintball action. You can follow all day long at GoSports.com on the live stream! The fate of many teams event will be decided tomorrow, don’t miss a second of all the paintball fun!