NOMINEES FOR Team of the Year
San Diego Dynasty.
After winning two events in dominant fashion, as well as the season title in 2021, and winning one event and the season title in 2020, San Diego Dynasty is showing the early signs of another dynastic stretch on par with their run in the early 2000s. They play a complete style of paintball; they attack at all levels, they have the leagues best defense, and they are able to exhibit the fluidity needed to take on the best teams in the World. The story of the 2021 season for San Diego was one of grit and resiliency and they overcame injuries, short rosters, and last second roster shifts to put up the most dominant performances of the season in Chicago and World Cup.
Los Angeles Infamous.
Bob Long once said that the measure of a great team is consistency, and if we use that metric to gauge the season, Infamous may have been one of the best teams of the year. Through the four major events this season, Infamous posted rankings of 2nd, 8th, 3rd, and 4th overall to take the runner-up title for the season points race. They played at an elite level all season long through their relentless style of attack, and the defensive guns of Cody Mickowski and Kali Rudolph provided a steady presence behind their best-in-league offensive output. This team appears to be gearing up to be a legitimate Dragon killer in 2022, and Travis and the rest of his squad looks to stay dangerous for the foreseeable future.
In typical Edmonton Impact fashion, we saw yet another successful season by most measures. They posted an event win at the season opener in Florida, and then a runner-up finish in Philadelphia. Although they struggled a bit in the final two events by their own standards, they were still in the top ten, making Sunday all four events of the year. The nuanced and high-IQ style of play they had in Florida was one of the best individual team performances of the season and truly showed why this has been one of the NXLs leading programs for nearly 10 years. This is arguably the most patient team in the NXL and their grinding style focuses on capitalizing on the oppositions miscues in brutal fashion. Edmonton still has one of the most talented rosters in the league and should be incredibly competitive in the 2022 season behind maybe the best player in the world, Alex Goldman.
After a bit of a shaky start to the 2021 season, Houston Heat went on a run that saw them place in the top five of the final three events, and win the Mid Atlantic Major behind inspired performances from Chad George, Konstantin Fedorov, and Tyler Harmon. This roster is absolutely loaded with talent and they have one of the best coaches in the history of the game in Todd Martinez. At the Mid-Atlantic Major, they were essentially unbeatable behind a returning Fedorov and their new addition Tyler Harmon. They appear to be surging into the 2022 season with their eyes on the season title. This sort of roster synergy doesn't happen often in the professional division and they will be one of the most feared teams of 2022, just as they were this year.
San Antonio XFactor.
XFactor has been a staple of the expansive and rapid growth of the Texas paintball scene for nearly twenty years, and they have been a top-flight professional program during that time. The 2021 season saw San Antonio post a top 10 finish at all four events and they pushed Dynasty to the limit at Chicago and World Cup. After narrowly losing both events and placing second twice in a row, they ended the year at fifth overall in the rankings. If mere moments unfolded differently XFactor could have been looking at two event wins this year, but things didn't happen that way. This is still an elite roster, and even with the loss of Archie for the 2022 season, Ryan Brand should be able to continue to lead this team to the top of the professional division, never count out Texas.