Envy player yay (left) and Sentinels player dapr (right) bump fists as they walk out on stage
Envy player yay (left) and Sentinels player dapr (right) bump fists as they walk out on stage

Sentinels, Envy, Cloud9 Blue look to make NA proud at VALORANT Champions

by Jessica Scharnagle

One of the most exciting parts about a big international tournament is rooting for teams from your home region. Folks in the North American region are gearing up to do just that in rooting for Sentinels, Envy and Cloud9 Blue at the VALORANT Champions tournament.

Looking to know more about North America’s three participants at the biggest VALORANT tournament of the year? Here is a quick recap to get you up to speed on how these teams got there and to help you choose what colors to wear on game day.

NA VCT so far

It has been a long road for the NA VALORANT Champions Tour which started in February. The first tournament was NA Masters, where Sentinels beat FaZe Clan to win the top spot, and earn 100 points for their team towards Champions qualification.

Masters: Reykjavík was the first time fans got to see international teams compete on the big stage. Sentinels dominated yet again, taking the crown at the first international VCT tournament. Their win at Reykjavík locked them into Champions. Version1 showed that NA were not just a one-team region though as they finished 5th-6th.

At the third international event in Berlin, Sentinels were again favored to win the tournament, but Team Envy and 100 Thieves were also strong contenders if Sentinels couldn’t finish the job. Indeed they couldn’t, and they fell to Envy, who went to the grand final only to lose to Gambit. Even though they didn’t win, Team Envy secured their spot at Champions with points from their second-place finish.

The NA Last Chance Qualifier was the final opportunity for teams from the region with enough points to make a final push to Champions. With their newly acquired teammate, Anthony “vanity” Malaspina, Cloud9 Blue made a long run through the lower bracket and beat Rise 3-0 in order to take NA’s third spot at Champions.

The three teams representing NA at Champions

Cloud9 Blue

Photo credit: Cloud9

Although vanity is a great addition to the Cloud9 Blue squad, they didn’t get through the LCQ very easily. They lost 2-1 against Rise in the upper bracket, and had a hard time in the lower bracket, only winning one of their matches in an easy 2-0.

In the grand final, they got their revenge on Rise 3-0 to earn their spot at Champions. Although they were the last team to qualify for Champions, they’re still a formidable team and ranked fourth in our Champions Power Rankings.

Since vanity was previously on the Version1 roster that got eliminated by Fnatic at Masters: Reykjavík, he’ll be looking to take the win this time in their opening group matchup. Few would be surprised if he and the team had a rehearsed celebration to make the taste of revenge that much sweeter.

If they can get past Fnatic, they’ll likely face Korea’s Vision Strikers next in a tough Group D that also includes Southeast Asia’s FULL SENSE and has been dubbed the group of death.

Envy

Photo credit: Riot Games

To those who have been following the VCT casually all year, it seems like Envy came out of nowhere. However, Envy have always been contenders at NA tournaments, and they’ve consistently beaten good teams such as 100 Thieves, XSET and FaZe Clan.

Their run at Masters: Berlin was somewhat unexpected, considering 100 Thieves were on a roll throughout most of the tournament and Sentinels were expected to win the entire event. When all three NA teams ended up on the same side of a single-elimination bracket, fans knew that an NA team was going to end up in the grand final, but few expected it to be Envy.

First, Envy had to get through Sentinels, a team that had only recently started cracking. Sentinels had lost a map and then a match in group play to G2 Esports. Envy went into the match confident, and came out with a 2-0 win against Sentinels.

Then came the match against 100 Thieves, and it wasn’t even close. Envy took both maps without ever letting 100 Thieves win double digit rounds. Despite their dominant run through the tournament heading into the grand final, they appeared overmatched as they lost 3-0 to Gambit Esports.

After being underestimated all year, Envy are definitely a team to watch at Champions after finishing second at Masters: Berlin. They’ll face Southeast Asia’s X10 CRIT and then likely Acend in the Group A winner’s match.

Sentinels

Photo credit: Riot Games

Sentinels are an easy fan-favorite, and they’re still a favorite to win the whole thing.

The team recently brought on former FaZe Clan player Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty as a coach. At any point in the season before Masters: Berlin, it appeared that Sentinels were so dominant they didn’t need a coach. However, now that other teams are starting to catch up to them, a coach may be just the change they needed.

The former Overwatch player turned VALORANT coach likely will bring a lot of tips about the ability side of the game since he comes from a heavily ability-based game. It will be interesting to see how Sentinels’ gameplay improves in that area.

It helps that VALORANT star Tyson “TenZ” Ngo is on this roster. Beginning with NA Masters, he was loaned to Sentinels by Cloud9 Blue after Jay “sinatraa” Won was benched due to allegations of sexual assault. The move became permanent following Masters: Reykajvík after a deal was struck between Cloud9 and Sentinels, and now TenZ will potentially compete against his old team in the final event of the year.

Sentinels will face Brazil’s FURIA Esports in their opening group matchup. If they win it’ll likely set up an enticing matchup against Team Liquid.

Lead photo credit: Riot Games

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