Sentinels are fresh off a VCT Challengers Finals quarterfinals victory against Version1. And while they still have a couple of matches to go before they potentially qualify for Masters: Reykjavík, ShahZaM and SicK cited Europe as a possible threat to North America.
The two pro players are concerned with EU and their playstyle, discussing the region's meta in a post-game interview with Dot Esports. With European teams employing different strategies and agent comps, Sentinels are going to face tactics they might have never seen before.
"These EU teams look really good," ShahZaM said. "They're pretty strategic, they're not afraid to try different things... it's things that we haven't been practicing against in NA. We might think that some agents are better than others. You need the reps vs. these types of comps, too."
The former CS:GO pro added that he saw Brimstone make appearances on Bind in EU, with teams focusing heavily on post-plants. By lining up Brim, Viper, Killjoy, and Phoenix mollies, it forces the opposing team to play the end of a round differently. If you want to counter players that have ability line-ups, you need to charge and try and pick them off rather than fake a defuse.
Brimstone currently has a 15-percent pick rate in the EMEA Challengers Playoffs, compared to a one-percent pick rate in the NA Challengers Two qualifier from earlier in the month, according to VLR.gg. Guild Esports and Fnatic went toe-to-toe on Bind earlier today, with both teams picking up the grizzled controller and taking their match to a 15-13 overtime in Fnatic's favor.
While ShahZaM admits it's "going to be a challenge," he did argue that EU conversely hasn't practiced against the NA style either. NA tends to run aggressive comps, often opting to run two duelists, a sentinel, a controller, and an initiator. But we've seen some teams, like 100 Thieves, move away to a more defensive one-duelist lineup.
SicK also explained that he's "mostly worried about Europe" and said they "could be even better than us."
"I don't follow the region that much but I'd say the way they play is super smart and tactical and I know that we struggle against that kind of stuff sometimes," he said.
Sentinels are considered favorites to represent North America in Iceland, with only two slots allotted from the region. But they're still two best-of-three matches away from qualifying and are in the company of some stellar teams. The star-studded squad takes on 100 Thieves in the semifinals tomorrow at 3pm CT.