VALORANT Challengers 1 NA: Sentinels Back at the Top?

There’s a constant tug of war between the best teams of the North American region. Sentinels, who had previously... Fabio | 9. February 2021

There’s a constant tug of war between the best teams of the North American region. Sentinels, who had previously admitted defeat to Immortals, managed to get back to the top at VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers 1 NA. Will this be a short-lived success story or are they really the best North American team again?

Unlike the European edition, this tournament offered an actual Double Elimination bracket. The winners of the NSG Winter Championship, Immortals, narrowly moved past XSET and Luminosity Gaming to book a Grand Finals spot. In doing so, they not only qualified for the upcoming Challengers 2 tournament, but also earned themselves a map advantage for the Grand Finals.


Jay “sinatraa” Wong and his colleagues, however, didn’t have such an easy time. They admitted defeat in an 0-2 match against Luminosity right at the start, after which they dropped down to the Lower Bracket. There were no second chances anymore for them, but they didn’t need those in the first place. Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan pulled his team through to a 2-0 finish over Andbox, after which sinatraa took the lead to mount a 2-1 score over Gen.G Esports. Following their victory over XSET, Sentinels found themselves facing Luminosity again in a repeat match.

There, however, they didn’t get swept away this easily again. Sentinels won their map pick, Split, on a 13-10 scoreline and only gave away Ascent on an 11-13 scoreline. On the third map, which they had failed to reach back in the Opening Match, they finally had the upper hand. Their 8-4 first half finish was more than enough to pull them through on a 13-9 scoreline. With 27 kills total, sinatraa dominated their Icebox encounter.


So ShahZaM and his men made their way to the Grand Finals. There, Immortals laid in wait with a map advantage. At the NSG Winter Championship, they had previously recorded a narrow 3-2 victory over Sentinels. But this time around, they stood no chance. On Split, sinatraa, ShahZaM, and Michael “dapr” Gulino raced towards a 13-3 finish. Immortals then played out their pick, Bind, but quickly admitted defeat again. An 8-13 scoreline brought them to the third map. There sinatraa and his colleagues got the chance to put an end to this Grand Finals.

After mounting an 8-4 half, they only needed five consecutive rounds to close out the game. Immortals didn’t even get to use their map advantage, as they were wholly dismantled on three decisive maps. On the Immortals camp, not a single player put up an impressive display, whereas every single Sentinels competitor managed to provide some highlight-worthy moments. The team is now almost back at the top of the North American scene and has managed to make first place in a tournament that Cloud9, T1, and TSM didn’t even get to attend. But one team is still missing in their quest to dominate the region.


At Challengers 1, one particular team was not in attendance. Unlike Cloud9 or T1, 100 Thieves didn’t miss the tournament because of bad performance. Granted, they went out early in the Open Qualifier, but that was down to Nick “nitr0” Canella’s absence. The former Counter-Strike pro had become a father just days prior, so he had taken a few days of much deserved leave. At the second Challengers event, however, he will be back in action. That is obviously only provided the Thieves actually make it through the open qualification process.

Sentinels cannot call themselves the best North American team until they have taken down the final boss of First Strike NA. With all the fluctuations at the top and the rise of Immortals, however, it wouldn’t be a surprise for 100 Thieves to not be one of the best teams in their region anymore.