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Sentinels storm into VCT Americas Kickoff playoffs on the shoulders of Zekken- VALORANT

Sentinels are still in the running for a spot at Masters Madrid, despite a busy VALORANT summer that saw them bring in an all-star in-game leader, call up their sixth player to the starting lineup, and finally win a trophy in Korea.
Heading into the last series of the VCT Americas Kickoff Play-in, the Sentinels’ VALORANT team needed only a single map win versus G2 to secure their playoff spot, which they attempted to achieve by debuting Gekko on Sunset. While they squandered a few rounds on the attack side with sloppy post-plants, their composition eventually shone on the retakes after switching sides, and the roster produced a spotless defensive side to defeat Sunset, 13-8.
With that map victory, the remainder of the VALORANT series versus G2 was purely for pride, as Sentinels had already done enough to secure a semifinals spot. Sunset concluded fittingly with Zekken sticking a defuse despite his teammates dying all around him, since he has been the Sentinels’ star throughout the Kickoff season.
Throughout the entire VALORANT Kickoff event, zekken lead all players in Average Combat score with a gigantic 265.0 rating, as well as in average damage per round and kill rate. He also tied Demon1, keznit, and OXY for the most first-round kills. As Zekken improves, it is possible to argue that he is now in the best position to win, with a proven IGL in Johnqt, a past world champion in Sacy firmly re-establishing his initiator role, and both TenZ and Zellsis supporting him as flex specialists.
However, one of three teams remains between Sentinels and Madrid: two VALORANT teams, NRG and LOUD, both filled with veterans and stars, and the relatively unknown but formidable and well-coached Evil Geniuses.


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