VCT NA Challengers 1: The Guard Defeat Sentinels

Published: Mar 19, 2022

Just when we thought we ran out of surprises coming from the North American Valorant region, the VCT NA Challengers 1: Quarterfinals happened.

The Guard, our newest favourites in this season, completely destroyed Sentinels in a 2 – 0 match and sent them into the Lower Bracket immediately. It was an absolute bloodbath. Sentinels will play against Version1 who were also outplayed by Luminosity Gaming and lost 2 – 1.

Cloud9 won the first match against Knights, but it was way too close for comfort. Knights actually put up a great fight. Had things gone differently in map 1, they probably would have won the match. XSET should definitely be wary of them.

And finally, we saw OpTic Gaming take down XSET. This was a pretty interesting match where both teams dominated on certain maps. Ultimately, OpTic were victorious and proceeded into the Semifinals where they’ll face Cloud9 next.

Image Credits | Riot Games

A Highly Unpredictable Region

Valorant as a whole has been quite unpredictable since the very beginning. Everything is in constant motion and things keep changing from tournament to tournament. The North American region is one of the best examples of this.

We’ve seen so many ups and downs throughout the current VCT NA Challengers 1 . Teams that were doomed to fail according to all the Valorant betting odds somehow ended up surviving the group stage.

At the same time, some of the former favourites from the previous season continue in their decline. We already saw the 1 – 4 group stage finish from 100 Thieves, an 0 – 5 disappointment that was EG, and now we witnessed Sentinels getting demolished by The Guard in an unprecedented fashion. They lost 13 – 1 on Icebox, which is something we don’t see every day.

Version1 had a smooth sail through group B, winning all five matches, but when the stakes were raised they simply couldn’t handle the heat.

All of these surprise wins and losses have contributed towards an excellent atmosphere in the tournament. At least this year isn’t filled with one-sided matches and predictable outcomes. This is also why this year’s VCT NA Challengers 1 is one of the best Valorant Champions Tour events we’ve had so far.

Image Credits | Riot Games

Who’ll Make it to the Grand Final?

Out of all the teams competing in the VCT NA Challengers 1, Cloud9 probably have the best shot of climbing to the top. They’ve shown great performance in the group stage, winning all of their matches, and they show no signs of slowing down.

They find themselves in the Semifinals, and if they manage to beat OpTic, they’ll reach the Final. If that ends up being the case, Grand Final is almost guaranteed since they would face either The Guard or Luminosity, both of whom already lost to Cloud9 once.

The second pick for the Grand Final might surprise you – it’s Sentinels. Despite looking incredibly shaky in this season, Sentinels is still one of the best Valorant teams in North America. They are fighting an uphill battle in the Lower Bracket, but we believe this is exactly where they are the most dangerous.

This isn’t the first time Sentinels found themselves in the Lower Bracket and ended up climbing out of it and winning a tournament. They really have nothing to lose here, so they might as well give it their all. And we all know how capable this team can be when they fully commit.

Yes, they’re currently struggling and not really performing at their peak, but this Lower Bracket run may well be exactly what they needed to finally wake up. We wouldn’t write them off just yet.

Denis Alihodzic

Since: March 1, 2021

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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