Valyn on facing Sentinels at LCQ: ‘The biggest match in NA and we stayed composed’

Pressure withstood.

Following the conclusion of one of the most hyped NA VALORANT matches in recent history, The Guard’s in-game leader Jacob “Valyn” Batio told Dot Esports that he was proud of his team’s ability to remain composed against an unpredictable Sentinels team. And with the win now under their belts, he’s confident they can go on a run.

“We played literally the biggest match in NA and we stayed very composed,” Valyn told Dot Esports in a post-match interview. “No one was freaking out, and that gives me confidence that no matter what match we’ll play we’re gonna, we’re going to come out on a heater.”

When The Guard got their first taste of the bright lights at VCT Masters Reykjavík, they were blinded, falling to pieces at the hands of two of the best VALORANT teams in the world in OpTic and Paper Rex. But in arguably their biggest match since, in front of a record-breaking online audience, The Guard returned to their Stage One form that captivated the attention of all of NA just a few months ago.

All eyes were tuned toward yesterday’s opening NA Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) match between Sentinels and The Guard, with Sentinels debuting both mega-streamer Michael “shroud” Grzesiek and permanent addition Jordan “Zellsis” Montemurro. The match was the most highly viewed in an NA competition with over 600,000 peak viewers across official streams and co-streams on Twitch and YouTube. And for Valyn and The Guard, they had to go up against a fan favorite cold.

“For our team, the first match is always the hardest,” Valyn said. “That’s where you see some jitters or that’s where you see people like not really in the match mode yet. But it’s a big relief for us that we got this first win, because now we’re still in the upper bracket and we got the match experience we needed again.”

Starting off with a win felt like a necessity for The Guard, who struggled mightily in Stage Two following their collapse on the international stage. The Guard finished 1-4 in the Stage Two main event, only picking up a win over TSM. Valyn attributed the fall-off to the meta shift hitting The Guard hard, saying that they had trouble moving away from Jett and implementing Raze and Neon into comps while the rest of NA was already doing so.

In preparing for the LCQ, Valyn said that coach Matthew “mCe” Elmore reminded the players of a team saying: “No matter what you do, even it’s dumb, as long as we do it together, it’s a fine play.” Valyn says hearing this was instrumental toward the team getting back to the style of play that helped them succeed in Stage One: peeking together, taking fights and engagements, and not playing passive.

That return to an aggressive style paid off in the match against Sentinels, with the young rising star Trent Cairns seeing the biggest resurgence. Trent finished the series with a +22 K/D ratio and won a ludicrous 22 out of 25 duels against shroud himself. The Guard even came with a trick up their sleeve: a Brimstone pick on Icebox, with JonahP placing perfect smokes on B executes and mollying off Sentinels retakes.

If The Guard truly have their confidence back, then another international appearance for the young roster still on the rise is certainly in the cards. Their upper bracket semifinal match is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6 at 3pm CT.

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