Overwatch players for the recently closed Reunited esports team have signed with eUnited, both the players and their new team announced Monday.
eUnited has come to agreements with four of the previous members of the Reunited organization: Thomas "Morte" Kerbusch, Harrison "Kruise" Pond, Andrei "uNFixed" Leonov and Hendrik-William "vallutaja" Kinks. The North American organization has also signed two players formerly of Slav Squad, Normunds "sharyk" Faterins and Ruben "Rubikon" Zurabyan. These six, alongside coach Elliot "Hayes" Hayes, will fly to South Korea in the coming weeks.
"Today we officially lose a tiny part of our identity; one letter to be exact!" Morte told ESPN in a statement. "We are thrilled to be part of an organization that is growing so rapidly and is fielding many talented top teams across all platforms and games. With our most recent lineup changes we are confident we can return to the global top very soon again; that's the only place we feel at home."
eUnited launched in August 2016, beginning with Call of Duty and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It has since expanded and includes a semi-professional League of Legends team and a Gears of War squad. It's Call of Duty lineup recently took first at the MLG Atlanta tournament on Sunday following a 3-2 grand final over OpTic Gaming.
With the acquisition, eUnited owners Adam Stein and Jamie Daquino told ESPN they intend to move the mostly-European roster to the United States in hopes of participating in the upcoming Overwatch League, which is expected to begin in fiscal third quarter 2017. While no spot in that league is guaranteed, Stein and Daquino said they're committed to having this team take part.
Overwatch developer Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, announced in November that they would launch a geolocated league for Overwatch in 2017. That league will be the first time esports teams are city-affiliated, similar to that of its traditional sports peers. Many professional esports teams are expected to make bids and adopt cities to participate in the league, sources close to multiple organizations tell ESPN.
Both owners also said they valued the dedication of the Reunited team, which has competed in professional Overwatch competitions since close to the game's competitive inception.
"It was important for eUnited to find a team that was not only extremely talented in game but also had a tremendous work ethic and passion for success," Stein and Daquino said in a statement. "Reunited and the guys on the team are not only high quality individuals that can represent our org well, but they are also phenomenal at playing Overwatch."
The Reunited organization folded on Jan. 9 citing a financial crisis and that it no longer had the money to hold out for the Overwatch League.