Big changes fail to pay off for NA’s best.
Day eight of the Rainbow Six Copenhagen Major on Tuesday, May 2, ended with the shock exits of two of the tournaments fan-favorite rosters, DarkZero Esports and M80.
The ongoing playoff stage of the Major has a Swiss format which means each of the 16 teams needed three wins to go through to the weekends finals or three losses to be eliminated. Coming into Tuesdays games, DarkZero had lost to Soniqs and Ninjas in Pyjamas, while M80 had lost to Wolves and NiP putting them both on the edge of elimination.
M80s game started first with them facing Europes MNM Gaming in a best-of-three contest. With M80 being both the top-seeded roster from North America and recently signing both the Swedish Rainbow Six Berlin Major MVP, William “Spoit” Löfstedt, and the Charlotte Major runner-up, David “iconic” Ifidon, they were the clear favorites. MNM had also lost to Saudi Arabias Team Falcons during the play-ins, a team M80 had knocked out of the Major the day prior, meaning North American fans largely felt confident about a win.
Starting on M80s map pick, Skyscraper, MNM Gaming began strong with four round wins in a row before M80 clawed it back. Most rounds were coming down to standout individual plays, and as the map went all the way to the final decider round, an outstanding one-vs-two clutch by Spoit made the difference to end the map in M80s favor.
M80 went close to winning map two, Club House, early as they reached match point at 6-4 before losing three rounds in a row. In another round 15 decider, this time it was MNMs Turkish player Fatih “Solotov” Türker making the difference as a triple kill on Valkyrie kept them in the game.
Related: 5 key storylines to watch during the Rainbow Six Copenhagen Major
Finally, M80 was sent home before overtime on Oregon as another one-vs-two came out, this time by MNMs Luke “Tyrant” Casey. From a round away from a 0-2 loss, to winning the series and sending one of the tournaments top teams home, MNM Gaming made quite a comeback.
Straight following this saw DarkZero play their best-of-three match against Team Liquid, a mammoth of a matchup.
DarkZero includes NAs most successful player, Troy “Canadian” Jaroslawski, and recently signed the captain of the 2022 world champions, Matthew “Achieved” Solomon. The team also won the Rainbow Six Charlotte Major in May 2022.
Liquid meanwhile includes arguably the two greatest fragging players in Rainbow Six history, André “nesk” Oliveira and Luccas “Paluh” Molina, and finished runners-up at the last Rainbow Six Major in November 2022.
Despite all the pre-game hype, Paluh dominated the game, proving why hes been called the games best mechanical player. He netted 23 kills to just eight deaths, including three triple kills in map twos eight rounds alone, as the game ended 7-4, 7-1.
In comparison to Paluhs 1.21 kills-per-round figure, DarkZeros highest figure was just 0.79, as they simply couldnt keep up with Paluh.
While both M80 and DarkZero made roster changes in March and so have had relatively little time as a full team, both sides will still see this as a major disappointment. For DZ, in particular, the roster has failed to reach the top eight at a tournament since they won the Charlotte Major a year ago, despite reaching nine tier-one finals in a row prior to that title win.
For M80, the core roster secured three top-eight finishes in the last year and was the only North American team in the top eight at Augusts Berlin Major. Now both teams will be looking at what can be done to reach these heights once again before Novembers Six Major on home soil in the U.S.
M80 and DarkZero’s exit means NA is left with just their third and fourth-seeded representatives in the tournament. Soniqs is already through to the quarter-finals, and Spacestation Gaming is set to face Japans SCARZ in a must-win match on Wednesday, May 3, at 6am CT.
Joining M80 and DZ out of the tournament during the playoffs are MENAs Team Falcons, and LATAMs REVEN ECLUB, who exited on Monday, as well as Koreas Dplus, who went out just before M80s game on Tuesday.
This leaves four Brazilian League, four European League, two NA League, and one Japan League team left in the Rainbow Six tournament.