In 2014 FTF won the Tactical 5 Man title and won 5 new LV1 Eclipse HDE Camo markers. They have been playing the UWL since the beginning and have grown into one of the top teams of the UWL. They have always played with class and have won the respect of the teams and refs. We asked them some questions about their history and experiences with the UWL.
Can you give a brief history of FTF and how it found itself playing UWL?
In 2006 my brother, Steven, and I guested for a team called Shadow Force at an SPPL event in Michigan at Hell Survivors. This was the first tournament of any kind Steven and I had ever played. Even though we lost every game that year we had so much fun playing competitive woodsball that we decided to form our own 10 man team. So in 2007, Failure to Flatline (FTF) was formed. Over the next year we recruited some friends who played paintball with us at our field (Splat Shack Paintball) to form FTF.
Our goal as a team is to promote honest and fair play, have fun, and be competitive as a paintball team.
Over the next couple of years we played in the SPPL. After two years of playing in this league we started to fear that the league we loved would not be around much longer and started hearing rumors of a new woodsball league being formed by the “famous” Tom Cole. On a side note we had been beaten by Tom Cole’s Bad Company a couple of times competing in the SPPL. So in 2009 we decided to try out the UWL. That year we played at Three Rivers Paintball in PA, and Badlandz Paintball in IL.
As a team we have really enjoyed playing the UWL. It offers a great competitive format which is played in the woods. Each year we pick 2 or 3 events to compete in and it has been fun to travel around the country as see new fields and meet great teams. Each area of the country has its own challenges as the climate and terrain affects the game play. For example in Georgia you are paying under large pine trees and hiding in palmettos. In the Midwest everything is green and leafy, and sometimes weedy. And finally in California you find yourself crawling through sand, and most of the undergrowth is brown. As a team we have had opportunity to play the UWL in PA, MD, GA, TN, and IL. Steven and I guested for the Chicago Heretics in California as well. This year we are looking forward to playing in Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois.
You guys started playing 10 man UWL from the start., but now you are playing both 5 man and 10 man. Can you tell me about why the change and your thoughts on 10 man and 5 man?
When we started playing competitive woodsball all of the teams consisted of 10 people. So we put together a 10 man team and have been playing 10 man ever since then. I have always liked 10 man. With 10 people playing on the field you can lose more guys and still cover the field. It also allows more room for error or to try something new. The down side of playing ten man is it is hard to find 10 people whose schedules will mesh, so there is more turnover as people’s lives change and life happens.
This past year we made the move to play both 5 man and 10 man. One of the reasons for this was we lost several players from the previous year. We also had one of our players get injured, and was unable to play during the 2014 season. We did not know if we would be able to field a full 10 man team for the season, but we decided to keep practicing and put in a 5 man team and compete anyway. For PA we were able to put together a 10 man team from our FTF Roster. We made our 5 man roster based off of those team members who could play both PA and IL.
We were not sure what to expect going into 5 man, as the UWL has been doing 5 man events for a couple of years now. After playing the first game, we were hooked. The game is much faster paced than 10 man. There is a greater need for field awareness as things can change very quickly in 5 man. Our plan moving forward is to put in a 10 man and 5 man team in each event we go to. If we are unable to field a 10 man team we will guest with another team. This is what we did in Chicago last year as we combined with Delta IX to play 10 man.
How often do you guys practice?
We have a scheduled practice once a month during the UWL season. This year we will start practicing in March and continue through September. We also encourage our team members to get out and play throughout each month as much as possible. We will attend open plays, and scenario games as well. On average I am out playing at least 2 or 3 times a month during the UWL season.
Can you give us an idea on what you do during your practices?
Since most of the guys on the team have families we cannot be out practicing every weekend. We will practice for 4 to 6 hours. We try to make the time we have together as a team productive. We will run drills for the first half of the practice and scrimmage against each other for the second half of practice. Over the years we have made up drills that we felt would be beneficial for woods play. We will play 1 on 1’s, and 2 on 1’s, snapshooting, and working on specific gun skills. We will set up a target course and run through the field shooting targets and calling out kill counts. In 2013 we were privileged to have Kyle and Karl Poynter and Tom Boyer come out to one of our practices and work with us on some drills as well.
One of my favorite drills we added last year is a relay race. We will have everyone form two lines. Start at a specific point and sprint up the field to a center bunker and shoot at two targets. One target you have to shoot at right handed and the other left handed. This drill helps with working on acquiring your target, shooting left-handed, switching gun hands, and adding competitiveness with the relay race.
If you were going to give a piece of advice to a team coming from the scenario world to try the UWL what would you say?
Just bring your guys out and try the UWL and prepare to have a great time playing paintball. Be sure to read the rules. If you do not know the rules you can have a good time playing paintball but just like in a scenario game if you don’t complete the missions you can’t win the game. You may still have fun playing but you will have a much better experience if you understand the rules. The UWL offers a good mix of both competitive paintball with scenario. You are allowed to have a Sniper (Pump Player) or Ranger (Mechanical Player) on your roster. So if you have that guy on your team who does not like electronic markers this is the perfect position for him. In the past Tom has allowed rocket launchers which can be a huge game changer for the teams that know how to use them. There are four flag stations, which require team work to control. Due to the different fields it is good to arrive on Friday and spend time walking the field. This is one of my favorite times of preparing for a tournament.
You get to know the field. Which side of the field you can hold and which side you can push. You can also look for those hiding spots where you can wait for the right moment and make something happen.
In closing, Failure to Flatline is looking forward to the UWL this year. We would like to thank Tom Cole for providing a great paintball venue to play in. We would also like to thank the sponsors of the UWL. Last year we were able to benefit from those sponsors in the form of 5 Planet Eclipse markers. We are looking forward to getting out on the field and competing again this year. If anyone is interested in more information on the UWL check out www.playuwl.com and if you would like to see what Failure to Flatline is up to please contact us on our facebook page @ Failure to Flatline. Hopefully we will see you on the field in 2015!