chatted with TenZ of Sentinels, just days before the team takes on NRG in the opening match of VCT Americas 2024 Stage 2.

VCT Americas 2024 Stage 2 is upon us. Teams are fighting for a spot in the playoffs, with a Champions 2024 opportunity on the line. And perhaps no one wants to get their more than Tyson "TenZ" Ngo and Sentinels.

In the media day prior to Stage 2 beginning, we spoke with the iconic VALORANT player. He gave us his insight on the opening match against NRG, the changes to the game's Duelist, and much more regarding the season.

TenZ on the Duelist changes, VALORANT console, and other topics

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"First and foremost, having beaten Gen.G at Masters Madrid to take the trophy, I’d just like to get your thoughts on the team’s victory in Shanghai."

TenZ: "I think Gen.G, always, they were really difficult to play against. Definitely the hardest team that we played in Madrid and one of the teams that we actually lost to, originally, but facing them again in the finals, we were able to change up some stuff to play against them a little bit better.

"But yeah, overall really deserved. I'm glad that APAC was able to get their first international win. I think it's been a long time coming. So, very excited for that, and just excited for the future of that team. Just because they're so, like, I think they're a really fun team to watch. They're very young as a team. And I think they still have a lot left to show."

"Well, between Madrid and Shanghai, it’s clear things didn’t go as positively for Sentinels. In your words, what worked during kickoff and Madrid that didn’t seem to pan out during Stage 1?"

TenZ: "What worked for us, we were able to jump ahead and set kind of a meta or certain Agent compositions on certain maps. And I think once the rest of the teams caught up and started utilizing what we were doing, and figuring the game out as well.

"But then also kind of innovating their own way, I think was probably the biggest thing that happened to us. Just because the time from when we came back from Madrid, and we're playing for the next split to go to Shanghai, we didn't really have much time to change up stuff.

"Or to figure out new compositions, especially with visa issues. I know that both us and LOUD, kind of got messed up for our practice schedules from that. And it's probably a reason why we didn't play so well, either of the teams. I don't want to look for any excuses, but is very nice to have time to reinvent yourself in-game and redefine yourself as a team."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Approaching Stage 2, we're on what they're calling the Duelist patch now. Was it back to the drawing board knowing that this patch was going to be how you play? We're seeing those double Duelist comps, maybe even triple Duelists, like we're seeing in ranked. Do you think you guys are going to implement any of that? Or if it's going to impact a big change in the Agents we do see?"

TenZ: "Yeah, I think for the Duelist changes, honestly, for pro play, I don't really think it changes much. Definitely have seen a fair bit of Neon in pro play, just because I think Neon, objectively, has an overall better kit. But I do think the not having two stuns hurts pro play a lot.

"I don't really think it matters as much for ranked. I don't really see Iso getting utilized at all. Nobody is scrimming with with Iso. One team that we didn see scrim with Iso, just not really optimal, in my opinion. And so I doubt we'll see any ISO.

"But it is really nice to see that they are putting an effort into reworking the Duelists. And I mean, the Duelists are taking over the ranked ladder right now. So, I'm sure that the changes did work out in a way that they did want.

"I just think that the pro meta is very stubborn. Because the pro meta is so established. You don't really have to change, and it feels harder to change and reinvent something, than to play some stuff that is already really mapped out by both your teams and other teams."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Okay, well, this is still unfamiliar territory for all of the teams in terms of the format. You keep your record from Stage 1 and have to do enough to get that playoff spot. How are you personally viewing Stage 2 and not getting that full reset?"

TenZ: "I mean, to be quite frank, I think is pretty sh*t. I think it's not really the best way to go about things. I think the formats have just been kind of ambitious, so to say. So, I definitely think that you should have been able to have a full reset, and that it should have been considered its own split rather than a continuation of the last split.

"Especially coming back from an international tournament, and even with a map pool change. I think it is very, very big and could drastically change certain teams. Just because some teams that weren't able to figure out Haven previously might have a really hard time.

"Especially if they don't really have a great current map pool, with Icebox in. So, I think it could hurt a lot of teams and could change a lot of the standings. In my opinion, it definitely should have been a full reset going into the next split."

"With that in mind then, Sentinels and 100 Thieves are tied with Championship Points before Stage 2 begins. Are you hoping to do enough, to where the Championship Points can be the backup plan if qualifying through playoffs doesn’t work out?"

TenZ: "I mean, it's always nice to have some extra padding to fall back on. But it's something that we don't want to rely on. I think we're trying really hard, making sure that we just go match by match, one win at a time, hopefully, and just focus on the first step forward rather than the destination."

(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)
(Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/Riot Games)

"Well, you’ve got kind of a tough schedule ahead. It starts with NRG. Do you think bringing back FNS and s0m was the right move for them? Boostio mentioned that benching Demon1 wasn't the right play."

TenZ: "I think NRG previously, I remember like Ethan tweeting like, 'Good players, but bad team.' Where I just think that structurally, they weren't working out the way that they kind of envisioned and hoped for. So, I do think with the addition of s0m and FNS, it brings back that strategic depth they previously had.

"And were known for as a team always. So, I think under FNS' leadership, they should definitely be a lot stronger as a team. And I mean, when Ethan doesn't have to call, his firepower is also really, really good. So, I think overall, the team is stronger.

"But to add onto what Boostio said, I don't really think a player like Demon1 deserves to be benched. And I do think it's just a very unfortunate scenario, where he wasn't utilized properly on that team, and therefore made him look not in form."

(Photo by Marv Watson / Riot Games)
(Photo by Marv Watson / Riot Games)

"What are your expectations for that opening Stage 2 match? I want to know your thoughts on the result, on the viewership. Everything."

TenZ: "I mean, the first match, we're just going to try our hardest. We know its NRG. They're a really formidable opponent that we've played against a decent amount. I do view them as a stronger team, especially with the changes. So, I do think it'll be a very exciting match to watch, and very clouted match, too."

"Lastly, I’ve got to ask about VALORANT on console. Have you tried any more since the beta launched, and if so, what is your impression of it?"

TenZ: "Yeah, I did a stream recently playing it on console as well. So, I do think it's very interesting. Things that felt really strong was flash characters. You can't really turn from flashes. You can't flick like you can on mouse and keyboard because you're on the controller.

"So, it is very interesting. It is fun, I will say, and I think for players that mainly just stick to console and they are playing VALORANT for the first time, I do think they'll have fun playing the game. Just because of the game's shenanigans and just what you can do in VALORANT. So,I do think that it will be quite popular on console, actually."

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