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Published: November 17, 2023

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • The team defeated Evil Geniuses 2-0 in the finals of the NA Qualifier
  • It was a very one-sided affair on both maps played
  • Newly acquired AWPer Fritz “⁠slaxz-⁠” Dietrich was crucial for M80’s victory

M80 had a rough start in the North America ESL Challengers Atlanta Qualifier, but managed to push through, beating Evil Geniuses in the tournament’s finals to earn a spot at the main event.

M80 Win the NA Qualifier

We are less than a month away from the start of the ESL Challenger Atlanta and teams are busy duking it out in various events to earn a spot for the coveted tournament in December. American esports organization M80 is one of the lucky ones as the team emerged victorious from the ESL Challenger Atlanta 2023: North American Qualifier earlier today.

The squad, led by Marcus “⁠maNkz⁠” Kjeldsen, earned their berth at the main event next month after defeating Evil Geniuses 2-0 on Vertigo and Ancient. However, it was not easy for the team to reach this point as their opening game in the qualifier did not go well. M80 was sent down to the lower bracket by Party Astronauts, who scraped past maNkz’s men in a hotly contested 2-1 match that had two maps go to overtime.

Despite that, M80 got their act straight after that defeat and took out Wildcard 2-0 in the lower bracket to climb back up. Following that, they had a chance to get revenge by again going up against Party Astronauts, on whom they quickly inflicted another crushing 2-0 blow in the lower finals.

Meanwhile, EG had a much easier time during the whole qualifier. The team narrowly surpassed Wildcard in their own opening game before beating Party Astronauts to make the grand final, where they would eventually meet M80.

How Did The Match Go?

It was M80’s Fritz “⁠slaxz-⁠” Dietrich’s first tournament with the team, as the 24-year-old AWPer was transferred to the organization quite recently. After ALTERNATE aTTaX announced the transfer of slaxz- last week, without specifying the team to which he is going, speculations quickly arose that that might be M80. Those rumors turned out to be true and the player quickly proved to be a crucial asset for M80 during the finals and the qualifier as a whole.

Slaxz-‘s skills on the AWP led to his team dominating EG during the entire first half of Vertigo. When the sides switched and M80 was on the defense, the team led with a pistol round, driving up the score to a one-sided 12-2. However, EG were not to give in that easily and started racking wins of their own. Unfortunately for them, the gap was already very big and seven rounds later M80 made the one crucial victory they needed to win Vertigo.

Despite Ancient being a much more balanced matter, with M80 leading with a relatively small 7-5 score by the end of the first half, EG still did not have enough strength to push through. When the sides switched, EG won just one round, allowing M80 to run away with a 13-6 map and a 2-0 victory overall.

With this, M80 become one of the six confirmed teams that will participate in the main event, which will run from December 15-17. The final two squads will be decided by the currently ongoing EU Qualifier and Asia Qualifier.

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