KRU Esports displayed through their performance that they weren’t a team to be underestimated as they obliterated the #1 Japanese seed: Zeta Division.
KRÜ Esports used their map pick on Ascent, while Zeta Division proceeded with Split. Although Bind was selected as the potential decider, it ended up being unnecessary, courtesy to KRÜ Esports commendable performance.
After KRU managed to put up double digits on the scoreboard within the first eleven rounds, it was eminent that Zeta Division was struggling to find their momentum and any efforts of resistance were gunned down by KRÜ Esports as if it were a walk in the park for them.
Furthermore, Zeta Division was unable to put down a single spike in their entire Attack phase, which in comparison to their performance against other Japanese teams in the challengers was rather surprising and unexpected.
Nevertheless, Koji “Laz” Ushida’s precise aim and aggression was the only hope in sight, and as the second half commenced it did prove to be useful — at least momentarily. Immediately out of the gate, there was a noticeable change in Zeta Division’s playstyle.
The interval has allowed them to regroup and discuss the flaws in their strategies, and attempt a comeback which, with a score of 11-, seemed considerably far-fetched. The first round in the KRÜ Esports Attack phase came to a rapid end after LAZ’s spectacular play.
The following few rounds followed suit with KRÜ Esports, too, failing to secure a plant. At the 20th round, the scoreboard read 12-8, a huge contrast from the halftime. Even though it looked as if Zeta Division had the last lifeline left, it was a little too late as the next round marked KRÜ Esports superiority over Ascent.
An important takeaway from this match was that teams that were on Attack found it relatively difficult to gain momentum, as opposed to the defending site. Lastly, an honorable mention to Angelo “keznit” Mori and Joaquín Ignacio “delz1k” Espinoza who displayed fascinating performances with 1.25 and 1.5 K/D respectively.
Despite being easily read by KRÜ Esports on Ascent, Split was an entirely different case. From the pistol round itself, it was clear why Zeta Division opted for this map. Before we dive deeper into the specifics of the match, it is worth mentioning that Japanese challengers brought in their substitute Ryo “barce” Takebayashi in place of Akatsuki “makiba” Miyamoto.
The map started with a pistol round going to Zeta, and the other rounds followed a similar pattern. When Ascent leaned heavily in favor of KRÜ Esports, everyone assumed this series to be a one-sided affair, which would inevitably result in KRU conquering the series 2-0.
Zeta Division hadn’t been able to show their true potential on Ascent, and they did just that on Split by going on a seven-round undisputed streak. With a minor slip-up in round 8, they did end up surrendering 5 consecutive rounds to KRÜ Esports.
But KRÜ Esports’s dominance on Split only lasted up until the end of the first half. On the other hand, Zeta Division repeated their success and secured the map with six back-to-back rounds with some insane plays from Shogo “takej” Takemori with a 2.75 K/D. Zeta Division had unparalleled defense on this map, as evidenced by KRÜ Esports failure to take a single round in the second half.
Though KRÜ Esports did not win the map, it is worth mentioning a decent play from KRÜ Esports’ delz1k, who managed to clutch a 1v4 in the 10th round just in time to deny the plant and take the round.
Living up to the expectations of a decider, Bind proved to be the closest map out of the three. The substitute used by Zeta Division on Split was reverted, which meant Makiba was back and barce returned to the bench. Zeta Division started Bind on Attack and KRÜ Esports on defense. Zeta Division initiated the proceedings by taking the pistol round, as well as the round following it. But KRÜ Esports understood that letting Zeta Division build up momentum would lead to the same circumstance they encountered on Split.
The third round saw KRÜ Esports eliminating Zeta Division before they had the chance to plant spike, and then following it up with consecutive defusals in rounds four and five.
Zeta Division wasn’t too keen on letting KRÜ Esports getting too comfortable and managed to secure two rounds. However, their efforts were soon rendered futile by KRÜ Esports. In one of these rounds, KRÜ Esports’s keznit made an amazing play to get a 4k and secure a flawless round for his team.
Fast forward to halftime, the scoreboard read 7-5, which meant that both teams were still in the competition and the next half could go either way. But KRÜ Esports had a reputation of not losing Bind since May of 2021, and they did not disappoint. Zeta Division barely managed to take two rounds on Bind before KRÜ Esports closed out the map and proved that they were the better team. Even if the conditions of their victory weren’t optimal, KRÜ Esports ended up winning the series to gain some breathing room in their group.
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