VCT 2022 Stage 1 NA Challengers has neared its conclusion, as eight of the top teams in North America enter the double-elimination playoffs bracket to compete for the two coveted Stage 1 Masters slots.
In the second Lower Round 1 fixture of the playoffs, Sentinels, a North American powerhouse, took on an in-form Version1 squad in a best-of-three thriller that ended in an upset for the former.
While Sentinels and Version1 have enjoyed their moments of success in the tournament, both sides found themselves in a crucial elimination game after a defeat in their inaugural playoffs match.
Sentinels appeared strong after an incredible performance by TenZ (413 ACS) toppled Version1 on Haven (13-7). However, a close encounter on Ascent managed to turn the tides in Version1's favor.
Ultimately, the final showdown on Fracture decided Sentinels' fate, as Version1 claimed the map on a 13-8 scoreline.
TenZ elaborates on Sentinels' exit from the VCT 2022 Stage 1 NA Challengers Playoffs
In a conversation with Sportskeeda Esports' Adarsh J Kumar, Tyson "TenZ" Ngo discussed Sentinels' performance in the tournament and their expectations for the future after their defeat to Version1 in Lower Round 1 of the VCT 2022 Stage 1 NA Challengers.
Q: How do you think Sentinels performed against Version1 in this VCT NA Challengers playoffs matchup?
TenZ: We performed better than in recent times, so I'm proud of ourselves as a team for picking it up and making it competitive because we've definitely been in a rough patch recently.
Q: This Lower Round fixture against Version1 was Sentinels' second matchup against the team in the VCT 2022 Stage 1 NA Challengers. What do you think they did differently this time around?
TenZ: I think they played almost the same as last time. Their level was the same. I think we played a lot better and stepped up a lot more today than the last matchup.
Q: After a 13-1 defeat to The Guard on Icebox, how did it feel to come into this matchup and have an individual performance as good as the one you did on Haven?
TenZ: It felt nice, being able to feel like I was contributing a lot to the match. I was just playing really well on that map and everything was clicking between me and the team. After that match, we had to win one more. At the end of the day, it didn't really matter, but I'm still proud of us.
Q: You have had a lot of people doubt you on Raze. Despite the loss on Fracture, what do you have to say about your individual performance on Raze?
TenZ: Me on Raze is kind of like a meme. But realistically, I have played on Raze a lot. Prior to joining Sentinels, I played Raze a lot on Cloud9. I played it a lot in Iceland as well; anytime we played on Split, I'd be found on Raze.
I had just one match in Berlin, which was kind of crucial, where I messed up on Raze. I've been practicing a lot more, playing Raze a lot more in ranked. You can see a better look for me on the character, and I'm sure I'll only get better at it with time.
Q: As a long-time Yoru enthusiast, how delighted are you to see the Yoru rework that arrived with Patch 4.04. Can the audience expect you to pick up Yoru on a competitive level anytime soon?
TenZ: Well, I'm obviously a huge Yoru enthusiast; there's a lot of copium there. However, the characters we play are like team decisions. A lot of times, ShahZaM wanted me on Jett for all the maps. Later on, we decided that Jett is probably not the greatest on maps like Fracture. So instead, I picked up Raze.
I would love to play Yoru in matches. I feel like he has fun abilities and can outplay a lot of people. There are some maps in particular like Bind where I like Yoru a lot, but I'm up to experiment on other maps as well to see if he'd be good. I don't think we were experimenting that much as a team. We were just sticking to what we know and what the meta is.
Q: You are renowned across pro Valorant for your ability to weild the Operator. So far in VCT 2022, we have seen several Jett players and Operator users shift to Chamber on a few maps.
Considering we've seen dapr and ShahZaM pick up Chamber so far in VCT NA, can we expect to see you on the Agent sometime in the future?
TenZ: As I mentioned earlier, it's a team decision. If ShahZaM wants me on Chamber one day, I'll play Chamber. But, I'm not sure. It's a weird situation where I am the entry fragger for the team. So, characters like Jett and Raze will make more sense in terms of that department.
Playing Chamber, you can get entry, but probably not as well as you can with Jett or Raze. It's kind of different, and it changes how we approach attacking rounds.
Q: Can you share the progress Sentinels have had in appointing a coach for the team?
TenZ: We have been trialing multiple coaches. So, we are just feeling things out. We will definitely be signing a coach before the next event. Hopefully, you will see us as a lot more cohesive next time.
Q: After the conclusion of Valorant Champions 2021, Sentinels were away from VCT action until the VCT 2022 Stage 1 NA Challengers Group Stage. Looking back, how would you describe your experience since Valorant Champions concluded?
TenZ: At Valorant Champions, I didn't play too well. As a player, I did not play anywhere up to par. I was quite disappointed in myself as well. I took a short break, after which I just grinded. When we returned, we were just scrimming and hoping to get back into shape.
I know that the meta at Valorant Champions and the meta for the VCT Challengers Group Stage was played with the Astra meta. It was kind of rough going into the new meta (in the Playoffs) in such a short time.
This goes for all teams. You might see a few upsets here and there since there's a drastic shift. Only having a week to run Brimstone and Omen instead of Astra while experiementing in the same department and getting good with it was kind of rough.
Q: What can the global fanbase of Sentinels expect from the team in Stage 2 of VCT 2022?
TenZ: We'll definitely get a coach. When we start being more together as a team, I would expect you to see some better performances from us. I know right now that we're in a slump. It happens to any team or player. It's rough, but we have to deal with it. Hopefully for the next stage you can see a better us.