dapr touches on new teammate and where Sentinels ranks in NA
Sentinels continued to prove they are one of, if not the best team in North American Valorant. Their latest victory comes against Luminosity Gaming in the Quarterfinals of VCT Stage 1 Masters tournament. Immediately after the series, Run It Back was given the wonderful opportunity to speak with Mr. Douglas Apr himself, Michael “dapr” Gulino. dapr gave an incredible interview, detailing his thoughts on Sentinels’ acquisition of Tyson “TenZ” Ngo, how the team performed, and where he ranks them among other NA rosters.
Run It Back: Of course, I have to ask, how crazy was it to pick up TenZ and how well did he mesh with the team from the get go?
dapr: He was on the top of my list. Obviously, Riot has a whole bunch of rules regarding who can play. They can’t be signed to an org. The fact that C9 and Sentinels came to an agreement so quick definitely made me very happy. The way that he meshed with the team was actualy pretty perfect. He honestly fits the role that we needed really well. He’s a really easy person to play with. The way he communicates with what he wants to do and is able to do. When he does have a play that he can make, he does by communicating what kind of support he needs. Even if you haven’t had much practice, you can still do pretty complex stuff.
Run It Back: At the end of Ascent, you made the game winning plays with a fun jumping Classic shot and stopping the defuse. Is there ever any worry or doubt when the team has those 11 or 12 rounds and it is time to close it out?
dapr: I think when the game is in our lead, or even close like 11:11, 12:12, or 12:11, those close rounds, I have more confidence in our team. We’ve been through those kind of struggles, that it is just like any other round. I’m almost expecting the other team to throw it away. I kind of expect two things. They either try to make a play individually or a play that is kind of desperate. They’ll try to do something they wouldn’t have done without the pressure added. Or they’ll play really really safe and we can abuse that. If the game gets close, I’m more confident in the structure of the team and I know what to expect.
Run It Back: Luminosity came out swinging in the second half of both Ascent and Split What allowed you guys to persevere and not fall behind after giving up those important pistol rounds?
dapr: I actually made a really bad play and gave them an eco round dub. They were able to kill me, kill another person, take the site and they won. After all that happened, on our gun round, we had a really clutch play. Someone got a 3K and that was really hype. Especially with a sub, we have really high energy after winning an important round. We just carried the momentum with that energy to snowball the half. Obviously, we kept making adjustments and just played really loose. I think that helped.
Run It Back: Onto Icebox, you managed to stick that defuse early on as moose seemingly misjudged the wall penetration potential where the Spike was planted. What was going through your head that caused you to stick it in that moment rather than tap it and pick a fight?
dapr: I knew I hit him a lot. Like, 10 HP. Usually, when you’re really low in a 1v1, you take some kind of gamble. He actually didn’t take the gamble I expected. I thought he wouldn’t peek at all. He kind of had to because of the bomb placement. He definitely misjudged that box and how steep the angle it is. He can’t just wallbang it. It’s not paper. I would have gotten off if he hit me once and it actually hurt. I wasn’t too sure about the box either, actually. That’s the first time I was ever in that situation where someone planted up top to wallbang that box. I just started to stick it because I knew he wouldn’t headshot me. I looked away from him so he couldn’t hit my head. The only chance would have been to wallbang my head, but if he could only wallbang my body, he couldn’t kill me.
Run It Back: The last couple events saw Sentinels make the run through the Lower Bracket. Do you feel the pressure of elimination helped the team perform better then? Or do you prefer the momentum from winning that first Upper Bracket game?
dapr: I prefer having a second chance in the Upper Bracket. I’m happy to keep playing there. There’s the insurance of losing and still having another Lower Bracket match. When we are in the Lower Bracket and facing elimination, I feel everyone just turns up, though. Their comms are better. Their aim is better. They make less stupid plays. There are less chances. Losing an important round there could lose the game. An individual making a bad play could lose the round, then that’s two rounds you might have to eco. Then they have momentum that might lead to another round where they do something crazy. I think everyone on the team understands that. We just kind of clean it up in the Lower Bracket. It gives us a whole bunch of momentum when we don’t lose stupid rounds.
Run It Back: Last time we spoke was during First Strike. You didn’t want to talk too much trash, but you did call Sentinels the best team in NA at the time. Has anything changed, whether wanting to drop the verbal teabag or regarding the team being the best?
dapr: I think it would be a stretch to call us the best right now, just because of our situation. Obviously, it’s a terrible situation to be in from our perspective. I won’t speak on the individual, but as a team going forward, it is going to hurt in the short term. In the long time, I’m not really sure. Right now, I think it is safe to say we’re top three. We’re competitive. We’re confident against any team we play. Let’s see the results of this tournament. I think that will solidify a tier list for everybody.
*Questions and answers may have been slightly edited or altered for clarity and fluidity.*
Stay tuned to Run It Back for more coverage of the Valorant Champions Tour, including Masters tournament details and player interviews!