By: Zachary Lange
After a month removed from the opening stage of Season 10 of ESL Pro League play, eUnited Counter-Strike is back in mild Burbank, California for the last chance to make the Season 10 Finals.
Finishing third in the first stage of the pro league, eUnited will have one more weekend to book a ticket to the Finals in Odense, Denmark on Dec. 3-8.
Playing in another round-robin, four-team group, eUnited will be pitted against FURIA, 100 Thieves and Isurus Gaming. The name of the game for the team is simple. Finish first and move on to the $600,000 finals next month. Finish anything less and stay at home.
Rejoining the starting quintet is Kaleb “moose” Jayne after a brief stint on the bench for eUnited. His last LAN tournament for the team was in July, respectively, during the Americas Minor for the 2019 StarLadder Major.
Moving into moose’s spot will be Anthony “vanity” Malaspina. With the main in-game leader now removed from the starting lineup, Ryan “freakazoid” Abadir will move into the role of IGL with brother Austin “Cooper” Abadir still as the main AWP. The trio of Edgar “MarKE” Maldonado, Victor “food” Wong and moose will serve as a combination of lurkers and fraggers, with moose adapting many of his old roles in the lineup that saw him frequently highlight the top of the leaderboard in kills.
“We're excited to have moose return to the lineup because he has shown that he has built-up motivation and hunger from being on the bench,” food said. “I'm looking forward to seeing how well we can match up against these teams considering that we only had a few days of practice with moose. It would take everyone to be on point, both mechanically and mentally, for us to come out on top over these teams.”
Reaching the finals will be a tall task for eUnited. Both 100 Thieves and FURIA currently sit inside the top-10 in HLTV rankings – with 100T in sixth and FURIA 10th, respectively – with both finishing in second on the outside looking in during the first stage of play.
At IEM Beijing last weekend, 100 Thieves ran through opponents such as Vitality and ENCE to claim second place in a loss in the grand finals to Astralis. FURIA have also seen successes on LAN after the first round of the EPL, achieving a bronze medal during Season 8 play of the StarSeries i-League, where FURIA defeated G2 Esports, Vitality and AVANGAR, among others.
Playing to this level of competition has been something that in the past has seen a bag of mixed results for eUnited. But in the first round of this season’s EPL, eUnited took all three competitors to a deciding map, finishing with a 1-2 record overall.
“At this point we should be able to compete with these teams, but obviously we haven't lately, so this will be good to be able to play more maps against good teams as we try to improve,” cooper said.
This weekend will serve as the first time these five players have played an official match, either online or on LAN, as a unit.
All three matches in the last chance round for eUnited will be broadcast across ESL’s Twitch channels. Here is a breakdown of eUnited’s schedule (All times Pacific):
Saturday, Nov. 16
eUnited vs. 100 Thieves – 9:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 17
eUnited vs. FURIA – 5:25 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 18
eUnited vs. Isurus Gaming – 9:15 p.m.