Saturday, February 2, 2013

PALS Thailand 2013

Baca's Mailbag recently received a request to breakdown the PALS season opener and after all the drama of late it seemed like a nice change of pace. I will also try to do regular field evaluations over the course of the year focusing either on a particular unique scenario or revisiting how fundamental paintball applies to a given field. (If you send in a request please include the layout diagram.)
The Breakout
The inclination of most teams will be to find shooting lanes OTB from the nearest bunkers since there is no Home bunker, in effect setting up an alternate Home bunker. Some of those teams will have players who shoot a lane as best they can while they move to the nearest bunker. And fewer still will simply leave a player or two in the back center (green zone) to lane as they normally would even though there isn't a bunker there. If your players are comfortable doing so it is a good tactic as long as you don't do it all the time. Any team that chooses this option is subject to counter laning.
The orange TCK is the ideal alternate Home except that it leaves a player potentially isolated. Teams will quickly discover in walking this field that there are trade-offs that will have to be made and in order to accomplish their goals they will need to work together. The snake side T has a good lane on the gap between the d-corner T, insert SD and the D1. As does the orange TCK. For snake side control however the T has only a narrow lane of visibility across the gap that feed S1. Both the d-insert MD and orange TCK have better lanes across the gap feeding S1. The difficulties that arise is the inclination to cross up guns from the back line early in the point--constant communication is essential here--and the necessity at some point push one or more of those players to a wire to lead or support the push. There are no simple answers but one or more of the back line players must be prepared to move and make the transition from a primarily defensive position into an offensive one at a moment's notice.
The Snake
Let's look first at getting into the snake. As usual the point of contention is the zone or gap between the snake 1 and the nearest insert, The first thing to take note of is the colored areas in pink and blue. The pink denotes an area that the snake side back line Temple (Aztec) can't see and the blue is a similar area unseen by the insert TCK. This means that the move from the corner into the snake should be one of your basic plans for getting onto the snake. Keeping in mind the opponent's corner MT vision is partially blocked by the (S1) Brick and the only clear lanes come from the cross field.
Even though the shooting lanes are narrow the gap to fill the snake is fairly large and a determined effort to keep you out of the snake can be successful unless your players act in concert. With only 3 insert bunkers available filling the snake can't be done sneakily but it can be accomplished by any of the insert positions. The trick is to use your other available guns to control your opponent's edges--or at least force them to play tighter and further decrease their ability to lane your snake runner so that when he/she make the move into the snake it is uncontested or nearly so. For example, the corner shoots at the insert T, your T player shoots at the inside edge of the opposing corner MT and now your TCK simply needs to get his mirror to stop shooting in order to dive across into a unseen space behind the S1 Brick. Alternately it may be necessary for the corner MT to wrap and pressure cross field positions while the TCK contains his mirror and allows the T player to make the snake run. There are lots of variations, the point is always the same--coordinate your efforts to achieve team goals--like getting into the snake.
The D-Wire
The key here is getting into D1 asap and immediately looking for the crossfield kills out of the snake side inserts. And the key to getting into D1 may very well be a strong, active presence in the d-corner T. The corner T is the only way to slow down movement up the d-wire from D1 and if your opponent is in their d-corner T it must be matched. From the d-corner T it is possible to contest edges with the few positions that can lane the gap feeding D1 with the exception of the insert SD. If there is a player in the SD their line of sight will be limited and it shouldn't be too difficult to force them off their edge long enough to make the move into D1.
That should be enough to help you get started on prepping this layout for the upcoming competition. To all the teams that will be competing, best of luck!

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