Quinn Nadu, Iconic PB | NXLPaintball.com
Photo by Cameron Hagen Photography | NXL Media
A wild day of play
Put simply, this layout may be one of the best creations we have seen come from NXL Commissioner Jason Trosen in recent memory. The level of nuance and excitement in the strategy on this layout has been providing thrilling games and hotly contested slug fests that have given fans, truly, the best games of the season. What we learned after the first two days of play, is that the finals matchups we will see tomorrow in the Sunday Club may provide some of the best paintball that we have ever seen out of an NXL event. The sudden of emergence of LVL continued on day two and premiere teams like Heat, Dynasty, and Infamous all continued their dominance on day two.
However, with multiple up and coming programs playing well, this could be the seasons first hint at a changing of the guard coming into effect. The youthful rosters of LVL and NRG are well positioned to dethrone the major organizations if they can keep up their high level of play. The question is, do they have the poise and mental stamina to go the distance against veteran rosters like Dynasty and Impact?
Player of the day
The field of talent in the NXL may be at the highest caliber of skill we have ever seen. The athleticism and marker skill put on display by the individuals on the pro field is extraordinary. No player exemplified that better on day two than Tyler Harmon. His ability to affect the field at multiple levels and positions is elite and the way he was able to apply pressure consistently through the snake side was the key to his Heat's success today. His versatility is best-in-class, when Heat went down early against Aftermath in their final game of the prelims, Todd Martinez moved Tyler to the home position to anchor the team. Tyler responded with consistent eliminations off the break and a commanding presence across the entire field.
Move of the day
With so many exciting games on day two at the Windy City Major, it was difficult to pick just one single move to class as the best of the day. However, it would be foolish not to mention Marcello Margott here. In their first game of the day, the MLKings quickly posted two points and had a one game lead. With the risk of the game getting out of reach early, Dynasty came out for the fourth point. Marcello started off to the dorito side and eliminated a player off the break, but the snake side for Dynasty quickly collapsed, leaving Marcello in a tough position. He was able to work the MLKings down to just Kyle Barry. After a minute plus long gun battle, Marcello made a brilliant move and eliminated Berry, plus got a penalty thrown on Kyle. The move tied the match and spring boarded Dynasty to a 4-2 victory.
On the Pro Field
The professional field, interestingly enough, is evolving a bit on day two in terms of the strategies being implemented. It is easy to see the elite coaches of the league like Ryan Brand, Todd Martinez, and Kevin Bredthauer quickly adapting to the ever changing meta on the pro field. Their ability to adjust their teams strategy on the fly was critical in their day two success on the field. They were able to hold off the endless attacks they saw throughout the day. The field felt like it played a little slower today, but that is because teams were getting more creative and effective with their break shooting.
In the first bracket, Houston Heat continued their dominant performance thus far in this event and posted two easy wins against DMG and Aftermath, going 4-0 in prelims. Xfactor also made the adjustments needed to go 2-0 on the day and secure a spot for Sunday. Ryan Brand emphasized the importance in always adjusting in the moment and treating every opponent with the same respect. He has been critical for Xfactor and is an elite coach in this league. Aftermath went 1-1 on the day after two tough losses and ac Dallas and DMG both dropped their two games to be eliminated from contention.
In the second bracket, Los Angeles Infamous looks to be in prime form. They are playing this layout incredibly well and should be considered as a serious contender to win this entire event. They easily beat NRG Elite and went to an overtime 1v1 against Seattle Thunder. Luckily for Infamous, they have arguably the best 1 on 1 player in the world in Cody Mickowski, who easily won the overtime battle for the match victory. NRG Elite played well once again, especially in their wild, 18 point match against NYX. NYX was visibly frustrated after the loss and seemed to be at a loss for words. Uprising posted wins over Thunder and NYX and went 2-2 throughout prelims. NYX and Thunder will be going home early after a rough event for them both.
In the third bracket, it was business as usual for Dynasty. They easily dispatched both the MLKings and Red Legion to secure a 4-0 prelim record. They are playing an incredibly disciplined style on this field and look to be a clear cut, deep Sunday team. Alex Fraige continued his strong play for Dynasty and still looks to be a favorite to win the CRBN Golden Barrel award for most eliminations. The Ironmen had two back and forth battles with Diesel and Red Legion, but were able to come out on top in both thanks to great coaching from Nikki McEvers and the commanding presence of Nick Slowiak. Every time they needed a point, Nick got the call and was dominant. Red Legion, MLKings, and ac Diesel all ended the event at 1-3. All eliminated from contention. Red Legion was surprising this event, many thought they would be dominant on this layout, but they just couldn’t put together a complete game. They desperately need depth on that roster.
In the final bracket, the surprise Columbus LVL run of dominance continued. As the 20th ranked team in the league, last place, they easily dispatched a strong Damage organization in a 6-1 beating. Justin Politi looks really good for them this weekend. Columbus struggled all season but on this attack heavy layout, their versatility across the roster is shining. However, due to a slight delay in the schedule due to some of the games going to upwards of 18 points, the final set of games between LVL, Damage, Impact, and Revo will be played tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM to decide the final bracket and see who moves on.
San Diego Dynasty
Los Angeles Ironmen
Los Angeles Infamous
San Antonio Xfactor
Eliminated from Contention
New York Xtreme
San Diego Aftermath
Still yet to be determined
Tampa Bay Damage
At Risk of Losing Pro Spot
On the divisional field
The Semi-Pro division battle for a pro spot is heating up. With multiple teams all in contention for the season crown, and the coveted pro spot that comes with it; the stakes were high.
On the semi-pro field, The Noobies came out and won their first match against Kyiv United but dropped their final game against Arsenal. They are 3-1 on the event and still appear to be set up to make a deep run into Sunday. The New Orleans Hurricanes and Blast Camp looked really good again today, going 2-0 in their games to both post 4-0 prelim records. Jackson Frey has a commanding presence on that Blastcamp roster and looks to be playing near a pro level already. Wolfpack and the Hurricanes also posted 3-1 records to secure a spot for Sunday.
On the Division 2 field, Austin Notorious had a surprising loss against the KC Missouri All Stars to end the prelims at 3-1, still a shoe in for Sunday. The Killers and MX Dead Legion were the only teams to post a perfect 4-0 record. The Killers look to win another event and should provide a tough game to whichever team they draw tomorrow. Grit and Blitz also went 3-1 and look to be playing strong.
On the Division 3 field, Competitive Edge, Shut Up We’re Trying, and New York Infextious all posted perfect 4-0 records. I think this event is Shut Up We’re Trying’s event to win, they look great and have a great chemistry on that roster in the NXL.
In the Division 4 field, Coalition, Cyclone, Raptors, and Freelancers United all went a perfect 4-0. The Raptors especially looked like the best team in this division for the second day in a row. If they can continue this level of disciplined play, they may just win this event.
The Vendors arena
With the event DJ playing great music all day and plenty of vendors on site, it was another fun day for fans on vendors row. In addition to all the action on the field, the Field One booth was especially popular due to the Dynasty team signing in the middle of the day. MazensPB, a new vendor to the NXL, had one of the largest used and new marker inventories of the event and was packed all day with fans and players looking for new and custom markers.
Looking to Sunday Finals
Looking forward to tomorrow, fans in attendance and viewers at home watching on GoSports are in for a wild finish to the weekend. The Chicago event has historically been a great indicator for the final season rankings in the pro division, and a win tomorrow will offer bragging rights, a nice payout, and historical significance in the race for the World title in November in Florida. Who will come out on top? Find out live on GoSports.com