KRU Esports dropped their second series of the season by falling to MIBR 2-1 in Week 2 of the 2023 VCT Americas League. The Latin American side opened the series with a resounding 13-9 victory on Ascent, but on Lotus, their momentum was brought to a halt.
Even after KRU selected Gekko for Lotus and were ahead 8-4 in the first half, when they switched to defense, they dropped nine of the next 12 rounds to extend the series to a third and final map - Pearl. MIBR looked poised to run away with the map thanks to the tune of winning seven consecutive rounds on the attacking side, but KRU would mount a comeback to force overtime and be on the brink of snatching their first win of the season.
Unfortunately for the team, the turnaround ultimately turned out to be a mirage as MIBR won the next two extra rounds to seal the map and series in their favor, while also sentencing KRU to an 0-2 record.
Following the series against MIBR, Klaus spoke with BLIX.GG for an interview on the team’s showing against the Brazilian squad, the idea behind their selection of Gekko in Lotus, the team’s progression so far this season, and much more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX.GG: First of all, commiserations on the loss. I know it was a tough one given how the series against MIBR played out but I want to know your overall thoughts as to how your team played in Week 2.
Nicolas "Klaus" Ferrari: At the beginning of the match, we knew they were a strong team obviously because they lost against LOUD 2-1. It was a really difficult match. They obviously played really great. They actually came back from 0-1 down. We won Ascent and they won both maps after that. They were a strong team today and had good mental strength. For us, we had that momentum from Ascent and at the beginning of Lotus but we lost it at the half. It was a tough match for us, obviously, but it was more of a mental thing for us.
BLIX: As you said, the team played well in Ascent but you were not able to translate that form into Lotus and Pearl. What do you think is the biggest reason why KRU did not play well in Lotus and Pearl compared to Ascent?
Klaus: I think, at the beginning of Lotus, we played well. I don't think we actually played badly overall, but after the first half, we started struggling a lot. We lost the eco bonus in the third round. After that, we kind of lost a little of our mentality and because of that, on the defensive side [in Lotus], we couldn't figure out how we should play. We lost four rounds in a row and we didn't know what to do and what they were doing and that's it. That was the moment when we slowed down.
BLIX: Did you feel your mentality was gradually turning itself off as the series progressed?
Klaus: Yeah, I think so but it wasn't like in Lotus. It was a really good map for us. We were good, and after that, we went to defense and lost four rounds in a row and that was it. We tried to reset after that map and we started really well on Pearl and that happened again when we were 4-0 up and then we went 4-5 down. We lost four or five rounds in a row and there was one very unlucky round that we lost. It was a 3v5 and we lost it because one player from CT killed four or three people in the rotation. I think it was more like a mental game for us and, obviously, the merit is on them. They played very well. They were strong and they deserved the win.
BLIX: Looking at your individual play, you used Gekko. I want to know your thoughts on what was the idea behind putting in Gekko for Lotus and how you performed with that agent against MIBR.
Klaus: I don't think Gekko was a problem. I think he's very strong at the moment. A lot of teams from VCT EMEA or here in the Americas are playing it. LOUD are playing it but it was more like an idea where you have a safe plant so I think that's one of the broken things about him on Lotus specifically, but I think he is playable in other maps. I think he's a really good agent more so in Lotus as I think he's more in meta [on the map] but I think we will show it on Lotus and other maps probably.
Progression through this
BLIX: With you guys still looking for your first win this year, I'm curious as to how you have viewed the team's progression so far this season. Even though you didn't participate in LOCK//IN with the team, how have you viewed the team's progression through LOCK//IN and up until this point in the season?
Klaus: I think the progression is there. After LOCK//IN, we changed our players. I was on Sova and I just came in and joined the five-man roster, so I think there was a progression. After the FURIA match, there was a progression. We were much better than last week and everyone on the team knew that. It was a really good week of training for us but we didn't show it on stage. I don't think we can just translate training to the stage so I think it was more of that as the problem, but the progression is there. We are training a lot, we are just trying to improve, and we are improving every week to be better than what we were last week.
BLIX: Atom joined KRU roughly last month for Leazo as KRU's newest head coach shortly after LOCK//IN. What is it like working with Atom since he joined as the coach and how does his game plan compare with your former coach?
Klaus: I think we have a better methodology of training now with Atom. We have more hours of training too. We have more than five to six hours a day and only one day off. We're trying to be better and improve more and that's it. I think he's doing the right things and is doing better than the previous coach. As I said before, we have improved but we just need to translate that training to the stage. I think Atom is doing well with us. He's pushing us to always get our best version both individually and as a team. I think, if we keep going in this way, we can make it to at least the top three to get to Tokyo and Champions.
Facing Evil Geniuses
BLIX: KRU's next match is going to be Evil Geniuses. What are your thoughts on facing up against EG next week? What have you seen from them and how are you going to face them?
Klaus: I think they're a strong team. All the teams from VCT are good now. They are on a good level and put in the same hours. We haven't seen much from them, honestly, but I think it was harder to play against Brazilian teams like MIBR and FURIA. I think they actually improved a lot more than the teams NA because they are here boot camping, playing against the best, and learning a lot of things within our region. Brazil now is, I think, a really good and strong region. I don't want to say [EG] will be easy because we know it's not easy, but I think it will be a better match for us against EG. They're always a pretty good team. We're going to see what they do tomorrow and try to analyze it. The best thing we can do is play our game and be better than the other team. Today we weren't better against MIBR, but that's it. We're just improving.