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Japan is not known for their esports prowess outside of fighting games, but that may change come Masters: Reyjavik. The team representing the region at VALORANT Masters is Crazy Raccoon, led by Korean import Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-beom. Crazy Raccoon overcame perennial Japanese powerhouse Absolute Jupiter, who ruled the Japanese region for a time.

But in recent months, Munchkin and his group of ex-Counter-Strike, Fortnite and Overwatch players defeated Absolute Jupiter in two sperate finals, to book their tickets to Masters: Reyjavik.

Who is Crazy Raccoon’s Munchkin

Munchkin started his career as an Overwatch professional in 2016. He made his way into the Overwatch League in 2017 as a substitute DPS player. Like many former Overwatch retirees, he mained hitscan heroes like McCree and Widowmaker. He retired from the Blizzard title in the spring of 2020 to play VALORANT.

He started his VALORANT journey with Cloud9 Korea. Munchkin would oscillate between different roles for the team, sometimes on smoke agents, other times on Duelists like Reyna. But, he would eventually settle on Sentinels, mainly Cypher, while flexing to different roles if needed. In his final few tournaments with Cloud9, Munchkin played mainly smoke agents and Cypher. He would lead the Cloud9 organization to a semi-finals berth at the Korean First Strike tournament, falling to eventual champions Vision Strikers.

Then once the roster was let go due to a Riot Games’ ruling about organizations owning multiple rosters, Munchkin made the switch to Japan. He joined Crazy Raccoon in December of 2020 and was given an avatar from the organization as he began competing. He returned to his Sentinels, Cypher and sometimes Killjoy, depending on the map. On Cypher, he would anchor a bombsite and kill enemies as they approached his Cypher setups.

A super hero cat hovering off the ground
Munchkin’s cartoon avatar from the official Crazy Raccoon website. | Provided by Crazy Raccoon

This playstyle also helped bolster his teammates’ aggression. According to Munchkin in the Headshot episode about Crazy Raccoon, Japanese VALORANT is much more aggressive than the execute-heavy playstyle from Korea.

“In my opinion, compared to Japan, Korea focuses heavily on strategy and teamwork. On the other hand, Japan favors personal skills. So I think that Korea would have a slight edge if they were to face off,” Munchkin said in the segment.

Munchkin overcomes Absolute Jupiter

Competing in the VALORANT Champions Tour in Japan, Munchkin and his squad tore through the competition. The only team that stood in their way was Absolute Jupiter, who still hold a 4-2 lifetime record against Crazy Raccoon. Once qualified for the Japanese Masters tournament, Munchkin would have to go up against their rivals again. Absolute Jupiter took the first matchup in the group stage, but when it came down to the Masters grand finals, Crazy Raccoon took the match 3-0. Munchkin finished the series with 48 kills and the highest Average Combat Score in the server, at 237 on Cypher.

Then, en route to qualifying for Masters: Reykjavik, Munchkin returned to Duelists, mainly Raze. He would still flex with Omen, and even the occasional Skye, but Raze became his go-to agent in matches. He would play entry for his team, creating space that their Jett player, Jyousuke “zepher” Matsuda, can play off of. While not the greatest of entry players, Munchkin gets the job done in his region and has secured his team a spot in Reykjavik by taking down their rivals in the grand finals.

At the international LAN, expect Munchkin to keep to Raze on their most played maps: Ascent, Haven and Bind. But, don’t be surprised if the Korean transplant pulls out his trusty Cypher when pushed by international competition. Munchkin and Crazy Raccoon start their VALORANT Masters tournament with a match against Version1 on May 24.