“I can only control the effort, I don’t really control the outcome,” johnqt on the pressure of Sentinels vs. LOUD cover image

“I can only control the effort, I don’t really control the outcome,” johnqt on the pressure of Sentinels vs. LOUD

Esports.gg chatted with johnqt after Sentinels’ huge victory against LOUD in the VCT Americas Kickoff Grand Final.

Sentinels are your VCT Americas Kickoff winners. In a best-of-five Grand Final, they thwarted a reverse sweep by LOUD with a dominating final map. Following the contest, we spoke with SEN IGL Mouhamed "johnqt" Ouarid about his path to the VCT, staying calm under pressure, and more.

SEN IGL johnqt discusses Grand Final series against LOUD and the confident boost of the victory

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"We saw a bit about your journey on the broadcast before the match started. From leaving your home to making it to the VCT. What has been the hardest part of it all?"

johnqt: "Being homesick, I'd say. I mean, I always believed in my abilities as a player. The hardest part is just being so far away from my culture. Homesick and not having any family near me."

"What would you say has been the most rewarding thing about it, aside from simply playing VALORANT at this level?"

johnqt: "That my hard work pays off. Pretty much that I'm not wasting my time. All the effort that I put in, in the game and outside the game, has paid dividends for sure."

"Okay, well, we’ve heard about it a million times. Your reunion with coach Kaplan. I’d like to know what’s different about him from Ghost Gaming to now on Sentinels. How has he evolved?"

johnqt: "He's evolved in every aspect. Strategically he is better, of course. He is very good at dealing with the people, the personalities. He's good with understanding people, and being open to talk. I'd say, it's hard for me to pinpoint one thing, but he's just a way better coach. Outside the game and inside."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"And what about yourself? What’s the evolution of johnqt like as a player and IGL in VALORANT from then to now?"

johnqt: "I think I'm just more confident in myself. I've been working on myself a lot, and I always knew I had the ability. I just had to believe in myself. Especially having good habits outside the game. I've been cleaning up my diet, I've been going to the gym, reading, doing everything outside the game to be ready and dialed in in-game."

"Well, the series against LOUD went the distance. They beat you 2:0 the first time, and this time you guys took the first two maps, having already qualified for Masters Madrid. Would knowing you’d have won if it was a best-of-three been satisfying enough if LOUD completed the reverse sweep?"

johnqt: "Not really. I mean, if we lost, I would've been upset, but I told the guys when we got to map five, I don't care if we win or we lose. This is a good experience for us either way. If us losing today will make us better in Champs, well then, we'll just lose. I don't care. I don't care if we go in and win or lose. We just go out there, have fun, and just take it as an experience."

"When it comes to the potential of a reverse sweep, I want to mention that Zekken told me about just how calm and cool you are in moments of pressure after the NRG match. What kind of moments put you under that pressure today, where you were able to remain calm?"

johnqt: "I don't want to be bragging about it, but I don't think I felt any pressure, to be honest. It helps that we know we're already qualified. If we lose, we still go to Madrid obviously, but I believed that we'd win. I've learned that I can only control the effort. I don't really control the outcome. Win or lose for me, as long as we play our game, and everyone just shows up and does their best, then it's fine for me."

"And why is that something you’re capable of? Is it just your personality, or something you’ve worked towards?"

johnqt: "I'm just dead inside. No emotions <laughs>. I'm joking, but don't know. I guess it's my personality. I definitely have emotions. I just don't show them that much. I don't know why. The thing is, I just believe in my teammates, and I believe in my capacity as a player.

"So, I know it's never over until we actually get off our PCs. There isn't a moment that I get pressured or think we actually might lose. Even down six rounds, seven rounds. I know we can still win. There's always an option to win. So, I don't ever get stressed or pressured."

"Okay, so in that match, it was back and forth, back and forth, throughout a lot of it. From rounds, to kills traded. Split was really the only time you had room to breathe, since Lotus was a win-or-lose map. From your perspective, just how dangerous of a team is LOUD?"

johnqt: "The LOUD team is great. They have five strong individuals. They have very unique ideas. The way they play is very special. I don't think any teams play like that. And obviously, they have the experience, right? They have two world champions. They won Americas last year. They got thirds in Champs last year as the core four.

"I knew going into the best-of-five, even if we put them down like 2:0 now, they could always come back. They did it before, and they won, or least brought it to map five. So, coming into this match, I knew that it will get close, and probably get to map five. They're a great team, and I'm happy that we beat them. Either way, it was a great experience."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"And what does that say about you and the rest of the Sentinels roster, being able to hold on and eventually win a best-of-five against Saadhak and company?"

johnqt: "It means a lot for us confidence-wise. We know that right now, everyone understands that we have what it takes to be at that level and be first. And it's a huge confidence boost. As long as we don't get complacent, and I'm going to make sure we don't, we're in a good position this year to lift some trophies, hopefully."

"Lastly, Masters Madrid is on the horizon. Is there a team from another region you’re just itching to face? And why?"

johnqt: "Hopefully I'm able to face teams from all regions. EMEA, Pacific, and China. I think a game against Karmine Corp would be fun. They have a huge fan base, and I also speak French. I'm Moroccan and Morocco is close to France. There are a lot of Moroccan Karmine Corp fans. It would be fun. I guess it's kind of like a small brotherhood for me. And also, PRX. They're all great guys, and we played them in Africa. It would be fun to play them again."

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