Swisher finally has the IGL to lead him

Swisher: "It's always a nice feeling beating the teams that I know we are better than"

M80's American veteran is ready for the next step.

M80 finally has an in-game leader after Marcus "maNkz" Kjeldsen benched himself right before the organization's appearance at IEM Katowice 2024. For Michael "Swisher" Schmid, the process has been rough as he missed out on another Major due to the roster instability. Now, M80 is back to full strength and are already making that known thanks to a win over Liquid in the Esports World Cup Closed Qualifier last weekend.

The American rifler has long hoped hoped to make it to the stage of his career where he's been on a top team that can compete amongst the best. With Elias "s1n" Stein at the helm, anything is possible. In a remote interview with Dust2.us' Ryan Friend, M80's star talked about the travel issues that are plaguing the team ahead of tomorrow's match, his struggle to make it to the top of North America, and how the squad is going to evolve under their new German IGL.

I’ve heard that you guys have had some travel issues getting to Malta. Do you think that is going to affect your upcoming match against BetBoom?

I think we'll be fine. We still planned. We already did a little bit of preparation beforehand and we're just going to finish it doing it today before our match. I mean we weren’t going to get a scrimmage or anything today just because of the long travel days. Play wise it's not affecting us, just kind of just preparation a little bit, but we really don't need malbsMd to be here for prep and that's where he can be kind of filled in later.

So when you do have these kinds of awkward times when everyone's kind of coming in at different times and you guys are having, you know, difficulty traveling, what's the best way as a team that you kind of mentally reset?

Yeah, we just laugh about it, honestly. That's what we've been doing with Mario. It's because he has his P1 visa, finally, for the US, so we're just, we're always telling him like to just tell immigration that you have a P1, that they're going to expedite, and they'll put you on a private jet and get you here.

Speaking of P1, we know that slaxz- and s1n, obviously the two Germans players, are likely in need of them. Can you talk about their immigration situation at all?

No, I cannot talk about any of that, unfortunately.

Your recent performances have been going pretty well, considering the big win over Liquid in the Esports World Cup qualifier. How do you feel as a team? What does that win say?

We're definitely putting all the pieces together. We've had some role adjustments and role swaps to fit things a little bit better where we felt like we lacked before with maNkz. I've kind of moved more into anchor roles on all maps which is kind of new for me. I'm pretty good at learning and picking up new roles, so I'm fine with it. It's just whatever we need to do to win at the end of the day. Our recent performance has been good. We had a two-week bootcamp in Europe prior to the Esports World Cup qualifier. So we got good quality practice time out here beforehand, which helped us a lot. It put us on the right step. It put us in the right direction to get things going. We've been kind of adding on top a lot of stuff, like trying to fix our defaults and such. Beating Liquid like that was a nice W.

M80 has almost certainly won the Head-to-Head against Liquid, a team that didn’t look at you for their most recent squad. How does it feel to be in a ‘weaker’ squad and claiming wins against a star-studded squad like Liquid?

I don't really look at it like that. I always value myself as an individual knowing what I bring to a team. I've never been given opportunities on big teams, I would say. I never went from intermediate to MDL or anything like that. I always had to win a division or make playoffs to move up with my teams that I was playing on. I've had to grind pretty hard through all this stuff, so it's always a nice feeling beating the teams that I know we are better than, especially with teamwork and not just individual star performances, even though malbsMd had a great performance, I still think we would beat them no matter what. I feel like we should have even beat them 2-0 the previous time we played them. We kind of threw that Ancient. It was in our hands.

Surprisingly, you guys dominated Liquid on Mirage twice. Is Mirage becoming one of your squad’s better maps?

Honestly, we probably rated it near the bottom of our map pool going into the Esports World Cup. Just cause we didn't have that much practice on it. When Liquid picked it, we're like, OK, we'll just play that and then we dominated them and we're like, OK. So then we picked it against Legacy and then we dominated them and we’re like, OK, I guess we're just going to continue picking this. We picked it and then dominated again, it's like, well, I don't know what's working, I don't know what's clicking, but let's just keep it going.

You finally have an IGL. This has been a long road. What was the process in identifying s1n as the next IGL for your squad?

I mean the pickings, it was kind of hard to even find the right IGLs. I think there was a couple that M80 talked to where they just really weren't interested or they were asking for absurd amounts of money, which was just unrealistic. We kind of came to Elias and I didn't really know him all that much. I just knew that he had a little bit of time on BIG and spent most of his time on BIG Academy. I kind of left it to Fritz because I know Fritz knows him some more just being German and dephh’s judgment.

Looking at him statistically when he was in consideration, I looked at his HLTV to see how he has been playing. In BIG he had a rough time, but I could see that instantly you go back to BIG Academy and he's playing tier-two teams and just farming. It's obvious that he wasn't the issue, at least to me, that he wasn't the issue and it was more the roster he was put into where they just weren't clicking or he was playing roles that he wasn't comfortable where he wasn’t performing to his best of his ability, I think he was actually IGLing at some point on that BIG roster.

To that point, are you expecting him to come in and make sweeping changes to the structure or to keep what you have and make small adjustments?

So we had our own system with maNkz. We practically went half-and-half when maNkz departed, with a half-maNkz, half-dephh system when he was filling in for us. Now we've scrapped it all, and we're going completely with the s1n’s new system that he's started. The first day of practice was awesome. He's like 'alright, so I want to do this, let's do this, let's do this.' We got a whole big, giant page of a Google Doc of everything he wanted to add on to the first map that we started. So it's been a good process already.

And I guess you know you mentioned how you are now transitioning into more anchor roles. Is that part of that new system? Rejiggering player positions and maybe some player roles?

A little bit. I think some changes were being thought about happening beforehand before we even picked up s1n. It's partially to split up the voices a little bit on the other sides of maps, but then at the same time they kind of frees up reck and malbsMd to be more heavy shooters, which is kind of like their specialty, to let them hit a little harder and be felt on the server.

Can you talk to me a bit about this matchup against BetBoom tomorrow and what the gameplan might be?

I honestly haven't really looked at it yet because of my travel day. Like I said, I got in at 1:00 AM. All I did was sleep, get up for lunch, and then get ready for media day. So I've really not had a chance to look at our maps, but I think no matter what, we're going to be pretty confident going into it after the good showing that we just had against Legacy and Liquid. We're all ready to look at each other and rely on each other to perform well.

This feels like you’re finally at the apex of your career with the squad, the organizational support. What does this mean for you, at this stage in your career to be here?

I mean, it feels like it's been overdue in my opinion. I've just been able to work with what I've been given and do everything I can. It feels great, and I mean, M80’s been fantastic. We finally have a new IGL, everything that we can go, everything that we can do. It's all hitting at the right spot.

M80 will make their ESL Pro League Season 19 debut tomorrow as they take on BetBoom at 01:30PM.

1 - 2
All maps
M80 K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Guatemala Mario 'malbsMd' Samayoa 50 - 40 +10 96.4 67.9% 1.30
Fritz 'slaxz-' Dietrich 45 - 30 +15 79.3 76.8% 1.26
Elias 's1n' Stein 39 - 36 +3 79.8 80.4% 1.22
United States Ethan 'reck' Serrano 32 - 37 -5 62.1 78.6% 0.92
United States Michael 'Swisher' Schmid 28 - 35 -7 55.4 69.6% 0.89
BetBoom K - D +/- ADR KAST Rating 2.0
Kirill 'Magnojez' Rodnov 38 - 39 -1 80.1 76.8% 1.08
Aleksandr 'KaiR0N-' Anashkin 38 - 41 -3 71.3 73.2% 1.04
Pavel 's1ren' Ogloblin 36 - 36 +0 67.2 73.2% 1.01
Aleksandr 'zorte' Zagodyrenko 34 - 37 -3 63.7 64.3% 0.97
Vladislav 'nafany' Gorshkov 32 - 42 -10 61.8 67.9% 0.95

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