Thursday's round of the North American Last Chance Qualifier was a day of only lower bracket matches, with Sentinels and NRG being eliminated from the LCQ, ending their VCT run for 2022.
The matches featured some of the region's titans, with two games taking place between Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 vs. 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 alongside Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #6 vs. NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #8 following the end of a three day break.
The first match of the day was a fiery rematch between two of North America's most popular teams in Sentinels and 100 Thieves. With a 0-6 series record against Sentinels in the 2021 season, today was the chance for 100 Thieves to take a jab at their kryptonite for the first time in 2022.
The match began on Fracture, picked by Sentinels. 100 Thieves started off strong, taking a 5-1 lead on defense to begin the series; the site holds of the Thieves looked nearly impenetrable. A timeout was soon called by Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 to regain a grasp on the map, and Sentinels capitalized on it to put up three more rounds despite a slow start for shroud . Their short run was followed by a 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 timeout of their own at 6-4, and 100T used that to cement their lead with an 8-4 half.A smart ult by Derrek, pushing Asuna into the site to resist the Sentinels push.
The second half began in the favor of Sentinels with victories in the first three rounds taking them back up 8-7, a mere round away from tying the score line. But a flawless 100T thrifty in round 16 thwarted SEN's hopes before quickly spiraling into an 11-8 score in 100 Thieves' favor.Asuna's lightning fast ace –blink and you'll miss it.
Moments by both Asuna and Derrek propelled 100 Thieves toward putting Sentinels in the dust, yet their efforts were futile as the map ultimately fell into overtime. Four overtimes took place with back to back multi-kill rounds primarily from Derrek and TenZ, eventually leading to Sentinels snatching back what looked like a map for the Thieves; and taking their map pick 17-15.
Map two took the teams to Breeze, which was the attacking 100 Thieves' pick. Following the same pattern as the beginning of map one, 100T took the first two rounds. This time around, Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 were able to respond back on their initial rifle round. Convincing rounds on both sides from 2-1 onward gave neither team the momentum to snowball multiple rounds back to back, leaving the score line at 4-4 before the first timeout was called by 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 . The remainder of the half just barely favored 100 Thieves, who headed into the break up 7-5.dapr sprayed down three on the flank.
Entering the second half, a clutch by stellar on the pistol and a subsequent force buy sent 100 Thieves into an even further lead, yet Sentinels still responded back with two rounds of their own. Another thrifty win in the round after gave 100 Thieves a comfortable 10-7 score over Sentinels, which continued to spiral out of SEN's control as 100T took the map 13-7.
The decider would take place on Haven, a classic map that's been included in every one of the nine previous matches between the two teams. Up until this point, Sentinels had an all time 8-1 record against 100 Thieves on the map, yet this time the Thieves would have to break through their win streak in one of their most important games yet to survive elimination. Although the map started off poorly for Sentinels, the heroics of TenZ in round three single-handedly won the rifle round for SEN. His 4K did not deter 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 , who responded by winning the next several rounds to go up 6-1, winning rounds even after a Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 timeout.
Despite a clutch by shroud to give SEN their second round, a well-timed timeout allowed 100 Thieves to immediately respond back. An incredible ace by Asuna , which was his second of the series, wasn't quite enough to break Sentinels' backs as they managed to find a couple of rounds before the half's end to narrow 100 Thieves' lead to 8-4.Asuna went on a tear against Sentinels.
Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 got off to a quiet start in the second half, yet they still showed that they had some fight left within them after they found their stride while down six. They won three rounds in a row to get within three at 10-7, yet 100 Thieves was unwilling to let them get much closer and won the next two rounds to force match point.
A 1v2 clutch from Zellsis was able to save the life of Sentinels just a little longer, eventually leading to SEN pulling through for an 11th round; but it just wasn't enough. In the last round of regulation, 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 ) shot the finishing blow to end the series with a 13-11 score which eliminated Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #15 from the LCQ.One HP and a dream.
On the other side of the lower bracket, the second match of the day took place between Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #6 and NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #8 . Neither team managed to qualify for any Masters events this year despite promising domestic results, leaving both teams with something to prove and unable to afford elimination from the LCQ.
Although Cloud9 had triumphed over NRG in all of their prior matchups, day four gave the latter an opportunity to take their first victory ever against their opponents.
Map one started with a second trip onto Breeze for the day. The pick for C9 proved to bear its fruit, beginning with a swift 3-0 lead for Cloud9 before NRG could respond back through a thrifty win. leaf 's explosive entries and mitch 's lurks felt unstoppable to the NRG defense, and by the time NRG were able to respond with a second round, the score was already 8-1 in C9's favor.. NRG entered halftime down 9-3.The eco-chaser brought down four of NRG in mere seconds.
C9 spared as much remorse for NRG in the second half as they did the first by winning the first three rounds to make it to match point. NRG clawed back four rounds after a timeout, but ultimately lost the map convincingly, 13-7. leaf and vanity were the powerhouses for their team on Breeze. The two players finished off the map with a combined 44-26 KD.
Map two kicked off on NRG's map pick of Icebox; a map that they've shown comfort on during the LCQ through wins against both 100 Thieves and Evil Geniuses. NRG Esports NRG Esports North America Rank #8 quickly showed promise and bit back in spite of their slow start on Breeze, opening Icebox with four rounds before Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #6 could take their first. s0m and tex were both the spearheads of NRG's attacking half, but their efforts did not phase Cloud9, who equalized the score to make it a 6-6 half.Sharp shooting by both Chambers.
That resilience in C9 persisted throughout the second half, who rode the momentum to an undefeated start until they took a 10-6 lead. NRG bounced back by winning two rounds in a row, yet ultimately Cloud9 continued to roll over NRG on attack. With a strong performance from Xeppaa and curry during the half, they continued to win after allowing those two rounds to finish the map 13-8, thus eliminating NRG in a convincing fashion and propelling themselves into the next round of the bracket.
Tomorrow brings another day of LCQ action, with both an upper and lower round match. The upper final will be a fight between North American icons FaZe Clan FaZe Clan North America Rank #5 and The Guard The Guard North America Rank #4 for a chance to make the grand finals.
Meanwhile, 100 Thieves 100 Thieves North America Rank #3 and Cloud9 Cloud9 North America Rank #6 will be battling it out in the lower bracket to see who will advance to the lower finals to play the loser of the upper bracket match.