TenZ explains what sets Sentinels apart from every other VCT Americas team

Carver Fisher

TenZ sat with Dexerto after their crucial VCT Masters Madrid qualifying win over NRG to explain what sets them apart from the competition and what it felt like to get to the international stage for the first time in years.

Sentinels kicked off their Valorant history with a bang, immediately becoming the best team in Valorant’s early competitive history in 2021 and then completely falling off a cliff afterward.

Through years of turbulence, Sentinels has maintained the following and passionate fanbase it garnered from early Valorant success, but they haven’t managed to replicate the international glory that got them there. Hell, they haven’t even made it to an international stage within the VCT since 2021.

At least, until now.

Sentinels’ win over NRG’s incredibly stacked roster secured them the path to VCT Masters Madrid and broke their years-long streak of missing international events, and Dexerto sat with TenZ right after their win to see what gave them the edge against the team many thought was the best in NA.

TenZ claims Sentinels puts in more effort than anyone else

TenZ is the last remaining member from Sentinels golden era in Valorant, but the years haven’t slowed him down. Nor have they lessened his willingness to put everything he has into the game.

“We came into the match knowing we were the better team, and we’ve been putting in the most effort out of any other franchise team. Up until the off-season and after the off-season we were grinding really, really hard, and I think it’s been showing a lot through our gameplay.”

Saying that Sentinels put in more effort than everyone else is a bold claim, but one TenZ was adamant about for both himself and his team.

“Originally, when the off-season began and Champions was going on, all the other teams were taking a break. But that was when we were looking for our new fifth, and we were like, ‘Oh, this is the perfect time, let’s practice against the really good teams while they’re here for Champions.’ We were able to find John that way, and we were able to get really good practice that way.”

After that, Sentinels hit the AfreecaTV Valorant League hard and took out Paper Rex with a decisive 3-0 in the finals of that tournament. While it was an off-season invitational tournament, it also saw Sentinels playing against and beating some of the best teams in the world.

And, while johnqt seemed to be a critical part of the team’s success, it’s clear that the time practicing with each other made them better friends, better teammates, and gave them more motivation to win.


Even having played an extra tournament over the other VCT Americas teams and practicing more than other teams, TenZ’s enthusiasm for game days was tangible.

“I mean, sometimes, just practicing 24/7 can be kind of tiring. But I definitely think that matches are kind of what keep you, like – looking forward to the match like it’s Christmas morning, that’s the kind of anticipation you wait for.” TenZ explained.

“You just have to stay focused and make sure you get the most out of practice.”

Taking things one match at a time

Coming back in the way TenZ has is something that’s rare in esports in general, let alone within the relatively young esport Valorant is. Most players haven’t experienced the highs and lows TenZ has to make a comeback like this in the first place.

However, this Sentinels roster has him feeling the kind of confidence he felt years ago when he took over the Valorant world.

“With the old Sentinels roster, when we were, like, better than most other teams, we were really confident. We were like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna qualify.’ I think this is the first time in a while where I look at my team – and I look at like myself as a player, even – and I’m like, ‘We’re doing really well. We’re probably better than a lot of these teams.'”

But Sentinels run back to the top of the VCT Americas League wasn’t exactly a smooth one, and TenZ acknowledged that. Their first matches didn’t reflect the form Sentinels would end up showing against NRG, and their initial loss to LOUD was a big wake-up call for the team.

“We’ve been kind of trying to treat every game as any other game. We kind of first struggled on our first match against LOUD. We were definitely really tense, talking more fast than usual, kind of panicking, and not creating plans properly. So, we were able to look at our comms from that match, watch it back as a team, and then we’re able to discuss.

“Now we’re just like, ‘Okay, just calm down, take a deep breath, like, we got this. As long as we play together as a team, we should have this in the bag.'”

While TenZ claims that this is the finish Sentinels was expecting based on the amount of effort they put in, he also feels like it isn’t over yet. Though they qualified for VCT Masters Madrid, he’s got his sights set on getting first place in the region.

“We qualified, so we definitely feel good. But it’s not time to celebrate just yet, job’s not finished. I think we’re definitely going for the overall win, number one seed, and also getting those extra points for the end of the year.”

Interview conducted by Declan McLaughlin

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