VCT Masters 3 Berlin South America Preview and Groups Predictions
Rounding out the final regional preview for VCT Masters 3 Berlin will be the representatives from both Brazil and Latin America. Unlike North America, EMEA, and the Asia Pacific region, the South American region did not have their number of team slots expanded from Reykjavík to Berlin. The Chilean-Argentinian roster of KRU Esports retained their spot atop Latin America, becoming only the third team in the world to play in both international Masters events. Two new faces have emerged from Brazil in Keyd Stars and Havan Liberty.
Despite having such a deep and prolific CS:GO scene, Brazilian VALORANT hasn’t achieved the international prominence that Europe and NA has. While Brazil may not have any superteams considered heavy favorites at Masters, it is an incredibly deep region. It’s also worth pointing out that it took a few years in CS:GO for a Brazilian team to become a global contender, and when they did, they became the dominant team in the scene an entire year.
For this final VCT Masters 3 Berlin preview, we’re going to take a closer look at all three teams representing South America. Then at the end, we’ll quickly run through each of the four groups and give some predictions. Let’s start with the two-time Masters participants.
At their first international LAN event, KRÜ got an unlucky draw, and were forced to play eventual grand finalists Fnatic in the play-in round. After defeating Sharks Esports from Brazil, they got dealt another bad hand by having to play Liquid in just the second round of the lower bracket. This time around, they’ve landed in one of the more favorable groups, with Envy, ZETA Division, and Keyd Stars.
It’s a small sample size, but KRÜ proved they could hold their own against Brazilian teams back in Reykjavík, so they have a slight edge against Keyd Stars. ZETA Division has looked stellar coming out of Japan, but Japan as a whole is still relatively unproven against international competition in tactical shooters, especially VALORANT. Envy will likely be the biggest challenge facing KRÜ in the group division, but even they are arguably the least dangerous team out of North America.
The KRÜ crew has incredible depth on their team, with multiple players able to deliver consistently big performances. During the Stage Three LATAM Challengers Playoffs, KRU players finished 2nd, 5th, and 11th in overall ACS (keznit, Mazino, and NagZ). All three did so while playing different agents across multiple roles as well. The two-time Latin American champions should be seriously considered for one of the Masters 3 Berlin playoff spots out of their group.
The champions of the Stage Three Brazil Challengers Playoffs will start their group play against the Group C favorites in Team Envy. But don’t expect the top seed out of Brazil to roll over for FNS and company; this team is resilient. They snuck into the Challengers Playoffs via Challengers Three, and immediately got sent down to the lower bracket by Sharks. But there they endured, winning three straight series in three-map affairs to reach the Berlin qualifying game. Seeing the finish line, they 2-0’d FURIA and then swept Havan Liberty 3-0 in the grand finals.
The Vivo Keyd lineup was formed only a few months ago in June, with parts left over from some of the other prominent teams in Brazil. Players from Gamelanders, paiN Gaming, Team oNe, and even Havan Liberty joined right before Stage Three, and finally made it past open qualifiers in the final Challengers event of the year.
During their five series win streak to reach Berlin, Vivo Keyd’s Jett main Olavo “heat” Marcelo produced tremendous numbers in some of these games. 78 kills against his former team Havan Liberty, 74 against Reykjavik attendee Team Vikings, and an astounding 82 against Gamelanders Blue, which included 37 on Haven to close out that series. Overall the team showed off impressive attack numbers on Breeze and a stalwart defense on Icebox, so keep an eye on Keyd if they head to either of those maps.
Like Keyd Stars, Havan Liberty’s last chance to reach Berlin or Champions came via Challengers Three. And while Keyd Stars sweated out some close maps, Havan Liberty (up until meeting Keyd in the finals) looked untouchable. From the Challengers Three open qualifier to their Berlin qualifying match versus FURIA, Havan didn’t drop a single map until their loss to Keyd in the grand finals. And even though that loss was a 3-0, all three maps were close (13-11 on Split, 16-14 on Bind, and 14-12 on Icebox).
Havan has kept the same roster core of myssen, shion, and pleats since the group formed in August 2020. While they weren’t a consensus top team, they had some fine results prior to Stage Three, including a semifinals placement at First Strike Brazil, and a 4th place finish at the Stage Two Challengers Finals. Prior to Stage Three, they brought in Gustavo “krain” Melara for the departing heat. Krain previously played for Vorax, and actually had to forfeit versus Haven at First Strike, an offline event for Brazil, when most of the team caught COVID.
Krain was forced to miss his first VALORANT LAN debut at First Strike, but now gets a shot in Berlin against the North American winners of First Strike, 100 Thieves. Both teams have recently relied on three initiators agents, with both using a lot of Sova and Skye. But while 100T has experimented more with KAY/O, Havan Liberty has been playing with Breach at a very high frequency compared to other teams at Masters 3 Berlin. They’ll need their soundest strats to get past the North American favorites.
Final Group Predictions
Group A is a daunting group, with three extremely dangerous teams in Vision Strikers, Acend, and SuperMassive Blaze. It’d be an amazing story if PaperRex advances as the sole Southeast Asian team, but I don’t think it’s viable. It could really be any combination of two of the three remaining teams, but I think Vision Strikers and SuperMassive Blaze go through. Of course, that could all be negated by some superstar performances from Acend’s cNed.
We’ve talked about Group B plenty in this preview, but it’s hard to nail down a second team to advance along with Envy. Even Envy doesn’t even feel like a sure bet, but I think their LAN experience and firepower carry them through. I’m picking the deep KRU Esports team to advance, but either Keyd or ZETA could easily sneak in as well.
It gets a little easier from here on out. It would be surprising to see anyone except Gambit and 100 Thieves advance from Group C. Havan has looked stellar in recent weeks, but two of the top teams from EMEA and NA are entirely different beasts. Reaching two Masters events is impressive, but I think Crazy Raccoon lacks the Counter-Strike experience needed.
Group D is a no-brainer; Sentinels and G2 should advance. It’s a shame that Bren’s departure has left PaperRex representing SEA alone, but I don’t think Bren was getting past this duo anyways. F4Q is good, but not good enough to get past two superteams.