This year’s PSP Chicago Open featured 130-plus paintball teams and players from all around the US and a handful from abroad. Up for grabs at this event were tens of thousands of dollars in prizes, trophies and medals as well as one fifth of the league’s series ranking points—and of course a chance to show the world what your team is made of through the PSP’s excellent live webcast.
Coming into the event it was Houston Heat ranked first overall in the professional division with first and second place finishes so far in the league’s first two events of 2012. Not bad for the team’s first season, although their roster is stacked with many seasoned pros. Tampa Bay Damage came into Chicago with a first place win and a seventh place showing in Phoenix. Moscow Red Legion had second and seventh place finishes coming into the windy city. The LA Ironmen and LA Infamous both finished in the top six of the previous two PSP events.
The Professional Division
As is always the case, the pros play a RaceTo 7 format in the PSP, meaning the first team to seven points (or if time expires) wins the game/match. If the spectators that were there for Moscow Red Legion’s first game versus Dynasty had any doubts about the Legion’s chances of competing for the Chicago Open title, they were quickly erased. The Red Legion, in almost unheard of fashion, shutout Dynasty 7-0. Moscow Red Legion also had a final preliminary round 7-0 shutout against Seattle Thunder, creating the perfect bookend games for a perfect 4-0 preliminary round for the boys from Russia. Houston Heat also shutout their first opponent 7-0 and their second as well. Their only preliminary round loss came to Dynasty, who was still ticked at their loss to the Russians. Seattle Thunder, Omaha Vicious and Chicago Aftershock each had three or more preliminary round losses in four games and all would be finished at this point.
In the other side of the pro bracket it was LA Infamous putting up four straight wins. Their only truly tough game came against their Los Angeles peers the LA Ironmen. After losing their opening game to Infamous, Tampa Bay Damage won their next three games, easily advancing to the next round. And with just two wins in four attempts, the LA Ironmen also advanced. San Antonio X-Factor, Upton 187 Crew and Chattanooga CEP were finished after just four games.
The pro quarterfinals saw Dynasty and the Ironmen squaring off for the right to advance to play the higher seeded Infamous. Although Dynasty looked sharp after their opening game loss to the Red Legion earlier, they didn’t have enough left in the tank to beat the Ironmen, losing 5-4. In an equally tough matchup it was Tampa Bay Damage just getting by Houston Heat 6-5. Next up it was Damage and the Ironmen getting ready to step up against two teams with only one loss between them going into the semifinals.
LA Infamous continued on their roll in the semifinals taking out the LA Ironmen with an easy 4-1 victory. Moscow Red Legion had a much more difficult matchup versus a very strong Tampa Bay Damage. The game came down to the wire as the Red Legion was able to pull off the win in a low-scoring 3-2 game.
So the finals were set. It would be an undefeated LA Infamous versus Moscow Red Legion with only one preliminary round loss. It was clear this weekend that the best two teams in this tournament were squaring off for a shot at first place. This wasn’t a case of a team barely making the quarterfinals then getting hot. These two teams looked the part all weekend long. For anyone that was at this event or watched the live feed, you know this was a brutally tough game. Both teams battled for ground off the break and both teams battled to push the other back. Points were long and hard to come by but when it mattered, as the clock wore down, LA Infamous was up by a point. Congrats to Infamous for their 4-3 hard-fought victory in the PSP Chicago Open pro division.
Division One had a nice mix of well-established tournament names in teams like Static, Texas Storm, RNT All Stars, Avalanche and the New Jersey Jesters—and some very strong relatively new teams, established in the last 4-5 years—teams like Grad Moscow, San Diego Pirates, Fuzion and Reckless. From square one there were three teams that looked like they were ready to battle—Texas Storm, Grad Moscow and Fuzion, each of whom won all of the preliminary round games. Wolfpack was the only other team with at least three prelim wins, with their only loss coming to Fuzion. The rest of the pack had two wins in four games or less. Of that group Mayhem, CPX Distortion, and Topgun Union would make the cut.
In the quarterfinals Top Gun Union, a very strong team that played less than stellar in the prelims, would surprise many by beating the undefeated Fuzion, sending them home earlier than they hoped for. RNT All Stars beat Wolfpack 4-0, and Texas Storm and Grad Moscow each won 5-1 games to move onto the semifinals. In the next round Grad Moscow put a beat-down on Topgun Union 5-0. RNT All Stars pulled out a very hard-fought win against the previously undefeated Texas Storm 4-3. This set up a final round matchup of Grad Moscow versus RNT All Stars.
Grad Moscow, many people’s pick for the next great team to hit the pro division, came out fast and furious. Their speed and aggressive play pushed back RNT All Stars point after point and in the end it would be an easy 4-1 victory for Grad Moscow. Topgun Union beat Texas Storm in the consolation game 2-1 to claim third place.
In Division Two Revo came in red hot with a first place finish in Phoenix and a second place finish in Galveston Island. So when Revo went 4-0 in the preliminary rounds no one was shocked, even though they were the only undefeated team in the prelims. Scottsdale Elevation came into this event ranked second in Division Two and as this game would have it, their only preliminary round loss was to Revo in Chicago. In the quarterfinals it was the fourth ranked Boom beating Collision 4-3 and the third ranked AC402.com crushing the NCPA All Stars 5-0.
Scottsdale Elevation, the league’s second ranked Division Two team then leveled Boom 5-0 in the semifinals. AC402.com then surprised Boom 3-2. In the finals it was AC402.com again playing some great close-game ball, beating a really strong Scottsdale Elevation 4-3 to take first place. Boom speed-bumped Revo to win the consolation game.
In Division Three Revo II came to play, winning all of their preliminary round games and never looking back. They beat DSSP8ntball in the quarterfinals, then sent Palm Beach Venom packing in the semifinals and lastly the Colorado Villains in the finals to take first place with a perfect 7-0 record for the tournament.
Once again the PSP, the teams, the vendors and sponsors put on quite a show in Chicago. Don’t forget the PSP New Jersey event has been moved to Maryland. For more info on this and the PSP in general, logo onto PSPEvents.com. Check out PaintballAccess.com for video of many of the event’s games. See you in New Jersey.