ShahZam / Riot Games

Sentinels sweeps Fnatic to take VCT Masters Reykjavik title

At long last, Valorant has crowned its first world champion.

Sentinels defeated Fnatic in the grand finals of VCT Masters Reykjavik to win the first international event in Valorant history. The team did so in 3-0 fashion, completing an undefeated run in the tournament where the North American squad won every single map it played.

Not only that, but the team established North America as arguably the top region in the world after questions about how its best teams would hold up against the top squads from Europe. Sentinels is one of just a few teams from the region to win an international championship in a major team-based esport.

How Sentinels won VCT Masters Reykjavik

Sentinels drew first blood in the series on Split, taking the pistol round and keeping Fnatic poor enough to build a 5-1 lead. Fnatic scored a critical eco round win to stifle Sentinels’ momentum and catch up on the scoreboard, but the momentum swung back in Sentinels’ favor after halftime. 

Sentinels was threatening to take the opening map after taking the first three rounds of the second half with the score standing at 10-5 but a series of excellent strategic plays from Fnatic allowed the European team to rally back and take an 11-10 lead. Fnatic threatened to steal the map in regulatio, but Sentinels managed to pull things together enough to force overtime.

Though Fnatic was seemingly unstoppable in the second half, Sentinels slammed the door shut on a rally. The team got the better of almost every duel and took the opening win 14-12.

Fnatic got off to a strong start on Bind, running away to an early lead. The team was positioned to start wrapping things up after winning the second pistol round, but Sentinels denied the conversion and racked up five in a row to tie the game up at 9-9. 

Just like the first game Sentinels got into a map point situation but Fnatic settled down and forced overtime. Overtime on Bind wasn’t a squash but ended after several round trades with Sentinels taking the 16-14 victory to advance to match point.

Sentinels crushed the first half of map three, Haven, getting off to a 9-3 start on the map. Fnatic rallied back by taking the pistol round and the next four but Sentinels pushed to map point. Fnatic got back into position to force overtime for the third map in a row. Instead, a team flash at the worst possible time saw Fnatic’s post-plant defense crumble. 

With that, Sentinels locked up the 13-11 victory to secure the sweep and become the first-ever Valorant world champions. Not only that but the team did so without dropping a single map at the event.

VCT Masters Reykjavik a strong debut for Valorant esports

Though Valorant esports has been around since the game’s launch, VCT Masters Reykjavik was the game’s coming out party in many ways. The first interregional Valorant event contested in a LAN setting was meant to cement the game as a serious rival to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the viewership front, and it most certainly did that.

The finals drew in very strong viewership, peaking at over 1 million between the official broadcast and partnered streamers. Michael "shroud" Grzesiek in particular peaked at over 300,000 viewers, far exceeding the main broadcast. 

Things weren’t perfect and there is still room to grow. There were a multitude of issues on Riot Games’ end, including frequent technical pauses throughout the event and messy spectating at times.

All in all, this was still a home run for Valorant. VCT Masters Reykjavik looked the part of a premier esports event and drew a fitting viewership. It could grow even larger as live events become the norm once again.

Who is on Sentinels’ Valorant team?

Sentinels’ Valorant team is primarily made up of former Counter-Strike pro players, including veterans that got a second life in Valorant and prospects that decided to make the jump early. The lineup that competed at VCT Masters Reykjavik includes:

  • Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan
  • Hunter "SicK" Mims
  • Michael "dapr" Gulino
  • Jared "zombs" Gitlin
  • Tyson "TenZ" Ngo

Notably, TenZ competed in the event on loan from Cloud9 to replace Jay "sinatraa" Won who is currently suspended from professional play due to sexual assault allegations. TenZ’s long-term future is unclear but he is guaranteed to either rake in money once he reaches free agency or command a high transfer fee if Sentinels looks to take him in from Cloud9 on a full-time basis.

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