Sentinels captain ShahZaM spoke on returning to the top of NA, shaking off the slow start against NRG, and staying prepared during the three month player break

For Sentinels, the narrow 2-1 win over NRG was their first VCT match since the 2-1 loss to KRÜ Esport back at Champions. Three months have come and gone, giving Sentinels IGL Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan and company lots of time to reflect over what went wrong and how to improve.

Sentinels shaking off the rust

"We had a three-month break of officials, then we played Champions, however many matches there, and then we had another three-month break," said ShahZaM in his post-match interview. "That’s a really long time to not play a lot of matches and I think it was more so shaking the rust off. We knew what they were doing. We knew how to approach it. It was more so just individual decisions and I think the more we get reps into matches we’ll clean that play up"

Early on, the rust was apparent for the Sentinels against NRG. Prompting the rumors of them not practicing that were later confirmed on social media by Zombs. Either way, Sentinels found a way to win on map two Haven, after going into the half down 7-5 and looking down the barrel of an upset.

For the Sentinels in-game leader, he saw the openings developing but his team not committing. On Fracture, Sentinels continually won the battle for space by clearing areas with utility but left kills on the board by failing to stay aggressive. 

"We were using util to take space but hesitating to actually take the space, so when it comes time to hit the site, we’re all out of util and just sitting around, dying one-by-one. I think that if we had started off playing map one how we were playing at the start of map three, it would've been completely different." 

Sentinels with a target on their backs

Eventually, Sentinels started to hit their stride on attacking side Haven. Tyson "TenZ" Ngo began to make major individual plays with Jett's blade storm and Hunter "SicK" Mims out dueled his NRG counterpart on the Skye. Bind was a different story, as Sentinels opened up a 11-1 halftime lead and then scraped by in the second half to get the win.

"I think we've had a target on ourselves since the Ignition series, so that's not a problem at all for us," said ShahZaM. "We're here to remind people that were still the top dogs"

Sentinels' next match will be up against Knights on February 18. We'll have to see how well ShahZaM's words hold true then.

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