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Tuesday, 04 December 2012 00:00

NPPL Las Vegas World Championships

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Season finales are always bitter-sweet. The last events of the PSP, NPPL or Millennium Series are always the best attended of the year with the most on the line—and they are the events that decide which teams win the series rankings titles. It’s also the last get-together for much of the industry and many of the teams and players. And of course the season finales also bring home the reality that the cold winter months are coming in much of the country.

This fourth and last event of the NPPL series for 2012 brought together 76 seven-man teams and five pump teams. In the Pro divisions four teams had a legit shot at winning the title coming into this event—Dynasty, XSV, Infamous and Tampa Bay Damage. Arsenal, Chicago Legend and San Antonio X-Factor were mathematically alive in the title race but it would take a near miracle for one of those three to pull it off.

Coming into this event Division One (RACE) was a two horse race with the Camp Pendleton Raiders and Texas Storm running away with the division early. In Division Two seven-man the race for the title was down to three teams pre Vegas with Arsenal Kidz, Camp Pendleton Raiders 2 and High Octane all having a shot. Division Three seven-man came down to only the Sacramento Royals and Damage Inc. realistically having a title shot. Division Four seven-man had three teams that separated themselves from the rest—CEPP DMG, West Coast Sharks and Farside Kids.

Onto the Games…

The Pro bracket was broken down into three, five-team divisions for the preliminary rounds where each team would play the other one time—round robin style. Sacramento XSV continued their impressive play this season coming out and winning all four of their first round games. Tampa Bay Damage, DC Arsenal, Chicago Legend, San Diego Dynasty, Vancouver Vendetta and Edmonton Impact each won three games in the first round of play. And Los Angeles Infamous rounded out the Elite Eight teams moving to round two, squeaking by with just two wins.

In the Elite Eight XSV took out Infamous, Legend beat Arsenal, Dynasty sent Vendetta home early and Edmonton Impact beat Tampa Damage ending their season earlier than any other NPPL event in 2012.

The pro Final Four saw XSV, who were playing well, going head to head against Chicago Legend. From this writer’s perspective it seemed like call after call went XSV’s way to the point that I’m really not sure who would have won the game had the reffing been fair. That said, XSV moved on to play the winner of the Dynasty versus Impact match.

In the Pro finals first up was Impact versus Legend playing the game that would determine third and fourth places—and this one was dominated by Impact from start to finish. The game ended 4-1 for Impact who played conservative but solid as Legend looked very tired.

On this Sunday Dynasty had been playing as well as anyone—or better than anyone maybe. So this would be it, Dynasty versus XSV for first place with a division title on the line and the grandstands packed. With the game tied at 1-1 Oliver Lang crossed the 50 putting pressure on XSV while teammates moved up in the snake and the Dorito. Then Dalton made move that got half his team penalized virtually handing the game point to XSV. Wow! But wait, there is a dirty hang and no point for XSV, 1-1 after a very strange point. Once again Oliver made it to the center 50 off the break but XSV hangs on strong and tied the game up with around 30 seconds left in the game. The next point ends without an actual point which means there is now a three-on-three matchup to decide the entire tournament in the Pro division.

The overtime three-on-three XSV loses one on the break, then Dalton of Dynasty goes out. Thomas Taylor mutual one in the snake and seconds later Marcello of Dynasty takes out Reilly of XSV to win the game and the Pro division.

Interesting note: Houston Heat, one of the top teams on the PSP Pro circuit did not win a single game in Las Vegas. Different format, different result. Also, new team to the Pro circuit, Phoenix Contact also lost all of their preliminary round games in Vegas.

Two Division One teams crushed it right out of the gate with four straight wins—Texas Storm and the Camp Pendleton Raiders, no surprise for anyone paying attention to the NPPL in 2012.  Dynasty II, Joint Force, Aggressive Factory, TCP Machine, Impact Echo an KC Elite all joined Texas Storm and CP Raiders in the Elite Eight round.

In the Elite Eight it was the Camp Pendleton Raiders, Texas Storm, TCP Machine and Joint Force each winning their matchups and moving onto to the Final Four. Nice showing by Joint Force but the story here is the other three teams in the finals just keep doing it big. It wouldn’t be a Division One Final Four without Texas Storm, CPP Raiders and TCP Machine.

In the Division One Final Four TCP Machine knocked off the CP Raiders and Texas Storm beat Joint Force This set up a showdown between TCP Machine and Texas Storm for first place. TCP Machine quickly went up 1-0 over Texas Storm. The second point saw TCP Machine completely control the field, sending two into the right standup can, then up the field and into the snake. For some unexplained reason with TCP up 6 bodies to two Texas Storm refused to concede the point as precious minutes ticked off the clock. Finally after Storm wasted two-plus minutes TCP Machine took a 2-0 lead. The next breakout and moves were much more aggressive for Texas Storm, easily taking out TCP Machine and making the game 2-1. With four minutes to go Storm again came out strong, tying the game at 2 with two minutes to go. But the comeback was thwarted as TCP Machine took the last point giving them a 3-2 win and the Division One first place finish. The Camp Pendleton Raiders beat Joint Force to take third place.

Nine teams entered Division Two with eight moving onto the second round of play. Unfortunately for them, the Camp Pendleton Raiders II were the ones missing the party. In the Final Four it was High Octane taking two straight games from Tombstone and Arsenal Kidz winning one and drawing two against Max’d Kidz to advance. The consolation game between Tombstone and Max’d Kidz was won by Max’d Kidz in two straight. In the Division Two Championship matchup Arsenal Kidz came up big again, as they often have. This time they took two straight versus High Octane for the win.

Of the 22 teams that entered Division Three in Vegas it was only Good For Nothing and Damage Inc. that seven of their eight preliminary round games. Sacrament Royals, Division Three’s leading team struggled a bit in the preliminary rounds losing three of their first four games—but they bounced back strong with four straight wins.

Damage Inc. continued their winning in the Elite Eight round with straight wins against Centermass Hawaii. Good For nothing however, lost two straight to the surging Sacramento Royals. Tropic Hawaii took two from Swampdonkeys Army and Avalanche DC easily handled DC Onslaught. Jumping ahead to the finals Avalanche D3 took it to the Sacramento Royals, winning two and drawing one for the first place finish. Damage Inc. took third after beating Tropix Hawaii.

In Division Four it was SPOG taking two of three from Boise State Paintball to take the Division Four title. West Coast sharks beat West Coast Nation to win the Pump-Gun category. 

Now that the NPPL’s Las Vegas World Championships are over, teams and players will turn their attention to the PSP and their World Cup coming up the end of October. And then the talks about the leagues merging will once again surface and once again most likely be just talk.

For more in the NPPL, check them out at NPPL.com.

Read 10512 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 20:44

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