eSports

North America Masters Weekend 1 Defies Expectations

The opening weekend of North American Masters featured a guest appearance from Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, plenty of Bucky action, and a revitalized FaZe Clan.

VALORANT Champions Tour was created to pit the best teams in each region against each other for a true test of skill. Unfortunately, the event was region-locked due to COVID restrictions, but there was plenty of action. This past weekend was the first round of Masters, featuring eight tense matches between eight teams, two of which were sent home. Between the addition of TenZ in the Sentinels roster to Envy slipping up, there is a lot to cover from the weekend

Sentinels Plus TenZ

It is no secret by now that Jay “sinatraa” Won has been removed from the Sentinels roster following allegations of sexual assault. The news broke on Thursday, the day before Masters kicked off, forcing Sentinels to adapt. They picked up former Cloud9 member TenZ, slotting him in as the Jett Op’er while Tyson “TenZ” Ngo picked up Sova. Shahzam has only ever brought out Sova on Bind, but as IGL him picking up an information-gathering agent makes sense. The team did incredible with TenZ, barely missing a beat and playing comfortably against Luminosity and 100 Thieves. In a post-match interview, he explained that “When I played Jett Op I would sit and hold A, providing information to my team. Whereas TenZ plays a more roaming style picking up kills while I still feed information to my team with drone.”

Upper Quarter Finals

Kicking off the weekend was the #1 seed, Team Envy, against Gen.G, going a full three maps. Gen.G started hot on Haven but was quickly shut down by Envy, unable to defend a single round successfully. FaZe Clan versus XSET was a whole other story, and Andrej “babybay” Francisty was locked-in, securing 28 kills on Haven. By round 11 he was 17-7 putting the fear of god into XSET who played passively the entire map. Bind was a bloodbath and this was only a preview of the aggression to come from FaZe Clan this weekend. Sentinels started shakily against Luminosity but soon found their footing and TenZ set to work dismantling them on Icebox. Uncharacteristic of 100 Thieves, the boomer squad popped off early on Ascent claiming eight rounds on the attack and ending up in Over Time to secure the map. 100 Thieves sent Immortals to the lower bracket 2-0 and moved on to the Semifinals themselves.

Heading Home from Masters

In the lower bracket, Gen.G displayed a new aggressive side against XSET, allowing Danny “huynh” Huynh to do as he pleases. XSET seemed to forget they have utility until halfway through each map, rarely using it to the true potential to shut down the Operator from Gen.G. Luminosity opted for big brain off-the-wall plays against Immortals, and while it paid off sparingly, Immortals were often able to adapt. Over the weekend, XSET and Immortals were eliminated from NA Masters, while Ge. G and Luminosity will stay alive for one more week. Heading into the Semifinals, there was a lot of anticipation surrounding how FaZe Clan was going to stack up compared to the number one seed in North America. FaZe was ungodly, holding nothing back, using Babybay’s aggression to strike fear in Envy.

Un-FaZed and Warmed Up

FaZe Clan didn’t even let Envy play Valorant, keeping them pushed around and took the series 2-0. Icebox set the tone immediately, with Corey “corey” Nigra and Babybay trading kills and taking A with little resistance. Following up the massacre was yet another bloody battle, Sentinels versus 100 Thieves. Ascent was a brutal beating to 100 Thieves ego that carried on to Haven. As usual, 100 Thieves took a while to heat up, and even at their best, Sentinels had everything under control. TenZ got the Op in his hands late into Haven, but he still produced results while Shahzam fed info to Hunter “SicK” Mims as he executed backstab after backstab. Going into next weekend, 100 Thieves will be taking on Gen.G to stay alive in the tournament and Envy will have to step it up against Luminosity to keep their title. Following the elimination matches, Sentinels and FaZe Clan go head to head in the Upper Finals. These two teams are evenly matched in skill and aggression, so it will all come down to who can get in the zone faster.

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