The competitive scene in VALORANT is just getting started, but TenZ is already dominating it.
Tyson "TenZ" Ngo has taken the world by storm with his stellar performance in VALORANT. Considered one of the best, most technically gifted players in the game, it's no surprise that he is such a highly sought after figure in gaming. It wasn't always this for him, however. Tenz started his gaming career only recently, in 2020. Before that, he was a casual fan of VALORANT, watching tournaments from his home in Canada.
TenZ's first big esports gig was with the legendary competitive team Cloud9, which many players would be thrilled to be a part of. TenZ was happy to be a part of the team, but as many fans speculated, it didn't seem like he was a good match, competitively. Many have argued that the Cloud9 competitive team was a peg below TenZ, as TenZ is considered one of the most technically-gifted North American VALORANT players. This often led to TenZ making attempts at difficult plays in-game, without any follow-up from his teammates.
Despite a hard fight to quality, Cloud9's VALORANT team tried hard to qualify for First Strike, missing the bar only by a bit. Shortly after this, TenZ decided to retire, hoping to focus on content creation, rather than professional play. Unbeknownst to him, however, he wouldn't be focusing on content creation for too long.
It was only two months since TenZ left Cloud9 to focus on his content creation when another opportunity fell into his lap. Sentinel, a prominent competitive esports team, was looking to fill a vacancy on their team. After the departure of Jay "Sinatraa" Won, they had a seat to fill on their team and not a lot of time to fill it. The VALORANT Competitive Stage 1 Masters were quickly approaching, and Sentinel needed a legendary player to fill the empty spot on their team.
Despite only recently retiring to focus on content creation, TenZ agreed to join Sentinel, as he felt the team would be a good match for his skill and play style. This was entirely evident only a few weeks later- when TenZ helped Sentinel destroy FaZe team to win the Masters. They beat FaZe 3 - 0, which many VALORANT fans didn't think was possible.
This huge win brought TenZ back into the spotlight once more, as many people were wondering where such a technically and mechanically-gifted player came from. Only a year prior, TenZ hadn't been interested in competitive play at all, only to enter a tournament against a high-profile team and claim victory.
"Fueled by collaborative play and creative strategy...the Sentinels earned the most illustrious victory in competitive VALORANT history."
There is only one catch, though. TenZ is still under contract with Cloud9. His career with them never really ended when he left to focus on content creation; rather, the team just classified his move as "early retirement." This meant that when Sentinel took him on the team, they only could take him as a loan player. This makes the circumstances for TenZ's flight into Sentinel competitive even more exciting.
Many players are focused on the fact that a buyout process hasn't yet begun between Sentinel and Cloud9. After TenZ's tournament performance, many are wondering how much Sentinel will have to buy him off of Cloud9 for. At the moment, TenZ is considered one of the highest-valued VALORANT players in the world. VALORANT's competitive scene has only recently started blooming. With competitive play only really being pushed since last year, many esports teams and organisations were afraid to devote too much budget to start their team. This factor is why so few esports organisations are solely VALORANT teams - many esports teams have to get their funding from other games in their roster before dedicating a budget to VALORANT.
TenZ and the competitive scene he has ignited might change all of that. TenZ might have just been a casual player before 2020, but he has proven that VALORANT's competitive play is exciting, fierce, and hype. If VALORANT's competitive scene is deemed a positive investment for Sentinel, then they just might be able to buy TenZ off of Cloud9 with ease. Sentinel has the funding for TenZ, but such a big investment needs to have a benefit for them, too. If VALORANT's competitive scene continues to climb, then spending millions on TenZ would be a good call. However, if it stagnates after the Masters, then Sentinel will have wasted money.
At this point, it isn't a question of TenZ's skill. He is qualified for his status as one of the most proficient VALORANT players in the world. Instead, it is more of a question about the VALORANT scene in general. With esports giants like Fortnite, Rocket League, and Apex Legends dominating the competitive scene at the moment, many teams wonder if VALORANT is even big enough to pour money and talent into.
TenZ's Masters performance showed the gaming world that VALORANT should be taken seriously, as it was one of the most hype performances in the game's history. If TenZ is permanently signed onto Sentinel, players can expect that this hype will only grow, as the best team and the best player working together will generate a lot of excitement for the VALORANT competitive scene.
Until then, players will anxiously await Sentinel's next move. With so many eyes on them after TenZ's stellar performance during the Masters, many hope that the team will agree to move forward with the purchase. No one knows what is ahead for the star VALORANT player, but with his technical skill and prowess, many are excited to see where he will go.
Image via Sentinels