The first elimination match of the North American VCT LCQ concluded this evening as Sentinels got the better of Shopify Rebellion. Unfortunately for Shopify, their 2022 VCT season ends here. And with franchising looming over the VCT in 2023, the future of the roster remains uncertain.
Both Shopify and Sentinels were on the losing side of grueling overtime gauntlets to start off the tournament that sent them to the lower bracket. After the close losses, both teams came in fighting for their tournament lives in the LCQ.
For Sentinels, most of their flaws in their first match came from growing pains with their new roster additions. Shroud, playing in his first major esports tournament since his retirement in 2018, and Zellsis, formerly of V1, are clearly fitting replacements, but as with any new roster, team coordination takes time. Luckily for the team, today’s showing was much more cohesive.
Sentinels chose Breeze as the first map, and Shopify’s mada elected to play Yoru, reminiscent of Masters finalists Paper Rex. Despite the recent Yoru rework, North American teams haven’t yet tapped into the potential of the agent. Unfortunately for Shopify, mada’s Yoru was not as impactful as the team may have hoped.
Instead, shroud and moose, both on Viper, made a huge difference for their teams on the map. Both used their utility to hide, get a positional advantage, and finish off their opponents, and both Vipers ended up at the top of the scoreboard.
Eventually, Sentinels prevailed and took Breeze handily 13-8, shroud leading his team with a 42.9 percent headshot hit percentage.
Sentinels brought every bit of their momentum from Breeze into Fracture, and steamrolled Shopify over the first few rounds, but Shopify started to fight back. Throughout Fracture, both teams were able to gain site control and plant the spike over and over, showing a clear defensive weakness on both sides. Mada played a crucial role in Shopify being able to regain their momentum, taking space effortlessly and finishing off his enemies. He looked refreshed on Neon instead of Yoru, and Shopify began the process of getting more of their team involved in these plays, though bdog still had the most kills for the team.
Yet Sentinels persevered, winning rounds that seemed impossible. Shroud started to come alive once again and made a big impact for the team on Fracture. But small mistakes started to mount for Sentinels, and Shopify worked their way back from a 12-8 deficit to push the game into overtime.
Eventually, Zellsis set up the win for his team, with a sneaky defensive push that wiped out three members of Shopify in round 31, paving the way for Sentinels to take Fracture 17-15 and the series 2-0. After the match, shroud mentioned the team felt more secure today than on Thursday.
“The second today started, I was feeling good,” shroud said in his post-game interview. “Once you have that one really good round, you know the rest of the series is going to be great.”
Though Shopify fell in overtime on Fracture once again, the team is still showing improvement through their roster. The team looked their best when all players were working together, with moose and mada coming up big today alongside bdog.
Sentinels will continue to fight through their lower bracket run and will face the loser of FaZe Clan vs. 100 Thieves.