In Week 2 of the 2023 VCT Americas League, the Brazilian squad took down KRU Esports of LATAM 2-1 to record their first victory after losing their first two matches which spanned across two months.
The eventual triumph started with a setback as MIBR lost in Ascent 13-9 off a rough 8-2 half as the attacking side. From there, MIBR rebounded in Lotus and Pearl where, with the direction of IGL Murillo "murizzz" Tuchtenhagen, the team won both times to clinch another win for Brazil so far in the league and the first of their own this year.
With murizzz specifically, he stood out in Pearl by recording a team-high 265 ACS, 24 kills, and 165 ADR on Viper. For a team that routinely suffered losses throughout this year, winning a close series against KRU provides a massive boost to their confidence as they now look to build momentum for their ensuing matches in the league.
Following MIBR’s series against KRU, murizzz spoke to BLIX.GG for an interview about how the managed to defeat their LATAM opponents, what it was like to face Gekko in Lotus, how he has been working with the rest of the lineup so far in the season, and more.
Pedro Romero, BLIX.GG: First off, congrats on the win against KRU. It's the first win for you guys this year so I'm pretty sure you must be feeling very good right now. What's it like for you to finally get that W on the board for this season?
Murillo "murizzz" Tuchtenhagen: Having the first win feels really great. It's actually a relief because we've been working really hard since the end of last year, I think, and we were not able to win a game yet. I think this is the third one in officials, so yeah, it feels really great. We worked a lot for this and it paid off.
BLIX: You faced KRU, a team that gave a lot of difficulty for you and the team for the series. I want to know your thoughts as to how this team rebounded from losing in Ascent to winning in Lotus and then to withstand their comeback and win in overtime in Pearl. How was the team able to come out on top against KRU?
murizzz: I think our mentality was great. We were always very confident no matter what the result of the game was. Also, we stepped up a lot individually in the last two maps and that's something that's normal to happen and I'm great it happened with jzz and then myself in the last map. I think the mentality was the best part of it. We were always confident.
We know when we are calm, we can win unwinnable rounds and we can also have really good setup and reads in the game. Our team really stepped up in the last two maps.
BLIX: For you specifically, you performed particularly well in Pearl with the Viper especially in the first half and kept that going up until the end of the map. For your performance in Pearl, how did you view your contribution to the team there?
murizzz: I think I contributed a lot individually and in IGLing for the team. Also, props to RgL for helping me a lot with the micro and also talking a lot so he helped me focus a little bit more on my game. That's something we were working on in our team. Sometimes, I tried to focus too much on the macro game and I perform a little bit lower than usual.
I think it was about my merit in the last map and also it was from my team and mainly RgL for stepping up with the communication and helping organize the team.
BLIX: As KRU was making that comeback to force overtime in Pearl, as the IGL, how did you direct your team to remain focused and see this map through to the very end?
murizzz: We knew we were messing up in some rounds that we lost, so we were like, "Guys, be comfortable with what we have in the map. Let's adapt a little bit on the mid round," and that's what we did. We played a little bit better in the mid rounds and adapted really well.
I think in the last round, me and frz actually got A control so it was a really good read mid-round and I was keeping the mentality really confident and that's how we managed to win in overtime.
Taking on Gekko
BLIX: I have to mention Klaus using Gekko in Lotus for KRU and against MIBR. How did you approach this agent as an individual and with the rest of the team?
murizzz: Lotus is an attack-sided map and Gekko is, I feel, a better attack agent as well so their attacker was really strong. They can get A control, go back to get C control, and the little Gekko stuff has like 10 seconds cooldown so it's really strong. Also, in the micro stuff of the game, they can always hit B and send the little Gekko to plant, so it's really hard to defend. We're still going to manage to figure out something else to deal with it.
I mean, we adapted kind of well versus LOUD, who actually got seven rounds of funding, but we need a little bit more understanding of that. We actually feel like it's kinda easy to attack versus Gekko. The defending team has to play a lot of retakes. He doesn't have good utilities to hold sides and get info. If you get the plant and they have to play retake, if we are calmer than them, we know you're going to win the round.
BLIX: One other thing you mentioned during the post-match interview is the fact that you looked into VODS featuring LOUD. I want to know if that was the only team you observed. Or are there other teams that you also observed?
murizzz: We watch a lot of teams. I watch a lot of VODs mainly from other regions so we can get stuff that are not actually really played here. The thing with LOUD is that they figured out a way to play the new maps and a new way to play the game. We watched a lot of their VODs to understand this as well and I think we're getting there. The main thing is that we watched our VOD against LOUD with comms and we saw that we were actually doing really good.
We didn't win Lotus but we actually played really well. We communicated really well. Some had some great individual step ups and great retakes so watching the VOD against LOUD with our communication considered actually gave us more confidence and led us to think that we were on the right path and that it wasn't just a fluke.
Working with rest of MIBR
Credit: Riot/Tina Jo
BLIX: What is it like for you to work with bzkA as the coach? Of course, he is a former world champion with LOUD and someone who is well revered not just in Brazil but the rest of the world. What kind of ideas does he bring to the table for you as the IGL and how do you work with that?
murizzz: BzkA is a great figure for our team. He's done really well as the head coach. I can trust him so much. The guy is a world champion so he has been helping me a lot. I actually have a really different understanding of the game than the one I had in Vivo Keyd. I have always been really confident in what I think about the game. Even though I could actually learn a lot from him and mix two things up, that's how we managed to make our playstyle.
He brought a lot of stuff from LOUD and himself and we mixed with the things I knew about the game already. I think we're pretty confident in our playstyle right now. It's not like LOUD or Vivo Keyd. It's like MIBR so we're starting our way to think and how we do stuff in the game.
BLIX: I also want to know your thoughts as to playing with your new teammates in MIBR. Of course, heat and RgL were your past teammates in VK last year, but you're playing with jzz and frz, who were already with MIBR prior to your arrival. You already gave praise to those two particular players during the post-match interview so what's it like working with your new teammates compared to your time in VK?
murizzz: Well, frz is someone I played with before in the beginning of Valorant. I know how he thinks about the game and I admire him a lot. We have to discuss a lot about our ability to play together because he's more of a passive guy and I'm really aggressive, but I think it matches up really well when we can have our way to play whether it's really defensive or really aggressive.
He's a great guy and he's always calm. Jzz is a new kid. He's learning a lot with me and the team. He listens to me a lot so that's really great. I know he can be the best initiator in the long term because he's a very passionate guy who has a lot of raw talent and he's showing that.
Next opponent: NRG
BLIX: NRG is your next opponent in the Americas League. Having watched them take down Sentinels earlier today, what are your thoughts on facing them next week?
murizzz: Versus NRG, it's going to be more of a rational game. Playing Brazilian teams or KRU has a lot of emotion and a lot of individual stuff because it's just how the game goes. And versus NRG, I think it's going to be a great match but it's going to be very different than the first two matches we had, so we got to prepare a lot for it.
We have to prepare the drafts and the gameplan. We know how they want to play the game so we're gonna do our strats about it. We also scrimmed them sometimes and I think it's gonna be a great match. Both teams have a similar level. They have more experienced players (they have Masters winners as well), but we know we can deal with them and have a great match and maybe we come out with a win.
Feature Image Credit: Riot/Tina Jo