When Sentinels announced that Jay "sinatraa" Won was being suspended just days before the VALORANT Champions Tour NA Masters tournament, fans feared the worst for the squad. But then the organization revealed Tyson "TenZ" Ngo would be stepping up a day before their first match.
VALORANT fans were already excited, seeing as TenZ has been a popular VALORANT streamer for a while now, breaking all kinds of North American records in Riot's tactical shooter. And now that Sentinels took down Luminosity 2-0 without much time for scrimming, it seems there's only major improvements ahead for the talented squad.
TenZ spoke with InvenGlobal about competing in a major tournament with little practice, what it took to beat Luminosity, and how long he thinks he'll be on the roster going forward.
How did it feel to be signed to the Sentinels’ main roster so suddenly before a major tournament?
The Sentinels reached out three days ago. We didn't know for sure if I was allowed to play yet. Sentinels had to get the okay from C9 to loan me over. We basically got it finalized just like yesterday.
I did want to play. Playing pro is really fun for me. If I couldn't play, it wouldn't have been the end of the world. I could have just watched the tournament and kind of just chilled but it was an opportunity I didn't want to let pass.
How long did you know you were going to be playing with Sentinels in VCT? Did you have time to practice?
No, we didn't practice at all.
Yeah ShahZam basically said you guys practiced for a few hours this morning and that's it!
We got on at check-in time. An hour before the game, went into a server and they were explaining stuff to me. But I was pretty confident. I know the rest of the squad is good. For me, personally, I can kind of slot in really easily. I can AWP, rifle, lerk — everything outside of calling. I see myself as a really easy piece to fit into a team.
You guys seemed to usually be on the same page throughout the match. How was the team’s communication and synergy?
They play really loose. The comms bounce back and forth really smoothly. No issues with communication. It's pretty straightforward.
What’s something you feel you have brought to the roster that helped you guys succeed?
My head-clicking ability.
Sentinels has been eliminated by Luminosity in the past. What was the team’s gameplan going into this match?
I know Shahz watched a bunch of demos of teams prior to the match. He was explaining to us their tendencies and what they do. We were able to pick up on their patterns. For example, they take a lot of peeks. What I was doing was, 1v1 whoever was trying to challenge or find an angle.
You guys were in the lead on the second map but Luminosity slowly caught up. What caused you guys to start losing steam?
Split is a pretty hard map. It's more fundamentally reliant and you can pull fakes really easily. It was hard to know what they were doing fully unless we pushed through and gained info. But for the most part, they were popping randomly or throwing one fake and heading back to the site. Since we had just slotted me in, we didn't have the scrims to deal with that.
Icebox is all about aggressive plays. Do you feel that played to Sentinels playstyle?
Yes, definitely. Icebox feels like a giant aim map. We can play aggressively and get away with it.
How did it feel to get a win so soon after joining Sentinels?
It feels good. I don't know what else to say because I enjoy winning a lot. I just had a lot of fun.
You started playing VALORANT early and broke a lot of NA records early on. What made you decide to switch from CSGO so soon?
For me, I saw that Valve wasn't listening to the community. They don't listen to pros. It's kind of like a brick wall. I definitely didn't see the scene — especially with everything going online — as something that was sustainable. When VALORANT first came out, everyone was starting off at the same level and I just started grinding at the start.
You were streaming VALORANT for a while. Do you prefer playing competitively?
I do like playing pro a lot but I also like streaming as well. I don't really know which one I'd pick over the other. Maybe for now, I would say I enjoy playing pro more. But my stream makes me enjoy the game a lot because I can just kind of chill.
Without speculating about the results of any recent investigations, do you expect to stick around with Sentinels for the long haul? Or is this a temporary substitution arrangement?
I believe this is a temporary arrangement just for Masters.
Did the situation with sinatraa seem to distract the team at all? How did the team seem after sinatraa was suspended?
They were definitely making the most out of a bad situation. Nobody was really down about what happened. We just have to play our game and just do the best we possibly can.
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