VCT Champions: Sentinels survive nerve-racking match against Furia
Sentinels got their Valorant Champions run underway with a very tense match against Group B underdogs Furia Esports.
Sentinels made their much anticipated debut at Valorant Champions as they squared off against Brazil's Furia Esports. This was set to be a David vs Goliath bout, with Sentinels being the clear favorites to win Group B. All of the pressure was on Furia Esports, who made it to Valorant Champs via the LATAM Last Chance Qualifiers as the ultimate underdogs within Group B.
Sentinels overcome early pressure From Furia on Ascent
This was a map that, initially, seemed like it could produce some interesting situations, as there had not been a whole lot of footage of Sentinels playing this map in an official capacity. Either way Furia were going to have to bring their A-game right from the get-go.
Furia opened things up very nicely as they seemed to bully their way onto sites against Sentinels; with Xand proving to be a huge thorn in the side of their NA opposition. After going down 5-0 early on Sentinels seemed to roar back to life, large in part due to some individual brilliance from TenZ, as they tied the map 6-6 going into halftime.
Although Furia had another good pistol round to start the second half, Sentinels rendered Furia's aggression irrelevant at times. ShahZam shone brightly in the second half as he had a couple of key moments to help Sentinels establish a foothold in the map. Furia fought hard, but in the end Sentinels proved to be just above their opponents as they took the map 13 - 9
Map 2: Furia outlast Sentinels on Breeze
After losing on their map pick, Furia truly had their backs against the wall as they headed into Breeze; a map that Sentinels have been consistently dominant on. Despite losing a very nervy pistol round, Furia were lights out to start the map as they established an early lead at 5 - 1. But like with Ascent, Sentinels immediately responded to the early pressure from Furia with a few rounds of their own. This time though, Furia were able to hang on with a 8 - 4 lead heading into halftime.
Furia were able to recompose themselves in the second half as they won the second pistol round fairly comfortably. Down 10 - 4 in round count, Sentinels began to claw their way back into the game as they strung together three rounds of offense. But Furia held strong as they won two defensive rounds afterwards to setup match point. Sentinels gave it their best effort to once again get back into the game, with Zombs managing an impressive triple kill. But alas their efforts were to be in vain as Furia completed the upset as they took Breeze 13 - 10.
Though TenZ led the map in terms of kills, he alone was unable to do much against the solid teamwork of Furia. An astounding stat to come out of this map was that Mazin and Quick had over 40% headshot accuracy. An astounding feat that capped off an unreal performance out of the LATAM team.
Map 3: Sentinels survive a late push from Furia on Haven
After Furia's astonishing victory over Sentinels in map 2, things were setup for a showdown on Haven that many did not think would happen. This was going to come down to whether Furia's inexperience on LAN would finally show through or if the shear talent of Sentinels would buckle under the pressure.
Sentinels were eager to get going as they clutched up in a very close opening pistol round. And though Furia managed to win the succeeding round, Sentinels took complete control of the map from that point on. Furia were doing well despite the scoreline, but Sentinels were doing everything right as they climbed to a 7 - 2 lead. Despite a brief technical timeout for Furia, Sentinels were unrelenting with their slaying ability as they took a 9 - 3 lead into halftime.
Things were really looking dire for Furia heading into the second half. Whereas for Sentinels the second half was more or less a victory lap for them as they continued to dominate their opponents. Furia however were not going to go down without a fight as they made one last push to try and force the game into overtime. But after a rather lengthy technical timeout, Sentinels were able to regain their composure to close out Haven 13 - and take the series 2 - 1 overall.
Final Thoughts: A wake-up call
Sentinels had a very rocky start to this series in Ascent and despite winning the map, things didn't get better for them in map 2. On Breeze that issue continued to show itself as they seemed to be relying on special moments from their players in order to keep things within reach. And although they managed to close things out in Haven, they looked very nervous at times. This match will hopefully serve as a much needed wake up call Sentinels in that they are really going to have to stay on their toes if they want any chance of claiming the Valorant Champions crown.
Despite their loss, there were a lot of positives to take out of that match for Furia, who now find themselves in a perilous position in this tournament. There were a lot of standout moments from Furia's players, with Xand in particular shining in the duelist battle in this series. And although they now find themselves facing elimination in a couple days time, they will be more confident of their chances than they might have been prior to this match.
With their win against Furia Esports, Sentinels will be moving onto the VCT Champions Group B Winners match where they will be facing either KRU Esports or Team Liquid. As for Furia they will be heading to the first Elimination match for Group B where they will face the losers of that matchup.
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Editor | Twitter @TheMaverickJB
James Bassett, otherwise known by his in-game name Maverick, is a freelance writer, gamer, and sports enthusiast from Reading, England. He has been an avid follower of Call of Duty esports for 8 years. Having written for sites such as TheGameHaus and DBLTAP, Maverick looks to provide people with entertaining, and insightful content. He is a proud London Royal Ravens fan.