Sentinels will play in the Valorant Champions Tour Stage 2 Challengers open qualifier with a new signing in Eric ‘Kanpeki’ Xu, who replaces Jared ‘zombs’ Gitlin. He was a last-minute addition before the roster lock, as reported by Dot Esports.
Sentinels completed the signing of Kanpeki, formerly of Akrew, hours before rosters locked for the VCT Stage 2 Challengers open qualifier. He will replace zombs, taking up a flex role in the squad.
The change came after Sentinels missed their first international VCT event ever after losing to The Guard and Version1 in the playoffs of the North American Challengers event, finishing 7th-8th.
A report from Dot Esports suggested that the team also considered Jay ‘sinatraa’ Won, who has announced his intention to return to competitive play.
Kanpeki, a former Jett player turned flex
Kanpeki rose to prominence on Akrew, and reaped the rewards of their late 2021 run in third-party tournaments. But before Akrew, he was a Jett main on various unsigned squads, and he stood in for teams like YFP Gaming and Andbox. He started his Valorant career in June of 2020.
Even though he doesn’t dash into the enemy as Jett anymore, Kanpeki is still an aggressive player and is not a supportive backline flasher. With Akrew, the 24-year-old picked up initiators, mainly Skye and KAY/O, along with Sage and, most recently, Chamber.
“When we were deciding on players we were considering the Controller role, the flex role, and Kanpeki plays KAY/O on maps and he has match experience on KAY/O,” Sentinels’ Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM’ Khan said in the team’s announcement video.
Akrew manager Lincoln Marshall described Kanpeki an intelligent player who also has the ability to frag out.
“[Kanpeki] is the type of player to always have utility for you and can still one tap everyone on the map,” his former teammate Jake ‘Paincakes’ Hass told Dexerto.
“He has always been a player that had potential to play at the top but he never really got the chance to prove himself.”
Andrew ‘gucc107’ Gutnichenko, another Akrew player, described Kanpeki as an “Anime aimer.”
“If he pulls up to the opposition’s site, it’s gg,” gucc107 said. “He will roll all of them by himself, all headshots.”
With Akrew, the new Sentinels player won multiple Nerd Street Gamers open tournaments and placed first at the NSG: Winter Championship LAN in Philadelphia.
Before Valorant, Kanpeki played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in the Mountain Dew League for two unsigned teams, Asuna’s Anime Aimers and In The Lab.
How Sentinels will use Kanpeki instead of Zombs
Kanpeki was not the in-game leader for Akrew and has not logged any professional matches on smoke agents except Omen in his time as a pro player. Zombs was Sentinels’ main smoke player and has a very supportive playstyle. The former Apex Legends player would regularly give up his own economy in-game and purchase weapons for his teammates while picking up SMGs for himself.
Kanpeki does have a decently deep agent pool outside of smokes, logging competitive matches on 13 agents across his time competing.
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Fans will be able to see what the new Sentinels squad will look like in the VCT open qualifier, starting April 28.
Sentinels’ Valorant squad:
- Shahzeb ‘ShahZaM’ Khan
- Hunter ‘SicK’ Mims
- Tyson ‘TenZ’ Ngo
- Michael ‘dapr’ Gulino
- Eric ‘Kanpeki’ Xu