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Screengrab via [XSET](

XSET stun Sentinels at NA VCT Stage 3 Challengers One, moves on to upper bracket final

Bracket busted.

An upper bracket shocker has occurred in the NA VCT Stage Three Challengers One upper bracket, as XSET defeated reigning Reykjavik champions Sentinels to punch their ticket to the NA Challengers Playoffs.

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XSET had no answer for TenZ’s aggression in first few rounds of Haven. XSET bought rifles in round three and lost to SMGs and a Judge, but then won with pistols against SEN the very next round. XSET started to roll, using abilities really well in gun rounds to win big teamfights on site. They let TenZ be aggressive but didn’t give him any opportunities or free kills. XSET led 8-4 at half, but Sentinels won second half pistol and would tie it at eight. XSET started shutting down Sentinels’ B-site takes and denying all of their offensive utility, however, stealing away Haven 13-9.

On Icebox, XSET took opening pistol and the following round, but Sentinels won the first buy round and took control of the economy as well as the start of the first half. Sentinels’ Icebox defense was as solid as the ice itself, with little to no cracks, and led 9-3 at half. XSET impressed with their own defensive side, but Sentinels clutched out at the end, stealing Icebox 13-11 and tying the series 1-1. TenZ and ShahZaM carried the kill load for their side, with 56 between the two of them on Icebox.

Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is a retired CS:GO player who currently plays VALORANT for the Sentinels. See the gear TenZ used to compete at the highest level.

This sent the series to a decider on Split, chosen by Sentinels but giving XSET the chance to start on defense. Sentinels took the pistol round on their attack side, but XSET regained control via the first few gun rounds, controlling the chokepoints that connect mid to A and B. The two traded rounds throughout, with XSET taking just a 7-5 lead after their defense side. XSET lost a must-win pistol via 1v1 that zombs won against BcJ, letting Sentinels tie the map 7-7 before XSET took back control by winning the next two gun rounds to take an 11-7 lead. A massive 4k from BcJ the battle-Sage put XSET on match point leading 12-8. With their money broken, Sentinels couldn’t stop XSET from blasting into the B site to complete the upset.

Sentinels aren’t out of the running at Challengers One, but they are forced to play another game the same night down in the lower bracket. This is first series they’ve lost since Andbox in Stage Two Challengers Two back in April. They also lost Haven for the first time in the last 14 tries.

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Scott Robertson
VALORANT lead staff writer, also covering CS:GO, FPS games, other titles, and the wider esports industry. Watching and writing esports since 2014. Previously wrote for Dexerto, Upcomer, Splyce, and somehow MySpace. Jack of all games, master of none.