Sentinels capped off the second day of the VCT Masters Two Reykjavík event with a 2-0 series win over Europe’s Fnatic yesterday, even though both maps ended up being close. Day two was a breakout party for the North American VALORANT teams, who went 2-0 over EU competition with Sentinels’ win alongside Version1’s victory over Team Liquid.
Although several pundits labeled V1's win over Liquid as an upset, Sentinels were considered the safer pick both against Fnatic and when considering an eventual tournament winner. This was based on how dominant they've looked against NA competition in the first two stages of the VALORANT Champions Tour. So much focus has been put on NA vs. EU, and after the first taste of it, Sentinels' Michael "dapr" Gulino was a tad let down but also satisfied.
"That game was actually way easier than I thought it would be, but I mean that out of respect," he told Dot Esports post-match. "I mean that more towards that we had such good reads on them, I think they tried to follow their game plan and we just read through it. It gives me so much confidence that how we won in NA—reading and predicting and adapting to other teams—it will still work on LAN against European teams."
The shift to LAN has paid dividends for both teams from North America, which consist of players with plenty of LAN experience on stages of various sizes. Prior to the beginning of the tournament, Sentinels' Tyson "TenZ" Ngo said he couldn't wait to get on LAN after having to previously play with 50 to 60 ping from his home in Western Canada.
TenZ isn't alone in feeling more comfortable on LAN. Dapr compares the feeling to playing an entirely different game.
"LAN compared to online is literally night and day, it kinda feels like a different game from the fundamental mechanics," he said. "Holding angles is way better because your bullets register so much quicker, and they move almost slower in my opinion. So you’re more confident holding good angles against swinging."
But that's not the only LAN feeling that dapr says he was missing. After his tremendous 4K late in the second map on Haven, he popped up out of his chair and yelled "get the fuck off me" across the stage toward Fnatic.
He said his trash talk may have cost him his voice, but he feels right at home in this environment.
"I was yelling that whole series, my voice is gone," dapr said. "I love it, I’m a trash talker, I’m a BM-er, I played local LANs pretty much my whole life. I was trash talking even when we won rounds. Boaster called like the same strat two rounds in a row, I was trying to shit-talk him, maybe he could hear me."
Dapr doesn't have much time to rest his vocal chords since Sentinels will face off against Brazil's Viking Esports today. Based off his experience playing against Brazilian teams from CS, dapr expects them to be as loud as he is. But he's looking forward to "matching their energy."
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