The NXL Windy City Major is less than one week away and professional paintball teams from across the country are preparing to converge on Chicago for the critical third major event of the NXL season. Here are the top five stories to watch for at the event where season titles and relegation may be decided.
#1 - Can San Diego Dynasty make history with one more win?
San Diego Dynasty is on the verge of paintball greatness; not since Edmonton Impact during the 2015/2016 season has a team been able to win 5 major events in less than two seasons. For San Diego, they have managed the near impossible task of 4 straight major event wins over the last two seasons of play. With a victory at the upcoming NXL Windy City Major, they could accomplish what no team in modern Xball history has with 5 straight event wins, and 6 overall wins in a two season stretch. If they are able to complete this task, they will go down as the uncontested greatest roster of all time.
#2 - Is Thunder ready to strike and potentially steal a season title?
Seattle Thunder has been an intriguing team throughout the 2022 season thus far. After finishing outside the top 10 at the season opener in Florida, many fans assumed it would be another middle-of-the-pack season for Seattle. However, Thunder began to quietly adapt their style of play behind the brilliant coaching and team leadership of Corey Field and began to climb the ranks. Now with just two events left, Seattle sits in fifth place overall. If they are able to simply reach the finals at the Windy City Major, they will catapult themselves into third place overall in the seasons rank. If they somehow manage to win the event, they will be in serious position to steal the season title from Dynasty at World Cup and shock the paintball world. Can they do it?
#3 - Can NYX avoid relegation from the division?
The 2022 season has been shrouded in mystery for New York Xtreme; they have a very talented roster, practice extensively and with high intensity, and are led by a great team owner in Beau Milo. However, throughout 2022, they are currently sitting at last place overall in the season title rankings. If they cannot rapidly improve their standings, NYX may be in serious threat of losing their professional ranking to the relegation rule in the NXL (last place team is demoted). With the 18th place team more than 70 points ahead of NYX in the ranks, their only hope to is place higher than Sacramento DMG in the final two events of the year, who currently hold just a two point lead in the standings. Can NYX save their season, and with it, their professional rank?
#4 - Can Heat end the drought with classic late-season rally?
The current six event win drought is the longest that Houston Heat has experienced since after their 2013 win at NXL Chicago nearly a decade ago. Since 2016, Heat has never went more than 4 events without posting a win, one of the most impressive stats in paintball. However, if there is one certainty in the sport of professional paintball, it is a late season rally by Houston Heat. They always just seem to find their groove later in the year when the stakes are highest, and after a disappointing loss at the NXL Mid Atlantic Major, Heat will be hungry to take back their crown. Can they once again find a way to win?
#5 - Will San Antonio XFactor continue to climb the ranks?
After posting one of their worst finishes in franchise history at the NXL Sunshine State Major to open the season, San Antonio XFactor has been on a tear, with a 9th place, 4th place, and 3rd place finish over the last three events. Every event they seem to refine their playstyle and adapt to the offseason loss of star player Archie Montemayor. Behind 2021 Snake Player of the Year Billy Bernacchia and the resurgence of Raney Stanczak, this roster looks like they are ramping up for another finals trip in Chicago and potentially an event win. Will XFactor continue to climb the ranks and potentially win an event?