Friday, March 21, 2014

PSP Dallas Open Layout

There were two simple changes to the Dallas layout compared to the 2013 group of layouts that impacted play of the game dramatically. But before I get into those changes I want to point out a couple of things first. Last year's layouts experimented with no back center prop and it didn't have an appreciable effect on the pace of the game. This time around both the snake and the d-wire were somewhat unconventional and that didn't hinder a fast paced game. Teams could, and some did, try to control the layout and play at a pace they were more comfortable with--and if the opponent refused to slow it down the control teams were in trouble.
One thing a faster pace means is that teams with potentially dominating skill sets are partially neutralized when they are unable to dominate the angles and slow the game play down.  (There were still some extended points but mostly as a result of teams getting quickly down to 2-on-2 type situations.)
What about 10.2 bps on the pro fields? Did that have any impact? Given that I was curious (and having already drawn a conclusion and formed an opinion) I made some inquiries. From observing the weekend's play the ROF didn't appear to make any substantive difference and every player (and team) I asked said basically the same thing. I also asked about paint usage and some teams were up and others weren't sure. I expect when more info is available we'll see paint usage may rise a little across the board.
Okay, so if it wasn't guns, or no back center prop or an unconventional layout or the ability to attack the center (and it wasn't) then what made the difference? I'm glad I asked.

The bunkers in red were the primary containment positions on the field. (Any time a layout features bunkers aligned within a single column or nearly so it means a typical corner prop cannot contain or control movement along that wire.) Nothing unusual just yet. Often as not both Cans and MTs also serve as lane blockers. Less so here they still partially serve that purpose OTB because of their distance away from the starting position. In the first 5 seconds they are both lane blockers and cover depending on how the players choose to approach them.

Using the snake side T as a beginning point look at the green zones and how much of the snake is obscured. This is the effect caused by the TCK props within the snake and the fact the T player is mostly on his knees. Complete vision isn't blocked but is sufficiently blocked to allow much freer access to and movement within the snake relative to attempts to control those movements from the T. In blue the same applies from the midfield MT. Again it's not completely obstructed but sufficient to encourage aggressive snake play. Similarly on the D-wire there are enough blind edges and unseen spaces to be able to work upfield aggressively particularly when the corner Can can wrap on the contain Can or MT. So far we have a layout that limits the ability to contain or control movement so that we encourage more and bigger moves. But that's not quite enough to get the job done. There's one more piece to the puzzle.

Making the big moves and taking up territory has to pay off otherwise the risk/reward balance trends toward more passive play. Here, as illustrated by the purple arrows, it's easy to see how effective getting upfield proved to be not just in eliminating the control positions but most of the opponent's backfield and crossfield positions below the 40s. Add to the dominating 50s the ability to attack the center at any time and the result is a layout that is fun, fast and takes no prisoners.

There you have it. This field was fast and furious because it neutralized to a degree the ability to contain and control the opponents movements and it rewarded making those moves by delivering killer angles. Simple as really.


Anonymous said...

I think the fact that coaching was minimized made a huge difference. Both from what the players told me and from the results.

Vicious has played together a long time, Infamous as well. They can both communicate and play off each others moves very well. Dynasty also.

RL did poorly and they had literal language barriers. Thunder did better and they've been playing and practicing together for a long time. Same with Upton and VCK even?

Heat is revamped and although various aspects of the team have familiarity, they still aren't cohesive in that sense. Impact is now the same.

No doubt the layout had a huge impact here. But I think some other issues combined with the layout changes are way we only had 2, if my count is right, games go to time in the entire event for the Champions division.

Pretty cool actually. I guarantee you getting rid of any yelling/coaching on that sideline would make an even larger difference.

Anonymous said...


Do you think the PSP should relegate teams after each event or after the entire season like they do in the MS?

This is just my opinion but I think the champions and challengers titles seems silly and unprofessional. Do you think they should just call it pro and semi-pro?

You also mentioned in a recent post I think about the center flag system and some issues. I think it would be cool for the PSP to change to the buzzer idea like they have in the MS. What is your take on this?

I promise I'm not an MS fanboy that's trying to change the PSP but I think some of these ideas are good to think about and you can always get better and change the league.


Baca Loco said...

1159 Anon
I'll give you no sideline coaching and you give me a low risk prop that can shoot the gaps along a wire and we'll see how fast that field plays. :)

1113 Anon
Re: relegation. After seeing how it worked last season I'd prefer to see the top Challengers have to knock off a bottom Champion to take their spot instead of the Champs relegation playoff round. On the flip side the current way gives more opportunities to the Challengers than my way probably would.

If you were an MS fanboy you'd know CPL stands for Champions Paintball League. :D Is Challengers worse than SPL 1 & SPL 2? It's certainly more exclusive.

Personally I'd add extra flags but that's just me.

Are any of those really improvements to the game? I'm not so sure but I agree that being open to possible change is a good thing.

EC Lil Baller said...

Coach, would you be so kind as to go over bounce shots in this layout and/or overall? They're an element of field walking/analyzing that my team has little to know knowledge of. I'd appreciate learning just how useful they are or can be and how to identify and exploit them.
Thank you