eUnited SMITE Looks To Defend World Championship
By: Zachary Lange
When eUnited SMITE took down European heavyweights Team Rival during the 2018 SMITE World Championship, it was the first time since 2015 that North America had claimed the highest honor in competitive SMITE.
Now, eUnited will look for a repeat with the team firing on all cylinders leading into the championship.
Setting up the weekend
The 2019 SMITE World Championship (SWC) is set for Nov. 16-18 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. It is the first time that the championship will be a part of DreamHack: Atlanta, a popular esports and cosplay convention with several dates across the globe.
With a 9-1 record during the Fall Split of the SMITE Pro League, eUnited will enter the event with the first seed in North America and play Trifecta in the quarterfinals of the single-elimination bracket.
Trifecta, who finished fourth in North America during the most recent split with a 4-7 record, had to go through a qualifier gauntlet last weekend to get to the world championship. After being eliminated from the winners bracket in the first round, Trifecta’s team played five straight matches with their backs against the wall, winning all five.
With a victory over Trifecta, eUnited would advance to the semifinals and face the winner of Team Rival versus NRG, two European teams with high intensity gameplay.
The field of eight is divided evenly between four European and four North American teams. Last year, it was Team Rival that were the favorites from across the pond. Now, it is Dignitas that has claimed top European contender status according to eUnited midlaner Woonyoung “Baskin” Kim, who described the region as “really tight” in skill level.
During the Fall Split in Europe, the top four teams were all at or above a .500 record. After barely missing a bye straight into the world championships, Obey Alliance advanced along with Team Rival in the qualifiers to this weekend’s event.
NRG is the only team who will be using a substitute player during the championship event.
Coach Cassidy “Cardiac” Cameron works behind the scenes as coach for eUnited SMITE. Being able to adapt to change in-game is essential and the addition of Baskin before the Fall Split meant that Cardiac had to help design a new plan for the team.
“People may forget that Baskin has been on the team for less than three months,” Cardiac said. “So every week of scrimmages that goes by there are many things to pick up on and improve.”
Baskin’s addition immediately paid dividends, as the team nearly went undefeated in the split. The squad only dropped three games during the entirety of the 10 match, best-of-three series split.
“I think we were just ahead of other teams in terms of the meta and we were very confident in our ability to win against any team,” Cardiac said. “I think we just knew, as a team, what picks would work versus certain teams and how to use them effectively.”
The one player that Cardiac is looking forward to see perform well is jungler Lucas “Scream” Spracklin, who has the potentially to carry the team with his play in-game.
“I expect Scream to have a breakout performance because I know he has a lot to prove and a lot of our production as a team stems through him,” Cardiac said. “If he has a great tournament, expect to see a lot of wins for eUnited.”
-This is the second straight year that eUnited will be competing at the SWC.
-The total prize pool for the world championship is $1 million, with a portion of that being dedicated to the SMITE console league champions.
-eUnited finished in the top-4 during both LANs earlier in the year at Hi-Rez Studios. The team finished fourth during the SMITE Masters 2018 tournament to end the Spring Split and third at the SMITE Summer Finals 2018.
1. On what Baskin has brought to the table
“Baskin is probably the best mechanical player on the planet and I feel like that statement speaks for itself. His ability to perform and synergize with us as a team has given us a big push for worlds and defending our title.” – Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich, hunter
“I think we're better now at communicating what we think about each other's roles now than we were in the past. I feel like the entire team has a good grasp of what's strong in every position and that makes it easy on us to polish exactly how we want to play.” – Mike “PolarBearMike” Heiss, support
2. On keys to victory at the 2019 SWC
“I would say the two biggest things we need to do is have a good grasp on the meta and play well individually on game day.” – Baskin, midlaner
“I think in any tournament the focus for any team trying to win is to keep your composure, be able to adapt on the fly and recognize your strengths and ride the hot hands. No matter how smart you are as a team you have to play incredibly well in the moment to be the best in the world and it's important to just let emotions go and trust that your preparation has made you good enough.” –PolarBearMike, support
3. On what it would mean to repeat as world champions
“The thought of winning back-to-back world championships has entered my mind, naturally, but I think that only drives my motivation as well as the team’s motivation. That feeling of being on stage after winning last year is indescribable, and I think we all want to feel that again.
“However, these thoughts can't be consuming and we have to take one set a time because every team that qualifies to worlds is deserving and should never be overlooked.” – Cardiac, coach
“I think it would just put us in a class of our own honestly. NRG has won back to back championships as well in Season 2 and Season 3, but I think even they would tell you the competition gets way harder every year. I think this year has by far the most teams with a realistic shot of winning it and there are no easy games.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for every team that's going to be at worlds and if we are able to come out on top it would definitely be our greatest achievement ever.” –PolarBearMike, support
“One game at a time is just what we use to keep our mentality strong. Winning worlds would just mean that we'd have to win it a third time just to be the 3x (three time champions).” – PandaCat, hunter
Coverage of the 2019 SMITE World Championship can be found on Hi-Rez Studio’s official streaming accounts. Additional broadcast details can be found here.
eUnited’s quarterfinal matchup against Trifecta is set for Friday, Nov. 16.