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Mayhem Masters 2000
by Simon Stevens
with William Helm

The Mayhem Masters, produced by Powergames is the culmination of the Millennium 2000 ten tournament series.  It brought in teams from all over the world, including South Africa, Norway, Austria, Ireland, and the United States. In total over 20 nations have been represented in the series by 115 teams.

The Mayhem Masters has been considered the top of the mark for UK tournaments, and after a hiatus, it was revived in 1999.  The 7-player format it uses is more common in Europe than the US, providing a bit of "home court advantage" at international tournaments on either side of the Atlantic.  Much like the World Cup for the NPPL, the Mayhem Masters is the last shot at points for the Millennium Masters series title.

The tournament was held on a farm in the British countryside.  A turn at the Black Swan Pub leads to a windy, hilly, muddy road.  The open grass pastures seemed a natural place to put the 4 Sup'Air fields used for the tournament.  Wooden grandstands provided excellent spectating on two of the fields.

The traditional Mayhem weather of sunny skies and rain storms held true meaning one of the fields had to be moved from a water logged location further upfield. Aside from a mud hole that developed at the snake bunker on field four, the grassy fields provided excellent play, although at the end of the weekend some of the well used bunkers were starting to get quite muddy. 

Games started on Saturday with a bright and sunny sky, but as the first couple of games got underway, ominous thunderclouds rolled in.  A light rain was followed by heavier showers and a downpour before the skies cleared again.   Many players had prepared for the wet weather with sections of clear plastic tubing trimmed to fit their barrels, keeping rain out of the porting, some had makeshift covers of plastic taped on their barrels, others braved it and hoped for the best. 

Off Field the main arena and staging area soon turned into a swamp where even walking was difficult, and conditions were not helped by the vehicles being driven around the staging area. But the teams coped well with the strange conditions.  The weather couldn't make its mind up if it should rain or be bright sunshine, and some people got sunburned while others were covered in mud. Even when the road to the on-site car park was closed and teams had to be ferried to and from their cars by 4x4's the spirits remained high. Unfortunately the bad weather meant spectators and family members were at a mimimum.

"It was rainy, muddy and cold, but the reffing 
was great and the competition was fierce.  
It was a great tournament." 
-Chris LaSoya, Avalanche

Two large carnival style tents provided the main sheltered staging, but many teams staged under sponsor tents. Diablo were out in full force with some very impressive tents, one of which unfortunately was damaged in the stormy winds on the Saturday night, along with half of planet's stand and Undercover's stand. The fields didn't get away completely unscathed either, the huge spider that had been on field two and which allowed teams to break to the centre by blocking many shooting lanes, was ripped over night and had to be removed. This meant a change in how field two could be played with few teams trying the long centre break anymore. 

Rather than a single trade show tent, assorted vendors set up their individual tents in various locations about the site, which meant there wasn't the usual hussle and hive of activity going on in the trade show area that so often makes players part with their money.

Smart Parts Europe had the new 2000 version shockers on show with new boards, trigger switches and double ball detents. Planet was showing off their new look Eclipse STO cockers and Eclipse Bushmaster 2000's, which the Banzai's were using on field. WDP were demonstrating the Angel Digital link that allows programming of the LCD's board, and Diablo showed off their new Skull Goggle system.

At the Masters 54 teams (17 pro teams and 37 amateurs) took to the fields during the preliminaries.  Each team played 5 games the first day.  The remaining 5 of the prelims to be played on Sunday.  There was a great showing of American teams demonstrating their serious competitive and entertaining on field paintball mixed with relaxed enjoyable style off field.

The All Americans brought their game with them across the pond, winning all five of their games to finish as the top ranked pros.  They carried a slim 4 point lead over the Camp Tigers, who also had a solid series of wins.  Shockwave held the 3rd position, with Avalanche in 4th. 

Daltons, dressed in excellent new yellow and black uniforms, topped the amateur bracket with a 30 point lead over second ranked NBK.  On their heels 20 points away were the Bugs, followed by Ground Zero Gold.  With 12 pro and 12 amateur slots open in the semi-finals, the teams prepared themselves for their remaining preliminary games.

Regardless of weather, the game goes on.  The remaining 5 of 10 preliminary rounds were played out on Sunday, choosing up who would move on to the semifinals.

In the amateur bracket, the Bushwackers, who took the Amateur title in May at the Pittsburgh NPPL, flexed their muscles moving up ahead of Daltons in the rankings with a slim 2 point lead.  Ground Zero Gold, Porn Stars, Rushers, NBK, Worms, Estratego, Russian Legion, Team Speed and Bugs rounded out the 12 teams which would start play Monday morning with a blank slate in the semis.

For the pros, it was not as much a question of who was advancing, as who wasn't.   As with most pro/am tournaments, a much higher ratio of pros are advanced to semifinals than amateurs.  In this case only 32 percent of the ams got to move up, while 70 percent of the pros get to keep playing.

The All Americans held their first place position through the second day, stretching out their lead to one hundred and a half points over Camp Tigers.  Avalanche, NWC, Shockwave, Banzai, Ground Zero, Magic Boys, TonTon Flingueurs, French Kiss, Storm, and Iron Wolf completed the 12 teams who would play on Monday.

"The best organized series in the world." 
- Billy Gardner, All Americans

The weather improved on Monday to beautifully sunny skies.

The pro finals came down to three American teams, the All Americans, Ground zero and Avalanche and one French team, Camp Tigers, to keep the European hopes alive. The Amatuers were played out between the Bushwackers, The Daltons, GZ Gold and Russian Legion. 

In the finals Avalanche played some great paintball and broke to the centre cross on field two, taking the Camp Tigers by surprise. Steve Rabakoff, from the centre cross took the tape player, John moved to the t-bag [US Translation = Dorito – large triangular Sup’Air Bunker] and then the call went up for Weasel who broke the game open from the snake.  He mugged his tape player then crossed to eliminate the camp tiger's middle man, A text book display of teamwork. It came down to the last set of games before Avalanche worked out they had won over the All Americans by just 5 points! Ground Zero came in third with the Camp Tigers taking the fourth spot.

The Russian Legion in the amateur division played some very aggressive paintball and had ripped through many pro-teams in the prelims. They found it a little harder once they got to the finals, but continued with their hard playing style to get the runner up place. Ground Zero's draw against the Dalton's and fifty penalty points didn't help, leaving them in fourth place, behind the daltons. The Bushwackers played solid paintball, turned around their game against GZ from what looked to be a strong GZ position, and took the top amateur spot.

The prize giving for the tournament was conducted by Steven Baldwin from Powergames who thanked everyone for putting up with the conditions and remarked that every other UK major outdoor event that weekend had been cancelled due to the weather. 

Laurent Hamet took over to give the Prizes for the Millenium series in which All Americans took top place with camp Tigers as the runners up. The Amateur title went to Rush hour, who had marshalled Mayhem and wisely got maximum points for doing so. The Russian Legion took a well deserved runners up spot.

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