In a clash of titans and potential NA representatives for Masters Reykjavik, Sentinels came out on top over 100 Thieves. Only 1 win remains for them to qualify for the first international VALORANT LAN.
Sentinels now in control of NA Challengers
Starting off on the same side of the bracket, 100 Thieves and Sentinels seemed destined to meet early in the upper bracket semi-finals of the VCT NA Challengers. This potential grand finals preview was a close contest that ultimately ended 2-1 in favor of Sentinels. Though Sentinels are now only one series away from locking in a spot in Masters Reykjavik, fellow favourites 100 Thieves dropped to the lower bracket where they were eliminated by Envy.
Sentinels barely avoid OT on Haven
To no surprise, Sentinels selected Haven as their first map pick considering it heralds one of their highest average round win rates (59.2%). Sentinels immediately showed why they are so dominant on Haven with an early 9-3 lead at the half. Repeatedly, Sentinels made use of the three bomb sites by sending duelists mid and rotating to either the A or B site after finding an early duel. Tyson “TenZ” Ngo demonstrates just how effective this strategy can be here:
Sentinels appeared completely within the comfort zone until the start of the second half, where 100 Thieves were put on the attacker side with a razor thin margin of error. What the second half of Haven showed was not just how attacker side favored Haven is, but how Sentinel’s poor economic game nearly cost them an otherwise easy win. TenZ failed to find shots on the Operator however Sentinels continued to commit resources to him.
In the second half of Haven, 100 Thieves saw 10 full buy rounds while Sentinels only had 5 as their economy was repeatedly devastated. On the precipice of overtime however, TenZ managed to redeemed himself by ending the game with an ace and closing out the first game.
100 Thieves ice out Sentinels
In contrast to game one, which was largely contingent on Phoenix players of either teams, the mirror Viper matchup and respective IGLs, Joshua “Steel” Nissan and Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan, determined the outcome on Icebox. Per usual, 100 Thieves opted for their Controller centric draft around Killjoy and the newly buffed Viper. Though normally a composition that primarily thrives on defense, Steel proved invaluable in accruing 9-3 lead by providing consistent lurks and flank protection.
Steel’s performance persisted into their defender side, where four short rounds equalized the series for 100 Thieves.
Unable to get their footing, this was by far Sentinel’s worst game of the series. After finding mostly negative results in game one, Sentinels attempted to switch ShahZaM to the Jett Operator role. ShahZaM and Jared “Zombs” Gitlin's efforts brought only glimpses of success in what was otherwise a landslide victory for 100 Thievesin the NA Challengers Finals.
100 Thieves put in a bind
While 100 Thieves held the higher average round win percentage on Bind (56%), Sentinels absolute decimation of Cloud9 Blue on Bind showed their significantly higher skill ceiling on the map.
Sentinels found early round wins and a victory over the Thieves on a force buy destroyed their opponent’s economy and facilitated a quick 7-0 start. 100 Thieves were finally able to recover off a thrifty win and put up a fight in the few rounds they got a full buy opportunity. Once again, incredible plays by Zombs on Astra firmly put the game in Sentinel’s hands.
NA Challengers Finals: Sentinels to face Cloud9 Blue for LAN spot
Unfortunately for 100 Thieves, they couldn’t stage a comeback attempt like they did in game one as Sentinel’s appeared unbeatable. Perhaps taking out their strongest opponent this early in the bracket, only one series against Cloud9 Blue stand between them and the possibility of representing NA at VALORANT’s first LAN.
In case you missed it we interviewed Cloud9 Blue's Ricky "floppy" Kemer after their quarter-final victory against Team Envy.