VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland Grand Final preview: Sentinels vs Fnatic - Dexerto
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VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland Grand Final preview: Sentinels vs Fnatic

Published: 30/May/2021 13:10

by Andrew Amos

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The big day is here. Sentinels will be taking on Fnatic in the VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland grand final. The world’s best Valorant team will be crowned, and it’ll be a momentous occasion for either North America or Europe.

Six days ago, 10 teams lined up in Iceland with the hopes of becoming the definitive best Valorant team in the world. Now, the dream remains alive for only two squads.

Fnatic and Sentinels are primed to give us a classic Europe vs North America matchup for the ages. A best-of-five thriller is on the cards for all the marbles ⁠— not just bragging rights but $200,000 USD (and on a smaller note the in-game player title and gun buddy).

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So, who is going to take out the title: The dominant Americans yet to drop a map across this event? Or the underdog Europeans seeking revenge for their earlier loss? Let’s break down the action.

Sentinels vs Fnatic

Let’s start with Sentinels. It’s pretty easy to sing the praises of the NA squad. They haven’t dropped a single map in VCT Stage 2 Masters. Hell, they’ve won every map in regulation, and have only gotten more dominant as the event goes on.

First, Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo. If you thought he was good on 90 ping from British Columbia, he has been absolutely insane on LAN. He has an average of over a kill a round at 1.05, with his European contemporary Nikita ‘Derke’ Sirmitev second at 0.92.

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He has been the standout on a team of standouts. Honestly, you could point a finger at anyone on Sentinels and say “they’ve been the best player in their role” at Masters. Hunter ‘SicK’ Mims? Best flex player. Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM’ Khan? Somehow putting on an IGL’ing masterclass while flying into the fray as Jett.

Sentinels Valorant
Riot Games
Each Sentinels player could make a claim to “best in role” in the world right now.

Much of the same can be said for Fnatic though. Derke has been the most consistent player of the tournament. To have 280 ACS across 275 rounds (TenZ has 289 across 121, for reference), is insane. He has the second-highest ADR behind Adil ‘ScreaM’ Benrlitom, and the highest first kills per round at 0.24 ⁠— almost one in every four rounds, he gets the first frag.

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It’s not been all Derke though, although the load has been on his shoulders considerably. Fnatic’s other stars like Domagoj ‘doma’ Fancev and Martin ‘Magnum’ Penkov have been great supporting acts, and Jake ‘Boaster’ Howlett is making a fair claim for the world’s best IGL.

So this game will boil down to two factors: map pools and meta reads. And in both situations, you have to give Sentinels the advantage.

What do you conceivably try to play against Sentinels? Bind, perhaps ⁠— but they also just dumpstered NUTURN, one of the best Bind teams in the world 13-5 on the map. It feels like a case of whatever Fnatic can do, Sentinels can do better.

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Fnatic Valorant
Colin Young-Wolff for Riot Games
If Fnatic win, it’ll be one of the best fairytale runs in esports history. From First Strike to now, this team has gone from strength to strength.

The second is meta reads. NA have been stalwart users of the Astra across Masters, and it’s served them well. It’s arguably been the defining pick of Masters ⁠— the teams who utilized Astra well, like Fnatic and Sentinels, went deep. The rest fell early. NA, as the early adopters of the technology, should have the edge, but Fnatic’s versatility cannot be discounted.

Ultimately, Sentinels should come in as heavy favorites. However, it’d be bitterly disappointing for this event to end on a 3-0, so one can hope Fnatic took some time to review their loss against Sentinels, skim the VODs, and bring their A-game for a thrilling series.

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The VCT Stage 2 Masters Iceland grand final between Sentinels and Fnatic starts at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET / 6 pm BST on May 30.