It’s been a moderately successful but frustrating year for one of the beast teams in the league. Tampa Bay Damage took second to Dynasty at the first two events, and 5th at the Chicago Open. Not too long ago Damage was dominating the league; they won 3 events in row, from late 2011 to early 2012.
Though they often get knocked by critics for playing a defensive style of paintball, they can play fast and aggressive, as they have some of the best offensive weapons in paintball on their roster. Damage has a chameleon-like ability to shape their style of play to suit the field layout and adapt to different playing styles, but they haven’t won an event since the first tournament of 2012.
Of all their offensive weapons, Bryan Smith (ranked 23rd Overall) and Chad Busiere (ranked 30th Overall) and are the most efficient and consistent so far this season, they’re the second and third highest ranked players on the team. Busiere is one of the fastest players on the D-side, and Smith has been tearing it up in the snake during his comeback season.
The highest ranked player on the team is Jason Edwards (ranked 5th Overall). He’s so good and so consistent he might be the best back player in the league, depending on the day and who you talk to, and anyone who doesn’t put him in the Top 3 is either blind or biased. Edwards was the 2012 People’s Choice Award winner. He’s mobile for a back guy, a top-notch gunfighter, rarely dies early, and is solid in all situations.
Raney Stanczak (ranked 63rd Overall), who came over at the beginning of the season from the Los Angeles Ironmen, brought over by Coach “Skinny” Kevin Bredthauer, is also a top-notch back player as well, whose skills and high paintball IQ allow him to play any position. He’s an ace in the hole for Damage, and great pick up if he stays long term.
Thought he’s hasn’t been used as an “every point” player during years he’s been on the team, Ramzi El-Yousef (ranked 40th Overall) looked outstanding in Chicago. Damage will be dangerous at the West Coast Open if they get all their players contributing like El-Yousef did last event. Keith Brown (ranked 73rd Overall) has also proven he deserves his spot on the team, and his speed gives Coach Bredthauer options. Dan Holiday (ranked 89th Overall) is the best wild card in Tampa’s deck, he doesn’t have a set position, as he’s bounced back and forth between sides over the years. His numbers this year aren’t anywhere near what they were last year (he was ranked 3rd overall in 2012), but he could go off at any time, so Tampa should keep him in the rotation.
Though they’ve had some turnover recently, with a total loss of 4 players in the past eight months, the core of team remains the same. In fact, you could say the core is stronger with the return of Smith this year; he was a huge reason they won tournaments during their rise to paintball stardom. Look for Tampa Bay to make a solid run the rest of the year; from top to bottom Damage is stacked.
Mark your calendars for the 4th event of the 2013 PSP season, the PSP West Coast Open, brought to you live from the AB Brown Sports Complex in Riverside, CA, August 16th – 18th, by Paintball Access.
Can Upton 187 Crew and the Ton Tons fight out of the Challengers Division? Will Houston Heat win their second tournament of the year? Can Dynasty make it to the finals 4 events in row? Find out the answers as the best paintball players in the world fight it out at the PSP West Coast Open!