Report: M80 targeting star-studded NA core
According to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, Dust2.us understands that M80 are currently in discussions to sign a North American lineup built around the key pieces of Michael "Swisher" Schmid and Mario "malbsMd" Samayoa. Joining the star rifling duo are Ethan "reck" Serrano, Swedish-American AWPer Adam "WolfY" Andersson, and Danish IGL Marcus "maNkz" Kjeldsen.
Alongside the quintet, the most surprising name tapped by M80 is their choice of coach, as former Complexity player Rory "dephh" Jackson is reportedly aiming to make a return from VALORANT to helm this project.
M80 recently announced their desire to enter the Counter-Strike ecosystem following the hiring of Donald "SyykoNT" Muir as their Vice President of Esports on June 15th. The hiring came with a comment from SyykoNT to Dexerto that M80's ultimate goal was to build a "world-class roster" for CS2.
While that earlier comment did not specify what region M80 would be targeting, SyykoNT told Dust2.us in an interview that while M80 were evaluating all options for their team, he noted that the lack of investment in NA provided a "unique opportunity to potentially explore North American options."
This insight, in hindsight, appears to have been somewhat prophetic as a week after publication of the interview, ATK's lineup entered free agency due to an difficulties in securing long-term contracts with the South African organization, thus releasing Swisher and co. onto the open market. Likewise, LOS' decision to wait until September at the earliest to assemble a new roster has potentially lowered barriers to a buyout for malbsMd, with sources saying his buyout is approaching the six-figure range.
maNkz, meanwhile, would also need to be bought out from ECSTATIC where the Danish IGL has plied his trade since mid-2021. It is also worth noting that the Dane played with WolfY from mid-2021 to early-2022, providing a rationale for what may seen to be an out of the blue acquisition target for M80. Likewise, dephh and SyykoNT were briefly teammates on Sentinels in VALORANT before the duo were released in close proximity this spring.
Should M80 move forward with this signing, a number of opportunities open up for the NA organization. ex-ATK, the core of which go to M80, have spots in ESL Challenger League Season 46, ESL Pro League Season 18, and Thunderpick World Championship 2023: North American Series #1.
Additionally, due to their Americas core, M80 would be able to play in the much-diminished North American RMR next year ahead of BLAST Copenhagen, potentially providing an easier spot into the first CS2 Major.
M80's reported roster currently consists of:
Michael "Swisher" Schmid
Ethan "reck" Serrano
Adam "WolfY" Andersson
Mario "malbsMd" Samayoa
Marcus "maNkz" Kjeldsen
Rory "dephh" Jackson (Coach)
M80 declined to comment when reached out to by Dust2.us.