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Munchkin: “I think NA’s Cloud9 looks really strong”

Tom Matthiesen

Crazy Raccoon stumbled on their first day at the VALORANT Champions Tour Champions 2021. In the Verti Music Hall in Berlin, the Japanese organization was unable to overcome Brazil’s Team Vikings and now stares down early elimination from the tournament. Down, but not out, Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom, has faith that his team can turn it around.


Munchkin and his Crazy Raccoon teammates face either Team Envy or Gambit next. (Image courtesy of Lance Skundrich for Riot Games)

After the series, Munchkin joined to talk about his team’s performance and what went wrong. He explained how minute differences influence his performance, and how his team prepares for each opponent differently. Munchkin also looked ahead at what his team needs to improve to stay in the race.

Hotspawn: Welcome, Munchkin. Unfortunately, you lost your first series at VCT Champions. As a viewer, the whole series felt scrappy, chaotic. Was it the same for you?

Munchkin: This may be an excuse, if you think of it as an excuse, but it was the same for us during Masters 3 in Berlin. I think our performance in today’s match does not really show how well we do in scrims and practice. I think it’s just a matter of getting used to playing on a stage. I think we were not quite ready for that in our first match.

Hotspawn: It’s interesting that you mention that. What lessons did you take from Masters Berlin, then, to help you improve your on-stage performance?

Munchkin: I think it was just a matter of trying to be more organized when we enter a site. We wanted to play very tactically as a team. We practiced that a lot. We also practiced controlling the overall flow of the game, our movement throughout the round. I think those are some things that we’ve been working on, and I look forward to showing them in the future.

Hotspawn: For you personally, do you feel a difference when you’re playing on-stage compared to playing in scrims? Do you get nervous?

Munchkin: Yea, I think I would have to say yes. It’s not about being more nervous per se, but I think it’s the small things. For example, at home, I don’t use an in-ear earphone when I play, but here we have a new ruleset where we use earphones and then put a headset on top of our ears. So, small things like that have sort of affected my gameplay.

Hotspawn: Talking about your match against Team Vikings, it seemed like the issues already surfaced early on Icebox, which was your map pick. What went wrong there?

Munchkin: Actually, when we practiced playing with KAY/O on Icebox, it was really easy for us to rush onto a site using his skillset. But I think that the opponent really prepared well for that. They had some counter-strats to play against the KAY/O, and I think that’s where we struggled to adapt to the game.

Hotspawn: So will you shelf KAY/O on Icebox for now, or are you still going to use him on the map?

Munchkin: For us, we don’t actually play with a set comp for a certain map. We actually tend to base our composition based on our opponent. So, depending on who makes it between Gambit and Secret, we would adapt our composition and our strat to best fit our opponent.

Hotspawn: That’s a good transition into my next question: You’re in the Elimination Match now and will face either Team Secret or Masters 3 champion Gambit. Who do you hope to face?

Munchkin: As you know, Gambit is the champion of Masters 3, so I think it’s an obvious answer when we say we prefer to play against Team Secret. [Laughs]

Hotspawn: Well, you could also say that, if you beat the champion, you have the most difficult part behind you.

Munchkin: [Laughs] Yea, I can agree with that. If Gambit loses their game and then loses to us, that’s goodbye for them. That would be a good boost for us.

Hotspawn: I want to shift the conversation a bit more to all the attendees at the event. There are teams that qualified for the tournament very early and haven’t had the same pressure to compete since. How do you rate those teams compared to others?

Munchkin: I think it’s quite different for each region. I would say that, out of the LCQ teams, who were the last teams to qualify for this event, I think NA’s Cloud9 looks really strong. As for the other regions, I’m not so sure. But I wouldn’t look down on them per se.

Hotspawn: South Korea is traditionally a strong force in esports, but in fps games hasn’t made the same splash historically. Despite representing a Japanese team at a world championship event—do you think South Korea can make a splash here?

Munchkin: I think a team like Vision Strikers, who is already very strong—they have some of the best players in Korea—they have a bright future. But for the other teams in Korea, because the ecosystem has not grown as well as in the other regions such as NA or EU, they may take some time or even struggle to get as strong as they are in other esports.

Hotspawn: Thank you for joining, Munchkin. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

Munchkin: Yes. We are facing potentially our last game. For our next game, I think we are gonna perform very well and we are gonna prepare really well for it. I hope you guys will look forward to watching us play.

Crazy Raccoon plays their next series on Sunday, December 5, at 3 PM CET. You can watch the series live on the VALORANT Twitch channel.