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A Grasp for Glory : Four Teams Fight for Pro Paintball World Title

Photo Credit : Rob Moore, Iconic Paintball

Written by Quinn Nadu, Iconic PB |

Throughout the near decade of the NXL Pro Division, there has never been a race for the title that has been this close. Four teams are in contention for taking home the most coveted award in all of paintball, the National Xball League Season Title, and with it, the right to claim the throne as the best paintball team in the world. Since the inception of the NXL in 2015, the Season Title has been mostly dominated by Edmonton Impact. But, as the league continues to evolve, the pressure on one of the best teams of all time has grown. Will they be able to fend off three incredibly talented teams in San Diego Dynasty, Los Angeles Infamous, and Houston Heat, and claim their 4th season title in 7 seasons, or will there be a new team entering the discussion as the greatest team of the modern Xball era?

Photo Credit : Rob Moore, Iconic Paintball

Edmonton Impact (Season Rank : 1)
Total Season Points: 490

If consistency is the measure of greatness, then Impact may be the greatest team to ever play in the modern NXL. Every season since 2015 they have been able to play at an elite level. With a staggering 11 event wins in 28 events played they have won nearly 40% of all professional paintball events over the last 7 seasons. They come into the 2021 World Cup facing, arguably, some of the most adversity they have seen in years. Although they sit in first overall, they are coming off a poor performance at the Windy City Major that saw them post a 2-2 prelim record, and then limp into a wild card round loss against a surging Baltimore Revo. For the first time in awhile, Impact looks beatable. Will they be able to respond to a bad showing in Chicago and prove once again that the true king of paintball resides in the North?

How they win it all:

With a 10 point lead over season rival, Infamous, Edmonton can come into the World Cup and guarantee a season title in the most simple way; win it all. A first place win guarantees Impact yet another season championship to add to the wall and would solidify their position as the best paintball team in the modern era. Essentially, as long as they are able to finish at least one spot ahead of Infamous, two spots ahead of Dynasty, and ensure Heat doesn't place higher than 6th place, then the title is theirs for the taking. However, if Impact finishes outside the top four, then their chance of winning the title drops significantly. Their path to victory lies in the hands of superstars Alex Goldman and Justin Rabackoff; if they play at the level they are capable of, the path for Impact becomes much easier. Will the veterans shine?

Photo Credit : Rob Moore, Iconic Paintball

Los Angeles Infamous (Season Rank : 2)
Total Season Points: 480

Los Angeles has been playing their trademark brand of ultra-aggressive paintball all season long, and during a year where layouts have favored that style, they have thrived. The emergence of Harrison Frye as an elite player has been huge for the Skeleton Squad this season. Combined with the skilled veteran attackers Thomas "Troll" Taylor, Greg Siewers, and arguably the best back player duo in paintball of Cody Mickowski and Kevin "Kali" Rudulph, this team has been brutalizing opponents all season. They were one mistake away from an event win in Florida, and after falling just short again in Chicago with a third place finish, this squad is more motivated than ever for a win on the biggest stage in paintball. Infamous comes into the World Cup facing a layout that is nearly perfect for their style, and they should easily make a deep run into Sunday.

How they win it all :

Infamous finds themselves in a storybook scenario going into the last event of the season. They are a mere 10 points out of first place and they have full control of their own destiny. They can close the story on the 2021 season as Season Champions with a World Cup victory, plain and simple. Regardless of who they face in a potential finals matchup, a win would earn them 13 more points than any other team, guaranteeing them a title. In a scenario where they do not make finals, Infamous would need Impact to finish lower than them in the standings, while also ensuring that Dynasty doesn’t win the World Cup final. Whichever way you look at it, Infamous has one of the best chances to win and their consistent play this year bodes well for their odds. However, they have shown to be mistake prone this year when the spotlight has been brightest, do they have the tenacity to claim the title of the best team in paintball?

Photo Credit : Rob Moore, Iconic Paintball

San Diego Dynasty (Current Rank : 3)
Current Season Points : 477

If there was ever a time to peak in the NXL season, it’s right now. Dynasty is firing on all cylinders after an elite MVP performance by Alex Fraige in Chicago on their way to an event win. It has been said multiple times this season and it's been true to every extent; Dynasty is the elite defensive team in the professional league. The Blue Wall backline of Marcello, Yosh, and Ryan continues to be unbreakable, and with the emergence of Mike Urena, combined with elite play from Blake Yarder, Alex Fraige, and Dalton Vanderbyl, this team is versatile and complete. They topped the power rankings for a reason, they are excelling and outperforming the rest of the elite NXL teams in almost every way. They are just 13 points out of first place and the title is in their reach. Dynasty can continue to add to their own untouchable record if they win the title, which would mark their 18th season championship as a professional team.

How they win it all :

Dynasty, while very close in the race, is in quite an interesting position. If they are able to win the World Cup, they can outright win the World Title. If they end up facing Impact in the final match, a win would give them the narrowest point margin for the season race; one point. A World Cup repeat win would give Dynasty a total season score of 677, and a second place finish for Impact would give them a total of 676. This could make the final event incredibly interesting if the two meetup on the final match of the day Sunday. Dynasty is controlling their own ship at this point, and can still outright take the title on their own terms. The Dragon has been unleashed, will any other team be able to contain it?

Photo Credit : Rob Moore, Iconic Paintball

Houston Heat (Current Rank : 4)
Current Season Points : 446

Of the four teams in contention for the Season Title, Houston Heat faces the biggest battle to take it all. However, it would be foolish to count out this team, especially at the World Cup. Historically, Heat has been elite when it comes to the final event of the season and they always rise to the occasion. Houston has managed to win two of the last three World Cups, and that was after not having top level seasons throughout 2018 and 2019, with only a single event win outside of the World Cup nets during that two year stretch. This team, quite simply, has a level of poise on the World Cup stage that is hard to overcome for many pro teams. This team is full of savvy veterans with the singular drive of first place, or nothing.

How they win it all :

To start, their uphill climb for the Season Title will absolutely need to start with a World Cup victory. That would earn them 200 points and place them at 646 points overall. This would mean that in order to guarantee a Season Championship, Edmonton Impact would need to place 5th or worse in the final event. In addition, Heat would also need both Dynasty and Infamous to place 4th or worse. If they can manage to achieve this, they will take home the Season Title.

In the event that even one of the other three teams in the race places third or higher, Heat has no path to a Season Championship and their hope ends there, even with a World Cup win. While they have the toughest path of the four teams, the above scenario certainly isn’t out of reach considering Impact, Dynasty, and Infamous have all placed outside of the top eight at least once this season.

Watch it all unfold on the battlefield of Kissimmee.

For the first time in years, the season title race is incredibly close. Four teams will fight it out on the World Cup fields in Kissimmee, Florida for a chance to claim the title as the best professional team in paintball. Fans have a chance to watch every second unfold live on or can experience it all in person from November 11th to November 14th at Kissimmee Sports. Don’t miss a moment of the action, as this World Cup will be one to remember!


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