In their first official match since their group stage elimination at Champions, Sentinels rallied from a rough start and a one-map deficit to defeat NRG Esports in their first VALORANT series of 2022. After a quiet showing on Fracture, TenZ propelled the team to a 2-1 series win with incredible showings on Haven and Bind.
The series started on Fracture, Sentinels’ pick and typically a go-to ban for NRG in their recent open qualifier events. But NRG suckered last year’s North American juggernaut in and played an aggressive style that stunned a timid Sentinels squad. TenZ did not look like a superstar in the first half, with only five kills on Jett and going zero-for-five on first duels. He woke up in the second half, with two triple kills in the first three rounds. He was outdone by the duo of tex and ANDROID, however, who pushed NRG across the line by a 13-10 scoreline.
Unfortunately for NRG, TenZ stayed hot going into Haven. Despite him posting a few more triples, NRG still maintained a 7-5 lead going into halftime after attack. Facing an embarrassing 2-0 loss to start their 2022 campaign, Sentinels rallied with an impressive attack side in the second half, with no one on NRG having much positive impact outside of s0m on Jett. Sentinels took Haven 13-11 to send the series to Bind.
With the series tied and the rust seemingly shaken off, Sentinels jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead on the shoulders of 14 kills from TenZ, forcing an NRG timeout. That timeout didn’t produce any answers that NRG needed. Sentinels claimed the last five rounds to take an 11-1 lead at half-time with 19 kills coming from TenZ. NRG won a flawless (and also vital) pistol round to get started on what would have to be an improbable comeback. They claimed the first six rounds of the half to force a Sentinels timeout, after which Sentinels finally claimed series point with a heavy A push. NRG notched a couple more rounds before a thrifty push into B finally settled the series 2-1 in favor of Sentinels.
Many have been anticipating Sentinels’ first official match of the year, with the team electing not to compete in any open qualifier events or participate in many (if any) scrims. A certain amount of rust was to be expected considering the time spent since Champions, and it nearly cost them against an NRG squad that’s been thriving in open events since adding hazed in the offseason.
Sentinels will open the weekend of play next week, with a match against Pittsburgh Knights on Friday. NRG will take on the recently rebranded Envy roster, now playing under the OpTic banner, on Sunday.
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