ShahZaM explains decision to join G2 Valorant: “The goal is to qualify for franchising”
ShahZaM may have missed the cut for being on a franchised team, but he’s joined with G2 to create a team that can fight for a franchise spot. Dexerto asked him about how G2 came together, as well as his goals and aspirations with the team.
Sentinels became a household name through their legendary run at Valorant’s very first international LAN tournament. They swept Reykjavík without dropping a single map, asserting themselves as the best team in the world at the tournament that kicked off international Valorant esports.
Since then, Sentinels have been unable to recapture the magic of that original run. They were able to secure franchising in Valorant’s Americas League, but decided to make some big roster changes ahead of 2023. Roster changes that would push Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM‘ Khan and Michael ‘dapr’ Gulino off the team.
They’ve joined G2, an organization that missed franchising, and are looking to earn their franchise spot rather than having it given to them. We asked ShahZaM about what it’s been like joining G2, his exit from Sentinels, and OXY’s incredibly high potential as a player.
ShahZaM has found a new home with G2
For a player like ShahZaM, missing franchising is a massive blow. He’s been a player who defined the early days of Valorant pro play, and has proven himself as an incredibly strong player. He’s determined to earn that franchise spot for himself and his team.
“Obviously, every player’s goal is to compete in franchising. It’s a little disappointing how limited the spots are in franchising, but you kind of just have to accept the reality of that and realize that, if you do want to compete, you have to continue putting in the effort.”
With G2 failing to secure a spot in the EMEA franchise league, it only made sense for some of the best talent outside of franchising to come together with one of esports’ most iconic organizations.
As for the reason G2 didn’t make franchising, it’s been difficult to separate former CEO Carlos’ actions from the organization itself for many G2 fans. When asked about whether or not the controversy affected his decision to join the org, ShahZaM had this to say:
“I think an organization is not represented by just one person. There are a lot of wonderful people that make up the org that are passionate about esports and work very hard to make the org what it is.”
G2 have fully separated themselves from Carlos as he’s doubled down on keeping the friends that got him into hot water in the first place. With their former CEO behind them, G2 was looking to build the best Valorant roster they could to give themselves a fresh start. And ShahZaM was happy to oblige.
“G2 wanted to build a strong team, and the team that I thought had the best chance of winning Ascension. Ultimately, the goal is to qualify for franchising. It was the ideal option.”
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
Building the dream team for G2
Most of the players on this roster are proven talent, players with more than enough experience under their belt to hold their own at international competition. But there’s one player who’s a relative wildcard: OXY.
When we asked about this player, ShahZaM got audibly excited. He was clearly enthusiastic about G2’s 5th player.
“So, I’m the one who really gunned for OXY because I played a lot of ranked games with him. He’s got a superstar-level talent, I think he just needs someone to guide him through team dynamics and stuff.”
It’s important to remember that many of Valorant’s best players came from other esports and had prior experience playing on a pro team in other esports. This is an advantage OXY doesn’t have on his side, but ShahZaM was willing to go to bat for him regardless.
“His comms are good, and he takes his own initiative if he’s got a read on a play. I think that’s really valuable. It’s just about having confidence in the stuff you wanna do. I think he’s an incredible player, and people are gonna figure that out.”
While G2 has their own coach in Immi, ShahZaM has a history of in-game leadership. During Sentinels’ run in Reykjavík, he was the captain and primary coach for the team. If there’s anyone to trust when it comes to spotting talent and molding them into the best player they can be, ShahZaM is the guy.
Though he certainly had his gripes with the way his time with Sentinels ended, ShahZaM has moved on and is ready to build a new legacy with G2.
“I think there’s a bit of disappointment in the way things were handled in the end there, not just with me. It’s pretty sad considering the long tenure we had on that team, but you can’t get strung up on it. I’ve got a new home now, and I’m focused on what’s ahead.”