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Ultimate Shootout – The new paintball 1on1 format
Tuesday July 21, 2020


With "The Ultimate Shootout", the scene in Corona times has received a new, brand-new tournament format in single-player mode. We reached out to the organizers of the Ultimate Shootout series to find out a little more about this new form of paintball sport that's been getting a lot of hype in the US right now. What looks like a normal one-on-one at first glance turns out to be an interesting tournament sport variant with plenty of future potential on closer inspection.

As they say ? – "Necessity is the mother of invention…". Due to the fact that tournament paintball in team format is not possible due to the current situation, the organizers of the paintball leagues and events have become active and quickly set up a completely new tournament format with "The Ultimate Shootout", in which the Professionals compete against each other in thrilling 1-on-1 duels in a kind of Grand-Prix tournament format.

The concept is not really new, but it is completely different from previous tournaments of this type. For the first time, the team sport of paintball has been broken down into a real single-player experience. No team play, no substitutions, this is about the best individual player. An approach that is blatantly opposed to the actual team sport idea in paintball, but still offers interesting possibilities. "The Ultimate Shootout" is played on a reduced SupAir field. At first glance, this looks just like a normal paintball field. There is a starting base and lots of bunkers to hide behind. At second glance, however, one notices a few changes. Instead of just one starting base per side, there are suddenly two. The field is also significantly smaller and the bunkers are almost all the same size or small. Large bunkers were deliberately avoided in order to keep the possibility of hiding low and the pace of play high at the same time.

The orientation of the organizers is clear, things should really get down to business here from the first second. If you then look at the gameplay, this becomes immediately apparent. Most Ultimate Shootout encounters only last a few seconds. Running & Gunning is the keyword here. Fast changes of cover and shooting on the move from all positions are simply part of this game variant. In contrast to a normal SupAir field, the two buzzers are not on the starbases, but in the middle of the field. Anyone who achieves this can secure additional points.

And this is how it all works…

The Ultimate Shootout is always held as a Grand Prix tournament, similar to a soccer World Cup. M500 format applies, i.e. a hopper and two additional pots, each with a maximum of 140 paintballs. There is a one-minute break between each point. So that nobody can cheat, every player has to start with the same material. Markers will be set to 285 FPS (international standard) and everyone must wear shorts and jerseys approved by the organizer. This is to prevent players from gaining an unfair advantage by simply using very thick or padded clothing, for example.

In the first round, the field consists of eight players, so to speak, the quarter-finals. These eight players compete in four one-on-one matches. The winners all advance to one round and then meet one of the other quarter-final winners in the semi-finals. The semi-final winners then meet again in the grand final and decide the victory among themselves. All events are local. The reason is the current lockdown regulation, which, in addition to the ban on larger group gatherings, also includes travel restrictions and thus makes it difficult to organize cross-border paintball tournaments. According to the organizers, however, a national final tournament is also being considered, in which a national champion will be determined from all regional winners in a large final tournament. At the end of the day, in addition to fame and honour, there is also a large prize to be won.

Now let's take a closer look at the flow of a single game. As already mentioned, the game is played in a one-on-one format on a small Supair field with centrally arranged buzzers. If you mark your opponent, you win the game and get a point. After each point played, the sides are changed. Anyone who reaches and presses one of the buzzers in the middle without being marked receives three points. With that, the real aim of the game is clear and players are willing to take the risk of being hit and losing a point in order to gain three points in return. Before the start of each round, a so-called bonus buzzer is also named by the referee. This even earns four points if you reach it without hitting it. Because the bonus buzzer is only announced shortly before the start of the game, the players still have to adjust to the new game situation within 10 seconds. Then they change the starting base, for example, to have a better attack angle, or to start closer to the bonus buzzer. Recall that The Ultimate Shootout board has two starting bases per side of the board. Anyone who scores three points in a row, i.e. marks the opponent three rounds in a row, is in the so-called “kill streak” from now on. From now on, each additional point counts triple. In other words, a normal marking by the opponent is counted as three points from the fourth, victorious game round in a row and counts just as much as reaching the buzzer. This should help players who fell behind early on to catch up and turn games with little time left. The format is designed for fast games and should still remain exciting up to the last second. The distribution of points is significantly involved in this effect. The first player to collect 20 points wins.

However, there are also penalties where players can lose points. If, for example, you continue playing with a hit, you get a point deducted. It costs three points if you try to wipe away a hit and the referee sees you doing so. The so-called "wiping" is severely punished in every kind of paintball tournament sport, because it is one of the most unfair actions in the game. Anyone who physically attacks their opponent or otherwise behaves in a grossly unsportsmanlike manner will have the referees deduct a whopping five points from their account.

We will probably only see whether this new format can assert itself in the end when tournament sport returns to its normal everyday business after Corona. Certainly "The Ultimate Shootout" is a great alternative for the current time that polarizes and offers a lot of action. But paintball is actually a team sport and it's just a lot more fun to fight for victory and defeat with a team than to go 1on1 as a lonely knight chasing points. Nevertheless, we like the idea behind it and think it's good that talented individual and young players are offered a platform in this format where they can excel and draw attention to themselves. Maybe paintball is more than just a team sport after all, maybe it is both and with this new format it can also create a future-oriented platform for ambitious athletes who are more interested in individual sports.

We will definitely keep an eye on further developments for you. So far, "The Ultimate Shootout" is unfortunately only available in the USA. However, those responsible have let it be known that they are toying with the idea of bringing this new format across the pond to Europe. An interesting thought…

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