Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Post PSP Jersey Open Report

Yes, we're thrilled with the win in Jersey. The guys played great (for the most part) and we now have the rest of the season to live up to our standards. Thanks too to all the well wishers. Now to the rest of the story.
The venue was somewhere in north/central New Jersey and continued the by now well established pattern of hiding major league tournament paintball in plain site, er, sight. There was a giant Howdy Doody-looking figure out front but nary a sign for paintball or a PSP logo large enough for anybody not trying to find the place to notice. (I'm also not sure such efforts really make much if any difference anyway but I continue to hear about it from some peeps who consider it a failure of both imagination and to adequately promote events.) There was some talk prior to the event that the area we would be playing on was heavily overgrown and would needed to be cut down (or cut out) of the lushly wooded and verdant countryside. If that's what they did they did a good job of it. The fields weren't pristine but then they never are. (The NXL played a couple of years at Disney--yep, Disney--House of the Mouse--with green mats covering drainage grates on the field.) Our field was fine and the paint trucks were close. What else do you need? The vendors were arrayed in lozenge-shaped semi-circles around the entrance and I, for one, appreciate the fact the PSP didn't create a maze of vendors we were forced to walk through to get to the fields. (Can you say, Phoenix?) They were handy if you wanted to check them out but we weren't driven like a herd of cattle past them one by one. A good--and fair--impression of the venue can be seen in the Gary Baum aerial photo PSP events is using on their front page--oops, they've substituted that photo--(which you can probably see at PaintballPhotography)--with a photo of the winning team. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Once again the PSP provided a live webcast hosted by Matty Marshall & Friends and once again--except for some occasional weather-related difficulties--was a smashing success that enabled fans from around the world to tune in and watch the action. Always a good thing for competitive paintball so thanks to the PSP for making it possible--along with Patrick S. and the rest of the technical crew. Which is all well and good but I'm curious about a couple of things. Even with a reduced presence and fewer cameras, etc. it must still be a significant expense, right? Is it being underwritten by any particular sponsors? If you matched up the co-hosts with their employers or primary sponsors it seems to make sense--with one glaring exception. As I said, I'm just curious.
How 'bout a breakdown on each of the pro teams? (I know, I'm just asking for trouble but I want to make a couple of specific points. Players should be less fans and more students of the game when they are watching the pros play--and maybe it's just me but that seems to be lost on most of y'all. Why aren't most teams more consistent? A lot of what's going on is influenced by factors other than simply playing the game. And of course the field layout can have an impact as well. More later this week.)
Let's begin with CEP. I like this team and I like the kids playing for them. It's a positive organization focused on learning and improving--which they are doing. It hasn't shown up in their match results yet but they are a better team than the one that began the season. Not unlike Vicious in their first season but I think CEP is a more versatile team.
In their first outing without Greg Pauley Vicious looked on Friday like they were lost and demoralized. Somehow overnight Friday they turned it around and came out and played much improved hard paintball with an intensity they didn't have the day before. That is the kind of resilience teams & players must have in order to be successful at the highest level but the jury is still out on whether or not the team has the horses to really challenge the top teams.
In the case of Infamous I think a number of factors likely played into their unexpectedly poor performance. It was a difficult bracket regardless of the Russians misfortunes. It was not a layout that played to Infamous's strengths. Some bad luck and a penchant across the board to gunfight hard. While never a bad thing the team had some difficulty locking things down when they needed to and, so it appeared to me, tended to engage in some battles they didn't need to fight and lost more of them than they usually do. Given the layout of key positional loss frequently started the dominoes falling on a given point.
What to say about the Russian Legion? A very uncharacteristic performance punctuated by very poor performances from some of their best, most experienced players. Have they had poor events before? Yes, but I can't remember anything quite like NJ. I consider this an aberration and assume the "real" Russian Legion will be back at Cup. (More below in rumorology.)
X-Factor is a tough team to get a handle on. Any given day they are capable of being world beaters and other days they beat themselves. Fundamentally they don't make many mistakes and they tend to mix conventional tactical play with bursts of wild unpredictability though less so on this layout as it didn't provide those sorts of opportunities really. They played a lot of close points and at the end of the day they simply lost more of those than they won. Always a dangerous team to play.
It seems that almost every event one team or another falls foul of some rules arcana and unfortunately that's what happened to 'Shock in New Jersey. (If you were interested I'm sure you know by now how all that worked out from other sources.) Of more interest to me was the turnaround 'Shock made in Jersey over the first two events of the season. This was the first event the team played under the leadership of former Aftershock legend Mike Bruno and it was a telling change for whatever reason. (It may be as simple as providing active support to a group already gung ho.) Shock always plays hard and is always aggressive but can sometimes be scattershot in the process. In Jersey they were also an effective team playing with no pressure to perform and no where to go but up. It will be interesting to see how things progress for them up to Cup.
I had some doubts about Impact leading into the season. Not so much about their talent, which is first rate, but about their chemistry given the roster changes the team has been making over the last couple of years. Even so the team continues to contend event after event with great consistency and I think they remain capable of winning any event they enter. I tend to think of them like an X-Factor but less prone to extremes as their temperament and style matches that of their coach, Jason Trosen.
The Ironmen have done a remarkable job this seasons without Ollie. The mix of experienced pros with some young, hungry and coachable players has produced solid results. And the team has bought into the system and it allows them to play smart, aggressive and controlled paintball. It may coaches vanity but I tend to attribute much of that to SK's efforts and the fact he clearly has the support of the team's vets. They don't beat themselves even when battling through penalties. I'd also like to take a moment to suggest to all young divisional players you could do a lot worse than emulate Kyle Spicka. For those who have known him in and around paintball for a few years his determination, dedication, will & perseverance ought to be a model of the right way to overcome obstacles and achieve success as a player.
The mark of a truly great team is the ability to consistently perform at a high level and by any rubric that is Dynasty. Most teams can only dream about Dynasty level success and most players would consider it a great career to achieve the kind of success Dynasty has often managed in single seasons. Before this year Dynasty looked like they might be on the wane but the return of Ollie and the addition of Mike H. & the youth movement has proved to be just what the team needed to reinvent itself. While they don't have weaknesses in the normal sense on the NJ field there were a couple of elements we had some success focusing on. Some of the younger players tended to be impatient and try and force certain rotations and as a team Dynasty perhaps lacks some team speed and if they can be forced into situations where they have to get wide a disciplined team can make them pay. (Or anybody else for that matter, D'oh!)
Despite the lack of household names Damage has world class talent in a mix of experience and youth. Damage's only significant fault is the occasional loss of focus that at times leads to a sudden loss of confidence. When they play together, play in the moment, they are capable of contesting with the very best and being one of the best.
One ongoing discussion over the course of this season has been long points and paint usage. (We shot nearly 20 cases in the final match.) Heck, it's a subject VFTD has commented on numerous times. Within the context of the NJ event there are a couple of additional things to be said. The rain may have contributed to some long points on Sunday but the rain didn't cause them. Nor did the rain alter the way most teams chose to play the field. Everybody I saw was playing the same ways on Friday and Saturday. The field did not encourage fast play though it was sometimes possible to press a power point if it was timed correctly or executed in concert with a key elimination OTB. But what I want to address in more detail is this notion of defensive paintball versus offensive paintball because it comes up when there are a lot of long slow points. A key element of competition is the imposition of a team's collective will on their opponents and paintball is no different except we do it with paint and position. (I'll be discussing this in more detail in a separate post this week.)
In the rumorology department there was lots of Legion talk at the Open. (This is not Mr. Curious material, just the on site scuttlebutt.) There was curiosity about the apparent name change--the word being that Sergey was unhappy with the old NXL nomenclature of "Boston" and wanted Russia back front and center. Then there was also the rumor that the Legion had lost its backing from Sergey and was scrambling to reorganize. And this is where Bear D'Egidio fits into the picture. (There has also been a fair bit of discussion on how Bear got a spot on the Legion given the majority opinion seems to think he isn't a pro caliber player.) The dominant rumor being that his dad (a partner in a number of large Cali paintball operations) greased the skids, so to speak. Even if the rumors are accurate it wouldn't be the first time such things have happened in prime time paintball. Whatever the truth is the Legion struggled mightily at NJ and it seems to me there must have been more to it than missing a couple of players.
(Rumor segue: Remember when Mr. Curious told y'all HydroTec would begin producing paintballs in mid-August? Facefull confirms. Sort of. I know, but still ... would you believe HydroTec?)
In closing a VFTD shout out to all the Florida players and teams that performed well in New Jersey. Way to go, kids. Okay, that about covers it from my perspective. If any of y'all have any questions post them up in comments and I'll (probably) try to answer them.


Mike said...

How much would you say the return/addition of Jason Edwards contributed to your team's success?

Baca said...

I think we're always a better team with Jason than without but he only missed the first two events this year and had played in the most recent two prior to Jersey.
I think a lot of small things--including a fluctuating roster--have contributed to our struggles in the first half of the season. Hopefully that's all behind us now and we can build on the NJO success.

CadeX said...

I would like to know your opinion on the 3-way tie breaking system that advanced Impact over Aftershock. I know an argument can be made for either side, and I have my own opinion. I just want to see if your right (agree with me) or wrong (disagree with me).

CadeX said...

sorry, you're not your. (I hate when other do it, so I have to correct it)

Anonymous said...

Baca, I havnt played paintball in ehhh 3 years now, and havnt played a tournament in longer than that, but I've been a regular lurker on this blog for quite some time. Just want to thank you for giving this type of insight on how the game is played -- i do a lot of reading other blogs such as, and which give good insight of how the game is played, and I love that somebody is at least touching on these things in paintball now.

Thanks for your work!

Baca said...

I'ma give you the old two-part reply. I'm okay with the current rule in brackets where all the teams don't play each other. Reverting back to head-to-head under those circumstances I think offers the greater likelihood of the best teams moving on.
In a bracket where all the teams have played each other and head-to-head doesn't settle the matter I would prefer simply using the plus/minus to determine who moves on. (And I have argued in favor of that option before.) However I understand why the league's preference is for a clear head-to-head winner whenever that option exists.
To my mind the real problem is that teams don't understand the rules prior to being affected by them whenever this comes up.

Anon--it's always nice to receive a kind word. I appreciate it.

CadeX said...

I agree, but with a twist. In a 3-way tie where all team have beaten each other and are therefore equal, I would prefer to see the Avg. Margin (plus/minus) determine who advances BUT I would like to only use the scores from the 3-way ties games. By doing this you have identified the “equal” teams and are only using the 3-way games to determine which two teams advance. (simple uniform logic)

The current logic uses Avg. Margin to determine the leader of a 3-way tie and then will switch to H2H to determine the second team to advance. I don’t the switching of logic and I think it should remain consistent.

Regardless of tie break logic, in a 3-way tie:
You will always have a situation where the one team not advancing DID beat a team that is advancing, that’s the nature of this situation, but simple logic should help in player and fan understanding.

Don Saavedra said...

Did Cade just say that players will understand logic?

Reiner Schafer said...

Don, I'm not a player, so I can speak on this. yes, that's what CadeX insinuated.

However, were I player, I wouldn't know what the hell you were even asking.

All kidding aside, what CadeX says does make some sense.

CadeX said...

I said "should help"... HA!

Baca said...

Sorry Cade but it seems to me your modification changes the objective. Prior to an event beginning each team is focused on being one of the two best teams in their group. That is the goal as it's the top two that move on. And since everyone plays everyone you can't determine who's best by removing results from your determination. Even the PSP's version is better than that.

CadeX said...

If three teams are listed as 'equal', why would you not want the next step in the comparison to be only the games that involve the three 'equal' teams? The fact that the three teams played 1 or 75 additional teams should not be a factor in the determination of rank of this 3-way tie. Why would you choose two-step logic over simplified logic?

Baca said...

If what you mean to suggest is that your variant be the third tie-breaker--we've already checked wins/losses and head-to-head--then I suppose you can make that argument but I don't see it as any more determinative than a simple plus/minus that includes all prelim matches played.

Anonymous said...

The question is really pretty simple:

If you have two teams, A and B, and one spot, what matters more:

A beat B by 1 point


A lost to C by 2 points, but B beat C by 1 point?

CadeX said...

You don’t have 2 teams and one spot; you have 3 teams and two spots. The question is: What is the most fair logic method of determining which two teams advance. I have seen a fair amount of complaint over the current logic, but not one suggestion (except mine) to improve the logic. What’s the old Jedi saying, “Come to me with a problem you will, include a solution you must.”

Missy Q said...

Old Jedi saying? Pretty sure Tupac actually said that holmes!
Can't believe you would dis on Tupac, man. That's so lame.

Anonymous said...


Your assuming your suggestion is an improvement. Maybe the lack of suggestions for improvement is because there isn't an improvement.

It is definitely 2 teams and one spot. Even if there are originally three teams, it's obvious that if each of the teams beat each other once, the team with the best point margin is the top team.

That leaves you with two teams and one spot.

CadeX said...

You are correct; my argument would be that the logic used to determine the 'Top' team should also be applied to the other two teams. The logic to determine the advancing team(s) should be consistent; it should not go H2H then Avg Margin and then in the case of a three way tie start over again with H2H. The goal in any tie is to make sure the 'better' team advances; I offer my suggestion as a possible improvement to the current logic.

Anonymous said...

So if Team A beats Team B 7-1, and Team B beats Team C 7-3, and Team C beats Team A 7-2, how would you rank the teams?

A: 6-3, 4-6, +1
C: 4-6, 6-4, 0
B: 3-6, 6-4, -1

I assume we agree Team A has to be the top team. Team B beat Team C. Are you really going to have Team C advance over Team B because Team B lost to Team A 3-6 instead of 4-6?

Anonymous said...

Better example. What if the scores were:

A: 6-2, 4-6, +2
C: 6-4, 3-6, +0
B: 2-6, 6-4, +0

Again, A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A. Who should be the top two spots in this scenario Cade?

CadeX said...

Baca, sorry for hogging the comment section, but your readers are asking some good questions and I want to make sure I address them.

Check your numbers the paragraph is using 7-1, 7-3, and 7-2 as the match scores, but your example is using 6-3’s and 6-4’s.

Regardless, the thing that most people are forgetting is that once there is a three way tie the 3 teams at that point are equal, period. It’s not about who should be the ‘Top’ team, again they are all equal. So the next question is how you should rank these 3 equal teams. The answer is Avg. Margin across the board, not Avg. Margin for one and H2H for the others.

Another way to verify logic is to apply the current method to a 4 or 5 way ties and see if it would work… It would not. My proposal will work for ANY tie scenario, from 2 ways to 100 ways. That’s when you know the logic is correct, when it works or any possible situation.

But, back to your example:
A: +1
B: -1
C: 0

Yes, Teams A and C would advance based on Avg. Margin. And yes, one team advances over another based on a single point, but that just shows you how important each and every point is in this game. Teams need to fight to the end.

Team B’s argument: How can Team C advance if we beat them H2H?

Logic Answer: A, B and C were all tied and both A and C have a better Avg. Margin than you.

Round-About Answer: Yes you beat C, but C beat A and A beat you, so….

Plain English Answer: Overall A and C played better than you in this tournament.

In this example:
Match Points are equal,
TB1 - Number of Matches Won are equal,
TB2 - Head to Heads are equal,
TB3 - Margin of Victory (advance Team A only)
TB4 - Number of Game Points Scored (C would advance over B)

B: 2 points and 6 points = 8 total points
C: 6 points and 3 points = 9 total points

Hope this clears any questions up, if not pose a new scenario.

Baca said...

You're going to have to go to another tie breaker as Anon #2 (by your reckoning) wrote down an invalid score considering what he was trying to illustrate. You can't have the mismatched odd number, in this case 3. (A 3-6 score doesn't add up to the totals he was postulating.) His plain intention was to write a 4 there so that in his example--when written out correctly--your TB4 doesn't resolve it.

Baca said...

I take it back. You don't have to go to another tie breaker. It's late.

Anonymous said...

I am apparently not so good at math. The example should have been:

A: 6-2, 4-6, +2
B: 2-6, 6-3, -1
C: 6-4, 3-6, -1

But it seems ridiculous to me that you would have C advance over B because they scored one more point when they lost to B by three points.

Head-to-head is more important because it compares both teams on the same field at the same time under the same conditions. Point margin doesn't. Even if the set of opponents is the same, different match-ups occurred at different times of day, at the start or end of the event, when teams may or may not have needed the win to advance, possibly with vastly different weather or field conditions, with a key player out for injury, or any number of other variables.

To have two teams who played head to head and then advance the team that lost that match-up advance because their opponent in a different match got a lot of majors and the score got run up is just plain ridiculous.

CadeX said...

How is that ridiculous, its simple logic?

AGAIN, and evidently I can’t say this enough. At the point in which you have a 3-way tie all 3 teams are considered equal. Until you agree with that point of fact, you are missing the most obvious flaw in your argument. You CANNOT advance one team over any other if they are all tied. You move to the next tiebreaker, Avg. Margin to determine the ranking of ALL 3 TEAMS. Also your argument for changing conditions can be applied to every single match of the event, it is an invalid argument.

If A beats B, and B beats C, and C beats A the best method for ranking all 3 teams is to use Avg. Margin, by using Avg. Margin of the games in question you can determine the proper ranking of these 3 teams.

And yes, in your above example C would advance over B in the 4th tie-breaker, and if C and B both had the same Number of Game Points scored it would then go to the 5th tie breaker, WHY? Because the teams would still be equal and that’s why tie-breaker exist.

Anon, How would you determine who advances in a 4-way tie: A beats B, B beats C, C beats D, and D beats A?

Would you use Avg. Margin to take the ‘Top’ team and then do H2H for the remaining three teams?

Anonymous said...

You're right, you can't say it enough to make it true. It may be your opinion, but it's certainly not a fact. And it's not an opinion shared by PSP, or the NFL, NBA or NHL either.

If A beat B and B beat C and C beats A, you don't ignore head-to-head because A has 3 total wins and B and C only have 2. If you'll use head-to-head on B and C when you know A is ahead because of one more win, there's no reason not to use head-to-head on B and C when you know A is ahead because of more margin.

CadeX said...

This is not an issue of True of False / Right or Wrong. The current tie-break logic that the PSP is using works, what I’m saying is it has the ability to work better. Also, this is not the type of change that should be implemented in the middle of a season for consistency sake; the current or improved tie-break logic should be reviewed and approved for the 2012 season.

So I took some time to look up the current NFL, NBA, and NHL tie-break logic, and your statement is only 33.3% correct. The NFL is the only one that mentions “If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated during any step, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of the two-club format.” Both the NHL and the NBA in situations where more than two teams are tied will use the “higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs…to determine the standing” (wow, that sound familiar). So, according to your grouping of tie-breaking logic authority, 66.6% agree with me.

Because I know someone will ask:

Anon wrote “If A beat B and B beat C and C beats A, you don't ignore head-to-head because A has 3 total wins and B and C only have 2.”

What? When A beat B, B beat C, and C beat A, Head to Head is at that point is EQUAL and the next tie-breaker should be applied across all teams.

Anon wrote “If you'll use head-to-head on B and C when you know A is ahead because of one more win, there's no reason not to use head-to-head on B and C when you know A is ahead because of more margin.”

Again What? You are complicating simple logic with a mess of jumping back and forth.

Let me try this again, when you have three teams tied due to Head to Head the most fair method of ranking ALL THREE EQUAL TEAMS would be based on the Avg. Margin of the games involved in the three way tie.

If you try to identify one “Top” team for advancement prior to the others, (let’s say Team A) you are in essences negating the victory by C over A by using this method. I think we both agree that the best logic is the one that rewards the performing teams.