The ICPL Pro DNA Open kicks off in Tennessee this weekend, full event preview!
Article written in partnership with Iconic Paintball, Quinn Nadu
For the first time since the leagues inception, the ICPL will commence its first affiliate event at the Pro DNA Open hosted in Shelbyville, Tennessee at The Farm Sports paintball facility. In its fifth year, the world's largest Classic paintball league has added various affiliate events for 2023; the events are fully backed and supported by the ICPL and offer the proven Major League Paintball system behind them.
The 10v10 division features 28 of the leagues top professional and amateur teams all facing off in a single, open division round robin tournament. Often, these open events produce some of the most exciting games throughout the season mostly due to the unconventional styles of amateur teams pushing professional teams out of their comfort zone.
The event will take place on March 31st with the event winner being crowned after the Sunday playoffs on April 2nd. With games being played across three different field variants; Hyperball, Woodsball, and Mounds, the event offers a wide variety of styles and strategy as teams all work to win the prize purse.
The Venue and Staff
One of the South-Eastern United States newest premier facilities, The Farm Sports is owned and operated by Ira Smith, known for his passion in developing the sport of paintball; the facility was created in 2019 with the goal of growing high quality paintball players in the American South. Since its inception, the Farm Sports has been a facility of constant improvement, with Ira tirelessly working to create balanced fields, intense practices, and a safe playing environment.
Russell Jackson was named the event coordinator earlier this year and brings some of the most precise expertise in all of classic paintball. One of the originating founding members of the new wave of classic paintball that started in Pittsburgh in 2017, Russell brings a devout and passionate leadership to the Pro DNA Open and will certainly help this event grow to one of the best in the country.
The Classic paintball format is often one of the most exciting due to the high variety of field styles and layouts in comparison to the much more streamlined and standardized air ball layouts; each new event venue brings new styles of fields and new challenges. The venue features three competition 10v10 fields, Hyperball, Woodsball, and Mounds, that will be used for the event.
The hyperball field is perhaps the most intriguing. Its design and layout has been kept under lock and key with scant updates or clues to how it will be set up. This adds quite an interesting element to this event with all game planning for the layout coming the day of the event. It should lead to faster paced, offensive-centered games early on, with the top-level teams finding out how to slow down the field and control it by Sunday.
In the woods, the best way to describe this field layout is stout. The bunkers are built mostly from thick cut logs with very little underbrush or obstruction. This leads the field to be played in a more modern and balanced way in comparison to many of the larger and more overgrown woodsball fields on the ICPL circuit. With a high-action “snake side” built from 6-course log stacks in a knuckle style, the snake should be a highly contested zone where many teams generate their offense from.
Sticking with the theme of aggression at The Farm, low mounds create an intricate maze of bunkers all culminating in a center 50 zone that will see lots of trade-outs and big run-though moves. However, the top side tape features a continuous mound that expands nearly three quarters of the field's length with fortress-like corner bunkers to protect it, and this is sure to reward aggressive gunfighters. Look for teams to win this field in a war of attrition, last man standing style of play early in the event, and Sunday teams focusing on zone control to outlast opponents.
Amateur and Pro Teams Collide, Top Teams to Watch:
New York Xtreme
Coming off their best NXL pro performance ever, NYX is bringing nearly their entire pro roster to the event to try their hand at 10-man paintball. The high athleticism across the roster with premiere offensive players like Patrick Kraft and Corey Hall combined with the back line support from all-time great player and coach, Rich Telford, should bring a unique twist to the division. Josh Taylor is the player to watch for NYX, he is one of the NXLs more underrated defensive players and his calm demeanor and rapid reactionary style should translate very well to the 10-man field.
It wouldn’t be a 10-man event preview without mentioning one of the formats best teams ever, KAPP Factory. Led by legendary pro Roy Richard, KAPP brings some of the most talented and diverse groups of players on the pro field. With paintball legends from multiple eras of the sports history across the roster, this program is one of the world's most versatile and experienced 10-man rosters ever assembled. After dominating the 2022 ICPL season, they narrowly lost the season opener in Florida and should be the team to beat at the Pro DNA Open. Captain Roy “Cowboy” Richard is the player to watch; often playing a more versatile role on the field at all levels, his high pressure style is exciting and nuanced to watch.
The All Americans are pulling out all the stops for this event, assembling a roster with some of the best players in their program’s history. With Houston Heat pros Sam Monville and Ryan Moorhead, recent Hall of Icons inductee Todd Adamson, and one of the winningest players ever in Frank Connell, this team is built around its incredible pro pedigree. Top 10-man programs are all about versatility and depth at all levels of the field and the All Americans are perhaps the best in class. With more than two dozen World Cup championships between them, the roster is filled with high level talent and Ryan Moorhead is a must watch at this event. Moorhead has built a near two decade pro career around his extreme versatility and offensive capability and his frequent high-octane moves electrify the field.
Amateur Team that may surprise: Louisville Asylum
With such a stout field of pro-level teams playing the event, it can seem like a daunting task for amateur teams to overcome. However, the 2023 ICPL season has shown us that the top-end of the amateur division is talented. Louisville Asylum is perhaps one of the best non-pro classic teams in the US. After a narrow loss in the opening event of the season, Asylum can come into the Pro DNA Open and really establish their program as one of the top competitive classic teams against pro-level programs. Their long-standing roster has been the key to their success with many of the players on the team having played together for the last decade competitively.
Sponsor Spotlight: Infamous Paintball 💀
With some of the biggest companies in the sport supporting the event, the Pro DNA Open is headlined by Infamous Paintball, the title sponsor of the event. Travis Lemanski started the brand in the early 2000s behind his team's notorious and callous style on and off the field and has grown the company into one of the industry's premier brands. With an array of playing gear, clothing, and their newest competition grade Voltanium paintballs, Infamous has one of the most diverse selections of products in all of paintball.
Lemanski, who was recently inducted into the paintball Hall of Icons, has always focused his passion into growing the sport of paintball. Currently the Head Coach and owner of NXL pro franchise Los Angeles Infamous, Travis is using his three decades of pro experience to help build a top-level 10v10 event in the South Central United States and continues to push the boundaries of paintball product development.
The inaugural affiliate event at the Pro DNA Open is sure to excite!
With just a day left before the first game of the Pro DNA Open, teams are making final preparations to converge on Tennessee and battle it out for victory in the inaugural affiliate event of the ICPL season. The ICPL social media pages will provide updates all weekend long to keep players and fans informed as the action unfolds! Don’t forget to visit the Major League of Paintball site to always stay informed on all the upcoming events hosted by the world’s biggest professional paintball league!