After a long two days of the JBL Quantum Cup, Sentinels took down FaZe Clan in the Finals 2-0 to secure the first place prize of $35,000 and reclaim their spot at the top of North American Valorant.
It was a wild day one for the JBL Quantum Cup with some unexpected results and early exits, but with the best-of-ones behind us, day two proved to be all about the competition and intensity. The action started with 100 Thieves and Sentinels giving fans an excitingly competitive three-game set, and that high-energy play would continue throughout the finals.
After FaZe shut down Gen.G in two quick matches, the rapidly-improving squad gave Sentinels quite the run for their money, bringing Haven all the way to an 18-16 scoreline before finally dropping the map to their counterparts. Sentinels were then able to take Split 13-9, locking up the JBL Quantum Cup title.
Two Fantastic Series
The Sentinels Valorant squad is always down for a nice, rowdy scrap, and they eagerly gave fans two of them on Sunday.
In a rematch of the First Strike Semifinals, Sentinels were able to find revenge against 100 Thieves in a series that came down to the nitty gritty gun duels and situational outcomes. Without the mounting pressure of the First Strike Championship, both squads felt free to play their confident, boisterous styles, making for an entertaining three-game set.
It felt like both squads were winning thrifty round after thrifty round, constantly wreaking havoc on both teams’ economies. On a personal note, it was Peter “Asuna” Mazuryk and Nicholas “nitr0” Cannella popping off for the side of 100 Thieves, while Jay “sinatraa” Won and Hunter “SicK” Mims topped the leaderboard for the Sentinels.
Although their series against FaZe didn’t go the full three games, it was still a challenge for Sentinels to close it out against Corey “Corey” Nigra and company. With their first match on Haven dipping nine rounds into overtime, FaZe and Sentinels gave Valorant fans a holiday spectacle.
FaZe’s True Potential Showing
The past few months haven’t been easy going for the FaZe Clan. With four out of its five members coming from a background in Overwatch, many were quick to criticize the team when it wasn’t able to keep up with the likes of the former Counter Strike pros.
But FaZe has come a long way as a unit, and its shared background has facilitated them in becoming one of the most coordinated squads in North American Valorant.
It’s not only their coordination and teamwork that has massively improved, it’s their play on an individual scale that has grown so much as well. We already know Corey has that star talent capable of carrying any roster, but fans are finally seeing the rest of the team come together as well.
Andrej “babybay” Francisty flashed his true potential during the JBL Quantum Cup, playing aggressively and confidently on his signature Jett.
“You get a dagger! You get a dagger! You get a dagger!” is what Babybay was screaming live as he styled all over Gen.G with the Blade Storm, according to his postgame interview with the JBL broadcast crew.
Plays like when babybay dashed straight into the middle area of Haven and just cleared house highlighted the true potential the former Overwatch star has to be one of the most dangerous players in Valorant.
Overall, it was a great bounce back after losing to Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Time In, and if FaZe can keep improving, it’s set to start climbing the ranks through North America.
Sentinels Proving Their First Strike was a Fluke
While their talent as individuals were able to carry them to the First Strike Semifinals, their lack of practice was apparent, and they were soundly defeated at the hands of eventual champions 100 Thieves.
Due to unfortunate circumstances, the team was unable to get much practice prior to First Strike, but the team was back and fully ready for the JBL Quantum Cup.
Only dropping two maps total to 100 Thieves and Gen.G, Sentinels proved that they still are at the top of NA. Shahzeeb “ShaZaM” Khan’s talent as an in-game leader was apparent, and the team’s incredible understanding of the game combined with its nutty mechanics was what propelled it over the competition.
Steel’s Leadership Continues to Shine
Despite how insanely talented 100 Thieves is as individuals, it’s safe to say it would not be the team it is today without the leadership of Joshua “steel” Nissan.
Steel’s understanding of the game is simply unmatched in North America, and his ability to coordinate his teammates is unlike anyone else’s. Going up against Sentinels, he knew that they like to get aggressive after losing a round. So after losing one on Haven, the next round all of 100 Thieves stayed back and didn’t push, and what do you know, they were able to pick up two free kills onto SicK and Michael “dapr” Gulino aggressively pushing from C-long. The two quick kills resulted in an easy round win.
Not only is steel’s knowledge of the game mind-boggling, but his mechanics seem to be improving, even at the ripe-old age of 30. The 100 Thieves IGL managed to average a combat score of 232, good for eighth in the entire tournament. Steel also managed a KDA (kill/death/assist) ratio of 1.07, an impressive feat against the top tier of competition.
SicK, the Sentinels’ Unsung Hero
SicK is a real-life multi tool. Capable of playing so many different roles on so many different agents, SicK is an essential component to the Sentinels machine. He’s not the type to go out of his way to make the highlight reel plays, but it was easy to tell that SicK was feeling it during the JBL Quantum Cup.
The 22-year-old maintained the highest KDA ratio in the tournament with 1.28, while also averaging a 231 combat score. SicK also played a total of three different agents in Phoenix, Breach and Skye, more than proving his worth to first place squad.
At the end of the two days, JBL Quantum and ESL put on a fantastic tournament for Valorant fans. The event was a great way to end 2020 after such an exciting first year in Valorant esports.