Sentinels face crucial match against OpTic in VCT Challengers Week 3

ShahZam hides behind a bush of grass and crystals at VCT ChampionsLance Skundrich/Riot Games

Sentinels are facing Valorant Champions Tour Masters Reykjavík champions OpTic Gaming in Week 3 of the North American VCT league. With only three more games left, this is a high-stakes matchup for the former kings of NA.

VCT Challengers is moving over the halfway point as Week 3, out of five, is set to start this weekend. Teams without a win to their name, like Sentinels, The Guard and FaZe Clan are now pressed to put up results or face the possibility of missing the playoff stage.

Sentinels, the previous Masters Reykjavík champions, are in a tight spot as they need two wins to qualify for the playoff stage. and their next three opponents include OpTic, FaZe Clan and Cloud9.

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While Sentinels can wait to win against FaZe and Cloud9 to have a dramatic entrance into the playoffs, it would put them up against a wall that they could avoid by winning this match.

Sentinels could also be behind the rest of the group by then. Since FaZe and Cloud9 play each other this weekend as well, Cloud9 could secure playoffs with a win and FaZe could notch their first victory and play to secure playoffs in their matchup against Sentinels next weekend.

Either way, this grudge match between two of the best teams in the region historically could set the tone for the rest of the league and send Sentinels into a desperate fight to not only make playoffs, but an international tournament as well.

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Sentinels could still squeeze into the VCT Last Chance Qualifier

Dapr leans back in his chair on the VCT Champions stageMichal Konkol/Riot Games
Sentinels made every VCT Masters tournament in 2021.

Sentinels only has 30 circuit points towards the Last Chance Qualifier, thanks to losing out in the first round of the VCT Stage 1 Challengers playoffs. If they miss out on playoffs, which their last chance to secure more than 15 circuit points (teams that do not qualify for playoffs gain 10-15 points based on placing), then they could still make the LCQ.

Their are currently 14 teams with circuit points to their name, two will automatically qualify to Valorant Champions through points so the field narrows to 12 possible teams for the eight-team tournament. The lowest amount of points a team could have is 10, as TSM and Ghost Gaming did not qualify for Stage 1 Challengers.

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FaZe, Evil Geniuses, NRG Esports and 100 Thieves all only have 10-15 points to their name, so if one of them does not make it out of the group stage then they would sit at 30 or 20 points depending on placement.

If Sentinels do not make the playoffs, and sit at 45-40 circuit points, they would jump over Knights and Version1 who sit at 30 and 35 points respectively. They would then have to hope that two other teams earn less points than them by either missing the playoffs, like NRG, EG, FaZe or 100T, or place lower than top three in the case of TSM and Ghost.

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There are many scenarios to consider, but Sentinels would not control their own fate in terms of international prospects if they do not qualify for playoffs in Stage 2.

Sentinels face OpTic in this pivotal matchup on May 28 at 4 p.m. EST.