"Given enough chance, we would come into top 3": Velocity Gaming's Sentinel talks about the Valorant team's aspirations at the AMD Skyesports Champions Series and globally

VLT Sentinels talks about the team's chances at the tournament (Image via Sportskeeda)
VLT Sentinels talks about the team's chances at the tournament (Image via Sportskeeda)

The ongoing AMD Skyesports Champions Series, being held in Chennai, is hosting six of South Asia's best Valorant teams. They are locking horns in a double-elimination bracket to determine who will get the lion's share of the $30,000 prize pool and the two slots to the VCT Stage 2 APAC Challengers.

In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda Esports at the AMD Skyesports Champions Series playoffs, Velocity Gaming's Sentinel talked about his team's preparation for the event, the experience at the earlier APAC, the changes that it brought, and his hopes for the future of his team and the region in Valorant's global competitive scene.

Velocity Gaming's Sentinel sheds light on the preparation and mindset of the Valorant team for the ongoing AMD Skyesports Champions Series

Q) What was your reaction after VLT’s win against Revenant llast night, considering it was your first LAN win? What have you said to your team after the game?

Sentinel: I was with the team for the last three or four days because we were scrimming and we were getting good results. I was completely calm and composed. So the night before the event, reality struck.

This is an event that we have been preparing for. All the changes, and all the things that we have done, is for this event. So it's like reality kicking in at the last moment. I was really tense before the match. But obviously, I didn't express that to the team.

I had just told them to continue what they have done in the scrims. They have done a wonderful job and kept the thing going right now. So, a good start to the event. I just told them to continue. This is just the first victory. Every victory is going to get tougher and it's not going to get easier. So you have to be prepared for that.

Q) VLT had a disastrous performance in the Last Sky LAN. Within a month, the team is back at the arena for another major title. According to you, what went wrong that time, and how much did the team prepare this time to not to make the same mistake again?

Sentinel: For the Sky LAN event, honestly, speaking, we were not prepared. One good thing about Riot is that they give out new updates so that the same team doesn't have the same performance on a regular level. You have to keep adapting to new agents, new metas, and all that.

March 26 is when we finished our APAC tour. Till April 15, my players were on break and attending to their personal things before they came back to boot camp on the 25th of April. They were playing online from their houses because we were playing the TEC Challenger Series, which we won against Revenant. They were at their home while playing their event.

Once the event was done, they came to boot camp. So once they are in boot camp, again, it starts from scratch. You need to understand if it's the same meta, who's playing what agent, what maps you are playing, and what maps you are banning. Because we cannot be perfect in all seven maps.

It's just like your education, you can't study all the chapters, you have to let go of a few choices. So that's the same thing we do as well. So in that sense, we were not 100% prepared. We had a couple of maps in our hand. But other teams obviously did more hardwork than what we did. So, that was one reason.

And the second thing is lack of practice. We made sure that these kind of long breaks don't happen again. So we kind of schedule it in such a way that we are in our boot camp within a week or two to keep the practice and the momentum going and we're not lost out of the game.

Q) The team has gone through several significant changes recently - sleepy, sieh, mw1, vibhor. How have these changes affected the team?

Sentinel: I mean, it was a mutual decision that took place after the Sky event. The Sky event had nothing to do with the changes we have made. A few changes were planned even before the event.

With mw1 coming into the team, we saw last time during LCQ last year how much impact he can offer. After that, we had Deathmaker. Now imagine the same firepower in terms of DM and mw1 being in the team.

We wanted that kind of firepower, because it gives us more flexibility for other people to play different agents. We wanted that because that is what we were missing in the APAC series. When you face against the top teams in SEA, you need that kind of firepower.

So in that aspect, we had to make some tough decisions. It's part of the game, and it can't be helped.

Q) VLT will go up against Enigma today. Can your team take the revenge of the defeat of the last LAN? What do you think?

Sentinel: The idea is to take revenge. We are prepared against them now. They are even obviously prepared. I met Aryaman in the morning so they looked pretty confident. It's going to be a good match.

Playing @Enigmagamingind today at 5:30 PM in the @skyesportsindia Champions Series ( BO3 )#feelthevelocity

Obviously we are not playing here for just a local tournament. This is to determine the best two teams of our region so I would obviously want the best team to represent. If it is me, I'm happy. If it is anyone else, I will not be disappointed. It's good for our region.

Q) We saw an APAC team, PRX, perform at the highest level at the Masters in Reykjavik. Considering India comes under the same region, what do you think VLT can do to achieve success at that level?

Sentinel: So Valorant is one game, which I believe, we honestly have a chance to be at that level. A lot of teams have tried in Counter Strike but were unable to get there because the game as such is that.

It is a skill level higher than what Valorant is. Valorant is a pretty - I would not say an easy game - but a game that is easy to understand and play. You don't have to learn lineups. There are a few, but you don't need to learn as many lineups as you have to in Counter Strike. It's not very reactive and a very fast paced game, as Counter Strike.

So in that aspect, we always had that kind of skill where we could use agents' abilities to coordinate and do it. But, we just lag in that 10-15% where we need more exposure in terms of playing against these teams to understand what they're better at, and what we're lacking. So once that exposure is there, we should be coming to that level.

Even in the last APEC team, I still believe we are a top 8 team. I wouldn't say anything better than that. We had two chances to get to the top eight and we lost it at a very fine margin. I still believe we are a top 8 team. Given enough chance, we will come into top 3 as well.

Q) VLT were one of the 2 teams that made it to the APAC challengers last time. How much has that experience helped VLT in later tournaments?

Sentinel: Well, it was a complete eye opener after the event. We understood what we needed as a team. That is when a concrete decision of taking sieh as a complete analyst for the team was taken. We needed a coach, an international coach, who saw these teams play and perform and grind at that level. And we needed firepower.

We are out from VCT APAC CHALLENGERS ! GGWP @SouthBuilt ( Lost 0-2 ) in the Elimination Brackets ! #feelthevelocity

The entire reality that you see right now is the outcome of that event. I mean, if any other team also went to that level and performed over there, you would see the same kind of result. Let it be Global Esports, they got Eraser, they had Malav who's their permanent analyst.

We agree we played bad ! We disappointed all of you guys ! We will comeback stronger💪

It only comes after you have seen that over there. So it would be good if we get there and, you know, perform after these changes. But let's see.

Q) Last time you played in the Content Creator’s game, you ended up on the winning side. However, you won't be attending the event this time, so can you tell us why? And who do you think will be taking your place at the CC's match?

Sentinel: I think my position is filled by Lord Bathura. And yeah, I'll be rooting again for my players, Adarsh (Euphoria), Bathura, Fa2, Tbone . This time around I am not playing because of some personal reasons. We have played enough so I want to let the youngsters have it.

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Edited by Saman
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