This first event showed off new jerseys, new teams, new equipment and of course new skills. Several old well known teams made a comeback at this event. Teams such as Hellwood Paris, Stockholm Ignition and former DOW Warberg moved up to D1 and changed their name after a year’s absence in the Millennium Series. In addition to the old teams reappearing we saw the influx of many American players. Freestyle Moscow had support of Ironmen, Empire Venice had both Nick Slowiak and Bobby Avilas on their roster. One new American team joined the ranks of the CPL – Tampa Bay Damage or I should say GI Sportz Montreal (still Damage to all of the paintball world). Damage would receive their welcome to European paintball but not as they hopped it would turn out.
Old favorites such as Dynasty and a reformated Art Chaos Moscow returned for what would end up as a re-match from last years World Cup Disney. Due to the shear number of teams that wanted to play St Tropez, the Millennium raised the limit at the last minute adding more teams to D2 and D3. Several teams were offered a deal to move up from D2 and D1 due to the influx of new teams to the Millennium, in hopes to make more room for those who truely belonged in the lower divisions. There were 36 D2 teams and and 30 D3 teams. This year we saw the dissapperence of M5 format, most likely due to the fact of its poor preformace last year. A second team hailing from Turkey participated in St Tropez, Istanbul Noname. They are joined by Izmir Collision, a mix of Turkish and Norwegian players.
Friday morning came all too soon and it was game time. Time to show what the off season training had done for teams. Most teams played their first two pre-lim games and were done for the day. The lucky ones played in the early morning then had time to take in some sights around the south of France in the afternoon. Others who had the afternoon pools got to sleep in a bit and have more time to prepare mentally for their games and do some scouting on their opponets. Friday would see divisional play from CPL down to D2, as traditionally D3 does not start until Saturday. The Millennium Series did the draw a bit differently this year for CPL. The top 4 teams were the 1st team in each of the four pools.
After the pre-lims were over Dyansty and London Nexus ended up being the top two for their pool as Art Chaos and Breakout Spa was for theirs. TonTons and Ramstein Instinct was the top two teams in their pool and as well as GI Sportz Montreal and Paris Camp Carnage the top two in their pools giving them the right to play in the Sunday Club. GI Sportz Montreal received their ”welcome to European paintball” loss sending them home for this event. After the top 8 matches was complete we would find Dynasty, Art Chaos, TonTons and Camp Carnage left to battle it out. Dynasty sent Camp Carnage down to play for 3rd and 4th place while Art Chaos did the same to TonTons. We would find the battle for 1st and second would be a rematch from World Cup Disney 2011 between Art Chaos Moscow and San Diego Dynasty. But first TonTons would send Paris Camp Carnage down the podium to 4th place and take home 3rd place for this first event. Art Chaos Moscow would draw first blood taking the first few points before Dynasty was able to recoup and take a point, however it was not enough as Art Chaos went on to win 1st place with a 5-1 score over Dynasty.
SPL action found Hellwood Paris making their re-debut in the Millennium Series as well as newly promoted teams such as Manchester Firm and Consilium Dei Zurich. Manchester Firm did not fare well this first event in SPL and landed in 23rd place. Former D1 team Kosmos Moscow made the move into SPL and earned a spot in the top 10. Hulk Kiev also moving into SPL did exceptionally well and found themselves on the podium in 4th place. Hellwood Paris made a surprising comeback into European paintball and took 3rd place leaving Dogs D’Amour in 2nd place and Vision Marseille in 1st for this opening event.
Division 1 found two teams taking the seed points for marshalling. Copenhagen Synergy in 1st place and Instinct Gemoss Riga in 2nd place. ML Kings Prague took the 1st place podium this time around beating out newly promoted Izmir Collision. Izmir was the 1st place series champions for Division 2 in 2011. After loosing one match winning two they moved into the Sunday club to face ML Kings. Landing in 3rd place for the event was another newly promoted team RMG Bratislava. Rounding out the top five on the podium was Redball Paris in 4th place and Coyotes Moscow in 5th.
In Division 2 we found yet another oldie but goodie team returning to the Millennium Scene, Stockholm Ignition. With new blood on the squad they fired through the prelims, quarters and semi’s to find themselves on the top of the podium in 1st place. Loosing to Ignition gave London Relentless the 2nd place spot on the podium. Coming in 3rd place was a team Scorpions Milano from Italy, which only two years ago paintball was legalized. Roudning out the top five was Aggression the Hague in 4th place and Swedish team WizeGuyz AHC in 5th.
Division 3 was dominated by French teams. GFY Paris, last years D3 Champions returned for another year in D3 and brought along a second GFY team. The result would be GFY Paris would take 1st place and GFY Paris 2 taking second place. Third place would be taken by a local team Brakassees Frejus. Argonauts Hellas Athens 2 would be the only non-French team on the D3 podium taking 4th place followed by Personal Vendetta, another French team, in 5th place.
Overall the event was a success. We now look forward to Bitburg in six weeks and the Women’s Cup that will be held as an side event. Rumour has it that this year there will be more than five teams participating in the women’s event.