Can Sentinels and The Guard recover? – VCT 2022 North America Stage 2
The first two weeks have passed at VCT 2022 Stage 2 North America. After the twelve matches that were played, the standings surprised the audience. The Guard, who managed to become the champion in the previous Stage and participated in the VCT 2022 Masters Reykjavík, is at the end of Group A with two consecutive losses.
Obviously, this is not the only unexpected result. Sentinels, which was once seen as the best team and managed to win VALORANT’s first international trophy, is also among the teams that did not get what they wanted in the first two weeks. The North American team is at the bottom of Group B with two losses.
Both teams have only 3 games left in the Group Stage. And making another mistake could shatter both teams’ dreams for the playoffs and Stage 2 Masters.
Sentinels unable to bounce back
Sentinels’ downfall can’t be stopped. Putting an embargo on the early stages of VALORANT, the team was among the best teams in the world thanks to many championships they won. They even started a “Sentinels Era” by winning the first international tournament. But the era did not last as long as it is thought.
The dominance of the Sentinels began to disappear as the game changed, new players entered the scene and the tactics improved. First, they bid early farewell to the VCT 2021 Stage 3 Masters Berlin with a poor performance. Then, they couldn’t even get out of the groups at the biggest tournament of the year, VALORANT Champions 2021.
Coming in 2022, there were different opinions about the Sentinels. While some said that their time was over, some thought that they would recover in the new season. In the light of all these comments, the team participated in the VCT 2022 North America Stage 1 Challengers as an invited team for their success in 2021. Despite their ups and downs throughout the Group Stage, they managed to make it to the playoffs. However, the rest did not come and they missed the first international tournament of 2022.
The Sentinels’ poor performance continued in the Stage 2 Open Qualifiers. The team, which failed in the first qualifier, managed to get out of the second elimination at the last minute. The poor form didn’t stop here, either. The Sentinels lost their first two games in the Stage 2 Group Stage against Evil Geniuses and Luminosity.
The team has a huge stability problem. A player who is good in one match may perform very poorly in the next match, which is reflected in the results. On the other hand, they also suffer due to bad individual forms. Additionally, when not understanding the meta well and having a bad map pool are added to all these situations, it is inevitable to get undesired results.
If the Sentinels want to make it to the playoffs, they must win all three games against OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan and Cloud9.
The Guard need their synergy back
The Guard, one of the most surprising teams of 2022, experienced a collapse after winning the VCT 2022 Stage 1 North America championship. Starting Masters Reykjavik from the playoff stage, they got eliminated from the tournament without showing any presence, with two losses in a row. At the time, everyone suggested that the reason for this poor result was that the team had a young roster.
But The Guard’s poor course continued with the start of Stage 2. First, they faced a heartbreaking defeat to 100 Thieves, who renewed their roster. Later, they lost a series versus Ghost Gaming, including a 13-1 loss in Haven. Two defeats are the sign that things are going badly for The Guard.
Unlike last season, The Guard are having problems while displaying the proactive and aggressive game they are used to playing. Disconnections between players cause easy kills which lead to defeats eventually. In addition, the low individual performances make things more difficult for The Guard.
The Guard’s next matches are against TSM, XSET and NRG Esports.