12th July 2021 – 6:12pm
Phase 3 is already well underway in the USA. At the end of the first Challengers NA, Sentinels came out on top but not without a few scares.
Sentinels has dominated the American scene since the first Masters , let alone since the recruitment of TenZ. The team has been flying high in both domestic and international competition, as they proved with their victory at the Reykjavik Masters. But the tide could be turning. Could the Sentinels have found worthy rivals?
In the main event, Sentinels fell into the lower bracket following their loss to XSET. Despite TenZ's imperial performance, the whole team was unable to worry the American challengers, led by a great BcJ , who is usually in the lower bracket of his team. The Sentinels were led around by the nose, both in terms of strategy and pure skill.
It took defeating Pioneers, Envy and 100 Thieves for Sentinels to get back into the race and get their revenge against XSET. After a first map in favour of XSET (9-13), and a second one largely in favour of Sentinels (13-7), the following points were much more competitive. The different XSET and Sentinels players performed individual feats and clutches, allowing the scores to remain very close. On Icebox, both teams scored 6 points in each phase, forcing overtime. On Ascent, XSET came close to taking control of the map, but Sentinels was able to lock down the game and win the BO5.
This was not the only sign of Sentinels' fatigue during the week. They also lost a map to Gen.G Esports by conceding 9 rounds on Bind during the Defense phase. The team also lost 9 rounds on Attack on Haven to 100 Thieves. These are flaws in the overall dynamic and strategy that the team will have to work on if they want to stay on top.
Sentinels is undoubtedly the best team in the world, but staying on top is always very difficult. The American teams seem to be catching up, and the competition in Europe seems to be tough, with Acend's impressive victory at the Challengers EU.
Will Sentinels make it to the Berlin Masters?