By: Zachary Lange
After a long journey, eUnited earned their first SMITE World Championship on Sunday against Team Rival by a final of 3-1.
In front of thousands at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, eUnited got off to a hot start against Rival, taking Game 1 on the back of a five kill performance from Lucas “Scream” Spracklin and 10 assists from Mike “PolarBearMike” Heiss.
In Game 2, the team struggled to capture the same energy it did in the first game, falling behind quickly in kills 1-5 and overall 3-14 by the game’s end with several misplays towards the middle of the series that cost the team a chance at fighting back.
But in Game 3 the team bounced back and got the kills they needed in the early game to tilt the game in their favor. With four players registering four or more kills, eUnited was one game away from a world championship.
It would not come easy. In Game 4, the team found itself tightly contested until two steals of the fire giant and a portal demon came near the 19th and 21st minutes of the game. From there, eUnited continued to chip away until a final fight, which resulted in three of Rival’s members down, sealed the victory for North America at the SMITE World Championship for the first time in three years.
“We felt like going into that we had them pretty figured out,” said guardian and captain PolarBearMike. “We thought if we won Game 1 and made them adapt to our meta that we’d be in a really good spot.”
The SMITE World Championship MVP was none other than the newest addition to eUnited in Brandon “Venenu” Casale, who delivered a massive eight kills in Game 3 and overall was crucial to the team throughout the weekend.
“Honestly it was mostly my team,” Venenu said on his MVP performance. He also cited his use of The Morrigan as a key to being most valuable.
In addition to breaking the curse of North American teams losing at the world championship, eUnited also set a record for having the youngest player win a SMITE World Championship. At just 16, Scream is a champion.
“I think it’s really cool because nobody else can say that, right?” Scream said. “I’m like the youngest ever to win it, and I can show it off to my friends at school.”
Throughout the entirety of the 2018 SMITE World Championship, eUnited SMITE lost one map. And even when the team lost, they avoided letting their emotions get the best of them. By beating Obey Alliance 3-0 in the semifinals, the team gained the confidence they needed in the championship matchup.
“I think if we had gone to a Game 5, it would have been a totally different mindset than what it was today,” PolarBearMike said. “But because we dominated such a good team like that, I think we knew the way we played was good.”
It was an uphill battle for a long time for eUnited SMITE, with the team missing out on tournaments in the summer and finishing in the middle of the pack in the summer split. But after the additions of PolarBearMike and Venenu, a near perfect fall split and a dominating performance this past weekend, a championship is coming home.
“I love these guys, they carried me today,” said Ben “Benji” McKinzey. “And I’m super proud of them.”