By: Zachary Lange
Although it did not come easy, eUnited Counter Strike was able to qualify for Season 8 of the ESL Pro League (EPL) with a 2-1 series victory over Swole Patrol on Wednesday.
Played at the ESL Studios in Leicester, United Kingdom, eUnited was only six rounds away from being eliminated by Swole Patrol after losing Game 1 on Nuke by a final of 3-16. Despite being down in Game 2 by a lopsided 2-10, the team led by Skyler “Relyks” Weaver rattled off 14 straight rounds to claim victory on Inferno 16-14.
The deciding game on Overpass was won by a final of 16-13 and featured a series high 26 kills by Brandon “Ace” Winn. While emotion was high, Relyks felt that the squad stayed as even keel as possible to turn the tides of the match.
“I think even with the rough first map the team realized we were still in it and that we had to keep our focus,” Relyks said. “Even when we were super down on the second map, we never mentally gave up and grinded it back to win 14 rounds in a row. After that people weren’t so down and low energy, and we were able to close out map 3 to take the series.”
While the victory today marks the first time eUnited has qualified for the EPL, Relyks still sees room to grow for a roster of five individuals that have only been together for less than three months.
“Everyone had big rounds and important clutches and if a teammate wasn’t performing very well on a map other people were picking up the slack,” Relyks said. “No one played extremely well, but we played as a team and everyone did their part to get the win.”
As a result of this match, eUnited will now play against premier teams in North America this fall including many of the same competitors from Season 5 of the Esports Championship Series (ECS) that eUnited currently competes in.
There is also more to play for this weekend. eUnited still has a $50,000 prize pool to compete for as part of the playoffs for the ESEA Mountain Dew League (MDL). Coach Jared “osorandom” Hartman cited the victory as a “relief” to turn the team’s attention to the rest of the competition ahead.
“We feel a lot of relief and pressure lifted off of our shoulders,” osorandom said. “We can focus on the tournament and don’t have to worry about other things distracting us.”
Also on the schedule for May 10 is a match against Rogue in what will be eUnited’s finale in ECS Season 5. With a 2-0 victory, eUnited could potentially clinch a spot in the ECS Season 5 Playoffs and earn a trip back to the U.K. for a chance to compete for a prize pool of $250,000 on June 8-10.