Sentinels Sentinels North America Rank #2 TenZ Tyson Ngo Zellsis Jordan Montemurro zekken Zachary Patrone johnqt Mohamed Amine Ouarid Sacy Gustavo Rossi have qualified to the VCT 2024 Americas Kickoff playoff stage, beating MIBR MIBR Brazil Rank #3 jzz João Pedro mazin Matheus Araújo artzin Arthur Araujo RgLMeister Matheus Rodigoli frz Leandro Gomes 2-0 and losing a close series to G2 Esports G2 Esports North America Rank #7 icy Jacob Lange trent Trent Cairns valyn Jacob Batio JonahP Jonah Pulice leaf Nathan Orf 2-1 to get in via map differential. This means that both MIBR MIBR Brazil Rank #3 jzz João Pedro mazin Matheus Araújo artzin Arthur Araujo RgLMeister Matheus Rodigoli frz Leandro Gomes and G2 Esports are eliminated from the Kickoff event and cannot play at Masters Madrid.

Sentinels stomp MIBR in first regional play-in match

The series saw the maps of Split from Sentinels, Ascent from MIBR, leaving the decider of Sunset, which ended up not being needed.

The play-in match day all began with Sentinels versus MIBR, with the first map pick of Split leading to some expected compositions. MIBR ran the double duelist of Jett and Raze, while Sentinels leaned back on the Cypher, Viper, Skye, and Omen.

Split started in Sentinels' favor, fitting for a team that had looked comfortable on the map. The map pick started with their defense side, a pistol win, and a bonus conversion from johnqt . Due to that bonus win, the lead built up to 5-0 for Sentinels, and just kept going up. It took until round 10 for MIBR to win their first attack round, ending the half down 10-2.

MIBR took pistol off of a great, aggressive push from jzz , but even the improvements weren't enough, as they lost the map 13-7.

Map two was Ascent, MIBR's pick, with the two teams running slightly different comps, with different sentinel and initiator agents. MIBR got the pistol win on their attack, even getting four enemies down in the bonus to whittle down Sentinels' economy. After playing across the map, Sentinels adapted by hunkering down on sites, letting MIBR roam and waste time while not giving up early picks. The conservative play led to a small 7-5 lead for Sentinels heading into the half.

Winning pistol and a bonus conversion for the second half only extended the lead for Sentinels, with TenZ stepping up to stop any aggression from MIBR. The bonus conversion knocked MIBR's chances of map victory down, and Sentinels took advantage to win the map 13-6, and the series 2-0.

With this win, TenZ remarked post-match that their second match of the day against G2 Esports “should be easy.”

MIBR force scrappy win over G2, but can't make playoffs

G2 Esports 2024 G2 Esports' team for the VCT 2024 season. (Image via G2 Esports)

The maps for this series were Sunset for G2, Split for MIBR, and the decider was Breeze.

Sunset started well for G2 Esports, winning pistol on their defense. MIBR seemed to have watched G2's loss to Evil Geniuses Evil Geniuses North America Rank #29 Derrek Derrek Ha NaturE Nicholas Garrison supamen Phat Le Apoth Vincent Le jawgemo Alexander Mor on Sunset, where lurks through mid caught them off guard. However, G2 recognized their mistakes from the EG game and held passively instead, often getting free kills in mid early. Then, the modern classic G2 Sunset choke came around once again, and the momentum went from a confident 6-2 to tied at 6-6.

A pistol win gave MIBR an opportunity to run away with the map, and G2 crumbled. Ever since losing a 1v3 round on their defense side while being ahead significantly, G2 only won three rounds afterward, losing their map pick 13-9.

Going down one map early on for G2 meant now, effectively, the only way they could make it to the playoff section was by winning both this game and their next one against Sentinels. Considering how easily Sentinels dispatched MIBR and how G2 collapsed on Sunset for what felt like the umpteenth time, the mood for G2 fans wasn't high.

Split had to be the comeback for G2, and it was MIBR's map pick. MIBR ran the double duelist composition, unchanged from their loss against Sentinels, while G2 ran the Breach. MIBR won the pistol on their attack, and even converted the bonus. A 5-0 deficit led to a timeout, but G2 did pull it back slightly to only be down 7-5 at the half.

Winning their attack pistol, G2 successfully brought the game back to even. This is when, for the first time in the match, rounds were truly traded back and forth, instead of constant runs from either squad. A late lead from G2 was followed by back to back flawless rounds from MIBR to tie it at 11-11, eventually heading to overtime. Off of some explosive entries from leaf, G2 won the map 15-13 and took the series to Breeze.

Compositions for Breeze were very different, where MIBR ran the default comp with Jett and KAYO, but G2 picked Yoru and Harbor instead. MIBR won a chaotic pistol round, converting their bonus, but G2 hit back immediately with some clever Yoru plays, as well as some clutch Harbor defuses. The half ended tied, 6-6.

A confident 4K from trent on pistol got G2 the lead, but rounds were traded as it went on. Then, after losing a 1v3 with a lead for the second time in the day, the map ended 13-10. It was a rough look compared to how strong G2 looked when they qualified for the play-ins.

The win wasn't even positive for MIBR, as the map was close enough that no matter the map scores in the G2 and Sentinels game, they could not mathematically win the round-robin. G2 now needed to post two map wins to qualify for Madrid, while Sentinels just needed one.

Sentinels lose series against G2 but make playoffs anyway

The playoff implications came down to one series, with G2 needing to be perfect. Sentinels' pick of Sunset and G2's pick of Breeze both had to go in G2's favor. If we saw the decider map of Split, it was already essentially over, with Sentinels making it through.

Sentinels swapped compositions and moved Sacy on the Gekko, while G2 played their regular comp. Pistol went in G2's way, and the game was moving at a very fast pace for both teams as G2 took an 8-4 lead.

Sentinels won the second pistol round and clawed back some rounds, but the bonus conversion made the map scary for G2 as their lead was erased. Their defensive strategy was to play for retakes, using their frequent flashes and grenades to clear out sites all at once, and G2 was struggling to work around it. Even after a timeout, Sentinels remained perfect on defense. Sentinels truly had a better read on the map, as their composition and coordination led to a 13-8 win.

Sentinels playoff Kickoff 2024 Sentinels win the play-in portion of the VCT 2024 NA Kickoff tournament. (Image via Sentinels)

That map win secured Sentinels their playoff spot, while G2 lost another significant lead on Sunset. Due to the 13-8 scoreline, even two 13-0 wins on the next two maps from G2 couldn't get them that playoff slot. The results of these final two maps didn't matter for the outcome of the tournament, outside of seeding for Champions points.

When Breeze came along, G2 ran the same comp they lost to MIBR with. Sentinels decided to run their standard Breeze comp, not showing any unique strategies they could surprise enemies with in the future. After a pistol win, G2 converted their bonus with a 4K clutch from trent. As the lead built up, neT decided to flank deep into enemy lines as Cypher, catching even zekken off-guard, as G2 Esports changed from a slow team to a lightning-fast team.

Exiting the half up 9-3, G2 looked to potentially extend this game to a third map, but Sentinels once again started the second half with a pistol win and a bonus conversion. Afterward, G2 fought back and closed out the map 13-9, extending the series to Split. Both neT and leaf turned up in this second map, needing to keep it up if they wanted the bragging rights of the series win.

Mirroring the end of the G2 and MIBR match, Split had the opportunity of having the team that won the match still lose their playoff spot. Breach returned for G2, while Sentinels ran a regular Split composition to avoid showing strats. Despite a mid-pistol advertisement for the Sentinels classic from Zellsis , it went in G2's favor. As the half went on, Sentinels started reading more into G2's executes, finishing the half up 7-5.

Whether it was G2 showing knowledge of how to get around Sentinels' attack plans, or just a lack of caring from Sentinels due to their successful playoff qualification, G2 closed the map out 13-9.

They won the series, giving them some hope heading into the regular season, but won't be in the playoffs or at Masters Madrid.