In these unprecedented times around the world, the VALORANT community prepared for an unprecedented matchup between two titans of the scene, Sentinels and Fnatic at VCT Stage 2 Masters – Reykjavík. The first international LAN event saw the former dominate all their competition, winning three series without dropping a single map. Their challengers, Fnatic, completed an arduous run from the lower bracket, where they were sent in the first place by Sentinels earlier in the tournament. All eyes were on this clash which would decide who would be crowned the best in the world.
The match kicked off on Split, a map we saw both teams play for the first time at Reykjavik. The pistol set the tempo for the game, a rapid B take by Sentinels through heaven, followed by a quick anti-eco win thanks to Tyson “TenZ” Ngo’s 4k. You’d expect Fnatic to take control back of the half considering how heavily defender-sided Split is known to be, but other than an occasional round, Sentinels were not to be stopped as they finished it out 7-5.
The North Americans carried their momentum into their defensive half, relying on a solid A setup with Jared “zombs” Gitlin and Shahzeeb “ShahZaM” Khan to give themselves a commanding lead of 10-5. But this was far from the conclusion. A crucial thrifty win by Fnatic, featuring a Viper’s Pit by James “Mistic” Orfila, turned the tables completely as they pulled all the way back to 12-12 to take us to overtime.
For two teams that were so evenly matched in regulation, overtime was straightforward for Sentinels as they bossed the B site to win 14-12.
There was pressure on Fnatic to take Bind in order to keep the series competitive, and they started off the map by asserting themselves on the Sentinels defense. Importantly, they were able to win a number of almost 50/50 rounds with intelligent post-plant setups, made possible with Viper and Brimstone lineups, allowing them to claim the half 8-4
Things went from bad to worse for Sentinels as they allowed a ninja defuse on the pistol round, losing from an advantageous 3v4 position. The Americans needed a miracle and they needed it quick, and that came in the form of an immediate thrifty win thanks to TenZ’s sheriff, and Hunter “SicK” Mims then continued his tear on Bind with a 4k in the next round. Both the star duelists ensured that Sentinels came back to make it 9-9. From there both the teams couldn’t be separated, trading rounds to 12-12 to draw overtime yet again.
The first two OT sets saw both teams shine on their defense to make it 14-14, even despite TenZ pulling out a stellar 3k to open up the A site from showers. Sentinels won on their defense yet again to make it 15-14, and you’d be forgiven if you thought Fnatic would win the next, but a mastermind 2v2 win by the North Americans ensured they closed the map at 16-14.
After two stellar maps, the series moved onto Haven, another map pick from Sentinels, a map they are astounding on. Fnatic secured both pistol rounds, however after that the individual play of the North American squad came out in dominant fashion. In the 6th round, it appeared that Fnatic would secure another round, but a transfer spray from ShahZam proved to be the difference maker not only in that round, but the next few rounds as well. For the first half, the Europeans would only take home 3 rounds as they went down 9-3 at half. In the second half, Fnatic picked up the pace, winning the first 6 rounds to tie things up at 9-9, including this incredible spectre transfer from Mistic.
Despite making an incredible comeback attempt, being down 2 maps to none proved to be the final factor here. Sentinels would go on to win the map in yet another close call, if Mistic doesn’t team flash his teammates the map could have easily went to another overtime.
With this win, Sentinels win the first ever VALORANT lan and secure the first spot for the VALORANT Champions 2021 event that is to be held in December.