Sometimes when you get to the top and you stay there for a while, people start wishing for you to fall back down. This was the case for Sentinels, a team that surprised everyone with their explosive playstyle and strong performance in Valorant Champions Tour. They were the most feared team in Valorant, but then their perfect run was cut short during the Masters in Berlin.
Valorant Champions, the apex of the year-long Valorant tournament, is now upon us, and it’s a chance for Sentinels to reclaim their spot as the number one squad in Valorant. Will Sentinels show the world their dominance once more, or will this be the end of their supremacy?
Conquering the NA Region
If you look at the track record of Sentinels, you’ll notice that they won every single VCT esports tournament in North America. There were times when they’d lose a match, but they’d quickly pick themselves up and bounce back to the grand finals, where they’d still win.
Every team fell before them in all the Challengers and Masters events, including Reykjavík where they destroyed everyone in the event and finished without losing a single map. They kept winning so much that every Valorant betting prediction immediately pointed towards them. And while some praised Sentinels, others waited for their inevitable slip.
The final VCT Masters event came and Sentinels were once again selected as the top Valorant pick of the event. However, things would take a different turn this time.
End of the Win Streak
When Sentinels won the VCT NA Challengers Playoffs, they not only qualified for the final Masters event, but they were also the only team who actually qualified for Valorant Champions too.
If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, then just take a look at the official NA Circuit Points where you’ll see Sentinels sitting at the top with 775 total points. Envy is right behind them with 450 points, and then 100 Thieves with 375. It quickly becomes clear just how far ahead Sentinels had been all this time. Their dominant performance secured them the fame and recognition, but also put a huge target on their back.
This would really come into play during this final Masters event. Since Sentinels were the best Valorant team in the world, everyone else studied their playstyle and came up with strategies to try and counter them. Since they’re also one of the rare teams that didn’t really change their lineup much, with the exception of TenZ joining around March, their style was easily recognizable.
When the event came, Sentinels faced G2 in their group and secured the first match. However, G2 took one map from them and that was enough to spark a fire that would lead to G2 winning the rematch.
Although Sentinels secured a spot in the playoffs, they got outplayed badly by their countrymen Team Envy and got eliminated early. The fans of Sentinels took this loss on the chin and looked ahead to Valorant Champions. Those who didn’t share that positive outlook cheered the downfall of the NA giants.
Time for a Change
For months, Sentinels dominated their region and the first LAN events without ever having a coach. They didn’t really feel there was a need for one, since ShahZaM was the in-game leader and the brains of the operation, and that worked up until the final Masters.
What’s special about Sentinels is that they’re exceptionally good at learning from their mistakes and adapting, which is what they did after their elimination in Berlin. Soon after, they signed the ex-FaZe Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty as their new coach.
At the same time, finally losing that tournament relieved them of all that pressure that had been building up throughout an entire year. It also took that target off their backs and gave them some space.
With a new coach and plenty of practice, Sentinels prepare for the final Valorant Champions Tour event. This time, they’ll be facing some of the best Valorant players in the world and entering the tournament on equal grounds – not as overwhelming favourites, but neither as underdogs.
The Final Showdown
Valorant Champions is the final VCT tournament, and this is where winning truly counts. Not only does this tournament boast the biggest Valorant prize pool, but more importantly, it’s the most prestigious Valorant event. If Sentinels win here, all the potential doubts about them will be washed away.
Some argue that Sentinels didn’t really care about VCT Masters in Berlin since they had already qualified for Champions, but they’ll certainly care now and go into the event fully focused.
If they win, they’ll end a near-perfect run and make history as one of the most successful teams in Valorant. However, there’s a realistic chance they could lose given how strong the competition is. In any case, we’ll see soon enough.
They’ll be playing their first match against FURIA Esports on December 2nd. The Brazilian squad is strong, but we expect an easy win for Sentinels here.