By: Zachary Lange
When eUnited returns to the stage for Phase 3 of the National PUBG League, they’ll have their eyes set on not only winning the four-week long season but qualifying for the PUBG Global Championship.
In order to reach the world championship stage, eUnited will have to finish in the top-5 in the championship points battle. As a result of finishing eighth in Phase 2, eUnited find themselves in 10th place in the year-long standings. A top-4 finish overall in Phase 3 would all but wrap up one of the 32 seeds for the November finale.
Coach Trey “Afflux” Bourne pointed to the recent success of eUnited as an organization as the fuel needed for the team to keep pushing forward.
“t's hard to follow the amount of prestige and success that eUnited has achieved this year but we're absolutely going to do our best to deliver the best iteration of the PUBG team fans have ever seen,” Afflux said.
Since July, the returning duo of Taylor “TaylorJay” Johnson and Viktor “Stab” Blaesbjerg have joined alongside Mitchell “Shuhroo” King and Brendan “Balefrost” Connors to round out a quartet that is robust in pushing the limits offensively.
Having plenty of practice time on their hands before the start of the new phase, Afflux has seen how both Shuhroo and Balefrost have begun to grow into their own as members of the team.
“We've chosen to work with two strong players for the upcoming phase,” Afflux said. “Shuhroo has worked with two separate NPL teams since preseason (in late 2018) and has been on qualifying (NPL) teams since…while usually holding said team’s majority kills and damage respectfully. His role on the team is a fragger, and his communication skills are very deliberate and precise. But what we gain the most from Shuhroo is his consistent ability to gain one or two-plus kills consistently per round while continually damaging other teams.
“Balefrost is newer to the professional PUBG community but has been playing for a while and adds tremendous value to every team he's played on or even substituted for. His energy and communication in the game is unmatched, similar to Taylor's. Bale's analytical ability to memorize where teams are and who is alive on the team is usually spot on and he's not shy when it comes to offering how to rotate, or who to fight if Stab or Taylor can't. His role on the team is a fragger, similar to Shuhroo and Taylor. But, both Taylor and Bale give input when needed to Stab’s game plans.”
With Shuhroo, Balefrost and TaylorJay all acting as leading fraggers, it will be left up to Stab to be the main in-game leader for the squad. Stab’s abilities will be used to dictate a vast majority of the team’s rotations and big picture plays throughout the course of an individual match.
For TaylorJay, the duo of newcomers was a “smooth and easy transition” with both players possessing instinctual abilities to aim down their opponents. In getting to that final goal of playing for a world championship, it will be all about teamwork.
“We’re very consistent in our scrims just need to translate that over,” he said. “All we need to do is play together play patient and communicate. I’m very confident in this team.”
There are a host of changes on tap for the regular season on Phase 3, here’s a look at what to expect:
A new map
For the third and final season of NPL play, Sanhok will be added into the rotation of maps played. Sanhok has been at the forefront of the team’s mind, as learning the terrain and locations of each landmark can be a challenge.
“We’ve been practicing by grinding scrims for months, during weeks that all other teams were chillaxing,” Shuhroo said. “Even though it meant we weren’t playing against top players, it still meant we were doing more than them (competition).”
eUnited have designated the western side of Ha Tinh as their dedicated drop zone. The location provides vehicles to rotate and earns the team prime position for the circle should it fall to the western side of Sanhok.
More games to play each day
Due to the addition of Sanhok, each broadcast of the NPL will feature six games as opposed to four, with two games being played on each map (Erangel, Miramar and Sanhok).
Drop locations on Erangel have remained unchanged with a prison and shelter split on the evergreen map. They will begin Miramar by opting to land in West Leones.
Bye bye, NPL Royale
In the first two phases the NPL spanned across five weeks, with the NPL Royale splitting the season. The 32-team friendly tournament which featured all teams from the main series and NPL Contenders series is no more.
Phase 3 will be four weeks, with six games on both Saturday and Sunday. Prizing from the NPL Royale will be dispersed across the NPL for each finishing position at the end of the phase.
How to watch
As always, all matches are streamed live from the OGN Super Arena in Manhattan Beach, California. Week 1 begins Saturday, Sept 7. at 2 p.m. Pacific.