In this edition of ‘Field Notes’ we are going to cover some hot topics from the 2020 NXL Las Vegas Open, the first National X-Ball League event of the 2020 season.
Let’s start off with the biggest news of the event. Los Angeles Ironmen win their first event in over 10 years! It has been a long long time and there are some pretty incredible stories within this story. Lets dive in.
I think it is fair to say the Los Angeles Ironmen have had a rough decade of paintball. Considering the prestigious history and the Factory Sponsorship backing of Dye Precision, the team has really underperformed. The team has been able to pick up top level players and coach Todd Martinez is never shy when it comes to going after the players he wants. Even with all this, they have just not been able to put it all together on the field. The last event the Ironmen won was the 2009 PSP Mid-Atlantic Open. Since then the teams highest finish was 2nd Place at the 2018 NXL Chicago Open, and 3rd place at the 2012 PSP Phoenix Open. The team made it to Sunday 3 out of 5 events last season but only made it past the Wild Card round 1 time. So it isn’t that the team hasn’t had chances to make a deep run, but more so they just couldn’t put together a strong enough showing when it came to the stronger teams and matchups.
Nick Slowiak, formally of X-Factor, was released in the 2019 off-season. Looking for a team Todd Martinez pick up is fellow Go Sports co-host and signed him to the Ironmen. Ironically, the Ironmen squared up in the prelims against X-Factor and defeated them 7-4. I personally did not watch this match but I heard Nick actually won a 1 on 1 vs Archie Montemayor, X-Factors arguably best player and the leagues 2019 seasons top killer. It gets even better for Nick and his redemption tour thought. The Iornmen end up running into X-Factor AGAIN on Sunday. The Los Angeles Ironmen sent X-Factor home defeating them 8-6.
The 2020 NXL Las Vegas Open’s Top Killer and event MVP, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez finishes the event with 55 Kills, 66 Points Played with a .833 KP Ratio. (Stats provided by myfanwagon.com.) Alex announced after this tournament that he was actually contemplating retiring from the US League this season and only playing in the European League. He said on his social media, “ I was very close to semi retiring this season and only competing in NXL Europe. I’m really glad I didn’t. What a weekend. I can’t articulate this feeling but I am so happy to be apart of this team and thankful to have the support system and opportunities that I do.” I think it is safe to say that A-Rod made the right decision! After 16 events with the Iornmen, 19 events and 2 wins with Dynasty, A-rod was able to get his 3rd Career win and first win with Ironmen.
Speaking of wins. This will blow your mind. The Iornmen had 7 players out of a 9 man roster get their FIRST Pro Win.
Players to get their 1st Pro Win:
Avelino Fernandez III
Carlos Cortes Jr.
John “LJ” Parrish
I would like to congratulate the Los Angeles Iornmen on their Win. It has been proven that winning in this league is very difficult and something that is forgotten pretty quick. There have only been a handful of teams that have won in the NXL.
Los Angeles Infamous
Moscow Red Legion
San Diego Dynasty
San Antonio X-Factor
Los Angeles Ironmen
Field Notes: Rookie Pro Teams
NRG Elite: I didn’t get to watch this team play much but it is worth noting that they did get a Win vs the MLKings in their first match as a Pro Team. That right there is already saying a lot considering the Kings have already playing in the NXL Pro Division for 2 seasons. What does this mean? Well it means that the MLKings were in the bottom 2 the last 2 seasons and got beat by a new Pro team, does that mean a semi pro team right now could beat them? Is this really a big win or was it really a toss up match to begin with? I think the real measurements can be taken by their 6-0 lose to Thunder and their 7-1 lose to Moscow Red Legion.
Colombus LVL: Went blow for blow with SD Aftermath taking the win 10-8 and also took us, Infamous, to overtime but losing. Because they were in our bracket I was able to watch them much closer and I have to say that if these guys continue to play aggressive and have a sort term memory when it comes to the bad points / matches, they will be able to knock some teams off this season.
Field Notes: Pro Field Layout
The layout turned out to be a lot of fun. You could attach any side really. There were numerous points under 30 seconds. There were more points this event played than any I can really think of. Some matches were near or close to 20 points played total and even cause the days to run so long that matches were being played into the dark! Yes, too dark to even play in fact. Some of the Saturdays matches had to be played Sunday morning.
Field Notes: Weather
The weather turned out to be a pretty big factor and not the usual weather issues we find at paintball events. There was no rain, and actually such dry air that is made the paintballs super super brittle. Couple that with the early start times and chilly desert mornings you had a recipe for the most brittle paint in seasons. Look I am not going to sit here and complain that paint was too brittle because the reality is you can ask almost any paintball player competing in the NXL and they will tell you, “give me the most brittle paint on the truck.” EVERY TIME! I would take barrel breaks over bounces on players any day of the week. Did we break paint, Yes. Is that why we lost, No. If that is the excuse you want to make, that is on you. Other than that the Las Vegas event weather was as advertised.
Field Notes: Paintball Products
Bunkerkings: Infamous used the new Bunkerkings CTRL Loader for the first time in an event setting. Some of the things we really like about the loader was how easy it was to take apart and put back together even durning points. This happened a few times when our front guys would dive too hard and have broken paint inside the loader. We also loved the fact that you could just take it out of your bag, put it on you gun and it worked every time without question. The low profile is also a huge plus.
Infamous Paintball: Infamous played in the new Wolf Grey Sicario Jogger Pants. We definitely broke out of the normal black pant category and we felt our look really set us apart. BUY HERE
1st Phorm: Infamous was proud to announce that we picked up an new sponsorship outside of the paintball industry and we are really excited about it. 1st Phorm makes amazing health and wellness supplements that are perfect for any type of paintball player. Check them out by clicking here: www.1stphorm.com/infamouspaintball
Paintball Jerseys: Every season, heck every event team come out with New Jersey designs and styles. Out of all the jerseys and styles I saw I am going to give you 1 I loved and 1 I didn’t. The team jersey I loved, besides Infamous’s of course, would have to be the Iornmen. I really liked the classic look they went for but my favorite part had to be the usage of lines on the forearms. I thought it really stood out in a good way. My runner up would have to have been the San Antonio X-Factor “Home” Jerseys. The color really popped on the field and the professional clean look I really liked. The teams jerseys that I didn’t love would have to be Baltimore Revo’s “away” jersey. It was really just the color that I couldn’t wrap my head around. It was like a skin tone color. I just wasn’t feeling it… like at all.
Planet Eclipse: There was a custom team edition Planet Eclipse LV 1.6 sight at the event. Annapolis A-Team took the field rocking there custom LV 1.6
Field Notes: Top Killer from myfanwagon.com
NXL Las Vegas Open’s top 10 Killers
1: Alex Rodriguez | 55 Kills | Los Angeles Ironmen
2: Kirill Prikhidni | 45 Kills | Moscow Red Legion
3: John Parrish | 44 Kills | Los Angeles Ironmen
4: Alexander Berdnikov | 42 Kills | Moscow Red Legion
5: Nicholas Slowiak | 39 Kills | Los Angeles Ironmen
6: Pavel Karsliev | 36 Kills | Moscow Red Legion
7: Stephen Omara | 34 Kills | Baltimore Revo
8: Mike Zuppa | 34 Kills | Baltimore Revo
9: Alex Goldman | 34 Kills | Edmonton Impact
10: Justin Rabackoff | 34 Kills | Edmonton Impact
Field Notes: After the Pro bracket draw for the NXL Austin 2020 event held in Austin Texas... first thing that stood out to me was AC Dallas having to play AC Diesel!