By: Zachary Lange
In order to find the last loss suffered by eUnited Counter Strike, you’ll have to go back all the way to May 23 in ESL Pro League play, where a 2-1 result in the favor of Ghost awarded eUnited with a third place finish in the last chance qualifier for EPL Finals.
Since that defeat, however, the team has gone on a nearly two-month winning streak that has included a victory against a top-10 HLTV ranked FURIA en-route to qualifying for ESL One New York. Earlier last month, the team earned a trip to Berlin, Germany to compete in Americas Minor for the StarLadder Major.
Over the past several weeks when online qualifiers aren’t on the schedule, the squad has also been practicing up to seven hours a day against other top teams in North America. With the extra time to prepare for the minor, Kaleb “moose” Jayne feels confident on the team’s chances to leave Germany with New Challenger status.
As a New Challenger, eUnited would earn another trip to Berlin later in the year to compete as one of 16 teams fighting for eight spots into the next stage that features a larger prize pool and some of the top competition across the world.
“I think the team is growing in confidence and chemistry,” moose said. “When we played the other (previous) tournaments we really never had time to practice. But now we have had a solid month to just work on everything, obviously weeding out the little round losing mistakes, and I think it’s going to make a difference.”
“The biggest improvements we’ve made are just on our communication and ability to close out the late rounds,” added in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina.
Eight teams split into two groups will be participating in the minor, with two spots available for direct qualification into the StarLadder Major with New Challenger status. eUnited was placed into Group B alongside Luminosity, INTZ and FURIA, and will face the Brazilian Luminosity in an opening, best-of-one series on July 17, with the rest of the schedule TBD. The event also features a $50,000 prize pool.
Should eUnited not finish among the top pair, a third-place finish would award the team with a last chance qualifier later in the month against other third place teams from various qualification regions in their respective minor tournaments. Anything lower than third, and eUnited is sent home empty-handed.
All matches will be streamed live from Berlin on the official StarLadder Twitch channel. Due to the difference in time zones, a majority of the matches will be in the wee hours of the morning ranging from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. Eastern time.
Notes and nuggets:
-eUnited is currently ranked 31st on the HLTV rankings, tied for the highest in their history together as a five-man roster. eUnited broke the top-30 last year and have been as high as 27th.
-A player to watch for at Amercias Minor is Edgar “MarKE” Maldonado. Against FURIA in the online qualifier for ESL One New York, the 21-year-old Mexican delivered in a big way, going 51-29 across two maps which included a 22-0 start to Map 1 on Overpass. His ADR was ranked the highest in the lobby at an impressive 97.9.
-Should eUnited make it to New Challenger status, it would be the first major tournament ever in organization history.