With the 2021 NXL season finally coming to an end, there is a lot riding on the line for this World Cup after a shortened 2020 season due to COVID. Today we are going to take a quick dive into the top 10 ranked teams and what will need to happen for them to take home the crown. This World Cup is going to be the make or break tournament for a lot of these teams and their possible futures.
Now it’s time to talk about the heavy hitters. These top 10 teams, no matter what, can all win on any given Sunday. It's all about which one of them will make the least amount of mistakes on the games that matter the most. Who will reign supreme on this World Cup and be crowned the ultimate victor for the tournament, but more importantly who will be the series champs going into the long awaited off season for 2022?
#10 Seattle Thunder – Damn! This year Corey Fields and his band of misfits have done something that a lot of us weren’t expecting. They came out this year with a vengeance to make sure their name was feared on the field. For the past few seasons, Thunder had struggled to make it to Sunday Club, let alone being in the top 10 of the 20 pro team division. Will Thunder be able to pull it together again and make a run at the crown?
#9 Baltimore Revo – The story of this team has been amazing. To fight through the divisional ranks and finally be able to become pro and then almost having to fold just to be saved by a merger is something that will be talked about for a long time. The team has been on a consistent streak of each year, becoming more and more of a threat on Sunday. With some of their recent additions the team has only solidified themselves as a team that typically competes on Sunday. However, they have had a struggle of trying to place in the top 3 at events. Will World Cup be the time that they finally break their curse?
#8 San Diego Aftermath – A once revered name back in the early PSP days did not live up to their storied name during the 2019/2020 seasons. However, with Mike Hinman back at the helm, this team didn’t take long to become a powerhouse team. Hinman is infamous for his long and diligent practices with his players and expects nothing less than them giving it 110% on and off the field. Their stride to the top has been nothing short of a challenge, but if there is one man that could bring a team to greatness it would be Mike Hinman. Let’s all hope that Hinman can put on a show for all of us at Cup with the Aftermath boys by his side!
#7 Tampa Bay Damage – Where do we begin with a team like this? During the peak time of PSP, before being switched back to the NXL, this powerhouse team was not someone you wanted to draw in your bracket. Their intense mentality of pocket plays with a heavy defensive stance led so many aggressive teams to their own losses. Damage has finally been able to start climbing their way back to the top by adding in their OG players back to their roster again. But will that be enough for them to win another World Cup like in seasons past, only time will tell!
#6 Moscow Red Legion – With travel restrictions still being in place, this team hasn’t been able to perform up to their regular incredible standards. It doesn’t matter who you are as an organization, the Russians are a team to never be taken lightly. When they are at full force with their coaches, scouts, pit crew, and their extremely diversified, talented team they can accomplish more than just the impossible. Maybe something about the aura of World Cup will be enough to allow the team to get into high gear and win!
#5 San Antonio X-Factor – The best kids in Texas have been battling all year finally for a first-place win and have always fallen just short of their goal. With their recent additions to their roster this team is hungry and ready for the gold. This team will need more than the talent and grit that they show every Sunday to accomplish the impossible of claiming the crown at Cup. They will need to step up even more then their last performance at the NXL Windy City Major where they lost to San Diego Dynasty to possibly have a shot at the gold!
#4 Houston Heat – Ever since this team's inception in 2012, they have done nothing less than accomplish what they were made to do and that was to win tournaments. It was only as of the last couple seasons the team has had some rough events due to minor roster changes and then the changing of the coaching staff. But with veteran coach Todd Martinez now leading the charge, and with the addition of Tyler Harmon, will this team claim their crown as victors of the infamous World Cup!
#3 San Diego Dynasty – The boys in blue just always seem to find a way to keep themselves competitive after all these years of competing. Still rocking with mostly the same crew over the better part of a decade they have done nothing but shock the paintball world by still being a dominant force in the NXL. Their vast knowledge of the game and their experience is something to admire as it has shown time and time again that it gives them the competitive edge over their competitors. Maybe, this will be the year where Dynasty will go for back-to-back World Cup wins and show everyone that they still mean business.
#2 Los Angeles Infamous – A team that was once a middle of the pack team has now emerged as the second overall seed going into the biggest event of the year. This team has always been a powerhouse name in the competitive scene of paintball, however they struggled to stay in the top 5 over the last few years. The perfect balance of veterans and young talent though has led to an immense amount of success this past season. Will they be able to squeak by high enough on Sunday to steal the overall season champs from Edmonton Impact?
#1 Edmonton Impact – They might as well be the New England Patriots of the paintball world. Outside of Houston Heat, Bart Yachimec and Dave Banes have assembled a team of the best players money can buy to win any tournament series they enter. This roster has many talented players, it is always so difficult to scout their team due to their ability to move players to different positions and formulate different lines that will be best fit for their opponents. But will this talented roster have enough to be able to fend off the other top two teams below them to still be crowned the champions? Or will they have another bad event just like the NXL Windy Major where they will falter to the games of their rivals!