As the only team to attend every single international event since Masters 2: Reykjavik in 2021, KRÜ Esports KRÜ Esports Latin America South Rank #1 have a wealth of experience against competition from abroad on the biggest stage. However, their performance at Masters 1: Reykjavik in April was less than stellar, especially when compared to their finish at Valorant Champions at the end of last year.
KRÜ were slotted into the highly competitive Group B with OpTic Gaming OpTic Gaming North America Rank # , Team Liquid Team Liquid Europe Rank #2 , and XERXIA Esports XERXIA Esports Asia-Pacific Rank # . Unfortunately, the Latin American representatives fell in two straight series to Liquid and OpTic, closing the chapter on their Reykjavik run prematurely.
After returning home from abroad, the team chose to say goodbye to Martin "BeTony" Bourre, who was heading to domestic rival Leviatán Leviatán Latin America South Rank #18 to assist former KRÜ coach Rodrigo "Onur" Dalmagro. In BeTony's place, KRÜ recruited Leandro "Leazo" Liset from 9z Team 9z Team Latin America South Rank #3 as their new head coach, who previously played for Estral Esports Estral Esports Inactive and 9z Team.
In Stage 2 Challengers competition, KRÜ went back to work conducting business as usual, making an undefeated run in the group stage and play-in brackets while only dropping two maps, both of which were in the group stage. One map was in their week three match against Leviatán, which went to overtime. The other map that they lost was in their following match against PAMPAS PAMPAS Inactive . KRÜ managed to lock up the first seed for LATAM South in the combined Latin America playoffs following an undefeated run in the play-ins, putting themselves once again on the track to yet another international bid.
The combined Latin American playoffs began with KRÜ putting on two solid performances against E-Xolos LAZER E-Xolos LAZER Latin America North Rank #3 and FUSION FUSION Latin America North Rank # in the upper semifinals and upper bracket final respectively, confirming them for at worst a rendezvous with the second place Brazilian team for the final spot at Copenhagen. However, Leviatán ravaged the two LATAM North teams in the lower bracket after falling in their upper semifinals match to FUSION, making the grand final an all LATAM South affair once again, similarly to what had taken place in the Stage 1 Challengers playoffs in Mexico City.
While KRÜ had gotten the best of Leviatán in their last three encounters, their opponents were determined not to let precedent dictate the outcome of their sixth clash with a ticket to Copenhagen on the line. Despite winning the pistol of each half on the first two maps, Leviatán found a way to claw their way back, putting themselves at match point and one step closer to claiming the LATAM spot in Denmark.
KRÜ attempted to bounce back on what would be the final map of the series, Split, but were completely shut out in the first half by their opponents' offensive strategies. The team attempted to mount a comeback in the second half by winning the first three rounds, but the sole round that Leviatán needed to win the series proved too great of a challenge for KRÜ to overcome. Despite being usurped as the top seed, KRÜ still had an opportunity to qualify for Copenhagen through the LATAM/BR Last Chance Qualifier.
Despite stumbling against Leviatán, KRÜ remained focused for their LCQ match against NIP. (Photo: Riot Esports Latinoamérica)
The LATAM/BR LCQ pitted KRÜ against Ninjas In Pyjamas Ninjas In Pyjamas Brazil Rank # in Buenos Aires, Argentina to determine who would be the final entrant at the second international competition of 2022. However, the excitement of fans to see KRÜ compete on stage against NIP, who had won the previous Stage's LATAM/BR LCQ against Leviatán, was quickly dissipated, as a case of COVID-19 exposure in one of the attending teams sent KRÜ back home to compete remotely while NIP would play against their opponents on stage, but without a live crowd present.
The first map in the series, Breeze, was a back-and-forth brawl between both teams, but KRÜ managed to edge their opponents out at the end of the half to go into their attack side with a 7-5 lead. After winning the first two rounds of the second half, NIP mounted a comeback by winning the next three rounds, but a clutch from NagZ took the wind out of NIP's sails, paving the way for KRÜ to close out the map.
On the second map, Fracture, KRÜ got off to a strong start, but clutches from NIP players narrowed the lead between the two teams throughout the first half. The team continued their momentum into the second half, where they only relinquished one round to their opponents before closing out the map. keznit 's Raze tore NIP's plans to pieces, with the player topping the scoreboard at the end of the map just shy of 30 kills.
With one map standing between them and another ticket abroad, KRÜ were poised to not let their opponents get back into the series at all. NIP began the first half by securing four straight rounds, but once KRÜ found their footing, they were able to close the round gap and eventually take the lead. A 3k from v1xen gave NIP their fifth round, meaning that going into their attack side, they were only two rounds away from tying the series up.
In the second half, what KRÜ had been trying to prevent, began to show signs of life. NIP had tied the series up by the time KRÜ had a full buy, and even overtook them in rounds shortly after. However, a timeout from KRÜ going into round 19 proved to be what the team needed to get back into the series, and they took the next five rounds to win Icebox and claim the 12th and final spot at Masters.
LATAM ACÁ TENÉS TUS MERECIDOS DOS CUPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS
EL VERDUGO DE BRASIL NO SE PIERDE UNA SOLA #VALORANTMasters
While their journey to Copenhagen certainly hasn't been as flawless as in the past, they've still made it to the international stage once again. This upcoming event marks KRÜ's fifth consecutive international appearance, a streak that only they have kept alive through their efforts as a team. However, just making it to the world stage isn't enough for them. They want to go all the way and redeem themselves and show that Latin American talent is just as lethal as top talent from every other region in the world.