Are Sentinels The New Favorites To Win VCT 2024?

Major reasons behind success of Sentinels and how they become the first NA team to win 2 Championships.

VCT Sentinels winning the title
Sentinels VCT Masters Madrid

Sentinels is the first team in the history of North America (NA) to become a two-time Masters winner after the recent win in the Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Madrid. Their first trophy win was Masters in Reykjavík in 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • Sentinels are the only NA team to win VCT Masters twice.
  • After the VCT Berlin, their downfall started as competition began to increase. 
  • They hit rock bottom in 2022 and proceeded with multiple Roaster and Coaching changes. 
  • They made a comeback in 2024 by winning the Masters Madrid, reclaiming the throne.

Rise Of Sentinels

Masters reykjavik
Sentinels Masters Reykjavík

Sentinels became title winners after their first Global Championship in Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Stage 2 Masters Reykjavík in 2021 They achieved a clean run of 9-0 match victories, winning all of their games. This made them secure top of the list of best NA teams at the time, getting recognition internationally. 

Sentinels were faced by Fanatic in the finals, where every match went neck to neck, especially the first two games on Split and Bind. However, through technical play and perfect strategies, they were able to win after a dominating 3-0 victory over the opponents. Despite the dominating performance in this tournament, they lost 2-1 to Team Liquid in 2021 Valorant Champions Berlin. 

Downfall Of Sentinels

-No Practice

While other teams were busy hustling, Sentinels went into hibernation mode and stopped practicing any new strategies and plays. They took 5 months off, wasting a huge chunk of time that could have been put to good use even though the next tournament was right around the corner. 

There were no streams from any players except ShahZaM and Sick, where they used to sometimes play together. But to stay in touch with the Meta, more effort should have been in practicing and Skrims rather than slacking off just because they won their first Championship. 

-Champions Tour North America: Last Chance Qualifier

The former Masters Winners lost to The Guard 2-1 in the tournament placing them in the lower bracket. They lost in the lower bracket to 100 Thieves 2-1 which knocked them out of the Valorant Champions Tour 2022. This was the point where the lack of competitive skills started to first appear.

Sentinels were stuck in the 2020 playstyle where every other team had countered and made their strategies better. There was no teamwork seen among the players, everything relied on individual plays. They lacked counter strategies, utility usage, and team coordination. 

ShahZaM: IGL at the time, was lacking the leadership skills needed for them to win matches. He didn’t bring much to the table, there was no depth in their setups. His ideas were still stuck in the past and were getting easily countered, like The Gaurd. 

The Head Coach had no input in the matches. Even though he was supposed to intervene with new ideas countering the other team. It seemed as if they were out of touch for so long, they were just five ordinary players with no ambition or passion to win.

It was time for changes in the roaster. 

Roaster And Head Coach Changes 

In September 2022, they let go of their key IGL at the time Shahzeb Khan (ShahZaM), and others such as Micheal Grzeiek (Shroud), and Eric Xu (Kanpeki), they were replaced by two former XSET players, Zachary Patrone (zekken), Rory Jackson (dephh), and two of former 2022 Valorant Champions winners Gustavo Rossy (Sacy) and Bryan Luna (pANcada).

Not only this but they also replaced their Head Coach Shane Flaherty (Rawkus) with Don Muir (SyykoNT) and Adam Kaplan (Kaplan) as their assistant coach. SyykoNT resigned from his position in April 2023, when Kaplan took over as the new head coach and Drew Spark-Whitworth (DrewSpark) as the new assistant coach. 

Dephh was let go and replaced by Marved, who would stay as the IGL for the rest of the season. 

Champions Tour 2023: Americas LCQ

However, despite the changes, there were still unsolved issues for the team, which became evident after Sentinels was once again knocked out of Champions Tour 2023: Americas LCQ by Leviatan 2-0 in the lower bracket. 

There were constant role switches for the players, where Sacy was Controller in Split map, but was put to Initiator role after Marved joined. Pancada should have stuck to the Controller role, and Sacy as the Intiator. 

They went too hard with role swapping, where it was clear TenZ was supposed to stick to Jett on the specific maps, and Zekken Raze/Neon on his comfort maps. However, TenZ was once again chosen to play Chamber, which he wasn’t the most comfortable with. Not to forget Chamber also getting nerfed, and easily countered. 

Redemption Arc Of The Sentinels

In September 2023, Sentinels announced the signing of their new IGL Mohamed Ouarid (johnqt), which was followed by the re-signing of their former player Zellsis. These both were to become the key reasons why Sentinels went ahead to win the Masters Madrid. 

Champions Tour 2024: Masters Madrid

Valorant Sentinels in Masters Madrid
Sentinels in Masters Madrid 

In the playoffs, Sentinels went up against Loud and won 2-1 on Sunset. Their next match was against Gen. G to whom they lost 2-1, and were to face Paper Rex in the lower bracket. They fought Paper Rex 3:1, facing Gen. G once again in the Grand Final.

The Grand final results were as follows:

Breeze Sen 8-13 Gen. G
BindSen 14-12 Gen. G
Ascent Sen 8-13 Gen. G
Split Sen 13-10 Gen. G
IceboxSen 13-6 Gen. G

After a nerve-wracking 3-2 overall score, bringing it down to the last map, Sentinels were able to emerge victorious. The whole team synergy was just beautiful to watch. Every individual play from the players is worth appreciating. 

Zekken proved his name to be in the list of Best duelists in Valorant. He showed up to the occasion well prepared, staggering a KDA of 101/85/29 with a bind blowing 27 first bloods across all maps. 

TenZ silenced his haters once and for all. Shifting to the controller role, yet still providing kills for his team, ended with a KDA of 83/78/54. He became the only Sentinel player to be present on both Masters Madrid and Reykjavík. 

Zellsis not only constantly lifts his team’s spirits, but also proves why he is called Mr. Consistent. Winning clutch after clutch for his team, outplaying his opponents, especially dominating in the last map. He turned up where the win mattered the most. 

Johnqt the mastermind, of the IGL brought innovative quality tactics to the Meta. He made amazing reads from round to round, breaking down how to win each of them. His leadership skill set brought unique blueprints to the table. 

Lastly, Sacy was the pillar of the team, getting comfortable back to his role. Sacy is now the only player to win the Masters and World Champion. 

With the Masters Madrid coming to an end, some things are cleared. Zekken and TenZ are the killers, Johnqt is the brains, Zellsis is the glue, and Sacy is the backbone. Everyone is as important as the other. Remember the name, Sentinels, as they are on a course to Valorant Champions Tour 2024

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