The Guard’s Trent is training to be the next big thing in VALORANT

by Sage Datuin

Only a few short months ago, The Guard wasn’t even a team. Yet, time and time again, this lineup of young players continues to exceed expectations.

From beating Cloud9 in convincing 3-0 fashion to closing a tight series win against OpTic Gaming in a rematch of the VALORANT Champions Tour North America upper bracket grand final, The Guard has showcased an ability to not only dominate the region, but learn from their mistakes when they do lose.

And one of the biggest drivers behind The Guard’s meteoric rise to the top of VCT has been a 17-year old rookie, Trent “Trent” Cairns. With a natural love for VALORANT that has led to his quickly developing into one of the best Sova players in the world, Trent is widely considered to be one of the game’s ascending talents.

Not bad, considering he originally was not meant to be a part of The Guard at all.

A match that almost didn’t happen

Instead, the org initially intended to build around the trio of Jacob “valyn” Batio, Michael “neT” Bernet and Harrison “Psalm” Chang. Once they added head coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore, however, he helped the team add former Overwatch League pro Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung-woo, as well as former Complexity and Immortals player Jonah “JonahP” Pulice.

Up to that point, the roster centered around Psalm, their most recognizable player at the time – but after the moves, mCe made the decision to search for a new fifth player.

“The Psalm move didn’t work out because I felt his utility usage struggled for an experienced player,” mCe explained. “I did not think it was worth going into VCT with this lineup, so I decided to make a move pretty much out of nowhere on it.”

With little time to prepare for VCT Masters: Reykjavik qualifiers, mCe spent days searching for Psalm’s replacement.

The Guard spent weeks auditioning Sova mains, testing them in practices and watching three VODs of gameplay for each option, carefully combing through multiple possibilities for their lineup. Then, one day, mCe received a tip on a 17-year old kid named Trent.

“A good friend of mine recommended this player, Trent, who played with him before, so I asked him how he was as a player,” mCe recalled. “He said he was pretty good, so I brought him onto the server.”

mCe pulled Trent into a server and, instantly he knew he had found The Guard’s fifth.

“He played one game, and immediately I knew that he is the future of VALORANT,” mCe passionately shared. “Just the way he thought about the game at such a young age and with little experience gave me so much hope in this team.”

A gifted player, but multiple steps behind the rest of the competitive scene, Trent knew he had to work extra hard to understand the basics about playing in a team.

Going the extra mile to become great in VALORANT

From understanding macro concepts to details such as basing rotations on enemy movements, Trent was ready to become the best version of himself – and it was a goal that mCe was fully prepared to help Trent reach.

“I am very hard on him,” mCe admitted. “But I know how much talent and drive he has to be great at this game. I just want him and the rest of the team to reach it.”

For Trent, a lot of his growth has come from his relationship with mCe, who he stated is the best coach he has ever worked with.

One of the aspects he enjoys most about being a member of The Guard is mCe’s attention to detail – something that Trent credits heavily for his ability to adapt and learn.

“He has a notebook that he uses to write down every mistake he sees and will spend time with each player to go over those mistakes and we watch them together,” Trent shared. “We talk about it until we gain a great grasp on how we can improve on that mistake.”

While a method that some may view as overbearing, Trent understands that if he wants to achieve his goals and become exceptional at the game, he needs to be willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

“If you are not able to take criticism, then you are not going to be able to get better or for myself, Trent said. “I want to be the best VALORANT player in the world. I do not want to stay in the same spot in my career and ever get complacent.”

In a working relationship where the ultimate goal is shared between mCe, Trent, and the entire team, The Guard understands that it takes hard work and determination to compete at the highest level of VALORANT.

“All five of us in this team are really good,” Trent said. “We all share the same goal of wanting to be the best in VALORANT.”

He remembers the days back when he first found out about VALORANT in 2020 through a friend while playing Rust. It was an instant connection and hunger to want to know everything about the game.

That passion and drive are what mCe believes makes Trent so special.

“I've worked with a lot of young kids before, but I can already tell he is a one-in-a-million talent,” mCe said. “His thought process and decision making paired with the way he conducts himself in everyday life makes me know that he can set a new bar of excellence in VALORANT.”

Trent and The Guard will have an opportunity to continue their rise internationally at VCT Masters: Reykjavik 2022.

The VCT Masters event will begin on April 10 and run up to April 24. The Guard will bypass the initial group stage thanks to their top seeding and will play their first international games starting with the event’s playoffs.

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