3 from 3: NXL Pro Debutants - Scottsdale Elevation

The first event of the 2018 NXL season, the Las Vegas Open, was an event of many, many firsts.

First up, the incredible Eclipse CS2 was launched just in time for our top tier teams to hit the field with the very latest and greatest piece of Eclipse game-winning equipment.

It was also the PRO debut for three of our teams, Sacramento DMG, New York Xtreme and Scottsdale Elevation - and the latter... well, they were penned as the whipped boys. But they were wrong. Very, very wrong.

So we contacted the three new additions to the Pro division and ask them three simple questions about their Las vegas Pro debut.

We caught up with Ryan Bosch and Auggie Orozco who were more than happy to climb down from cloud nine and share their thoughts.

1: Hi guys. NXL Vegas was your pro debut, which is a massive step for any team. In your team’s opinion, how did Vegas go for you guys?
Vegas went better than good. Obviously our dreams are to win, but going into the Vegas event the general consensus of the team was: (1) we knew we were in the toughest bracket in prelims, having to face teams like Dynasty, AC Dallas, Ironmen, and Boom, (2) so realistically, being a new pro-team, we didn’t want to finish in last place, and (3) we wanted to at least win some matches—whether that’s 1, 2, or more matches in our pro-debut.

Coming from semi-pro just last season, the pace of play in the pro division is noticeable faster, requiring us to make serious adjustments to our communication and field control. The experienced pro teams capitalize on any simple mistakes our team made, so we knew we had to adjust and had little room for error. We knew it would be a steep learning curve because of all those reasons. So, our motto for the tournament was to get better and make improvements every point.

2: Let’s talk matches. Which game made you guys realize Pro was a completely different ballgame? 
So, coming into Vegas and knowing we were in the “bracket of death,” I personally thought Dynasty and AC Dallas were going to be our toughest matches—but also not underestimating Boom and Ironmen. We had some confidence going into the match against Dynasty with a recent win under our belt against Boom. But that confidence was immediately tested early in the match with Dynasty scoring three quick points in the first three minutes, and after losing two more points and on the verge of being skunked. We regrouped in the pit and tried to settle down as a team. Our coach Manny talked to us and reminded us of the basics: to trust each other and do our jobs on the field. Our strategy to get back into the match was to change the pace of play and force them to slow down.

Dynasty was essentially running all over the field on us. We adjusted lanes and focused on communication. Even though we ultimately lost to Dynasty, winning those three points against them gave us some additional confidence going into our Saturday matches against AC Dallas and Ironmen.
That match was a serious realization that we just fought and scrapped against one of the best teams in the pros and in my opinion, of all time.

Riding a wave of confidence from the tail end of the Dynasty match we felt really good going into our match against AC Dallas. We had a solid game plan going into the match knowing that AC’s style is very similar to ours: controlled paintball. We rely on shooting our guns and controlling our lanes, and our CS2’s, CS1.5’s, and LV1.5’s performed flawlessly giving us the confidence and consistency to do just that. AC Dallas are hard to shoot and they don’t engage in unnecessary gun battles. We came out and executed our game plans well, jumping to a 3-0 lead.  Everything was rolling early in the match: communication, making moves, and staying alive in our bunkers. AC adjusted and came back to tie the match at 3-3 and into overtime we went.

The overtime point started pretty rough for us, with a minor penalty off the break. This left us with only 3 players alive and without a snake side of the field. I quickly filled out towards the snake side and Corey and I crossed it up and there we were:  living behind our CS2’s, hoping to get a kill or two. We were able to get a couple kills, freeing up Mike to go down the Dorito side of field, cleaning up the last remaining AC players. We pulled it off and beat AC Dallas 4-3 and were in control of our own destiny with a 2-1 record going into our final match against the Ironmen.

3: Which moment made you guys realise that you belonged in the Pro division? 
To be completely honest, even before the tournament I had some doubts about whether our team could compete with the pros, with a fear of being completely embarrassed out there. I always knew we had the talent and skills to compete with the best, but the jump to the pro division is not an easy task for any team. The players are faster, better shooters, and very smart paintball players.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment we knew we belonged in the pro division, but looking back on it I would have to say it was clear at the end of prelims on Saturday, having just beat teams like AC Dallas, Boom, and Ironmen.  It was at that point we found out that we were the first team in over ten years to advance past prelims in their pro debut (since X-Factor, now one of the best teams in paintball).

There’s no doubt that with our 7th place finish we blew away all of our goals and expectations. But make no mistake, going into the next event in Dallas we plan to set new goals, practice and train harder, and improve on our performance in Vegas.

Well, it goes without saying that we're super proud of Elevation's achievement in Vegas. To many, a 7th place finish is nothing, but to a team who made a huge leap from semi to pro and win tough games against tough opposition is a great thing to witness and be a part of.

Good luck in Dallas guys and thanks for your time.

Do you think Scottsdale Elevation can repeat their success in round 2?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.