What to expect from M80 v. 9z
Unfortunately, despite being fairly bullish heading into ESL Pro League Season 18, M80 have struggled in their LAN debut. Moments of strength and potential notwithstanding, the squad have failed to pick up a single map after losses to Apeks and 5yclone. With this, M80 are now in the last-chance portion of the bracket and will need to take down LATAM squad 9z or be sent packing from Malta.
9z likewise have had a rough Pro League, having put up poor showings in losses to FaZe and Imperial. As such, the hope of Latin America will look to stay alive in Malta by smashing the far newer M80 squad, relying on their experience to carry the day.
M80 need to light a fire
When looking a the win conditions against 9z tomorrow, the prognosis is relatively simple — M80's stars need to show up tomorrow. Unless we see more from Mario "malbsMd" Samayoa and especially Adam "WolfY" Andersson this team will not be spending much more time in Malta.
WolfY's performance needs to improve, a 0.77 event rating is dismal for a team's AWPer
reck and Swisher are currently doing the most to keep M80 competitve
maNkz's performance is a point of consternation compared to max's on 9z
9z could use some firepower too
Honestly, the analysis for what 9z needs to do tomorrow is essentially the same as for M80. It's clearly not tenable for someone like David "dav1deuS" Tapia Maldonado to have a 0.67 rating and all five players below a 1.00 rating so 9z need to leverage their experience and tenure as a team if they want to get over the line in their series against M80.
9z's squad has been together for eight months, far longer than M80
While try has been struggling, he has far outperformed WolfY
dgt is performing at parity with Swisher
The core of M80, as ATK, faced off against 9z in the ESEA Cash Cup Circuit. That bout saw 9z smash ATK with a one-sided 2-0 win that saw ATK only win eight rounds. While this may look bad, M80 is a vastly changed team from their days on ATK so its not worth extrapolating too much from this series.
As always, it's worth noting that both team's winrates are inflated by domestic online competition. Additionally, these vetoes come with the caveat that they are highly speculative as they depend on whether 9z, as the higher ranked team, chooses to pick first or ban last. However, based on the teams' map pool we might see the following vetoes.
9z will likely ban Vertigo (Their permaban and a strong map for M80)
M80 will likely ban Ancient (Their permaban)
9z could pick Nuke as it is their most-played map. (Additionally 9z have a 10% winrate spread on it over M80)
M80 should pick Inferno as their highest-winrate map
Overpass is a potential decider (9z rarely plays Mirage while both teams have poor winrates on Anubis)
M80 will face off against 9z early tomorrow at 06:30AM.