Houston Heat is currently the number ranked team in the world. But they took 5th at the last event in Chicago, their worst performance so far, losing to Damage in the quarter-finals. They took second in their first event together and won the next event in Phoenix. Success so early in life of a team is unheard of. But, given the All-Star roster assembled by Owner Randy Smith, it’s not that surprising.
There are many bright spots for this new team, formed during the 2011-12 offseason, with one of the deepest rosters in the league. They are getting production out of almost every player on their roster right now and the biggest story of the year for Houston Heat, other than their quick rise to the top, is the breakout performances of Sam Monville (ranked 45th) and John Woodley (ranked 41st), as both players had been living in relative obscurity until this year. Woodley had one of the best moves of the last event, getting 4 kills in one run-through against Aftershock, and Moville is constantly in the mix, as an aggressive workhorse on the snake side of the field.
Add in solid play of veterans Nick Slowiak (ranked 77th), Mischa Knyazev (ranked 16th) and Konstantin Fedorov (ranked 19th), and they have been very consistent when playing in big games against great teams. The word coming back from pre tournament practices is that Fedorov and Mischa have been playing up to their legend. If they are both on point at the same time, Heat will be tough to beat. Also, it looks like Mischa’s knee, which he severely sprained at Phoenix, is now back to 100%.
On paper, their best player is Sergey Solnyshkov, who’s has been doing strong work, silently stealing the thunder of the better know players on his team, steadily creeping up the leader board, and is currently ranked 5th overall. If Heat keeps playing the hungry and inspired paintball we’ve seen from them in 2012, they’ll be tough to beat in at the mid Atlantic Open.