Saturday, June 21, 2014

PSP Chicago: Saturday

As often as the weather forecast changed leading up to this event Saturday remained the one "good" day, a promise of mostly blue skies and sunshine. And there was some blue sky and sunshine but there was also a lot of dense grey clouds, pummeling rain, thunder (not just the Seattle kind) and lightning that slowed the day's match schedule and saw the final games of the day played in a downpour. The aftermath left the fields virtual swamps as the surviving teams prepare to compete on Sunday.
The Sunday forecast is for intermittent afternoon thundershowers. I guess we'll see. Regardless the games will go on and the action will begin at 8 am with the Champions relegation avoidance matches. Despite winning both their matches today X-Factor will square off against Vicious in one relegation avoidance match and the other will see Shock fight it out against Upton 187. At the top of the Champions brackets Damage outlasted Dynasty to earn a semi-final berth as did Heat in their group. In the other bracket a strong Ironmen showing put them into the semi-finals along with Impact. A credible effort from the Russian Legion sees them remain in the Champions bracket for the Cali event.
In the Challengers half both Infamous and Art Chaos stumbled slightly which left an undefeated VCK atop the bracket as the one seed going into Sunday's semi-final match-ups. It also means that Infamous will play Art Chaos in one semi-final which will leave the loser in Challengers for the next event. VCK will take on Red Storm in the other semi despite the fact Storm dropped both their matches today. Infamous dropped a match to Top Gun and Art Chaos lost to VCK in the last match of the day. Newcomer Revo acquitted themselves well going 2-2 and even though Boom went 1-3 on the scoreboard it wasn't indicative of their solid play as they gave all their opponents a strong effort.
And despite being acknowledged as a "fast" layout teams are managing to find ways to slow the action down, sometimes to a crawl and it isn't because of the weather. Across the divisions there have been more games to time than I think anyone expected. (I'll break the layout down next week and explain how and why teams played the way they did.) In the meantime I'm trying to dry out nearly everything I brought with me to Chicago and hoping it will stay dry tomorrow. Fingers crossed.


Nick Brockdorff said...

Interesting, that if Red Storm and AC both win, Riverside will see 3 Russian teams in the Pro division.

- I think VcK will do it though.

As for games slowing down, that is only natural, when the ground is so boggy.

Baca Loco said...

Nature of the layout still made fast points easily achieved--largely on the basis of successful laning OTB.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Laning OTB is more successful when the ground is slowing up runners.

That in turn means they stop going long as much, which again slows down the game, when both teams go short.

Baca Loco said...

All the teams routinely took the corners and made regular attempts at the snake off the break. Weren't you watching, Nick?

Nick Brockdorff said...

Yes, I was

I am commenting on you saying some teams found a way to slow the game down.

- and from what I saw, those long runs got more and more risky as the tournament progressed (and the ground go worse), so teams stopped risking sending as many wide.

Had the tournament been on turf, you would not have seen the same percentage of the games slow down.

Teams also used the more creative options less I feel, because those kinds of moves get hard when you lack speed.

Misty-Queue said...

Ah, so it was the weather that slowed the points Nick?
That's your 'out' this time around?

MissyQ said...

Hilarious. Stop it!!

Nick Brockdorff said...

Dunno what webcast you were watching Missy - the play was the fastest we've seen in a very long time... and would have been even faster, had the weather not slowed matters down.

I was merely commenting on the few points that played out slow, since Baca brought it up in his initial post.

Maybe you'd understand this stuff better, if you ever played at any significant level? :)

Anonymous said...

How about Revo being an overtime point away from playing sunday and possibly keeping AC from Sunday

Nick Brockdorff said...

Yeah, the Challengers division has proven itself conceptually.

A lot of teams have started to get closer to Pro level, rather than being whipping boys.

The promotion and relegation between events makes for a much more dynamic series, and is a concept other leagues should pick up.

MissyQ said...

Nick, ref your post 5.38pm,.

In my opinion the opposite is true. It is your playing/team background that prevents you from seeing the opportunities.
The biggest evolutions in the game have been 'forced' on the players, by visionary individuals who saw a way to push the sport forwards. The teams would never accept a major change otherwise, or ever be able to agree on the merits of one. The league needs to lead the teams, not the other way around.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I am not inclined to get into another heated argument with you, so I will reply in a serious manner.

I never said you need to have a playing background to develop the sport, or run a league for that matter.

But I did say, that when you seem to think that weather has no impact on how the game is played, I have to question why you would think that, as it is an utterly illogical statement.

All that having been said, many of the visionary individuals you refer to, are people who played pro themselves... not necessarily well (actually it's often the second tier Pros that are the best thinkers)... but having been in the trenches amongst the best, gives you a much better understanding of the game at high level.

I will grant you it does not give you a better understanding of business, logistics or many of the other elements that go into running a successful event, but when we enter into the realm of field design, game rules, game philosophy, game play, etc., I most definitely think a high level playing (or coaching) background gives you a major advantage.

Missy Q said...

Thankyou for being civil at least. I really can't deal with you on your 'bitch-days'. No offense.

At no point did I say that the weather has no impact on the way the game is played. You are putting words into my mouth to suit your POV. That would be, as you state, illogical.
What I was saying, is that in my opinion, you tend to create a corner-case from any situation that does not fit your much touted 'bad field design/er' mantra.
In this case it was the weather. I found that funny.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Absolutely not.

I think it can widely be agreed, that Chicago was more entertaining to watch (and probably to play), than any other design in a long time.

If you cannot agree to that, there is no basis for a debate, because we have had 2 fundamentally different experiences.

Had the centre part of the field been constructed marginally better, the field would have been perfect.

So, I stand by, which was the debate after MAO, that field design is the most determining factor in how slow or fast teams play.

Chicago proved my point.... the same teams in the Pro and Challengers divisons we saw on the webcast, played a much faster game in Chicago, even under difficult circumstances, because the design allowed it.

No matter how funny you might find it, I care about this stuff, because paintball should be fun and entertaining to both play and watch - it is how we grow the sport.

Anyone one who has competed in paintball at a remotely serious level will tell you... paintball is the most fun when it is fast.

We love playing fast and we love watching fast plays... it's where paintball lives.

Missy-Q said...

You're not the only guy that cares Nick. I care to. We all care.

We do have fundamentally different opinions on how to achieve the same thing - faster (and less boring) paintball.
Without wanting to regurgitate the whole debate, you believe strongly that by changing the field design, and by making sure that the right people are in charge of field design, that you can achieve faster and less boring paintball. I think that much is clear, at least by now.

I believe that this is not enough, and my evidence is the last 2-3 years of having slower and slower paintball. I feel that this is how teams set up to play, and unless forced to, they will not abandon this tactic, because it is proven to succeed.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Agree on us having very different ideas on how to achieve the same goal.

But, how do you explain that the paintball we saw this weekend was faster than what we have seen in a long time? - Was it a fluke?

My belief is that teams will always play the way the field dictates them to play. If playing fast wins them the game, they will, if the key is slow playing, they will do that.

It used to be that teams played to their strengths, irrespective of the design - there were defensive teams, reactive teams and aggressive teams.

Today, the top teams master all of the above, and the field design determines what style they play.

Ofcourse field design is not the only thing that can have an impact on how the game is played, there are others, like:

- Paint limit
- Bunker design
- Game time
- Game rules
- Weather

But, all of the above will have only marginal effect, if the fields are still set up to be slow played.

My reasoning is that players will not make illogical suicide moves, until their downside is limited to a draw.... so if the field is set up to be defensive, the result of all the other adjustments you can do, will be "boredom, boredom, boredom... and then 20 seconds of frenzied suicidal behavior, that is more based on luck than skill".

All the rule changes people always suggest in these types of debates, like a "shot clock", or zones you have to vacate inside a certain time, or whatever, all go against the internal logic of the game, and that puts us in the realm of pro wrestling, which is not something I'd like to see.

Others might, there is definitely an audience for that kind of thing... it's just not my cup of tea.

Missy Q said...

I don't entertain the idea's of zones etc either, things like that are too hard to police.

I don't agree with your term - 'Suicidal move' - I would interpret that as 'risky move', or 'Uncomfortable move'. 2 things I would like to see teams forced into if they want to win a game. If I accept your view that the top players have full skill-sets, then what's the problem?
Are the games getting boring because skill-levels are evening-out in the top flight? Even more reason to introduce another 'separator' element to the game.

The main thing I feel we disagree on is the mind-set of the players. I think they want to sit, because it works. You think they want to 'run free', but can't, due to restrictive field design, which makes them sit. While I agree that if you asked any of the players, they would say they want to be super-aggressive etc, when they actually get out onto the field this is not what they demonstrate to the crowd.
At the very least I would like to see a 'points scored' stat that in the event of a tie put the more aggressive team through. One could argue that if teams progressed through the competition based on points scored only, we would see more points scored...
if the teams really want to be aggressive, they should welcome a change like that with open arms, right?

Nick Brockdorff said...

I think you have misunderstood my whole point.

Yes, players will sit if it is beneficial.

But, what makes it beneficial, is a field design that favors the defender.

If the field design favors the aggressor, there is no point to sitting.

That that is exactly why I put such great emphasis on field design.

I am not trying to put you down, when referring to your playing experience (well ok, maybe a little :P)... your views are just as valid as the next guys.... but only to the point where if you had personal experience with being in top teams, you would know that most who have played at the top level WANT to play aggressive, if the field allows them to.

I agree that "goal difference" should be a tiebreaker, though the second one after head to head.

PlayMisty4Q said...

It's OK. Nothing you say puts me down Nick. I always give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that because English is not your first language, you don't realise how much of a jerk you come off as.