M80 will enter the Copenhagen Major qualifiers without its captain.
Esports are more than just games, and Marcus "maNkz" Kjeldsen is the latest player to acknowledge the industry’s mental health stress. The in-game leader for M80 has announced a break from competitive play with no set end date. This likely means that the squad will enter the Copenhagen Major RMR without its captain. Here are details about the split, how the community reacted, and why these breaks are often a necessity for esports pros.
Esports organization M80 announced the break through its official social media channels on Jan. 28, 2024. It announced that maNkz would move to the inactive roster and that coach Rory "dephh" Jackson would take his place. This made fans worried about a possible kick. However, a day later, maNkz confirmed the leave and explained that it was due to mental health issues.
The shot-caller was understandably vague about his motivations, urging fans to take care of themselves and each other. maNkz will also take a break from social media. Several community members including Anders Blume, Oliver “zipel” Behrensdorff, and M80 founder Marco Mereu offered support and wished him the best.
The timing of this break most likely means that maNkz will miss the 2024 Copenhagen Major NA RMR event starting March 1. M80 is set to enter as a solid contender to qualify, though the IGL’s absence could hurt the squad’s chances. Coach dephh stepping in should still preserve the squad’s signature aggression and map pool.
maNkz is latest CS player to take a mental health break
maNkz is the most recent CS2 player to cite mental health as a concern, but he’s far from the first.
Other professional Counter-Strike players have previously taken breaks from the game to work on their mental health. Legend Janusz "Snax" Pogorzelski attributed his break in 2021 to burnout. BIG AWPer Mateusz "mantuu" Wilczewski has claimed that mental health issues, especially depression, are widespread at the pro level. Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyljev’s recent break is partially to “take care of other people in my life.”
The most famous case is Nicolai "dev1ce" Reedtz. The superstar AWPer has taken multiple breaks for over a year from Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas due to personal reasons. He took these breaks close to the peak of his career, recognizing the importance of his mental state.
Mental health has always been a major factor in esports, but it has become a much more important topic over the last few years. Several sponsors in CS and beyond including Astralis, OG, Evil Geniuses, Team Liquid, and more have psychological support for their players.
Some have even hired full-time psychologists to help keep their teams mentally healthy. Fans have also grown more understanding of these types of issues, which signals major progress for the industry as a whole.