Question marks pop up around VCT Americas favorites after close KRÜ scare

The reigning champions are reeling, but winning.

Image via Riot Games

Undefeated LOUD has started to show cracks in VCT Americas.

After surprisingly close games against low-ranked teams like Sentinels and Evil Geniuses, their next match was against the winless KRÜ Esports on May 1, 2023. On paper, this series should have been an easy win for LOUD to punch their ticket to Masters, yet every map turned out close, with LOUD barely squeaking out a win.

Related: Cloud9 add final stone to NA VALORANT gauntlet during incredible VCT Americas season

KRÜ dominated the highlights, including a standout performance from Marco “Melser” Amaro, who managed to clock up plenty of highlight reel moments in the first two maps.

But, just as there was in the previous two series, LOUD had a turning point. On Ascent, down 11-7, it seemed like the team was facing their first loss. Then, clutch plays from Erick “aspas” Santos, Cauan “cauanzin” Pereira, and Matias “Saadhak” Delipetro shifted momentum from KRÜ back to LOUD. The LOCK//IN finalists returned and finished the map 13-11, not even allowing their opponents to hit match point.

Then, it all came down to Split⁠—a map LOUD has had recent issues with. In their last series against Evil Geniuses, LOUD’s defense side on Split was exploited, losing it 13-3. Luckily enough against KRÜ, LOUD started on attack, building an 8-4 lead to quell some worries about the map.

Then, when LOUD went on defense, KRÜ fought back to a tie at 9-9, using similar strategies and smokes just like EG’s plans. It looked like the winless team was still in the series, but aspas denied them any chance with some great Operator shots. 

In the end, KRÜ only won a single round after tying that map.

Following this result, the VALORANT champs and LOCK///IN finalists clinched playoffs, but they almost lost to a winless team and confidence in their quality is starting to flag. The age-old phrase of ‘a win is a win’ holds true, but it certainly leaves some worry.

About the author
Michael Czar

Contributing writer for Dot Esports. Covering esports news for just over five years. Focusing on Overwatch, VALORANT, Call of Duty, Teamfight Tactics, and some general gaming content. Washington Post-published game reviewer. Follow me on Twitter at @xtraweivy.