By: Zachary Lange 

Competitive league play for eUnited’s Counter Strike team is fast approaching with a new look for ESL Pro League (EPL).

Beginning April 12, eUnited will begin Season 9 play in the EPL at a venue to be announced later. It is the first time that all regular season matches will be played in a centralized location.

The format in which the matches will be played has also changed dramatically. Instead of playing all 16 teams in the pro league, eUnited is in a group of four teams. Placed in Group A alongside NRG Esports, INTZ and Renegades, all pairings were seeded according to the ESL World Rankings. A fourth group is reserved for South American teams.

Leading into regular season play, eUnited is currently No. 40 in the ESL World Ranking, and No. 32 in the HLTV rankings.

From there, eUnited has two chances from group play to make it to the finals held in France in June to compete for a prize pool of $750,000. Finishing first in the group automatically qualifies the team to the final round, finishing second or third would afford the squad one more chance to qualify in a last chance qualifier, while finishing last in group play sends the team home empty-handed.

Last year’s season saw a former iteration of eUnited’s roster place just outside the old format’s playoffs cutline, something that in-game leader Anthony “vanity” Malaspina is looking to avoid by focusing on each step in the season individually.

“(We’re) looking to make it into playoffs but our main focus is at least getting out of the first group stage,” vanity said.

In addition to pro league changes, a couple of major modifications have been made inside the game.

In the overall economy, a round win no longer fully resets the winning team’s loss bonus. This, along with reducing the price of the AUG assault rifle, punishes losing an opening pistol round significantly less as teams can now buy into a round faster. This news is a positive step forward according to vanity.

In a new update to the professional map pool Vertigo will replace Cache, a map that the team only played three times and won only once as a full five-man roster according to HLTV.

Right after finishing group play in the EPL, the team will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the DreamHack Open: Rio tournament on April 19. The tournament features a $100,000 prize pool.

Coverage of all events can be found on eUnited’s social media platforms.