After a series of ambiguous tweets from Sentinel’s IGL (in-game leader) Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan including “unexpect the expected” and “there is hope,” fans were left with many questions about the state of Sentinels’ VALORANT roster. Once the best team in the world, Sentinels have fallen far from their former glory. Following their 3-0 international win over Fnatic for the VCT 2021: Stage 2 Masters – Reykjavík championship, Sentinels have been very silent.
Read about VCT Stage 2 2022.
In Need of a Hero
Domestically, Sentinels narrowly qualified for the Stage 2 of this year’s North American VCT. Unfortunately, they lost all five of their matches and failed to make it out of the group stage. During the groups, while they weren’t performing well to begin with, Sentinels were forced to substitute their coach, Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty, in to play after it was announced that there were some complications with the mental health of one of their starters—Hunter “SicK” Mims.
With a horrible domestic showing and SicK’s status for the upcoming LCQ (last chance qualifier)—the last chance for a North American team who hasn’t qualified for VALORANT Champions (the most prestigious VALORANT tournament of the year) to make an appearance internationally—left hanging in the balance, Sentinels fans were afraid the roster would fall apart.
Things were only made worse when it was announced that SicK would, indeed, not be playing in the LCQ to continue to combat issues with his mental health. Now in desperate need of a fifth player after it was made clear that Rawkus could not continue to both play and coach, Sentinels weren’t left with many options.
Most of the skilled domestic free agents had already been bought out by the more prominent North American franchises. Imported talent, players from other regions, would need time to adjust; develop chemistry with the team; and resolve any communication issues that arose due to language barriers. With NA LCQ less than a month away, imported talent simply wasn’t an option.
Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks?
With seemingly no options available for Sentinels inside the market, they decided to invest elsewhere. While the details of their discussions are not public, Sentinels turned their eyes to former CS:GO professional player turned streamer Michael “shroud” Grzesiek. Renowned for his inhuman reactions; clutch plays; and incredible adaptability to any FPS (first person shooter), shroud is one of the most well-known faces in the gaming scene.
Despite rarely branching out of his FPS niche, shroud has drawn the eyes of hundreds of thousands of viewers for his incredible gaming skills. Prior to his signing with Sentinels, he had voiced multiple times on his Twitch stream that he wanted to play VALORANT competitively. While he has never played against the best teams in North America, shroud has previously competed with a rag-tag team of streamers in the 2021 Stage 3 NA Challengers open qualifiers.
While his team did not make any significant progress, shroud was able to get his first taste of professional VALORANT. Ironically, the team shroud’s team lost to, EZ5, contained Kanpeki, one of his new teammates on the Sentinels roster.
Despite being one of the best FPS gamers known to man, shroud’s ability to perform in the professional VALORANT scene is largely unknown. While he was a prolific CS:GO player, VALORANT is an entirely different type of tactical shooter. Filling in the role of controller for SicK, shroud will have to play more conservatively than the usual duelist role he’s played time and time again on stream.
Will he be able to adapt and bring Sentinels an opportunity to perform on the international stage yet again? You’ll have to wait and see when NA LCQ kicks off in August.
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