The Sentinels walked away from VCT Challengers 2 victorious after grinding through the Lower Bracket.
Challengers 1 had its fair share of upsets with teams like TSM and Sentinels being knocked out of the tournament before the Main Event. The Open Bracket was fairly insignificant, but T1 vs. FaZe Clan was a clear reminder that on any given day, any team can come out and contend against the best. For TSM and Sentinels, they needed to not only make it to the Main Event but win it to sit comfortably for a chance at Masters in Iceland. Four teams from Challengers 1, ANDBOX, Built By Gamers, Cloud9 Blue, and Immortals, joined the top four teams from Challengers 2, Sentinels, NRG Esports, T1, and TSM to see who was the best in the region.
TSM falls from grace
There is an uncertainty in TSM’s performance so far this year, despite their pop-off potential. Having a player like Matt “Wardell” Yu only goes so far in professional Valorant, especially as more teams develop strategies and playbooks. The flash and dash aren’t enough anymore to make significant headway as Immortals proved, beating TSM for the second time sending them to the Lower Bracket. While in the Lower Bracket, TSM had to face ANDBOX to stay alive, and normally this wouldn’t be an issue if they hadn’t just beat Sentinels 2-0.
Cloud9 Blue, ANDBOX, and NRG surpassed all expectations this weekend collectively taking out Immortals, TSM, and Sentinels at some point in the bracket. Cloud9 Blue remained undefeated in the Upper Bracket making clean runs against T1, ANDBOX, and NRG. It was only fitting that Sentinels, who got knocked into the lower bracket in the first match, made their way through the Lower Bracket to face the undefeated. Overall, Sentinels stomped on Cloud9 Blue, but their potential is massive in North America.
Next weekend is the final bout of North America, and only two teams will be taking a flight to Iceland. The matches kick off with 100 Thieves versus ANDBOX, and with how ANDBOX looked at Challengers 2, 100 Thieves should be terrified. Not only did they defeat Sentinels, but they also sent TSM packing. Next up, is Version1 against Sentinels, and since their release of Keven "PLAYER1" Champagne, they have yet to pick up a fifth. They will need to pull something out of their bag of tricks if they want to take down the former Masters Champions.
The next two matchups are a toss-up, primarily because we haven’t seen XSET or Envy play since Challengers 1, but neither disappoints when it's time to perform. Cloud9 Blue versus Envy will be a battle of attrition and probably come down to five maps. If Envy can exert control over Cloud9 as Sentinels did, then there is a possibility of them moving on to the Upper Semifinals. Last, but certainly not least, is the frag fest to be, XSET versus NRG Esports. These teams are bound to pop off in explosive displays of raw talent, at least from the start. Both teams thrive on momentum and use pistol rounds to set the pace for the remainder of the map.
The Upper Quarter Finals of VCT Challengers Finals begins on Thursday at 12 PM PT/ 3 PM ET on Nerd St. Gamers’ Twitch channel. Follow us on Twitter for all the latest Valorant news, highlights, and match updates if you don’t already.