UNILAD Esports have burst out of the blue in recent months, staking their claim as one of Call of Duty’s strongest teams. Following their 4th place at CWL Anaheim, the UK boys eye up their share of $500,000.
Unilad comfortably qualified for their share of the $0.5M Stage 2 Playoffs prize pool this week. Not many outside the European professional scene predicted Unilad to make Top 4, let alone with such ease. The roster dropped veteran Thomas “Moose” Handley in April, in favour of the relatively unknown Alex “Alexx” Carpenter. This move brought criticism, seemingly leaving no experienced player to guide the young talent. The swap looked like a lateral move initially, as Unilad placed Top 16 with Alexx at CWL Seattle, their fifth such placement of the year.
No Skrapz No Problem
The big change came when superstar Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall was recruited by Red Reserve. Most community members expected Thomas “Tommey” Trewen to be his replacement, reuniting Wuskin with his former captain (when under Fnatic). However, Zach “Zed” Zedenyer was recruited instead. This puzzled many – including Benson, who considered the move a direct downgrade. Contrary to expectations, Unilad’s performance has shot through the roof, with phenomenal team dynamics and cohesion at the core of the improvements.
Not only has Skrapz’s twin brother Bradley “Wuskin” Marshall’s individual level sky-rocketed (1.19 KD in Stage 2), but the whole roster is playing as a unit. Alexx, in particular, has been very impressive for such a young talent, with Zed and Sean “Seany” O’Connor rounding out a fearsome crew. Unilad play a more traditional Hardpoint style, with Main AR Wuskin not stuck inside the hill. Regardless, their main source of success has come in Search and Destroy (SnD). Zed, Wuskin, and Alexx average a 1.14 KD in this mode, leading to a 76% win-rate, a Pro League best.
All the Way?
After a fantastic 5-2 first fortnight of the Stage 2 Pro League, many considered it a manner of hanging on. However, Unilad followed up with another 5-2 run to take 3rd seed in the group. UK fans will be hoping they can be flawless at Playoffs, and the potential is undoubtedly there. Seany’s boys have recorded wins against heavy-hitters OpTic Gaming, Rise Nation, Luminosity and eUnited since June. They will need to maintain their superhuman SnD prowess though, as other teams can undoubtedly slay harder.
Unilad play former champions Team Kaliber (tK) in the first round of Playoffs, a matchup yet to occur this year. TK’s strength has been in their Hardpoint, so the series may swing on a crucial map 3 Capture the Flag.
If Unilad progress, they will face the winner of OpTic Gaming and FaZe Clan, both Stage 1 Playoffs finalists. Unilad 3-0d FaZe at Anaheim, and knocked OpTic out later in the tournament, so a historic run is on the cards. This inexperienced UK team are dark horses for the championship, outclassed in few areas.
Action at the Stage 2 Playoffs kicks off on Friday, July 27th! Catch it all on – http://twitch.tv/callofduty
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