Valorant Masters Reykjavík: A Triumph for the Game and NA

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Valorant Masters Sentinels

On Sunday, May 30th, VALORANT Champions Tour 2021: Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavík wrapped up, concluding the first LAN event for VALORANT esports. As the dust settled, North American team Sentinels had secured victory.

The team had easily dominated the field of competition. Going undefeated for the entire tournament, Sentinels showed that unlike with Riot’s other games, North America was king in Valorant.

Breakout Performance

Of particular note from Sentinels was Tyson “TenZ” Ngo. A former CS:GO pro turned Sentinels star-player, TenZ finished the tournament with an incredibly impressive stat line. From a middling Counter Strike pro to the one of the very best in a new game, his success has show that sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to win.

Sentinels overall is a mishmash of refugees from other games including Apex Legends and CS:GO, but they’ve come together to be their best self in Valorant. Raising the trophy in Reykjavík has given North American esports fans something to celebrate for the first time in many years. 

Not All Good at Valorant Masters

But NA and Sentinel’s celebrations might be cut short. Reykjavík wasn’t all sunshine and daisies. Some teething issues from observers, the insanely long time to remake matches that glitch or bug, and the slightly unsure of themselves casting made Masters Stage 2 a chore to watch at times. 

What’s more, the success of North America early in a game’s development cycle is an oft repeated cycle. A game produced and released in the US unsurprisingly had a quick uptake from players in the NA region. Compare this to Riot Games’ League of Legends Wild Rift, which was initially released in Asia, where numerous esports teams and pros have already taken up the mobile version of the popular MOBA, leaving NA players in the dust. Without a head-start, would NA have gotten such a smooth sail with Valorant?

Nick “LS” De Cesare weighs in on NA’s Valorant chances in the future

Additionally, Europe and South Korea are already hot on their heels. Both Team Liquid and Fnatic were incredibly impressive, with the latter meeting Sentinels in the final. And Korean team NUTURN Gaming also came to play, narrowly missing out on a finals spot. 

The biggest takeaway from the Valorant Masters event: Valorant esports is legit. The hype and excitement of LAN events helped show Riot Games is definitely on to something with its first FPS title.