Sentinels.Dapr: “Honestly, I don’t like the EU vs NA, tactical vs individual narrative.”
Sentinel’s player and one of the best Cyphers in VALORANT since beta sat down to speak with us after his win over Fnatic.
After winning a close two game series against Fnatic, Esports.GG had the opportunity to speak with Michael "Dapr" Gulino. Speaking about tournament structure, his performance in their game versus Fnatic, and Cypher's viability, Sentinels Dapr gave valuable insight into Masters Reykjavik.
First of all, congratulations of getting your first win of Masters Reykjavik! What do you think of the event format so far? A lot of pros have said they wished Masters had a groups stage first.
Sentinels Dapr: "Yeah, I think two groups of five would have been ideal but I think everybody agreed groups would have been better but it would probably be a time constraint issue. The random seeded bracket doesn't really sit well with me, because if you look at the brackets it seems a little lopsided."
Getting into the games, Fnatic seemed down at several points but never out. What kept Fnatic in the game and made these two maps so competitive?
Sentinels Dapr: "I think they just switched up a lot. They tried to read into us, we tried to read into them, but I think they just had a good energy today. If they lose they know they won't be out. No one was going to go for hero plays and they just trust themselves."
Shahzam had an impressive showing on Icebox. When playing Sage, how can you best enable your duelists when they're having such a pop-off performance?
Sentinels Dapr: "ShahzaM takes over on Icebox, his Jett Op is just so impactful and to be honest I don't do much for him. I mostly just flip through B and mid. On attack side I'm just throwing my life out there trying to get the bomb down so he can own it. Other than that I just heal him and resurrect him all day."
Fnatic seemed to play a very methodical style. Would you classify them as one of the smarter or more strategic teams in Masters Reykjavik?
Sentinels Dapr: "Yeah, in this tournament yes. Maybe not in the world. I think at the end of the day, I feel like in VALORANT you do need individual performers. As much as you want to maximize teamplay, I think everybody's individual skill matters. But yeah, in this tournament I'd classify them a pretty tactical team."
Do you think the individual skill potential is the difference between Sentinels and Fnatic? Or EU vs NA generally?
Sentinels Dapr: "Yeah, but honestly I don't like the whole NA versus EU, tactical versus individual narrative. I feel like both have a mixture. EU might have set-ups and very basic defaults and we just allow our duelists to do their thing, but I still think there's a whole lot of tactics behind us."
You had an incredibly impactful game on Haven. Is this just from your familiarity and comfort on the map or did you pinpoint some of Fnatic's weaknesses specifically?
Sentinels Dapr: "Me personally, I didn't really care about Fnatic's default. I didn't really have reads. We had a good understanding on what default they were using depending on what utility they used, so we usually knew when they were leaning toward B or A. Besides that, I just think that Cypher on Haven is one of the most comfortable Agents in the whole game. I'm not really that great on Icebox, but Cypher is my boy."
Talking more about Cypher, for most of your career you've overwhelming favored Cypher but currently at Masters Reykjavik he has one of the lowest pick percentages. Do you think Cypher is viable generally or does your success with him come from practice?
Sentinels Dapr: "I think he's still viable. Personally, I think Killjoy is good but just not for me. Cypher offers more flexibility and more stealth trips. With Killjoy you hear the turret but with Cypher I can keep moving around my trips, holding map control, and rotate. Killjoy has to anchor where her utility is to keep it online. Cypher has been my Agent since beta."
Looking ahead at your next game, Vikings have been a pretty unexpectedly hype team. Do you have any thought before going into this matchup?
Sentinels Dapr: "I'm going to respect every opponent. We've played them a few times in scrims and we see how they play and adapt. Sacy is a really great player and it will probably be a tough game."
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Blaine is an esports journalist and has been a fan of multiple esports scenes ever since 2015 Worlds. Since graduating from College of Charleston, Blaine has written news and stories for League of Legends, VALORANT, CS:GO, and Call of Duty.