By: Zachary Lange
While eUnited came up just short at CWL Las Vegas, the team earned a holiday present that only a few get to enjoy.
By finishing runner-up, the squad earned an automatic berth into the 2019 CWL Pro League. Teams that finished in the top-4 (OpTic Gaming, eUnited, Splyce and Luminosity Gaming) will now face off in a 16-team league that is set to begin in February.
Had eUnited placed outside of the top-4, they would have qualified for a pro league play-in tournament at MLG Studios in Columbus that will take place in early January.
Instead, the team can sit back, regroup and enjoy the holidays with loved ones – free of the stress of preparing for the qualifier – before beginning another month long practice schedule.
“I'm just happy for us and the trajectory we seem to be on,” said captain James “Clayster” Eubanks. “I'm absurdly hungry for another championship, and I know all these guys are too, it's a really good feeling.”
A player that many on the team thought stood out was newcomer Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris. He ranked third on the team in overall kill-death ratio (1.04) and provided fast paced gameplay that matched the likes of teammate Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson. The two often work around the map with one another to pick up entry kills and trade their lives effectively in respawn game types.
“(The) guy’s an animal,” Prestinni said. “Some of the best gun skill in the game if not the best. Aggressive. We play really well together.”
This will be the first pro league that aBeZy will participate in after playing through open bracket at a majority of tournaments in last year’s Call of Duty. Winning at Las Vegas was aBeZy’s first goal, but with time to reflect on gaining the reputability of becoming a pro, he described the newfound status as amazing, adding that he’s “super excited” to compete soon in the league.
Moving forward, there will be some minor tweaks to the team in order to progress. Each person had their own ideas to bring to the drawing board. Clayster felt that broadening the team’s map pool was a key to future success.
“Practicing and really focusing on those weak maps is where we as a team are going to flourish once we get into the pro league,” Clayster said. “If we only allow ourselves one or two bad maps, we can abuse the veto system to our advantage every time.”
In addition to map picks and bans, coach Brian “Saintt” Baroska wants to focus on the team’s specialists’ ability roles. With specialists providing the ability to swing momentum across all competitive game modes, having the right balance is critical.
Though Saintt doesn’t expect many changes to the team’s specialist roles, it will still be looked at by the team and defined “at least a few weeks before we play on LAN again.”
Despite minor tweaks, eUnited Call of Duty is poised to win at any time. While Clayster mentioned that closing out tight performances is something the team will work on moving forward, he broke down what opposing teams are up against on any given day.
“Our strong point is that we don't have a weak point,” Clayster said. “We don't have a weak player on this team, and with the five-versus-five format I think that's even scarier than most people take into account. If you somehow make it through the frontline of aBeZy and Prestinni, then you have to make it through the mid-line of me and Kap (Jordan “JKap” Kaplan).
“If you somehow break that, you have to worry about Arcitys being planted 20 feet in the back with an ICR.”
After a needed holiday break for the players, which many said will be spent with family and friends with some Call of Duty mixed in for fun, eUnited will regroup to put their plans to improve into action.