The Freshness Of Valorant’s Competitive Scene
Even if Valorant is a relatively new esport compared to older ones like League of Legends and Counter-Strike, it has already garnered a lot of hype. Valorant tournaments are filled with intensity and many clutch moments, and it doesn’t matter how fresh it still is, the top players in the world have already figured out the nitty-gritty of how the game works, making it really fun to watch them exploit their character’s potential to the maximum.
Valorant’s competitive circuit works around a region format, where teams from North America, EMEA, Korea, Japan, APAC, Brazil, and Latin America, compete to be the very best. Each region’s best team will compete at the VCT: Masters and Champions, where they’ll have a chance at fighting for the title of best Valorant team in the world. Like in every competition, sometimes the strongest team doesn’t win, sometimes we have the underdog come out on top due to their superior team play and being able to make clutch plays at the right time, and today, we’ll be going over one of the best upsets that happened at Valorant Champions Tour.
On day 6 of Valorant Champions 2021, LATAM’s representative team, KRÜ Esports, would knock out one of the strongest teams in the world, the North American Sentinels. And while it wasn’t an easy task for the Argentinian team, they achieved what many considered impossible, and if we want to understand how important this win was for the LATAM region, we have to take a look at both teams’ histories that lead up to this point in esports and valorant betting history.
How North America’s Super Team Dominated The Region
Sentinels is one of the oldest organizations in the Valorant scene, they’ve been present since basically the very beginning, and from the start, they fielded iconic players that came from other FPS games. They signed ShahZam and Sinatraa who came from CS:GO and Overwatch respectively, and both of these players had long and successful careers in their games, this made Sentinels one of the most liked and followed Valorant teams in the entire world. This team was praised so highly, that by the time Riot’s competitive circuit (Valorant Champions Tour) started, Sentinels was already considered one of the best North American teams.
The Sentinels team was doing well during the Challengers phase and they were on their way to play at NA’s first Masters tournament, but out of nowhere, Sinatraa got suspended due to some external allegations which led to Sentinels being forced to remove him from the roster. The team was in some serious trouble and they had one month to find a new player to replace Sinatraa. Sentinels decided that their best option was TenZ, the ex-professional CS:GO player, who at that time was a streamer for North American organization Cloud9. Sentinels acquired TenZ on loan from C9 and he would be part of the main roster for the upcoming NA Masters which a lot of esports gambling experts were excited about.
For a lot of teams, this would’ve been a disaster, but TenZ took Sentinels to a whole new level. NA Masters 1 arrived and they defeated the best North American teams without dropping a single game. In the finals, they had to fight against Faze, one of the most iconic esports teams, and they completely stomped them 3 to 0, this is when Sentinels achieved the first perfect run in North America’s Valorant scene. VCT Masters 2 arrives and Sentinels is still considered one of the best, but the way they dominated was shocking, just as they did in the previous Masters, they won 6 games in a row and got into the finals, where they defeated Europe’s Fnatic 3-0, giving them the perfect run once again.
Before Masters 2, Sentinels was considered the best North American team, but now, they were the best team in the entire world and they looked unstoppable. They continued to roll over the NA scene, placing 1st in all of the Challengers tournaments. A month later, the best teams gathered in Berlin for Masters 3, where Sentinels got defeated by their fellow North American squad, Team Envy, and sadly for Sentinels, their run was over early in the competition. All of this was very surprising because Sentinels took Team Envy down previously in the NA Challengers Playoffs, and they did it in a very convincing manner. But that was just a bump on the road for Sentinels, they were still #1 in the NA Circuit Points ladder and now their next tournament was the biggest one of the year, the Valorant Champions.
How KRÜ Esports’ Rocky Start Led To A Historic Moment
On the other hand, we have KRÜ Esports, the team founded in late 2020 by Argentina’s well-known soccer player, Kun Aguero. KRÜ might not have the longest history when it comes to esports compared to other Latin American teams, but it’s safe to say that they have one of the biggest fandoms in the whole continent. In January 2021 they entered the Valorant scene, and unlike Sentinels in their early stages, KRÜ didn’t have the strongest performances, they averaged 2nd place in the Challengers phase and placed 3rd – 4th in LATAM’s first Masters. The team had a strong roster on paper, but it wasn’t reflected in their results nor in the valorant odds.
The team started to show significant improvement over the next couple of months, they started to dominate the Latin America South competition and came into the LATAM Challengers Finals as the favorites, where they took down Infinity 3 to 1 in the grand finals, receiving the title of best Latin American team. KRÜ Esports went on to finish 7th – 8th place at the second Masters of the year where they got defeated by Europe’s Team Liquid. KRÜ Esports continued to dominate the LATAM scene, they placed 1st at every possible tournament in Valorant’s circuit, but they failed to perform at the third Masters iteration in Berlin, where they got knocked out in the quarterfinals by G2 Esports.
Now KRÜ Esports is heading into the Valorant Champions without previously beating any team from North America or Europe, the strongest regions in the world, meaning that people weren’t expecting much from them. During group stages, KRÜ dropped their first series against Team Liquid then managed to take down Brazil’s Furia Esports. Now they had to play against Sentinels in a deciding match to see which team was going back home. The series started in favor of Sentinels, where they took down KRÜ with a 13 – 7 score in Fracture, then KRÜ took Sentinels by storm, winning 7 rounds in a row and closing the second map with a score of 13 – 11.
The third map, Split, is where the magic happened. Sentinels started winning early on the map and finished the first half 8-4, then KRÜ turned the tables when they managed to win six rounds in a row putting them at an advantage. Now things were looking dark for Sentinels but they ended up winning 3 rounds in a row putting them ahead 11 to 10. The next rounds were extremely close, it could’ve been anybody’s game, but KRÜ’s players showed up and took down Sentinels three rounds in a row, securing their place in the playoffs and eliminating Sentinels from the tournament.
KRÜ went on to defeat Fnatic in the quarterfinals, which is a huge feat, but at that point, they were no longer considered the underdogs, they were finally recognized as a real threat to the competition. KRÜ defeating Sentinels made everyone realize that no matter how much experience you have, or if you haven’t defeated a strong team before, you will always have a chance of defeating the best teams in the world if you come well-prepared and have the right mindset. This upset will definitely go down in the history of Valorant’s competitive scene and KRÜ Esports will always be remembered for what they achieved on the international stage and for many valorant picks around the world.