Sentinels started VCT NA Challengers Finals with a worrisome showing against Version1. Ascent saw V1 pick Sentinels apart and take the map in dominating fashion. The next two maps were nothing like that. Sentinels bounced back to advance in the tournament and get one step closer to Iceland. After the 2:1 victory over a feisty Version1 team, Run It Back spoke with Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan about the series, what to expect against 100 Thieves in the Upper Semifinals, and how Astra has taken over the meta.
ShahZaM says Sentinels is prepared for 100 Thieves and Astra is broken
Run It Back: Version1 came to play on Ascent. Do you feel it was just a good showing on their map pick or did Sentinels perhaps underestimate them a bit to start the series?
ShahZaM: I don’t know if we underestimated them, but we have a tendency to start really slow in matches. Losing that 1v3 on pistol set the pace of the match. We really threw that. I feel like it could have gone differently, if we hadn’t done that. Our Ascent defense has been pretty weak. Our attack side was pulling us through matches. It is something we need to watch and talk about to be honest. They played a good Ascent. They abused our rotations and threw good fakes. We accepted the loss and decided to focus on the next games.
Run It Back: Obviously, the series changed drastically going into Haven and Split. We saw you support as Sova and dominate as Jett. With a player like SicK on the team, Sentinels already has massive versatility. How important is it to be able pick up those separate roles and make them work?
ShahZaM: It is extremely important. That’s what makes this team good, the versatility by the individuals. To be able to pick up agents that we feel like are in meta or based off their utility that we can counter the current meta with, everyone is just open to switching up the agents they play. There’s no hesitation. We are always open to try new things. On Haven, we had a game plan that we stuck to. The rounds went back and forth at the start, but we started to take a huge lead. That put some confidence in us. We were warmed up and starting to play more disciplined, we can run away with this series. Especially starting Split on defense in the next map.
Run It Back: We saw both teams bring out Astra on each map. Do you feel she was necessary for the team to keep up with others or was it sort of always the plan to implement her into the comp?
ShahZaM: It was kind of always the plan, once we experimented with her and the comp a bit. We saw how powerful she is. Astra is pretty broken in my opinion. She ruins the pacing of the game. You just have to forfeit control. When there is an orb there, there’s nothing you can do about it. We wanted to take full advantage of that, if that’s going to be in the meta. Astra is only as good as the player that’s playing her. They are kind of playing an RTS game. Watching zombs play Astra is actually insane. He’s moving through these actions, placing these stars, and it is just insane. I don’t think I could do it the way he does it. He’s really quick with it, really decisive. Him being so good at it plays a huge role. We can trust him to not only hold a site by himself, but hold a site across the map just with his utility.
Run It Back: Up next is 100 Thieves, what are some things you might be expecting from them?
ShahZaM: They’re a pretty rehearsed team. They’re obviously really good. I think we match up well against them. They are normally pretty strategic. It is normally the teams that make individual decisions, like a guy running through a smoke all crazy, that throws us off. I always enjoy the match up and I’m looking forward to it. We’ll be prepared.
Run It Back: Lastly, are there any international teams you want to call out or simply state your excitement to play against if or when Sentinels qualifies for Iceland?
ShahZaM: The goal is to represent NA in Iceland. I think the EU teams are going to be a pretty interesting match up. They are very strategic and rehearsed. I was watching some of the games today (Thursday) and both teams were running Brimstone on Bind. They were playing heavy post plant with the Brim mollies and the Viper mollies. That is just a completely different way of approaching the map compared to NA right now. I’m excited to play versus their meta and see which play style is more dominant. I’m confident in the way we’re playing, but I’d like to learn some of the stuff they are doing and how to play against it.
*Questions and answers may have been edited or altered for clarity and fluidity.*
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