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The Golden State Open Event Preview, NXL Title Race Heating Up!

Article written in partnership with Iconic Paintball, Quinn Nadu

Photo courtesy of PaintballPhotography.com


As we are now officially at the halfway point of the 2022 NXL Paintball season, the pro points race is heating up. In what has been one of the most exciting seasons in recent memory, the addition of the Open events and with them, blind layouts, has created a new dimension for players and fans of the sport. Thus far the story of the season has been Dynasty, who has been utterly dominant on the major professional event stage, however at the last open event they missed Sunday for the first time in nearly a decade and watched Tampa Bay Damage take home the gold.


In less than a week the top professional paintball teams in the World will compete in the next stage of the NXL season at the Golden State Open in Sacramento, California. The weight of the season points standings sit upon the top of the division with teams like Dynasty, Impact, Heat, and Damage, but closely behind franchises like Revo and X-Factor are looking to dethrone the division's kings. A victory at the Golden State Open means an automatic qualifier to the Champions Cup, and inches forward a franchises chance at the biggest prize in paintball.



Capital Edge Paintball Park plays host to NXL


Photo courtesy of Bangarang Photography PDX | NXL Media


Often lauded as one of the nation's most diverse and immersive paintball facilities, Capital Edge features three fully turfed airball fields and industry-leading staging areas for competitive paintball players. Owned and managed by the legendary paintball player and coach, Dave Bains, Capital Edge has built a strong reputation as a player-first paintball field focused on providing tournament and recreational players lifelong memories.


Capital Edge has been a long-time partner with major paintball leagues and was introduced as a partner field with the NXL last season, a decision that was praised by players stretching across the country. The experience and atmosphere created at Capital Edge has helped train and develop some of the sport's top players and continues to cultivate top-level and safe paintball.


Returning as a concept to the NXL for the second time this season, the field layout will once again be a blind layout, meaning that players will not know how the bunkers on the field will be arranged until they arrive at the facility. This fosters a style of play that rewards high paintball-IQ, creativity on the field, and discipline in play.



Top Pro Teams To Watch Out For:


San Diego Dynasty

Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Player to Watch: Ryan Greenspan


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Over the last two seasons of play, the NXL has been completely dominated by San Diego Dynasty; five event wins, back to back World Cup titles, and a 4 event major win streak dating back to last season. Put simply, this is the best professional paintball team the World has ever seen. Led by veteran star player Ryan Greenspan, Dynasty brings a diverse and talented roster that has a level of depth matched only by Edmonton Impact. They can beat teams at all levels of the field and all depths of their roster. The addition of Archie Montemayor to the starting core of this team alongside Greenspan, 2021 Player of the Year Marcello Margott, Dalton Vanderbyl, and Blake Yarber has been kismet. On a blind layout, and with a large chip on their shoulder after missing the Sunday playoffs at the last Open event in Texas, Ryan Greenspan is the player to watch. His situational experience and closing ability on the field is elite, a great asset to have on a layout where no true gameplans will be established. Look for Ryan to wreak havoc from his anchor position in the middle of the field.


Houston Heat

Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Player to Watch: Chad George

Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Houston Heat has had a permanent seat at the top of the professional paintball world for nearly a decade, and this season is no different. After a finals loss to Dynasty at the Mid Atlantic Major, this is a program that will be hungry for success coming into the Golden State Open. Led by a charismatic head coach, Todd Martinez, and anchored on the field by arguably the best player in the world, Tyler Harmon, Heat is poised to finish the season with a surge just like they always do. Chad George continues to play at an elite level more than a decade into his career; his level of patience and precise timing in the snake will be fun to watch on this blind layout. While many snake players in the modern day have moved to a style built around high levels of aggression, Chad is a precision weapon in the snake and is a threat to eliminate an entire team at any moment. Teams struggled to slow him down at the Lone Star Open on a tight layout and if Chad can consistently find his way into the snake again, he will be a can't-miss player to watch all weekend. Winning this event will be critical in pushing Heat into the season title conversation, as they currently trail Dynasty by just five points in the rankings.


Edmonton Impact


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Player to Watch: Justin Rabackoff


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Edmonton Impact started the season with some uncertainty, but as always team owner Bart Yachimec and Head Coach Dave Bains showed why they are one of the paintball worlds best front offices. After building an offensive focused team centered around Brandon Cornell, Axel Gaudin, Mike Zuppa, and Nick Levial, Impact saw longtime star players Alex Goldman and Justin Rabackoff return to the team after departing the Saints mid-season. Since their return, this team has rapidly became one of the deepest team in the NXL. Currently sitting in 4th place overall, Impact is making a serious case as a season title contender. Justin Rabackoff is the player to watch for this franchise; his versatility at all levels of the field is nearly unmatched in the NXL and his ability to close out games and win low-body situations will be critical on a blind layout. And, with Impact seemingly finding their pacing with this roster and falling into a hybrid style across multiple lines, they will be very difficult to scout the remainder of the season.



Dark Horse Team that may just win it all: San Antonio X-Factor


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Player to Watch: Billy Bernacchia and LJ Parrish


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


San Antonio started the 2022 season struggling to make Sunday with a rebuilt roster after the departure of longtime star Archie Montemayor in the off-season. After placing 16th in the season opener and 9th at the Lone Star Open, the paintball world was shocked that one of its pillars was starting to showing cracks. However, at the Mid Atlantic Major, with a short handed roster decimated by injuries, X-Factor played lights out on their way to a fourth place finish. Billy Bernacchia and LJ Parrish were a big piece of that success in Philly and will undoubtedly be must-watch players at this event. Both players are some of the league's most athletic and aggressive offensive threats. After winning the 2021 Snake Player of the Year, Bernacchia is looking to continue his dominance at the position, and another deep Sunday run will further cement his status as the league's elite snake player.



The Expert’s Pick:


“While Dynasty has been playing at an elite level for the better part of two seasons, their struggles that surfaced at the last blind layout event raises some concerns. While I am never one to bet against Dynasty, Edmonton Impact is my pick to win this event. Justin Rabackoff and Alex Goldman have elite levels of poise and patience on the field, and with the aggressive offensive style of Justin Cornell, Brandon Cornell, and Axel Gaudin, my gut says Impact wins this one narrowly over Dynasty in the finals.”


Final score prediction: Impact over Dynasty 5 to 3.


Photo courtesy of MCPhotography19 | NXL Media


Vendor Spotlight, Dye Paintball



There is some serious hype building around Dye Paintball right now; leaked photos and videos of a brand new mechanical frame for their popular DSR marker platform have surfaced over the last few months and players all over the world are anxiously waiting for its release. But that is not all, behind some of the best machining in the industry, Dye has been dropping tons of exclusive products in their Dye Lab led by the innovative Billy Wing.


As one of the sports oldest companies, Dye has been producing elite level equipment for tournament and recreational paintball players since the 1980’s and has never compromised their legendary quality standards. Owner Dave Youngblood has been a critical pillar in the tournament paintball community for nearly 40 years and his commitment and passion for the sport has been a driving factor in the modern professional paintball renaissance. As always, Dye will have their massive booth setup on site at the event with all the newest and most exclusive gear out.



Heavy Implications on the Season Title emerging in the Golden State


Fans and players can tune into the event all weekend long from August 5th - 7th on GoSports.com to watch the live stream coverage of every game on the pro field. The event can also be viewed in person from the grandstands for free, or from the VIP stands at Capital Edge Paintball Park. With the blind layout, this is sure to be an event that will keep fans on their edge of their seat, and showcase the high levels of creativity and elite skill in the pro ranks of the NXL.




#NXLGoldenStateOpen2022 | NXLPaintball.com


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