Top seeded Version 1 were on the losing end of the match against LG. They now have to face Sentinels in an elimination match.

North American Valorant is in a volatile state where the differences between the top teams and the second tier is marginal. In the biggest upset of VCT 2022, Luminosity Gaming (LG) sent the top seeded Version1 (V1) to an elimination match with Sentinels.

I spoke with Version1 star duelist Erik “penny” Penny on rebounding after the loss, making improvements on pistol rounds, and how his team enables him on the entry role.

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – MAY 24: Version1’s Erik “penny” Penny at the VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: VCT Masters Reykjavík on May 24, 2021 in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

“It was more so an off-day, where, especially in NA, if any of the favorites have an off-day any of the other teams can beat them,” said penny in a post-match interview. ”I feel like bad days can happen. One-offs can happen. I think the big issue is if it happens again. I think if we go into our next game and play how we normally play, we’ll be fine.” 

In the four playoff matches so far, three have gone to a final map and all the top seeds were pushed to their limit. Unfortunately for V1, the Luminosity roster was more than prepared for the surprising map bans and kept their composure to win overtime on Fracture.

Penny on V1’s decision to float Bind

In fact, both teams went off track and floated their perma-bans. For V1, penny expected the Ascent ban, so they made the conscious decision to play Bind. Even with no official Bind matches in 2022 under their belt, V1 prepared for the map and felt confident heading into the match. 

“We were expecting to play Haven because Ascent was there perma-ban before this, but we just decided to ban Split because we prepared a bit of Bind and we felt we had a better chance of winning on Bind than Split in this series,” said Penny.

V1 has a pistol round problem

The unorthodox map pick played a contributing factor in the loss, but that discounts the form Luminosity were in throughout. Moreover, V1 struggled to gain early round advantages by dropping five of six pistols and more importantly, losing the second half pistol round on each map.

“Even in the group stage, we weren’t good at pistols. We were like one of the lower percentage teams and I think we were bottom three, even though we were 5-0, we were still bottom three in pistols. But, I think the biggest thing is we lost every second round pistol on every map and I think that threw away our momentum and shook up our game a bit.” 

V1 entered the second half of the decider map up 8-4, and after a unbelievable ACE from Brandon “bdog” Michael Sanders with the classic, all the momentum flipped. According to RIB.gg, LG won a majority of the full and half-buys, forcing bad buys in critical rounds for V1. The overall economy favored LG heavily on Fracture, and they understood how V1 occupies the map.

“Obviously, we threw the pistol, the way that we lost it is unlucky but other than that we strayed away from what we were practicing in our prep for these guys and went back to our old ways,” said penny. “And I think they expected and prepared for our old ways and they kind of abused us. We went right back into how we were playing in our previous matches which was a big mistake”

Bouncing Back from the upset

Regardless of the loss, V1 is still a major threat from the lower bracket. It took a heroic effort from LG to knock them off, and even in the loss, V1 didn’t necessarily underperform. We still got individual plays out from Penny on Jett and Chamber, ridiculous accuracy from shot-caller Alexander “Zander” Dituri, and a strong game plan.

“A lot of our comps when I’m entering sites are pretty well designed. I always have good flashes that I can hop out of my smoke with when Im playing Jett or we have good plays when im playing chamber, I can get setup for a nice off angle to TP out,’ said V1 Penny, “but, in general, most of my first engagements are in my favor”

In a shocking turn of events, Sentinels vs Version1 will be a lower bracket round one elimination match. However, for Penny, it doesn’t matter who they play, the goal remains the same

“We’re going to have to win four games in a row at this point so I don’t think it matters if we play someone slightly better than the other”

Sentinels vs Version1 kicks off at 4pm PST on March 20th.

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