Just a few minutes after his NA CS: GO Kader had been eliminated in the Challengers Stage of the StarLadder Berlin Major, the CEO of Complexity, Jason Lake, went public with his plans to destroy his roster. He was effectively telling the world that he was ready to pay any price to improve his team while his current players are likely still sitting in front of their monitors.
“I love our players as individuals, but these results will not be tolerated.” he tweeted. “If you’re a Tier 1 player looking to start over in the best facility in the world, HMU [hit me up]. I will pay your buyout and give you the highest salaries in the world. Let’s build a juggernaut. Spread the word. “
Back in Berlin, Shahzeb “ShahZaM” Khan and the Complexity team had just suffered an ugly loss to Australian team Grayhound Gaming, interrupted by a one-sided 16-4 loss at Inferno that ended the series and ended their run at the Major. On Twitter, ShahZaM saw his boss publicly reprimand his team’s performance, but more importantly, his job security became questionable at best. It stung.
“It was about five minutes after we lost,”VALORANT Player said Dot Esports. “You know, we booted for almost a month and then lost, so it was pretty disappointing. That tweet kind of kicked us while we were downstairs. “
With Sentinels’ arrival in Berlin for VCT Champions, the team leader returns to a city that has brought him two of the biggest losses in his long career. His journey began more than two years ago when a phase of his career ended, starting with a single Brand tweet that would eventually lead him to his next level.
One month after Complexity’s run in Berlin was over, the team launched the first pieces of the new Moloch in RUSH and k0nfig. A month later, ShahZaM was transferred to the bank and a month later he was released. During that brief free agency time, he said he had been offered to continue playing with the new version of Complexity’s lineup, but he refused to accept it. He’s also received offers from TSM and Cloud9, and even one internationally.
None of these offers interested him, so ShahZaM kept playing CS: GO and played with Team Singularity, where he first teamed up with Michael “dapr” Gulino. He also continued to play alongside Hunter “SicK” Mims after the two briefly merged under TSM before they both switched to Misfits and then Complexity. ShahZaM and SicK have been playing together consistently for nearly four years now, and the Sentinels IGL attributes much of its own advances to its longtime teammate.
“It was a pleasure to play with him on all teams,” said ShahZaM. “He’s always been an extremely talented player, but he was also a really good team-mate. Over the years we keep each other in check and make sure that we [still] share the common goal and do our best. I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. “
Ultimately, the trio of ShahZaM, SicK and dapr formed the core of the Sentinels VALORANT Roster. After a promising start to theirs VALORANT Careers in the second half of 2020, the team’s trajectory changed dramatically when the organization Tyson loaned “TenZ” Ngo from Cloud9. Over the course of a few months, the team has grown from a simple top team in NA to a contender for the best team in the world. They brought this claim home with a flawless run at the VCT Masters Reykjavik and won their first international match VALUET LAN without erasing a card.
After another successful Challengers Finals run, Sentinels found themselves at a Masters event for Masters Three Berlin and ShahZaM found himself again in the Verti Music Hall, where his CS: GO Career ended without further ado. But also with the door closed Counterstrike “Definitely closed”, and despite his retirement he is still proud of what he achieved in his time and only regrets it a little.
“From the outside it was an up and down, especially given how it ended with the major and this tweet that killed our stock as a player,” he said. “But on the whole, I’m pretty happy. I stayed towards the top of North America. I think I was most satisfied with my time at Misfits. We had a really strong squad, we had really good results internationally and it was unfortunate that the org decided to leave CS and the team fell apart. From then on it was just a struggle to find the right one. “
Sentinels’ first taste of the fight after taking over TenZ didn’t take place until Masters Three, with ShahZaM missing the chance to rehabilitate in Berlin. Her offline winning streak was snapped by G2 in the group stage and sent her into the playoffs as the second seed. There they fell against fellow NA representative Team Envy in the quarterfinals and the myth of Sentinels as the unstoppable juggernaut was lifted. The same pieces of team play and custom game design that helped Sentinels rise were the tools that took teams like Gambit and Envy away from the top.
In the two months that have passed since the Masters Berlin, Sentinels have added a new coach in the form of former FaZe clan player Rawkus. However, they did not have any official games in which he could train after qualifying for the champions before the Masters Berlin started. Due to the layout of the track, it was difficult to find teams that weren’t “dead or rebuilt” before and after the NA LCQ. Sentinels had to shake off some rust in their opening match of champions against FURIA, but eventually secured their opening win on three cards.
This win brings Sentinels one step closer to winning the trophy at Champions, and despite losing to Liquid in the winning finals, they’re still just a single straight win away from the playoffs. For ShahZaM, this is one step closer to completing a two-year arc of salvation, a chance to go from a kick at the lowest moment to becoming the leader of the team that will become the first world champion in the history books.
“It would mean anything,” said ShahZaM. “Jump in VALORANT I gave everything and I knew that we can achieve something great when I play with people who give everything. Holding such a trophy in your hand is a lifetime achievement that will never be forgotten. That’s what drives me; the achievements, try to be the best. There is no better feeling in the world. That is what we are all following all the time. “
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