TenZ once again found himself opposite of his old team, currently loaning him to Sentinels. Emerging victorious, Sentinels will now fight for seeding for Masters in the Grand Finals.
Both Cloud9 and Sentinels surged through the closed qualifier and their quarter-final matches to meet in the semis for their first shot at Masters. The last time these teams met, Sentinels swept Cloud9 across as 3 game series. Cloud9 have only shown greater synergy since then which resulted in a much more competitive semi-final series. Ultimately, Sentinels were able to find the first spot for Masters Reykjavik by defeating Cloud9 2-1 and their second finals in NA Challengers. Tyson "TenZ" Ngo's involvement was a big talking point.
TenZ merciless against his old team
Starting his VALORANT career on Cloud9, Tyson "TenZ" Ngo's switch to Sentinels was one of the most controversial and impactful moves in the game's early history. Since then, TenZ has seen some of his best individual performances on the Sentinels roster as he was able to rack up his second victory over his former team. This relatively new iteration of Sentinels has made Haven one of their signature maps. Though also integral to Cloud9's recent success, Sentinels came on top in this competitive first game.
TenZ made it clear that he had no intention of showing mercy to his old team, starting the game with a round one ace. Sentinels only continued to snowball their lead into a 9-3 defender side start in what is famously an attacker favored map.
An echo of their previous Haven game against 100 Thieves, the second half saw Sentinels stumble. Facing a massive deficit, Cloud9 rallied after winning both pistol and bonus rounds which crushed Sentinel's economy and propelled them back into the game. Nathan "Leaf" Orf, who acted as TenZ's replacement as C9's primary fragger, facilitated this second half comeback.
Leaf ended the map with 23 total kills, 182 ADR, and an impressive 291 average combat score. Though TenZ found himself in the lower end of the scoreboard, the ever threatening duelist bookended the series with a quadra-kill that put Sentinels ahead 1-0 in the series.
Cloud9 stuns on Split
Though Split was Sentinel's map pick, Cloud9 had made the map among their best with a 56% round winrate and one of the best defensive sides in NA. Cloud9's oppressive composition limited the game impact both of TenZ and Hunter "SicK" Mims. Son "Xeta" Seon-ho specifically played his initiator role perfectly and helped C9 express total control over the map. Xeta's immaculate utility usage, coupled with Leaf's follow up damage on Raze, put C9 up 11-1 at the end of the half.
The undisputed MVP of Split, Xeta finished with 189 ADR, 1.07, and held a 100% entry frag rate that shines as a testament to his prowess on flash-centric Agents.
Sentinels clinch Masters berth and NA Challengers Finals spot
On the verge of qualifying for Masters Reykjavik, game 3 started as an incredibly close contest. Sentinels only started to pull away after round 14, gaining the largest lead of the series and putting Cloud9's economy in shambles. The following 5 rounds that won Sentinels the series were off the back of incredible teamplay and map control.
With this victory, Sentinels became the first team to represent NA at Masters Reykjavik, though faced countless obstacles and shortcomings during the open qualifiers. In a post game interview with Esports.gg, SicK expressed his relief.
SEN.SicK post C9 win: "There is pressure relieved"
"There is pressure relieved because at the beginning when we lost the first qualifier to get to this event. We kind of were already down on yourselves," said SicK to Esports.gg. "We felt, like we could do better so over time in the second qualifier and throughout this event, we started to regain confidence back. I think it showed towards the end of the tournament and I am really happy to qualify in the end."
The incredible teamplay that Sentinels have shown throughout the VCT harken back to TenZ's original decision to join the team. On Cloud9, at the beginning of TenZ's VALORANT tenure, many cited that while C9 had one of the best fraggers in the game, they lacked the teamplay to back it up. Since joining Sentinels, TenZ has now won his first title and gone to consecutive NA Challengers finals. Though the issue of TenZ's contract is ever looming.
As it stands for now, Cloud9's CEO, Jack Etienne, revealed on Reddit that the organization has reached a "long term agreement" with Sentinels. It seems that TenZ will be joining Sentinels in Iceland for the time being, though whether or not Sentinels will ever pursue a complete buyout is still unknown.