The NA VALORANT Masters grand final is finally in the books and Sentinels beat FaZe Clan, who got through the tournament with a heap of momentum behind them that started in Challengers 3.
Sentinels swept FaZe 3-0, and unlike the Challengers tournaments, there was no map advantage for the upper bracket winners for Masters. Although the first map was a very close 13-11, Sentinels found their groove and took the last two maps decisively.
The grand final was missing one large aspect of what the Challenger tournaments had, which is a one-map advantage for the upper bracket winners. There has been a lot of debate about the topic on social media, and there is no clear consensus on either side of the argument.
“I’m fine with it, but I think for this Masters there should have been a map advantage because throughout all the qualifiers there was a map advantage, so it makes no sense to change it,” Jared “zombs” Gitlin said.
Some people had different suggestions for other advantages besides coming into the grand final one map ahead, and ShahZam thinks there could be room for a compromise somewhere in the middle.
“If there’s a double-elimination bracket and every team gets to lose twice there has to be some sort of advantage whether it’s a bracket reset or a map advantage. It should be significant,” ShahZam said.
Not only did they lack an advantage going into the grand final, Sentinels also lacked a coach. The team has been missing a coach since they were formed but haven’t been slowed down by it. Even without a coach, Sentinels’ in-game leader Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan stepped into the role and decided how to handle each team in the tournament, but because of the last minute addition of Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, there wasn’t an abundance of preparation the team could make.
Despite the lack of preparation with TenZ, the team was still able to come together and win the match. TenZ was added so last minute that the team didn’t even have time to scrim or practice together before their matches started.
“TenZ could have slotted into any team and probably made them better, but we were the lucky ones to get him,” Michael “dapr” Gulino said.
TenZ aided Sentinels as a counter to FaZe’s aggressive in-your-face playstyle because of his ability to take and win fights. Many players have commented on TenZ’s skill, and some have dubbed him the best Jett among pro VALORANT players.
Now fans are wondering whether TenZ will stay on Sentinels and leave Cloud9. While TenZ did compete for Cloud9, the team had a lot of trouble and couldn’t qualify for Masters. TenZ has said multiple times throughout the tournament that he wants to stay in the professional scene and only stream on the side.
When asked after the grand finals if he wanted to stay on Sentinels, TenZ indicated he wanted to continue playing as a pro.
“Yeah. It feels amazing to win. I definitely have that competitive edge and I really notice it most just through winning and just playing with a bunch of fantastic players that I do want to be a pro player,” TenZ said.
Whether TenZ will stay with the team or not is a matter between Tenz, Sentinels, and Cloud9. Sentinels have launched an investigation into Jay “sinatraa” Won, after he was accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend.
If sinatraa remains with Sentinels, there may be a contractual barrier that adds a layer of difficulty in acquiring TenZ permanently, and TenZ’s current contract with Cloud9 gives both sides plenty to think about.
Looking forward, teams now have their eye on a LAN tournament in Iceland for Masters 2 in May. Although the game remains the same, there are a lot of different factors that come into play during a LAN tournament versus one that is held completely online, including lack of ping and stage pressure.
“I think our team already has a lot of LAN history in their previous teams as well, so I feel like we would just be more cemented in a LAN tournament setting than online where people are playing more free-flow,” ShahZam said.
Lead image credit: Dreamhack