Sentinels announce Jared “zombs” Gitlin will be stepping back from professional VALORANT and will be replaced by former Erick “Kanpeki” Xu

Sentinels announced that longtime Controller main Jared “zombs” Gitlin will be stepping back from professional VALORANT. In an official tweet released Friday, the team confirmed that zombs will be replaced by Akrew’s talented flex player Erick “Kanpeki” Xu, but will still be a part of the organization in some capacity.

The announcement confirmed an earlier report from Dotesports George Geddes and Max Katz, linking ex-Akrew Initiator player Kanpeki to the star studded American organization. The Kanpeki signing is the first roster move for Sentinels since Jay “Sinatraa” Won was suspended. In conjunction with the Sinatraa suspension, Tyson “TenZ’ Ngo was bought-out with an exuberant $1.5m price tag.

Time for Sentinels to change

Despite a roster that’s been together since Masters Reykjavik in 2021, the team’s form has dipped since then. The former Masters champions and kings of North America failed to make it back to Masters, going 0-2 in North American challengers playoffs for their worst VCT result yet.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – MAY 22: Team Sentinels poses at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters Features Day on May 22, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

The move comes off a stretch of underwhelming individual results for zombs. Coupled with the team’s inability to keep up with the meta and talent in North America. During the VCT Challengers run, zombs finished with a combined 174.4 across his agent pool and wasn’t a major difference maker. The team finished well below expectations in back-to-back events, prompting the team to seek external help to bring the roster back to championship form.

Bringing on Kanpeki

For Sentinels, Kanpeki was the obvious choice considering his relationship with star entry TenZ. The two have a relationship and TenZ considers him a good friend. The clock was ticking with the VALORANT roster lock and Sentinels needed to field a replacement fast. The deadline forced them to either stick with zombs for stage two or make a roster move. Sentinels chose the ladder.

“Kanpeki, he’s a good friend of mine,” said TenZ in the Sentinels announcement video. “And he did play for the Tier 2 team Akrew” 

Furthermore, Kanpeki was rumored to be a potential option for the Sentinels. Ever since the word spread that Sinatraa was practicing with the team a week prior, Kanpeki has been named as a player to watch. With Sintatraa not rejoining his teammates, the logical next call was to Kanpeki.

For an Akrew team with impressive results in the tier two ranks, Kanpeki was one of their most effective players. His play on Chamber and Kay-0 were particularly of note. He put up a 1.57 kill-to-death ratio and a 81% KAST% in 15 maps on both agents. His numbers point to being able to play the support role sufficiently, while being able to add plenty of damage.

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Blake Van Poucke -

Blake Van Poucke

| Twitter: @TokyoDown

Blake Van Poucke is a Valorant writer at esports.gg. He found esports through the early days of MLG and the Super Smash Bros Melee scene. He's been competing and writing about esports dating back to 2008. He has written for several publications and wishes to return to in-person esports events in 2022