KRU Esports shocked VALORANT viewers at VCT Masters Berlin when they qualified for the playoffs over Vivo KeyD. And while they ultimately lost their next series against G2 Esports, their performance in Berlin can be viewed as a positive. Yet, for KRU Esports coach Martin “BeTony” Bourre, the goal is something much more than just […]
KRU Esports shocked VALORANT viewers at VCT Masters Berlin when they qualified for the playoffs over Vivo KeyD. And while they ultimately lost their next series against G2 Esports, their performance in Berlin can be viewed as a positive. Yet, for KRU Esports coach Martin “BeTony” Bourre, the goal is something much more than just showing they can compete. Their ultimate goal is to win.
In this interview we speak to KRU BeTony to talk about KRU Esports development as a team, how his previous experience as a pro player helps him empathize with players and their ultimate goal of winning VCT Champions.
Sage Datuin, Esports.gg: You've coached in multiple different games like League of Legends and Smite. Do you feel like what you learned carries over into VALORANT?
KRU BeTony: For most of my life, I was actually a competitor in games. I was competing as a player up until I turned 34 and I am now 36 years old. It has been two years spent as a coach and the experience is fun so far.
Back when I was a player, there was no coaching staff so I took on some of these coaching responsibilities while I was playing. Now, as the coach I understand how important setting the culture for the team is and how to make players better. Still, this role does feel new to me still, but I am doing my best to get used to it. All in all, I am happy with where I am at.
Sage: In your experience as both a player and a coach in stressful situations, you understand why people can get angry.
KRU BeTony: Yeah, I have empathy for the players because I was going through these same experiences for nearly 20 years competing at events. I understand how they feel after a loss and I can hear them, I can talk to them, and I can connect with them. This is one of my strong points as a coach.
Sage: Since you have been in the scene for such a long time, what do you feel holds LATAM back from being at the top? Is it the lack of support? Infrastructure?
KRU BeTony: For me, I believe it is the environment, but we are performing better in VALORANT than in other esports titles. Back then, it was almost impossible to compete with the best teams because we just did not have any support. We can. Now, the LATAM region is a lot more professional. With VALORANT and it being new, I really feel this is the game LATAM can really begin to make an impact in esports. Our performance in Berlin gives us confidence that we can compete with the best.
Sage: Talk to me about KRU’s consistency to stay at the top of LATAM. How do you maintain your spot at the top in a game that is constantly changing?
KRU BeTony: I think it's harder to stay on top than to get to the top. you know, but we are really focused on having professional integrity. It is important I instill this professional mindset around our team to keep us focused. We are really, really professional and are always striving for more.
Right now, we are not okay with just being a regional champion. Ever since January, our goal has always been to eventually become the best team in the world. We want to win VCT Champions and that's our mentality. This is what we are working for and we need to push ourselves to reach this goal we set for ourselves.
Just qualifying for VCT Berlin and VCT Champions is not enough anymore. I want the crown and the team wants it too. Our goal is to really do great here and be the best team in the world. That's the mentality that is going to push us further and further.
Sage: When you were going to VCT, Berlin, you guys already qualified for VCT Champions. Did the plan change heading into this event?
KRU BeTony: It didn't change much. We are not getting complacent right now with our practice because our ultimate goal of winning worlds needs constant work. Throughout Berlin, we were practicing 7 hours a day on top of our matches 6 days a week. This is the same routine we follow whenever we are home.
Still, I'm excited to come here to get more experience because Iceland was the team's first real experience on LAN. We have really young guys on this team and many are 19 or 20-year-olds just entering esports for the first time. So we are a really young team.
This is a project where we know this team’s ceiling is a World Championship. We as coaches need to foster that talent and be patient. It is a weird balance between being realistic about growth and wanting to win. But being in Berlin and having an opportunity to practice more teams really gave us confidence moving forward. Back home, the only region we could scrim is Brazil so being at as many LAN events is important for our growth.
Sage: For you as a coach of young players, what do you feel is more important to focus on the mentality in the game or just helping them with their gameplay?
KRU BeTony: Well, I think both are equally important. Strategy is important, but the mentality is what gets you important wins during dire moments. It doesn't matter how good you are, if your mentality is weaker, and if you don't perform under pressure, you are going to lose and never win a big event.
As a coach and former player, it is really important for me to strike that balance for my players and help them handle tough situations better and be more relaxed. For right now, we are really working on this mental attitude that we are never out of a match just because of the opponent in front of us. If the pressure is on us to perform, then we prep hard to show we can handle that pressure. This is a key factor in developing a young talented team like this. It is definitely not easy, but I see genuine progress being made with this team and it is making me happy. Everyone on this team just wants this project and team to be successful. We want to represent LATAM well.
Teams now have time to prepare for VCT Champions taking place in December