Sentinels VALORANT Pro ShahZaM on Franchising: "Riot Games is Killing The Scene"

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The VALORANT roster of Sentinels is currently bootcamping together in preparation for the upcoming VCT NA Last Chance Qualifiers, which will begin on August 8. The fan-favorite team that recently added Michael "Shroud" Grzesiek and Jordan "Zellsis" Montemurro will be competing for the last North America slot for VALORANT Champions Instanbul (Sept. 2 to 18).

Shahzam VALORANT
Credit: Riot Games
Shahzam VALORANT
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In a recent Twitch stream, Sentinels in-game captain Shahzeb "ShahZaM" Khan said that they are having trouble finding teams to scrim and practice against despite being at bootcamp because several esports organizations have decided to leave competitive VALORANT after they failed to advance the next phase of Riot Games' partnership selection.

The Sentinels players are currently bootcamping at the Complexity Gaming Headquarters in Frisco, Texas in preparation of the upcoming VCT NA LCQ, but they aren't able to get enough practice since the teams they're scheduled to practice with are cancelling scrims.

“We’re here at a bootcamp, but then Riot is just killing the whole scene,” ShahZaM said. “So we’re trying to scrim and bootcamp, and they’re just killing the scene and dropping all the teams.”

The 27-year-old former CS:GO pro hinted that Riot's new VALORANT Champions Tour format for 2023 could be a step in the wrong direction because teams and players no longer have a place in VALORANT's competitive scene.

Sentinels VALORANT
Credit: Sentinels
Sentinels VALORANT
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“I felt that VALORANT was booming. It was all hype and people got invested in players,” he said. "Then, all of a sudden, everyone was dropped. Scrims are a wasteland. The teams that aren’t in franchising, all of a sudden, they cancel all their scrims.”

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With Shroud's return to the competitive scene and the addition of Zellsis, Sentinels will need all the practice they can get. The team will be competing against the top eight teams from North America, aside from XSET and Optic Gaming, who've already qualified for VALORANT Champions Instanbul. They will need to have a dominant performance to earn the final NA spot for the biggest VALORANT esports event of the year.