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2021 NXL World Cup Mid-Prelims Recap

Written by Quinn Nadu, Iconic PB |

The NXL World Cup is well underway in Kissimmee, Florida, and after two exciting days of prelim play thus far, fans are getting a truly incredible finale to the 2021 NXL season. Teams like Impact, Dynasty, and Red Legion are all playing at the elite level fans have come to expect, while the MLKings have been the surprise team of the event after posting a 2-1 record through the first two days. The race for the Season Title is just as close as we expected and it truly will take a World Cup victory to secure the Championship and be named the best professional paintball team in the world.

The venue is nothing short of spectacular, and has offered one of the largest outdoor trade shows in the sports world. With vendors from all over the United States offering the newest gear, unveiling surprise products, and providing entertainment for fans and players alike. Dye released multiple new products that have been a hit thus far; the i4 Pro Mask and the Dye Ultralite autococker. HK Army surprised everyone when they had a surprise premiere of their newest marker, a private label, HK milled Shocker AMP that was well received. Visitors at the show were also giving rave reviews on the newest Infamous Paintball gear bags that were debuted by Travis Lemanski and his team.

On the Pro Field:

Photo by Michael Candelaria, MCPhotography19 | NXL Media

In the first bracket, Edmonton Impact has been focused after a less than ideal finish in Chicago, posting a 3-0 record through two days of play and only dropping a single point behind a +18 margin. They will face a critical matchup tomorrow versus a surging Tampa Bay Damage program that is also undefeated through 3 matches. The head to head battle should have heavy Sunday implications for both programs. After a Cinderella event in Chicago, LVL has been pulled back to reality; it’s very hard to win in the pro division. They beat NRG and lost a close match in overtime to Damage to sit at 1-2. They will need to beat Thunder tomorrow for a chance at the playoffs. Thunder and NRG dropped all their games and are currently winless.

Photo by Michael Candelaria, MCPhotography19 | NXL Media

Bracket two saw the Moscow Red Legion lineup looking aggressive and energetic. After a tough season so far where they underperformed, they came into the World Cup and are undefeated through three games. After a convincing win over Revo, they face their biggest test tomorrow against the 2-1 Los Angeles Infamous program that has the Season Title within their grasp. DMG has a match win against TMG and lost a close game to Infamous as they fight to avoid relegation. They will need another win tomorrow to guarantee their safety. The Outlaws dropped all three games and sit at 0-3.

Photo by Michael Candelaria, MCPhotography19 | NXL Media

San Diego Dynasty continues their elite play this season in the third bracket and are sitting at 3-0 through the first days of play. They also welcomed back all-time great snake player, Brandon Short, to the lineup and fans were ecstatic to see the Dynasty legend back on the field. However, they are currently tied for the division lead with local rival, San Diego Aftermath, who also has earned three wins behind methodical play and strong coaching from Jerry Van Cleve and Mike Hinman. They will meet each other tomorrow, with the winner likely earning a crucial bye going into the Sunday playoffs and it should be one of the key matches to watch on Saturday. The Ironmen have had a tough event and are sitting at 1-2. They have lost both their matches by one point margins and look to secure a win against an 0-2 ac Diesel program that is struggling. Ac Dallas is sitting at 0-3, and if they can’t get a win against Diesel tomorrow, they all but guarantee their elimination from the pro division and will be relegated.

In the final bracket of the pro division, quite an interesting story is unfolding. As expected, Houston Heat continues their dominance with a 3-0 record through the first two days. Tyler Harmon is making a strong case as the event MVP and looks elite. Heat has now won 7 straight prelim matches over the last two events with the best margin of any team during that stretch. The MLKings, after facing a high chance of relegation, have come into the World Cup and played inspired paintball so far. Sitting at 2-1 with a chance to make Sunday with a win over NYX tomorrow, Charlie and the rest of the MLKings roster has to feel a bit of relief after fighting back relegation and saving their pro spot. NYX continues their underwhelming play and are winless thus far. They face off against the MLKings and Uprising tomorrow, and will need to win both to have any chance at making the playoffs on Sunday. Uprising saw the welcomed return of Alex Gray and have been playing well, but they came up short and sit at 0-3 on the weekend and will need ac Dallas to lose tomorrow to be safe from relegation.

Likely Secure a Spot in Sunday’s Playoffs:

-Edmonton Impact

- Tampa Bay Damage

- Moscow Red Legion

- San Diego Dynasty

- San Diego Aftermath

- Houston Heat

On the bubble:

- Columbus LVL

- Los Angeles Infamous

- Sacramento DMG

- Baltimore Revo

- Los Angeles Ironmen

- MLKings

- San Antonio XFactor

- ac Diesel

Likely eliminated from contention:

- Seattle Thunder

- NRG Elite

- Trademygun Outlaws

- ac Dallas

- New York Xtreme

- Seattle Uprising

Photo by Brian Wolfe, Verbhal Photo PB | NXL Media

Photo by Gary Baum, | NXL Media

Throughout the first two days, a few players have really stood out and are making strong cases to win the event MVP. Tyler Harmon has been incredibly versatile for Houston Heat and he has won multiple 1v1 and 1v2s so far to keep his team on top. Cody Mickowski has also shined so far for Los Angeles Infamous; he has been critical off-the-break, and his level of skill in closing games is near unmatched. He has been one of the most important players all season for LA and is having a great event so far. The final player that has really stuck out in prelims has been Dany Schonauer of Columbus LVL. He has been arguably the best snake player on the field at this event and his ability to consistently make the snake and apply pressure through aggressive play has been key for LVL as they fight for Sunday spot.

Photo by Michael Candelaria, MCPhotography19 | NXL Media

The third day of prelims should continue to provide the incredible technical and strategic play we have seen thus far and with a dozen plus teams all still in the running to make Sunday it should bring an exciting end to the season. Fans can see all the action live on all Saturday long as the best professional paintball teams in the world battle for the World Cup of Paintball in Kissimmee, Florida.

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