Sentinels started their North American Last Chance Qualifier run with a loss to The Guard 2-1 and earned a trip to the lower bracket. In Michael ‘shroud’ Grzesiek’s debut for Sentinels he did not stand out, but he did bring a level of consistency to his role.
shroud started his first official match on the Sentinels roster with the first kill of the series and ended with a 39/59/25 KDA scoreline on Astra and Viper.
While he did bottom frag the entire server, and was abused by The Guard’s Trent ‘trent’ Cairns (shroud lost 22 our of 25 duels against the player), the former Counter-Strike pro wasn’t a liability and did not bring his team down.
This was evident in the game as shroud had impact on most rounds with his utility usage, getting the most out of his smokes for Sentinels – something that was noticed by one of the best in-game leaders in the world.
Pujan “FNS” Mehta, the IGL for Valorant Champions qualified squad OpTic Gaming, was streaming the match and said that Sentinels put on a good show despite only having the full team together for a little over a month.
“Sentinels actually played so f***ing well,” FNS said. “I’ll give them that. Their comps are really good. For their first match with shroud, they played really, really well.
“My takeaway is the fact that they were able to play those comps at such a level while having very little match experience with two players is pretty impressive.”
Was shroud set up for success?
shroud is not the type of player to frag out and take over a game in Valorant, and Sentinels understand that. He might bring a higher level of notoriety than his Sentinels teammate Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, but he has always been a more laid back competitor.
Against The Guard, shroud was about as laid back as he could be. He was the team’s designated planter and was usually set up as the first point of contact post-plant or in a position to molly or stun the Spike.
He would’ve performed better had he been put into more clutch scenarios, VCT Stage 2 Masters winner Kyrylo “ANGE1” Karasov argued.
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“Let shroud play clutches! plant someone else please, he wins it all if survives,” ANGE1 tweeted during the match.
Sentinels took notice of this message and are already making fun of it online.
A stable presence
Regardless of what we all think Sentinels can do to better their play for their upcoming lower bracket matches, they have already improved leaps and bounds compared to their VCT Stage 2 Challengers days.
The level of coordination and innovation was something that viewers did not see during the Group Stage.
That sudden level of stability can arguably be attributed to shroud and his full adoption of his supportive role. Sentinels went through multiple smokes players during Stage 2 and never looked in tune, not even close to what they showed in their long-winded match against The Guard.
The other new addition to Sentinels, Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro, has also brought a new level of fragging power and another fresh voice that has also invigorated the squad.
shroud might not have given us the match that the community hyped up for over a month, but he wasn’t a comical liability that some might’ve expected when his signing was announced.