3-man airball can be one of the most difficult xball formats in regards to strategies and techniques. They tend to attract a very large spectrum of skill levels, meaning that your team must not only be prepared to play evenly matched teams, but also players who are much more experienced than you. You must even be ready to play teams you are much better than as well. With the proper care in planning and preparation, you and your team can dominate the field at your next 3-man tournament.


If you don't know what your team is planning before the game starts, you will be disorganized. Players will need to spend more time communicating things mid-game that could have been gone over well before you even stepped on the field. Using the strategies that will be expanded later in this article, go over them with your team either in practice the weekend before the event, or call a team meeting and go over it vocally.

If you have extra time in-between your games, have at least one team member watch the other teams play each other. Take note of how aggressive they push up the field, and how they break out.

As with all tournaments, make sure you are well equipped with suitable amounts of paint and make sure your pods are filled, hits are wiped off, and air is full before each point.

Playing Conservative

When playing teams that are above or on par with your skill level, you are going to need to slow down your game. Focus your break out on having guns up and shooting. You want a short, wide spread on the field. Usually, teams will send two players to the two corners, and have one player stay at the home (back center) bunker and lane.

Having a player on both of the tapes allows them to make sure the opposing team can't move up as efficiently. 

Playing Aggressive

If you know you are more experienced than your opposition, it means you can probably get away with bigger moves and a more aggressive tactic. While it is still good to control the tapes, it may also be smart to send your snake-side player running into S1 off the break instead. Have your back player cover them as they move up quickly and try to catch the other team off guard.

Playing aggressively doesn't mean showering the other team in paint, or trying to bunker everyone three seconds into the game. Play fast, but play smart as well.


This simple strategy is really all you need to win a point in a three man tournament. The key is this: control the tapes, and fill weak points.

Filling for your team is needed when one of your front players is eliminated. IMMEDIATLEY after they are hit, the back player should move into their side of the field. This will prevent the other team from attempting to move up on your side.

In this scenario, you fill your weak point.

Filling against the other team is needed when your team eliminates one of the opposition's front players. The front player on the now open side makes an aggressive push forward. The back player will fill into their side to support them.

In this scenario, you fill their weak point.


Winning a three man point in paintball is as simple as knowing your opponent, controlling the tapes, and filling weak points. Good luck, and have fun!