When it comes to esports, fans rile up around their favorite organizations to cheer them on and give them the energy they need to overcome the opposition. With time, rivalries grow, whether it is between the professional players or the organizations themselves. It is one of the crucial elements in hyping up matches and creating narratives that add so much more to those watching. In VALORANT, we are starting to see TSM and Sentinels build something memorable and unique for the tactical shooter’s competitive scene.
In the world of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we had the likes of Astralis vs Team Liquid and FNATIC vs Ninjas in Pyjamas. The latter is more recognized amongst the CS:GO community, with both teams colliding in 6 Grand FInal matches, 3 of which had Major titles on the line. On the other hand, Astralis vs Team Liquid could be seen more of a redemption arc than a rivalry, with Astralis winning 40 times and losing only 15. They won every final they competed against Team Liquid, which were seen as an extremely dominant force during the 2017-2019 era. Everything changed once Jacky “Stewie2K” Yip joined and flipped the odds.
Jacky Stewie2K Yip, © ESL
From what we see in the world of League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege, and other titles, rivalries mean everything to the fans, and even the players. In League of Legends, we have G2 Esports and FNATIC labelled as the El Classico of Riot Games’ MOBA, with their history going back to 2016. This is in addition to TSM vs CLG of course, which defined the early 2010s of the competitive scene.
2016 was the first time we saw G2 Esports in the European League of Legends Championship Series. They met several times since then in the LEC Finals, and even sometimes in Worlds, the most prestigious tournament in League of Legends. The all-time record between them is extremely close, sitting at 22 wins for G2 Esports and 16 for FNATIC. There are players who switched sides as well, namely Rasmus “Caps” Borregaard Winther, who is regarded as one of the best players in the world and was nicknamed “Baby Faker”. All these elements add tons of flavour to every time these two teams collide.
FNATIC vs G2 Esports, © League of Legends European Championship
This can be compared directly to what we are currently seeing between TSM and Sentinels, with both of them meeting each other in decisive stages of a tournament and it keeps swinging between them every matchup. The record so far is in the favor of Sentinels, winning 10 matches compared to 6 for TSM. Their latest meeting was in the FaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational Grand Final, giving us a nail-biting best-of-five series finishing 3-2 for TSM after reaching Overtime in the final map.
The narrative being drawn is certainly attractive to the VALORANT community, with the aforementioned match attracting over 190K viewers tuning in to the action. What adds fuel to the fire is players giving their opinion on the other’s playstyle on Twitter before the game, with a number of casters and analysts writing off Sentinels early on. The reason behind the incredible viewership peak during the FaZe Clan VALORANT Invitational Grand Final is a combination of all these factors. We will continue to see similar rivalries build up over time, and this will only add meaning to every win and develop storylines that peak when there are titles on the line.
Which two teams do you think we will see a rivalry ignited between next? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!