By: Zachary Lange
For most, a top-4 at the 2018 SMITE Masters and a top-2 seed in the North American region of the SMITE Pro League (SPL) would be exceeding expectations.
For eUnited, it wasn’t good enough.
“This split there's a much larger emphasis on accountability and work ethic in our practice environments,” said guardian Mike “PolarBearMike” Heiss. “Being blunt, a few people slacked too much and didn't treat the split seriously enough from the start and it led to a horrible and embarrassing start, so it's important to us to avoid that ever happening again.”
The SPL Spring Split began with three straight losses, something that the reigning world champions were not used to. But, critical wins at the end of the split along with some help from the results around them squeaked eUnited by to the SMITE Masters tournament. However, a world championship rematch against Team Rival and a losers bracket matchup against the number one seed in North America, SpaceStation Gaming, would be what ultimately led to the team’s exit from Hi-Rez Studios in Atlanta.
Spring’s out, Summer’s in
Moving forward to the Summer Split, changes in the team’s chemistry and making personal, individual improvements in gameplay have been focused on to improve the team as a whole.
Practices in between games have been taken more seriously, with the joking around being left on social media. When the team focuses on criticizing each other to discuss a misplay, it is taken less personally and is recognized as a teammate just trying to help.
“In a weird way this is a simple thing, but because we had so much success last year we are kind of just now figuring out how to work through problems and I think that's a big positive for the long run,” PolarBearMike said.
Recognizing the amount of changes that have occurred to the game before the start of this split, coach Cassidy “Cardiac” Cameron stated that the team’s focus in practice has been perfecting the right picks and bans as well as general improvements to the team as a whole.
Cardiac stated that Xbalanque and Guan Yu were two gods that have recently been buffed in strength and he expects to see them in use more during SPL play. As it usually is, Cardiac said that as the split progresses it will become apparent what gods teams value more than others.
As for expectations for this split, they’re still as high as before; Win the tournament at the end of the split.
“This could probably be said for most teams,” Cardiac said. “But I think our communication and synergy in-game as a whole can improve and is always improving.”
The season starts on May 28 with a matchup versus the team that eliminated them from SMITE Masters, SpaceStation Gaming, with a tough Week 1 concluding against Luminosity Gaming.
In Week 2, eUnited will face off against Counter Logic Gaming for the first time since denying them a top-2 seed in the North American region on the final day of the spring split. This prevented CLG from attending SMITE Masters. The two teams will meet again in Week 5.
Finally, eUnited will close out the Summer Split with a matchup against Trifecta Gaming.
To watch eUnited compete in all 10 games of the SPL Summer Split log on to Mixer.com/Smite.