EUnited look to break their Top 6 curse, with an excellent run of form in recent weeks. $500,000 is on the line at Stage 2 Playoffs, as James “Clayster” Eubanks seeks his first title in over a thousand days.
Clayster’s men have suffered a topsy-turvy year, only breaching 6th place once so far (3rd at CWL Seattle). Despite showing championship-winning potential at times, they have a bad habit of falling short when it matters the most. Holding a 3-1 record over Rise Nation and OpTic Gaming in Stage 2 is no mean feat, but whether they can convert on the big stage remains to be seen.
Their decision to replace Justin “SiLLY” Fargo with Tyler “FeLonY” Johnson in April finally seems to be paying off. Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson commented on the team’s superior vibes since Stage 1, and the team appears to enjoy playing together, an important factor with the World Championship on the horizon.
EUnited clinched their Playoff spot at a bristling pace, a 6-1 record in the final fortnight. The driving force behind this recent form has been their Hardpoint and Capture the Flag (CTF) prowess. Posting an 83% win rate in these game modes in the second half of the league will inspire confidence. Arcitys’ twin brother Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson has been particularly impressive in the aggressive SMG role. Averaging five more engagements per 10 minutes than any of his teammates, he holds the opposition at arm’s length. His persistent and unpredictable over-extensions in CTF keep the opposition on edge while Clayster and Arcitys clean up the mess with the Assault Rifles (ARs).
EUnited’s Hardpoint style involves FeLonY and Prestinni pushing out the lanes while Clayster and Arcitys rack up a similar share of the time. In fact, all four members average above 55 seconds per 10 minutes. This trait is only echoed by Rise Nation, Red Reserve, and OpTic Gaming; no coincidence. The ability for every player to rotate between multiple positions, with each man getting in the hardpoint when necessary, is clearly a characteristic of the very best. Therefore, when eUnited lose a series, it’s typically off the back of a poor Search and Destroy (SnD).
Clayster and crew earned 2nd seed from Division B, pitting themselves against Echo Fox in Winners’ Round 1. Echo Fox are also a team in top form, matching eUnited’s 6-1 record in the final two weeks. They have been characterized by strong SnD and CTF but surprisingly weak Hardpoint play. Echo Fox theoretically have the SnD advantage while eUnited should win the Hardpoints (games 1 and 4). The map 3 CTF will be very important. If eUnited take victory here, they will likely win the entire series. If Echo Fox bring it home, a map 5 SnD is probably on the cards, where Echo Fox have the statistical edge. However, with eUnited’s more recent LAN practice, they have to be slight favorites.
If eUnited deal with Echo Fox they will play the winner of Red Reserve and Rise Nation, both CWL Anaheim finalists. Clayster’s men bettered Rise in both Stage 2 Pro League meetings, so there is reason to be confident. On the contrary, Red seem to have eUnited’s number, taking them down 3-1 in their most recent meeting at Anaheim. With only eight teams qualifying and the Americans in top form, eUnited have an ideal opportunity to better Top 6. Whether they can show up on Championship Sunday remains to be seen.
Action at the Stage 2 Playoffs kicks off on Friday, July 27th! Catch it all on – http://twitch.tv/callofduty
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