January 25th 2013, the season opens with the first event of the Ultimate Woodsball League in Chino California at SC Village Paintball Park. Desert Edge arrives early Friday afternoon with its Open & Tactical division teams ready to walk the field in the light rain. A familiar field for the team, Desert Edge was surprised to find the layout considerably different from last year. The recent season had left the field considerably thinner & Desert Edge knew it would play considerably different than in the years past. However, the field maintained two of its classic aspects, a river side with a sandy beach & a wooded side. After spending the next few hours familiarizing themselves with the new layout, the team headed back to their hotel to get rested up for coming day.
Saturday January 26th, early morning and raining intermittently, Desert Edge raised pavilions in their staging area and prepped DE's Tactical team for their first game against Demon Knights a veteran of the UWL.
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Game 1 Tactical Division: Desert Edge vs Demon Knights: Winning the race means taking an early lead. DE Tactical started the game off strong, sending their scout deep woods side past the swing flag; Scout Tanner Lewis & his squad were able to dominate the woods & within the first Insertion were able to break through, pulling the Demon Knights’ base flag and then sweeping the rest of the Demon Knights from behind. The following insertions did not go as well for Desert Edge, the Demon Knights adapted well and while Tactical maintained control of the Wood side for the duration of the game. The River side swing flag was contested back & forth for the duration of the game. Fortunately, this strong breakout and maintained control of the Wood side meant victory for Desert Edge.
Final Score: DE Tactical (109) Demon Knights (86)
Game 2 Tactical Division: Desert Edge vs Beavertown Mafia: Failure to communicate. Desert Edge, due to a miscommunication left their Wood side down on players on the initial breakout. Although holding strong in other areas, Beavertown quickly capitalized on this weak side pushing through pulling Tactical’s base flag and back-dooring the rest of the Desert Edge. This caused a re-break for the second insertion. Knowing that their only hope lay in capturing the field this second insertion, Robbie Butterfield aka Beef made a suicide run to capture the Wood side swing flag off of the break, and although quickly eliminated, he was able to secure the flag before he was. Unaware or unable to capitalize on this move, Desert Edge slowly lost ground and players until the final insertion. Due to live players from both teams still on the field it was a hot insertion. Not realizing this, the newly live Desert Edge players were ambushed as they rushed the field by a Beavertown player who was waiting for them. Although eventually eliminating the ambusher, Desert Edge lost 2 players and were significantly stalled from taking ground on the field. Beavertown seized this opportunity and were able to control the field for the remainder of the game with the surviving Desert Edge players holding defense around their base flag until the game ended.
Final Score: DE Tactical (37) Beavertown Mafia (98)
Game 1 Open Division: Desert Edge vs NBK: Sometimes all it takes is one big move. This big move was sending their scout Phillip Taylor wood side past the flag and creating a bottleneck. NBK had decided to strong side the woods with 6 players including their scout. Unfortunately there was a narrow neck they needed to get through in order to make that strong side effective. This is where the DE Scout bottlenecked them with a barrage of paint. After quickly eliminating the unaware NBK scout the rest of their team scattered into chaos. With a DE squad moving in and pushing the woods with their scout many NBK players found themselves spilling into a small alley in the center of the field. This is where TJ Smith and his squad caught them from the flank. Exposed & disorganized the NBK strong side quickly collapsed. Within minutes DE had pushed through taken NBK’s base flag and flanked their remaining River side forces. After finding the Hooch, DE was pushed back to their start point for a re-break. In the second and third insertions NBK was not to be taken off guard again and they handled themselves well. However, DE maintained their momentum keeping the heat on NBK and controlled the field for the rest of the game.
Final Score: Desert Edge (159) NBK (28)
Game 3 Tactical Division: Desert Edge vs Dixie Assassins: The Devil is in the details. Desert Edge was ready and eager to dominate their next game. They started aggressively pushing their scout once again Wood side, and pushing aggressively on all ends of the field. They quickly took a dominating command of the field and pushed the Assassins into their deadbox. Unable to find the Hooch before the rebreak, DE was pushed back. As the second insertion commenced the Assassins had adapted knowing their only hope for victory lay in taking DE’s base flag. The fighting was intense on both sides of the field with Swing Flags switching sides multiple times. Unfortunately an Assassin got through the lines of Desert Edge & pulled their base flag, evening the score. The final insertion was hot for both sides, with Assassins near Desert Edge's Deadbox & vice versa. The confusion led to a few DE players dying out the gate & although the same situation faced the Assassins in their insertion, DE failed to push them hard enough allowing them more space to rebreak. In the end both teams had fought a brutal confusing fight. It was thought that Desert Edge had won the game, but due to a miscalculation on a swing flag by a Referee’s, the game ended in the Assassins’ favor.
Final Score: DE Tactical (92) Dixie Assassins (103)
Game 2 Open Division: Desert Edge vs GBD: Mistakes in the dark. The event had fallen behind schedule so Desert Edge’s last game was being played at dusk. Initial breakout had some mishaps; Scout went too far too deep up the center and found himself pinched out within minutes. GBD played the center of the field from a thicket of bushes known as the rabbit holes. It was a strong position from their side and due to DE’s failure to adapt to this, GBD was able to dump paint on both swings wiping out DE & taking control of the field and all 4 flags. In the following insertions & growing darkness, DE’s Dan Saunders attempted to ferret out the GBD players in the rabbit holes & push through. Unfortunately due to lack of teamwork and support these efforts became disjointed and DE was never able to truly rally and regain the field.
Final Score: Desert Edge (38) GBD (139)
Sunday January 27th
Game 3 Open Division: Desert Edge vs SLC Faction: Hometown friends/rivals. Sophomore UWL players & fellow Utah team, SLC Faction were facing off Desert Edge. Making adjustments from the previous nights loss to GBD, DE pushed their scout deep along the river side past the swing flag to cut off Faction en route to the river side. Creating a similar bottleneck that they had previously done in the wood side the scout was able to throw off Factions advance into disarray while the rest of DE river side squad moved in and pushed past him. Aaron Perry pushing past was able to break through Faction lines and take Faction’s base flag before being eliminated. At which point DE scout Phillip Taylor was able to eliminate the faction player who had switched their base flag back. Turning Faction’s base flag once again to DE colors he moved in and back-doored the remaining Faction forces in the woods. Pushed back for a re-break the second insertion had both teams fighting for ground, and was largely a stalemate. Eventually Faction broke through in the woods, while Desert Edge broke through on the river. The 3rd insertion was hot, with Faction players firing on DE right out of the dead-box and DE’s Aaron Perry doing the same to Faction out of their deadbox. Aaron & the Faction players were both eliminated, but both succeeded in delaying the opposing team. DE pushed through and gained control of the river temporarily, but were driven back and eventually faction broke through and flanked the remaining DE players from the river. The game ended with a few DE players fighting off Faction’s advance to the DE base. Although it didn’t close as well as it started Desert Edge was able to take a solid victory.
Final Score: Desert Edge (140) SLC Faction (82)
Game 4 Tactical Division: Desert Edge vs Demon Kings: Comeback. After evaluating the achievements and mistakes of the last 3 games, Desert Edge decided to put everything they had left into this last game. Hitting the Demon Kings hard early on they were able to take control of the river swing flag & were contesting the wood side flag. This continued as a stalemate until the 2nd insertion. Demon Kings came back with a fury and pushed DE all the way back to their base. With only 3 live players DE held on until the final insertion. When the final insertion happened, DE pushed back with renewed vigor. The fighting was intense on all sides of the field. Seizing a small window and breaking through on the river side Jordan Carroll was able to push through take the Demon Kings base flag and then strike the remaining Demon Kings from behind. After eliminating the remaining players DE controlled all 4 flags for the remainder of the game. A strong victory for DE and proof that even in the face of defeat victory can be gained.
Final Score: DE Tactical (107) Demon Kings (52)
Game 4 Open Division: Desert Edge vs GAT: In their match against GAT, DE found themselves largely stalemated from the start. Although they pushed their scout wood side and gained control of the Swing flag there. GAT gained control of the river side swing. As the game progressed DE slowly lost ground on both sides. By the middle of the second insertion GAT had pushed through on the woods and back-doored the remaining DE forces on the River. 3rd insertion began with a re-break and DE pushed heavy in the woods. Despite having a larger number of players pushing wood side they were unable to break through and retake the field. GAT carried 3 of the flags for the majority of the last insertion.
Final Score: Desert Edge (36) GAT (134)
Finals Open Division: Desert Edge vs GBD: With a 3-way tie for 2nd place the event went to a head to head match up for finals. Propelling Desert Edge into finals against GBD. Due to limited daylight the finals game was shortened from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. With this short of a game DE knew it was crucial to take the swing flags early on. To do so they sent their Scout deep into the wood side to grab the flag and lock it down until the other DE players could get there and lock it down. Meanwhile they sent 5 players up the river to take that swing. On the wood side the Scout was able to take the flag and surprise a GBD player eliminating him, before being eliminated himself. Fortunately the wood side squad was able to get into position and lock the flag down. The river side was not so fortunate, the flag runner was eliminated before he could reach the flag. Two other DE players were eliminated and due to a penalty for an unknown hit, the remaining two players were pulled. Eliminating the entire river side. In the coin toss before the match, Desert Edge had earned an extra body, meaning the first player to die would respawn immediately. The Scout, Phillip Taylor, was first back to the dead-box & coach TJ Smith instructed him as they were cleaning him off to re-spawn “Phil, you see that river swing? Everyone’s dead. Go get that swing.” The scout re-spawned and went along the tape crawling in the sand & was able to eliminate 2 of GBD’s river players. Unfortunately when he was a mere 20 yards from the flag, GBD players pushed through in the center and eliminated him. The remaining DE players from the wood side rallied around the base flag until the clock ran out. Although a close game, GBD took the victory.
Outcome: Desert Edge 2nd place, GBD 1st. (No final score reported by UWL)