The North American reps established themselves quickly as one of the most dominant teams in their region, and at one point, the world. The winners of the first-ever Valorant international LAN at Iceland and the first squad to qualify for Champions were flying high, yet, that aura of invincibility was fading away in the months leading up to Valorant Champions 2021.
At Masters Berlin, Team Envy swept them in the quarterfinals and in Champions, dropping maps to FURIA and losing to Team Liquid was only just a preamble for what was to come Sentinels' way.
KRÜ Esports isn't particularly regarded as a top-tier team for many despite performing consistently well at previous LANs. Undoubtedly the best LATAM has to offer, dominating every Brazilian team they've faced before, they seemed to lack the confidence to go toe-to-toe versus the EMEA or NA giants -- until now.
A revitalised, confident, aggressive when needed, methodical, and above all, composed, the LATAM kings pulled through two massive deficits on Haven and Split to secure an impossible comeback.
Looking shaky and stargazed on Fracture, KRÜ's own pick, with impact players such as Juan Pablo "NagZet" Lopez whiffing easy shots for a player of his calibre, Sentinels managed to break their defence despite running a weaker composition, forcing Michael "dapr" Gulino on Killjoy.
When it came time to Haven and Split, Sentinels attack was their best shot at taking the win, as their map control and mechanical skill was enough to get them an 8-4 lead. Yet, it seemed KRÜ knew exactly how to counter Sentinels' Skye compositions, playing around flashes and setting up for mid-control on both maps exceptionally well.
The cherry on top was top fraggers like Nagzet and Keznit coming alive, pulling immense clutches and overall out-skilling some of the most seasoned veterans in tactical shooters.
With this result, North America remains in shambles with their remaining two representatives, Envy and Cloud9 Blue, still having to fight for a spot in the final bracket.
As for LATAM, proving that a "minor" region can stand against the best Valorant has to offer is a victory in and of itself. Now, the sky is the limit for KRÜ as they look to upset Fnatic.
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Featured image courtesy of Riot Games/Getty Images.